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Trase Miller ~ 2012 ~ Oh What Fun It Was To Ride


Scott Bell Trase Miller Blog

As 2012 comes to a close we all do our best to slide into the holiday weeks in good spirits.  What helps many of us here make “spirits bright” is a reflection back on the year.  James Lord Pierpont wrote a song back in 1857 that is synonymous with Christmas.  If you stop and listen to the lyrics, you realize that the sleigh ride J.L.P. writes about is much like the year we had here at Trase Miller.

In the last verse, we are instructed to choose a fast horse, to pick up some new people and to take off at full speed.  No – really, this is true.

  Now the ground is white

  Go it while you're young,

  Take the girls tonight

  and sing this sleighing song;

  Just get a bobtailed bay

  Two forty as his speed

  Hitch him to an open sleigh

  And crack! You’ll take the lead.

  Jingle bells, jingle bells,

  Jingle all the way.

  Oh! what fun it is to ride

  In a one-horse open sleigh.

  Jingle bells, jingle bells,

  Jingle all the way;

  Oh! what fun it is to ride

  In a one-horse open sleigh.

So yes it’s true – We kicked off 2012 with a fast (faster) horse.  We moved to a new building.  We invested in some new equipment and technologies.  And we modified some policies and procedures to accommodate a changing workforce.  There’s more but those are a few highlights.  Special thanks to our IT Leader John Coles for giving leadership and for helping to pick a faster horse. 

Our biggest 2012 story (and accomplishment) was all about people and picking up new people.  This was mostly driven by clients whose business was growing and by adding some new clients to our roster.  It’s not a small thing because we recruit and select very carefully.  We hired well over 100 new people in 2012; so our HR and L and D teams worked double overtime most of the year.  Special thanks to Sarah Adair who leads those teams and made it all happen. 

We took off at full speed in early 2012 and we had little time to rest the entire year.  Vacations were constantly being put on hold, business travel schedules were rigorous and we began running out of space in our main operations center.  Intense describes our overall 2012 pace and intense describes the energy put forth by Debbie Greene.  Special thanks to Debbie for her leadership and dedication!

And to everyone that works here – Oh what fun it was to ride.  Thanks for making this a great place to work and thanks for a fantastic effort in 2012 24/7/365. 

Contact Center Fulfillment, Chicken Sandwiches, Mindsets & Monkeys


contact center fulfillment is not monkey business

In our blog last week we mentioned our Quarterly Quality Forum.  Here we go again.  Part of our QQF includes case study of companies that we admire.  Chick Fil-A was our most recently featured QQF company in part because their leadership has such fantastic vision and crystal clear insights about how to run a great company.  Dan Cathy is Chick Fil-A’s CEO and “SOB” (son of the boss).  His father S. Truett Cathy founded the company over 40 years ago.  They sell a ton of really yummy chicken sandwiches ($4 Billion) and have been profitable every year since their founding.  Dan Cathy asserts something that our management team really latched on to in our QQF:

"If we have to keep telling people what to do, it means we're not modeling the behavior ourselves and if we're living it every day, we don't need to talk about it”

What a profound simple truth.  Keller and Love for Harvard Business Review recently blogged about modeling and modifying behavior.  It’s all about mindsets. In their article Keller and Love use the story of four monkeys…

Four monkeys are sitting in a cage with a bunch of bananas hanging from the roof, accessible by a set of steps. Whenever the monkeys try to climb the steps to get to the bananas, they are blocked by a blast of cold water. After a few days, the monkeys give up. Researchers then remove the water hose and replace one of the original monkeys with a new one. Seeing the bananas, it starts up the steps. What happens? The other monkeys, being social creatures, pull it down before it gets blasted with water. This happens again and again until pretty soon the new monkey doesn't bother to go for the bananas either.

Over the next few weeks, the researchers remove the rest of the original monkeys one at a time and replace them with new monkeys who've never seen the jet of water. Even though there's no longer anything to stop the monkeys from reaching the bananas, each new monkey is always pulled down by the others.

By the end of the experiment, not a single monkey has ever seen a jet of water, but none of them tries to climb the steps.  

As leaders of a contact center fulfillment business, we know it is important to do our best to model good behavior.  And we are thoughtful about making sure our processes and policies are not perceived as cold blasts of water by our people.  It’s a great place to work and we’re here to help you.

FAMished for Destination Knowledge and Motivated by Travel


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Adults learn differently than children.  There are many theories about why this is and there are many theories about how to help adults best learn.  At Trase Miller we give learning a ton of attention.  One of the key principles of adult learning is motivation.  Our “Learning and Development” team makes it their business to understand the importance of what motivates our agents.  Training classes are conceived and constructed with motivation very much in mind.  One thing very clear around here is that our agents are famished for knowledge and motivated by travel.

So we invest in learning outside of the classroom in the form of travel.  Anybody professionally associated with the travel industry has heard of the familiarization trip or as it is commonly known FAM trip.  FAM trips require, investment, planning and careful coordination.  We have been at this a long time so through the years we have coordinated and participated in hundreds of FAMs.  The stories we could tell…

More recently small teams of Trase Millerites were out on FAMS.  The site inspections and fun happened under the sponsorship of our airline client partners.  These people all came back with a fresh view of how to best take care of customer’s needs.  Explaining the power of FAM trips comes best from the mouths of those most recently out there - - -

“It’s great to be in a position to explain the properties with actual knowledge of what a room looks like.   Hotel proximity to other venues is another thing I brushed up on.  It’s fantastic to be able to say that I have recent first-hand experience.  With confidence I can tell a caller that they would not want to walk from New York New York to Caesars even though on maps they look only a few casinos apart!”   Crystal B.

“Going on this trip really helped us as a group to understand the hotels and the room types available in Las Vegas. The experience was both memorable and amazing and we appreciate the opportunity very much!  I will never forget the hotels we saw and how much fun we had!“   Heather M.

“It was very beneficial to get to see all of the properties we sell on a day to day basis. My knowledge of the product AND the airline brand has greatly improved. I have no doubt that FAMs like this will help us tremendously.   Eugene K.

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