Inside Perspective: Interview With FCR's Jeremy Watkin

A few weeks ago, I published this post highlighting ways that the size of a company or individual team could impact service quality. The surprising conclusion was that small and large companies generally fared equally well, while mid-sized companies struggled the most.

Jeremy Watkin, Head of Quality at FCR, was kind enough to give me some insight into how his company tries to maintain a boutique feel even as it continues to grow. FCR is a leading contact center outsourcer with 1,400 employees spread over six contact centers in Oregon. One of the more interesting things that FCR does is limit the size of its contact centers to approximately 300 employees. 

Last Thursday, Watkin joined me for a Google Hangout interview so we could go a little more in-depth into some of FCR's best practices.


Here are a few highlights from the interview.

Team Within a Team

FCR creates teams of employees (called colleagues) to serve individual clients. This helps maintain a small-team feel even as the organization itself continues to grow. The biggest challenge here is keeping a low supervisor to colleague ratio. FCR generally strives for 1 supervisor to 15 colleagues, but their rapid growth can sometimes inflate that ratio to 1 to 20 or higher.


Growing Pains

Data from customer service software provider Zendesk shows that mid-sized companies generally provide poorer service than small or larger organizations. There isn't clear data to explain why, but Watkin offered a good theory. He suggested that mid-sized organizations are generally small companies that have grown past the point where they can manage things informally, but they don't yet have the standardized systems and processes that large companies have in place.


Employee Motivation

Watkin mentioned that 62 percent of FCR's workforce is comprised of Millenials. This makes it important for FCR to respond to the unique challenges of motivating their colleagues. Watkin said they frequently draw from the principles outlined in Daniel Pink's book, Drive. (He also wrote a great post on this topic for FCR's blog.)

The interview lasts just under 30 minutes. It's interesting to gain Watkin's first-hand perspective on keeping things small, even as an organization grows.