Last year a massive power outage affected much of the downtown Vancouver area for a few days near the Junktion, the corporate headquarters and call center for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Fortunately, we were not directly affected by the outage, but the incident did accelerate my plans for a disaster recovery strategy; one that would ensure our call center service would never be interrupted.
If the outage had reached us, the impact on our international franchise system would have been devastating. With that in mind, I devised a strategy that included a decision I never thought I’d have to make: outsourcing a portion of our call center.
As a franchisor, I run a world-class call center that operates almost 24 hours a day. I am often asked, “Why don’t you outsource your call center?” and I proudly respond that our sales staff is every bit as crucial to the successful running of the company as any other staff member. Therefore, they need to be part of the corporate atmosphere.
However, as a franchisor, I must also be aware of possible threats to the franchise system and make decisions accordingly. Outsourcing part of our call center was one of those decisions. Because company culture is so much a part of my business’s heritage, our leadership team was scrupulous in their search for the right outsourced company.
After an extensive round of due diligence, we selected Advantage Communications, Inc., of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. In a matter of weeks, many of the agents were already achieving jobs-booked percentages close to the range of agents located at the corporate center. The outsourcing idea was a success!
I always thought I was doing everything possible to mitigate risk in my business, and that included not outsourcing the well-run hub of my company. I didn’t want to risk losing an outstanding culture and the opportunity to have our customers interact with the Junktion. I have since realized that we are capable of achieving the same results with an outsourced center.
One of the marks of a true entrepreneur is to continually examine what systems need tweaking, upgrading or even reworking. When uncontrollable forces came close to threatening our business, we opened the door to new possibilities and found that sometimes— when circumstances demand you take an unexpected action— the results are well worth the effort.