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Ivy and her team did an outstanding job of bringing together a roster of speakers with innovation, experience, and energy.

The Conference was large enough to make it interesting, exciting, and entertaining, while providing great opportunities for networking and gathering volumes of information.

At the same time the size promoted opportunities for one-on-one discussions with speakers, authors, and attendees from all over the country in every industry without getting lost in the masses.

The speakers not only provided their experience and insight at the conference, they continue to do so even today. To my surprise, I'm not receiving the typical marketing messages you receive after attending a conference, I am receiving valuable information and insights that began with their presentation and expand like a net to support us in our daily endeavors in the support industry.

"This is the Conference that meets all your needs!"

Carol Koziol
(ACS Government Services)


The US Coast Guards shares their experience in the Katrina Disaster at the 5th Annual Government Customer Support Conference

Captain Geoff Abbott from the U S Coast Guard, a leader in the Katrina, 911 and Rita disasters Keynotes at the 5th Annual Government Customer Support Conference.  Learn key aspects of leadership during a disaster and experience it from someone who was there and deeply involved.

Sign up now and save $200!

eSharings - February 2006

Insights, hints, tips, and resources for service and support professionals, given in the spirit of sharing information.

In this Issue:

-- Sharing - Would you like to work at home?

-- Government Customer Support Conference and Expo (GCS 2006)

-- Explore Your Options: Home-Sourcing

-- Resources: Work at Home Resources

-- Subscription Information


Do you have a yearning to stop commuting and "exist" in a cubicle or office, and have greater control of your work hours?  Is it time to have better life balance and get back more precious hours in your day?

If you had the opportunity to be able to work at home or drive to a nearby office, it might be difficult to ever consider going back to a corporate office again and drive that long commute.

Technology now affords opportunities for the majority of jobs to be done from remote locations. One of the easier positions to "send home" are professionals working in call centers and help desks.

Like many people though, I personally prefer to be in a work environment occasionally and have contact with others. We have an office where the commute is reasonable for any of our team members which meets these needs.

There are no cubicles.  There is a television, sofa, and some cooking facilities along with your standard office set up including a small conference room.  Best of all you can bring your pets to work if you like. 

By design, our office is much like working at home but also forces us to get out of the house from time to time.  We only have to go to the office when we want because anything we would do there we can do anywhere.

I have always had strong feelings about jobs going off-shore or near-shore.  There are many valid considerations to do what we can to keep jobs on-shore.  One way is to consider what is termed home-sourcing.   Home-sourcing reduces costs and keeps more jobs on the home-shore. It also increases personnel resources and provides jobs for those with disabilities or other extenuating circumstances which might prevent them from commuting to a job

This issue of eSharings provides you some resources and articles to encourage you to consider home-sourcing.  I hope the people who can gain a few hours a day by eliminating some commuting can enhance their life balance by working at home or very close to home in virtual offices.  I would personally like to see more call center and help desk jobs become virtual positions so more jobs will remain on the home-shore and create more positions for those who have the expertise to share.

If you want to talk about some ideas how you can make this change, please email me.  I would be happy to offer you some ideas.



Ivy Meadors

High Tech High Touch Solutions

P.S. If you work in the public sector, please plan to join us at the 5th Annual Government Customer Support Conference in Arlington, VA.  Our speakers have prepared very educational sessions  to share with you.   You will get lots of information, hints, tips and resources that will apply to your immediate needs.

Conference Leaders Doing Things Outside of the Norm

The Help Desk Professionals Conference and Expo was the very first service and support conference to have:

  • Musicians for Keynotes

  • Professional speakers from the National Speakers Associations

  • Formal attendee mentoring program

  • Vendors actively participating in sessions with the attendees in an intimate community of building relationships and sharing information together

  • Events developed and delivered by volunteers in the industry

  • Excursion to the Zoo on a night prowl  - everyone loved this one! Great networking time too.

  • Advanced people leading Mastermind Sessions

  • All of the conference proceedings on Flash Drives, eliminating paper proceedings

Others will always copy our success. Don't mistake them for the original! Join the most progressive, leaders in service and support event providers that focus on in-depth education, gain memorable experiences, and become involved in superior and truly intimate networking as the key elements when you attend one of our conferences. 

Our focus has always been, and always will be on you and your professional and personal needs.

-->> Speakers, Vendors, Board Members, Volunteers <<--
We are now accepting requests for those who would like to be a sponsor of the 8th Annual Help Desk Professionals Conference and Expo, as well as speaker proposals and board member applications.   Email HDP@hthts.com now.

Government customer support conference and expo (top)

The 5th Annual Government Customer Support (GCS) Conference and Expo 2006
June 14-15, 2006
Sheraton Crystal City in Arlington, VA


The Government Customer Support Conference and Expo is the only one of its kind in the United States. It is focused exclusively on the needs of local and federal call/contact centers, help desks, and service portals. Join us to learn ways to serve your customers in the most reasonable, cost effective manner and thus deliver the most valuable service results.

You will benefit from hearing these topics and many more at GCS 2006.

  • Keynote by Captain Geoff Abbot from the Katrina Disaster presents  "Leadership During a Disaster"

  • Keynote by Brad Worthley on Outstanding Leadership in a Service Culture

  • Successful implementation of 311 at the City of Hampton by Liz Nisely

  • VoIP Telephony - the truth behind the system

  • Case Study: Utah.gov " LiveHelp" - 2005 Excellence Award Winner

  • Panel of Best of Breed Government Service Desks

  • The Essential Guide to Providing Citizen Centric Service

  • Case Study by Judy Hogan from the FAA - Does ITIL really work?

  • A Step by Step Process to Build Your ITIL Initiative

  • Ready, Set, Measure!  Metrics that Will Put Your Organization in the Drivers Seat

  • Raising the Bar: Achieving Advanced Strategic Leadership Thinking

  • Phishing, Pharming & Worms; Security Issues Faced by Today’s Technical Service Professional by Ernie Hayden, Chief Security Officer of the Port of Seattle

  • What’s Your Score? How to Measure Your Contact Center Performance Using the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)

  • Beyond Borders: A Hands-On Approach to Deliver Successful Multi-Media Communications

  • Top 10 Steps for Constructing a Successful Self-Service System Design

And our exclusive....

Mastermind Sessions: You won't want to miss out on our Mastermind Sessions - 10 unique and intimate discussions will be held each day on the topics most applicable to your immediate needs with an expert leading the discussion ready to take your questions and get you the answers.

Program details: Posted at www.governmentconference.com.

Sponsors: Interested sponsors can email us directly at GCS@hthts.com.  There are a limited number of these exclusive sponsorship opportunities available.

Be part of the experience: If you want to be part of the GCS 2006 team, email us at solutions4u@hthts.com right away.

My promise to you because I am so sure you will find your investment well spent at our event is this:

Give us just two days and we'll deliver to you comprehensive, educational information in key areas of service and support, with an emphasis on leadership and service delivery best practices for help desks, contact centers and service portals.

If you are not 100% satisfied after experiencing the full two day program, we will refund the money you paid us for the conference fee.  It's risk free so why not give it a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to win.  You have my word! 

-- Ivy Meadors, CEO, High Tech High Touch Solutions

Explore Your Options  (top)

A Call Center in Your Home

Homeshoring is an Excellent Solution from Offshoring

You hear a lot about companies routing their customer service calls to workers overseas, but a less-noticed trend is the growth in home-based call center workers. The number of such workers in North America has tripled since 2000, according to an estimate by research firm Yankee Group, with more than 670,000 phone agents in the U.S. and Canada now working at home.

Thanks to the Internet and better call-routing technology, more companies are finding they can outsource their order-taking, sales and problem-solving calls to home-based workers, said LiveOps CEO Bill Trenchard. LiveOps not only runs an outsource operation, but it provides the technology for companies that want to set up their own home-based call centers "since only about 10% to 12% of call center work is outsourced," Trenchard said.

Home-based workers tend to be better-educated and more loyal than their call-center counterparts, Trenchard said.  Most of LiveOps' workers have college degrees (Opara has a master's), and turnover is low.

Source: http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/CollegeandFamily/Raisekids/P142363.asp

Call Centers in the Rec Room

While a stateside call-center worker typically costs $31 an hour, including overhead and training, home agents cost only $21, says IDC. Home agents are also more productive. Willow CEO Angie Selden says the company's home agents make sales that are up to 25% higher than in call centers; their customer satisfaction rates are often 40% better. Read the rest of this article now. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_04/b3968103.htm

Call Centers Tap People for Work at Home

Working at home is taking a leap forward -- in the customer-service arena. Instead of sending call-center work to India or the Philippines, a growing number of consumer products and services companies, from Office Depot and J. Crew to Wyndham Hotels and Sears Holdings, are "home-sourcing" work to people in their homes here.  The rest of this article can be read here. http://www.startupjournal.com/howto/workhome/20060127-shellenbarger.html

What is the Definition of Call Center

The word call center was initially used to mean a telephone call placed to an organization asking for a service to be performed.  But overtime this definition has changed.  Many people have started to refer to the call center as a contact center.  The definition on this website http://www.callcenterops.com really says it well.

A call center is the focal point of customer service for most companies today. Using a variety of technologies, call centers connect the customer and the organization, in real-time, to provide customer service. Call centers take on different forms. A call center can provide pre-sales, sales and sales support or a variety of other types of service.

A definition of "call center":

Call (verb): to make a request or demand Center (noun): a point, area, person or thing that is most important or pivotal in relation to an indicated activity or interest

The definition of call center is changing in our opinion, but the core fundamentals of a customer making a call (via a phone, email, web site, IVR or fax) to a center (point, area, person or thing (e.g. IVR)) will remain constant because the customer views the call as an important or pivotal activity to themselves. Call center, contact center or customer interaction center - by whatever name you give it (we still call it a call center) - operate on near identical principals of meeting customer needs in real-time or near real-time.


Work at Home Resources

  • Call Centers call on Telecommuters. All sorts of information for people looking to work at home as a call center professional here:  http://www.tjobs.com/callcenters.shtml

  • Considerations for managing poor performers whether working at home or work: Stop Making Allowances for Poor Performance: http://www.callcentre.co.uk/ccf/article.asp?id=733

  • Working at home and need to manage down your outgoing call costs? To save money, purchase a calling card at Costco, or other locations that sell the low cost calling cards.  Typically you can get long distance calls for three cents a minute. If the calls are going to exceed 30 minutes or more you might consider using the calling card provider PennyTalk. They charge one cent a minute and a forty-nine cent connection fee. You can sign-up online at www.pennytalk.com.

Learn how we can work with you to turn your organization into a world-class service and support center.   Visit our website for lots of resources. 

Visit us now. www.hthts.com
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We hope you enjoyed this edition of eSharings.  We welcome your ideas and contributions to our newsletter, published worldwide.  Please email us future topics you want to know more about, ask questions or share resources and ideas. Feel free to reprint this newsletter in its entirety with our copyright information intact.

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The 5th Annual Government Customer Support Conference and Expo

June 14-15, 2006
Sheraton Crystal City, Arlington, VA

The GCS program includes:

Certified Help Desk Manager Training

ITIL Foundations Training

Leadership Training

Excellence Awards program for Customer Support organizations in the public sector

“A live from the front-line” perspective and so much more.

Host: Ivy Meadors

Chair: Daryl Covey

Director: Lisa Prendergast

Stay informed and do what you can to save our world.  www.worldwildlife.org

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Reach us at solutions4U@hthts.com or call 425-398-9292.

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