Outsourcing to Nebraska

Sending those jobs to India would cut the costs even more, to maybe $10 an hour in wages and overhead. But JetBlue thinks the better service from home agents offsets that price advantage, notwithstanding the occasional barking dog in the background.

His [David Neeleman, the discount carrier’s chief] motivation was mainly to make agents happy, the theory being that happy workers sound better on the phone than morose ones.

Some of the clients we’ve worked with have call centers in North Dakota handling their customer inquiries and concerns. The exerpts above are from The Slipper Solution at Forbes.com outlines discount air maverick JetBlue’s call-center strategy – call-center employees work from home.

First, cost-cutting eventually cuts service quality and brand reputation. Two things JetBlue should be averse to compromising. Secondly, happy employees make for happy customers. The relationship front-line employees have with customers is reflective of the employer-employee relationship. That’s why Working Pathway’s focuses on improving the employee experience.

The Zone vs the Clock

This weekend, we worked on the home renovation – continuously – tiling until we ran out of tile, tweaking the bathroom sink until it stopped leaking. There were no phones, no radios, no email, no meetings pulling us away. We were able to focus on the task at hand until it was complete….really focus. I’m reminded of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research on the subject of work – where he finds that it takes 2 _uninterupted_ hours to get into any given task.

Two hours of not glancing at the clock or checking email or answering the phone.

Compare your daily routine against these 2 hour blocks – does your schedule support you getting into your work? Or is it more about managing distractions?

Measure Once – Cut 5 or 6 Times

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we spent the weekend redoing our bathroom & entryway. The biggest a-ha I can offer you:

Iterate For a Snug Fit.

For each piece of sub-flooring, each tile, and the new mopboard – we would:

  1. Make the measurement
  2. Cut off a hair little less than we measured
  3. Massage the piece in place
  4. Mark where it didn’t fit, and take off a little more
  5. Repeat as necessary

This gave us a much closer fit everywhere – and taught us more about the house than measuring and cutting exactly. Which wouldn’t have worked perfectly anyway because, as my father-in-law says, “The blade has width.”

For more on iterative prototyping check out Michael Schrage’s book Serious Play.

Veen’s Presentation Tips

I highly recommend Jeffrey Veen’s Seven Steps to Better Presentations

My personal favorites:

  • #3 Don’t Apologize.
    Apologizing for your own performance so directly and swiftly weakens.
  • #4 Start Strong and #5 End Strong.
    I was in a sales presentation recently where the main presenter apologized 5 times in as many minutes. From the audience’s perspective – it’s painful, frustrating, and transforms what could be an engaging conversation into an unfortunate waste of time.