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Industry Leaders

These individuals founded or expanded the services of leading organizations, consultancies, outsourcers and software vendors. Here's how they have made their impact on all types of call centers.

By the Editors

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08/05/2000, 12:00 AM ET

When your company makes the decision to open a call center, there are many options it has to explore before it can find the right sites, staff and systems to create a successful operation.

The people whom we highlight in this article built organizations that help businesses make the right decisions about specific issues, such as site selection, or provide a wide range of knowledge about how to manage all areas of a call center.

Each of these individuals has unique expertise, and what they have in common is that the organizations they founded or expanded continue to have an influence that extends far beyond the clients they serve. We are pleased to announce this year's winners of the Call Center Pioneer Awards.

The founder and president of the Boyd Company, based in Princeton, NJ, John H. Boyd is one of the nation's leading authorities in the field of call center site selection. For more than 25 years, Boyd has been providing independent location counsel to leading corporations in the US and abroad. His firm works throughout the Americas, and keeping pace with the growth of the call center industry throughout the world, maintains an increasing workload in Europe and in the Pacific Rim.

An economist by trade, Boyd's experience dates back to his work in Puerto Rico as a Bevier Fellow in Economics at the Rutgers Graduate School, where he studied the island's commonwealth political status and the reasons US corporations were locating there. Boyd's early call center industry projects during the 1970s largely focused on US cities in the Midwest.

Today, Boyd remains dedicated to positioning his clients ahead of the latest trends. This year alone, promising call center sites of Boyd's clients include locations such as Sioux Falls, SD; the Netherlands; New Brunswick, Canada; Northern Ireland; Portugal; and New Zealand.

Boyd's proprietary data bank in Princeton, NJ, developed during a quarter century of empirical research, field investigations and client feedback, is an authoritative source of location data for the call center industry.

Call Center Magazine has had the pleasure of interviewing John Boyd for numerous articles about site selection. He has long been among the most knowledgeable people we have come across in the area of site selection, and we congratulate him on the award.

Managing two award-winning call centers is quite an achievement, and we are pleased to recognize Michelle Grantham's contribution to the industry during a career that has spanned 23 years.

Grantham started her career in the call center industry in 1977 as a part-time customer service rep for The London Free Press, a daily newspaper in London, Ontario, Canada. She then held various positions at the newspaper, and in 1991, The London Free Press tapped her to manage the first-ever centralized call center in the newspaper industry. In its January 1998 issue, Call Center Magazine named the call center, which answers calls about both circulation and classifieds, among the winners of the Call Center of the Year Award.

From 1997 to 1998, Grantham was director of customer service for Manulife Financial. In 1998, she founded a consultancy known as Customer Driven and became director of customer service at The National Post, a daily newspaper that covers all of Canada. In the May 2000 issue, Call Center Magazine cited The National Post among the winners of the Call Center of the Year Award.

Grantham is currently a vice president of call center operations at Citibank Canada. "I think the most rewarding trend I have been able to witness in the past two decades is the evolution of the call center in achieving the recognition and respect that it deserves as a core functional division within any company," says Grantham. "The expectation has grown to include retention responsibilities, up-selling, cross-selling, and gathering of important customer data."

Grantham sees a bright future and an increasingly important role for call center executives.

"For everyone who has wondered why they chose a career as a call center manager, take heart," she advises. "The time has come when we are working in an industry that is the fastest-growing employer worldwide. Our skill sets, intelligence, vision, practicality, and our strategic and customer-oriented thinking is desperately required as businesses scramble to determine what 'value-added' benefits they can offer their customers to come aboard and to stay."

Teresa Hartsaw is the founder, president and CEO of Centralized Marketing Company (CMC), a service bureau and call center training company headquartered in Cordova, TN. Under Hartsaw's leadership, CMC has developed expertise in conducting critical sales and sales support functions with dedicated representatives and management who deliver consistent and high-quality service to its clients' customers.

Whether agents at CMC communicate with clients' customers on the phone, on-line or both, CMC's sales-driven partnerships with its clients enables the outsourcer to deliver results through effective hiring, training and performance management. In the May 2000 issue, Call Center Magazine named CMC among the winners of the Call Center of the Year Award.

CMC's training division - newly named the Performance Training Group - offers training to third-party call centers and companies on the strategic planning, managing, coaching and motivational techniques it developed and refined at its call center. Hartsaw has been instrumental in the development of the entire training curriculum and also trains some of the core management workshops. The Performance Training Group has trained more than 500 companies nationwide during the past eight years.

Prior to founding Centralized Marketing Company in 1988, Hartsaw was director of marketing for FedEx, where she sold catalog companies on the idea of offering overnight delivery to their customers. Hartsaw has an MBA in marketing from Florida State University.

Service bureau iSKY, formerly known as Sky Alland, was among the first to offer its clients the option of directing both phone calls and on-line communication to a staff of trained agents. Under the leadership of Richard T. Herbert, who has been the CEO of Columbia, MD-based iSKY since 1995, the company has grown from the small, entrepreneurial firm it started out as in 1984 to become one of the top call center outsourcers.

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