The October 2010 Issue of TAS Trader

Ron Violante can help you buy or sell your telephone answering service

LaVergne’s TeleMessaging Celebrates Fifty Years

LaVergne Turpin opened LaVergne’s Answering Service, now LaVergne’s TeleMessaging, on October 1, 1960. It was the area’s first “live” answering service, and it has grown exponentially under Mrs. Turpin’s leadership. Now employing eleven agents and offering 24/7 coverage, it is the area’s only surviving “live” telephone answering service.

In 1963, LaVergne’s TeleMessaging became the area’s first after-hours Western Union Agent. In 1966, LaVergne’s added the first off-premise alarm-monitoring service and became the first Radio Common Carrier (RCC), adding mobile telephones and a radio paging service. LaVergne then built the area’s first communications tower, which stands over 500 feet tall. To this chain of firsts, LaVergne’s also provided Radiotelephone service to vessels on the Red River in 1988.

When voicemail and fax emerged as viable communication tools, Lavergne’s innovatively applied these new technologies to operate a “live” answering service statewide.

LaVergne graduated from high school third in a class of forty-two, went on to Alexandria Business College, completed Real Estate Law and Appraisals at Louisiana State University in 1956, and became the first woman real estate broker in Alexandria. In the 1990s, LaVergne served on the Federal Reserve Board’s Small Business Advisory Counsel, and her company was awarded the local and state “Small Business of the Year.” Her entrepreneurial spirit continues through her charter membership in the Tioga Historic Society: She renovated The Community Barber Shop and built a telecommunications museum.

LaVergne Turpin has been a role model and mentors for twenty years with the Professional Women’s Network and Better Business Bureau, and for fifty years with the Chamber of Commerce and Board of Realtors, as well as a charter member of the Louisiana Radio Common Carriers Association. She also funds two scholarships at LSU-A and Louisiana College.

See Your Name in TAS Trader

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

The tag line for TAS Trader is “By the TAS Industry…For the TAS Industry.” This means that we want our content to come from people who are part of the telephone answering service industry. Usually, we are able to meet that goal, but not always. To fully reach this objective, we need your help; let us share your TAS news and articles with the industry. Here’s how to make that happen:

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, author, blogger, publisher, editor

The Basics

First, there are two options: news and articles. News items are up to 110 words in length and are ideal to announce mergers and acquisitions, significant business milestones (such as twenty-five, forty, fifty, sixty, and seventy-five years in business), new hires and promotions, expansions, new locations, and so forth. Articles are 300 to 700 words long and are a great way to share your ideas, opinions, successes, or “learning opportunities” you’ve encountered along the way. Sometimes, a news item will become an article. Such is the case with this month’s lead article, LaVergne’s TeleMessaging Celebrates Fifty Years; it was just too interesting for a short news item.

The Key

Write about what you know. The result will be an interesting and informative piece that will resonate with readers. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a writer. We can tweak your work; our goal is to make you look good! Although we prefer organized submissions, with complete sentences and proper punctuation, we can work with whatever you provide. The key is that you need to submit it.

Avoid Hyperbole

The more spectacular the language in your writing, the less believable it becomes. Words such as “leveraged,” “solutions,” “unique,” “revolutionary,” “leading,” “cutting-edge,” and “world-class” are overused – avoid them. Exaggerated copy, unsubstantiated claims, and self-promotion push readers away instead of drawing them in. When hyperbole obscures the message, communication doesn’t take place.

Use the Third Person

Writing objectively in the third person gives your piece increased integrity and greater trustworthiness; it is more credible. First-person content is never acceptable in news items – it comes across as self-serving, bragging, or unnecessarily introspective. Writing in the third person generally works best for articles too. The exceptions are firsthand commentaries, how-to pieces, and experiential accounts, which are best written in the first person.

Proof Your Work

Spell-check and proofread your writing. It is nearly impossible to catch your own mistakes; you know what you intended to write, so that is how you read it. Ask someone else to prove it. We will go over it too, which leads to…

Expect to Be Edited

Even the most experienced writers have their work edited. This can be for many reasons. A common one is a length, another is style, and a third is content suitability. Sometimes a piece is given a different slant to increase interest.

Timing: If you desire your news to be in a specific issue, get it in on time; sooner is always better. The lead-time for TAS Trader is longer than you might imagine, so follow the due dates (see

Submit It: Once it’s ready, just email a Word file of your news or article. Then look for it in an upcoming issue!

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.


Pat Kalik Installed as New President of Professional Teledata
The Professional Teledata board of directors implemented its succession plans by unanimously naming Pat Kalik as president. Former president Allen Kalik had been semi-retired for over four years, but he continued to attend PIN, ATSI, and other industry conventions until his health made travel difficult. Pat has been involved in the TAS industry for over thirty years as co-owner of Executive Exchange, Professional Inbound, and Professional Teledata. The other company executives are principals and engineers with nearly seventy-five years of industry experience: Jim Graham and Dale Schafer, cofounders of Professional Inbound with Allen Kalik in 1993, and Alan Hartmann, founder and former president of Tele-Data Systems.

Amtelco’s New IS Server Includes SQL Database

Amtelco has combined a number of applications in a single server, thus reducing the number of servers needed to implement Amtelco’s Infinity Intelligent Series suite of messaging and scheduling applications. The new, multipurpose solution houses the Intelligent Series (IS) server application and the Microsoft SQL Server database application, along with the UltraComm application and other ancillary services. This makes it possible to include the SQL Server Express with no additional licensing costs. The new server is available as an upgrade to the Intelligent Series solution and will be provided with all new systems; it is available in 2U and 4U rack-mount configurations.

Focus Telecommunications Received Exceptional Fifty-Three Business Award

The Gazette of Politics and Business released its list of the fifty-three top businesses/organizations in the state of Maryland based on annual revenue, employee growth, innovations, community service efforts, how they have maneuvered through the economic downturn, and how they portrayed themselves as good places to work. Focus Telecommunications was recognized for its exceptional quality and commitment to its clients. “We were astonished to have placed so far up in the awards; for our family-owned business to come in ahead of some industry giants was stunning!” said Focus president, Donna West. “I’m so very proud of our incredible employees who made this award a possibility.”

Telescan/Tune Completes Level 2 Technical Certification

Seven Telescan users – Robbie Parnell, Chris, and Debbie Bibber, Becky Retherford, Tom Slye, Chris Stauch, and Kelby Carlson – recently completed the first Telescan Level 2 technical certification. Patty Anderson, Telescan’s director of sales and marketing, said, “We plan on providing Level 1 certification at least twice a year and Level 2 certification at least once a year. It is our goal to have one Level 2 person at each Telescan user company. To encourage the certification, we are offering a discount on customer service for users with a Level 2 person on staff.” Telescan hopes to add a lab component to future Level 2 training sessions.

nCall v2.18 Includes Caller History Feature

nSolve released v2.18 of their nCall call-handling software to their worldwide TAS customer base. This new release includes a caller history feature. When a new call comes in, it will show all other recent calls from that telephone number, displaying the caller’s name, when the call was taken by which operator, and how it was handled. Adrian Reilly from UK-based Telephone Answering Service Ansacom said, “The new nCall update has proved invaluable to our business, resulting in a key improvement to our customer relations and overall call handling.” nCall’s enhanced billing extends the range of services that can be included in individual client’s billing schemes.

Amtelco Releases Infinity Software v5.6

Amtelco has released Infinity Software v5.6. It enhances call handling and messaging, plus adds new capabilities, such as the ability to transform message forms and scripts from Infinity or competitive systems to Infinity Intelligent Series scripts. Other features include the ability to present IS Web scripts on clients’ Web sites, allow clients to update their information using IS Web scripts, and share clients with other call centers. It also features instant messaging between agents, supervisors, other staff members, and clients, as well as operator and Web-based on-call, appointment, and staff scheduling. Infinity Software v5.6 also extends on-call schedules and call center dashboard services to iPhones with Amtelco iPhone applications (available on iTunes).


[Posted by Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD for TAS Trader.]

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. Check out his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.