Volume 2, Number 17 - September 14, 2007

Our Contact Info:

David Butler
Executive Director

National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 601.447.8300



In Queue circulation 18,573
NACC members 3575
Calendar of Events Listings 31
Job Board Listings 39

In This Issue
Something New for Economic Developers
Who's on First? A Perspective on Employee Focus
What I am Reading

Share the Knowledge

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"There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on."
-Robert Byrne

Contact Professional is not only a great trade publication, but also owned and operated by some darn fine people. Click on the image above to see for yourself.

Fun Facts

According to the September 6, 2007, issue of Business Week, the Caribbean is booming with call centers. The reasons for this are numerous, but one interesting fact stated the starting call center wage in Jamaica as $2.75-$3.20 per hour.

Picture of the Week

Ahh, Venezia, or commonly known as Venice in the English-speaking world. The most striking thing about Venice, which I tried to capture in this picture, is that the geography of the city is foreign. If you have ever been in a major flood, a huge snow storm or similar, you know how odd the neighborhood looks when you go outside. Everything is different, different sizes, shapes and accesses. Venice is just that, a foreign geography that is without lawns, roads, and similar framing items we associate with a city or town. Instead Venice has water, right up to the doorstep, and sometimes even into the door. It is as if the city is floating on water, but it does not bob in the water as the mind expects. So when you first enter Venice, you expect it to seem neat and different, but it is more different than you might expect, otherworldly almost. But as with most odd things after a few days the abnormal becomes normal and your mind stops focusing on the odd geography. What a pity.

Lighthouse Keeping by Jeanette Winterson, 2004

To advertise in In Queue or with the NACC, please contact the NACC at:
Tel: 601.447.8300


Something New For Economic Developers

The August 3, 2007 (Vol 2, Issue 14) In Queue Newsletter led with a essay titled "Something for Economic Developers" asking the Economic Development Community whether they would be interested in the NACC creating a webpage to advertise their potential call center real estate sites while connecting the call center professionals with a potential community. The responses were a resounding "YES!" So we have created it for you.

The new NACC Real Estate page allows a developer or real estate agent (or anyone else for that matter) to purchase a mini-billboard. This mini-billboard allows you to put up an image of a building you believe is suitable for call center use. Below the image is a space for five lines of text that can be used to give contact information and specifications of the building or site. We have kept the price of these mini-billboards low so that as many developers could participate as possible, whether from a large or small community. The mini billboards can be purchased for 3, 6 or 12 months ($200, $300, and $500 respectively) and you can rotate images in and out as many times as you like.

So if you have a building for lease that would make a great call center you can advertise that image to the call center professionals. If that site is leased or sold, you can then add another image. If you do not have another image to place on the mini billboard, you can advertise your community with your community logo and use the five lines to brag about your community as a perfect location for call centers. Listing is on a first come first served basis, so send me your images soon.

We are constantly striving at the NACC to meet our mission goal of advancing the call center industry and we believe linking economic developers (and real estate people) with the professional call center community is a step in the right direction.

Who's on First? A Perspective on Employee Focus

Russ Reynolds, NACC Advisory Board Member and President, RB Reynolds Consulting LLC Russell.Reynolds@xerox.com

Being in the contact center industry is such a fascinating and challenging place to be. Looking back on the many years I have spent in this industry, I am amazed that I have maintained any sense of perspective or sanity. I have - and I suspect
all of us in this industry have - been inundated with the latest and greatest technology; the latest and greatest in customer satisfaction tools and enablers and CRM initiatives; the latest and greatest in employee motivation, retention, and training techniques; the latest in research from the four corners of the
planet; the latest and greatest in outsourcing, in-sourcing, co-sourcing, near and off shore and back to on shore; and endless industry organization and associated conference invitations and material. I could go on, but those are at the top of my mind today.

Additionally, we have some conflicting trends around us that we write, read or think about. In the past few In Queue newsletters, we have discussed:

. The importance of the customer to the success of any business, and whether the customer is "always right"; conversely we have also discussed the "offloading"
of the customer by some companies on the basis of cost or behavior.
. The pro's and con's of outsourcing and off shoring; conversely the developing trend to return some customer contact operations to the US.
. The importance of employees to the customer experience, how properly training, equipping, and empowering employees makes a difference to our customers' experience. Conversely we have discussed how turnover, process discipline, and some automation affects the customers' experience.
. The relevance of having so many industry conferences and publications to choose from and the associated suppliers and vendors who support and sponsor them.

The way we approach answering these questions can also help us with some of the conflicting industry trends mentioned above.

I am not going to say that any of the "Big Three" - People, Profit, or Customers, are not important. They all certainly count! I do argue that our people are the road to loyal customers; and loyal customers are the road to increased profits; and increased profits are the road to improving our peoples' skills and quality; and that is the road to loyal customers; and .. well, you get the picture.

The best way top get "top box" very satisfied and loyal customers in through enthusiastic and motivated employees. But, assuming we buy that concept, how do we make it so?

The answers will require some follow on discussion in this venue. It has to do with the following:

. Strategic focus and priorities of our business, our core beliefs and philosophies
. Quality of our first line leadership
. How we measure customer perceptions, what our goals and expectations are
. How we measure employee enthusiasm, motivation, preparedness, and training quality
. Truly understanding how our business is structured and how our employees understand that and behave in accordance
. Understanding the relationship that exists between customer loyalty (top box) and the experience provided by our employees
. The alignment of the organizational measures with the employee measures
. The understanding of how empowerment without business acumen and customer understanding can lead to failure

In subsequent issues let's spend more time on these subjects; and others should feel driven to weigh in as well.

What I am Reading

Jeanette Winterson is on my second tier of favorite authors to read. This means that if she writes a book, I will buy it, but if there is a book on my shelf to be read by one of my top tier authors, they will be absorbed first before tackling the second tier authors.

Winterson, most known for her books Oranges are Not the Only Fruit and Written on the Body, continues with Lighthouse Keeping in her unique way to create characters and her interesting way with prose. In this book a character named Silver is the person that the reader journeys through. Silver lives on an island in the Atlantic which is dominated by a single lighthouse. After being orphaned when she was young, she eventually comes to live with a grandfather-like figure, the lighthouse keeper Pew. Pew is not his real name, it is the name given to all of the lighthouse keepers on this island over the generations. Through Silver and Pew, and their language of stories and oral history, the reader is carried backward and sideways through time to learn the back stories of people on the island, the relationship to the lighthouse and the connection of this island to the rest of the world.

One writing trait of Winterson's is that of disguising the character through the use of pronouns. There are many "she" "her" and "him" throughout. Not only does this help to emphasize the character of the person by not fixating on the proper name and all that a proper name implies, but also allows Winterson to lose the reader for a while in word games. Sometimes, with so many pronouns floating around, you get lost on which is referring to whom, which is the whole point, realizing that many of these characters, despite their potential dislike of each other, often hold similar characteristics that make them hard to separate from one another. When this occurs, as a reader, you get to see how the author has skillfully used language, and an abundance use of pronouns, to get us to see into, not onto, the characters that she has developed for us. That is what makes reading Winterson's books a pleasure to read.

Click on the image to the left to go to Amazon.com's website for more information on this book and to purchase it if you like.

To view past issues of In Queue, please click here.

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Copyright 2007 National Association of Call Centers

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