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There were 2 posts tagged: Rethink Staffing

Will Video Conferencing make you regret referring to your contact center as ‘multi-channel’? Consider these issues.

March 19th, 2019  •   0 Comments

A guest post by Mike Dershowitz, the CEO of Rethink Staffing, a Fair Trade Outsourcing Company, and its sister facility, RTS Philly Outsourcing Center. 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 888-631-0398 or mike@rethinkstaffing.com for an initial consultation. Read more from Mike on his Medium site.



Original publish date: September 3, 2018

As much as the contact center world is deploying AI and bots, like any other business, to optimize its operations with existing humans, or someday replace them, there has been a parallel, growing body of practice known as “Video consumer Service” that is quietly changing our industry as well.

With broadband almost everywhere now, video conferencing has come into the mainstream and is used by many business professionals almost on a daily basis. A 2017 study by IHS Markit stated that 85% of companies surveyed use video conferencing as part of their unified communications environment.

Make no mistake, video consumer service could be coming to your contact center. Video consumer service gives us a fascinating window, not only into the future, but also into a world where “phone etiquette” is insufficient, and a place where bots will not be able to go for decades, if ever.

At Rethink Staffing, one of our earliest consumers was a company with a pure Video Consumer Service need. While we do handle their regular multi-channel support, their video consumer service staff is twelve times the size of their multi-channel staff. For their business, Video is consumer service.

Asked whether or not we could do this, our answer was “absolutely,” and we had a handful of early Agents who were game. But once we got started, there were a host of issues we definitely had to worry about, for which neither we nor our client was prepared for.

For the uninitiated, video consumer service is simply rendering a consumer service session via video, where you can see the consumer, and your consumers can see you, and interact with you through a microphone, speakers and a webcam. While not for everyone, you’d be surprised how many consumers find it a viable option.

In preparation for the day when a video consumer opportunity may be at your doorstep, here’s a small list of things to consider if one of these comes across your desk:

First up? “Eyelines.” When your consumers can see your agents via video, it’s a whole new ball game about what your contact center actually looks like. The consumer will care, and comment, about what they see. Embarrassment ensues, like the time we inadvertently positioned an agent’s desk in front of the door to the men’s room without realizing it. Luckily all the consumer saw was hands being washed before we caught that mistake and corrected it.

Second: “New Etiquette.” We had to re-write the rules here, on both sides. What shocked us most was how some agents became lax in their behavior on camera, in many cases without noticing it. Like the time that a consumer who went to retrieve a piece of information, and our Agent decided now was a good time to brush her hair, and reapply makeup, and continued to do so when the consumer returned.

Third: “Connection.” Connection and computer speeds at your consumer’s point of contact will vary greatly. While the software for video consumer service should validate your consumer’s technology, this will impact the way your Agents render service. They have to be on the lookout for pauses, echoes, and other impediments to smooth communication. Think back to the early days when we started getting calls from consumers on mobile phones.

Fourth: “Thick Skin.” We had to retrain folks on what they could expect to see from those outlier consumers. No longer were we worried about sarcastic comments, profanity, or yelling. Now, we had to worry about the visual side of all of that, as well as a window into consumer’s lives that turned early agents into enthusiastic voyeurs.

And then there was the time when the Agent, confronted with an attractive member of the opposite sex on their video screen, tried to end the call by getting a date.

In the beginning, while it was certainly an entertaining and a profound window into the human psyche, the video feed ended up normalizing Agent behavior, once they were made aware, much faster than the phone does. Simply put, the human psychological need for esteem and not to be embarrassed turned out to be our biggest ally in creating professional behavior while on video.

Also, it’s important to not neglect the IT issues here. Forget about just good webcams and microphones — that’s table stakes. Your IT department has to worry about massively greater bandwidth consumption, redundancy, congestion, as well as packet routing.

Finally, the intimacy of video is so much greater than the phone; 90% of all human communication is nonverbal. The upside to video consumer service is that when it’s good, your agents feel much better about helping their consumers and the thanks they receive make a much larger impact on them.

So, if you see a video consumer service application come across your desk, I say go for it. If nothing else, it will be challenging and fun. Just make sure you’re prepared for what you’re getting yourself into!

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A Few Words of Inspiration for My Sales Team

November 8th, 2018  •   0 Comments

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 mike@fairtradeoutsourcing.com for an initial consultation. Read more from Mike on his Medium site.


Original publish date: August 27, 2018

I’ve been living in Berlin, Germany this summer. It has been an incredibly productive time for me and for Rethink Staffing as a whole, including finally building a real sales team that can deliver results.

My favorite breakfast place is two blocks from where we’re renting a flat, called Anna Blume. It was introduced to me by a Berliner friend 3 years ago upon a visit for business, and situated in the old East Berlin neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg. The coffee is good, and the bauernomelette (think of pickles, potatoes and eggs) is my favorite. When there alone, I find myself quite contemplative.

I go there weekly to write. My favorite table faces west, and right in front of this table on the street there is the most interesting old tree that has been transformed into a potent symbol of the communal and trustworthy nature inherent in German society.

But to me, it’s also a powerful symbol of how persistent, little actions can have such a large impact on people’s lives and the world at large.

This tree has been transformed into a book exchange. Some craftsman took the trunk of it, cut small shelves-cum-compartments into it, covered with plastic fronts to protect the books from the rain, and placed it on the street with a small note of instruction. The compartments contain no locks, there is no record keeping mechanism whatsoever. You can place or take as many books as you like.

I usually sit there any hour and half, eating, writing, and — like a shoddy Balzac — (at least in my mind) drink a few coffees. In that scant hour and a half of that day of the week, I see all manner of people come by, and with a frequency that astonishes. I’m there for just 90 minutes, but I must see 7 or 8 people come by in that time.

That one craftsperson, with this simple idea of a book exchange, has now impacted thousands of lives. Do the math: I’m there for just 90 minutes one day a week; how many weeks, months and years has the tree been delivering thought-provoking texts, giving pleasure to people as they read something fun, or providing much needed distraction to someone that maybe in some form of distress or crisis.

The enormity of the aggregate of instances of influences on those people using the tree, created by that one craftsperson who created it, can probably never be calculated or known. It was this realization that led me to interpret the value of the tree as a potent reminder to my sales people.

Progress is made in the aggregate. No great labor or achievement was accomplished in one isolated action of such instantaneous, conjured power. Rather, the passage of years and thousands of hours of work can be most consistently attributed to great achievement. Ask any professional athlete, superior craftsperson, or writer. It was the result of thousands or a million little actions.

So I remind my sales team (and yours): Progress is made in the aggregate. Every day, you must be laboring to get your message to as many people, through as many small, simple actions as you can muster within the energy that you possess for that day. You must always be meeting new people, reconnecting with old contacts, and telling anyone who will listen why you are doing what you are doing.

For you shall never know what little action you may have done months ago, when interacting with another little action (of yours or another), and how, when those actions combine, may finally be the spark needed to advance your goals. That spark is what results in your prospects finally sending the “let’s catch up” email or “It’s time for us to get serious about this” email. Or even, in this day and age, that rare phone call.

So, I say this to all those salespeople out there who maybe struggling with the day-to-day repetitive nature of sales (and to my sales team): You are that craftsperson. You are creating that tree where you and others come to exchange ideas. Your job is to help your prospects take a little idea from you, one from another, and combine them until those ideas create something of value for your prospect (which hopefully is what you’re selling).

Do that for people you meet, and for potential customers, and you will always be successful. But you must do that every day, and in a thousand small little ways.

Progress is made in the aggregate.

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