Vendor Profile: Startel

Startel contact center software that delivers happiness to your customers

For forty years, Startel has been providing cutting-edge solutions to the answering service industry. Including Alston Tascom, also celebrating forty years, and Professional Teledata (PTD) at thirty-seven years, they have a combined 117-year history of serving the market. Yes, they were not around when the telephone was invented in 1876, but in the last forty years, they have seen some major changes in the industry.

When Startel was founded in 1980, the world was connected by copper wire, all controlled by AT&T and Ma Bell. Every single answering service needed to be near or within a quarter of a mile of a phone company’s central office. Today they have thousands of providers and can have agents working from anywhere in the world. With 2020 being a year that everyone will remember, they are thankful for the huge strides telephony and their software platforms have made in the last forty years.

While technology and telephony have shaped the design of their software, founder Don Berry’s vision and passion for the industry and their customers is still alive today at Startel. His desire was to create a system to connect the world and keep the needs of the customer as the beacon that guides them. Don made sure that everyone on his team was aware that gaining customers and maintaining lifelong relationships with them and meeting their needs in a timely and professional manner were the keys to the future success of Startel. 

Flagship Platform—Startel CMC

With the acquisitions of PTD’s PInnacle and the Tascom platforms in the last few years, they experienced many “Wow, I wish our platform did that” moments within their company and from their customers. As a result, they have taken those “wow” features and incorporated them into the Startel Contact Management Center (CMC). With their upcoming CMC 16.0 release, customers will be presented an entirely new way to manage actions—or as some call them, priorities. Dispatchers will be able to see a live view of all the actions in queue and how long until the next dispatch step will be completed. Many more enhancements and must-have features are packed into the 16.0 release, so stay tuned for details.

Flex Agent Interface (FAI)

They took their four-square classic agent interface and converted it to be flexible. This new design allows agents to process calls easily and quickly by allowing them to move vital information where they need it. Designed with dockable windows, FAI allows agents to take full advantage of large and multiple monitors. Join the FAI revolution and design a screen layout that gives agents what they need to see when they need to see it. 

Secure Messaging Solutions

In today’s mobile and fast-paced world, the use of secure messaging applications has become the preferred channel of communication among business and institutional professionals as well as technicians in the field. It’s quicker, more efficient, and less invasive than a phone call. Startel offers two solutions to meet their customer’s secure messaging needs. 

Accessible from the web or an application downloaded to one’s smartphone or tablet, Secure Messaging Plus (SM+) offers a secure, HIPAA-compliant way to safely exchange sensitive information via text. SM+ users can maintain HIPAA compliance with data encryption in transit and at rest. Users can also control message expiration, send attachments, track message status, forward messages, and reply to an entire group. 

The Secure Message Gateway (SMG) allows users to send and receive electronic protected healthcare information to the most popular messaging providers. They have deployed integrations with TigerConnect, Halo, and pMD, with more being added in the future. The SMG provides the opportunity to work with healthcare organizations that have a secure message platform they prefer to keep. Agents can seamlessly dispatch to these other secure messaging providers without having to access a third-party solution. 

SoftSwitch 2.0

Their second generation SoftSwitch continues to be installed and deployed across all three of their platforms. SoftSwitch has solid stability due to their years of coding and development expertise. They are developing new features and functionality to the SoftSwitch, and as their clients’ teams get comfortable with the interface, they’ll be able to handle some of the programming themselves. The SoftSwitch is a native SIP platform, enabling the integration of SIP-trunking and utilizing the latest VoIP protocols while allowing the use of analog, T-1, and PRI circuits.

SoftSwitch routes calls based on skill level, queue priority, and user-defined scenarios. It also provides real-time status of contact center activity via the Startel dashboard. SoftSwitch 2.0 boasts a new call return feature that allows callers to opt out of queue and request a callback when an agent becomes available. Upon the request, a call is generated to hold the callers place in queue. When the agent answers, the agent is asked if they will accept the callback call. If accepted, the agent is connected to an outbound call to the number left by the caller. If the agent does not accept, the call goes to the next available agent. 

Total Billing Solution 3

Total Billing Solution (TBS) has had some enhanced features added this year. The pandemic has pushed consumers and companies to look for increased options for paying bills online and collecting payments more efficiently. Last year they rolled out as a hosted, online, secure e-commerce site where a company can access statements, view invoices, and pay bills at their convenience. Many TBS customers incorporate the payment portal into their billing process.

This year they rolled out USAePay autopay integration. This streamlined interface eliminates the need for clients’ staff to learn their organizations’ banks’ ACH transaction process. Most importantly, USAePay has lower card transaction processing fees than the existing interface, which puts more money in their customers’ pocket.

What’s Next?

In August they held their first virtual Startel user group event and were joined by almost 300 of their customers. They shared many new products currently in development, including a first look at their cloud-based solution, Startel365. They are excited to have a new and innovative cloud solution being released. More details will be coming in 2021.


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