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Good Manners are the Glue of Society … We Give Thanks!

11/22/2013 - 0 Comments
A sincere thank you can brighten a day; improve a mood; inspire a project; reinforce a decision; make someone smile. The benefits are endless; the costs, nil. With Thanksgiving Day quickly approaching, our thoughts naturally turn to gratitude; however, we shouldn't "save up" our appreciation for only one day, and should strive to seek ways to express thanks regularly. In the workplace, studies and anecdotal evidence have shown gratitude to be an important (and profitable) business strategy – at little to no cost! The positives – in both attitude and balance sheet – of the power of "thanks" can be long-lasting.

There are no hard and fast rules in how to thank your employees, co-workers, customers, and vendors. When you are sincere, specific, and timely in your appreciation, you will make an impact. Don't qualify the thank you with a negative comment, or use sarcasm. These are quick ways of invalidating the thanks, and can harm the relationship.

Always remember, even when we receive negative feedback from, for example, a customer, we should be appreciative. This valuable information can help your business if you take the time to really listen to the message!

In this Seinfeld episode, Jerry complains about "overthanking" and Kremer reminds him that good manners are the glue of society. Thank you, reader, for spending some time to read this blog post. We would love to hear your opinions on expressing gratitude in the workplace!


People, Innovation and Information – 2013 SOCAP Annual Conference Recap

11/18/2013 - 0 Comments
Last month we attended the SOCAP Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ, where the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP) celebrated its 40-year anniversary of providing guidance, numerous opportunities to network and collaborate, outstanding and relevant content, and an overall experience to the world of customer care that is truly unlike any other.

Matthew D’Uva, the President and CEO of SOCAP International, speaks about the SOCAP Philosophy:

The 3-day conference was packed with information, networking, and social events. Here are our takeaways from this year’s SOCAP Annual Conference:

People: As we move away from a transactional economy to a relational economy, it’s really about who we are that sets us apart from the competition and helps define our culture as a company. This rings true within the SOCAP organization as well.

After attending our very first SOCAP national event over five years ago, the importance of relationships and connections within the organization became very evident. This was something that not only attracted us to SOCAP, but helped solidify the reason we became involved with such a great organization.

You see, here at Avcomm, we grow our business by the relationships we foster. While our goal is, of course, to provide our customers with quality communication devices at the best prices possible, we thrive on the long term relationships that are created along the way.

Innovation: Mike Walsh, renowned futurist and keynote speaker on future trends, innovation, and how to build companies for the 21st century, said companies need to:

Think Big. Think New. Think Quick.

Information: Once you understand your customer, the organization fundamentally changes. Leveraging the multitude of tools and technologies of today is quite possibly your biggest challenge, but if you can reach a point where all of the data and information are compiled to form a true picture of your customer, you will be able to deliver a better, more customized experience for them.

For more information about SOCAP International, click here.

Did you attend the SOCAP Annual Conference last month? Please share with us some of your takeaways!


How to Change the Battery in Your Jabra Pro 9400 Series Wireless Headset

11/5/2013 - 2 Comments
*The Jabra PRO 9400 series headsets are discontinued, and so are the replacement batteries. The replacement headset information can be found here.

One great feature of the Jabra PRO 9400 series wireless headsets is that the battery can be easily replaced, extending the life of your headset for years.

Your Jabra Direct software loads the Jabra Control Center to your computer, allowing you to manage all of your Jabra devices in Jabra Direct. It is also a quick way to check your battery level. After having used your headset for about 2 years, you may start experiencing some unusual things (one-sided conversations, headset doesn't keep a charge, degraded sound quality) that more often than not, can be fixed by a simple battery replacement. For under $20, and in less than 3 minutes, you can change the battery in your PRO 9400 headset and be on your way to complete wireless freedom once again.*

Jabra PRO 9400 Series battery replacement kit.

Step 1. Remove the headband, ear hook or neck band from the headset. You will apply firm pressure to both pieces and pull them apart.

Step 2. Using the included torque screwdriver, remove the 3 screws from the headset cover.

Step 3. Now you're ready to replace the battery.

Step 4. Remove the battery from the speaker, by simply pulling it straight out. Replace with the new battery.

Step 5. Reverse your steps and put everything back together.

After completing your task, you may just want to brag to co-workers about how handy you are! (Or not, as you could become the official headset battery changer in the office!)

*Jabra recommends charging the battery for four hours on the headset base before using the headset.


Take a Break and Get Recharged!

10/25/2013 - 0 Comments

We love Kit Kat’s take on breaking away for a few minutes to get re-energized!

Though many of us dream of tropical vacations that would surely be the answer to all of life’s stress, boredom, and hard work, the answer could be much closer to home! A chance to get away leaves us feeling refreshed, invigorated and ready to face our responsibilities once more. Maybe it’s for a professional development opportunity, or a recertification; an afternoon meeting out of the office; a girls’/guys’ night out; a fun run; a continuing education class … the opportunities are endless!

If you don’t have a day, or even an afternoon to spare, don’t despair – even a few minutes each day can make a huge difference.

Quick (up to 5 minute) mini breaks:

1. Watch a fun YouTube video, such as “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” – the latest YouTube sensation!

2. Step outside for some fresh air and take a walk around the block.
3. Stand up & stretch at your desk.
4. Read a blog on a subject you want to know more about – not work-related!
5. Meet up with a co-worker you don’t usually spend time with, and catch up.

When you get back to your work routine, you can look at your desk with fresh eyes and (hopefully) a renewed vision!

Of course, if you have a chance to take that tropical vacation …. GO!

Tell us: What's your favorite way to take a mini break?


The 3 Keys to Controlling Background Noise in your Contact Center

10/21/2013 - 0 Comments
The professional contact center defines a customer's perception of your company and is a key component to company success. Your agents are the first, and sometimes only, contact your customers have with your business! There is no greater frustration for a customer than calling a business with a quick question or complaint – only to find the contact center agent is unknowledgeable, unhelpful or difficult to understand. If the agent works in a noisy center and the customer can hear conversations in the background, the impression of an amateur organization is made.

You can virtually eliminate background noise in your contact center with the 3 E's: Environment, Expectation and Equipment.

Josh Reeves, CEO of Entero Solutions (a BPO consulting firm), has worked in the contact center industry since 1999. He shared some valuable insights into structuring a professional (and quiet) contact center.

  1. Environment
    Make sure there is plenty of space between agents! Reeves suggests that alternating agents by their tasks helps: alternate voice products, live chat, e-mail callbacks, and order entry, so that not all agents who work primarily on the phone are grouped together. When building the center, think about noise-controlling features from top to bottom: egg carton acoustic foam pieces in higher ceilings, as well as sound absorbing ceiling tiles. On the walls, designs can be created with sound absorbing fabric. Cubicle partitions can be made with those same fabrics and partitions can be built taller so agents aren't directly looking at each other. For the floors, carpet works best to trap sound.

  2. Expectation
    Maintaining near-silence on the call floor, outside of calls, is important. If you think of this as "library quiet" you've got the right idea! Employees should have the expectation that chatting with each other between calls is kept to a minimum. Visitors to the contact center should be made aware of the quiet policy, and signs posted throughout the center are effective reminders of being mindful of noise levels.

    Customers, too, have expectations. They trust your company with their personal and confidential information and presume that they will speak one-on-one with your company's representative. This trust can soon be lost if the customer is able to hear other conversations in the background. Reps who speak over your customers because they are unable to hear the phone conversation, also lose the trust of your customers.

  3. Equipment
    Reeves advises centers to "give agents the best equipment possible to get the results you're looking for." Two-ear (duo) headsets with noise-cancelling microphones are the best choice, says Reeves: "They (agents) can hear really well, and in turn, not have to speak as loud. They can maintain focus on the customer they are working with."

Noise cancelling is defined as the microphone design that greatly reduces the background noise so that the conversation is between your rep and the customer, without the sounds of your center coming through. Compare this to voice tube microphones, which do not offer any sound cancelling properties.

Additionally, ultra noise-cancelling offers enhanced noise-cancelling properties which carry your employees' voices so they can speak at normal, professional levels and still be heard by your customers. These microphones are best for the loudest contact centers, particularly outbound centers. The enhanced noise-cancelling microphones keep the background noises from disrupting conversations – essential to maintaining a professional contact center image.

Sennheiser's exclusive noise reduction technology, Adaptive Intelligence™, uses a complex digital signal processor to eliminate incoming and outgoing noise automatically, all while preserving the speech of the using parties. When moving from one dynamic noise environment to the other, the headset automatically compensates according to the unique environment and the users' preferences.

Amplifiers play a role as well. These sound management devices detect when the agent is not talking, and automatically lowers the microphone signal reducing outgoing background noise. The caller experiences a quiet pause rather than annoying background chatter! An amplifier quiets the line from the noises, crackles and background hisses, and offers hearing protection from the sometimes loud sound spikes that occur during calls. For less than $100, amplifiers make an inexpensive addition to the total sound package.

Reeves also suggests checking into warranties for the headsets. "I think it's important when getting your headsets that they have a good warranty because they're used, in some cases, 24 hours a day," says Reeves. Jabra, Plantronics and Sennheiser all offer at least a 2-year warranty for their corded headsets.

When all three keys have been effectively implemented – Environment, Expectation and Equipment – a quiet, professional contact center is the result. Your customer, and your employees, deserve nothing less than the best!


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