Business Travel Agents Tips: A Corporate Travellers’ New York Airports Guide

New York City is one of the most popular key travel destinations for corporate travellers worldwide. The city is the center of much that’s great, dynamic and profitable in America. It is home of one of the world’s principal financial centres (i.e. anchored by Wall Street), and a popular business hub for the publishing and entertainment industry at the same time. So, it’s no surprise it features three airports, Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and J. F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). As a frequent corporate traveller you probably may have flown to one of the three New York airports at some point or another. With JFK being a major international gateway to the US, this city guide aims to provide some helpful travel agents tips for corporate travellers flying to or from JFK Airport.New York JFK Facts & FiguresLocated about 25km away from Manhattan in Queens, JFK Airport is the largest airport in the state of New York and one of the busiest business travel hubs (over 50 million travellers/year) in the US and internationally. It has six operating terminals (numbered 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8; terminal 6 was demolished in 2011, Terminal 3 in 2013). Currently, the 4th runway is under redevelopment to comply with the needs of Group VI aircraft (until December 2015 as planned so far), which may cause delays, but measures are in place to minimise them, so you shouldn’t be too much affected. With more than 90 airlines arriving and departing from JFK, various business travel solutions for flights to New York can be arranged. Points of origin and destinations include places within the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific, Australia/New Zealand, basically all over the world. The airport offers corporate travellers a choice of non-stop flights to about 100 international destinations which may prove convenient for your next business trip. However, JFK is very susceptible to weather-related delays due to its position. Corporate travellers are well advised to consider and prepare for possible thunderstorms in summer, causing delays across the US, as well as snow, icing and assorted slush throughout the winter season. For the months between June and November the risk of potential hurricanes is increased.In general, our business travel agents team advise leisure and corporate travellers to allow plenty of time for getting to and from JFK. Serious traffic incidents on the way between the city and the airport left many wondering whether they’ would be able to make it in time or miss their flight. Furthermore, don’t forget that this is America. Therefore, bear in mind that the TSA rules supreme over security checkpoints. So, take a deep breath and take maybe a book with you or something else to keep you busy. Make sure you arrive early.Useful JFK terminal facilities for corporate travellers In most public areas within most terminals, corporate travellers will conveniently find that Wi-Fi is available for free for up to 30min. You can get online near the ticket counters, boarding gates, designated work stations and food courts. The Wi-Fi access is provided by Boingo Wireless Company. If you need to use the internet for longer than 30mins., consider the following options: 1) $4.95 (£3.01, €3.77) per hour (pay as you go), 2) $7.95 (£4.83,€6.05) for unlimited access throughout a 24-hour period (day pass), 3) $9.95 (£6.04,€7.58) per month (unlimited access via a monthly subscription, to be used worldwide), or 4) if you already have a user account, simply log in using your user name and password. ATMs, currency exchange options (Lenlyn or Travelex), a rental phone shop, and more than 100 shops alongside various dining options are available at the terminals.Ground transportation services from JFK Airport to New York CityThe most convenient, stress-free way for travel from and to JFK Airport is to take the AirTrain. It is a cost efficient and helps you make sure you arrive at the airport in time, whilst avoiding possible traffic jams. You can access AirTrain services via the New York City subway system, which is also connected to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). The journey from/to the city takes just over an hour. AirTrain is operated 24 hours on 365 days a year. Within the airport area, it connects terminals and also enables you to easily access car rental services, hotel shuttle areas and parking lots. At peak times the trains depart every 7 minutes and at off-peak times they go every 15 minutes. However, be clever in choosing your business travel route, as various routes make different stops within the airport. Good news for corporate travellers is that travel within the airport is usually free of charge. However, travel outside the airport is subject to a fee. AirTrain prices generally start from $5 (£3.04, €3.81). For more details on ticket prices are provided on the JFK Airport website under costs and tickets. If you travel via New York’s public transport network, then it is a good idea to use MetroCard, which is widely accepted and is worth to purchase for travel via subway, local trains, or buses. You can find vending machines for buying a MetroCard at Howard Beach and Jamaica Station. A good alternative for corporate travellers would be to take a taxi (for up to 4 passengers). Simply wait in the cab line for a licensed and insured cab to take you to your destination (about $52, i.e. about £31.58, €39.59, flat rate between JFK and Manhattan, excluding tips and tolls). The time for this trip should be about an hour. However, it can take much longer during rush hour.Shared-ride shuttle services are a cheaper option than taxis, but can involve a lot of waiting and being driven around New York City to drop other people off first. You can find a full list of providers on the airport authority’s website. But remember to tip appropriately, as tipping (around 20% of transfer cost) is quite common and keep in mind that bridge/tunnel tolls are not included in the shared-ride shuttle services fares. Another option is to ask your business travel company to arrange a shuttle service for your trip from and to John F. Kennedy International Airport as prices can vary greatly depending on location and number of passengers. In this way you can ensure that you are travelling with a reliable supplier.An express bus service is also available for a nominal fee from Penn Station (reachable e.g. by AirTrain or taxi). The service operates from early morning to late night, with buses running at least every half hour.The airport is also home to several car rental agencies. Leisure and corporate travellers can choose between a number of car major rental companies including Advantage, Thrifty, Dollar, Enterprise, Budget, Hertz, National and Avis.So, which mode of transport should corporate travellers choose for a trip from JFK to Newark and LaGuardia airports? Usually the best way to get to Newark Airport from JFK Airport is to simply take the AirTrain. However, if you need to travel to LaGuardia during your business trip, it we recommend to take advantage of a convenient shuttle bus service, using the free Route A (running every 10-15 minutes from 4:00am to 11:30pm) or Route B (running every 10-15 minutes from 6:00am to 2:00am). In any case, more details, also for connections to other airports, are available on the JFK Airport Connections page.Hotels near JFK AirportHotel booking services for corporate travellers flying to New York JFK AirportAlthough there are no operating hotels at JFK Airport at the moment, New York provides corporate travellers a huge choice (from budget accommodation to luxury suites) of hotels and motels, which are conveniently located nearby the airport. Most hotel accommodations nearby offer shuttle services. Alternatively you can take the AirTrain to the Federal Circle station and follow the “Courtesy Hotel Shuttles” signs. There are telephone services for the hotel courtesy shuttles located at the AirTrain Federal Circle Station and in the arrival areas of the airport terminals ($5, i.e. about £3.04, €3.81, Service Charge for making reservations). The range of motels and hotels include the Hilton*, the Courtyard* by Marriott, Hampton Inn*, Sheraton*, Hilton Garden, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield Inn* by Marriott, Days Inn, Best Western and Howards Johnson. The ones marked by an * are also offering conference and meeting rooms for corporate events.© Copyright Flightline Travel Management Ltd. All rights reserved. All prices correct at time of publication.In part two of our New York City Airport guide we’ll provide you with some business travel agents insider tips on Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA).

Lean Methodology in Health Care Quality Improvement

Lean production (Lean) is a type of quality improvement methodology which has been implemented in many industries. Its principles and practices also have been applied to health care organizations with success. This has been accomplished with refinement for the nuances of health care. Lean is a process management philosophy which has its roots in manufacturing and technology. It was developed as part of the Toyota Production System for the process assembly of automobiles (Toyota Motor Corporation, 2009). The Toyota System is comprehensive and spans a large number of methods and practices. It was initially influenced by the work of W. Edwards Deming and Henry Ford and was also inspired by innovation in the American grocery store industry of the 1950s (Keller, 2006). This is reflected in the Just-in-Time philosophy of productivity improvement, which emphasizes producing quality products efficiently through the complete elimination of waste, inconsistencies, and unreasonable requirements (Toyota Motor Corporation, 2009). Though the Lean methodology was initially developed as part of an overall system focusing on the production of automobiles, its principles also have been adapted for health care. As certain case studies indicate, Lean thinking and tools have been successfully applied to specific health care settings. The scope and value of Lean production within this field will be explored in this paper.Significance:ValueA significant component of Lean is the concept of value: the theoretical concept of value, the measurement of value, and the tangible processes behind delivering value. Lean is unique in that it accounts for the reduction of waste in order to achieve both real and potential value. Recovering this value can present itself in the form of saved costs or other tangibles. Lean thinking dictates that the expenditure of resources for any purpose other than delivering value to the customer is considered to be wasteful. The reduced expenditure of time, money, and resources is thought to bring additional bottom-line benefit to the customer. The customer-centric focus of Lean thinking is especially relevant to health care. Broader levels of patient/customer satisfaction are constantly being sought. This mode of thinking has been brought on by increased competition among organizations and the need to differentiate services. It is recognized that providing complete customer satisfaction can be vastly beneficial to health care organizations. Customer satisfaction can be an equally important measure of an organization’s performance as the delivery of quality health outcomes. This is a factor which is exemplified in Noriaki Kano’s model. Lean thinking dictates that processes and methods must be efficiently optimized with the needs of customers in mind in order for organizations to be fully effective.Problem Addressed: WasteLean focuses on the maximization of process velocity through the reduction of waste. It provides tools for analyzing process flow and delay times at each activity in a process. The focal point is the separation of “value-added” from “non-value-added” work. This is complemented by tools which aide in the identification and elimination of root causes of non-valued activities. The primary problem addressed by Lean is waste, which can affect value in a number of ways. It may result in lower quality products, higher costs, less favorable customer experiences, excessive time or effort expended to complete goals, or fewer resources available for innovation which could provide potential value at a future date. Waste can be found in people, processes, tangibles, and other areas. Eliminating waste through the lens of Lean production can help to achieve the goals of health care organizations. There are eight generally identifiable centers of waste: overproduction, waiting (time on hand), unnecessary transport or conveyance, over-processing or incorrect processing, excess inventory, unnecessary human movement, defects, and unused employee creativity (United States Army, 2009). There are variations on these categories of waste depending on the setting or industry. For the purpose of health care Caldwell (2005) slightly refines these measures into seven categories of waste. These consist of “in-quality/out-of-quality staffing or overcapacity, overcorrection, over processing, excess inventory, waiting, motion of patients or staff, and material and information movement (Caldwell, 2005, p. 46).” Regardless of the differences in terminologies used, there are common centers of waste in health care which can be targeted for elimination. These can be identified through Lean processes which focus on root cause analysis.Process: Root Cause AnalysisA crucial process in Lean is the identification of waste through root cause analysis. Root cause analysis in Lean involves a method called 5-Whys (Toyota Manufacturing Kentucky, 2003). This method rapidly identifies root causes and aides in determining the relationship between multiple root causes. It can be learned quickly and does not require statistical analysis. This method is especially effective for an implementation team in the initial stages of problem exploration. The application of this strategy involves asking a series of why-related questions to drill down into a problem area. Asking progressive questions about a perceived difficulty forces team members to think critically about the actual sources of waste and inefficiency. It is suggested that at least five questions (5-Whys) are posed to arrive at the root cause, though a root cause may be discovered in more or less inquires.The following is an example of a 5-Whys exercise used in a hypothetical hospital setting:(Q1) Why are patients being diverted to neighboring hospitals?(A1) Because wait times for our hospital are exceeding industry norms.(Q2) Why are our wait times exceeding industry norms?(A2) Because patient volume is exceeding capacity.(Q3) Why is patient volume exceeding capacity?(A3) Because not enough hospital beds are available.(Q4) Why are not enough hospital beds available?(A4) Because hospital patients are not being discharged efficiently.(Q5) Why are hospital patients not being discharged efficiently?(A5) Because ER staff is not following best practices for proper discharge.In this example, waste in the throughput process comes from incorrect processing. Once hospital management determines the root cause they can implement further training, ensure compliance with existing standards, or eliminate other barriers. In this case the hospital might consider implementing a training program to ensure that ER staff is following best practices for patient discharge. The hospital might also conduct additional 5-Whys analyses to uncover other problem areas. Once root causes of waste are uncovered, the elimination of waste or other related action plans can be executed.Sources of wasteSources of waste vary greatly by industry. The majority of waste encountered by health care organizations occurs in flow and throughput. As a result, Lean implementations in this field are primarily focused on the elimination of waste in staffing and staff/patient processes. Unlike manufacturing industries most health care organizations have very little inventory. Thus, some of the Lean concepts related to inventory control are less applicable to health care. Health care organizations typically spend a larger percentage of operating expenses on overhead and labor costs. This can account for 50 percent of the operating costs while inventory is in the range of 2 percent (Caldwell, 2005). Understanding waste in throughput entails a comprehension of the relationships between process variables and costs. Costs are not causes of waste but are indicators of interrelationships between processes. While the ultimate goal of most Lean implementations is to recover costs as tangible benefits, eliminating costs without fully understanding processes is problematic. Looking at the types of cost recovery is essential to determining an action plan.Solution: Cost RecoveryThe ultimate goal of most Lean implementations is to attain a tangible benefit, often in the form of a cost recovery. However, not all process improvement opportunities will result in immediate returns. The actual realization of a benefit depends on the nature of the improvement as well as the additional steps that management takes to achieve it. Caldwell (2005) cites three types of cost recovery through the elimination of waste: Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3. In a Type 1 situation the process throughput improvement will yield a direct cost recovery. For example, a process improvement that reduces length of patient stay would recover costs in the form of reduced resources expended. In a Type 2 situation, the process improvement saves time but does not result in cost recovery without additional hours worked per unit of service. A provider may spend less time per patient because of reduced length of stay but scheduling will need to be adjusted in order to capitalize on the benefit to workflow. Lastly, Type 3 yields savings in the form of immediate optimization of capacity. In this situation a process improvement in an emergency room, for example, may allow a provider to see more patients in the same staffed time without additional action taken by management. This is similar to a Type 2 recovery but with no changes to scheduling. This can occur if the provider is willing to see more patients per unit of time and sufficient patient volume exists to achieve capacity. Maximum velocity is achieved without additional action needed to be carried out by management. These examples show that throughput improvement may not achieve an immediate benefit without other factors. It also brings to light the fact that throughput improvement may yield different benefits such as recovered costs, time saved, or increased revenues. Regardless of the actual benefit achieved and the way that it is realized, the ultimate outcome must increase bottom-line value and satisfaction to customers in some way.Examples of Lean implementation in HealthcareThe study of actual Lean implementations in health care is essential to understanding their application. One example of a successful implementation is outlined by Fairbanks (2007) at a medical center in Vermont. This implementation dramatically improved overall throughput processes within the organization. An implementation team was assembled and delved into all steps of the processes they were analyzing in order to determine the sources of waste. They utilized various Lean steps and methodologies to conduct root-cause analyses and prioritize process improvements. The team measured time involved, identified activities, and made rapid improvements through the elimination of non value-added activities. A large part of their improvements involved the elimination of redundancy. The topic of redundancy shows the importance of analyzing all processes, even those which are perceived to contribute to customer value. Even though a particular function may provide value in an organization it is possible that a redundant function may exist which can be eliminated. In another case example Lean methodology was used to streamline the physical space and inventory areas of a Denver-area hospital (Gabow, Albert, Kaufman, Wilson, & Eisert, 2008). The implementation team utilized the 5-S approach to organize physical work spaces within the hospital. 5-S is a Lean improvement which incorporates visualization management to organize objects and supplies. The five Ss stand for sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. These steps involve tasks ranging from simple clean-up and organization to the implementation of detailed visual controls. In a 5-S environment there is “a place for everything and everything in its place, when you need it (Lean Innovations, 2003).” The Denver hospital used this approach in a series of projects focusing on individual offices, nursing stations, entire laboratories, and financial services departments. These spaces were reorganized to achieve optimal work flow and good space management. The successful outcomes included reclaimed physical work space, improved lab turnaround time, reduced time in locating equipment, and better processes which could improve patient care (Gabow et al, 2008). The 5-s method is an excellent first step in implementing Lean programs in a health care organization. Improvement of physical work space can positively affect mindset and mental perception of work. Another case example of a successful 5-S implementation involves a rural health clinic in Georgia. Lean techniques were used in this organization to resolve problems with bottlenecks, turnaround times, customer satisfaction, and overworked nurses (Cross, 2009). 5-S is one of many Lean tools which can provide immediate benefit.ConclusionLean is a multifaceted approach to quality improvement which has tangible benefits to health care organizations. There are aspects which focus on reducing non value-added work and waste to achieve value in various ways. Successfully implementing Lean in health care depends on the setting involved and the motivation of management and teams. Health care encompasses a wide range of organizations and each has unique characteristics which must be considered in light of Lean processes. Important considerations in implementing lean in any environment can be reduced to a few key points: Understanding the concept of value Understanding waste and its sources Learning how to determine and analyze root causes Prioritizing multiple root causes Devising methods to eliminate waste Determining ways to recover costs or achieve benefits Analyzing effectiveness and repeating steps if necessary In addition, it is important to note that eliminating waste through a Lean process may not immediately result in tangible benefit. Management must thoroughly analyze action plans and make adjustments based on actual outcomes. Additional steps may need to be taken following initial process improvements. This is especially relevant in health care where process throughput improvement and staffing are areas which are commonly targeted. These areas may involve more challenges when trying to extract benefit. Freeing time for providers cannot always be capitalized upon without other capacity and throughput improvements. Scheduling or work flow functions may need to be overhauled in order for providers to increase overall process velocity and maximize value per unit for time. It is also crucial to realize that humans are not machines. Theoretical methods of quality improvement in Lean may not always be feasible to achieve at maximum levels. The Lean methodology developed by Toyota is very cognizant of respect for people. It is reflective of a collective culture and a holistic concept rather than a series of parts or steps. This is a fact which cannot be overlooked by management and teams when planning an implementation. People perform processes with normal human variation and improvements must be sensitive, appropriate, and sustainable.

Leadership Advocacy For Early Childhood Education

Early childhood development and education has been a major topic of discussion and planning at all levels-federal, state, and local communities – not only because of the widespread recognition of the research base on the importance of early development to long-term schooling success, but as a critical national investment strategy for the future of the nation in the 21st Century global economy. In recent years, early childhood interventions from birth to the early grades have received much attention, including billions in federal and state spending in early childhood care and education programs. There have been many advances in research and the knowledge base on what contributes to healthy development and learning success for all of the increasingly diverse children growing up in this country. This progress falls far short of a vision and standards of an educated citizenry in the United States. For example, the United States lags far behind other leading nations in providing universal child care and preschool for all children, regardless of family income, social status, race, or ethnicity. While there is a significant increase in the number of children attending day care and preschool programs, access to this care is very inequitably distributed. In addition, the research base on the quality of these program options is sorely lacking. The complexity of multiple challenges facing families and their children and the rich resources that can be mobilized in the service of healthy development and educational success of this nation’s young children are highlighted in the research base and have significant implications for policy and practice. An interdisciplinary team of nationally known scholars and practitioner leaders were commissioned to prepare background papers to provide knowledge syntheses of what is known from research and practical applications. The authors were asked to address questions that are frequently raised in public discussions about new and continuing investments in early childhood programs, including:- What is the current state of knowledge about the impact of early childhood programs on learning and development of young children? What works? Who benefits most? What are the limits of our knowledge?- What contributes to effective implementation and how is a high degree of implementation sustained? What conditions increase the quality of program implementation and effectiveness?- What are the implications for policy and program development, modification, and expansion? How can the best or most promising practices be disseminated to scale up implementation of quality early childcare and education programs, particularly for children from educationally and economically disadvantaged circumstances?Recommendations:- Access to public-supported daycare and preschool programs should be universal regardless of family income, social status, or ethnic and racial backgrounds. These programs should be full-day, full-year programs that do not distinguish between childcare and education. Universal access to daycare and preschool education would attract greater numbers of middle and lower socioeconomic status families to early childhood programs, which would lead to increased diversity and ultimately to better quality programs. The current “you get what you pay for” mentality that exists would be eliminated and all children would begin their education on a level playing field.- Universal access to daycare and preschool programs should be seamless, creating a continuity of learning for children. Curriculum and assessment standards must be aligned and services should be comprehensive and aimed at intellectual, physical, and social development of children and their readiness to achieve learning success in elementary schools.- High-quality, well-trained, well compensated educators and staff are key to student achievement at all levels of education. Professional development for early childhood educators and staff must be improved and focus on early childhood development, curriculum design, best practices and pedagogy, and parental involvement.- A balance of focus in preservice and inservice professional development programs must be maintained. The issue of maintaining a substantive balance of pedagogy versus subject matter mastery in teacher preparation and inservice professional development programs has been a persistent debate among educators. Teacher education programs often emphasize subject matter knowledge and offer little training in developing a great understanding of the learning of young children. It was generally agreed that teaching, teacher development, and curriculum delivery needs to focus on what has the greatest impact on healthy development and life-long learning of each child. Professional development should not only strengthen staff and teachers’ knowledge of subject matter and curricular issues, but should emphasize methods for recognizing and addressing children’s developmental and learning needs.- Parental involvement is crucial to the success of early childhood programs. Involving parents at all levels of decision making, including curriculum design and professional development, increases parents’ sense of ownership of these programs and encourages collaboration between schools and the communities. Most parents want to be involved in every aspect of their children’s education. By including parents in the early childhood equation, learning that begins in the classroom is reinforced at home. A critical element of this reinforcement is the development of a common vocabulary that teachers and parents can use to discuss a child’s progress and methods for improvement.- Parents should receive information on relevant research on effective practices in readable and useful forms. Parents should not only be informed, but also should be involved in providing input and making programming decisions about the education of their children.In addition to the broad-based issues of universal daycare, professional development, and parental involvement, we have the following specific recommendations for moving forward with an advocacy action agenda for universal quality childcare and preschool education.- Convince policymakers that: (a) early childhood programs can be cost effective; (b) the extent and quality of programs are crucial to achieving success; and (c) programs can be successful at a relatively small amount of cost if integrated into existing structures.- Initiate discussions between early childhood education advocates and members of the National Parent Teacher Association. Form coalitions with other advocacy groups to create better political climates for children and their families.- Identify champions of the childcare and early childhood education movement who are influential. Promote leadership advocacy for early childhood education.- Focus on what sells. Advocates need to get the media on the side of quality childcare and early childhood education. Inform the public about relevant research on what works in providing quality childcare and preschool education.- Use new technologies and mass communication avenues to forge a national dialogue on the mandate for quality childcare and preschool education for all, and to foster increased parent-school connections.- Work to eradicate the risk factors that continue to challenge and mitigate against human capital investment and confront racial and social stratification. Examine the assumptions behind the term “at risk” and devise a new term that reduces stereotyping.- Utilize the research on preventing reading difficulties in young children to minimize severe academic problems in the primary grades.- Improve articulation alignment of what is taught in colleges and the professional expertise required for a quality childcare and preschool education force. There is a critical need to increase collaboration and coordination between higher education institutions that provide preservice education of childcare and preschool education professionals and childcare and preschool education providing agencies.- Attention needs to be placed on preservice and inservice programs that focus on bringing research-based knowledge to bear on improving practice.- Parental involvement should be required coursework for childcare and early childhood education programs.- Researchers, policy makers, and practitioners need to work intensively to educate their colleagues and the public on viewing the 21st Century as the “Century of the Child” and creating a national investment strategy for continuing to be a leading nation in the 21st Century.

What To Do When A Student Loan Telemarketer Calls

We’ve all gotten those calls from telemarketers. Yes, those pesky people who famously call during the wee minutes of our scrumptious dinner to try and sell everything but the kitchen sink. Futilely, I may add, since the only thing most of them draw from us is an expletive and maybe a “not interested” followed by a dramatic hang-up.Slick-monotone-hard-to-understand-robot: This is picture that is commonly painted of our rarely American telemarketer friend. Not surprisingly, the once tolerate job of a telephone sales representative has almost become a stigma in American culture.Telemarketers love student loan consolidation and for good reason.True, Telemarketers can call at the absolute worst times selling anything from credit cards, to vacation plans and time shares. Now, if you are one of those lucky ducks with student loans, then you probably have had your fair share of calls about consolidating your loans, as well. But, let me say, don’t let the thought of telemarketer on the phone leave a bad taste in your mouth about consolidation. Consolidating your student loans is thought by many to be one of the best ways to manage your student loans after college.In fact, consolidating your loans can give you many money-saving benefits including a lower interest rate, lower monthly payments, and borrower incentives. So speaking to the right person on the phone can really be worth the time. And what I mean by right person is speak with a Student Loan Consultant, someone who is specifically trained to be an expert on the subject of student loans and whose sole purpose is to help student loan borrowers in need of better loan management.A Student Loan Telemarketer is not the same as a Student Loan ConsultantThough both may call you, it’s important to know the difference between a telemarketer and a student loan consultant. A telemarketer says and does what they’re told to, while a student loan consultant’s main role is customer service and satisfaction. Many times, if you get a great student loan consultant on the phone, they’ll be happy to inform you of everything you ever wanted to know about student loan consolidation and the options available to manage your loans after college better. A good student loan consultant is happy to answer your questions because they genuinely want to help.So choosing to consolidate your loans should not be the biggest issue, it’s with WHOM you should consolidate that should be your concern. After all, consolidation puts you into a relationship with your lender for years to come and the student loan consultant you speak to can be a good indicator of the type of company they represent, and who you will be dealing with.As mentioned, student loan consolidation is a great financial tool, but pay close attention to these tell-tale signs to make sure the person you’re speaking to is not more interested in filling their own pockets then filling yours.Tips on How to Handle Consolidation Calls1) Don’t be bullied or rushed into making a decision. It’s important to feel comfortable and not rushed by the person you’re speaking with.Make sure you’re treated with respect: Work with a company who makes it a point to listen to their clients needs. Find a company that doesn’t take one single call they make or receive for granted. Real customer service oriented Student Loan companies want to know that each of their borrowers is happy with their consolidation solution. This is why companies like OneSimpleLoan thrive on testimonials from their customers, daily. Check out [http://www.onesimpleloan.com/testimonials.asp] for real testimonials from OneSimpleLoan’s happy customers to see exactly what I’m talking about.2) Make sure you’re talking with a student loan professional and not a telemarketer (some people are trained to make calls, not to help you consolidate your student loans properly and efficiently). You can tell right away if someone is reading from a script or going through the motions. Consolidation involves your personal finances and it’s nothing for someone to play around with.Work with a company who has an excellent Training program: Few student loan companies invest enough into the training of their student loan consultants. It’s important to work with a company that does. OneSimpleLoan for example puts their Student Loan Consultants through a tiered training program, which each include an entire week of in-house training letting them excel into three levels of service.3) Do some research on the company you’re speaking with before you decide to consolidate your loans. Visit their website, check out to see if they’ve had any Better Business Bureau complaints issued against them. Ask questions…if the answers don’t sound right, hang up!Make sure the company is credible: Find out what kind of credentials the company you’re speaking with has, such as membership in their local or state chamber of commerce and Better Business Bureau. Companies, like OneSimpleLoan, pride themselves because of these prestigious memberships and for having superb understanding and implementation of student loan laws and regulations.Look for Consistency and valuable resources: The worst thing is having to go through a detailed process with one person and then having to explain it to someone else. Is the consultant willing to give you their full name? Can you call them back with questions? Borrowers who consolidate with OneSimpleLoan appreciate the fact that they are assigned to one consultant to help them through the entire consolidation process.4) Listen to the person on the phone. Do they mention grace rates, borrower benefits, deferment, or forbearance? If no, they may be holding back on giving you a full range of options to help you manage your student loan debt.Make sure they’re easy to understand: Sure, the person on the phone may sound like they know what they’re talking about, but do you? It’s important that the Student Loan Consultant tries to make the process of consolidation as easy to understand as possible by using simple to understand terms and treating each borrower like a personal friend whom they’re helping.5) Make sure you’re speaking with someone with expertise on the subject. Get the phone number and name and even the lender ID code, if available, of the company that’s calling you or that the person represents.Work with a company that experiences successful growth: They may be few, but there are student loan companies that do hire and train professional staff, have a resourceful website and a dynamic stature that make them successful members within the student loan industry.Find out how simple and quick the process is: Before you start the consolidation process, ask the company you’re on the phone with how long their consolidation process will take. It’s better to know and prepare yourself from the beginning than grow impatient later.It’s important to work with a company who’s process is hassle-free. A good student loan company can help you complete your consolidation paperwork in less than an hour – some even do most of the written work for you! In fact, many borrowers who have consolidated their loans with OneSimpleLoan comment on how easy and quick the consolidation process is because of the quality of attention and service they received from the Student Loan Consultant who helped them.Most of all, work with someone who you can tell enjoys their job of helping you.In addition to their employees, many student loan companies do have your best interests at heart – after all, a job is a choice and many who love customer service choose to help student loan borrowers make the best choices about their loans. In fact, customer service is at the heart of many of the most successful student loan companies, of which OneSimpleLoan is no exception.