We’ve got you covered – an equipment replacement plan that works

You’re not aware of Tel-Tron’s Warranty Plus program?  For $3 per month per apartment, all of your Tel-Tron equipment is covered.  If you take a lightning hit and every last piece of equipment is fried, you get all new equipment at no additional cost.  A staff member dropped a pager in the toilet?  Covered.  A resident ran over a pendant with a car?  Covered.  A technician from a different company dropped a pipe on your console?  Covered.  Your electrical closet flooded and your power supply exploded?  Covered.

It’s my busiest time of year in technical support.  The storms are rolling in, and so are the calls to my after-hours support phone.  Every week, another community falls victim to a lightning strike.  Some get off easy with only a call station or two affected.  Others aren’t so fortunate and require thousands of dollars to repair.  Most of these customers had turned down the opportunity to sign up for Tel-Tron’s Warranty Plus program, which could have saved them thousands in repairs.

I’m also getting a lot of calls from other customers who are having to replace pendants simply because their emergency call system is aging.  Pendants are hypersonically welded shut to make them water resistant, which means that the batteries cannot be replaced.  After a certain amount of time, the pendants will need to be replaced altogether, which can amount to thousands of dollars in replacements.  Again, most of these customers passed on the opportunity to sign up for the Warranty Plus program.

Of course, we don’t leave these customers without options.  We work with them and allow them sign up for the Warranty Plus program, but there is a signup fee.  However, if they had opted to sign up for the Warranty Plus program before their first year of warranty had expired, they would not have had to pay for the signup fee.

Bear with me as we do some math.  Let’s assume you have 60 apartments and 100 pendants:

  • $60/apartment  x  $3/month = $180/month x 12 months  =  $2,160/year
  • 3 years (the estimated life of a pendant)  x  $2,160/year  =  $6,480
  • New pendant cost  =  $100  x  100 pendants  =  $10,000
  • $10,000  –  $4,320  =  $3,520 in savings

This scenario doesn’t include the pagers, batteries for pull cord stations, forces of nature, etc, that might increase these

savings.  Oh, as an added bonus, you get 30% off of Tel-Tron’s list price for new purchases.  And you get a free spares kit to get you back up and running as soon as possible in the event of equipment failure (see image).  And you are allowed free end-user training for up to two of your staff members.  And we automatically send you replacement batteries for your fixed wireless transmitters at three-year intervals.  And we automatically send you back-up batteries for your main Tel-Tron life safety equipment every five years.  Do I need to keep going?

I’m an employee of Tel-Tron and I’m biased.  Don’t simply take my word for it.  We’ve had many customers sign up for the program since its inception.  One hundred percent (yes, that’s 100%) of those customers are still enrolled in the program.

If you want the full skinny of the program, including how to sign up, click here for a link to a brochure.  If you just want to sign up, click here to email Brooke Moffett, who will contact you and write up a contract.

Troubleshooting 101: Solving Tel-Tron Problems Pragmatically

Tel-Tron Troubleshooting 101

There’s really not a special, magical process for troubleshooting your Tel-Tron system. In fact, the same troubleshooting steps used to do so can be applied to solve a variety of day-to-day problems. This month, I’m going to show you how to apply the same steps to troubleshoot two entirely unrelated problems.

Step #1: Verify the problem

dinner party

Problems have a tendency to initially appear worse than they really are. Should one arise, it’s up to you to determine the scope. Once you know what that is, it will make solving the problem much easier.

How this relates to real life:

Let’s say you’ve just held a wonderful dinner party for you and six other friends. Everything has gone just swimmingly. You drank, told tales, and were, by and large, merry. The evening concludes, everyone goes home, and you praise yourself with a mental tip-of-the-hat to your excellently hosted feast. Job well done! But the next day, the rumors begin to circulate. Someone at your party suffered some pretty severe indigestion. You could just ignore these rumors, but that’s probably not a good idea. Your inquisitive nature and your reputation force you to investigate.

Where to start?man with belly ache

Find the source of these rumors, trace them to the alleged inflicted person, and talk to that person directly. Keep the questions simple. “Hey, were you feeling sick after dinner yesterday?” If so, make sure it’s not because of something obvious and unrelated, like getting mild food poisoning from a fast food restaurant they stopped at on the way home because they found your dinner to be “insufficient.”

How this relates to Tel-Tron:

Let’s say you use pagers. Ah Pagers… This mobile notification device gets passed around from person to person more than any other device except, perhaps, staff reset pendants. Lots of different people use them, and the devices see use pretty much from dusk ‘til dawn, then all through the night. Given this high amount of usage, there’s a much better chance of an individual pager failure than there is of system-wide pager system problem. If you begin to hear rumors that your paging isn’t working, my recommendation is not to leap to the conclusion that your paging system is down. Instead, start simple. Track down the person with said non-functioning pager, and verify the problem. Is that pager really not getting pages? Maybe we have a training opportunity here. If it’s really not though, determine if the solution isn’t something simple, such as replacing a low battery–the most common reason for a pager not getting a page.

Step #2: Start gathering more data

A single sample doesn’t tell you a whole lot. What’s one poisoned friend or one bad pager? Certainly not an epidemic! Let’s make sure though. It’s time to investigate further.

How this relates to real life:

Alright, the rumors appear to be true. Your friend has just confirmed that shortly after leaving your party, he came down with a debilitating sickness that has shaken the very fabric of your friendship—and no it wasn’t from a drive-by Taco Bell visit on the way home. Don’t panic. As already noted, it’s just one friend. There’s a good chance your other friends are fine, and that would still leave you with five, which is a pretty good ratio of healthy friends. Still, best make sure this isn’t a widespread problem. Start calling around. Find out who else may be affected, and if so, what he ate. Make some lists. This guy ate this. Did he feel OK? This guy ate that. How’s he feeling? And so on.

How this relates to Tel-Tron:

You’ve found one pager that’s not working, but that doesn’t mean your “paging system is down.” Don’t panic. It’s just one pager. There’s a good chance your other pagers are fine, and that would leave you several other good pagers. (Unless you only have one pager, then don’t panic, but contact us to get you a rush-order on some new pagers.) Still, if that pager isn’t working, gather it from the staff member using it – it’s not doing any good with her anyway if it’s not getting any pages – and start hunting around for another. Find out: are all my pagers affected? If so, which ones?

Step #3: Form a hypothesis

Troubleshooting’s close cousin is the Scientific Method. So yes, you may call yourself “a scientist.” At this step in the troubleshooting process, you hypothesize, based on collected data, a reason for the problem at hand.

How this relates to real life:

You’ve called everyone at the party and discerned that two others had similar indigestion. Not too shabby. You know, for example, that you didn’t poison everyone, so at least one of your dishes was edible. Nicely done! Now to figure out which dish was the culprit. You had a lot of options, but all of your collected data seems to point to the chicken salad. You didn’t have any of it yourself because there was just so much food, and your buddy brought a nacho platter. You just couldn’t resist nachos so you filled up on that and, well, long story short: you didn’t have any chicken salad, and you’re not sick. In fact, the only three people who got sick are also the only three people who ate the chicken salad. Hypothesis: It was the chicken salad, in the dining room, with the salmonella.

biohazard chicken salad

How this relates to Tel-Tron:

You’ve searched around and discovered that two other pagers are also not receiving pages. This is important, because if any one pager gets a page, you know that the “paging system” is not down. The pager transmitter—often called a pager base—has a fire-and-forget mentality. It’s told to send a page, it sends the page, and it doesn’t keep track of which pagers got the page. If, while testing your pagers, even one pager worked, you can be confident that the pager transmitter has done what it was supposed to do. It transmitted. Hypothesis: The “paging system” is fine. You’ve just got three misbehaving pagers.

Step #4: Test and verify your hypothesis

You’ve formed a hypothesis, now it’s time to put it through the wringer.

How this relates to real life:

You’re gripped with this notion that your age-old family recipe for chicken salad has somehow led to a disastrous after party for several of your friends. You have to know for sure. Was it indeed the chicken salad? The only way to find out, obviously, is to have a sample tested. Go home, collect it in a bag and send it off to the crime lab. You know, that crime lab everyone has access to that’s just readily waiting to vindicate poor hosts from harsh accusations of food poisoning? That’s what THIS troubleshooter is recommending. Expect results in six to eight weeks. However, for the sake of fully disclosing ALL of the troubleshooting options, there might be a simpler way. Not that I’m recommending it. You know that annoying guy, the one always sniffing around at lunch looking for freebies? Ask him if he’d like some chicken salad. Homemade. Very fresh. Made just last night.

How this relates to Tel-Tron:

You’ve done some excellent trouble shooting and data collection to this point. As a practicing scientist, you’ve narrowed the problem down to three pagers that seem to be acting up. You’ve also prevented a wide-spread panic by proving that the “paging system” isn’t “down,” but in fact, you’ve just got some bum pagers.
Call tech support!Still, there are a few more things to test. A lot of communities use what’s called “mapping,” so it’s a good idea to double check settings. I’m not going to go into all that here. You’ve done quite a bit of heavy lifting already. Let us help you with this last step. If you’re not sure how to check a pager’s settings, give Technical Support a call. Best case scenario, we’ll get these pagers working! Worst case, we’ll simply re-verify the work you’ve done and come to the same conclusion you have: three bad pagers. While perhaps inconvenient that you’ve got some broken pagers, you should still feel good that you’ve got a handle on things. You figured it out! And you did this all while carrying the soul-crushing guilt of poisoning your friends with bad chicken salad. Well done!

Meet Quality Assurance Engineer Ed Otero

Ed Otero - Tel-Tron Quality Assurance Engineer.

Tel-Tron is constantly developing and delivering new and improved products to help senior living companies and the seniors they serve. An extremely important part of the product development process is ensuring the design meets Tel-Tron’s high standard for quality.

Ed Otero is Tel-Tron’s Quality Assurance Engineer, responsible for final testing and validation of new and existing product designs before they become actual products. Ed has been working with healthcare technology since 1986, involved in installing, maintaining, and testing of systems within hospitals and residential communities.

“I have always kept in the front of my mind that any and all products I touch could at any point in time be used to save someone’s life. This is the reason I have always taken extra care and pride in making sure that what I work on is tested and retested.”

Ed understands the negative impact a product defect can have on community operations and seniors’ lives. “I have always kept in the front of my mind that any and all products I touch could at any point in time be used to save someone’s life,” says Ed. “This is the reason I have always taken extra care and pride in making sure that what I work on is tested and retested.” 

Ed works diligently testing a Tel-Tron wireless transmitter

Ed works diligently at testing a Tel-Tron wireless transmitter

During the testing process, no product is released until it has passed every single test from start-to-finish and the product development team, including Ed, is satisfied that the product is worthy of release. “The tests are numerous and repetitive, and we push our products to the max to ensure that we are delivering only quality products,” Ed says. “I’m very proud to be a member of the Tel-Tron team and knowing that I am doing my part ensuring that every product that touches my hands or goes out the door could be responsible for saving someone’s life.”

Tel-Tron Project Management: A Behind the Scenes Look at a Team Devoted to Your System, Satisfaction and Success

Tel-Tron Project Management: A behind the scenes look at a team devoted to your system, satisfaction and success

During my career here at Tel-Tron, I have held a few different positions. As much as things have changed for me personally, a single philosophy has always stayed the same­ —ensure that our customers have the confidence that they can rely on their emergency call systems to save lives, every day. Most recently, I have had the privilege to work with the Project Management department, a team of dedicated people who prove their devotion to this philosophy day in and day out. I have witnessed many projects through all stages, from the time they are sold to our customers to years after they have been in use.

I’d like to take you behind the scenes, to give you a glimpse of all of the important work to which we devote our time and energy for the benefit of you, our customers.

Working With You

Our Tel-Tron Project Managers are professional, experience individuals focused on your success. Tel-Tron Project Managers are the great group of guys responsible for installing and maintaining your Tel-Tron solution. And whether it’s getting extra or replacement parts sent overnight, working with technical support and engineering, or something or as simple as looking up phone numbers, the project management staff have a supportive, and equally dedicated, team behind them.

Planning and Preparing

Our project managers develop close relationships with our customers since they often spend the most face-to-face time with them. Because of this, we feel personal responsibility to our customers and their residents. The interactions project managers have with residents are typically brief, but tend to be the most memorable to them, and stick in their mind. It’s ultimately the residents that we are all serving, and why we take the time to make sure every device works properly so that your staff receives each and every emergency call.

From the moment an emergency call system is sold, our project management staff begins making contact with the customer, assuring them that we are preparing for and looking forward to taking on their project. Since there are usually several prerequisite items that we need before we can properly install a system, so we rely heavily on the commitment and cooperation of our customers in the planning and preparation for a project. These items are requested of the customer before or during our Kick-Off Meeting.

Kick-Off Meeting

Kick-Off Meetings are designed to bring everything to the table regarding the upcoming installation of a system. More importantly, this meeting is to set the stage for the entire project, by setting expectations for obstacles, benefits, and features, as well as training and support during the life of the system.

Our customers don’t always understand the purpose of this meeting and the value can sometimes be difficult to articulate. But during the meeting, we ask important questions to make sure that the end result is what our customer is expecting. Issues that no one anticipated can come up in this meeting, which results in the reevaluation of products, protocol, and/or timelines. Regardless of the issue, we always resolve it quickly to ensure the installation will have your desired outcomes.

Installation

For weeks prior to your installation, the Tel-Tron project management team is reviewing, researching, discussing, and verifying everything about your project. They are well-versed in what and where product is to be installed, as well as many other intimate details about your community and the residents you care for.

A Tel-Tron Project Manager Assists a Customer with Installation

Once the product shipment arrives, the installation is ready to begin. You are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Tel-Tron project manager you spoke with during the Kick-Off Meeting. As soon as he arrives, he and his team get to work, moving swiftly around your community installing product, testing the system, and training you and your staff. As quickly as the time came, the time has now passed, and your system is now fully-installed and you are now saying goodbye with handshakes, smiles and maybe a hug. You’re excited about how much easier your life and the lives of your staff and residents will be.

Post-Installation

The project management team discusses your project immediately after installation to review any and all aspects of the project. We discuss issues that may have caused difficulty, in order to learn and improve our processes.

We as a team continuously talk about new ways of installing our product to create the best outcomes. Whether it’s the best position of a wireless device on a door, or where in a resident unit is the most convenient and effective location for product placement, our team never stops thinking of new ways to improve what we do when serving you and your residents.

Feedback

We often hear positive comments on the project managers’ performance and how their work has improved the resident’s quality of life as well as the staff’s work experience. These comments give our project managers a deep sense of satisfaction, knowing that their efforts have made an impact in saving a life.

As one of the many people behind our great project management team, I am always proud when I hear a happy customer rave about the terrific experience they’ve had. We want to hear from you! If you have had a noteworthy experience with our project management team, or have any questions or suggestions for us, please let us know.

Tel-Tron – An Untapped Referral Source

Referrals Network Illustration

Having been a senior living operator for the past 20 years, I know that vendors have an impact on your business. But I really never realized how significant that relationship could be until this month.

Each month, Tel-Tron has a company lunch with all of our employees, including those who are not in the field with customers. It is a great opportunity to spend time with your colleagues and learn what is happening within the company. This month at our lunch, our CEO asked for a showing of hands on who had ever been asked to recommend a senior living community based on the fact that they worked at Tel-Tron. I was surprised at how many hands were raised – I think most operators would be. Our Technical Support, Finance, Admin, Sales, and Engineering – almost every operating department at Tel-Tron had someone who had been asked to recommend a community.

Being an operator, naturally I have been asked that question countless times, but I hadn’t given much thought to vendors being asked that. Having been an end-user of Tel-Tron’s products and services for many years, it had never occurred to me to utilize the company relationship to gain referrals.

Our interactions and visits across the country at the corporate level include Chief Officers, Clinicians, Procurement, Asset Managers, Accountants, Regional and Divisional Operations, and Property Management. At the community level, we interact daily with Maintenance, Executive Directors, Business Office Managers, Concierge, Nurses, Med-Techs, and Caregivers. Tel-Tron equipment is installed in over 1,000 communities across the country and Tel-Tron employees walk into several hundred communities per year.

By the end of the meeting, I realized that all of our employees here at Tel-Tron are in the senior housing business and have a great ability to impact day-to-day operations, including increasing prospects knowledge of your community, and yes, REFERRALS!

So the next time you’re hosting an event at your community, invite your Tel-Tron representative. If you have new information on products or services you are offering, don’t hesitate to share it with us. That way, we can truly be the partner we set out to be, helping you build a better business.

Do You Have a Program Designed to Reduce Fall Risk?

Senior woman in wheelchair with caregiver

How do you use technology to mitigate resident fall-risk & maximize independence?

The risk is real
The awareness related to fall risks over the last few years is staggering. One in five hip fractures results in a death within a year of the incident. One in four seniors that fall and fracture a hip, who used to live independently, spend at least the next year in an assisted living or nursing home environment. It’s also a little concerning how little, as an industry, we’ve done to mitigate the risk. Fall detection is largely a waste, the damage is done, and unless the resident is unconscious automated fall detection devices do little more than let you know the horse is out of the barn.

What can you do?
Fall prevention programs need to be comprehensive and targeted. Do you evaluate the medications your residents are taking and develop specific and targeted prevention programs if their medication puts them at increased risk? If a resident has had a previous fall, do you know the likelihood of them falling again compared to those who have never had a fall? Are you putting technology and processes in place to create an environment which reduces a resident’s risk of a repeat incident? Knowing the precursors of a fall is a critical component to prevent it from happening.

For further reading on the risks related to falls and the possible outcomes, often life threatening, visit the CDC’s Website on Falls for Older Adults .

If you don’t currently employ technology to prevent a fall then contact your sales representative
(sales@tel-tron.com) to talk about what it takes to be successfully implement a fall prevention strategy.

To learn more about the benefits of Tel-Tron’s unique fall management technology, click here.

Maximize the Potential of Your Emergency Call System

Are Senior Living Management Teams Out of Touch? The Senior Care Investor www.seniorcareinvestor.com thinks so. In a year where many strong companies in our market grew at an impressive clip, others faltered. During these periods of growth the challenges of bringing on new buildings in different states of disrepair, staff members from different performance cultures, and resident occupancy varying greatly by geographical market have restricted earning potential for even the industry leaders. To steal a quote from the SeniorCare Investor’s most recent publication, “When someone figures out how to profitably run a large chain but maintain a mom and pop feel, then that company will top the return lists every year.” Whether you are the mom and pop provider or you’re trying to create that feeling within your community, personal attention to detail and a level of concern for the quality of life and security of your residents is what creates the “I’m home” feeling.

Being there when a resident needs you, responding with the same passion you would to your own family, being able to know when you miss and make it right; these are just the first steps to creating the feeling of home. You’ve got dinner, the air conditioning, the community bus, and putting green to worry about. Let us tell you when to worry about a resident’s security and emergency health needs require your attention. Let us take care of the compliance to your internal policies.

There is amazing new and innovative technology being created every day by us and companies like ours that goes under-utilized. Many of you already own it and just aren’t taking advantage of what you’ve already bought. All you have to do is invest the time to better understand how knowing what you don’t know can change the lives of your residents.

Here’s a quick tip to ensure that your key team members are really in touch with what happens at the front lines of your communities. Follow the steps below to enable a notification sent directly to your cell phone every time a resident waits more than ten minutes for assistance. You may think your front line is staffed appropriately and responding with the same passion you would, but this will let you know for sure.

Log into your Auditrak reporting package at www.auditrak.com and select the My Auditrak tab.

Select the Contact Methods link on your My Auditrak page and ensure that your contact information is correct.

 Once your contact information is correct go back to your My Auditrak tab and select the link for Event Notification Setup.

If I were interested in Emergency Call events I would select that option from the list, it’s the last item listed in the above image, then select the option for Report after and change the value to 10 minutes.  If I select SMS as the notification option I will now receive a notification every time an Emergency Call at the selected community reaches 10 minutes without being responded to by the staff onsite.  This will give any executive a real time feel for what’s happening at the community level.  Allowing you to intervene and change the experience of your residents in nearly real time can make the difference between the feeling of home and the feeling that they are alone an uncared for.

If you’re interested in having a discussion or seeing a demonstration about how the systems you already own can allow your team to better focus their time on what matters most and ensure that leaders in your company know when things aren’t right on the front lines send me an email at mgraham@tel-tron.com or give me a call at 386-523-1078 so we can start the changes today.

Your residents. They’re why I get up in the morning.

As a technical support manager and representative for Tel-Tron, it’s easy for me to feel down some days.  After all, the only clients I talk to regularly are the people that have problems, and are frustrated.  When was the last time you called a product manufacturer’s technical support line to tell them how great their product worked?  See, I don’t get to talk to the 97% of our customers who didn’t call technical support in a given day.

Due to the nature of my position, I like to get out in the field from time to time to remind me of the reason for my career choice.  Recently, I took a trip to the New Orleans area and visited a couple communities.  I was there to fix a few problems, and make soe requested programming changes, at each.  The weather was hot (nearing 100 degrees) and humid. I was often working in a non-air-conditioned room and was literally dripping with sweat.  I was not in the best of moods.  However, something inevitably cheered me up.

I was sitting in the community’s lobby and trying to cool off.  Soft instrumental music was playing overhead, as it often does in a community like this.  Suddenly, from my right, I heard singing.  The song was “Someone to Watch Over Me” and an elderly lady was singing along with it.  Her voice was wonderful and I couldn’t help wondering if she had been a professional singer at some point in her life.  I immediately smiled and enjoyed her rendition.  She is why I continue to do technical support for Tel-Tron.

At another community, I was sitting in the lobby awaiting the manager after a long days’ work.  I was ready to call it a day after sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours on end, watching data fly by on my computer.  An elderly gentleman sat next to me and we had an interesting conversation about his time in World War II.  He is why I love to do this.

I get up in the morning for these residents.  Helping you keep  your residents protected is the reason I can’t sleep some nights.  I know that my job is important to their quality of life and well-being.  I know that they are all individuals that have different needs.  It’s up to me to understand the wireless and life safety technology behind those needs and ensure it stays operational.    It bothers me to think about someone living in a community where there isn’t a well functioning emergency call system.  If anyone at Tel-Tron didn’t feel this same way, they wouldn’t work here.  It’s just part of who we are.

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say. “

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say. “

Ralph Waldo Emerson

turn·key / ˈtərnˌkē/• n. (pl. -keys) archaic a jailer.• adj. of or involving the provision of a complete product or service that is ready for immediate use.

We’re not big on talk here at Tel-Tron, we sell turnkey solutions and actually provide the same.  Every project that Tel-Tron partners in embodies the idea that the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts.  Tel-Tron has been the leading manufacturer of emergency call systems for decades but we don’t stop participating at the end of the production line.  Tel-Tron provides the highest quality and most consistent turnkey solutions because we ensure that the equipment we took so much care to design and manufacture actually gets implemented in the way it was designed.  Tel-Tron project managers, trainers and support staff are with your team from the moment you buy the system to ensure that shortcuts aren’t taken, steps aren’t missed and that you always get the same consistent quality that allows you to concentrate on providing the best care to your residents.

I’m sure many of you have been involved in projects where fingers get pointed, excuses are made and it’s nearly impossible to find anyone who assumes responsibility for anything, the Tel-Tron turnkey solution for emergency call systems couldn’t be more different.  Many of our competitors use dealers, electricians, general contractors or maybe even the subcontractor doing the fire alarm system to act as the responsible entity for their emergency call system needs.  That subcontractor may then subcontract the job out to someone else when they get busy installing fire alarms.  The end result is layers of incompetence.  Tel-Tron project managers only manage projects that include Tel-Tron emergency call systems, they test every device, they ensure your staff is properly trained; they coordinate integrations with other vendors and are at your community ensuring that the transition to your new system is as seamless and unobtrusive as possible.

Our project management team ensures that everything from system design drawings, pre-requisite installation requirements, training, reporting and every other aspect of the system installation and operation are all handled by the same team of experts that are always accountable to you.  We’ll provide you with updates, project schedules, integration documentation and even coordinate the meetings with any other technical partners that need to be involved.  With decades of experience, industry certifications and an ownership mentality regarding your investment there is no need to look any further than your team at Tel-Tron.

Put us to the test..  Let us know what’s important to you, how you wish it worked, or just paint us a picture of the destination and then turn us loose to ensure your vision gets fulfilled.  We let our actions do our talking and can’t wait to show you how different things can be when Tel-Tron provides a true turn-key solution for your senior living community emergency notification needs and more.  Look for our blog next month on the advantage of Tel-Tron’s distributed regional presence and how we leverage those resources to manage your installation with Tel-Tron factory certified project managers for less than many of our bloated competitors while still providing services they can’t or won’t.

Online ordering….Easy and Free Shipping

A few years ago we had an initiative around Tel-Tron to “Make it Easy.”  It incorporated everything from posting all of our operations guides on our website for customers to easily access to improving manufacturing processes to maximize efficiency.  One of the customer-oriented results was an online store, allowing communities and dealers to order over the internet.  This meant they could order at their convenience and not have to send a fax, wait on hold over the telephone, only call during our business hours, etc.

According to our customers this was a convenient and welcome tool.  Internally, though, we were still manually entering the order into our accounting/inventory software, which unfortunately led to entry errors on our part on occasion.

As technology advances, thankfully so does accounting software.  Our current software has an e-Business module that integrates the online store directly into the sales order module!  When a customer places an order online all we have to do is approve or deny it and it becomes an order, automatically setting it up for same-day shipping.  (For the curious…the only reason an order would be denied is if your account is inactive due to non-payment…fair enough, right?)

Step One

Easy for us for sure.  How easy is it for you?  Check this out…

1. Go to my.tel-tron.com and login

2. Search by item or click on a category to display all products within that category (wireless, room equipment, most popular, etc.) and click “Go”

3. Enter the desired quantity for each item and click “Buy”

4. After you’ve selected all your items, click “View Cart” and complete the check-out process.  Be sure to click Accept after you’ve reviewed the order so that it sends it to us.

5. You’ll receive an email confirmation stating that we have received your order and that it will be processed as soon as possible unless you hear from us otherwise.

Steps Two and Three

That’s it!  Easy as pie…or child’s play…or tan fácil como 1-2-3 (as easy as 123) as the Spanish say…but I digress.

If you’re already using the online store we thank you!  And we hope you’re enjoying the FREE ground shipping.  If you don’t have access yet please contact Leah Hughes at lhughes@tel-tron.com  and she’d be happy to provide one for you.

Happy Shopping!

Training the Trainer – It’s As Easy as Staying at a Holiday Inn Express

All of the latest and greatest technology, coolest software and state of the art reporting capabilities are nothing more than really expensive paper weights without proper training.  I’m always amazed at how many people think that just because they use something they are somehow now an expert on how to teach other people how to use the product.  The fact that I watch the Daytona 500 every year, drive a car to work, have seven speeding tickets to my name and look great in a fire suit and helmet doesn’t make me a race car driver and it certainly doesn’t make me capable of teaching someone how to drive a race car.  We often get familiar with the products that we use daily, even comfortable.  Our understanding of those products grows the more we use them.  That’s great; we all need to learn more about the tools we use.  The problems start when our confidence exceeds our knowledge.  Knowing how to use a product in a limited scope is far different than understanding a product well enough to teach any user how to use it in any application.  Remember, just because you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night doesn’t make you a trainer.

One of the traps that non-professional trainers fall into is that they assume everyone uses the product just like they do.  The person that trained them probably felt the same way.  The conclusion of this informal passing down of knowledge is that things get distorted through perceived experience rather than fact.  Observation can be a great tool in understanding something but often a misinterpretation of some coincidental event gets wrapped up into the “myth of operation” that is passed down from person to person until what new employees are learning barely resembles the information that was originally introduced with the new product.  Things get lost in translation, people hear what they want to hear, short cuts are taken and people without a passion or interest in training treat the endeavor accordingly diminishing the product delivered to the people that need it most, the newest members of your team.

How do we combat this?  How can we ensure integrity of the information being disseminated and confirm that the people that need it most not only comprehended what we taught them but also can implement it now?  How can we continue to reinforce these lessons?  How do we keep that base of knowledge growing?  All relative questions that operators deal with everyday, turnover isn’t going away.  Tel-Tron Technologies has a training program called “Train the Trainer” that addresses all of these problems and more.  It’s free to you and our involvement with your team NEVER ends.  We are always there to help you grow and continue to support your onsite trainer provide the best professional training practices to your staff the day they start and reinforce those lessons throughout their careers.  Let’s get down to the details and see how it’s done.

We help identify a trainer at your community if you haven’t already.  Trainers are a special breed and not everyone is right for the job, we can make sure you get the right person in the right spot.  Once we have identified the right person we make sure they have the right material and ensure they use the right process.  We start out by ensuring that five basic concepts are put into practice:

  1. There is a difference between listening and learning!  I see people paying attention almost every time I teach a technical class.  If I’m not on my game, continuously involving the learners then it is almost a guarantee that many won’t be able to retain or use the information I provided in as short a time as an hour later.
  2. Not everybody learns the same way.  Unless you have years of experience and a lot of familiarity with your students your probably won’t be able to figure out how your students learn in enough time to be effective.  Do your students learn better through visual examples, auditory examples or tactile examples?  We teach you to provide examples in all formats and ensure that you have the material, produced and provided by us, the manufacturer, to meet your employees’ needs.
  3. Asking good questions is more important than providing all of the answers.  We help your employees use the Socratic method of critical thinking to ensure that these are lessons truly learned not just taught.  Using a dialectical method that involves discussion and logic rather than a recitation of facts is always more effective for long term retention.
  4. Keep the lectures to an absolute minimum.  Slides too.  We provide you talking points and PowerPoint presentations but more importantly we teach you why you should use them sparingly and how to teach your employees using other medium that are more effective.  Interactive learning, games, role playing and other techniques are at your fingertips and provide a much richer experience for the learner.
  5. It isn’t about what you know but what your students learn.  Proving how smart you are to your audience is not conductive to a great learning environment.  You don’t have to be a college professor with a PhD in a given subject to be a great teacher.  In fact many “teachers” with those credentials are awful.  Focusing on the needs of your students, understanding how they learn and keeping them engaged are far more relevant than your technical base of knowledge.  We help you develop those skills throughout our partnership.

By providing your onsite trainer with the tools they need to be successful and self-reliant your life gets much easier.  Cost of ownership goes down.  Over 80% of all calls to our technical support center are related to operational instruction.  Over half of our onsite service is related to operational misinformation.  Imagine saving 70% of your employees time related to technical issues and 50% of your annual cost on service.  Remember, we provide this service free with every new installation or upgrade.  Consistency of delivery is no longer a problem, we provide you the training materials, hands on tools, DVDs, quick guides, testing materials and online learning services that ensure the technical materials you need to do your job are current and consistent.  We’re with you every step of the way, you’ll have a personal “Train the Trainer” mentor that guides you through the process for as long as you need and is standing right by your side the first time you’re in front of a class.  That’s what a partnership is about and that’s what you get every time you do business with Tel-Tron, your partner for life.  Don’t just take our word for it, listen to what our partners and training participants have to say.

Introducing the Tel-Tron Training Channel!

At Tel-Tron, we understand that not everyone learns the same way.  For example, I prefer regimented, strict courses with a syllabus and clear goals. Other people prefer to just get a manual and a cup of coffee, curl up in a corner, and read at their own pace. Whatever your style, we can meet it.

Recently, Technical Support received a request from a community to explain why their pagers function a certain way. While we were able to explain exactly why to this person over the phone, we decided to make a video that might illustrate the situation better. (It’s a fairly common question.) So, we whipped up a training video, posted it on our YouTube channel, and sent it along. The customer was incredibly pleased and responded:

Yes definitely that was great!  Addressed our exact issue.  Maybe send out an email notice when new videos are posted.


And there’s more where that came from. Plus, there are many more already in the works, but if you have a training question, and would like to see a video made about it, we can probably work that in. Visit our training channel on YouTube and let us know.

Training. Just Do It!

Like most of you, I wear several hats at work. The one that sits upon my brow most often is that of the Technical Support Analyst. Each day, I speak with people to help them fix whatever problems they’re having with their emergency call systems. This ranges from full-fledged, lightning-induced system outages to issues with printing daily reports. Not surprisingly, both of the aforementioned problems are held to the same level of importance — mostly because, from a user standpoint, they are both problems with “The System.”

In my experience, when people think about their Tel-Tron CompanionOne system, they generally think of a complicated and somewhat mystifying machine (“The System”) that, when all the cogs are in place, performs an automated task which thus makes their lives and jobs simpler. The System has several stages of redundancy — like our alarming console and also paging, staff phones and radios — that help keep it running, even if individual components may have failed.

Unfortunately, a user’s perception of The System often excludes a very important component: said User. As automated as our CompanionOne system may be, it still requires a human component. That’s why Tel-Tron focuses so much on training: developing new training, making videos, producing manuals and user’s guides, and more. (That’s the other hat I wear.)

Training is vital to performing any job well. Not a single one of us in born knowing how,  for example, to reset a pendant emergency call using a staff reset pendant. (Which, by the way, is done as follows: press the staff reset pendant first, then press the alarming resident’s pendant.) We have to learn, but there has to be a reason. People need to see why something is useful and relevant.

So, let me offer a couple of practical, real-world reasons why training your staff to use your CompanionOne system should be a regular investment.

  • Training builds confidence. Our training courses let you see a CompanionOne system in action and teach you how to use it more effectively. It’s your tool after all. Make it do what you want.
  • Training saves you money. Would you rather wire up a new station yourself, or pay someone else to do it? With training, there’s nothing you can’t maintain yourself. Furthermore, those individuals who attend our training seminars and become certified receive free technical support — for life.
  • Training saves lives. Learning to use The System effectively will decrease response times, creating a safer environment for your residents. Furthermore, improperly using or maintaining The System, like any powerful tool, can lead to unexpected consequences. In the life-safety industry, unexpected consequences can be devastating.

We offer many options for training. I and my colleagues fly all over the country and offer training seminars to every one of our senior living community partners. Very often, we can come right to your community. Or you can come here to sunny Daytona Beach; we’re very flexible. For those customers who have recently installed a Tel-Tron system, training is actually free for the first two attendees. Even if you can’t attend a class, all of our user’s manuals are available online in easy-to-use, illustrated PDFs. And since I make them, I also take requests. Need a guide to something and don’t see that it exists? Let me know. It’s a safe bet if you need it, so does someone else.

There’s a training option available for everyone. We can work it out to make sure you get the most from your CompanionOne system. Call me up. Get trained. Get certified. And add another feather to one of your many caps.

For more information and training material, or to sign up
for an upcoming training class, click the image to the right:

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