Next week Trase Miller launches a new client partnership with an airline that we have been in discussions with essentially since July of 2010. We are excited about this partnership because it will help fuel more of the growth that we seek. And there are a ton of synergies that will come from the relationship. We’ve been training and cross-training agents for the engagement for the last five weeks and they are all eager to represent a very vibrant brand. As we have come to the finish line of the implementation project, we have reminded ourselves and our partner about the import of paying attention to details.
At the same time of bringing on a new client partner, our management team has been spending a great deal of time on quality assurance with our existing client partners. Everyone is quite familiar with the phrase “this call may be monitored for quality assurance”. Obviously this means that management is listening and one of the things we listen for is that our agents are paying attention to details. Details can be very taxing to a customer care representative who is typing and talking and thinking all at once. Details are interesting also because they can be subtly discovered in a nuance.
Dan Pallotta writes for The Harvard Business Review and is an expert in nonprofit sector innovation and a pioneering social entrepreneur. He recently published an article about details entitled “The Last One Percent that Kills You”.
“Each of us can think of countless examples — where tremendous sweat, resources, and good faith have gone into some important endeavor, only to have it all foiled by neglecting that last little detail. The first 99% of effort gets destroyed by the lack of the last 1% of it. The last 1% gets overlooked because of a lack of rigor in communication. We play fast and loose with language. It's no surprise that we let our guard down during the last 1% of a project. We're tired, excited, and thinking ahead to the next thing. But by keeping focused in the home stretch, we can avoid destroying 100% of our effort."
We live by an understanding of this 1% idea. The value add to our client partners is that we are constantly pointing things that potentially confuse their customers. Often times these things are beyond our control (and responsibility). We provide this value add because we know without doubt that it absolutely builds loyalty.
Monday morning at 8:00 central a new client partner flips a switch and Trase Miller begins taking calls 24/7/365. We will be here all weekend making sure that the last 1% doesn’t get overlooked. Thanks to everyone here that crammed 120 days of work into 60 and paid attention to details every single day and every single step of the way!
Spring Break time is here. Our client partners don’t necessarily target college kids, so we are only marginally impacted by demand for a travel experience that is perhaps a rite of passage. Even so, we believe the concept of spring break is a phenomenon on several levels so we thought we would spend a few minutes on the topic.
Folklore of how spring break started is often linked to a well-meaning college athletics coach. Worried that his 1934-35 teams might get out of shape during Christmas break he decided to train his team at an impressive new pool in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Word quickly spread and in the years to come Fort Lauderdale was to become the spring break capital of the world. By the 1980’s it was a bacchanal of gigantic proportions and all out mayhem. Lauderdale was more commonly known as “Fort Liquordale”. Out of control? Yes (we were there…) Offended residents made certain that the students were chased away. And chased they were to places like South Padre Island, Daytona and ultimately (fast forward) Cancun.
There is some debate now that the very nature of spring break travel may be changing. According to Ian Ford, founder of UndercoverTourist.com “I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of parents traveling with their college-age children”. Some experts assert that the bad economy is driving this trend. Other experts are saying that it can be attributed to over-involved (helicopter) parenting.
Other experts disagree completely saying that there is no such trend of more families traveling together for spring break. It could be that they are right and that the nature of most 18-24 year old kids is that they would rather not spend time on spring break with their parents. If you want something of a pulse on modern day spring break antics, "MTV Spring Break 2011" will be broadcasting from Las Vegas. (Viewer discretion is advised) Potential trends aside, we wouldn’t expect to see many parents in that audience; even if they themselves partied it up in Fort Liquordale.
Our blog next week will not be published as this writer will be on a quiet beach in Florida. Against their wishes we will be with our 17 and 19 year old daughters…
Milestones are a series of numbered markers placed along a road at mile intervals. They are typically located at the side of the road and the mileage is generally a measure along the road from a fixed starting point. Milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travelers that the right path is being followed, and to indicate either distance travelled or the remaining distance to a destination. The idea of Milestones came from the Roman Empire road builders. At the centre of Rome, they erected the "Golden Milestone" which marked the centre of the empire. This important artifact went missing some time in history.
Milestones are also metaphorical markers of reaching a specific stage in a project continuum or even the continuum of life. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book a few years ago called Outliers. Though outlier is a term generally used in describing statistical deviations, Gladwell uses the term to discuss “the story of success”. In his book he also talks quite a lot about milestones. Gladwell asserts that the most successful people are the most practiced people. He talks about the success of the Beatles and Bill Gates and the notion that 10,000 hours of practice time is what sets star performers apart.
Trase Miller attracts and retains star performers. Over 50% of our team has 10,000 hours of practice (5+ years) right here in our Tulsa contact center. Our company is special. We don’t take the comings and goings of people lightly. No matter what circumstance people part from us, we try to be reflective. This brings us back to the idea of milestones.
Cheryl Meade is one of Trase Miller’s star performers. This week Cheryl announced her departure after 16+ years. Cheryl has been a great manager who like a milestone reassured thousands of travelers that the right path was being followed. She has in fact been a Golden Milestone to Trase Miller.
Related to the idea of milestones are the concept of parting stones. Parting stones are monuments that provide direction at a fork in the road (a parting of the way). An example can be found in England's Lake District. Known as the Brothers Parting Stone, it marks the place where two brothers last saw each other. The inscription reads:
Here did we stop; and here looked round
While each into himself descends,
For that last thought of parting Friends
That is not to be found.
Brother and friend, if verse of mine
Have power to make thy virtues known,
Here let a monumental Stone
Stand–sacred as a Shrine
This blog is dedicated to Cheryl. Best of luck. You will be missed.