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The Telecom Tutorials: A Practical Guide for Managing Business Telecommunications Resources, 2nd edition, by Jane Laino, 286 pages, 2001, $24.95



If you're asking yourself any of the following questions, this book's for you!

  • What's the best approach to purchasing a telephone system or local and long distance telephone service?  Where are the pitfalls?
  • How can we reduce and control our telecommunications expenses?
  • How can we improve our organization's telephone service to callers and staff?
  • How well can our telephone systems and services accommodate our changing business requirements?
  • How can we understand 'who does what' in the telecommunications industry?

Jane Laino has worked on the answers to these questions for over 25 years.  In her comfortable style, she takes you through these 35 tutorials using clear, non-technical language that is easy to understand.  You'll pick up tips you can use right away and others to mentally file away until you need them.  One fan of Jane's tutorials writes, "I read so much clap trap, it was a pleasant surprise to see your tutorial make a complex subject seem simple and understandable."

Table of Contents

  1. Historical Perspective on The United States Telecommunications Industry-The Saga Continues
    • Telecommunications Industry History: A Personal Perspective From The Author
  2. Understanding the Telecommunications Industry-Who Does What
    • Telecommunications Network Services
    • Telecommunications Systems (Equipment)
    • Software And Service Companies
    • Professional Services
    • Outsourcing Resources - Who to Call
  3. Purchasing Local Telephone Service-In the beginning there was the dialtone
    • Historical Perspective
    • Who Is Selling Local Service Now?
    • What Type of Outside Lines Do You Need?
    • Buying Local Telephone Calls
    • How Is The Service Delivered To Your Premises?
  4. Ordering and Provisioning Telecommunications Services-To be patient is a virtue. To be detail-oriented is divine!
    • "The rules"
    • What you May Be Ordering
    • "Who You Gonna Call?"
  5. Negotiating Next Years's Long Distance Contract-Not for People with previous history of heart problems!
    • What Are You Spending Now?
    • Verify That You Were Billed Correctly
    • Fix Your Costs And Ask For A "Rerate"
    • Create Competition
    • Negotiate As A Part Of Your New Contract
    • It's Not Just Long Distance Anymore
  6. Purchasing Calling Card Services - Beware of the Bong!
    • Calling Card Costs
    • Who Sells Calling Cards
    • Unsolicited Cards
    • Ease-Of-Use
    • Geographic Coverage
    • Options For Billing
    • Reporting Options
    • Keeping Track Of Users
    • Toll Fraud Protection
    • Advanced Capabilities
  7. Purchasing a Maintenance Contract for Your Telephone System-What do you mean you'll have someone here next Thursday?
    • Definition
    • Who Maintains Your Telephone System?
    • Pricing
    • What Is Covered?
    • Hours Of Coverage
    • Response Time
    • Remote Diagnostics
    • Failure Definitions
    • Software Upgrades
    • Traffic Studies
    • Liaison With Telecommunications Service Providers
    • Repair Log
    • Time and Materials
  8. The Request for Proposal Approach to Purchasing a PBX-You can never ask too many questions
    • Get Buy-In from Others In Your Organization
    • Putting Together The RFP
    • Other Sections of the PBX Request for Proposal
    • Tips For Improving The PBX  RFP Process
  9. Big Telecom Buys - Where Mistakes Cost More!
    • Don't Go It Alone
    • Don't think About Technology First
    • Find Out How Things Are Working Now
    • Evaluate The Importance Of New Capabilities
    • Put It In Writing
    • Look For Comfortable Supplier Relationships
    • Attend System Demos
    • Buy Locally
    • Understand System's Strengths And Weaknesses
    • Budget For More Than You Think You'll Need
  10. Covering Incoming Calls With Real Live People-"Ring, Ring...Hello?"
    • "On Hold"
    • When You're At Your Desk But On Another Call
    • When You're Away From Your Desk
  11. Covering Incoming Calls With Real Live People-"What do you mean you weren't expecting a real live person?"
    • Ringing (Audible Indicators)
    • Lights (Visual Indicators)
    • Hold
    • Buttons And Expansion Modules
    • Displays
    • Call Forwarding
  12. Using Voice Mail and Automated Answering to Support Your Call Coverage Plan-Let's get it right with automation!
    • Automated Attendant
    • Voice Mail
  13. Ten Simple Tests for Your Automated Attendant-"For instant gratification, if you want to press one-press one!"
    • TEST #1 - No waiting for a caller who knows the extension of the person he is calling
    • TEST #2 - No waiting for a caller who knows the selection number he wants from your automated attendant announcement
    • TEST #3 - Immediate escape capability by dialing "O"
    • TEST #4 - No critical instructions for using your system are left until the end of an announcement.  The caller may not know to wait for them.
    • TEST #5 - Flexible "spell-by-name" function of automated attendant directory.  Not limiting to the caller to three letters
    • TEST #6 - No first names in the "spell-by-name" directory
    • TEST #7 - Put the names of the most frequently called people at he front of the list offered by the directory
    • TEST #8 - Give the caller the person's extension number for future use
    • TEST #9 - Make it clear what the callers is to do, once he gets the extension number from the automated directory
    • TEST #10 - Pretend you are a "neophyte" caller
  14. Ten Simple Tests for Your Voice Mail System - "I'm either on the phone or away from my desk-but it's up to you to figure it out!"
    • TEST #1 - What do callers hear while waiting for Voice Mail?
    • TEST #2 - How long do callers wait to reach Voice Mail?
    • TEST #3 - Do individual voice mail greetings that can be reached by dialing a unique telephone number identify your organization's name?
    • TEST #4 - Do individual Voice Mail greetings in your organization use tired, overworked phrases?
    • TEST #5 - Does the unsuspecting caller also reach the Voice Mail of the person who is covering for you?
    • TEST #6 - Can a caller easily exit from your Voice Mailbox and dial someone else within your company?
    • TEST #7 - Does your Voice Mail system require callers to dial unfamiliar strings of symbols, letters or numbers to reach the switchboard attendant?
    • TEST #8 - After you retrieve your messages from your own Voice Mailbox, can you easily leave a message for someone else in your organization?
    • TEST #9 - Don't use your Voice Mailbox as a storage space for messages and let callers encounter the announcement "This Mailbox is full!"
    • TEST #10 - Does your system detect when the caller is finished leaving a message and then provide him with options?
  15. Using Your"On Hold" Capability Effectively-"I'm so sorry, I forgot I left you on hold while I went to lunch."
    • Can You Find the Hold Button?
    • Can You Find the Caller You Left On Hold?
    • Individual Hold
    • What Happens when You Leave a Call On-Hold Too Long?
    • Faster Ways to Put Callers On Hold in High Call Volume Environments
    • Using the "Call Park" Function in Place of "Hold"
    • What Does Your Caller Hear While On Hold?
    • Protocol for Putting Callers On Hold
  16. Setting Up A Small Incoming Call Center- Find Out How Long Your Callers Are Willing To Wait!
    • Identify Processes And Transactions First
    •  Put A Dollar Value On Each Call
    •  Identify Your Callers And How You'd Like Them To Be Handled
    • What Information Will Help You To Manage The Call Center
    • Selecting A Telephone System
    • What Will Callers Hear When They're Not Talking To A Representative?
    • Ordering Outside Lines
  17. "Right-Sizing" Your Telephone System - Not too big, not to small
    • Definitions
    • An Overview
    • Scaling The PBX
    • Digital Station Circuit Boards
    • Analog Station Circuit Boards
    • Trunk Circuit Boards
    • PBX System Memory
    • Scaling Voice Mail
    • Trunking
  18. Provisioning the Surround Stuff- Some callers may prefer automated systems to real people!
    • Identify Your Surround Stuff
    • Consider Types Of Technology Currently Available
    • Connecting Your Surround Stuff To The Outside World
    • Implementation Tips
    • Administration Tips
  19. How to Manage Your Telephone System - Don't just set it up and forget it!
    • The Telephone System Defined
    • Why Manage It?
    • Poor Service Levels
    • Lack of Expense Control
    • Inability to Accommodate Changing Business Requirements
    • Record Keeping
    • Ongoing Monitoring
    • Planning Ahead
    • Keeping Good Supplier Relationships
  20. A Window On Your Business...Using The Telephone System For Management Reporting - You never know what you'll find!
    • Introduction
    • Find New Ways to Use The Information You Already Have
    • Edge Into Converging Telephones and Computers
    • Communicating Effectively With Management
  21. Telecommunications Housekeeping Tips For Any Season - Get rid of the cobwebs!
    • Directory Listings
    • Direct Dial Telephone Numbers
    • Long Distance Billing
    • Traffic Study
    • Directory Assistance Costs
    • Telephone System Maintenance
    • Telephone Equipment Room
    • Telephone Instruments
    • User Training
    • Company Telephone Directory
    • Old Telephone Bills And Contracts
    • Building Facilities
    • Convergence of Computers and Telephones
  22. Training Your Staff To Use The Telephone System - "If I cut you off while I'm trying to transfer you, please call back."
    • Why Do We Need To Train Telephone Users?
    • When Do You Need To Train People How To Use The Telephone System?
    • How To Set Up A Meaningful End User Training Program When You Install A New System
    • Voice Mail
    • Training Materials
    • Speak Up To The System Manufacturer
  23. Can Your Customers Find You? Keeping On Top Of Your Directory Assistance Listings - "What do you mean our only number listed in Directory Assistance is our fax number?"
    • Introduction
    • Getting It Right The First Time
    • Additional Listings For Different Business Names Or Different Forms Of The Same Name
    • Additional Listings For Individual Names
    • Indented Listings Under The Main Listing
    • Directory Advertising
    • Be Careful What Numbers You Inadvertently List
    • "Unlisting" Telephone Numbers
    • Printed Directories
    • Keeping Your Listings Accurate As New Telephone Companies And Multiple Databases Proliferate
  24. Suggestions For Outsourcing Telecommunications Support - People. People who need people.
    • Definitions
    • Resources - Who To Call
    • Types Of Management Services Provided
    • Suggestions For Finding And Managing Outside Support
  25. The Switchboard Operator - Dinosaur or Company Concierge?
    • Some Suggestions For Improvement
  26. Planning Your Telecommunications Budget - "How come the cost of a call is dropping and our expenses are rising?"
    • Why Most Organizations Can't Budget Accurately
    • Start By Making A List
    • Find Those Bills
    • Identify Costs By Category
    • Sorting Costs By Their Purpose
    • Now What?
  27. Found Money - How To Audit Your Telephone Bills - A million here - a million there...it can add up to real money!
    • Validating Fixed Monthly Charges From The Local Telephone Company
    • Long Distance Usage Charges
  28. Traffic Studies - Measuring Call Volume to Determine the Number of Outside Lines You Need - "We've designed our system so that every person in our company can be on five different calls at the same time!"
    • What Is A Traffic Study And Why Do You Need One?
    • What Traffic Information Is Obtained From The Telephone System?
    • How Do You "Traffic Engineer"?
    • Different Types Of Outside Lines
    • Who Provides Traffic Studies?
    • What Is The Correlation Between Number Of People And Number Of Outside Lines
  29. Disconnecting Telecommunications Circuits and Stopping the Billing - "Now where is that letter I sent back in 1993 to have this circuit disconnected?"
    • Suggestions for Disconnecting Telecommunications Circuits
    • Summary Of Information To Be Included With The Written Disconnect Request
  30. Your Telecom Equipment Room - The Grand Tour Part One: The "Demarc" "And don't be afraid of the dark."
    • Locating The Demarc
    • The Telco Demarc
    • Demarc Record Keeping
    • Getting The Information
    • The Internal Demarc
  31. Your Telecom Equipment Room - The Grand Tour Part Two - Leave the office world behind you
    • The PBX
    • Voicemail
    • Call Accounting
    • Batteries
    • Boxes Of Spare Telephones
    • Records
  32. Your Voice Mail System - Yes, it's like a giant answering machine - but there's more to it than that!
    • These Are The Types Of Things You Need To Find Out Up Front
  33. Evaluating Your Buildings Telecommunications Capabilities and Service Providers - Find out what your landlord doesn't know and is afraid to ask!
    • Background
    • Checklist Of Telecommunications Services You May Need
    • Types Of Companies Who May Deliver Telecommunications Services To An Office Building
    • Final Thoughts
  34. A Practical Guide To DSL - The high-speed Internet access of the moment
    • What is DSL?
    • Types of DSL
    • Why Use DSL?
    • How to Get DSL
  35. Introduction to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) - Some view this as the future of voice communications.  Stay tuned...
    • The Renaissance Of The Telecom Professional
    • What Is VoIP
    • Digital Telephones Currently In Use
    • IP Telephone Systems
    • Packet switching vs. Circuit Switching
    • Make Way - Voice Coming Through!
    • Crawl, Walk, Run To IP Telephones
    • How Will We Use It?
    • "Here You Go" Telecom Pros

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Last modified January 19, 2012