Respectfully submitted: Brad French, President
Thank you for the opportunity to sit as President of CAM-X. The last time I was President our businesses were quite different from where they are today in the world of COVID-19. While I am extremely tired of the word Covid, the new normal or the next normal, my term as President will be dictated by COVID-19.
For most of us in the Telephone Answering Business, our businesses are very different than they were in February 2020. I had 4 remote operators, a 9000 square foot facility filled to capacity and I could enter my building without a mask. Today we have about 6 people in my office and all my agents are remote agents. Fortunately for my business we have been very successful. Our clients’ needs have changed, and we have hired over 15 new agents most of whom I have not met. This has led to many new challenges that we have had to face and many more opportunities to take advantage of in our new reality.
This year as President I will be focusing in on how to manage a hybrid of remote and on site workforce. I have three key areas that we will focus on.
Hiring and training of our remote teams
Managing our teams in the remote and onsite environment.
Managing our company culture with remote and onsite teams
As always, we will be using our shared experiences to help all our members manage their business better.
Remote workers are the new reality and as companies we have all pivoted to a remote workforce, which will most likely result in a hybrid form long term. CAM-X will be here for our members as we all learn how to manage the work from home environments.
As the CAM-X Board transitions to the new year I would like to take this time to thank Pat Vos and Gary Pudles for their term on the board. I have learned much from you and will miss your contribution to the Board and CAM-X. Both of you have made CAM-X better. Thank you.
I would like to introduce you to our 2020 – 2021 Board of Directors. Garret Bidwell as Past President, myself as President, Desiree Bombenon as First Vice President, Leslie Wilson as Second Vice President, Steve Newall as Vendor Representative and Cindy Roma, Tim Carwell and Heath Waters as Board member at large.
I look forward to the challenges and opportunities we will face this year together.
October started out a great month with our annual Convention. Then a week ago we were able to go back and pick out our favorite parts with the digital recordings. Technology keeps us on our toes but wow can it be a benefit at the same time. We applaud you Linda for all you put into making Convention a success!!
Our spotlight this month, changed directions after 10+ years to take part in the family business. He is active in both his community and now in CAM-X. Heath Waters is an asset to Mid-State Communications and will also be an asset to CAM-X on the Board of Directors. Welcome Heath and thank you for sharing your story.
Agents, Sales staff, Managers, Owners, no matter what our position, we are all successful. What made you successful? Why do you get up every day and work in the company you are in? Please get in touch with me directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your story. We all have a story, what is yours?
The Spotlight is for anyone; agents, supervisors, programmers, sales staff, management and business owners. We want to throw open the doors and make introductions that strengthen the connections within the industry! We want to get to know YOU!
Q. When did you join Mid-State Communications and what brought you into the call center industry?
I joined the family business in June of 2019. I sold my Equipment Rental and Special Event business of 10+ years in May of 2019. My stepmom Alice Waters (CEO Mid-State Communications) asked if I would be interested in joining the business. I was very excited for the new challenge and working with the Mid-State family. My dad started Mid-State Communications in 1992. Alice and her very dedicated staff have done a remarkable job of creating a great business.
Q. Can you tell us a little more about the evolution of your career path with Mid-State Communications
Although my family has owned the business for over 28 years I have had very little exposure in the call center industry. I personally used our answering service for my past business and knew how beneficial the answering service could be for any type of business. My current title is Director of Business Development. Although I concentrate a lot of my time on sales. I am enjoying learning more about the operations of the call center everyday. I am very lucky to learn from such passionate and experienced people in our office.
Q. What was your first CAM-X experience?
My first CAM-X experience was last summer for the CAM-X Convention in Edmonton. Being my first exposure to the call center industry without my parents. Not knowing anyone I was a little nervous to say the least. I immediately found Linda and she literally welcomed me with open arms. Everyone made me feel as if I had known them my entire life. I learned a tremendous amount but most importantly I met some lifelong friends. I told my wife that the Canadian people take “Southern Hospitality” to a different level. I cannot explain how thankful I am for my first CAM-X Convention.
Q. Can you tell us more about how you’ve participated or benefited from CAM-X membership?
As stated last years CAM-X Convention was very instrumental to me. I recently asked Linda if I could be more involved with the Association. After our discussion we decided that I would be a good fit to help with the Convention Committee and the Social Media Committee. Although, I very recently started to get involved I am excited for the opportunity to help the Association and network with my new CAM-X family.
Q. What does your company look like today vs. ten or more years ago.
As all businesses, we have adapted to changing times. During the Covid-19 crisis this spring we were forced to stretch our wings and adapt to our agents going remote for the first time in our company history. Although we had a few senior agents working remotely we were not prepared to move every agent to a remote position so abruptly. Through the help of our great industry we were able to get everyone setup and working efficiently within a week. If we could go back 10 years I am pretty confident that if I told my dad and Alice we would go almost 100% remote in just one week, they would have laughed in my face.
Q. What platform do you use? Are you a member of the user group and why?
We use Startel as our platform and we are a member of TeamSNUG. I am still learning about our Startel Platform but I have been very impressed with their customer service and their passion to help their members improve call center efficiency and profitability.
Q. Tell us a little personal background about you, your family and your hobbies or interests
I was born and raised in Tullahoma, TN. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville I returned back home and worked in the Rental Industry. I luckily was able to run into a high school friend, Ashley who later became my wife. In 2009 I purchased a rental business in Cookeville, TN and that is where we have created our family. We have two children Nora(7) and Mason(5). We have two dogs and a cat; Boone(Irish Setter),Roxy(Chihuahua) and Snowflake. We are an active family and enjoy camping, traveling, and experiencing life to the fullest. I am very involved within our community and enjoy being on the board of our local Habitat for Humanity and Cookeville Children’s Museum.
AWARD COMMITTEE UPDATE
Respectfully submitted by Deborah Anders, Award Committee Chair
If you are not the person in your organization that fills out the AOE CPS forms, please forward to the person responsible….
We had a situation occur this weekend for the first time in 15 years that has prompted me to edit our forms - I thought I should share with everyone in case it may affect some of you 😊 We are a one call environment that utilizes hold and park during high call volumes. When entering the answer phrase on our CPS forms, I have always entered it exactly as it appears on the account. For example: “Good morning/afternoon/evening, ABC Surgical, how may I help you?” We received a SASA test call during a busy spurt this weekend and the CSR said “Good morning, ABC Surgical, can you hold one moment please?” and, upon returning from the hold said “I apologize for your hold, how may I help you?” Unfortunately, answer phrase is an “all or nothing” item when scoring the call and the judges wouldn’t count her saying “how may I help you” upon returning as part of the answer phrase. per the grading criteria:
Section A - Answer Phrase - Live Answer/Auto Answer ( 5 points )
A1 - Did CSR use complete / proper answer phrase as per CPS? (The answer phrase must contain all required words from CPS but may be modified in order of phrasing.)
5 points - Complete with genuine interest, positive attitude and preferred tone intended for this account as per cps form
0 points - Not complete / poor
Because of this, I have now gone in & edited our CPS forms to omit any portion that may be altered by the CSR due to our hold & park environment. I believe it would also be acceptable to enter an alternate answer phrase on the CPS form, but I chose the simpler solution of just omitting the “fluff” 😊
If anyone needs help editing their forms, please don’t hesitate to reach out ….
Education Committee Update:
We are looking for your input and ideas for upcoming webinars, huddles and COACH U sessions.
We are holding an Education Committee meeting on Tuesday, November 10th at 11:30am ET.
If you are interested in joining us or would like to provide input to the committee please email me directly email@example.com.
ATSI Award of Excellence 2021 has launched!
Ken Goldenberg and his team at Direct Line Teleresponse are using some fun to kick off the program this year. Thanks for sharing Ken!
Ken says, "While we are not able to do our normal in person launch party, we will be doing some zoom meetings in a few weeks. Our theme this year is Throwback to Excellence. We are using one of our original logos as you see below and will be providing some history of our company through the AOE period with logos, successes, technological landmarks, pictures and other fun stuff. At our AOE awards virtual meeting I provided everyone with a Grubhub giftcard so they could get some food delivered. Ill probably do something similar or maybe send them each a pizza."
Show your staff they are worthy:
CSR and Supervisor Certification
Pre Employment Testing Demo Available
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions
Two Grey Suits
The People Principles: Ways to Build a People-Centered Workplace
This article is part of the TwoGreySuits Managing Employee Performance Series and is offered by our partner, TwoGreySuits as a service to our members.
Let's admit it. Every workplace is fundamentally about people. Sure, we need information systems and technology and supply chains and metrics. Improvement in these areas is a good thing. But these are the inanimate aspects of work. The real heart and mind of every organization are found in its people. People are what differentiate organizations from one another, how they think, act, treat fellow employees and customers, etc.
If you truly want to bring out the best in people, you need to take action, whatever your role in the organization. Consider the following ideas and think about how you would rate yourself on each one as a manager. These ideas are time tested and are keys to unleashing human potential in organizations. More importantly, make a concerted effort to adopt some of these in the next few days and weeks and I guarantee you will start seeing a noticeable difference.
1. Think HOW, not what
Assignments and deadlines keep us focused on the work itself, sometimes so much that we lose sight of the people who do the work. Maintain a wider perspective. Instead of asking people what they're doing, ask them HOW they're doing.
2. Don't say, ask
You THINK you know the right approach or the right answer, and maybe you do. But if you want to engage and empower people, skip the statements and start asking questions. Go from "here's what I think" to "what do YOU think?"
3. Work it out now
When conflicts arise, letting them simmer is easier in the short term but destructive in the long term. Unless you're fond of grudges and hurt feelings, start resolving today's conflicts today.
4. Just say thanks
There's no need for fancy awards and rewards because there's no substitute for simple, sincere appreciation. Make a habit of putting your gratitude into words.
5. Take action inclusively
A bias for action is a good thing. But the action should be done WITH people and not to them or despite them. If you're going to implement anything that affects anyone, gather a group of co-creators.
6. Turn up the differences
A workplace full of do-as-you're-told clones would be so easy to manage. Look for and leverage those precious differences in yourself and your colleagues. As long as you have meaningful goals in common, you'll achieve uncommon success.
7. Tell stories
If you want to shape the workplace culture, become a raging gossip of good news. Look for real-life examples of employees serving each other and their customers. Then tell those stories over and over.
8. Engage people back…LISTEN
When someone tries to engage you in conversation, be conscious of your reaction. In a hectic work environment, it's easy to be dismissive. Listening to someone is the greatest respect you can offer an individual. Take the time to open your ears, your mind and heart.
9. Show your emotions
You're not a robot or a potted plant. If you're thrilled, angry, enthused, confused, curious, whatever, let it show in a constructive way. It's more than okay to be human.
10. Be the real you
We've all met people who are one way one day -- then someone else the next. It's no fun for anyone, including the chameleon. Get to know yourself, and remain true. Everyone will benefit.
TwoGreySuits is a leading-edge provider of on-line human resource management information, processes, tools and forms servicing the North American market. They have integrated the HR practices associated with the key drivers of Employee Engagement within the well-organized information on the website.
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The TGS System is a one-of-a-kind product that includes:
The HR Power Centre for dealing with the day-to-day people management issues that inevitably arise
24/7 HR Hot Line
Topical regular Blogs suitable for reprinting by the Association members