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Centrinex’s New Office in the Firestone Building Epitomizes Everything Wonderful About Kansas City

From the windows of Centrinex’s new fifth floor office in the iconic Firestone Building, you can see all of downtown Kansas City. Turn away from the window, and you’ll see the “S” from the original Firestone sign on the wall. Each of the building’s floors has one of the letters installed as a reminder of the building’s history. It’s a creative space located in the hub of the eclectic and popular Crossroads Arts District. At night, the view is spectacular. During the day, it’s inspiration for our management team’s strategic planning sessions and where clients get a first-hand look at Centrinex’s services and capabilities.

“Our main location is located in the Kansas City suburbs. We started looking for space in the downtown area where we could showcase our first-class service for VIP clients. Downtown Kansas City has many historic buildings, and the Firestone Building gives our clients a real feel for all that Kansas City has to offer,” explains Bart Miller, Centrinex chief executive officer and owner.

The Firestone Building’s location is in the Crossroads, home to many art galleries, restaurants, shops and businesses, but it is also within blocks of the Kansas City Power & Light District, the largest new development project in the Midwest, and Crown Center, an established shopping and entertainment area, which is home to Hallmark Cards headquarters. Using the free streetcar system, visitors and employees have easy, convenient access to Kansas City from the River Market to Crown Center.

The building was built in 1915 for Firestone, the tire manufacturer, and it is now on listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to history, when Harvey Firestone was asked why he chose Kansas City for the company’s largest structure to date, he replied, “Kansas City is going to be a great city. It has the location, the spirit, the enterprise, the transportation facilities and the great warehouse of resources on which to feed and grow.”

Firestone’s prediction for Kansas City became reality. “What Firestone saw in this area of Kansas City is the same reason we are drawn to do business here. They are essential to every business’s growth, and Centrinex is no different. We’re looking forward to hosting clients in our new office space, and impressing them with both the view and spirit, enterprise, and resources that make us a top tier call center solution,” says Miller.

Interested in learning more about Centrinex’s first-class call center solutions? Get in touch.

 

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Centrinex’s Call Center Agents Have the Right to Pursue Happiness and Job Satisfaction

Call center work can be rewarding, fast paced and satisfying. An eight-hour shift can go by quickly. As far as jobs go, this one has lots of opportunity to advance. But without the right culture in place, like all jobs, it can become a means to a paycheck, which leads to restlessness and searching for something more meaningful. Since we spend one-third of our days at work, a culture that supports and encourages job satisfaction is important to and good for both employee and employer.

Creating a sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction doesn’t happen by accident. It must start at the upper levels of management and run through the entire organization. Recently, Centrinex’s management team penned and adopted what we call our own internal Bill of Rights. It is designed to add value to our call center agents’ lives both inside and outside of the workplace.

Centrinex’s Bill of Rights is posted at all of our entrances and throughout the facility to remind our call center agents of our commitment to their happiness and sense of job satisfaction. And, they go a little like this:

  1. Introduction to a Corporate Environment & Professionalism
    • How you present yourself and your work
    • Defined boundaries, rules and regulations
    • Adherence
    • Act and speak appropriately
  2. Empathy
    • Patience
    • Take time to listen to a co-worker’s or customers trouble, offer advice where needed and if appropriate
    • Customers who are experiencing a hardship or frustrated by not getting the best answer
    • Lend a hand when possible
  3. Productivity
    • Utilize a check list to assure all duties and projects are accomplished
    • Use your time wisely to produce for your team and the client
    • Visibility to help foster a solid work ethic
    • Minimize down time and maximize output
    • Actively working
  4. Accountability/Ownership
    • Honest and reliable
    • Accountable for your time and work
    • Follow procedures
    • Own up to mistakes and the outcome and learn from them
  5. Teamwork & Collaboration
    • Get and offer input to the team to reach department goals
    • Pull together to help out other team members
    • Play a part in the bigger picture
    • Learn to voice your opinion appropriately – is it my turn?
  6. Time Management
    • You manage the day instead of the day managing you
    • Being on time, being early
    • Accomplish projects prior to due date
    • Punctuality
  7. Effective Listening
    • Listen before speaking
    • Listen to coaching feedback
    • Ask probing questions for more detail
  8. Conflict Resolution
    • Find and reach a solution together
    • Learn to de-escalate highly emotional situations
    • See different perspectives
    • Find common ground, negotiate, and compromise
  9. Multitasking
    • Organization (workflow, desk, etc.)
    • Be able to adjust the plan when the day requires it
    • Step in when and where you are needed
  10. Cultural Diversity
    • The call center is a melting pot of this country
    • Clients, co-workers, consumers– take pride and try to show it off
    • Respect others and their views and backgrounds

Not only are these “rights” displayed around the Centrinex offices, but also, they are a part of our training process. New hires are asked to rank these “rights” in order of importance to them. Our management team reviews how they were prioritized to create a tailored plan that helps new employees improve weaknesses and put their strengths to best use by helping others who see those strengths as their weakness. As time goes on, the flexible plan changes to match where employees are and where they want to be.

At the end of the day, the Bill of Rights supports our culture in which people and their happiness matters. Centrinex is a place where work is more than just a paycheck, it’s a place where people learn and grow in ways that improve both work and personal lives.

If you’re looking for a career at a call center where job satisfaction matters, learn more on our careers page.

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Call Center Employees Receive More Than Job Training Through Centrinex University

Call center agents at Centrinex undergo extensive job training after they’re hired. Some of our customer service representatives who work on specific accounts not only receive training on our systems and processes, but also on our customers’ specialized protocols, which are tailored to their unique call center needs. The nature of working at a call center requires continuing education since technology and processes are always improving. But, there is more to life than work, and Centrinex University was founded to help encourage a healthy work and life balance by offering classes that apply to both.

Centrinex University is an on-site comfortable classroom setting. We understand that people have busy schedules and responsibilities on their shoulders, so courses are held conveniently during the week and on weekends, are voluntary and centered around topics that appeal to a wide variety of interests. Employees who attend the most courses receive a certificate of achievement at the end of the year. Certificates are awarded at a celebratory lunch in their honor.

Each course is led by an expert in the industry and lasts approximately an hour. Most recently, Centrinex employees could sign up to learn about:

  • The fundamentals of Excel spreadsheets
  • How to improve time management skills
  • Proper etiquette
  • Real estate for first time homeowners
  • Signs of domestic violence
  • How to dress for success
  • Sexual harassment
  • Beginning Spanish (ongoing course)

Education is a large part of Centrinex’s culture, but it’s more than job training that applies only to work. We created Centrinex University to give our employees the knowledge and tools that they need to excel in their professional development and their personal lives. Continuing education opens doors to new opportunities and sparks new interests, which makes a positive difference in career advancements and personal lives.

If you’re looking for a career at a call center where your interests are valued, learn more on our careers page.

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Centrinex Ready to Shake, Rattle & Roll in 2016

According to Chinese astrology, 2015 is the year of the surefooted goat. Skilled, confident and nimble describe goats, and those also apply to Centrinex’s business approach over the year. 2015 was a time of significant changes for Centrinex, a call center headquartered in Lenexa, KS. Not only did we grow our workforce to nearly a thousand, but also we heavily invested in our infrastructure – a new location, a new training center, a new backup system with multiple redundancies for emergencies and an upgraded workforce management program.

All of this was done in order to lay the foundation for 2016, ironically, the year of the monkey, which is associated with being ingenious, sharp and alert. 2016 is the year to lead.

Chinese predictions for the year to come aside, from a business perspective, a strong infrastructure is required for a leadership position. The piece that ties our customer service representatives to all the hardware is our workforce management program, which is integrated with our phone system.

Integrating the two allows us to offer a much broader and larger service at a much lower cost with a higher customer satisfaction rate.

Shaking things up 24/7
It comes down to accurate forecasting for tomorrow, the short term and long term. We’re able to input historical data going back days or years ago to forecast call volume so we know exactly how many agents we’re going to staff at any particular time.

We can analyze call volume down to the day and hour. For example, based on historical data we can determine that 10 agents are needed at 11:00 am, but only seven at noon and staff accordingly.

The benefit is that we can ramp up or down according to your needs – you’re not paying for idol agents, and you’re not sacrificing your customers’ satisfaction by keeping them on hold due to limited agents available.

Upping the numbers doesn’t rattle us
The ability to forecast for the long term means we can hire the best qualified agents three months in advancing, providing plenty of training versus hiring a week ahead and making do.

With our network capability, Centrinex can go from 300 to 900 without a hitch. Hardware and software are in place and ready to roll, it’s what we did in 2015 and can do it again in 2016. While the number of customer service agents increases, call time decreases from over a minute to a few seconds. Agent productivity is up thanks to our upgraded workforce management program that allows customer service reps to multitask, handling web chats, emails and calls simultaneously.

Not just any monkey
Not just any monkey can do what our agents do everyday for clients across the federal government, financial services, seminar groups, inbound customer service sectors and more. Not just any monkey accurately forecasts call volume, has highly trained agents on staff at the right time, and integrates workforce management into our system for increased productivity and customer satisfaction and cost efficiencies.

Make 2016, the year of the monkey, the one take the lead. We can help. Give us a call.

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Multimedia Boosting Call Center Agent Productivity

We didn’t start off with nearly 1,000 customer service representatives. We didn’t open with three locations. Like many companies, we were a startup in 2005. You could count the number of employees we had on two hands. That goes for our number of clients back then too.

Fast-forward a decade, and today Centrinex is one of, if not the leading contact center in the U.S. We’ve navigated a recession and managed growth along the way. As the Beatles song goes, “We get by with a little help from our friends.”

All businesses “get by” with the support of their vendors. When you’re a call center, one of your most important vendor relationships is with your phone service provider. For us, that’s Mitel.

What’s good for us is better for you
“Our growth involved hiring more customer service agents and adding additional phone lines, which required a system that could handle the increased load. Mitel was able to match us stage by stage as we grew and supported us in reaching the next level. Any time a company grows, you have to pause and make sure you have the people, equipment and technology in place to move forward. Historically, Mitel has provided the solutions we needed. Having them as a resource makes growing from 1,000 to two, three or four thousand is far easier,” explains Bart Miller, Centrinex founder and CEO.

It’s common for companies to showcase their customer success stories in case studies. When Mitel needed a testimonial of how they can improve agent productivity, they turned to us. Bart is featured in a video, describing the solutions we use to serve our customers across the federal government, financial services, seminar groups, and inbound customer service fields.
Our customers “get by” with our help
And by “get by” we really mean succeed and grow. In the contact center environment, having highly trained and skilled customer service representatives is critical to your business. But technology is what we rely on to ensure our reps can be more productive and interact with your customers – efficiently, quickly and via their preferred channels.

Working on a multimedia platform, our call centers have not only boosted productivity, but also increased customer satisfaction. With these features, our customer service representatives can handle multiple customer interactions at a time and resolve issues more quickly. These capabilities include:

  • Web chat
  • SMS
  • Social media
  • Email
  • And of course, phone

Calls that once logged 1 minute, 30 seconds are wrapped up in 10 to 15 seconds. Yet, customer satisfaction increases because we’re interacting with your customers in their preferred means of communication. Plus we can perform more work on your behalf in less time. It’s truly a win-win situation.

A chain reaction
Because we receive best-in-class technology solutions from vendors like Mitel, we are able to provide that same quality of service to our customers. In turn, with our call center solutions, you have the resource you need to offer the best contact center service. Your customers are satisfied and spurs growth to the point your success is case study worthy. It’s a positive chain reaction and how business should be.

 

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One-third of All Loan Applicants Don’t Click “Submit”

Centrinex’s customer service representatives are empowered to find out why and save the business

The online loan application process is purposely streamlined for the customer’s convenience, yet there is still a 10 to 15 minute time investment involved. Approximately one-third of loan applicants complete the application without officially submitting it for approval.

Why?

There could be any number of reasons why applicants abandon the loan process after filling out the application. Maybe dinner is ready. Maybe the kids needed attention. Perhaps the phone rang. Perhaps it’s a matter of cold feet and the applicant just isn’t convinced that your product is the right solution.

The point is that you will never find out unless you ask. No one is in a better position to do that than a highly trained and dedicated customer service representative (CSR).

Clearly, the applicant is interested in your loan product if he or she took the time to complete the online application. So why accept that one-third of your business is gone for good – poof? Centrinex CSRs contact the applicant immediately. No, our CSRs are not salespeople. But they are trained in your product. They understand all of the options, and they can walk an applicant through the final decision process.

More importantly, our CSRs are empathetic people, trained to discuss the applicant’s goals and offer advice on specific products to ensure the applicant gets the financial solution best suited to him or her.

Is it a successful approach?

Here is what we know:

  • One-third of all applicant’s do not click the “submit” button after spending 10 to 15 minutes filling out the online loan application
  • Our customers achieve a 15 to 20 percent higher conversion rate after our CSR immediately contacts applicants who have abandoned the application

Those are some impressive statistics, which just goes to show how important having engaged CSRs is to your business. Hiring and retaining committed CSRs is why Centrinex is ranked one of the top call centers in the U.S.

Interested in saving up to 33% of your loan applicants? Trust our CSRs to follow up with your customers.

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It’s Customer Service Appreciation Time…

Gimme a “C.” Gimme an “S.” Gimme an “R.”

What’s that spell? CSR! 

CSW2015logoforwebCustomer service representatives (CSRs) are the backbone of any contact center. They are the people on the frontlines making sure that your customers are happy and satisfied. They are often the ones who are responsible for either your customers loving or hating your company, based on how a call is handled. Clearly, a lot of “customer service” weight rests on their shoulders.

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New NACHA Rules Take Effect September 18, 2015

Not too long ago, we published a blog regarding the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) and new rules that would soon take effect. NACHA is a group that governs automated clearing houses. The new guidelines will be imposed and enforced by this association beginning September 18th.

NACHA Rules No Second Chances to Play

NACHA’s new guidelines bring great change in the market, capping total ACH returns to 15% with no exceptions. It is apparent the association means business with this new rule. If you try to push past the 15% allowed by NACHA, the ACH provider may choose to terminate transaction privileges, suspending business entirely.

Out with the Old and In With the New NACHA Guidelines

These new changes have lenders saying goodbye to their old school methods of pushing transactions, knowing they will like be returned, but hoping for payment anyway. Under the new NACHA guidelines, this haphazard approach not only racks up expensive consumer service fees for the borrower, but also costs the lenders any hopes of securing another ACH provider.

Is Strategy Needed to Survive New NACHA Rules?

This new legislation enforcing NACHA’s No Second Chances is particularly disturbing to lenders who offer short-term or installment loans. With these high stakes, precautions must be made to ensure lender transactions will clear with ACH providers. Lenders in this market cannot split loans into several payments due to the 15% cap now being imposed.

Obviously, short-term and other high-risk lenders need to make some strategic moves to roll with NACHA punches. These lenders will strategize by becoming more selective when approving customer loans, and learn to recognize when it is in their best interest to chalk attempted ACHs up as a loss. Still more lenders will team up with more powerful companies capable of developing and utilizing more effective ACH strategies approved by NACHA.

Centrinex Strategy for NACHA Approval

Clients requesting loans can depend on Centrinex to follow the letter of the law, ensuring ACH authorizations are approved while providing superior service and support that customers can rely on. Loan requests are immediately scrutinized for errors while ensuring all signatures and consent forms are properly filled in, avoiding steep penalties and other severe consequences.

New NACHA Policy has been Standard at Centrinex for Years

Centrinex has been reviewing ACH debit transactions to avoid unnecessary bank fees long before NACHA passed these new guidelines and 15% cap. The bank is the only organization that benefits from these fees, as excessive overdraft fees via ACH debits are considered bad business. Not only are these transactions costly to the customer, but also very upsetting and can get the lender in trouble with NACHA and other organizations. In unison with NACHA, Centrinex strives to avoid ACH abuse while remaining dedicated to consumers.

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Contact Center CEO Shares 5 Secrets to Building a Better Company Culture

While most are familiar with the term, company culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors held by a corporation’s management and employees, which can be recognized in client transactions as well as day-to-day business functions. Company culture is constantly growing and developing due to the cumulative traits of both seasoned employees and new hires within an organization.
Many entrepreneurs today struggle with creating and nurturing their company’s culture. How do you create a company culture that is conducive to loyalty and success in a competitive market? Ping pong tables? A coffee shop in the lobby?
Given the reputation call centers have for being transient and well… unpleasant places to work, who better to answer that question than a contact center CEO.

#1 – Focus on Company Values

Your core company culture includes your character and values as well as your style. An employee believed $120 was taken from a wallet. Granted, the wallet was left in an accessible place to others, but that’s not the point. Rather than ignore the situation, I took $120 out of my own wallet to replace the employee’s money. No big deal was made about it. Not many people saw me do it. But that $120 bought more than a few bricks for our company’s foundation of values. How your organization handles day-to-day issues says a lot about your style. Nurture an impressive and visionary company culture when you lead by example, gaining the respect of your employees with both actions and words. That’s one of our core values at Centrinex.

#2 – Ensure Employees Believe in Your Brand

You may not realize this, but employees within your organization want to believe in the company as well as the jobs they perform. When employees believe in your brand, you build loyalty and that means less turnover as your workers aren’t likely to leave for a slight bump in pay. This is imperative because employees cannot properly promote and sell your brand if they do not believe in it.

#3 – Secure a Universal Focus, the Customer

Your business cannot strive if everyone has a different focus, weakening the core of your company culture. No one cares what is ideal for your CEOs, but everyone will be on board when the end goal focuses on the customer. That being said, you may have to consider long-term results rather than the here and now to secure the absolute best customer focus.

#4 – Be Transparent with Employees in Regards to Company Decisions

When the corporation is facing an important decision or a pending deadline that could potentially affect everyone, you can build a better company culture by confiding in your employees. Letting workers know about company decisions can make them feel more invested, creating an opportunity for employees of all levels within the business to help with solutions and face challenges together. This creates camaraderie and a better work ethic while building a desirable company culture.

#5 – Acknowledge and Celebrate Company Achievements

It should be no surprise that acknowledging and celebrating employee achievements are both excellent ways to build a company culture you can be proud of. Large or small victories are an excellent way to make employees feel like a valued and important part of your organization. This leads to happier employees and even better work performances.

Knowing the importance of your corporate culture further reinforces the ideal that employees are the backbone of your business and is a key factor in your company’s overall success. Here’s a little bonus secret: when you ask employees how they are doing, pause. Most likely, they’ll respond with the proverbial, “Fine.” Pause. Wait. 30 seconds. Chances are they will tell you more and the conversation can go from there.

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Measuring our Contact Center’s CSRs’ Satisfaction

When it comes to gathering the opinions of customers and employees on any number of things like satisfaction with service or jobs, ideas for improvement and more, all too often we take the long way to get to the point.

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