Workforce Management (WFM) is a set of integrated activities that work together to optimize the…
- Call Center Operations
- Underguard Teleservices
- Christa Heibel
- 8 July 2021
A look into Underguard Teleservices by CEO, Kyle Hannah
When we think of ideas surrounding innovation in the call center industry, what comes to mind? Artificial Intelligence, Smart IVRs, Data Analytics – all the above?
But we don’t really think about innovation around people, the backbone of the call center. Sure there is nearshoring or offshoring, but what about the innovation of the workforce in the USA? Does virtual come to mind? What about the concept of employing an incarcerated population? Yes, the over 2 million people in prisons and jails in the USA. What about training and developing inmates to be call center agents!
Have you ever been in a call center office or worked at one? A large, open office with rows and rows of padded walls, task chairs, noise-canceling headsets hanging neatly from PC monitors, TVs with canvas displays mounted to the walls. The subtle buzz of human chatter, delighting customers on every call.
Okay so now let’s envision this call center office operating from inside of a correctional facility. A place where our fellow US citizens are offered an opportunity to work as a customer service or sales agent in part of a job development program to help equip and prepare for a more positive and successful transition back into society.
This is what Underguard Teleservices is doing with its mission centered around reducing Recidivism, training and developing inmates with modern job skills all while providing a scalable, economical domestic outsourcing solution to companies throughout the USA.
Underguard has partnered with the Tennessee department of corrections and built out two call center offices inside of Tennessee State Corrections Facilities. UGT has over 100 agent workstations inside of these facilities.
Underguard Teleservices CEO Kyle Hannah has the vision to take the corporate BPO call center model and evolve upon it, putting inmates in the driver seat toward growth, prosperity, and securing their futures.
“Our Vision is to take elements of the modern call center outsourcing company, deep analytics, workforce management, quality control, capacity planning, account management, and the right call center tools and partner with corporations who need these services and let inmates drive the customer experience.”
To the people we have talked with, the business model makes a lot of sense. If you call someone right now for support, would you know if they were at home, in an office, or in a prison? No, you wouldn’t. There is no way to know any difference.
Public perception of prisons and inmates is concern about data privacy. A couple of points to address on that. First, the prison call center environment is closely managed. “An inmate’s day is very structured, they are always under supervision. The call center job is very prestigious in the prison. It’s the highest-paying job available to residents. They don’t want to put their future in jeopardy. This job creates a standard of accountability to the residents who work for us.” says Kyle Hannah.
Next, the inmates UGT employs in the Correctional Facility are not allowed to handle credit card numbers or SSNs of customers and lastly, UGT does not employ any resident with a financial crime. That portion of the contact is simply handled by a UGT employee via live transfer or sent to an automated IVR for collection.
Underguard Teleservices’ ideal client is one with a mission to make a difference, they recognize the social impacts this work will have on people hungry for a second chance and the lasting result this will bring to communities, including reuniting fathers and mothers with their children and actively reducing Recidivism.
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