Archive for the 'Customer Service' Category

Published by admin on 26 Sep 2013

The Workplace Revolution Project: Asana




Asana is the self-proclaimed “modern way to work.” It is a collaborative productivity game changer and super task tracker. Gone are the days when you need to pick up the phone, send an email, or open an IM application for every communication. Asana allows for interdepartmental task management and productivity tracking. A creative can send a trouble ticket to someone in IT. Someone in IT can send send a request for a poster design illustrating IT workflow to the design department and managers can access staff to-do lists in real time.

The basic premise of Asana is that anyone can assign a task to anyone else that they are connected with. This means that team leaders can designate tasks to their team but the team can also designate tasks to the team leader. This creates a more parallel and collaborative work environment where both staff and management are able to see the full scale of a project. With custom workflows Asana one-ups most other task management platforms. Accountability is no longer simply measured as “task completed” but by the ability of each participant to see every step of the larger work flow as it happens.


Every team can customize workflows to bring tasks that have multiple stages of work and multiple participants together under one task. Not only does this allow for fewer items (zero inbox, anyone?) but it also allows for everyone on the team to go back through the conversation and history surrounding a more complex task. This means more productive meetings (and fewer meetings) because details have already been handled through conversations on Asana, so the team can focus on big picture items instead of the mundane.


Asana implementation is not for the faint of heart. Our team continues to find new and innovative ways to increase our efficiency in Asana (e.g. keyboard shortcuts.) Getting your whole team on board will take some convincing, but if you can do it you will save the time and frustration that occur when people miss forgotten deadlines, ask repetitive questions, or lose track of document changes. Asana turns task management from a chore into a vibrant conversation. Start the conversation with your team at


If you and your team implement Asana we’d love to hear about any tips or tricks you uncover.

Find us on twitter @MarkSuppNet
on facebook at Marketing Support Network
or find me directly on twitter @dougnorthcook

Published by admin on 19 Sep 2013

The Workplace Revolution Project


Many of us once had dreams when we were idealistic students of what our working world would look like. Perhaps those dreams involved instant respect, credibility, and success. Some of us may have had delusions of grandeur where we envisioned ourselves starting out at the top. Maybe your dreams included an imaginary office you created in your mind where people save the world.

It seems for most of us those dreams quickly fade as we settle into what we think is the inevitable reality. Maybe your boss, your co-workers, or your family even told you “welcome to the real world” when you expressed your disappointment. Starting out at the top turned into an “entry level” position of running personal errands for your boss and making coffee, while doing all the other tasks that no one else wanted to do. The team concept was traded for survival mode and you spend your days navigating office politics, and wondering if your work even matters.

But what if things could be different? What if those dreams of yours were not just dreams, but could be a reality? What if your work could be fulfilling, purposeful, and awesome? What if you could work with a team of talented people that COULD change the world? What if you chose not to accept the “welcome to the real world” mentality and instead could change your work world for the better?

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Marketing Support Network has a heritage of 32 years of success in customer support and marketing services and the contact center industry. In a competitive market, MSN has continued to grow in large part because of the core values, integrity, and passion for excellence instilled by our founding partners. It is these values embodied by our team, and delivered through our services, that makes us proud to seek out partners whose needs we can meet. We are inspired to take this foundation and build on it, attracting amazing people to our team, so that we can serve our clients better than ever.

In this technological age we face additional challenges in the workplace, especially in the contact center industry. We want to be very intentional about encouraging teamwork, fostering creativity, and maintaining an enjoyable physical working environment, all while continuing to grow and being progressive in our technology and services.

This is how our Workplace Revolution project was born. We brought together representatives from all of our departments and brainstormed how we could do life at work better together. We talked about how we could make changes that will positively impact employee engagement and retention, as well as client service and productivity. We wanted to develop ways that we could better serve our team, so that they could better serve our clients and their customers.

Through our Workplace Revolution we hope to make sustainable changes that benefit both our internal team and our clients and their customers. Change can be challenging, even when positive. We agreed that the changes need to be incremental so that they would not be a distraction from the important work that we do. We also decided that the changes must be affordable for even a small business so that they can be easily replicated and implemented anywhere. We hope that you will follow our efforts in this endeavor and be inspired to rethink the dreams of your former idealistic self.

We are striving together as a team towards a common purpose. To begin this journey you need the core foundation of a solid team mission, vision, and values that we are thankful to have at MSN. Will you join us? Will you revolutionize your workplace for yourself, your team, and for your customers? We invite you to share your ideas and feedback on positive things you have done in your workplace. We look forward to hearing from you!

Published by admin on 12 Sep 2013

How To Choose a Call Center Blog Series

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10.Do their values match yours and that of your customers? Do you believe in them and do they believe in you?

The mission and vision of the contact center is the foundation for their work and your relationship. It is like any new relationship, sharing the same core values allows for a deeper, more beneficial engagement that will last. If the contact center does not know what their mission, vision and values are, where are they going to take you and your customers? And are they even going to exist in a few years? Having a conversation about culture will allow you to identify if the contact center is a match with your vision and values. You want a seamless experience for your customers and you want your contact center to function as your true partner.  For this to be possible they have to believe in you and you have to believe in them. This is only possible with a foundation of shared values.

With these building blocks, built on a foundation of shared values,  and driven by a genuine passion for your success, your contact center partner can leverage your brand and enable you to achieve more than you ever could achieve on your own.

Published by admin on 05 Sep 2013

How To Choose a Call Center Blog Series

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9. Do they encourage accountability and demonstrate their value through relevant reporting?

Most contact centers will probably say that they have a quality assurance process in place but what that means can vary greatly. A quality assurance process should include both qualitative and quantitative measures. Calls and screens should be monitored on a consistent basis. Calls should be recorded. The leadership team should be tracking agreed upon Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and service levels and providing reports on a consistent basis for accountability.

Reporting is one of our best indicators of the quality of service and your ROI with your contact center partner. I have been so surprised by the number of companies who have told me that their contact center was not providing them with any type of reports They would get a bill and not even know how many minutes of calling occurred to validate the amount owed. A good contact center partner insists on the accountability and transparency provided through reporting. The contact center should be open and transparent about their process for the ongoing training and improvement of staff. As your partner the contact center should provide you with proactive ideas and feedback about how the overall customer service process can be improved and streamlined.  You will get a report from us even if you do not want one.

Published by admin on 29 Aug 2013

How To Choose a Call Center Blog Series

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8. Are the staff respected and appreciated and are they passionate about the clients that they serve and engaged rather than passive?

Contact centers are designed to provide many entry level opportunities for employment. Good contact centers bring in good people and provide opportunities for advancement, education and a positive working environment that keeps them there. The goal of a contact center should be to employee people that want to move up within the organization or even to an opportunity outside of the organization. A contact center that equips and empowers its staff to reach their full potential loves their employees and in return the employees love them back. This translates into excellence in customer care. Motivated, empowered individuals will deliver the excellence in customer service that will wow your customers and grow a loyal following. We have heard of contact centers whose average turnover rate is as short as a few weeks! Excellence in customer service is not provided in a negative environment by warm bodies with a couple days of experience. Another key indicator is client turn over. Asking about the contact center’s client turn-over rate can provide evidence as to whether your investment in developing a partnership will provide a positive return.

Published by admin on 22 Aug 2013

How To Choose a Call Center Blog Series

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7.Are they intentional and passionate about who they hire and what they hire for?

Asking questions about the hiring process within the contact center will give you information about the values of the company as well as the type of individuals who will be representing your brand. Does the contact center hire any warm bodies they can find? The ideal contact center is focused on quantitative skills such as attainment of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), as well qualitative skills such as attitude and customer satisfaction. A solid organization has a hiring ideology that reflects their values. For example here in Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Insurance Plan’s contact center hires people “who have service in their heart.” Wegmans hires for “caring and trust”. A genuine passionate answer from a potential contact center partner to the question “what do you hire for?” will demonstrate that their hiring process is not haphazard, and that it is designed to deliver on their marketing taglines and promises in a way that will benefit your organization and customers.

Published by admin on 15 Aug 2013

How To Choose a Call Center Blog Series

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6. Will they be a true partner that integrates seamlessly with your operations and cares about your success like you do?

Often when people think of outsourcing they think of a company far away, disconnected from their internal team. Our model is one of business partnership where we view ourselves as a seamless extension of your internal team. Your customer service process and the feedback your customers provide through front line contact channels is valuable, and quite frankly, crucial to your business. A successful contact center partnership is one where your partner views your success as their success and provides you with resources to improve and grow your business. When evaluating potential contact center partners you want to evaluate their location and accessibility.  Relational proximity and responsiveness of the contact center’s team to the needs of your customers and your staff is more important than physical proximity.

Published by admin on 08 Aug 2013

How To Choose a Call Center Blog Series

5. Is your contact center partner available for you & your customers when you need them to be?

Depending on your specifications and future goals, you will want to find a contact center that is available 24/7/365 and has the communication channels available that you will need. Customers have come to expect instant response over voice, chat, email and social media. Having an integrated customer response system is a vital way to  meet your customers’ needs and expectations. This will increase your customer satisfaction and retention. In addition, you will want to explore the expectations surrounding the call center’s availability to you and how they approach communication with you to keep things running seamlessly in case you need quick scalability or changes in response content.


Published by admin on 25 Jul 2013

How To Choose a Call Center Blog Series


3. Is their vision one that promotes investment and engagement?

Knowing about the senior staff of the contact center is very important. Who trains the agents? Do they have an open line of communication? Finding out how the internal structure of the organization works will give you a window into the values of your contact center partner.  If those values are in line with your organization and your customer service goals you have found a good partner. Find out the supervisor-to-staff ratio and what the opportunities are for internal promotion and the strategies for staff engagement. These keys to employee growth increase employee retention, investment, and satisfaction which drive better results for you on a daily basis. “Attitude reflects leadership” taken from one of my favorite movies Remember the Titans. Leaders who lead by example, build trust, and engage their team – get successful results.

Published by admin on 18 Jul 2013

How To Choose a Call Center Blog Series


2. From the beginning of the call can you FEEL their customer service?

One of our clients says that he can feel our staff smiling through the phone. 78% of customers have abandoned a transaction or not made a purchase because of poor customer service (American Express Survey, 2011). You cannot afford to compromise on excellence in customer care. For your customers to FEEL the customer service, those responding have to passionately care about your business and believe in what you do. When selecting a partner, look to see if you can see this organization caring for your customers the way that you would. 7 in 10 Americans say that they are willing to spend more money with companies who provide excellence in customer service” (American Express Survey, 2011).  Are you prepared to deliver?   Do the company’s/contact center’s representatives enjoy providing customer service, and are they equipped to actually provide resolutions rather than just gather information? We train our team to tell customers what they can do, not what they cannot do. The contact center of your choice should ensure that each communication improves your brand and keeps your customers coming back.

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