Vendor Spotlight – Telescan: Keeping Your Call Center Ahead of Technology

Even the casual observer can’t help notice the big changes in Telescan in the past two years. Nearly all these changes will improve medical call centers, make their operations more efficient, give them more services to offer, and increase revenues or profits. The story behind these changes starts with the change in ownership.

In 2002, Robert Riggs, Jr. and Roger Young were negotiating with George Meyer to buy Telescan when they decided to conduct some market research to find out what the market thought of Telescan. They enlisted a research firm to conduct two focus groups, one with Telescan users and one with non-users. The research was conducted via telephone conference of users across the country. The research discovered two very important facts about Telescan: 1) Telescan users loved the product and said it was the best technology on the market, and 2) non-users knew nothing about Telescan.

“We knew from the research,” added Roger Young, Telescan President, “we had a great product. All we needed to do was let people know about it.”

The ‘great product’ that is Telescan was founded by George and Judy Meyer, telephone answering service business owners. Frustrated with systems that were always down, George decided to develop his own call processing system to make his business more profitable and more efficient. From that beginning, all Telescan products have been designed to be the best in the business and keep running 24/7.

Keeping Your Business in Business: When Riggs and Young purchased the business, they decided to make this philosophy their new marketing tagline, “Keeping Your Business in Business.” They also kept Telescan’s commitment to developing new products for answering services and staying ahead of the technology demands of the clients. They have continued to introduce a stream of new products tat will help medical call centers be more efficient and profitable. Since 2002, Telescan has introduced a completely new call processing system, Spectrum and a new digital switching platform, Prism.

The new management quickly learned the importance of medical call center businesses. “In a slumping economy,” said Young, “the demand for answering services in the medical community is growing. The ability to speak to an actual operator is more important in the medical industry. Voice prompt doesn’t work well in a medical emergency. Telescan is committed to developing new products and features to meet the needs of the medical market.”

Spectrum Messenger: Spectrum Messenger, a secured, selective instant messaging system, is one product recently introduced by Telescan that has important application in the medical industry. With more and more physicians and hospitals relying on the Internet, instant messaging has become a vital tool. “With Spectrum Messenger,” commented Lee Mueller of Telescan, “a client can directly contact their answering service through email to update information or advise them of any necessary changes. At anytime of day or night, a doctor may notify the service through text message, PDA or through basic email of schedule changes or patient information. We think this feature gives call centers using Telescan an advantage over their competition”

Telescan’s new Spectrum Messenger instant messaging system is changing procedures for Carolyn’s Communications in Atlanta Georgia. With Telescan’s help, they are working to link their operators to the local children’s hospital. They had been faxing messages to the hospital. The hospital then calls them with instructions on how to handle the call or which doctor to page. Spectrum Messenger will allow instant, real-time messaging between Carolyn’s Communications and the hospital. “This will speed up the process, make it easier for everyone involved and we can provide the doctor more complete information” Carolyn said, “With this system, we expect to get more hospital clients.”

Tammi Anderson of Medcom in Columbia, South Carolina agrees. “Telescan has helped us move to the future with internet services. Everyone wants to access information through the internet. Our physicians are very happy that we can now email to cell phones, palm pilots and lap tops and they don’t have to carry a separate pager.

On-Call Scheduler: Telescan’s new Spectrum On-Call Scheduler is another new product designed for the medical community. Spectrum On-Call Scheduler helps track doctors’ complex schedules better and gives call centers more services to offer medical clients. With Telescan’s On-Call Scheduler, the call center can actually manage the on-call schedule for a physician or group. Instead of receiving schedules from the doctor’s office, the call center can prepare the schedule, including combined schedules for large doctors’ groups, or even with a weekend shared schedule with a partner group. Since many doctors are trying to reduce staffing, they are eager to outsource as much as they can.

“This new software allows call centers to expand services without adding staff,” said program developer, Bob Vornberg of Telescan. “That translates to increased income and/or services,” Bob added.

Future Plans: This year Telescan plans to roll out several more new programs that will help call centers meet their clients’ demands for access to PDAs and the Internet including Spectrum VMail, a full function application that brings integrated voice messaging to the Prism platform; Spectrum IVR, interactive voice response, and companion to VMail; and Spectrum Data Manager which combines a high-performance database server with a full-range of networking and reporting capabilities.

“We are working every day to find new ways to improve call center services, said Robert Vornberg, Telescan’s Director of Product Development. “New technology like PDAs and text messaging demands that we keep developing new products. It is our goal to keep one step ahead of technology, and that is a tall order,” he added.

Axon Acquisition: In March of 2003, Telescan acquired Axon Communications, located in Santa Ana, California. Axon was not just a good product fit, but also an almost perfect fit of business philosophy. Their dedication to quality products mirrored the Telescan quality. Axon brought a new market. The AXON 8000 system was designed for emerging answering services that needed a smaller, more reasonably priced system for their growing business.

One of the goals Telescan management had in mind when they purchased Axon Communications was to marry the two platforms for new program solutions. The first product of that marriage, a Call Lists Feature to Telescan’s Spectrum system was recently introduced.

Call Lists Feature: Telescan’s new Call Lists Feature allows agents the ability to choose which call to answer. Normal system operation alerts an agent that a call is available and the system automatically presents a call off the ringing call list. Telescan’s new Call Lists Feature allows the agent to elect to answer a lower priority call. The Call Lists Feature will be administratively selectable. A manager may choose to activate this feature on an agent-by-agent basis, giving them control over the agents’ choice.

“We believe our new Call Lists Feature provides the best of both worlds for Spectrum users,” said Robert Riggs, Jr., Telecom’s Director. “It provides agents call selection freedom and management control over the feature. We look forward to many more such advances with the blending of two outstanding system platforms.”

With Telescan’s progressive new management, you can expect more good news in the future.

[From the Spring 2004 issue of AnswerStat magazine]

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