Extend Communications Inc. acquires All Call Communications

Posted July 6, 2004 in News

Extend Communications Inc., a telephone call centre and wireless messaging company headquartered in Brantford, announced today its expansion into the Greater Toronto Area with the purchase of 100% of the shares of All Call Communications, based in Georgetown.

“The All Call operation was a perfect fit within our ongoing expansion plans”, said Scott Lyons, President of Extend. “This acquisition gives us a solid client base in the GTA, and will open up further opportunities for our company in that market”, he added. All Call is a multiple winner of the Canadian Call Management Association’s Award of Excellence, and has been providing superior service for more than 20 years. As a 24-hour inbound call centre, Extend answers over 2 million telephone calls per year on behalf of over 750 clients. Calls vary from selling mail order products and lottery tickets, to dispatching a variety of service, medical, and emergency personnel.

Extend receives Award of Distinction from U.S.-based organization

Posted June 19, 2004 in News

Extend Communications Inc., of Brantford ON has been honored with the prestigious Call Center Award of Distinction by the Association of TeleServices International (ATSI). The industry’s Trade Association for providers of Call Center services including Inbound Order Desk/Help Desk and Web Enabled customer assistance recognized Extend Communications for their outstanding achievement at their 60th Annual Convention, held recently in Vancouver, BC.

The Call Center Award of Distinction was created in response to overwhelming requests by Call Centers across the United States for a tool which could be used to measure the skills of their professional Call Center Agents.

After six months of testing, an independent panel of judges scored call-handling skills for “enhanced service” applications, focusing attention on customer relationship management (CRM), courtesy, etiquette, and the use of proper call techniques, as well as response time and accuracy, the cornerstones of the Call Management Industry.

“The Award of Distinction is an impartial third party performance measure. Winning it indicates attention to detail, dedication, and commitment to customer service. The Award of Distinction was conceived to celebrate excellence in customer service for those Call Centers responding to the more complex requirements of e-commerce and consumer response.” Says ATSI President Steven Diels. “ATSI congratulates Extend Communications Inc.”

Now Call Centers across the United States have the opportunity to test the proficiency of their agents in true Call Center applications that did not fit into the original Award of Excellence profile offered by ATSI since 1996. The two programs will be run annually, giving both types of Call Management Centers an opportunity to `measure their skills’ against very demanding criteria.

Power failures – How to cope with your telephones

Posted September 15, 2003 in News

It’s been just over a month since 50 million people had to go without power for several hours and even days in parts of Canada and the United States. At Extend, years of experience, training, planning, and a fantastic effort by staff paid off. Our emergency generators kicked in automatically and ran throughout the crisis. Many staff members showed up for work when they weren’t even scheduled to be there. It was hot, and call volumes were double and triple the usual amounts. Callers were patient if they experienced a few extra rings on the line – and we didn’t miss a single phone call.

HOW DO I CALL FORWARD MY PHONE WHEN I DON’T HAVE HYDRO?

As you may know, a “regular” residential style telephone does not require electricity to operate. Business telephone systems are plugged into hydro, and unless you make plans ahead of time, you will have no phone service during a power outage. This also means that you cannot forward your phone to us if the power is off!!

WHAT TO DO: – Keep a regular telephone on hand around your office. This must be one that doesn’t require electricity (ie. Not cordless, etc). – Find your telephone system in your basement or equipment room, and look for the phone jack that it is plugged into. You can unplug the phone system and plug the regular phone into this jack. Call forward using *72 like usual. You can also talk to your telephone supplier about a “power fail” set. This type of set can be installed in your office for use during power failures. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any other concerns about what procedures should be in place on your account to deal with hydro outages. With a little bit of advance planning, our staff can help you minimize the effects of this kind of crisis.

Power outage fails to stop Cambridge communications firm

Posted August 19, 2003 in News

Marie-Lauren Gregoire
REPORTER STAFF

One business extended itself through the dark hours of the night as Cambridge, Ontario and most of the eastern United States were plunged into darkness during the massive power outage Thursday.

Extend Communications on Water Street operates 24 hours a day and they did not stop during the blackout. The communications company which provides essential services to many companies throughout the area was prepared for the power loss.

Extend answered calls for medical and oxygen supply, propane and ice supply companies and electrical and mechanical companies for repair and service for generators during the emergency. It also answered calls for obstetricians, midwives and veterinarians whose work goes on despite a blackout. The company also received a lot of calls for elevator companies as people found themselves stuck in one.

“A lot of companies rely on us to take their calls. A lot of companies, as soon as it happened, were calling us to say ‘are my calls coming through, will they be answered?” said Todd Lyons, vice-president of Extend.

“We’re always going to do our best to make sure we’re here and open.”

The call volume was very high during the hours of the blackout. Calls increased more than 50 per cent from 4 p.m. Thursday to midnight Friday. Lyons brought in more staff to deal with the barrage.

Call centre staff had to deal with a wide range of emergency calls. There were calls from nursing homes wanting propane delivery from their fuel companies and a Toronto communications company needing a generator.

He complimented his entire staff for the long hours they put in and their calm in dealing with hundreds of stressed customers.

“We’re used to some fairly urgent calls so for our business it was more than usual but not mind-boggling to us because we’ve always been a part of dispatching emergency calls,” said Lyons.

The generator powers some lighting in the building and the computers run on battery backup power. Extend ran for 23 hours on emergency backup power.

“Anyone who provides a service like that should be ready for eventualities like that,” said Lyons. “We helped out companies in other cities where their services weren’t as prepared as we were.”

Emergency situations like this one can test a company’s employees.

“It’s the staff,” said Lyons. “I can buy a generator but it’s having a dedicated team to work the equipment.”

Two Lyons follow similar paths in different cities Tuesday

Posted December 31, 2002 in News

BY GREG DUROCHER, COMMUNITY EDITORIAL BOARD
Cambridge Reporter

A typical day in the life of Scott Lyons, the president of the Brantford Chamber of Commerce and president of Extend Communications in Brantford, might be like this: Scott arrives at his Charlotte Street office at 8 a.m., settles in and calls over to the chamber office to confirm his meeting at 10 a.m.

At 10 a.m. Scott arrives at the Brantford chamber office for a meeting with Finance Minister John Manley to discuss business issues related to the federal budget, and puts forward chamber members’ concerns for the upcoming year.

After his hour-long meeting with the minister, Scott heads back to his office to tend to some daily work in the world of operating an “in-bound” call centre, and communications service provider. At 1:30 p.m., Scott heads out of his office again, and makes his way to City Hall, and a meeting with senior city management, and Mayor Chris Friel. Scott makes his way home to his wife and two kids at 6 p.m. after tending to the family business and community business in his role as Brantford chamber president.

Thirty-five kilometres north of Brantford, in his Water Street office is Todd Lyons, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce president and vice-president of Extend Communications in Cambridge.

He arrives at work between 8 a.m. and 8:15, pulls off his e-mail messages, and phone messages and responds to those who would be available at that time. Then he calls the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, to confirm his meeting at 11 a.m. with Mayor Doug Craig and CAO Don Smith.

Just before he leaves the office he gets a call from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce general manager (yours truly) who also suggests he remain at the Gateway after the meeting with the mayor, to meet and speak with Jane Stewart, the minister of human resources development Canada, and funny enough member of Parliament for Brantford.

Todd arrives at the Gateway (Cambridge Chamber of Commerce new building at Highway 401 and Hespeler Road) just before 11 a.m. The meeting covers such items as tourism operations, and taxation issues. Later Minister Stewart addresses issues around Human Resources funding programs. After heading back to his Water Street office, Todd makes his way home to wife Darlene at around 6 p.m., after tending to the family business and community business in his role as Cambridge chamber president.

Two very similar stories, two very committed and similar individuals. Maybe that is because they are also brothers.

Scott and Todd Lyons own and operate, in partnership, Extend Communications with offices in both Cambridge and Brantford. Both in their mid-30s, Scott with a young family, and Todd, a soon to be first-time father. And the most amazing part about this, is that they are both presidents of different chambers of commerce at the exact same time. An anomaly of sorts. In fact my investigations have found no other situation of this nature to ever happen in Canadian chamber history.

Scott is just finishing his term as chamber president in Brantford, next month, and his brother Todd is on a two-year term cycle that will have him lead the Cambridge chamber until June 2004. In a conversation I had recently with Scott, he feels very good about his work over the past year with the Brantford chamber, and he made it a point to develop good working relationships with all levels of government, but admittedly works harder on the relationships with the municipal level. The Brantford chamber struck some serious success in lobbying the city to do needs and service audits for all city departments. The chamber finally convinced them to tackle one department this past year, and much to the politicians’ and administration’s surprise it was a real benefit. He also led the chamber in the fight to get the Brantford airport reinstated as well, which is a real feather in the cap of the chamber.

However, Scott notes, that the effort to bringing to life the new image and brand for the Brantford chamber was a slower process.

“If there was anything that I wish I had seen the end of in my term, is the new image and new logo for the Brantford chamber completed,” Scott said.

Scott is proud of his brother Todd in Cambridge. Todd is diligent in his commitment to the business community as well, and has his sights set on making a difference.

Other than everything else I’ve talked about in this column, that has been similar, both Scott and Todd have the exact same focus on their volunteer roles in the chamber of commerce, and that is a sincere and deep belief that through business, by helping to maintain and create prosperity in our communities, we will provide a better community to raise our families in.

Along with their commitments to family, these two brothers have made it a priority to give back to their communities, and both of them do in so many ways.

They are both leaders, and both committed to quality of life issues. I take my hat off to Mr. and Mrs. Lyons, without you two we wouldn’t have such great leaders,and committed community members as your sons Scott and Todd.

On behalf of the members of the Brantford and Cambridge chambers of commerce, thank you Scott and Todd for your leadership and commitment.

You both have made a difference.

Wireless access to MLS database introduced to real estate market

Posted September 5, 2002 in News

An agreement between Extend Communications Inc. and the Brantford Regional Real Estate Association has given local real estate agents a hot new tool to assist them in selling homes. Agents of the local Board now have wireless access to Brantford and Brant County MLS listings through a two-way pager that allows access to listing information in the database. All new listings are also broadcast to the devices each day.

“I’m always on the go, and being able to lookup listings on the run is a huge advantage for me”, said Todd Stones, an agent with Avery Real Estate and one of the first to adopt the new technology.

“We are one of the first to implement this service for our members”, said BRREA President Kathy Smith. “There are only a handful of Boards across Canada who are as advanced as we are here in Brantford.”, Smith added.

Users of the system can key in the address or MLS number of any residential MLS listing in Brant/Brantford to access information on price, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, listing agent, etc. from anywhere in the coverage area. In addition, users can opt to have all new listings and price information sent to the pager on a daily basis. Coverage can be programmed as national or even international for those agents who need access to information from out of province or even out of country. In addition to being able to receive listing updates, the new pagers also function as an email device, and a regular pager.

Unlike larger Boards who made significant capital investments to implement a wireless solution, BRREA convinced Extend to develop a system in-house and to provide it to local agents for free. “We are very excited to have been able to develop this system for members of the local real estate association. It was a natural fit for us, and it’s a great service enhancement for local agents dealing with the strong housing market here in Brantford”, said Extend President Scott Lyons.