Tag Archives: TAS Trader

News Release: Peter DeHaan Keynote Speaker at SNUG

Industry Leader to Address Major Telephone Answering Service User Group

Connections Magazine logo

Mattawan, Michigan – The Startel National Users Group (TeamSNUG) announced that Dr. Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD will be a featured speaker at TeamSNUG’s 25th Annual Conference being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico March 11-14, 2012. The conference, which is open to both members and non-members, will include sessions on our industry as well as platform-specific educational and training sessions geared specifically for TAS owners, managers, and technical staff.

“We are honored to have Dr. DeHaan at our event and we are excited to hear his thoughts about the future of the TAS industry and how we can prepare for it,” said TeamSNUG Conference Chair Cameron Reichert.  “Having Dr. DeHaan as our keynote speaker rounds out an already value-packed conference schedule.  His session will be enlightening to anyone in the TAS industry.  We welcome our members, non-members as well as anyone interested in utilizing the Startel platform.”

Peter DeHaan has a PhD in business administration and is the owner of Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc, which whose periodicals include Connections Magazine, TAS Trader, and AnswerStat, as well as web-based media and informational sites.

For more information visit www.PeterDeHaan.com and www.TeamSNUG.org.

A Tale of Two Calls

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

Among other things, my son Dan is a hockey player. We’ll never know if there was any connection, but this past summer he began experiencing lower back pain. The common advice to “take it easy and rest” was not helping, so we embarked on a more intentional course of action, pursuing every nonsurgical recommendation provided. In the end, surgery was mandated as the only remaining option to provide relief. The procedure went as planned, and he was up and walking, albeit gingerly, the next day. It won’t be long before he is back on the ice, playing the game he loves.

For me, the difficult part about dealing with medical issues is not all the appointments, the treatments, or even the side effects of the medications – it’s dealing with all the bills and insurance payments. I’m still receiving Dan’s paperwork from six months ago. In addition, a seemingly simply procedure can generate three or four bills, while the same procedure on different days can be charged different amounts or be reimbursed at different levels. Understanding all this is nigh unto impossible. That’s likely a key reason why I shun visiting my doctor.

My philosophy about health insurance is apparently an anomaly as well. I believe that I should budget for and cover the smaller and manageable expenses, relegating any catastrophic fees to the rightful realm of my insurance company. Towards that end, I have a high deductible health plan and a Health Savings Account (HSA) to cover the deductible with tax-free money that I set aside. Of course, there is paperwork for that, too.

Each month, my HSA statement is several pages – just to document the monthly service fee and inform me of my interest income. That alone is presented in a confusing enough manner, but when actual medical charges began to appear, it became a convoluted mess. After spending over an hour vainly attempting to match less than helpful invoices and insurance forms with dollar amounts on my statement, I resorted to calling “customer service” for help. I was braced for a painful ordeal with an overseas rep for whom effective English communication was a challenge and source of confusion. It is sad that I have been conditioned to accept that conclusion as an inevitable outcome, but that’s what unbridled and ill-executed offshore call center outsourcing has done to U.S. consumers: It has prepared us to expect mediocre phone support. Happily, I have a different outcome to report.

My call was quickly answered, there was no queue, and no queue announcements. I don’t even recall being subjected to an IVR on the front end of my call. The agent was cheerful and pleasant – dare I say perky – while communicating in my language with ease and aplomb; I never once had to ask her to repeat herself. I explained my dilemma, and she agreed that their statements were hard to understand, assuring me that she would help me to understand mine.

Telling me that supplemental information was online, I logged in and she walked me through the options to get to the page that would provide the additional detail. Amazingly, she went through this information with me line by line, explaining what each item meant and informing me that I could click on any entry to obtain more detail. Upon doing so, it was easy to see that transactions occurring on the same day were added together on my statement. Armed with this additional clarity, I was quickly able to match up the statement amounts with my paperwork.

She then said something surprising, “The website is confusing to use, so feel free to call back next month when you receive your statement, and I can go over this again.” It was as though she was paid on commission and wanted me to call again. Wow, that’s customer service that I’ve not experienced in a long time.

So for this call, call center technology was not used to restrict me from talking with someone, my call was answered quickly by a personable, knowledgeable, and trained person who spoke English clearly, my frustrations were acknowledged and validated, I was not treated as though I was ignorant or incompetent, and I was asked to call again.

My second call was to the firm who was filing my trademark application for an e-publication that I recently launched, TAS Trader. Although I could have paid my attorney to do so, I sought a lower-cost solution, searching online for a company that specialized in filing trademark applications. I found one whose website was compelling and looked professional. Although the entire transaction could have been handled online, I called them anyway. I wanted see how they responded to my call and to confirm (or refute) my conclusion that they were a viable and professional organization. Having received the answer to my question and being satisfactorily impressed, I entered my information on their website and clicked submit.

This set in motion a series of email communiqués with their “trademark team” that became increasingly frustrating and lacking in substantive communication. Once it became apparent that we were at a communication impasse, I called them again. To my dismay, “customers” are routed to a different group than “prospects.” My customer service contact was not nearly as impressive as my sales contact.

It seemed that no matter what I said, she responded in one of two ways: “We cannot guarantee that your application will be accepted…” or “We do not provide legal advice, as was stated…” The frustrating thing was that neither response was appropriate to what I was saying. Each time the wording was the same, and her tone was mechanical and even-paced. It was as though I was talking to a robot that possessed limited response options.

No matter how I phrased my concern, I received one of these two responses. “You’re not listening to me,” I implored, only to hear yet again the same monotone verbiage. I suppose that when one is not being heard, it is common to talk louder. Anyway, that is what I began doing. It didn’t alter her response. I wasn’t quite yelling, but I was getting emotional. Even so, she maintained a calm aloofness.

“I can appreciate you have to read this disclaimer to me, but…”

This evoked the only bit of emotion from her, “I’m not reading a script,” she exclaimed passionately with raised voice. “I’ve worked here for five years and know what I’m saying; I don’t need to read it.” Soon, she regained her composure and reverted to her tired verbiage, punctuated with, “Shall I place your order or not?” Eventually I acquiesced, albeit with grave reservation; my filing is now winding its way through the bureaucracy at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

To recap this call, the rep answered quickly, after minimal IVR interdiction, but her efforts were dispassionate and distant. Her responses were polished to the point of boredom, while her rebuttals were few and likely limited by a legal department intent on minimizing the chances of being successfully sued. Although she earned a tic mark for an account salvaged, the interaction was not successful, and my satisfaction as a customer barely hit the tolerance level. The rep may have won the proverbial battle, but she lost the war; my account was salvaged, but my future patronage has been lost.

That’s my tale of two calls; which one best exemplifies your call center?

Peter Lyle DeHaan is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Connections Magazine. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time. Learn about his books and read more of his articles at  Peter Lyle DeHaan.

[From Connection Magazine May 2009]

News Release: Connections Magazine’s New ePublication, TAStrader

New Periodical Exclusively Addresses Telephone Answering Service Industry

Connections Magazine logo

Mattawan, Michigan – Connections Magazine is proud to announce the debut of our new electronic publication, TAS Trader, designed specifically for the telephone answering service (TAS) industry.

Connections Magazine and Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc announced the debut of their new electronic publication, TAS Trader, designed specifically for the telephone answering service (TAS) industry. TAS Trader is written “by the TAS industry – for the TAS industry” in order to help readers “buy, sell, learn, and succeed.” The publication is distributed over the Internet and designed so that it can be easily read on a computer monitor or conveniently printed on 8½ x 11 paper.

“If you are part of the telephone answering service industry,” said Peter DeHaan, “then we encourage you to check out our premier issue at tastrader.com. This publication is designed with you in mind.” Interested readers may subscribe on the TAS Trader website and will be notified when future issues are available.

Each issue contains a lead article specifically for the answering service industry, classified ads, and an events calendar. Future issues will include news headlines and other industry content. The publication is scheduled to be bimonthly for the remainder for 2009, going to monthly in 2010. That may change, however, as there is already interest in it becoming monthly in 2009.

Contact us to learn more.

2003 ATSI Annual Convention and Expo Report

The 59th Annual ATSI Convention and Expo was held June 18 to 21 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando, Florida. Though the weather outside wasn’t ideal, the sessions and tradeshow inside were well worth the trip. The 2003 Award of Excellence winners were announced and Connections conducted its second annual Innovation Awards.

Next year’s ATSI convention will be in Vancouver, BC. Final details should be announced later this summer.

2003 ATSI Convention Exhibitors

In case you missed this year’s convention or could not take in the entire exhibit hall, the following is a list of the exhibitors along with their contact information:

Almond Hill Enterprises Inc., 714-637-3384
Contact: Douglas Duncan, dduncan@turboschedule.com
TurboSchedule Internet-based, appointment-scheduling & Turbo-On-Call Internet-based on-call scheduling.

Alston Tascom, Inc., 909-548-7300
Contact: Wayne Scaggs, info@alstontascom.com
Tascom Evolution contact center platform with unified IVR, ACD, voicemail, and call logging. Hosted IVR and Web-based appointment scheduling.

Appletree Technology Svc, 888-563-0040
Contact: Chuck Boyce, cboyce@appletreenet.com
VoIP in the Call Center, using Quintum products; authorized Master Agent for Paetec Communications

Amtelco, 608-838-4194
Contact: Kevin Ryan/Jim Becker, info@amtelco.com
Infinity messaging can call-processing and eCreator call scripting platforms; UltraComm message delivery system; Web-based conferencing eConference Link.

CadCom TeleSystems, 580-242-4636
Contact: J.R. Criner, info@onvisource.com
AccuCall CTI messaging system; AccuScript call scripting system; Portal unified messaging system.

Call Response Consultants, 866-292-1947
Contact: Vince McGlone
Call Response Software, a complete telemessaging system integrated with Artisoft’s Televantage PBX.

CenturiSoft / Phone and Wireless, 805-545-5400
Centuri Messenger: unified communications including unified messaging plus call control, conferencing, outbound calling, and notification options.

DB Masters Software, 847-634-3880
Contact: Ron Kritzman, Ron@dbmasters.com
The Billing Assistant billing system and other custom applications for the teleservices industry.

Exacom, 800-757-8184 extension 203
Contact: Don Bustamante, Donb@exacom.com
Hindsight-Net voice-logging with optional HIPAA compliant integration server.

idea! Communications Group, Inc., 303-909-5314
Contact: David Garrick, David.Garrick@ideacommgroup.com
Sells, orders, and supports telephone services in most US markets.

Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., 616-284-1305
Contact: Peter DeHaan, DeHaan@PeterDeHaan.com
Publishes Connections Magazine, AnswerStat magazine, TAS Trader, and Medical Call Center News, as well as provides call center and answering service locator sites.

Professional Teledata, 800-344-9944
Contact: Patricia Kalik, Pkalik@proteledata.com
Pinnacle telemessaging system; PI-2000 order-entry software package; TBS billing and invoicing system and FMDS II fax delivery system; ProDial 2000 outbound dialing manager.

Startel Corporation, 800-782-7835
Contact: Barbara Willis, BarbaraWillis@startelcorp.com
Provider of integrated voice, data, and networking solutions.

Szeto Technologies Inc., 877-697-9368
Contact: Sherry Gouel, Sherry@szeto.ca
Call Linx, a Linux-based messaging system, customized to suit individual needs.

TAS Marketing, 800-369-6126
Contact: Steve Michaels, Tas@tasmarketing.com
Specializes in brokering of telephone answering services and used equipment.

TASbill.com & TASbiller, 321-951-2273  extension 105
Contact: Chris Twigg, Info@TASbill.com
TASbill.com bill printing, mailing and emailing service; TASbiller billing software and profitability analyzer.

Telescan, LLC
Spectrum telemessaging system: Spectrum On-Call Scheduler, Spectrum Appointment Scheduler, and Spectrum Messenger encrypted instant messaging/chat.

[From Connection MagazineJul/Aug 2003]