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Omaha’s North End Teleservices reimagines customer service contact centers

Carmen Tapio, founder, president and CEO of North End Teleservices

Customer service contact centers have evolved from the 1990’s. Instead of just providing phone support, they now interact with customers via phone, chat, email and text.

Tech startups and software developers around the world work to produce cutting-edge solutions that produce results like minimized support waits, maximized customer satisfaction and effectively tracked interactions.

Customer service reps in call centers are not only answering phones now, but they’re also interacting with customers around the globe via software platforms that require a certain degree of technical skill and understanding, as well as a personal and relatable way of interacting with another person.

Essentially, technical solutions to improve customer service are only as good as the people who operate the systems and provide the human-to-human the customer service interactions.

One outsourced contact call center startup in North Omaha understands that and is on a mission to change the way the industry operates.

“We’re a people business, but we’re underscored and supported by technology and process,” said Carmen Tapio, founder, president and CEO of North End Teleservices. “A lot of the decision making we do is dynamic, in-the-moment decision making and our technology has to be able to keep up with that,” said Tapio.

Changing the traditional teleservices culture

The young support center was founded in 2016 and is rebranding teleservices and aims to be “a new standard in business process outsourcing.”

“I wanted to do something different from the culture and the environment that you typically see [in call centers] because I know that the people that are interacting with customers are the most important people in this organization,” said Tapio. “They can make or break a longstanding relationship any individual has with a company, and in today’s world of social media, it doesn’t take much for the word to get out that you weren’t treated well.”

Tapio has worked in call centers since she was 18. She was running a consulting company hired by the Omaha Economic Development Corporation to help develop a business plan to bring jobs to North Omaha.

“So many of the people who live in this community work in call centers in other parts of the city and one of the hurdles [they face] is transportation,” said Tapio. “We thought why not bring a call center right to a community that allows people to work where they live and really leverage the talent that’s already here.”

Omaha has a long history of successful teleservices companies, but they’re typically not located on Omaha’s north side.

“We’re about creating and bringing jobs to Northeast Omaha where unemployment in the past has been over 20 percent,” said Tapio. “We’re a community, and my goal is to change people’s’ lives through the work that we do here.”

Deciding on a focus

Tapio said North End Teleservices initially decided to specialize in support for one industry, but then she decided not to limit the company to one sector.

That means that employees now have to know how to use support platforms for a range of industries from college bookstores to healthcare, as well as be brand ambassadors for the companies they represent.

North End Teleservices also needed to create a custom CRM solution that allowed them to track and manage their support services while also following HIPPA and FERPA regulations.

“When I started at First Data Resources […] I had a mentor that asked me to do something I didn’t know how to do: She told me to program something,” said Tapio. “She came from an IT Background, and she challenged me to it and gave me a couple of books.”

Tapio said she never forgot that and it became something that she tells her employees now.

“We’re self-taught [developers],” said Tapio. “All the support of our technology comes from the people who use it every day.

Creating a model for success

Tapio hopes to max out their location which can accomodate 200 employees, and then expand to other parts of Omaha that currently fall behind the rest of the city in terms of career opportunities and empoyment rates, but which have plenty of talented people.

“My hope is to expand the office into this entire stripmall, and then do the same thing in South Omaha where they are also in need of jobs right where people live,” said Tapio. “We’re recruiting bilingual right now. With the immigrant population not just here but in the rest of the country, language support is a big deal. Omaha has rich language capabilities.”

The success of North End Teleservices is proved in its low turnover and growth, things the industry isn’t typically known for.

“Our culture is such that our people are fully vested in what they do every day,” said Tapio. “They understand impact and their role in success. When North End Teleservices is successful, that means communities, individuals and their families are successful.”

Tapio said she’s proud of the innovation North End Teleservices is achieving and proud of every single person in her organization.

“A lot of folks come without dreams and they just want a job,” said Tapio. “By the time we’re done, they’re full of hope. We’re helping people create a vision for what their life can be like. Our responsibility is putting people on a path to achieve that.”

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Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.

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