Volunteers Speaking

Home Health:

Look Twice: Postage

Radio Advertising

Software Strategy:

Utilities and Capital

Insurance at RVCC

Pharmacy

With Lions’ Eyes

Pens for Hire

Corrections or additions?

Customer Service: Not a Mystery

Mystery shopping is no mystery, says Mark Csordos,

founder and president of C&S Mystery Shoppers Inc., a customer service

consulting company in East Brunswick (732-432-5533, E-mail:

tree871@aol.com).

"Mystery shoppers pose as customers and formally rate their

shopping

experiences. Companies use mystery shopping to get an objective view

of their customer service."

Is customer service so important that you need to hire another company

to grade your company? Apparently so. Research has shown that

retaining

only five percent more customers, can make up to a 75 percent

difference

in profits. Customers are delighted with great service. Delighted

customers are loyal and loyal customers increase profits.

Csordos speaks on customer service Thursday, January 21, at 7 p.m.

at Encore Books in the Princeton Shopping Center. Call 609-252-0608.

He will offer tips on how you can turn good service into great

service,

handling complaints, and how to provide great service online.

His comments are included in the book "Celebrate Customer

Service,"

edited by business writer Rick Crandall. Csordos, along with

10 other experts, discuss the value of customer service, service

skills,

and how to implement great service. Published by Select Press, the

book is priced at $14.95.

Another meeting on this topic, sponsored by the International Customer

Service Association, will present Robert G. Maher speaking on

"Customer Service: the Need for a Process Focus," at the

Newark

Airport Marriott on the same day, Thursday, January 21, at 5:30 p.m.

Cost: $50. Call Bruce Silverman at 973-285-4141.

"All companies already have mystery shoppers," says Csordos,

"but most of them never give you feedback. Every customer who

deals with you is making his or her own mental ratings of your

service.

When employees know a customer might be turning in a written

evaluation

of their performance, it is only natural that they try harder."

Csordos has a degree in communications from Rutgers and has been

featured

in the New York Times, Vogue, and Business Start Ups. He has appeared

on the national radio program "Shopping Smart" with Phil

Lempert. His clients include firms in the grocery, banking, hotel,

and restaurant industries, including ShopRite, Pizza Hut, and the

New Jersey State Lottery.

In the past mystery shopping was sometimes used to find out what

employees

were doing wrong. It is more sophisticated today and many companies

use mystery shopping to find out what employees are doing right, says

Csordos. "The data mystery shoppers provide can be used as an

objective way to reward employees, as well as to uncover problems

in your operation. The reports can be used as a training device to

help train new employees to avoid common mistakes made in the

past."

You can also use mystery shoppers to evaluate your competitors and

benchmark yourself against them. Csordos suggests asking your

employees

to shop your competitors. "They will have unique insights about

customer interactions and if they can help create the forms they are

rated and rewarded on they will be less suspicious of the

process."

A good mystery shopping program is one where everyone in the company

knows what is going on and why, says Csordos. The only mystery is

the exact time at which it’s being done and by whom. The mystery

shopper

could be a college student, a mother of two, or a senior citizen.

Besides making in-person visits, mystery shoppers can be used on the

phone, online, or any other way a customer might interact with you.

Csordos lists some good and bad service received by actual mystery

shoppers. Good service:

Employees who accommodate customers’ slightly unusual

requests.

For example, "Can I return an item from Store A to Store B?"

This costs relatively little money, but creates a lot of good will.

Deli employees who offer tastes of products without being

asked.

If a customer is looking for an out-of-stock item, they

are given a substitution for a comparable item instead of a rain check

or being told, "Sorry, we’re out."

Stores that allow customers to use competitors’ coupons

or rain checks to prevent customers from shopping at that store.

Bad service:

Employees who complain about how they hate to work there

while they are waiting on customers. (This is a frequent experience.)

Employees who bad-mouth their boss or, worse, other

customers,

while waiting on customers.

Employees who won’t look. In supermarkets, a common

response

asking if there is any more of an item is, "If it’s not on the

shelf, we don’t have it."

Horseplay. A shopper observed two employees throwing eggs

at each other down one of the aisles. A customer was splashed with

some yolk.

Costs can vary widely between mystery shopping companies, says

Csordos. A good company guarantees its work and checks its customer

service. "If their customer service isn’t good, how can they help

you improve yours? In this case, you are the customer and they have

to meet your needs."

Great customer service is a key differentiation in attracting

customers

and mystery shopping is a tool to deliver great service, says Csordos.

"Studies show that 96 percent of dissatisfied customers never

complain, they just never return. Providing great customer service

is what keeps customers from coming back."

— Teena Chandy

Top Of Page
Volunteers Speaking

If you are going to make a talk, your most likely

mistake

is that you will try to tell everything you know instead of gearing

everything to the listener’s interests. "It is your presentation,

but it is all about them," says Sallie Goodman, founder

of Public Presentations Inc. "Gear the message to the specific

audience."

Goodman will give one of the workshop sessions for "Community

Works," the convention for volunteers organized by Marge Smith

of Community Works and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Princeton on

Thursday, January 28, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Princeton University’s

Woodrow

Wilson School. The cost is $20 including the box supper. Each

participant

attends two workshops: Register with your first three choices of

workshops

by January 23. Send checks to Rotary Club, 283 Nassau Street,

Princeton

08540, or call 609-924-8652 for information.

Wayne Meisel of the Bonner Foundation has the keynote address.

The workshops include: "The ABCs of Building a Team" and

"Why

Do You Need the Money?" Barbara Blumenthal teaches

"Strategic

Planning for Boards and Organizations" and Smith leads

"Working

with Volunteer Boards." Linda Meisel, formerly of Corner House,

discusses how to maximize the effectiveness of volunteers.

Nancy Kieling of Princeton Area Community Foundation and a panel

of seven tell how to access foundation and corporate funding. On the

panel are Tom Borden of the Mary Owen Borden Foundation, Mark

Murphy of the Fund for New Jersey, Dianne Vatalero of

American

Reinsurance, Barbara Rambo of First Union Regional Foundation,

and Debra Perez of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s local health

initiatives program. "Planning a Successful Fund Raiser" is

the topic for Andy Armstrong of the Eden Institute and Anne

Borella, immediate past president of the Rotary Club, Princeton

Corridor.

"Public Relations is the Key to Visibility" will be addressed

by Pam Hersh, former editor of the Princeton Packet, now with

Princeton University, Barbara Fox of U.S. Newspaper, and

Laura

Harris of cable television. Tom Sullivan of Princeton

Partners

teaches "Marketing: Can You Afford Not To?"

Goodman is an actress, director, and teacher who trained at the Royal

Academy of Dramatic Arts, had a career in the theater and television,

and opened her business in Princeton in 1984. She coaches corporate

and private clients and provide videotapes to each. "The reason

people don’t have the message clear is that they are not aware of

what they can cut out, so they ramble," says Goodman. "I have

found that as the delivery improves, the message improves."

Find out everything you can about your audience. Do your

homework, says Goodman. "If you have something worthwhile telling,

you sell it differently to different kinds of customers."

Use the "You" word in catch phrases such as

"You

might be interested in this," or "If you are interested in

saving money, this is a good way." Saying the "you" word

lets people believe that you understand their interests and understand

their worries. You are "playing" to peoples’ self interest.

"You can be very nervous, but if you acquire the skills of

effective

speaking the audience doesn’t know you are nervous," says Goodman.

Don’t identify with your stage fright. Realize that stage

fright is something everybody has. If you identify with your fright,

you are likely to talk in a monotone or talk too fast to cover up

the nervousness. "You don’t identify with your fear any more than

you identify with your headache," she says, "You can have

a headache and make a good speech. It is a retraining of the thought

process."

Program your own mental tapes Reverse the "fright"

tapes: "Will I do a good job? Do I look all right? Will I remember

everything?" Instead, let these tapes run through your head: "I’m

here to give you some good news. I really care about you."

Says Goodman: If, in your head, you really care about the other

person, you will overcome your fright.

Top Of Page
Home Health:

Compliance Plans

Do you need to know the latest legal requirements for

a home health provider corporate compliance plan? Or what to do when

the Federal Office of Health and Human Services shows up at your door

with a subpoena?

If you are associated with a home health provider or consult for one,

you may be interested in a "nuts and bolts" seminar organized

by the Tamborlane & Printz law firm on Friday, January 22, from 8:30

a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the New Jersey Hospital Association, 760

Alexander

Road. Cost: $60. Call 908-789-7977 for information.

Providers of home health care services face an ever more complex array

of federal and state requirements that call for strict compliance

and carry severe penalties for non-compliance. Attendees will gain

practical guidance on their legal, operational, reporting, and audit

responsibilities.

The kinds of care that are provided in the home setting include

skilled

nursing services. Once the patient’s home health care needs are

accessed

by a nurse, the care plan can call for the administration of IV drugs,

arranging for a home health aide for assistance in getting in and

out of bed, and buying or renting durable medical equipment such as

wheelchairs.

For the uninitiated, corporate compliance is a term that has evolved

over the past few years that describes directives from the United

States Office of the Inspector General (OIG) out of the Department

of Health and Human Services for any agency or company that provides

home care services. These directives tell home health providers what

the government expects them to have in place to ensure proper patient

billing services and to prevent fraud, abuse or waste.

"The government’s scrutiny of the billing and operational

practices

of these home health providers followed the growth of the home health

care industry over the last five years, which has meant more money

being drawn down out of federal and state coffers in the form of

federal

Medicare program and the state Medicaid programs," says

Theodosia

(Theo) A. Tamborlane, a principal at Tamborlane and Printz in

Mountainside

(908-789-7977).

"The OIG is not looking for just paper compliance, they want to

see that the company audits billing and operational practices and

then — based on those audits — takes steps to correct the

problem," says Tamborlane. "OIG is looking for problems in

a number of areas: billing for services not rendered, billing for

unnecessary services, duplicate billing, falsification of records

(nursing notes or medical plans of care), type of admission and

discharge,

insufficient documentation — if the agency is operating in a joint

venture with physicians — and if so, are the physicians getting

any form of kickback."

OIG requires a home health agency to have a "top down and bottom

up" program and everyone within the agency — from a nurse

to a receptionist to the billing clerk — must participate in a

training program, at a minimum of once a year. The training program

focuses what the company is doing in regards to fraud and abuse and

continual corporate compliance.

According to Tamborlane, one of the most interesting aspects of the

program will be a discussion on what to do when you get a call from

a state or federal agency or if they arrive at your doorstep to do

an audit. James Vaules, director of government relations at

the National Fraud Center, will lead this seminar segment. One likely

point of discussion: Do you have to have to let federal or state

agents

in if they show up as your door?

The answer is "yes" if they have a search warrant but not

necessarily if they have only a subpoena.

The result of an audit is a report that may in turn result in a

subpoena

or a search warrant. "In reality this is happening nationwide

to many agencies as the OIG and other federal and state agencies go

forward with their investigations of home care," says Tamborlane.

"Over the past five years the federal government poured millions

of dollars into their fraud and abuse detection programs and they

now are linked to the state agencies so that many times there will

be joint investigations."

Making sure individual staff members know what to do in the event

a search warrant is served is very important. "You want to train

your people, particularly your front desk staff, to know who to call

immediately and how to respond," said Tamborlane. "If a

strange

person walks into the office and says `get up from your desk and walk

across the room and don’t move’ the office staff person should ask

`May I please see a search warrant and your identification’."

This happened to Cathedral Hospital in Newark several years ago.

"They

(federal agents) walked in with search warrants and the employees

got up from their desks, went into a different room and they took

out computers and everything," said Tamborlane.

Tamborlane’s law firm partner, Rebecca Printz, will participate

in the seminar as will Joseph Aiello, a home care administrator

for 20 years, who will describe the "how to" of operational

compliance focusing on nursing practices and billing procedures. Also

presenting will be Richard Serluco CPA, who will provide

compliance

procedures relative to cost reports and intermediary audits.

Tamborlane, 56, graduated summa cum laude from Drew University with

a BA in political science, holds an MPA degree in human resources

management from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a law degree from

Seton Hall. Prior to founding the law firm in 1989, she was of counsel

with Riker Danzig Scherer and Hyland. She has been deputy attorney

general assigned to the New Jersey Department of Health and a law

clerk with the United States Attorney’s office.

Tamborlane hopes that seminar attendees come away from the program

with the realization that home care providers must do two things:

1.) Set up a compliance program. Even insurers, not just

the government, are now asking to see corporate compliance plans as

a prerequisite for insurance reimbursement.

2.) Have a blueprint for how to do such a program tailored

to your company since no two home health companies are the same.

Home care providers need to know, says Tamborlane, that there

are professionals out there who can help them both initially and on

an ongoing basis.

— Jeff Lippincott

Top Of Page
Look Twice: Postage

Look twice before you pay too much for postage. Yes,

the price of the first stamp went up by a penny. But the price for

a two-ounce letter remains the same, and any other first-class letter

is now less expensive than before.

For example, the three-ounce letter was 78 cents and is now 77 cents.

Five ounces was $1.24 and is now $1.21. Seven ounces is now $1.65

but had been a nickel more. And 11 ounces is $2.53 but used to be

$2.62.

Nevertheless, priority mail has had a big increase. You used to pay

$3 for up to two pounds, and now it is $3.20. For each pound you pay

10 cents more than before. A package of four to five pounds costs

$6.50.

Top Of Page
Radio Advertising

If you think advertising on television is outrageously

expensive, and your business needs the advertising, you can choose

another medium that can be just as effective. The ubiquitous radio.

And considering how busy people are these days and the time everybody

spends on the road, your radio audience could be just as big as your

television audience. All you have to do is make them listen.

The Studio by MDL Inc. at 210 Scotch Road, Trenton 08628

(609-771-8788;

fax, 609-631-0177) was founded in 1997 and moved to this location

late last year. It is the only commercial facility within a 50-mile

radius from Trenton, claims Dave Micanko, president.

Almost any product that can be advertised on television can be

advertised

on the radio, says Micanko. "What matters is quality." Micanko

notes that the radio is being used more than television in this area.

Most consumer and service-based products can be advertised on the

radio, he says. Exceptions would be niche products such as new

technologies

and transportation businesses.

The studio does commercial recording for television, radio,

voice-overs,

corporate commercials, and music, analog and digital. Bobbie

Jones,

the manager, is chiefly responsible for production. Jones and Micanko

write, record, and produce for their clients, which include radio

stations, advertising agencies, and film makers. Simple radio

commercials

may be completed in a week, but working on big budget accounts can

take six months to a year.

Micanko, the owner, is an alumnus of Mercer Community College’s

telecommunications

program. Jones, who went to Trenton State, comes from an engineering

background and has been in the commercial recording field for about

a decade. A musician himself, Jones has four albums to his credit.

Background music, animation, etc. are some of the tools used to grab

the attention of the listener or viewer, which is the whole purpose

of advertising. Budweiser, says Jones, made a whole line of ads with

a frog, and everybody’s talking about it. It all depends on "what

you say and how you say it."

— Teena Chandy

Top Of Page
Software Strategy:

Unified Language

Different software development teams can now share

models

because the symbols used in their models and the semantics of those

symbols is consistent. The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is the

new standard for object-and component-based analysis and design of

software systems. Lou Varveris and George Leibman will

discuss UML in a joint meeting of the Princeton ACM/IEEE on Thursday,

January 21, at 8 p.m. at the Sarnoff Center. The meeting is free;

students accompanied by parents are welcome. A dinner with the

speakers

will be at 6 p.m. at the Rusty Scupper. Reservations are needed for

the dinner. Call 609-924-8704 for information.

Varveris majored in engineering at the College of Staten Island and

has a master’s with graduate engineering work in communication theory,

from Polytechnic University. He has worked at Unisys and is now

product

manager for object technologies at Popkin Software.

Leibman majored in mathematics at MIT and has a master’s from

Polytechnic

University. He has done graduate work in database theory at Harvard

University and is getting his PhD in math from CUNY Graduate Center.

He has worked in Handwriting Recognition at IBM’s Watson Research

Center, and developed real-time retail pricing display systems.

Leibman

implements object and component-based technology at Popkin Software.

They will explain UML notation and semantics, why UML is useful, what

problems it introduces, and how it integrates with other

methodologies.

They will also show how a leading modeling tool vendor has implemented

UML, both semantically and notationally, to provide better insight

into UML.

Top Of Page
Utilities and Capital

Learn about how to save money on your company’s electric

bill at a conference on deregulation sponsored by the New Jersey

Technology

Council (NJTC) on Thursday, January 21, at 8 a.m. at the Princeton

Plasma Physics Lab. Choose from six forums for $200.

The conference, entitled "Where Utilities, Communications, and

Deregulation Converge," will include topics such as Communications

Technology and Utility Industry Restructuring, Impact of Electric

Utility Restructuring on Telecommunications Industry, Role of the

Advanced Customer Communications Systems in the Deregulated Energy

Market, Competition in Utility Metering and Billing Systems (Lessons

Learned from California and the UK), Regulatory Issues, Technology

and Software Issues Related to the Utility Industry.

Learn how to get money for your company at a Capital Conference, also

sponsored by the NJTC, at the New Jersey Hospital Association on

Friday,

January 29, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost: $140. Scott Baxter,

president and CEO of Icon CMT Corp., will give the keynote. Panels

will address state tax credits, private equity, sales and mergers

as exit strategies, IPO outlook, financing technology companies,

growth

by acquisition, and joint ventures/strategic partnering.

Caren Franzini, executive director of New Jersey Economic

Development

Authority, moderates a panel with Michael Batelli of Arthur

Andersen; Lee Evans of the New Jersey Division of Taxation;

Pat Lang, CFO of Sensar; and David Shipley of Dechert

Price & Rhoads.

John Martinson of the Edison Venture Fund discusses private

equity with Victor Boyajian of Sills Cummis et al, Gerard

DiFiore of Reed Smith Shaw & McClay, Perry Pappas of Buchanan

Ingersoll, and Ned Prentice of BT Alex Brown.

Exiting via a sale or merger is the topic for John Aiello of

Giordano Halleran & Ciesla, along with Brendan Gougher of

PricewaterhouseCoopers,

James Hunter of Janney Montgomery Scott, and W. David

Tarver

of Bowthorpe Inc. Buchanan Ingersoll’s David Sorin tells about

IPOs with Brian Hughes of Arthur Andersen, Mark

Kuperschmid

of NationsBanc Montgomery Securities, David Proctor of Janney

Montgomery Scott, and Tom Werthan, CFO of Emcore.

Mike Nelson, executive vice president of PNC, tells how to

finance

technology companies with the help of Progress Bank’s Steven

Hobman

and Silicon Valley Bank’s Ash Lilani. Steven Cohen of

Morgan Lewis & Bockus plus Jeffrey Dunne of

PricewaterhouseCoopers

cover growth by acquisition. James Marino of Dechert Price &

Rhoads talks about joint ventures and strategic partnering with

executives

from two pharmaceutical firms, Ronald Pepin of Bristol-Myers

Squibb and Lewis J. Shuster of Pharmacopeia.

To register for either conference call 609-452-1010.

Top Of Page
Insurance at RVCC

Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) is offering

an insurance option in Business Management this spring. This new

option

is the result of a collaboration between RVCC and representatives

from the Independent Insurance Agents of New Jersey, Chubb Group of

Insurance Companies, Hunterdon County Polytech, and Thomas Edison

State College. The degree includes specialized courses in property

and liability insurance, personal insurance, commercial insurance,

sales agency management, and multiple lines in insurance production.

RVCC is also offering English I, Web Page Development, Javascript,

Java, Internet Navigation, and Global Patterns of Racism, through

the Internet this spring. To participate in this Web-based course,

students must have a personal computer with access to the World Wide

Web, a browser, and the ability to send and receive E-mail. To find

out about on-line courses, E-mail:

infodesk@rvcc.raritanval.edu

or call 908-231-8819.

Spring semester begins Wednesday, January 20. Late registration

extends

to Tuesday, January 26. Call 908-218-8861.

Top Of Page
Pharmacy

Fellowship

Bristol-Myers Squibb is donating $500,000 over a

five-year

period to establish a fellowship program at Rutgers’ College of

Pharmacy

that will allow graduate students to conduct cutting-edge research

and work with the company’s scientists. The Bristol-Myers Fellowship

Program in Pharmaceutics will fund one post-doctoral and two

pre-doctoral

fellowships annually for students interested in conducting

pharmaceutics

research. Pharmaceutics involves the development of innovative and

more efficient delivery systems for new drugs.

Pharmaceutics is a highly competitive field, and there is a great

demand for graduates who are trained in modern pharmaceutics research,

says John L. Colaizzi, dean of the College of Pharmacy. "We

are very excited about the Bristol-Myers Squibb Fellowship program,

because it will help us to continue to attract the very best students

from throughout the nation and support them in a way that best

facilitates

their education and research progress." Bristol-Myers Squibb

fellows

will have the opportunity to conduct research, gain high-tech skills

and interact closely with scientists at one of the nation’s leading

research based pharmaceutical companies.

"These fellowships are an expression of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s

recognition of the importance of drug delivery research and will

ensure

a steady stream of well-trained research scientists in this area,"

says Kenneth Weg, B-MS executive vice president. The fellowships

are renewable annual appointments and candidates will be selected

based on prior academic achievement, involvement in professional

activities,

and leadership potential.

The pharmaceutics department, established in 1985, conducts from $1

to $2 million in research annually. Current initiatives include

studying

new methods to improve vaccine effectiveness and delivery; identifying

enzymes that can enhance the performance of medications used to treat

cancer and AIDS; and isolating specific genes that could be used to

deliver drug therapy into the body to treat ovarian and breast cancer.

Top Of Page
With Lions’ Eyes

Lions Clubs worldwide support efforts to improve sight.

For the northeast, George Johnson, 609-882-3332, is in charge

of collecting used eyeglasses and processing them for clubs located

from Maine through Maryland.

Glasses may be donated to drop-off points hosted by the club or to

the Lenscrafters location at MarketFair. Glasses are processed at

the Katzenbach School in Trenton and by inmates at Avenel and are

sent to such countries as Bolivia, Mexico, San Domingo, and the

Philippines.

Volunteers are needed at the recycling center at the Katzenbach School

to process these glasses on Fridays at 6 p.m. on January 29, February

26, and March 26. The center has processed more than a million

eyeglasses.

Stanley Pukash is in charge of the New Jersey Lions Eye Bank

(908-879-6591) and George Vinci is president of the Delaware

Valley Lions Eye Bank. The eye banks seek donated eye tissue and

supply

corneas for transplant — corneas are available in New Jersey for

those in need. For information on the Lions, call 800-554-6675.

Top Of Page
Pens for Hire

The Mercer County Writers’ Collective has updated its

free directory of professional writers, "Pens for Hire: the

Directory

of Professional Writers."

The collective will not admit fledgling writers looking for guidance,

nor does it include those who write only fiction. "Our collective

includes a diverse group of nonfiction freelance writers, including

authors, journalists, editors, and public relations specialists who

have been meeting monthly since January, 1997," says Robin

K. Levinson, founder of the group and formerly the health columnist

at the Times of Trenton. "If you are looking for a wordsmith to

pen your biography, corporate communications expert to write your

press release or brochure, or a top-flight journalist to write stories

for your newspaper, magazine, or newsletter, you have come to the

right place."

The directory includes one-page biographical sketches of members with

specialties ranging from business, finance, and health, to travel,

parenting, psychology, education, and entertainment. For a free copy

of the directory call Marie Recine at 609-584-7724 or E-mail

recines@erols.com. For information on joining the group call

Levinson

at 609-584-9330 or E-mail: levinson@ixnetcom.com. Websites

are at http://www.trampsteamer.com/mcwc or

http://community.nj.com/cc/writers.

Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

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