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.

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 – 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.

The personal touch

Like everybody else, I am a consumer.  I purchase products from many different companies.  However, as I think about those companies, I can’t say that I have a personal attachment to any of them.  I wouldn’t think twice about buying my next video game from Target instead of Best Buy.  To me, they’re all the same.  All except one.  I am fiercely loyal to Publix, a grocery store chain here in Florida.  I could cut my grocery bill by $20 by shopping at Wal-Mart.  But what sets Publix apart is CJ and Beth.  CJ is the bagger that often bags my groceries.  Beth is a clerk that often rings up my order.  CJ likes to go bowling on Friday and Saturday nights at the local alley.  Beth has a Pomeranian named Felix.  They both greet me warmly and I believe they sincerely mean it when they wish me a good evening.  I’m not the only one who feels that a personal touch makes for a better customer experience.  Here’s one of many articles available online about the topic – http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/104972.

Cheyenne - Tech Support

This same attitude is what you get when you contact Tel-Tron.  This isn’t just a job for us, it’s our career and we enjoy doing it.  We give you plenty of options to contact us – online inquiries, online ordering, email, web cases.  But if you prefer to talk to a person, we’re here for you.

Brooke - Account Support

Brooke will answer virtually any question you have.  She’s getting ready to close on her first home, by the way.

Leah will field all of your invoice and billing questions.  She just had a baby boy.

Damon or I will solve all of your technical woes.  I’m a Wisconsin sports fanatic and Damon is a movie buff.

Damon - Tech Support

Sam might call you for a courtesy call and see if there’s anything you need.  She’s in our Phoenix office and enjoys attending music events.

Sam - Customer Success

We all develop relationships with our customers over time.  You’re not just another customer to us.  We’re your partner in ensuring the life safety of your residents.  We work together to keep your emergency call system working as you need it to work.  We understand how important your nurse call system is to you and why it’s important that it be reliable and running 24 hours a day.  We offer 24-hour emergency technical support.  When you call that number, you’re talking to Damon or me at home, not a call center somewhere else.

Whether you call us, email us, fax us, order online or create a web case online, we’re here for you.

Tel-Tron Technologies: Proudly Made in the USA

“Made in the USA”

Tel-Tron Technologies - Made in the USA

So I’m sitting on my couch this Memorial Day and it occurs to me being “Made in the USA” means more than a label on the bottom of a toy, although even finding one of those is becoming less and less likely without really making an effort to make that choice.  America’s rich tradition in manufacturing lives on at places like Holgate toys, Orb Audio and Tel-Tron Technologies.  Now I’m obviously a little partial to things “Made in the USA”, I don’t own a foreign car and I do my best to buy products that are made here or at least have an investment in our nation’s success.  I also get to choose where I work and what that says.  I work for Tel-Tron for a lot of reasons; one of them is that it’s an American owned and operated company.  I’ve worked for some pretty big technology companies in the past and the difference between an American owned company and foreign owned and operated company can be quite different when it comes to culture, decision making process and service.  Even taking small parts of your business and moving them offshore can prove to be an alienating and frustrating experience for business partners and customers.

Imagine that your new emergency call system is made by a company like ChinaCorp Healthcare Systems and you’ve been buying these systems for years, as a matter of fact you just put them in your new flagship community and proudly display your use of their product on your corporate website.  As luck would have it three years ago the manufacturer of your emergency call systems, China Corp Healthcare Systems had problems meeting their government mandated margins so they stopped their once semi-rigorous testing process in order to push more product out the door faster.  ChinaCorp Healthcare Systems makes lots of things; they also make defibrillators, thermometers and fluorescent light bulbs for the waiting room.  As the emergency call systems are rushed off of the assembly line and boxed so that resources can be diverted to the outgoing defibrillators twenty customers were just shipped the liability of a lifetime.  Nothing was tested, even though ChinaCorp Healthcare just started getting new memory chips from a new vendor.  Nothing was tested, even though their plant flooded last month and hadn’t been inspected or recertified by any regulatory agency.  Nothing was tested.

Things seem to be going pretty well it’s been a few years and no one has noticed any problems with ChinaCorp Healthcare’s new emergency call systems.  It’s Friday, because this sort of thing always happens on Friday, the phone rings and the IT administrator for your company calls and says there is a problem with the emergency call systems at your properties.  It’s “just stopped working” and it seems to have happened at three or four communities at once, he thinks you’d better get down there.

It’s the memory chip from the new vendor; it’s failed in fifty percent of systems.  ChinaCorp found out about it last month, they’ve been working on a new source for the problematic memory chips; the old vendor is making hard drives now.  They think they can have some replacements made in about four weeks and then there’s that six weeks to ship them here, by boat.  No ChinaCorp Healthcare doesn’t have an Engineer that can come over and take a look, no they don’t care that you’re inconvenienced, no they can’t find a temporary solution, no they don’t care when you talk to their technical support representative in Malaysia and get the runaround instead of the truth about what is happening.  As you contemplate the next ten weeks of operations, having to run your communities without emergency call systems it washes over you.  You remember when this happened last year it was a similar problem with your computer, it was a bad memory chip, you called Dell and they were there on Saturday, new chip, computer working.  I should have bought “Made in the USA”.  Here’s a link to a pro manufacturing in China blog, even pro outsourcing advocates understand the risk and difficulty of manufacturing goods in China and ensuring the quality is acceptable.

“Made in the USA” has always been synonymous with Made with Pride.  Nothing has changed.  I see the rigor with which Tel-Tron employees ensure the quality and reliability of their products every day.  It’s a level of dedication and loyalty that is hard to find.  I’ve seen our company make mistakes, it’s what happens after the mistake that differs us from ChinaCorp Healthcare.  We have integrity that doesn’t waiver.  Every product is “Made in the USA” and because we take pride in that, it has to mean more than where the equipment is manufactured.  Yes it’s manufactured here, yes it’s designed here, yes it’s supported here but so what, how does that make us any better than the next guy?  It’s a matter of pride, ownership and commitment.  It’s the ability to respond to an assembly line problem immediately, not weeks later.  We walk through our manufacturing floor every day.  We use the products that came off of the line every day.  We hold ourselves accountable and take pride in what we produce every day.

If you have ever bought an emergency call system from a company like ChinaCorp Healthcare then you have probably never met their CEO.  Their executive staff is probably never in your buildings.  The people that actually make the equipment that you count on to protect and even save lives is likely made by people that have no idea what the culture in your community is like, the pressure to never miss a call, the look of disappointment in the family members of those we have been entrusted to protect when their “widget” fails.  Our manufacturing team understands the nature of our partnership; they have spent time in your communities.  They understand that they are charged with manufacturing a product that they would trust to save their own mother’s life.  I doubt that anyone at ChinaCorp Healthcare has a family member in your community.  My grandmother passed away of natural causes in one of your communities, it had a Tel-Tron emergency call system.  She used it often and without fail.  My story isn’t unique.  Over half of our senior management team has had a loved one under our joint care; in your community and using our emergency call system.  We all sleep well every evening.  We know that we’re right around the corner.  We know that there are no lengths that we won’t endeavor to ensure that safety of or our charges.  We take pride in what “Made in the USA” means and we ensure that pride is reflected in the quality of every product, installation and customer interaction.

Enough Already. The PC has to go!

Dig hole in sand....Insert head!

All you have to do is read words in this picture, which was taken by one of our salespeople when touring a community that just installed a new emergency call system from a competitor.  WOW!  I cannot believe that someone would actually write that memo – clearly aware of the implications of not obeying – and think that just writing a note makes everything OK.

IT’S NOT OK!   You are tasked with making sure that a resident’s call for help gets answered.  And for lots of reasons, including this one, a personal computer is a completely inappropriate engine for an nurse call system.  In case you can’t read the picture, here is what it says.

“Please do not use this computer to go onto the internet.  This computer runs our nurse call system and is vitally important.  Thanks, Jane.”

Jane – Rather than writing a memo, you should have thrown that system out and replaced it with one that is not computer based.  Can any of you think of a single system that is a life safety device that runs on a Windows computer?  Please leave a comment to this post if you can.

Defibrillators? No.  Airplane Avionics?  No.  Dialysis Equipment? No.  Automobile Electronics?  No.

When you hear about someone who is on “life support,” do you think it would be wise to have that equipment run by a Windows computer?  No way.  So why is it OK to put the lives of senior living residents in the temperamental control of a Windows personal computer?  Short answer….It isn’t!  They freeze up.  They need rebooting.  Software needs updating.  They aren’t battery backed up for longer than a few minutes.  Really the list is endless.

Staff can close the program.  Staff can turn them off (on purpose, or on accident).  And, as in the case captured in this picture, staff can browse the internet while calls for help go unanswered.  It simply isn’t necessary.

On an enterprise quality nurse call system, the main servers, switches, routers and gateways use embedded systems, industrial microcontrollers, sophisticated power supplies, elaborate supervision and battery back-up methodologies.  There are design tolerances measured in sub-1% range.  User GUIs are browser based and access data on the system, but do not control the system.  Visit Auditrak.com, for an example of a killer call system GUI that resides in the cloud.

As I looked at the picture in the beginning of this article, I was so frustrated at the lack of seriousness with which Jane took her role as caregiver.  In fairness, Jane probably did not select that system.  Someone at her corporate office, who doesn’t have to respond to an emergency call – ever – probably picked it as a result of their beauraucratic purchasing system.  Still…the kind of compromise and accommodation Jane is forced into is simply not necessary.  There are other options.

%d bloggers like this: