[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to this episode of the Endicott Call Centers podcast. Endicott Call Centers connects your business with 24/7 call center solutions for businesses and any outsourced needs. We customize our services and adopt your company culture to provide the best customer experience. Ultimately, we are in the people business and hand select only the best agents for your program. With virtual assistants, live chat and premier answering services, Endicott Call Centers prides itself on decades of delivering state of the art communications technology and outsource call center services, including inbound calls, outbound calls, hip a compliant, secure text messaging, email response, live chat and more. We are your extended partner for world class, business extension and customer care.
[00:00:46] Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Endicott Call Centers podcast. I’m your host, Craig Casaletto, and I’m here today with John Bryant, the senior operations manager here at Endicott. John, thank you so much for being here. I was hoping we could kind of get things kicked off by having you tell us a little bit about your background and what your role here is. Endicott is the senior operations manager.
[00:01:08] Sure. So, I’ve actually been in the answering service field or industry form since the late 80s. My grandparents started the company back in 1970, called Bryant answering service. From there, I would go to the offices of the kids and do some duties around the office, empty trash cans, do some building stuff, some folders, make some message slips and started taking calls when I was about twelve years old. One of the interesting stories is I would walk from middle school to the office and actually help with the call load at checkout times for the 24-hour operation progressed from there becoming an office manager.
[00:01:44] After that point in time, I became a GM for the site and it kind of led me to my role today as a senior ops manager where I oversee four of the Endicott offices.
[00:01:53] So you could say it’s pretty much been in your blood for a long time.
[00:01:56] Completely has been in my blood. I felt like I was basically born in the office. And I’m sure that just having that experience, I’m sure you learned a lot. Yes. So, I was actually I was raised by my grandparents. They were the business owners. They kind of guided me along my way.
[00:02:10] But a lot of things that I discovered from the technical, you know, technology piece of it to customer service to H.R. interactions with the employees was all kind of trial by fire a little bit. And using my grandmother as a resource just to be able to guide me and help me out in reference to Endicott.
[00:02:28] And you working as a senior operations manager, what would you say is like the core responsibilities of what you do there and how you kind of manage your daily day to day operations there?
[00:02:37] Yes. So, the biggest thing that I do is not only am I the support coaching really for four offices, but I oversee the operations, making sure call flows, Qs calls are answered in a timely fashion. No customer issues, making sure that our dispatch times out to our clients are fully functional within standards, basically making sure that we’ve got enough operators in rotation. I handle the call flow and then checking in on the day to day from each side, making sure there’s no operational issues inside their facilities. All right. So basically, just making sure business keeps moving.
[00:03:10] Is this something that you could plan ahead for or is it just for you? It’s just a reactionary thing on a daily basis when you come into work.
[00:03:17] So a lot of the things that we do from a scheduling piece are just from call flow patterns. So, we understand typically what I call flow day looks like. However, there are many things that changed that throughout the day. Some offices may lose power, or they may not have staff that actually show up to work. So, we are here to support them in every venture that we may have clients that have a website outage. Right. All of sudden, the traffic that they only handle online now becomes a phone call. So, we have to kind of ramp up in a quick fashion. There is no expectation for that. Would you schedule with a little bit of buffer there to kind of cover that? But sometimes we have to reallocate all of our resources.
[00:03:57] But how good do you feel that you are multitasking?
[00:04:00] I’m very I think I’m very good at actually work with three computer screens and a desk for monitor. I feel like I’m in everything, whether it’s through Skype messaging to instant messaging tools inside of our CRM, to responding to text messages. I mean, I think it’s just part of my blood.
[00:04:16] It’s the brain’s always going. I’m just always looking at and always focused and always trying to figure out what we can do to make things better.
[00:04:22] Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. I feel like in your industry and specifically probably in your role that you really that’s got to almost be like it seems like a prerequisite that you have to have that ability to multitask.
[00:04:33] Yeah, I think it’s actually the number one thing. That’s really the job headline. Right. It’s a multitasking should be the first prerequisite for this job. More. Same. Same as for the site managers. I mean, they really have to be able to have their hands-on multiple things at multiple times to make sure things are going smooth.
[00:04:48] And I’m sure that’s what makes you effective for your clients. Right. And knowing that they’re going to be able to have you guys answer the calls and if there is an issue to be able come up with a quick solution.
[00:04:59] Yeah. That’s what they count on us for. They count us for just to be a solution. Right. They when they call, they know that we’re going to have an answer. And if we don’t have an answer immediately for them, that we’ll find a solution for them. I mean, ultimately, that’s what we have here. That’s what they pay us for. So, it’s our job to make sure that we can figure out a way to make it happen.
[00:05:14] You know, just out of curiosity, do a lot of your clients.
[00:05:17] Do they get involved in the actual process of what it takes to handle all that behind the scenes stuff, to handle the calls? Or are they just making sure that calls are handled efficiently and that we’re getting whatever we need to get done?
[00:05:30] So the majority of our clients actually are not very hands on. They will get the initial programming going, get some contact information, get us some content on the information that we get to ask the callers and then we may never hear from again. I mean, as long as things are going, our system is up and running. We’re handing their calls in a timely fashion. We’re taking accurate information and delivering it to them. I mean, I hear from them again. Then there’s a small handful of clients that actually live and breathe the day to day. Right. So, they’re very involved. They want to hear the recordings. They want us to see the call qualities that come through the messages. They want to see how quickly we answer to the phone, what their interaction with the wait times are. But it’s just really a small percentage of our customers.
[00:06:08] Do you have a preference as a manager of working with businesses that are more, let’s say, want to know more about what’s going behind the scenes or more of like, hey, listen, you guys are the experts.
[00:06:19] You guys handle what you need to handle.
[00:06:20] You know, I’ve been doing it for so long. I appreciate both sides. I really can understand that some of it can make come down to. They don’t have enough time. That’s why they’re the resource you’re outsourcing us to handle that for them. And they really trust it because we’ve been in the business for almost 50 years and we’ve been around, and we could do have a reputation to stand on it. And I feel like the other side, too, because it gets me creative, inventive. It doesn’t give me the day to day. I get to kind of figure out some problems and dive in and help them.
[00:06:46] And maybe things that they may focus on are trying to drive something or a solution that I can come up and provide because I’ve experienced it before. Or, you know, we can brainstorm with the team to kind of come up with the solution.
[00:06:57] You know, what’s interesting is that when we actually talk to set up this interview, I got the impression that you were like had the very good ability to wear many hats at many different times. And yeah, it’s amazing like that whole decision-making process and trying to figure all that stuff out, how it’s just like it doesn’t seem like there’s a daily day in the call center business. Like there is like a standard, I should say day.
[00:07:20] There’s not a standard day. I mean, and that’s one of the beauties of this position in this kind of work, is that you’d never really know you have an idea what you’re going to do. But there’s always a variation from so many different levels. I mean, every day I kind of have an idea what I’m going to get myself into and then it just seems like it automatically takes a turn at the moment I sign and something’s happening.
[00:07:39] I’m sure that makes you really good and it makes Endicott really good at what you guys do.
[00:07:43] I want to say its adaptability, right? We can adapt so quick to some of the different situations than the team that we have really just puts on their best efforts to accommodate not only our customers, but our employees as well.
[00:07:54] You mentioned team. You know how. How much is like the team aspect make you guys more effective with what you guys are doing?
[00:08:01] So teams play a pivotal role in Endicott because we’re what we call multi side. So, we have multiple locations that actually handle call flow from all different. So, we’re very well involved.
[00:08:11] Even though we have clients all over the country, we may have team members from different offices that participate and assist those clients. So, it gives us that diversity effect and also gives us that stability effect to have redundancy at multiple locations and have exposure and experience. So that kind of plays a role in Endicott in general.
[00:08:27] If there’s a weather event, if there’s something that’s going on and the court is not siloed to say that one office can only facilitate and handle a client. We have some flexibility where we have staffing at different locations. And right now, Endicott is operating about a hundred and thirty employees.
[00:08:41] Is there something specific about your location that is very unique?
[00:08:45] Yes. So, I’m actually based in the Miami office. And now what’s really unique about the Miami office is that we’re the bilingual call center or the overflow line for all of our locations. So, a lot of that Spanish content comes from the Miami office and so is supported on a day to day. And we probably handle roughly about fifteen hundred calls just from the Spanish aspect on a daily basis.
[00:09:06] Do you have calls that are specifically redirected to your location for those needs? Well, definitely.
[00:09:11] So in our will, we actually have what we call a Spanish Q or Spanish transfer. So, it calls may actually start out with an agent answering in English and the caller may request a Spanish operator if they can’t continue to take that information.
[00:09:23] They populated push that to a Spanish queue that’s managed queue as house of the Miami office of the first available operator will or agent will take that call and be able to continue on with that message.
[00:09:33] Talk about being very diverse with just the services and stuff that you’re providing and helping people get to whatever solution they need to get to.
[00:09:40] I mean, you definitely have the staff there to help them do that. That’s pretty cool.
[00:09:44] Yes, it is. I mean, it’s kind of what makes us unique. We don’t have to outsource. We’d have to call language line. We are we are bilingual within ourselves.
[00:09:51] Is that is that common for other call centers in the industry to provide that service depending on their location?
[00:09:57] Other answering services utilize a third party to be able to assist with these types of calls in other languages. And so, we have that dynamic in-house what which kind of helps in multiple ways and helps them with an expedition process basically so we can expedite that call process. And it also is cost savings because we’re not paying another company to do that translation.
[00:10:19] Absolutely. You know, it kind of leads me into my next question for clients and businesses looking to hire use Endicott for a call center needs other than the bilingual side of it.
[00:10:28] What other services does Endicott provide that maybe could help them be more effective and efficient in their business?
[00:10:33] We do a variety of things, so we’ll do some scheduling. We can utilize our own scheduler, or we can interface with the client’s scheduler, set up appointments or to set up any kind of visit.
[00:10:42] So not only not just limiting ourselves to maybe sales or medical or anything that requires appointment setting, we can actually feature something like that. We also have secure messaging, which is an application that will allow it to be a sip of compliance to transmit information back and forth from our system to a device. We can send that to an iPad and iPhone, a Google device and give us a set of information flexibility so that we were transmitting information securely in addition to that. I mean, we do in Tier 1, Tier 2 support, we can now we can act as a helpdesk and be able to handle some of that level once if that comes through and be the voice or face of the company just with the information that we have to provide FAQ’s to the clients.
[00:11:26] So what do you think separates Endicott maybe from other call centers out there in providing these types of services? Do you think that separates them from those others?
[00:11:34] I mean, I think the biggest thing is our team. It’s the amount of experience that we have from a management side or from a cost customer service side. A lot of the sites have team members with extensive history. We’ve got some employees I’ve been with 10 or 15 years and just be able to deliver on that and know what the clients expect from us will set us aside because our Q A, which had a focus on that and say that we’re second to none.
[00:11:57] So we want to make sure that we drive that through. So, the call handling the experience from start to finish. We want to say is it is just it’s just the best in the industry.
[00:12:07] Is there a specific client situation that you personally found very challenging? And can you discuss a little bit how you resolved or overcame that situation?
[00:12:16] Yes. So, I mean, sometimes clients come to us with specific needs. So not always do we have a cut and dry protocols. So, when we take information from clients, we may we may want to contact them in different methods or different ways. And it may be time of day specific.
[00:12:30] So we may have a client that that at certain time of the day wants to be text message at certain times of the day, wants to be called their cell phone, a certain time of the day wants to be called at home. And sometimes that becomes a little bit of a challenge because it’s not the norm for us. So, what we’re able to do is we work with our vendor and we created a customized dispatch script so that the system based on time of day will automatically route those calls. So, agents are no longer making decisions. They’re kind of guided to that process based on a time of day. So it becomes very open that if a client wants something done at a specific time, we were able to write this this procedure so that the client could be contacted and in the exact same way every time, depending on the time of day, which makes it one of the biggest things in our world is not only taking the message, but getting the message out accurately.
[00:13:14] So that becomes a stuck point at some point in time.
[00:13:17] And having these auto dispatch scripts in place resolve a lot of problems and it resolves a lot of pain issues that we had in general just definitely helped them out.
[00:13:25] I was going to ask you, have you seen the results of that change and have you gotten some feedback from that?
[00:13:32] Yeah, definitely. So, it would go for maybe making a couple mistakes. We need to not make any mistakes at all once we implemented this process.
[00:13:39] So it definitely drove down the customer service or the account executive piece of always being involved with a particular client. Not only that, but it won over the client to know that we could come up with a solution that would actually benefit their business.
[00:13:50] What would you say is the most enjoyable part about specifically working for Endicott?
[00:13:54] I think it’s the people in coaching the people. Right. So, my biggest thing is I’m a constant coach and a constant cheerleader and making sure that we fix any problem that comes up and find the best solution. So most enjoyable is just the environment that it’s in and the people that support it.
[00:14:09] You’re not just helping out in the call center site, but you’re just managing people and personalities and different things. So, you’re literally pulled in many different directions no matter what we do in our day.
[00:14:19] We’re always focused and if the phone stops ringing, we all have a place to be able to call Endicott. So, we’re always focused on the first call first.
[00:14:27] First thing that comes to mind when you hear the words customer service, what does that mean to you?
[00:14:32] In my mind, it’s one call resolution. It’s satisfaction, it’s an enjoyable experience.
[00:14:37] It’s being able to resolve a problem, to be able to carry that with not only a good quality, a good tone in your voice, but it means the ability to fix something that’s wrong. So, customer service to me is just frontline representation of a company. And then being able to mimic maybe not only what the way our clients would resolve problems, but the way the Endicott could actually resolve problems, which is their team and their focus.
[00:15:00] I was curious to find out what customer service really means to you because it seems like that is really the backbone of what you do. Yeah.
[00:15:06] Whether you’re facilitating customer service through the people that your manager actually dealing with the client hands on, it seems like it’s just it’s all customer. Obviously, customer service based.
[00:15:15] Yeah. I mean everything that we do is customer service base, every interaction, every phone call, every email response, anything that we do, anything that we touch, any transaction that comes in.
[00:15:25] Endicott is really the customer service. So, our life is constantly touched and sometimes it’s such fifteen thousand times a day. It just depends on the day and the interactions. But our call volume, we have to remind ourselves to take to take one call at a time because, you know, even the Q may be going crazy with number of phone calls. We don’t want to distract ourselves. We want to pay attention to one call. Make sure that the client doesn’t feel the customer doesn’t feel like there are a number. Right. That their person next to truly do mean something to us. So when are going to cut, you know, cut corners just because the queue is full of calls, we’re going to take them on call to time and make sure they’re happy with our resolution is everything that represent the customer service representatives are doing to make that call experience like a personal one for people to call that they want to talk to your agency. So, I mean, we go through extensive training with the agents and they definitely won’t. We want to make sure that they’re engaged with the callers. So, there’s going to be a depending on the type or nature of the call, there will be empathy that’s passed on. There will be information that they can kind of interact. We don’t want to treat them just as a caller. We wanted to make sure that their experiences, you know, because we were representing companies, we want to make sure that they feel like they’re getting that value of if they handled in a contact to the. Directly because of this, at the end of the day, our workforce is basically extensions of offices. So, we want to make sure that we pass that on to them. So, if they’re not happy, they’re not satisfied. The agents will make sure they go out of the way to resolve problems and they may ask them multiple times, is there anything that they can help them with just to ensure that they feel like they’ve accomplished what they started out when they made that phone call to begin with?
[00:16:55] You know, I was thinking about this in your business. I think about it. You’re in the call center business. But really, would you agree that you’re probably more in the people business?
[00:17:03] We’re definitely in the people business because, like I said, it’s if it’s sometimes we’re experiencing 15000 thousand interactions. So that is just you have to be a people person to be able to work at this company because there is not one for one party. Your day that you’re not going to have an interaction with an individual. It may not be face to face. Right. Women have face to face interactions, but we have voice interactions.
[00:17:24] We have email interactions, that digital footprint that leaves us out there. If you’re not if you’re not people oriented, it’s definitely not the career path for you or that a place for you to work.
[00:17:34] And the interesting thing I find is that a lot of times people are calling because they want to because you’re having an issue, or they need a problem resolved. And they’re just looking for that. They’re looking to hear that voice or find that person that’s going to get them from where they are now to where they need to be.
[00:17:48] And that’s like a really important role that you guys play in your business is to try to guide them down that path.
[00:17:54] Well, you know, that’s interesting that you say it like that because that really is a big role for us. And we find that a lot of our callers, some of them want that hand-held interaction. And in some of Maudie, I’ve done the background research that they’re five steps of head and they’re not looking for someone to take a message. Right. They’re looking for someone to resolve those issues.
[00:18:09] So that’s what kind of sets us apart a little bit because we have the clients that still require the handholding all the way through. Let me take your information and pass that on to the next person. And then we have we’ll have already done that process before. How can you expedite me and how can you get me further along? I’ve done this process before, so it’s an interesting interaction from the agents perspective, because not all agents can transact that way. So, I think we have our own dynamic where we have different layers or different levels of agents based on these types of calls that come in and the clients.
[00:18:38] John, is there anything that maybe you haven’t been previously asked before about your role or about Endicott that you feel will be important for people to know about the industry or that Endicott is doing maybe to stand out in the call center business?
[00:18:49] It’s an interesting path. Nothing’s really focused on it. But I think that people play a pivotal role in this. In this, I feel that it’s a lot of fields that actually was thought to be a dying field many times. Right. As electronics and technology has come in, IVR systems, things that were. Thought to kind of curb this type of business has done nothing but propel it because all it’s done is an additional layer of maybe a qualifying the call to get to an actual person. So, what we’ve seen in our business through our trend is that technology is beautiful. As long as you can kind of cultivate it, work with it, manage it. One of the things that I’m anticipating seeing where this goes is like the A.I. rules, these A.I. bots and things like that. How is that going to change the product that we offered today? And is that going to take in a race? The handholding is going to be able to kind of progressed the call and make it a Tier 2 call versus a Tier 1 call. And then we have to kind of look for the talent to support that. So, the one thing in my industry is always like a forward thinking, what’s going to happen next? Where are we putting ourselves? And because I’ve been in the business for social long, pretty time, I’ve seen those transitions come through.
[00:19:59] And one thing that’s amazing to me is that the business keeps going stronger and stronger because the need to hire people that can do these customer service versus the forward-facing filing things in people’s offices. It’s where they need to be able to have interaction. They can’t focus on that. Maybe the call, though. Let’s say we offer a unique resource for that because, you know, you’re not paying someone to sit in the chair for hours and hours upon a day. You’re paying by the activity that the calls are generated. So, if we only generate five calls a day or we generate 500 calls a day, you’re not paying somebody to sit in the chair for eight hours. You’re paying somebody based on that volume. So, it’s kind of unique process that we bring to the table. And then it’s it it’s good to staff that way. I mean, it’s where we’re kind of like a staffing agency, in essence, for these clients, because we’re filling that need void where it is to hire somebody and pay them to sit in front of and wait for the phone to ring. You know, we’re waiting for the floundering all day long because we’re 24/7. So, but we have enough clients to support the call it and business and keep out our team members busy.
[00:20:57] You know, what’s interesting is the it seems the business will always be and I’m not too sure if this eventually will go away and it’ll be a shame if it did. But it’s so it seems like it’s always rooted or found. The foundation of, as I should say, is in the human element.
[00:21:10] It’s just having that person behind that phone that you can speak to as opposed to getting a recording.
[00:21:15] You know, we’re like a safety blanket. We really are. You know, we really are. And that’s the human element. You know how many people don’t like interactions with voicemail systems? You know, they don’t feel like there’s a sense of closure. Right.
[00:21:27] I left a message with a machine is that machine and going to deliver that message to a person. Now, I left a message for the person you would think would be the almost the same dynamic. But I would believe that the human element to that is they’re definitely going to follow through and they’ll definitely get it in the hands of somebody else. It won’t be lost in space in the digital you know; the digital world won’t be lost in space because I spoke to this person on this day and they were going to do this. And this is what they told me. Right. Versus electronically. The voicemail was saying, leave your message and we’ll make sure we deliver it. But where does that trust you’re out in space. Your kind of just hold on a prayer. Oh, that it worked and that it crashed into did it not get delivered? But no. I talked to Sally at the at the call center and she told me she was going to do this. So that reassurance is definitely I don’t think there’s any connection like this.
[00:22:10] Yeah, exactly. I agree. And I know from being a caller and calling for help trying to resolve an issue that I appreciate hearing someone’s voice on the other side of that line and knowing that they’re helping me. And I feel it’s just a lot more of a personal relationship that I have with the business I’m trying to call is that I have that person who is helping me along the way as opposed to going through a bunch of different prompts, not having the faith that, you know, this issue is going to be resolved.
[00:22:36] Well, and, you know, I guess part of the challenge is as we get as we get more and more involved in this digital market digital piece or technology pieces, it’s instant gratification. Right? The results are immediate. People are searching their phones, are pushing their devices for all these answers. Right.
[00:22:51] So when they call somebody to get that information, it’s not like they haven’t tried that five times. And you’re going to give them the same response that they’ve checked or research five times. That’s what’s going to separated. That’s what’s in it. That’s what changed things. And that’s right. That’s how I’m looking at the future of our industry and the future of the call center.
[00:23:07] John, I just wanted to really just thank you so much for taking part in this interview about Endicott and about your role and everything that you’re doing. I really do appreciate your time and appreciate all the insight that you provided today.
[00:23:19] And I can appreciate for you just having me on. And now you know this my first podcast experience. So, I appreciate it.
[00:23:27] Anytime. You got it. Thanks again. All right. Thank you. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Endicott Call Centers podcast. To find out more, head on over to W.W. W. Endicott com dot com. That’s Endicott C O and M dot com.