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!

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.

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.

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