Amtelco announces that Andy Quamme, director of project management, is the 2019 recipient of Amtelco’s William J. Curtin Employee of the Year award. The honor, conferred annually at year’s end, is named in remembrance of Amtelco founder William J. Curtin II, and is the most cherished award available to Amtelco employees. Andy was awarded the William J. Curtin Employee of the Year award for his outstanding commitment to project management and successful customer implementations.
Other awards announced at Amtelco’s annual holiday luncheon in December included:
Administration Employee of the Year: Wayne Wallace, IT manager
Brian Torvik Innovation in Operations: Chris Bach, software engineer
Brian Torvik Innovation in Operations: Kent Anderson, senior hardware design engineer
Service Employee of the Year: Eric Thomas, customer support engineer
TAS Salesperson of the Year: Patty Anderson, regional sales manager
1Call Salesperson of the Year: Joe Curtin, regional sales manager
Hall of Fame: Bernie Torvik, vice chairman
Hall of Fame: Bob Vornberg, Telescan general manager and director of product development
Startel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom recognized Dan L’Heureux and Renita Dorty during the companies’ first combined user group conference in Denver, Colorado. Dan L’Heureux is the recipient of the 2018 Allen Kalik Award and Renita Dorty is the recipient of the 2018 Don Berry Award of Excellence.
Allen Kalik Award
The Allen Kalik Award was implemented in 2011 after the passing of industry leader and Professional Teledata’s late president, Allen Kalik. Honoring Allen for his tremendous contributions to the telecommunications industry and the PInnacle Users Group (PIN), this award recognizes individuals whose dedication and leadership have led to the advancement of PIN.
“PIN would not be where it is today without Dan’s commitment and dedication to the group,” said Nate Gefvert, systems administrator of Towne Answering Service and the 2017 Allen Kalik Award recipient. “The merging of the three user group conferences has not been without challenges, but Dan has served as a bridge between the user groups and has helped guide us through the process. I have no doubt that as our community grows, Dan will continue to be an invaluable asset.”
L’Heureux has more than forty years’ experience in the industry. He has served as the executive director of both PIN and the Startel National User Group (SNUG) for fourteen years and twenty years, respectively. Previously, he was the president of A-Alpha, Incorporated from 1977-1997.
“I am humbled to accept this award and join past recipients who I have long admired and respected,” said L’Heureux. “Serving as the executive director of both PIN and SNUG has provided me with a rich network of friends, and the opportunity to stay connected to the TAS industry. With the addition of the Tascom Users Group, I am thrilled to see the three groups come together and happy to have played a role in this year’s combined conference.”
Don Berry Award of Excellence
The Don Berry Award of Excellence was created in memory of Startel’s founder, Don Berry. Individuals who receive this award exemplify excellence in the advancement of SNUG and its members.
“The quality I appreciate most about this year’s recipient is her sense of teamwork,” said John Carey, senior systems engineer of Startel and the 2017 Don Berry Award of Excellence recipient. “Renita is a great teammate but an even better team builder and leader. Our user group is stronger because of Renita and her contributions.”
Dorty served on the SNUG board from 2009-2013 and again from 2015-2018 in a variety of roles, including conference, and membership chairs. She also served as the president of SNUG from 2016-2017. Most recently, she led focus groups aimed to review product wishes and recommend enhancements of the Startel Contact Management Center.
“I am truly honored to receive this award and to be recognized among previous esteemed recipients,” said Dorty. “I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this incredible group and serving our membership.”
Startel, Professional Teledata, and Alston Tascom leverage their solutions and industry knowledge to empower organizations to improve agent productivity, reduce operating costs, and increase revenues. For more information, call 949-863-8776 or visit www.startel.com.
The Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) won a decisive victory for sensible regulation of the teleservices industry. In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated the Federal Communications Commission’s arbitrary and capricious definition of an automated telephone dialing system and creation of a one-call safe harbor for calls to reassigned numbers under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
In its 2015 Omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order, the FCC held that any system with the present capacity or potential functionality to operate as an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS) meets the definition of an ATDS. PACE strongly objected to this definition as overly broad and not grounded in the law, as evidenced by the fact that even a generic smartphone could be an ATDS under the FCC’s definition. In vacating the FCC’s definition, the Court agreed, “Those sorts of anomalous outcomes are bottomed in an unreasonable, and impermissible, interpretation of the statute’s reach. The TCPA cannot reasonably be read to render every smartphone an ATDS …”
Likewise, the Court set aside the FCC’s one-call safe harbor for calls to reassigned numbers as arbitrary and capricious. In its 2015 Order, the FCC defined the “called party” for purposes TCPA liability as the new subscriber of a reassigned number but exempted from liability callers who erroneously made one call without consent to the new subscriber. Industry participants warned that that this one-call safe harbor was insufficient because in many instances a caller would not learn from that one call whether the number had been reassigned (e.g. the call is not answered, the voicemail is not descriptive, a text message is not returned). The Court not only vacated the safe harbor, it also recognized the potential for strict liability to attach under the FCC’s definition of “called party” as the new subscriber and set the definition aside too.
The Court did let stand the FCC’s decision to allow consumers to revoke their consent to be called using any reasonable means that clearly express a desire not to receive further messages. PACE and other petitioners argued that the reasonable means test could allow for a consumer to revoke consent by telling a store clerk that they revoke consent or another means that would not fall into a caller’s normal process for recording revocation of consent. Acknowledging this concern, the Court elucidated that “[C]allers will have every incentive to avoid TCPA liability by making available clearly-defined and easy-to-use opt-out methods. If recipients are afforded such options, any effort to sidestep the available methods in favor of idiosyncratic or imaginative revocation requests might well be seen as unreasonable.”
Reacting to this victory, Stuart Discount, PACE CEO, stated, “PACE appreciates that the Court rightly found that the FCC went too far in its definition of an ATDS and its treatment of reassigned numbers in its 2015 Order.
“PACE looks forward to working with the FCC over the coming months to develop reasonable regulations that align with the statutory language and protect both consumers and callers.”
PACE continues to analyze the Court’s decision and its impact on callers across the country.
Founded in 1988, PACE is dedicated to the advancement of companies that engage with customers via the contact center. The association promotes its members’ ability to provide outstanding customer service and sales solutions delivered via omnichannel communication including voice, email, chat, text, and social media.
The Association of Teleservices International (ATSI) announced that ASCO, dba Answer Quick, again received the Gold 24/7 Call Center Certification Award and has done so continuously since the program’s inception in 2001.
Beth Cooper, president of Answer Quick a division of ASCO, Inc, is a pioneer and founding member of the committee and continuing advocate of the entire certification program.
The certification, which requires a physical inspection every three years, indicates that Answer Quick has met or exceeded high standards in the areas of business practices, life safety, operations—including normal and emergency procedures, personnel hiring, training, and ongoing evaluations through a peer review program focusing on a 99.9 percent annual run time. The program was developed by industry owners and consultants to recognize call center excellence.
ATSI is an international trade association established by and for entrepreneurs in the teleservices industry.
Nate Gefvert of Towne Answering Service received the 2017 Allen Kalik Award at the annual PINetwork User Group Meeting in Miami, Florida. The Allen Kalik Award was implemented in 2011 after the passing of industry leader and Professional Teledata’s late president, Allen Kalik. Honoring Allen for his tremendous contributions to the telecommunications industry and the PINetwork Group (PIN), this award recognizes individuals whose unselfish dedication and leadership have led to the advancement of PIN.
“Nate has always been very willing to share his knowledge and expertise with fellow PIN members,” said Phyllis Shaw, education committee chair of the PIN Board. “He is continually there to lend a hand or offer a potential solution. He pushes the limits and thinks outside the box. Nate is very deserving of the Allen Kalik Award.”
Gefvert is the systems administrator at Town Answering Service. He joined Towne Answering Service in 2004 and moved into his current role in 2009. He is an active member of the PIN Board, currently serving as secretary. In 2013, he served as vice president and in 2014 he served as president of the PIN Board.
“I am honored to be considered alongside the other great contributors to the PINetwork who have helped so many others—including me—over the years,” said Gefvert. “I remember Allen being kind and considerate to me at my first PIN conference when I had no knowledge of what a TAS platform was. His vision for Pinnacle helped create the invaluable toolkit of software that we rely upon to this day, and fostered a developmental mindset of always expanding and growing the product to suit future needs.”
The Association of Teleservices International (ATSI) announced that Allgood Communications, Inc, dba Executive Services, has re-qualified for a fourth time and has been awarded the Gold 24/7 Call Center Certification Award.
“This qualification is another milestone in our continuous investment in technology, people, and processes,” said April Kasza, Executive Services’ general manager. She continued, “Tom Sheridan, Executive Services’ president and part of the founding certification process, has committed to provide the highest quality services to our clients. Together, we are able to offer the best call center and information technology available, as well as innovative applications and quality service.”
The certification indicates that Executive Services has met or exceeded high standards in the following areas: business practices, life safety, operations, including normal and emergency procedures, personnel hiring, training, and ongoing evaluations through a peer review program focusing on 99.9 percent annual run time.
ATSI is an international trade association established by and for entrepreneurs in the teleservices business. This includes telephone answering services, voicemail services, telemarketing services, and any other business that provides enhanced communication services.
Association of Teleservices International (ATSI) announced that Focus Telecommunications has re-certified for the Gold 24/7 Call Center Certification Award after originally qualifying November 2004.
Donna West, president of Focus Telecommunications and an industry leader in quality education training products said, “I am delighted that this certification product is available along with other ATSI products that help to demonstrate a standard of quality to our clients and industry as a whole.”
Tom Reandeau, vice president of operations said, “Focus has been a long-time supporter of the ATSI certification program and along with the site certification, we also participate in the Agent, Advanced Agent, and Supervisor Certification Programs as well as the Award of Excellence and Award of Distinction for Call Centers, which helps to codify our commitment to excellence.”
The certification indicates that Focus Telecommunications has met or exceeded high standards in the following areas: business practices, life safety, operations, including normal and emergency procedures, personnel hiring, training, and ongoing evaluations through a peer review program focusing on 99.9 percent annual run time.
A Better Answer, Inc. of Dallas, Texas has been awarded the Gold 24/7 Call Center Certification by the Association of Teleservices International (ATSI) for the third time, originally qualifying in 2009 and the first certified in Texas.
A Better Answer Call Centers (ABA), founded in 1971 by Dee Hawkins and now approaching its forty-fifth year, is nationally recognized for its excellence as an award winning bilingual telephone answering service. ABA has also earned ATSI’s Award of Excellence annually for the past seventeen years. The company’s home office is in Plano-Dallas with offices in Ft. Worth and Houston, TX and serves business professionals’ messaging and order entry needs globally, nationally and locally throughout Texas. President and founder Delores Dee Hawkins is a nationally recognized speaker and expert in call center operations with a specialty in supervisor training.
This certification indicates that a call center has met or exceeded high standards in the following areas: business practices, life safety, operations, including normal and emergency procedures, personnel hiring, training and ongoing evaluations through a peer review program focusing on 99.9% annual run time.
Winners of the Call Center Week Excellence Awards were announced during an evening gala during the 16th Annual Call Center Week. Sponsored by Salesforce and Kronos, winners were recognized for their superior thinking, creativity and execution across the full spectrum of contact center functions:
Best in Class Call Center (Over 200 Seats): Winner: UPMC Health Plan; runner-up: NYC311; and honorable mention: Dish Network
Best in Class Call Center (100-199 Seats): Winner: ACCO Brands; runner-up: ISN; and honorable mention: Benefitfocus
Best Marketing Team that Supports CS: Winner: Discover Financial Services; runner-up: UPMC Health Plan; and honorable mention: Blinds.com
Best New Technology: Winner: Convergent; runner-up:Kodak Alaris; and honorable mention: Support.com
Call Center Leader of the Year: Winner: Mary Beth Jenkins, UPMC Health Plan; runner-up: George Larribas, WellsFargo; and honorable mention: Gratia Carver, Allegion
Best Contact Center Culture: Winner: PGi; runner-up: UPMC Health Plan; and honorable mention: Crisis Response Network
Best Use of Voice of the Customer: Winner: Starwood Hotel; runner-up: Discover Financial Services; and honorable mention: Guidewell Connect
Best in Class Call Center (Under 99 Seats): Winner: Crisis Response Network; runner-up: Allegion; and honorable mention: Hootsuite
Best Outsourced Provider: Winner: Knoah Solutions, Inc.; runner-up: Convergys; and honorable mention: TeleTech
Best Technology Solution Provider: Winner: Fonolo; runner-up: 7 IntelliResponse; and honorable mention: CallMiner
Best Training and Development Program: Winner: Discover Financial Services; runner-up: MTM; and honorable mention: ISN
Best Supervisor of the Year: Winner: Amanda Brown, Genesco; runner-up: Rhonda Grant, TG
Best IT Team: Winner: Center Point Energy; runner-up: Discover Financial Services; and honorable mention: Discover Bank
The CAM-X Call Centre Award of Distinction addresses customer relationship management (CRM), courtesy, etiquette, and professional call handling in call centers. This program focuses on call centers that provide order entry, fulfillment, registration, surveys, Web applications, escalated emergency response, reservations, and help desk services. It’s a mystery caller program using two independent judges with predetermined scoring criteria to evaluate calls.
The 2014 CAM-X Call Centre Award of Distinction winners are:
Time Communications, White Bear Lake, MN
AnswerPlus Hamilton, Hamilton, ON
TigerTel Oshawa Branch
TigerTel Nanaimo Branch
TigerTel London/Winnipeg Branch
TigerTel Vancouver Branch
TigerTel Toronto/Halifax Branch
AnswerPlus Toronto, Toronto, ON
Connections Call Centre Ltd., Squamish, BC
SureCall Contact Centers, Calgary, AB
Extend Communications Inc., Brantford, ON
Focus Telecommunications, Inc., Eldersburg, MD
Answer 1 Communications, Phoenix, AZ
Select Call Centre – Alberta, Edmonton, AB
Intercon Messaging, Inc., Drayton Valley, AB
Connections Magazine congratulates these call centers for this prestigious accomplishment.