I am asked quite frequently why First Call Resolution is headquartered in Oregon. It’s a fair question, given that I am based in Seattle.
With our 5th location up and running in Veneta on top of our other 4 centers in Roseburg (2), Grants Pass and Coos Bay, I figured it was a good time to describe our reasoning around why we build where we build.
For starters, wouldn’t you want to work in a place that looks like this?
As we have built FCR into the world class outsource provider that it is today, we knew we could not and did not wish to compete on scale or price. To commoditize our offerings and belief systems was not a path we were willing to take. Our differentiators had to be quality, flexibility, creativity and customization. We believed there were enough companies in the world where our values truly resonated.
In order to achieve these lofty goals, we focused only on locations we were familiar with where the work we would be providing would be viewed as a career, not a job. We wanted to create valued employment opportunities with associated career paths for each and every colleague, rather than dead end McJobs. We wanted our people to have a sense of pride and ownership in their work.
For starters, we looked for towns with a skilled and educated labor force, possessing a strong work ethic. We wanted communities with deep roots where people truly wished to settle down and raise families – this ensured the loyalty and continuity for our clients on their respective programs which our model required.
Low cost of living and exceptional quality of life were essential characteristics we had to consider…as we grew this allowed us the ability to entice higher level management to relocate.
Nice weather was absolutely a requirement (uptime, anyone?) as was extensive internet fiber and a robust telecommunications infrastructure, which are both the lifeblood of any good outsource provider.
Finally, we looked for accessible locations that allowed our valued partners the opportunity to visit our sites and spend time with their agents any time of the year, rain or shine.
Simple concepts really. We chose Oregon but each and every state has these characteristics. You just have to do the due diligence.
It’s all about your communities, your corporate culture and how invested you are in your people. Finding these locations is the easy part. The hard part is taking your philosophies to the next step.
Pay your agents higher wages. Incentivize them with profit sharing on top of their wages. Provide benefits to keep them healthy. Avoid the pitfalls of a toxic work environment. Keep your culture pure and trust your vision. Find people with whom your vision resonates and hire them quickly! Never forget your communities and why you are there in the first place.
You can do great things in a commoditized industry if you are willing to do things differently.