The Difference Between Social Networking vs. Social Media

I am an adherent admirer of the way people (especially talented writers and authors) are able conjure and carry elaborate imagery throughout their writing. This is especially true when I am reading a piece of fiction and my mind is able to take over and create an almost movie-like state for the words on the pages to recreate themselves.

Right now, especially in the B2C and B2B realms of business, when it comes to online social networks, I see a lot of misuse of the terms “social media” and “social networking”. I want to do my best to set the record straight on what these terms actually mean to us online marketers.

Breaking it down

The term “networking” (when searched in Google) comes up with these results:

verb
gerund or present participle: networking
  1. 1.
    connect as or operate with a network.
    “the stock exchanges have proven to be resourceful in networking these deals”
    • link (machines, esp. computers) to operate interactively.
      “networked workstations”
    • interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, esp. to further one’s career.

The idea behind the act of social networking seems to be the idea of building networks of like-minded and influential individuals in a related field or area of interest to, in fact, gain something out of it all.

Social media, on the other hand, is the actual vessel in which all this “networking” takes place. It isn’t an action like networking; it is more of a canvas upon which we paint our content. It is comparable to the way that television and other forms of media convey a message to an audience, and, in a sense, it serves as a medium for that purpose while social networking is born of that.

Can you have one without the other?

Social networking was around long before social media. Keep in mind, these are two different marketing concepts, and beyond concepts alone have two different meanings despite the obvious tendency to implicate one another.

The idea of social networking isn’t new. Churches and schools have potlucks to foster comradeship and to create networks. Presidential campaigns hold dinners to bolster the growth of symbiotic relationships between candidate and contributors. Even on the local scale, the act of social networking in the modern age can be seen yearly up in Cleveland at each annual Content Marketing World event, as contemporary social media marketing experts and content strategists converge on one spot to literally meet face-to-face to share ideas and form new mutual business relationships.

The difference between the two is that social networking involves direct communication and requires conversation between two or more parties. Social media offers channels by which the content we put as marketers and content strategists can be acted upon.

It all comes back to having conversations with our audiences and those who we think can benefit our cause. We can put content out all day on social media sites much like how television networks can blast ads and shows all day long, but if we do not take the time to literally converge on the subject and talk about it with others then we aren’t really networking.

You can post content on your business’s page until you are blue in the face, but until you make the effort to actually use your content as a tool to engage your audience, then once again, you truly aren’t engaging in the act of social networking.

Remember, social media is a noun. Social networking is a verb. To fully reap the benefits of these two as online marketers, you must use your social media content as a starting point to be able to start the action of conversation.

Without conversations there is no such thing as social networking.

Image credit: http://mackinstitute.wharton.upenn.edu/

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter for Small Businesses

Twitter is a marvelous social network for a few reasons in particular.

I used to hate how limited I felt by Twitter’s 140-character restriction per post, but I’ve learned to really love the fact that users are forced to get to the main idea in that same sense. This is especially great after wading through posts on my Facebook feed that look more like diary entries than statuses from many folks on there.

When Twitter first came onto the social media scene, I used to rebuke the hashtag (#) as nothing more than a trend or some piece of internet hipster culture that I thought would fade into digital obscurity. Now I find myself using hashtags in my job, as I scour the “Twittersphere” for the latest contact center (#cctr), customer service (#custserv), and software as a service (#SaaS) content.

While many businesses already utilize Twitter, many fail to either grasp the full benefits of using Twitter correctly or are just unsure of what “correct” really means when posting a tweet or sharing their own content or even just being intelligent curators of their industry.

Let’s clear some things up.

Twitter Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO post your own content. It is always a good idea to put your own content out there. This blog post will be sent out via our @InceptResults Twitter handle for all of our followers to see. I hope you realize how obviously important it is to avoid being just another Twitter handle that regurgitates content from other sources; you actually need to put original, organic content and tweets out regularly. Original content adds to your company’s online credibility and can even serve as source material and knowledge for others within your industry. Rather than just be strictly a curator of information with retweets and shrunken links to big-name publications and articles, give your followers a reason to follow you with thought-provoking tweets.
  • DO share other’s content. The act of retweeting (RT) is flattering in a way. It is pretty exciting to see others on Twitter actually retweeting your posts and sharing what it is you initially shared. Receiving a RT on an original tweet or shared link post can really feel good, as you feel a sense of accomplishment or that you have hit a nerve with your followers. This is why when you RT and share a piece of someone else’s content with your followers, it is essentially an opening to a dialog or action. It is an easy way to show appreciation to followers that you feel share valuable information or share your content often as well.
  • DON’T over tweet. Sharing is cool, but no one likes when someone can’t just seem to shut up. Don’t get me wrong, it is very important for businesses to have proper presence and to be active in their interactions with other businesses, customers, and even clients. But know when enough is enough. Usually five to seven tweets spread throughout a day’s time is enough to maintain good presence without shoving content down your follower’s throats or feeds. Remember that old saying, “Wise men speak only when they have something to say, but foolish men speak because they have to say something.” This practice should be applied to content sharing and not the interactions you have between your followers.
  • DON’T forget to thank others. Whether it be a new follower that has just decided to follow you or a fellow industry leader who has given your insightful tweet a RT to their own followers, be sure to thank others in the Twittersphere for interacting with you and sharing your content. This is a pretty unspoken yet widely acknowledged acceptance. Twitter is here to share information but to also create conversations and, in a sense, rub elbows with other like-minded industry leaders and potential clients. Good manners should always follow suit when a courteous online action or gesture has been made. Once again, don’t forget to thank folks for following you or giving you RTs or mentions. And don’t just send them a direct message (DM); do it out in the open for everyone to see your appreciation.
  • DON’T assume a larger audience gives you a larger Klout score. More often than not, many businesses that are new to Twitter can be intimidated by not having a large follower base. They look at their industry for comparison and are frightened that they will not look relevant or impressive enough on good ol’ Twitter. The key to a good Klout score (which has become somewhat of a way to measure social media relevance – particularly on Twitter) is to simply practice good communication. Engage. Share content that is worth sharing. RT content that you feel your followers will find valuable. Interact with your followers, and share content that they can take something away from. That is how you build a strong Klout score.

There are probably many other tips that I’ve left off of this list, so let’s talk about that.

What are some other DO’s and DON’Ts when it comes to the rules and proper etiquette of using Twitter as a business?

Image Credit: http://webtoolfeed.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/12801.jpg

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Take a Look at the Positions Available at Incept

Incept is a conversational marketing firm, located in Canton, Ohio, that specializes in creating productive conversations that drive meaningful results. Our relentless focus on building a company culture that supports our clients and employees reaching their goals has led to being named a Top Workplace in Northeast Ohio, the highest-ranked mid-sized employer to work for in Canton, and one of only 5 companies in the state of Ohio to receive an award as a psychologically healthy workplace.

This focus on culture has translated into growth and success by Incept growing an average of 25% per year for the last 7 years and adding over 100 jobs to the local economy during that time. We are currently looking to expand our management team in many different facets. Read below to learn more about a few of the opportunities we have right now:

Outbound Phone Sales Supervisor

  • Job Title: Outbound Phone Sales Supervisor – Incept Results Division
  • Location: Canton, OH
  • Salary Range: [Commensurate with experience]
  • Contact: Allison Sage – New Employee Results Team

Job Description:

This individual will be responsible for leading and developing a team of Conversation Marketing Experts (CMEs) in order to efficiently and effectively meet and exceed phone sales goals for our Results Division clients. This supervisor will be accountable for individual, team, company, and client sales/performance goals while developing new techniques in order to increase program results. This individual will be responsible for introducing and developing new sales techniques specifically designed for over-the-phone sales.

Job Duties:

  • Weekly completion of all work requirements for your programs.
  • Weekly completion of coaching sessions with your direct reports.
  • Maintain team turnover goal.
  • Meet monthly production goals.
  • Provide suggestions and implement techniques for improving team performance.

Job Requirements:

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Good troubleshooting skills
  • Basic computer knowledge
  • Strategic thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Ability to develop people

Contact Center Recruiter

  • Job Title: New Employee Results Recruiter
  • Location: Canton, OH
  • Salary Range: [Commensurate with experience]
  • Contact: Allison Sage – New Employee Results Team

Job Description:

The core responsibility of a Recruiter in New Employee Results is to create, execute and maintain a hiring process that attracts qualified applicants to Incept. This person is responsible for managing the New Employee Results Team at Incept and for overseeing the hiring process for all new employees. This person is responsible for maintaining all contact with applicants from application through on-boarding. In this role, a person will need to ensure that our hiring processes are up-to-date with the hiring landscape, meet the needs of our positions and adhere to all applicable laws. The goal of this individual is to hire successful candidates according to the needs of each department at any given time.

Job Duties:

  • Hire a minimum of 8 graduates per training class requested.
  • Maintenance of applicant database.
  • Must maintain speedy communication with all applicants.
  • Responsible for conducting all entry level interviews, making offers and fulfillment of new hire paperwork.
  • Responsible for majority of the management hiring process company wide.
  • Responsible for all ad writing, ad placement, and cost tracking for all hiring needs.

Job Requirements:

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Analytical/strategic thinking
  • Basic computer knowledge
  • Extreme attention to detail
  • Teamwork
  • Ability to hire “A” players

Contact Center Quality Control Manager

  • Job Title: Quality Control Manager
  • Location: Canton, OH
  • Salary Range: [Commensurate with experience]
  • Contact: Allison Sage – New Employee Results Team

Job Description:

The core responsibility of the Quality Control Manager is to create, maintain, and support a quality control process which serves to increase the quality of conversations to produce meaningful results; this person will be responsible for maintaining a department dedicated to developing employees through quality control while serving as a distinction between Incept and our competition. This role will not only provide quality assurance for CMEs but will also be dedicated to maintaining quality control across all facets of Incept, from maintaining involvement in training to streamlining information across all departments.  This person will be responsible for taking the quality control department from a cost to a revenue generating department, from a policing system to a developmental program.

Job Duties:

  • Provide revenue generating suggestions for the Quality Control Department as a whole.
  • Design and implement quality control process to be used company-wide to ensure quality across all departments within Incept.
  • Conduct calibration meetings between department members and clients to ensure accuracy and alignment.
  • Meet with each client to conduct discovery, needs assessment and to ensure that quality control is meeting the needs of Incept and the client.
  • Conduct regular meetings with department representatives to ensure success towards goals.

Job Requirements:

  • Basic computer knowledge
  • Extreme attention to detail
  • Teamwork
  • Integrity
  • Ability to develop people
  • Work ethic
  • High standards
  • Organization and planning
  • Learns quickly

Information Technology Interns

  • Job Title: Technology Results Intern
  • Location: Canton, OH
  • Salary Range: $12/hour
  • Shift: Days, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; requires 20-30 hours/week during semester, 40 hours/week during summer
  • Contact: Allison Sage – New Employee Results Team

Job Description:

Our Information Technology Internship will require a student attending college (4-year program) full- or part-time with a major in IT. The candidate will be primarily learning and providing Desktop Support as well as computer imaging, computer repair, and basic troubleshooting of computer-based issues. The position will require 20-30 hours per week during the academic year and 40 hours per week during summer. With direction from assigned supervisor or leader assists with administrative, clerical, patient service, or operational support duties.

Job Duties:

  • Completes daily assignments, projects or tasks.
  • Maintains equipment, files, and databases and follows all department procedures and guidelines.
  • Participates in performance improvement activities or meetings and recommends actions to improve results.
  • May assist with patient service functions when trained and assigned.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Job Requirements:

  • Prefer a student who has basic experience with troubleshooting, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Active Directory & some networking experience
  • Knowledge of SQL Server 2008 R2 is a plus
  • Licensure/certification/registration: none
  • Physical requirements: lifting up 50 lbs., network wiring

Human Resources Representative

  • Job Title: Employee Results Representative
  • Location: Canton, OH
  • Salary Range: [commensurate with experience]
  • Contact: Allison Sage – New Employee Results Team

Job Description:

At Incept, we refer to our Human Resources Department as our Employee Results Team.  Our focus through this department is to help our employees with all facets of company life and to ensure that they have the information necessary to be successful. The goal of an Employee Results Representative is to help employees with all facets of company life from benefits to policy adherence to scheduling questions. This individual’s goal is to help the other members of their team and the Director of Employee Results to further the department as a helping hand to our employees.

Job Duties:

  • Completes daily assignments, projects or tasks as requested by Director of Employee Results.
  • Maintain community involvement- arranging employee discounts, opportunities, etc.
  • Assist with party planning and company events.
  • Assist as needed with revenue, accounts receivable, billing, etc.
  • Assist as needed with scheduling and data entry.

Job Requirements:

  • Basic computer knowledge
  • Extreme attention to detail
  • Teamwork
  • Integrity
  • Work ethic
  • High standards
  • Organization and planning
  • Learns quickly

To apply, please send a cover letter, clearly explaining which position you are applying for and why you are the best fit for this position to Allison.Sage@InceptResults.com. No phone calls, please.

Thank you!

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The Benefits of Gamification in the Contact Center

As I search and scroll through the feeds of the social media networks that I manage, I am seeing a trend rise in the contact center industry: gamification.

Gamification is the idea of using methods that work out to be like a game in the pursuit of accomplishing a work-oriented task, problem solving, or as a way to boost engagement. Many other industries have incorporated gamification into their business practices as they directly target their consumer base. In the contact center, this can be a huge tool for obvious reasons. Contact centers tend to get a bad rap just because of the nature of the work. Every once in a while, we hear of contact centers that outshine the competition, but that is because of the methods they employ, such as gamification and other non-traditional business approaches.

At Incept, we fully embrace positive competitiveness and love to play games with our Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs). Not only does it make the day go by faster, but it really does keep our employees engaged. Needless to say, when a CME is fully engaged in their calls with their donors or customers, they are going to have an easier time producing meaningful conversations and reaping positive results for our clients.

What your contact center stands to gain

  • Increased employee engagement. The great thing about gamification in the contact center is that it can bring quiet employees “out of hiding”, especially in a work environment where most employees call desk their home base. When I was a Team Captain and would essentially help run my team on a night when my Team Leader was gone, I used gamification as a way to keep my whole team attuned to what it was that I was asking them to do. A popular and easy way that we had games in the rows were with the help of a whiteboard and dry-erase markers. Hangman was usually the game of choice. If my CMEs were able to get an appointment, they would get a guess at the puzzle and could ultimately win an extra break while I took their calls for them. It motivated them to not only press for their own performance but to keep tabs on their peer’s performance. When the going got tough, it really helped us pull together as a team to accomplish our goal before the night was over.
  • Increased self-accountability. It is always a great thing for management to notice when an employee takes their own success seriously and grabs the wheel. In our contact center here at Incept, CMEs will keep tally marks when they hit desired call metrics that we are pushing for performance and productivity. With our blood bank division, we try to aim for making an appointment for a blood donor to donate over the phone with us, and we will mark a tally if we scheduled that donor within 10 days of talking to them, if we scheduled that donor at a client-desired location (such as a donor center), and if that donor met a specific blood donation type. Many metrics can be implemented into this practice, but the key to tally marks is that it keeps our employees aware of their performance to that day, and it gives them something visual to base their performance off of rather than just a percent-to-goal.
  • It is an easy way for management to develop positive professional relationships with employees. When you come to work with the idea that your boss is going to play a game with you that day, it can make it a lot easier to be there! Keep in mind, a call-center employee does have a stressful job. Talking to hundreds of people every day, repeating scripts thousands of times per month, and the wear and tear of conversations can really leave you feeling tired at the end of a productive workday. When you have a positive boss that encourages you to do your best through something as simple as playing a game in between calls, that can help alleviate some of that stress. Not only does it do a good job at reducing angst, but it can also make an employee want to work harder as they begin to feel like they are more of a core member of the team they are on.

The relationship between a manager and his or her employees in a contact center is so important, because the idea behind the team concept we employ at Incept is that we are all part of one unit and we have no limits.

In what ways do you practice gamification among your own employees?

Image Credit: http://www.corpevent.com/

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Learning to Prioritize & How It Can Help You

As a perfectionist, one of the hardest skills to learn in life is prioritizing. When it comes to a to-do list or a set of responsibilities, asking me to not complete any number of them seems like a non-option. In my mind, I have been given tasks that were deemed appropriate for my skills and by not completing them, I am falling short of my potential. The problem with this type of thinking is that all too often I end up running myself ragged. I rush from one task to the next and end up becoming a detriment to my own productivity. One of the skills I have found both extremely difficult and wildly beneficial is the art of prioritizing.

The trick to effectively prioritizing your to-do list is understanding that you may not get everything done. Chances are you will run short on time, you will get caught up in a side project, or you will be stopped to answer questions along the way. Not completing every single task does not indicate failure. As long as you are able to accomplish those tasks deemed most important, you have succeeded in allocating your time appropriately.  Although, as a perfectionist, I don’t like to leave work on the table, but part of keeping myself sane means growing comfortable with handling what cannot be finished.

Here are a few key steps to prioritize your day:

  1. Create a list. A great deal of anxiety or discomfort can come simply from not having a set idea of what needs accomplished. The more clearly your tasks are written down, the more effectively you can begin tackling them.
  2. Rank your list by  importance. Although it may seem like everything holds equal importance, take some time to determine which ones affect the bigger picture. For instance, if a particular deadline ensures the company as a whole continues to run smoothly or clients are happy, it is likely of top priority. Tasks that ensure your personal goals are met or an individual deadline is achieved should rank below those that affect the company or clients as a whole.
  3. Set your calendar. The number-one thing that will keep you from following your list is not setting aside the time. By setting aside the time necessary to get things completed, you are allowing yourself to avoid distractions (to a certain extent) while ensuring that you will be ready to work when the time comes.
  4. Be prepared to reevaluate. Goals that are lower on the list may increase in importance as company, client, and personal goals evolve. Don’t be afraid to revisit your list and re-prioritize to ensure that it still matches the job at hand.
  5. Be ready to accept unfinished tasks. There will certainly be times that you are unable to complete your entire list in a day, week, or even month. Be prepared to acknowledge what has gone unfinished, keeping in mind that those items will eventually need addressed. Be sure to let others involved know that it will not be completed too. Nothing good comes from leaving teammates in the dark.

Although it takes a great deal of practice, prioritizing your day can mean the difference between a productive, smooth-flowing work day and a chaotic, stressful environment. Instead of heaping your plate to overflowing, work on serving yourself a reasonable portion of the most necessary tasks and leaving the rest for days to come.

How do you prioritize you to-do list?

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Video Content & The Contact Center: Where Do You Start?

I’ve said this in the past, but many companies either get how to pull off great video content or they don’t.

Video content on social media platforms can serve a wide variety of needs for any sort of company. It allows you to be more creative than just making an image or taking a photograph. It goes leaps and bounds beyond a status or simple tweet in that regard as well. Think beyond the process of making the content for a second, and focus on what you stand to gain. A little under 90 million United States citizens are going to view 1.2 billion pieces of video content online today alone. Of all the internet traffic out there, video content is responsible for fifty percent of it! If that is the case, then why do only 24% of [national] brands actually make the effort to produce video content?

It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated…

Our videos cost us mere dollars to produce. The only real cost at this point for Incept is my hourly wage and time spent on producing each video. Keep in mind we do this all using an in-house Macbook and iMovie. So, once again, it isn’t really that hard to keep the efforts cost-efficient.

Your camera also doesn’t have to be expensive. Any type of camera that is capable of producing HD footage is fine. There are many pocket cameras that produce incredibly sharp footage and even have a viewfinder, zoom capabilities, and more features for only a few hundred bucks.

What type of video content would you produce, though? Especially if you are a contact center?

Employee Recognition

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Who doesn’t love positive recognition? At Incept, we produce content like this because we believe it actually does have value to our employees. They share the content they are in with their families and friends, and while we can’t place a specific monetary value on that, it is definitely something that is worthwhile to us.

Internal Company Events

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We love having fun at work. Incept is unique in the way that we inject positive humor within our content, because laughter helps all of us get through the day. When we have something going on in the company that we wish to bring attention to, such as our Wacky Wednesday dress-up days, we take advantage by really playing with the concept and getting Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) involved in the production process. Who said we can’t embrace our silly side?

Agent and Customer Service Education

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This is something that can easily pay for itself. Too many companies initially strain themselves searching for ROI like it is a treasure hunt when the obvious savings and value are right in front of their faces with content pieces like this. Educational videos, especially since we are talking about content that is produced for contact centers, can go a very long way. The value of taking your contact center’s top-performing agents or a well-respected supervisor and sitting them down for a quick interview on how to provide service is something that can be viewed by all employees hoping to get on that same level. It also gives an advantage to new employees when you have a content library built up of different topics.

You don’t say?

We do say! As we look to further improve our own video quality and content, you have to keep in mind the factor of creativity. Don’t be afraid to get wild, have fun, and be informative.

Keep in mind, whether it be for recognition, education or simply just for fun, video content certainly can strike a chord with your audience when done right.

What questions do you have about small business video content production?

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The Learning Process of Transitioning to Management

Erica Heath, an Incept Team Captain and Trainer, lets us in on her growth at Incept, what helped her, and how she has learned that each day in the contact center can be different.

I still remember the very first day I was taken off the phones and put on the floor to supervise. I was extremely nervous and terrifyingly unsure of myself. Kevin Domczak handed me the monitoring phone, gave me a quick two-second rundown on how to find the booth numbers, and off I went into the great unknown world of the contact center floor.

I had only been a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) for a few months before Kevin appointed me his Team Captain for the Vein Invaders – most people in the contact center didn’t even know my name or that I even existed as an employee. However, while I was a CME, I lived by the core Incept values, and I showed up to work every day and did the best I could do without complaining. I started at Incept with the intent of using it as a part-time job (I have a degree in Education), but the more I got involved at Incept, the more I respected the company. It only took a slight push from my supervisor to make me realize that moving up at Incept was a good decision for me.

Looking back at my first day on the floor, I was a mess. My hands were shaky, I was unsure of myself, and every time I heard a CME snap with a question I prayed that I knew the answer to what they were asking. After my first experience, Kevin gave me a pep-talk and deep inside I was hoping that he did not change his mind about me, and that he still wanted me to be a leader for his team. Lucky for me, Kevin had faith and took the time to mold me into a worthy Team Captain.

It helps to have a supervisor who trusts you and backs your decisions, but it also helps when you have faith in yourself. After my first day on the floor, I realized I needed to act confident and remain calm in my role, even if I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable right away. I knew I had the skills I needed to be a leader, and I was determined to put them to good use, but I needed to make sure that I could show others my determination and strengths. The next time that I stood up to supervise, I was tenacious and did my very best to help everyone that I could. Soon I found that there was no reason to be nervous, because I knew the answers to most of the questions that the CMEs asked me.

It is a learning process, but when you transition from being a CME on the phone into a management position the most important skill you learn is putting on a brave face and diving headfirst into whatever challenge you come across without being afraid of making mistakes. There are going to be days where you don’t necessarily know all the answers, and that’s okay. Seeking out the answers gives you a chance to become more skilled as a manager.

For those of you looking to move up at Incept, live by our core values, and I guarantee you will great leader material: show integrity in the workplace, don’t ever be satisfied because everything can be improved, be compassionate to the people around you, act like everyone is a customer, stay present while you are at work, and always show tenacity by being ready to tackle any obstacles in your path!

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Let’s Talk Results… The Role of A Trainer In The Contact Center

Part of the telecommunications industry and being a contact center is having the ability to provide a consistently great level of customer service for any type of product or service that your contact center might take calls for. An example of this is the service we provide at Incept, as we are able to call outbound recruitment calls and serve as a main inbound center for nonprofit organizations (such as blood centers). On the flip side, we are adaptable enough to also be able to operate and provide customer service for companies that are software as a service-oriented or even for utility companies trying to communicate better with their own customers (not to mention prospective customers) on their behalf.

How are we able to be truly successful in providing world-class customer service on so many different fronts? That is where the New Employee Results department comes into play. They are the department that trains every new employee that comes in, and Brian Wells has experience as a trainer of both blood bank recruitment and results (retention, accounts, etc.) Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs).

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Brian was able to talk to us about what it takes to be a multifaceted trainer, what the differences are with cross-training employees in different core workflow programs, and how he is able to consistently teach our new employees.

Closing Thoughts

To be competitive in the industry, contact centers are going to have to be willing to be open-minded to venture into different business opportunities. For Incept, that means keeping on our toes and being able to provide customer service for any sort of client need.

At the end of the day, the training department of your contact center and the trainers themselves are where successful employees are shaped to be adaptive. Those efforts accumulate to form either a contact center that is able to provide customer service and WOW the customer or a center that simply provides run-of-the-mill, standard-quality service.

What are your thoughts?

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Outside Of The Office: Teaching English In South Korea

At every company, every once in a while, we are able to find an employee who is truly unique. Timothy Serafino is an Incept Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) who is getting ready to embark on an adventure. His wife and he are going to travel to South Korea where they will stay for one year to teach children English. At Incept, we are obsessed with everything that revolves around the concept of having a conversation, so we just had to find out more.

We support life opportunities like this, and if you knew Timothy personally, you’d know that he has an infectious desire to just integrate himself into our world. Let’s talk with Timothy about what he will be doing during his stay and how Incept has helped prepare him.

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Have you ever traveled to a county to help teach or learn about another culture?

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Using Encouragement To Drive Success In The Contact Center

My name is Myranda Butcher, and I am a Program Results Coach at Incept. My primary role is to coach and develop the skills of our employees, and I approach every “session” with a positive and encouraging attitude.

Encouragement has always come naturally to me. It’s not about telling people what they want to hear. It’s about telling people what they should hear. This world is overflowing with negativity, and it is the reason why most people are surprised by kind words. Consistent negative feedback is the primary reason why it is difficult to retain an employee in most industries.

“Nine tenths of education is encouragement.” – Anatole France

The best possible way to teach someone how to perform a task is to avoid reprimand whenever possible. It is ALWAYS okay to make a mistake, because then you learn how NOT to do something. I like to call this strategy, “failing your way to success.” Consistent “correction” will always lead to self-doubt. If you feel that you cannot do something, most likely you will always be unable to.

I have been in a coaching position at Incept for three years. In this time, I have learned that our Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) will respond to criticism with immediate action but will also carry a sense of resentment. Encouragement, on the other hand, creates a sense of security. If the CME feels as though they are doing well, they will continue to do well and strive to better themselves. This philosophy is best summed up with the following quote:

“When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When I am coaching a CME, I will make it a point to focus on what they’re excelling at. I stress to them how great of a job they are doing in those areas and the kind of impact they have on the company and our clients. When I address the areas that need improvement, I always approach it as a team effort. I explain to them what we need to improve, the reasons why we need to improve that area, and how WE can fix the issue together. This provides that sense of security I mentioned earlier: they are made aware that they do not have to figure it out on their own. This approach not only helps the employee better their performance (which helps the company achieve the goals set by our clients), but it also helps to prevent turnover.

Encouraging someone else will inevitably make you feel good. I will confess that the joy I find in encouraging others partially stems from how good I feel after I have empowered someone else.

George Burton Adams noted the same experience:

“Note how good you feel after you have encouraged someone else. No other argument is necessary to suggest that you should never miss the opportunity to give encouragement.”

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