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High Tech High Touch Solutions is a conference and expo producer and full-service Contact Center and Help Desk consulting firm whose goal is to revolutionize business by sharing industry best practices, advanced business processes, innovative technological solutions, and proven leadership techniques.

eSharings - January 2006

Insights, hints, tips, and resources for service and support professionals, given in the spirit of sharing information.

In this Issue:

-- Sharing
-- Government Customer Support Conference and Expo (GCS 2006)
-- Explore Your Options: Community of Practices

-- Subscription Information

"Please visit our website for loads of useful information.  Drop in anytime. We love having you visit. "


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Thirty-one years ago I was a High School student when I got one of my first part-time jobs. It was as a switchboard operator for a hotel on the Oregon Coast. The town where I grew up had a population of just over 300. A small town, country girl typically had one thing on her mind - how to get out of town and move to the "big city". The way out was to have a dream, be assertive and be very "hungry" for all that life had to offer. When I ventured out of this little community as a teenager, I had only my skills in customer service delivery and switchboard operation combined with a whole lot of ambition and wide-eyed hopefulness.

I moved to the "big city" - Portland, Oregon and went to work as a telephone operator for the Bell Systems (Pacific Northwest Bell, at that time a part of AT&T, and later becoming US West Communications now Qwest). My skills from my little hometown job paid off and helped me get a job with one of the most prestigious companies in the world - THE telephone company.

At the age of nineteen, when I joined the telephone company, there were hundreds of thousands of people in the Bell Systems across the United States. Training and mentoring was a high priority and the people were recognized as core assets to the business.  This focus on the people resulted in some of the most advanced deliveries in telecommunications in the world. (Read more about mentoring at The Mentoring Group.  Many f#ree articles are shared on their website.)

Visit the Bell System Memorial website  for some amazing history about the telephone industry.  They were the first business in the call center industry and the first to design the technologies we use today.

 Traffic modeling analyzes traffic patterns and determines the necessary resources to handle that traffic. Traffic modeling originated in the telephone industry.  Amazingly many of these theories still in use today were developed between 1909 and 1917 by the Danish mathematician, Agner Krarup Erlang.  Erlang's biography and additional traffic modeling bibliography are available at www.pass.maths.org.uk/issue2/erlang.

During my tenure with the Bell System I moved into IT operations and was given the opportunity to relocate to an even "bigger city" - Seattle, Washington. In Seattle, I landed in the right place at the right time. My assignment was to work with a very small handful of people to build a brand new reproducible 'model' help desk to support people in the client server world moving from a one hundred percent mainframe based environment.

Divestiture of the "Baby Bells" required us to consolidate seventy-six IT Help Desks in a fourteen state region. Our Help Desk was to be the model used for the consolidation, standing out above anything they had done like this before in service and support.

Our Help Desk turned out to be one of the first in the world, possibly THE first, to deploy and support Microsoft 1.0 on 100 desktops. And trust me on this one - there were no books, user groups, conferences, or even people in the local community to learn how to tackle this effort from. Our team designed one of the first client server help desks in the world on the Microsoft platform.

We certainly had our challenges to overcome and made mistakes along the way. Primarily we based our designs on the disciplines from the mainframe environment: change management, service level management, network and configuration management, problem and incident management, etc. We avoided many of our possible pitfalls early on using these proven disciplines.  The ITIL methodology includes these same disciplines. 
Click here to learn more about ITIL.

Not only were we one of the first on the Microsoft platform but we also had one of the first client server knowledge management systems.  A brilliant young man presented an idea for a knowledge based system, coincidentally to my mentor, and he gave me my next dream come true – the chance to be part of an incredible team that would design, from scratch, one of the first knowledge management systems that would run on a PC.

Our small team designed a solution that delivered phenomenal results.  Our help desk started realizing first call resolution rates of ninety-three percent for our software support efforts after one year in production.  Our other “first” claim to fame, along with the U S Army being the other "first", was a client server knowledge management system, known as Primus, also based in Seattle and now owned by ATG.  Our team formed the Customer Support Consortium (now the Consortium for Service Innovation) and began the initial design for the methodology known today as KCS (Knowledge Centered Support).

Email us at solutions4u@hthts.com if you would like me to send you a copy of "How to Get Started in KCS", which was developed by the consortium.

Our help desk was a showcase when our team finished it in 1990, one that would have then rivaled many help desks today.  This help desk’s name, defined in the late 80’s, was Service Center, not far off from the desired name today of Service Desk.

Why was the Bell Systems first to have these incredible opportunities? As to being one of the first on the Microsoft platform, I'm not sure if it helped that Bill Gate's office was only two blocks away from our office, or that his mother was on the board of directors for the local Bell operating company, or simply that the Bell Systems were always one to do things first. Whatever it was, I am grateful for the personal gain and the chance of a lifetime to be on the forefront of the information age in the support industry and to work with such brilliant minds.  The experience was life changing.

Over the years, working in the call center and help desk industry I have had countless memorable experiences, traveled around the world consulting with others in our industry, learned what works and what doesn't, and made many wonderful friends on this journey.

A whole lot of drive, a goal and a dream, a lot of assertiveness, and the "hunger for knowledge" helped this small town girl make it to the "big city".  This month on January 23rd, I turn 48 years old.  I love this industry and all the "gifts" I have been given on this journey.

It's my turn now to give back for all that I have received by sharing my knowledge and far-reaching experiences in my newsletters, presentations, consultations, and conferences.  The dream has been realized.

I hope you find your own "big city" and realize your dreams.

Ivy Meadors
High Tech High Touch Solutions, Inc.

P.S. Les Brown, an incredible professional speaker, and a member of the National Speakers Association which I am also a member of, has a wealth of tools and books to inspire you to "Live Your Dreams."  The book with the same title is an excellent read.  I've met with Les and heard him speak on multiple occasions.  Click here to visit his website for more information and get inspired to "Live Your Dreams."

Want to be part of something really big and gain personal benefit ?
We are currently accepting applications for the board of HDP 2006.  We also encourage you to submit your proposals if you wish to be considered as a speaker for HDP 2006.  There are only a few sessions left. Email HDP@hthts.com now.

Government customer support conference and expo (top)


The 5th Annual Government Customer Support Conference and Expo 2006 (GCS)
June 14-15, 2006
Sheraton Crystal City in Arlington, VA


This premier, only one-of-its-kind conference in the United States is focused exclusively on local and federal call centers, help desks, and web service portals. You will benefit from practical, actionable information on strategy, vision, and execution from industry experts and peers.  This event offers comprehensive coverage in the major areas of service and support, with the primary emphasis on leadership and best practices.

No more of the same old thing. Our speakers are delivering information on the ways to move to the next more advanced levels of service and support.  Lisa Prendergast, our Director has designed an incredible program far exceeding previous year's events.

Program details are posted on our website at www.governmentconference.com.

Daryl Covey, our event Chair, will be running the Excellence Awards program, now in its 5th year, for Customer Support organizations in the public sector.  There are 30 candidates being considered for this years prestigious awards program.

If you want to be part of GCS 2006, email us at solutions4u@hthts.com right away.

Interested sponsors can email us directly at GCS@hthts.com.  There are a limited number of these exclusive sponsorship opportunities available.

Explore Your Options  (top)

The concept of a community of practice (often abbreviated as CoP) refers to the process of social learning that occurs when people who have a common interest in some subject or problem collaborate over an extended period to share ideas, find solutions, and build innovations.

Communities of Practice have become associated with knowledge management as people have begun to see them as ways of developing social capital, nurturing new knowledge, stimulating innovation or sharing existing tacit knowledge within an organization. It is now an accepted part of organizational development (OD).

Definition From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Access a growing pool of information: receive hints, tips, resources, access to articles, and more and not cost.

The Pacific Northwest has had active user groups in the call center and help desk industry since the early 90's.  Help Desk Northwest (HDNW) and Northwest Call Center Professionals (NWCCP) both in Seattle and Northwest Support Professionals (NWSP) in Portland, have tightly aligned to formalize an even stronger community of practice for those in service and support.

NWSP, NWCCP, and HDNW have teamed together to advance our existing knowledge distribution.  We share our knowledge in open discussions at monthly meetings, online communications, web publications, and by connecting people to people.  The combination of our three organizations exceed 1300+ members and continues to grow.

Our CoP is far-reaching and no longer limited to the Pacific Northwest.  Our communities in the Northwest are primarily funded by the vendors and the local corporations.  Fifteen volunteer board members in Oregon and Washington plus many volunteer committee members work to facilitate the sharing of this incredible pool of knowledge.  We are preparing to release a brand new repository of resources made available for no fee to anyone that joins our secure, never-shared membership database.

Multiple times a month, information is shared via our newsletters.  We also hold monthly meetings in both Portland and Seattle.  Seattle monthly meetings are f#ree to everyone.  In Portland, for a small sum and a high return on the investment, you can attend their monthly meetings.  Our speakers are exceptional and deliver content-rich material applicable to your current and future needs.

We invite our readers to join our Northwest Call Center and Help Desk Communities of Practice to increase the breadth of knowledge sharing possible.  To join our ever-growing membership, simply visit the NWCCP (www.hthts.com/nwccp.htm) website and sign up now.  We promise, your email addresses will not be shared with others outside of a few select members of our leadership team.

The Pacific Northwest is known and recognized for their friendly and giving nature. We want to extend our offerings now worldwide - so everyone can benefit from the information we share locally. Again, it won't cost anything to access the information and there are no fees to join our online community of practice.

As the President of the Washington groups, HDNW and NWCCP, I am personally committed to the ongoing success of our efforts. 

- Ivy Meadors


Sign up now and join the Pacific Northwest Call Center and Help Desk Community of Practice.

And if you aren't already a subscriber to eSharings, sign up now for even more great information.


I spoke about the Erlang table earlier.  Did you know that most workforce management systems and network call routing is based on calculations using the Erlang Table?  This is Erlang's formula.

The left hand side, E(v,C), represents the proportion of callers that find all the lines already full, and the right hand side gives an equation for that quantity. If you know how big v and C are, you can work out what proportion of calls cannot get out.

Trunk Reservation, Sticky Routing - what do these mean to your call center and the routing of your calls through the networks around the world.  This website is well worth taking a look at. http://plus.maths.org/issue2/dar/index.html

Please visit our website www.hthts.com for more resources and learn how we can work with you to build a world-class service and support center.


We hope you enjoyed this edition of eSharings.  We welcome your ideas and contributions to our newsletter, published worldwide.  Please email us future topics you want to know more about, ask questions or share resources and ideas. Feel free to reprint this newsletter in its entirety with our copyright information intact.

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The 5th Annual Government Customer Support Conference and Expo

June 14-15, 2006

Sheraton Crystal City, Arlington, VA

The GCS program includes:

Certified Help Desk Manager Training

ITIL Foundations Training

Leadership Training

Excellence Awards program for Customer Support organizations in the public sector

“A live from the front-line” perspective and so much more.

Host: Ivy Meadors

Chair: Daryl Covey

Director: Lisa Prendergast

Stay informed and do what you can to save our world.  www.worldwildlife.org

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