Call 4 Health Call Center Opens Third Facility

Call 4 Health, a leading medical call center and nurse triage service, opened a third location and will expand its operations with a new facility in Spring Hill, TN. The company, headquartered in Delray Beach, FL, also operates a call center in Linthicum Heights, MD.

“The demand for call center services in the medical industry has exploded in recent years,” said Joseph Pores, Call 4 Health CEO.” With this new facility, we will be able to greatly increase our volume and bring our proprietary, innovative technology to even more hospitals and medical centers around the country.”

The expansion includes the procurement of a 15,000 square feet facility, which will house approximately 200 call center agents and triage nurses.

Call 4 Health uses state-of-the-art technological initiatives, and currently processes up to 30,000 calls daily for 1,400 clients, creating a solution to the demand put on large health systems and hospitals. Call 4 Health serves clients nationwide in almost every state. Eighty percent of its clients are hospitals and healthcare systems, with the remaining 20 percent in homecare, hospice, and pharmaceuticals.

With the addition of the Spring Hill facility, Call 4 Health expects to increase its daily call volume over time to 50,000 and client base to 2,000.

Call Center Sales Pro Hires Ricky Morse as Strategic Sales Manager

Call Center Sales Pro, a leading call center consultancy, announced that Ricky Morse joined their sales acquisitions team as strategic sales manager to pursue enterprise accounts that range from $150,000 to $1 million—and more—in annual work. He began this new role, November 1.

In this position, Morse will work with C-Suite executives in targeted verticals that include insurance and healthcare, as well as others. He will collaborate with Call Center Sales Pro president Janet Livingston to strategically pursue select call center work, establishing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.

Janet Livingston, founder of Call Center Sales Pro and the driving force behind the company’s rapid growth and diversification, brought Morse on board to pursue these high-end enterprise accounts. “I’m thrilled to have Ricky join the Call Center Sales Pro team,” Livingston said. “He brings a wealth of industry-related sales leadership experience to us.” Call Center Sales Pro has a proven record of landing small to medium-sized call center and answering service accounts, but Livingston hasn’t had the time to personally invest in pursuing larger clients. With Morse’s skills and experience, added to her own, that will change.

“I’m excited to join Call Center Sales Pro,” Morse said. “I love to sell. It’s in my blood.” When asked about the reason for his ongoing record of success, Morse explained: “Instead of selling, I look to form long term relationships. If it’s good for the client and good for us, then success will follow. It’s all about finding solutions that work. My clients appreciate that, and, as a result, they trust me.”

Call Center Sales Pro Taps Chris Calhoun as VP of Operations

Chris Calhoun has joined Call Center Sales Pro to fill the newly created position of vice president of operations. Calhoun’s primary focus is on optimizing the existing infrastructure of the company to maximize the effectiveness of the staff so that they can serve their clients even better.

“I’m thrilled to have Chris join the Call Center Sales Pro family,” said Janet Livingston, founder of Call Center Sales Pro. “Chris brings the leadership and team building skills to the table that will allow us to better scale Call Center Sales Pro. This will enable us to provide more services, products, and innovations to the call center and contact center industry.”

After a distinguished career in the U. S. Coast Guard, Calhoun built on his exacting military training to take key leadership roles in technology companies. “I am extremely excited about joining Call Center Sales Pro,” Calhoun said. “I look forward to bringing my thirty plus years of leadership, management, and systematic approach to human performance to the Call Center Sales Pro team.”

Learn more at www.callcenter-salespro.com or call 800-901-7706.

PACE Adds Puerto Rico to the USA DNC Regulatory Guide

The Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) added Puerto Rico to the PACE USA DNC Regulatory Guide. Touted as a valued industry resource, the PACERegulatoryGuide.com series has been available for over ten years.

It covers Federal (both FTC and FCC) and state specific telemarketing and TCPA regulations. The new Puerto Rico section includes a summary of applicable rules with links to the relative bills, laws, and statues. Summaries by categories include registration requirements, call restrictions, solicitation disclosures, and call monitoring rules. This is organized by topic and state/territory.

“We continue to expand the information contained in the regulatory guides to meet the needs of our subscribers and telemarketing compliance professionals,” said Dean Garfinkel, administrator of the guide.

The USA DNC Regulatory Guide is part of the PACERegulatoryGuide.com series. Other resources include the Canadian DNC Regulatory Guide and the Charitable Fundraising Regulatory Guide.

Subscribers receive email alerts announcing new legislation. The guides’ interpretations take the confusion out of DNC compliance, TCPA compliance, wireless calling laws, and telephone solicitation regulations. Find exactly what you need, with interpretive text linked directly to the pertinent statutory wording.

The legal team at MacMurray Shuster LLP reviews compliance regulations to keep the guide current and relevant. Information is made accessible and understandable, reducing the chance of inadvertent noncompliance. Email alerts are sent to subscribers whenever the guide is updated.

Contact Dean Garfinkel at 516-656-4191 or visit https://paceregulatoryguide.com.

The November/December 2017 Issue of Connections Magazine

The November/December 2017 Issue of Connections Magazine, covering call centers and the teleservice industry

Read these articles online:

[Connections Magazine is proudly published by Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc, Peter L. DeHaan, editor.]

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Are Insurance Call Centers Putting Customer Data at Risk?



By Ben Rafferty

Imagine if you had to read your PIN out loud at the ATM to make a transaction. With the possibility of someone overhearing and maliciously using your information, this notion is unthinkable. So why is it still commonplace for call centers to ask customers to read their card numbers, sensitive authentication data (SAD), and other personally identifiable information (PII) over the phone?

A recent secret shopper survey of leading insurance companies’ call centers unveiled that insurers are inclined to use the outdated, risky practice of asking customers for verbal confirmation of payment card details. In fact, ten of the top insurance companies in the United States anonymously surveyed said that they require customers to read their card numbers out loud to pay for insurance services over the phone. Moreover, four out of those same ten insurers admitted that customer services representatives (CSRs) read card numbers back to customers. Although many customers and CSRs may not think twice about verbalizing sensitive data, there are far too many risks involved. And, given the 371 percent increase in data breaches in the insurance industry, and the 113 percent increase in call center fraud, insurers cannot afford to be complacent.

Inside, or CSR fraud, is a real threat. As customers read their information aloud, the CSR could be copying it down for fraudulent use. Without clean rooms (no bags, pens or paper, or cell phones) and other stringent security measures, there is no telling what the CSR may do when exposed to sensitive data. Also the customer may be reading the information aloud in a public place, such as the grocery store. Who knows who may be listening and jotting down their information? Insurers who practice stop/start or manually scrub recordings of PII are noncompliant. Click To Tweet

When it comes to call recordings, the verbal confirmation of card numbers poses additional security concerns. This survey showed that eight of the ten insurers record calls, but how (and if) they remove PII from recordings varied. Some CSRs said they rely on a program to automatically block card details from the recording as callers talk. Others said PII is manually removed from the recordings after the call is completed. One insurer said they randomly record calls and keep recordings for thirty days before deleting them. Overall, it was also clear that CSRs were unaware or uninformed about how to shield sensitive information from recordings.

Unfortunately, the problem goes beyond the ambiguity and lack of a standardized approach to avoiding capturing card details. Most notably, a common method of removing card details cited in the survey was some form of “stop/start” or “pause and resume,” whereby the call recording is stopped, paused, or muted, either manually by a CSR or automatically. It is then restarted, resumed, or unmuted once sensitive information is captured. Stop/start systems are particularly inadequate, as the CSR is still exposed to verbalized information and in some cases is also responsible for pausing and resuming the call recording. Here there is opportunity for CSRs to misuse the system, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

What if the CSR pauses the recording to leave out portions of the call while he or she engages in fraudulent behavior? Or what if the CSR accidentally forgets to pause the recording? This could log sensitive information, leaving it vulnerable in the event of a data breach.

On top of these risks, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which governs all card payments, explicitly prohibits the recording of card security codes and the manual intervention of staff to remove data from recordings. Thus, insurers who practice stop/start or manually scrub recordings of PII are noncompliant.

Fortunately there is a simple security solution for call centers in the insurance industry and beyond, and it involves de-scoping the call center. This is most effectively accomplished by using dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF) masking technologies. Such solutions allow customers to enter payment card information on their telephone keypad and shield the numbers from the CSR and recordings by replacing DTMF tones with flat tones. Payments are sent directly to the payment processor and never touch the call center’s systems. These technologies enable call centers to keep customer data safe and out of their infrastructure, thereby reducing the risks associated with a reputation-damaging data breach. This also cuts compliance costs.

Because insurance call centers hold so much PII, from credit card numbers to social security numbers, it is in the companies’ and their customers’ best interests to ensure that their security and compliance efforts are in order—before it’s too late. This begins with making the practice of reading payment card numbers aloud over the phone a thing of the past.

Ben Rafferty has fifteen years of experience of delivering speech recognition, IVR, and contact center automation on CPE and hosted platforms. At Semafone, Rafferty is responsible for the smooth deployment of solutions into hosted environments and for the overall management of Semafone’s hosted offering.

OnviSource Rolls Out ia.Enterprise

OnviSourceOnviSource announced ia.Enterprise, a new generation of customer experience management (CXM) and business process automation (BPA) integrated solutions. It’s driven by intelligent automation capabilities. The solutions automate the customer journey including the steps before, during, and after customer engagement:

  • Routing to the right service engagement point
  • Interaction and engagement with live agents, intelligent virtual agents, or both
  • Processing that includes business and robotic process automation
  • Customer sentiment analysis using multichannel analytics, trend analysis, social media mentions, and surveys

“We are experiencing an emerging customer environment that is connected, mobile, and demanding, challenging enterprises to better understand their customers’ demands, behavior, and sentiment to positively manage their customers’ experience,” said Ray S. Naeini, CEO and chairman of OnviSource. The ia.Enterprise solutions automatically:

  • Captures data and media from all entities involved in customer journey and business processes
  • Organizes and unifies the capture of big data
  • Analyzes using multichannel analytics and sentiment analysis to create actionable knowledge
  • Makes best decisions and learns over time
  • Launches user-defined actions

Several ia.Enterprise solutions have been deployed and are in use by OnviSource customers.

Choices and Consequences


Alston Tascom


By Wayne Scaggs

Events in our lives seldom just happen to us, regardless of what we tell ourselves or our friends. Somewhere along the way, we made a decision that caused certain events to happen. We make choices every day that put us on the path that leads to the events that occur in our lives. We go to school, get a diploma, and find a job or start a business. Somewhere along the way, we have a family.

Believe it or not, we made all the choices that guided us along the way; things did not just happen to us. Some of our choices were excellent (sheer genius), and we stick our chest out for a while. And then some of our other choices . . . well, let’s just say they did not make us, or anyone else, proud, and we won’t say any more about that.

Some may say we are lucky, although in most cases luck is a by-product of desire, choice, and continual productive efforts that pave the way for opportunity to cruise by. If we are aware, we can latch on and ride opportunity (luck) as far as it will take us. Choices affect not only us but others in the process, so the choice should be the very best one. Click To Tweet

My choices along the way have given me the opportunity to write this column and express the delight in knowing I have made a positive difference in the lives of many people. Some I know, and others I don’t.

Being part of this industry, which is people-oriented and service-driven, has allowed me to fulfill a childhood and adult desire. Deep within myself I know that through the choices I’ve made, I have helped more people than I will ever know in more ways than I can imagine. One of the ways came from someone who told me I was the reason they could start their own business, feed their family and, on top of all that, provide employment to others who were also able to feed their families. There is no substitute for the feeling we get when we help someone fulfill their dreams.

Few times in our lives do we get to make such monumental choices that affect not only us but others in the process, so the choice should be the very best one. Choices of this magnitude take time, forethought, and many restless nights weighing the pros and cons. In the end, when we are offered an opportunity that only comes along once in a long while and it is all that we wanted it to be, we take it. We jump at the opportunity and make it better than we thought it could ever be.

The recent merger between Alston Tascom and Startel Corporation is the very best possible next step for Alston Tascom, Tascom Systems, and the industry. This merger has answered questions most wouldn’t ask, such as “How long will Wayne be around?” “Is he getting up there in age?” “What is going to happen to Tascom?” Or more specifically for some people, “What is going to happen to my Tascom System and my business?”

Startel and Alston Tascom share the same technology. The biggest challenge ahead is not the competition. The elephant in the room is the speed of changing technology. The company’s road map is to bring the best minds in our industry together, sit down at the same table, and combine our talents to evolve what we have into the best-in-class system needed to stay in front of our customers and the competition. Staying ahead of what your clients need to be competitive in their market is the target. We are all in this together, and my desire is that we will be better than we were yesterday.

Alston TascomWayne Scaggs is the president of Alston Tascom, provider of call center database information and network telephony systems.

Vendor Profile: Szeto Technologies



Szeto Technologies is a manufacturer specializing in developing equipment for telephone switching and voice and data communication. For over thirty years it has provided technical solutions for the answering service industry to automate and enhance service offerings. Szeto Technologies develops equipment for telephone switching and voice and data communication. Click To Tweet

Open Source: Its latest products include the SSS-100 Call Linx, a Linux-based system with an internal built-in Asterisk telephone switch. Linux, being an open-source operating system, is reliable, secure, and constantly maintained by thousands of technical users worldwide. Its license-free availability makes this operating system very cost-effective.

Asterisk, being a Linux-based telephone switching software, harmoniously forms a natural bond with Call Linx with its internal built-in voice logger and VoIP SIP trunk capabilities. Szeto has integrated Asterisk software seamlessly with its Call Linx TAS system.

Innovative Solutions: Call Linx comprises local and remote work stations, which are connected to active, redundant servers via a computer network. Functions and features are always designed with an architecture that emphasizes redundancy, reliability, capability, and flexibility, the main criteria for a service-provider system.

As telephony, computer, and internet technologies evolve, Szeto relentlessly experiments and develops new features and functions for its products, as well as tools to help its customers stay ahead of their competitors. These capabilities help Szeto users streamline operations and diversify revenue streams. Sometimes they are custom-fit to a user’s specific requirements; other times they are separate modules that create new service offerings.

Szeto products offer turnkey solutions. Users of its equipment include a vast variety of industries: telephone answering services, call centers, radio-paging services, airlines, and the U. S. military.

Powerful Design: The Szeto Call Linx TAS system is designed with reliability, flexibility, and user-friendliness, where all human interface is conducted via graphical tables in window-style displays. All functions are easy to navigate. No command keys need to be remembered. Auto-fill technique keeps typing at a minimum.

Call Linx has many expanded features to reduce the stress in telephone answering, not only making the task pleasant and enjoyable, but most importantly minimizing errors and ensuring service reliability. Its fully integrated and versatile Linx scripting, OnCall reminder, and built-in appointment features, coupled with automatic “chain deliveries” and many automatic functions, form a powerful system.

Evolving Technology: The technology behind telephone answering services has changed in the past thirty years. While answering calls, taking messages, and delivering information continues to be the basic service offered, the nature of how this service is handled has changed considerably. Computer technology has given rise to service automation. The widely accessible internet has fueled market expansion.

The major characteristic of Szeto Technologies can be summed up in one word: customization.

Streamlined Operation: Call Linx provides many automatic functions to relieve operators from manual executions of routine functions. This is especially valuable during high rush-hour traffic. These functions are designed to improve work quality and reduce operator workload. Some examples are:

  • Automatic verification of call-forwarding lines and confirmation of forwarding calls
  • Automatic identification of subscriber calls to operators
  • Automatic telephone line audit to assure the phone lines are working properly
  • Automatic follow-up calls and reminders
  • Automatic inhibition of call recording during credit card entry

Call Linx also provides many automatic functions to facilitate call processing and message delivery efficiencies. It helps to decrease operator training time, minimize typing errors, and increase delivery accuracy. Some examples are:

  • Auto-fill for “repeat entry” in scripted processing
  • Auto-fill entries based on caller profile
  • Auto conditional call branching based on caller answer
  • Automatic selection of message recipient dynamically from on call lists
  • Automatic web launch
  • Order entry and nearest dealer locator

Secured Messaging: Information security and privacy has become a major concern to clients using answering services, especially for the medical professions with the need to ensure HIPAA compliance. Szeto Technologies offers bidirectional secured message mobile apps under a generic label (with a Szeto designed icon) or a private label (with a unique icon dedicated specifically to the call center).

Software for both options resides in the customer’s equipment and is solely owned by the call center. Key features include:

  • Bidirectional service operators-to-users and users-to-users among groups
  • Speedy operation coupled with cell battery conservation
  • User and operator reminders for unread messages after timeout
  • Message transactions logged for traceability
  • Mobile APP locked for added security
  • User-defined quantity and duration of message retention in the device
  • Personalized ringtone for certain models of cell phones
  • Multiple recipients and contact groups for message broadcast
  • Option for delayed message delivery
  • Note attachments with transmitted messages

To ensure the flexibility of services in the offering of secured-message service, Szeto Technologies also provides software interfaces to third-party providers (TigerText, OnPage, eVigil, DocHalo, and SecureBridge) via specially designed APIs (application program interface).

Summary: The digital communications and internet world is continuously developing new technologies and protocols. The engineering team at Szeto Technologies is committed to keeping their clients ahead in this ever-changing industry. Szeto firmly believes that every piece of equipment its customers use should be oriented to their unique business needs. All Szeto products are customizable and flexible. They are designed to be simple to use, smart in functions, and cost-effective.

Szeto TechnologiesFor additional information please contact them at info@szeto.ca or 877-MY-SZETO (877-697-9386).

AI: On the Right Path but Not Yet Real



By Donna Fluss

It’s hard to find a product today that doesn’t claim to use machine learning to provide artificial intelligence (AI). The funny thing is that while the marketing has changed, most of the products have not. It’s amazing how so many products have supposedly morphed into AI-based solutions overnight, despite little evidence of any product development effort. This, of course, means that most of these solutions do not offer AI, and what we’re reading in their marketing materials and websites is merely aspirational messaging.

AI Today

To be fair, it’s going to be hard for a vendor to attract attention today if they don’t claim to use AI to improve the performance and output of their solution. Given the choice between purchasing a product that continues to do what it always did or one that uses AI (which typically means machine learning) to enhance its capabilities, most people are going to go for what they believe to be the latest and greatest cutting-edge offerings.

The problem is that most of what people are buying is hype, and this is going to result in disappointment as enterprises realize that AI is still in the early stages of commercialization. The potential is great, but the current generation of technology and applications are far from fully AI-enabled. As I look through the market, the vendors who are closest to delivering AI-enabled applications are selling a great deal of professional services with each solution to build out their products.

A Push for Improvements

The driver behind the AI revolution is the need for productivity and quality improvements, which are important for all enterprise applications and essential for people-intensive front- and back-office service organizations. Imagine a voice self-service solution, also known as an interactive voice response system (IVR) that self-corrects when it realizes customers are dropping out at a certain point in the script (application). If machine learning were applied, the solution would identify the issue by itself and then make a change to the appropriate components of the script without human intervention.

Another great use of AI would be to embed it into an automatic call distributor (ACD) to improve and optimize routing. Imagine an ACD that continuously enhances its routing algorithms, ensuring that the right transactions are delivered to the best-suited agents or associates. These examples sound great, but they are not fully-baked today. Most of what is currently referred to as AI are business rules created and modified by humans. These approaches are not new, although there are changes in how they are being applied and rolled out as vendors strive to make their solutions more intelligent and AI-ready.

The Past and the Future

The first AI application I was introduced to over thirty years ago was knowledge management (KM), and it’s a perfect example of how AI is not yet ready for prime-time commercialization and adoption in enterprise applications. KM is still an ideal application for machine learning-enabled AI, as the number-one challenge with these applications is keeping them up-to-date. If AI worked, this would have been addressed years ago; more development work is still needed before AI can truly drive the processes in enterprise solutions.

DMG is bullish on the current AI revolution. What’s different this time is that companies in many IT sectors are making investments to try to embed AI-like capabilities in their solutions. The benefits for the contact center technology market are going to be tremendous, even though it will take a few more years before AI is ready for prime time.This generation of systems is not yet fully AI-enabled, but it is on the right path. Click To Tweet

 Final Thoughts

AI is driving a much-needed round of investment in many systems and applications for various IT sectors, including contact centers. AI is not yet ready for broad commercial adoption, but the push to include it in many solutions is driving vendors to rethink their application logic and deliver a new generation of technology that is easier to implement and use, as it is designed to be smarter and faster than anything that came before.

Many of these solutions, including intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) and robotic process automation (RPA) applications, can deliver significant productivity and quality improvements, even though the underlying technology is not true AI but typically a basic form of machine learning. This generation of systems is not yet fully AI-enabled, but it is on the right path, and many of these solutions are generations ahead of the twenty to thirty-year-old systems that many companies are using.

Donna Fluss is president of DMG Consulting LLC. For more than two decades she has helped emerging and established companies develop and deliver outstanding customer experiences. A recognized visionary, author, and speaker, Donna drives strategic transformation and innovation throughout the services industry. She provides strategic and practical counsel for enterprises, solution providers, and the investment community.