A guest post by Mike Dershowitz, the CEO of Fair Trade Outsourcing, a people-first BPO company that has service delivery centers in the United States, the Philippines, and Ghana. He believes that when companies focus on their employees’ social and economic progress, it motivates them to perform better at work and produce outperforming results. Contact him at +1 215 330 2895 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an initial consultation. Read more from Mike on his Medium site.
Original publish date: July 9, 2019
Your business needs people. But people are more than cogs in a machine. Like it or not, a person’s history and current situation drives behavior more than you realize. Do you understand why?
Let me tell you about one of my US employees, a customer service representative for one of our e-commerce clients. He is a returning citizen who re-entered the workforce after 14 years of incarceration. As long as I’ve known him, he’s proclaimed his innocence. I tried not get involved, instead focusing on the fact that I was giving him an opportunity. Hiring him is important to our mission and vision as a company. We employ a person whom most employers shun because he has to “check the box.”
Over time, I’ve gotten to know him, and I see how well he performs, despite where he’s come from. As we’ve grown to trust each other, he has shared his full story.
At the time of his trial, he was too poor to afford an attorney, and was represented by a public defender.
You know what happens next. Convicted and sentenced. And then, just one year before his release, he learned that corroborating eye-witness testimony may have been coerced by the prosecuting attorney.
Prior to learning about this testimony, he simply thought he was a victim of the system. But now, one year after being released and two years after learning about this testimony, he believes that he may have been framed, simply to increase the District Attorney’s conviction statistics.
Can you imagine the rage you’d feel upon learning that almost 15 years of your life had been wasted, simply to advance a DA’s career with higher conviction stats?
How can I expect him to come to work and not be affected by what happened to him? The simple fact that he shows up to work every day and is able to perform and not scream at the customers on the other end of the line is amazing, and a testament to his strength.
Are you missing the point?
Even if it’s just you and your laptop with an online store, or a few select graphic design clients, there are always people in your business, in one form or another.
At scale, every business, no matter how automated, needs people. Think about this for a second. If you’re in your office right now, look left and right. If both those people were no longer there, what wouldn’t get done? Which customers would be angry, what projects would be left half finished, and what opportunities would be missed?
Nearly 80% of U.S. private-sector gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 40% of the global trade are from the service sector. What the sector produces is not a physical product, or a raw material. You might think that your company’s product is financial services, healthcare, or customer service, but you are missing the point. In reality, the item of value you produce is a workforce, and the behavior your employees exhibit to customers.
What people do, how they interact with coworkers, customers and vendors, and the work they accomplish is all behavior. Whatever you’re paying them to do, you’re really paying them to behave in a certain way. There’s a lot that goes into that ability to behave the way you want.
Meet basic needs first for employees who last.
Basic human needs come first, according to Abraham Maslow. Only then can Homo sapiens consider other things, like morality and self-actualization.
There’s a sad story about Former US President Bill Clinton and a member of the armed services. On a rope-line one day, Mr. Clinton was handed a letter by a woman who was an enlisted sergeant. She had two kids. Because of her low income level in the Air Force, she qualified for and used food stamps. Think about the cruel economic fact that the richest and most powerful nation on earth does not pay its service members enough to the point that they needed basic food assistance.
Most of you are meeting the basic needs of your employees (but not all of you — see here). If you’re not meeting those basic needs with the pay you’re offering, you may be sowing discontent without knowing it, for very basic, and understandable (from the employee’s perspective) reasons.
Before you can consider if you’re getting the behavior you want out of your agents, look first at your compensation policies and make sure that employees’ basic needs can be met on what you’re paying them. Only then can your employees, and you, focus on how to drive and produce the right behaviors.
Think about physical and mental health.
Employees won’t behave the way you want if they’re always worried about themselves. Once you know that what you pay meets the basic needs of your employees, the next step is to think about their mental and physical health.
I’m living in Berlin, Germany for the summer. Healthcare here is free for all citizens, and some non-citizens. As a business owner with employees in both the US and Asia, I’m familiar with a society that doesn’t provide healthcare to its citizens (the US) and a society where free health care is so bad that we must provide private care or take a risk that when employees get sick, they may not survive the care provided by their country’s system (Philippines).
In most of Europe, employers don’t have to worry about health care costs, and of course taxes are higher to pay for it. Despite its flaws, this system may be preferable. As an employer, you know that the issue of healthcare is not associated with your place of business.
While you’re thinking about health care, also consider mental health. Many people imagine that there’s a personal and professional divide. Come to work, do your job, and go home. But this mentality is short-sighted when you’re trying to get work done through people.
Certainly, most savvy managers and bosses know this. Many companies offer free counseling services at work. This is good, especially for companies who employ people earning above the middle class. But for those like me, where we strive to get our employees into the middle class, the instance of trauma and destabilizing family situations is much higher than in lower-income populations, regardless of geography. As good managers (and good humans), we must think about mental health.
When employees behave against the desired outcome for your business, what is really going on in their lives? For example, in the call center business, when an agent should do “A” in reaction to a caller, but does “B” instead, is the agent doing something amoral, or simply not following their training?
The optimist in all of us wants to believe that all people are good. When you look hard enough, there’s a reason why that employee either forgot their training or made the wrong decision. You will likely find a personal reason that drove the behavior. The mental health of your employees may not be optimal, even if it doesn’t warrant counseling.
Be sensitive to that. Lend a kind ear. Simply ask, “Can I help?” I always say my job as a manager is to put people in a situation where they can perform at their peak. Are you thinking about what gets in the way for your employees?
Conclusion: Repeated behavior from your employees is your product.
As managers and business owners, your job is to elicit the “right” behavior at scale, repeatedly. Not an easy task, as evidenced by the many times you’ve had to coach or discipline an employee. You pay your employees to behave the way you want them to behave. In fact, producing the right behaviors in employees is your chosen profession.
Are your employees satisfied financially? How are they feeling physically and mentally? What happened in their past, like my returning citizen employee, that prevents them from operating at peak?
Try to see the why behind their actions. It will lessen your frustration, temper your reaction, and make you a better manager. It promotes a sense of fairness in your workplace. Your employees know that the boss cares, so they endeavor to react accordingly for your business.
When you take a step back and consider why they’re behaving as they do, it can make all the difference, as long as you also ask yourself if you’re doing all you can to make your employees successful.
Our passion for customer care is evident at Avcomm Solutions. As longtime members of the premier organization for customer care, SOCAP International, we've rubbed shoulders with some of the top names in customer care, and have learned from the collective wisdom of the group. Building upon this, our philosophy of relationship building is evident in all of our interactions, and a desire to serve is our #1 goal.
We understand the importance of getting the right device into our customers' hands from the start. We know that time is money; we ship all in-stock orders received before 3 p.m. CT out the very same day, and we offer a 30-day money back policy for complete satisfaction.
Of course, it makes a difference that we offer only high quality products, which makes us confident in their performance in the "real world." This pays off in the long run: less down-time for agents who rely on their headset to work; less money spent overall on headsets; less time spent fixing or troubleshooting headset problems.
Before purchase, our team provides plenty of pre-sale support, which includes a needs assessment, product recommendations, connection to manufacturer promotions, samples if warranted; post-sale support includes product set-up, tech support, and warranty assistance.
We maintain close partnerships with our brands, so that are able to offer volume purchase discounts and specialized promotions.
SOCAP International is an organization unlike any other in the world of customer care. Two national events each year provide guidance, numerous opportunities to network and collaborate, outstanding and relevant content, and an overall experience to the world of customer care that is truly unique. Local SOCAP chapters host meetings and networking opportunities throughout the year for continued connection and learning. SOCAP's core values of Caring, Community, Innovation, Leadership and Professional Development drive all of the SOCAP initiatives.
We are sponsors and exhibitors at the upcoming SOCAP Annual Conference: Reimagine Customer Care in Tucson, Arizona. If you stop by our booth in
The Exchange between 1-2 pm on Monday, Oct. 21, we are sponsoring a Relaxation Break, along with our friends from Stafford Communications. We will also have our products on hand and ready to test!
If you'd like to learn more about Avcomm's customer care philosophy, membership in SOCAP International, or the Reimagine Customer Care conference, please reach out to us at 1-866-998-9991, or send us an email. We encourage businesses of any size, and in any industry, to take a closer look at SOCAP and what it can do for your customer care team.
We've seen EarPods, AirPods and wireless ear buds for fitness and everyday use ... but did you know that Jabra has engineered wireless ear buds for professionals working inside or outside the workplace? The Jabra Evolve 65t ear buds are equipped with microphones for superior conversation, and the included carrying case charges the ear buds on-the-go, while storing the USB dongle.
• UC version
• Microsoft-certified version • Passive Noise Canceling find your perfect fit with the three included sizes of ear tips (Small, Medium, Large)
• HearThrough Double press the multi-function button to hear the outside world without taking
off the earbud • 4 microphone array
• Up to 15 hours battery; 5 hours talk time
• Connects to PCs and mobile phones, simultaneously
• High quality
• One-touch access to digital assistants and voice commands
• Superior musical experience with Jabra Sound+ app integration
• MSRP: $329.00
Jabra Evolve 65t was named to Fox News' 10 Top Gadgets of 2018. This listing of top gadgets in each category, including phones, TVs, tablets and laptops, John Brandon of Fox News proclaimed the Evolve 65t sound as good - if not better - than wired earbuds and have the benefit of one-touch access to a voice assistant.
We realize that while this wearing style isn't for everyone, it will be great for those who are accustomed to ear buds and like the comfort and subtlety (there isn't an obvious "headset") that ear buds offer.
Call our Headset Experts today: 1-866-998-9991 to learn more about the Jabra Evolve 65t.
The latest update to the firmware for the Plantronics Savi 8200 wireless DECT headsets adds a new feature, and fixes various issues that customers have reported. Poly suggests that this firmware update should be run immediately.
A new feature:
•Mute On/Off alert tones can now be enabled/disabled via Plantronics Hub
•Intermittent dropped calls when using mobile via Bluetooth
•Multi call handling across different interfaces fails when Plantronics Hub is running
•When conferencing an additional headset to the base the headset volume control button may not work
•Intermittent audio loss during a Cisco WebEx call
•Mute On reminder alert now matches setting applied in Plantronics Hub
The difference between a UC-certified device and one that's not certified for business use?
Sound. (And listening time. And call quality. And technology.) Here are a few BIG differences:
UC certified devices have: Microphones tuned for voice
while consumer, store-bought devices only offer single-directional microphones.
UC certified devices have: Headset Call Controls
while consumer, store-bought devices do not offer headset controls, and are missing necessary buttons.
UC certified devices have: Multi-device connectivity to connect the same headset to both a PC and a mobile phone or tablet,
while consumer, store-bought devices are optimized for a single connection (such as, mobile phone only). If you like the sound of:
• increased operational costs
• decreased adoption of the UC platforms your business has implemented (including Teams, Jabber, etc.) and
• decreased collaboration
then continuing to allow employees to bring in whatever headsets/ear buds/headphones they have at home is probably the best plan for your company.
However, if you're ready for UC-certified professional headsets and speakerphones to support your staff, and leverage your business systems, then contact our team on Chat, or call us at 1-866-998-9991 today!