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Tree Rings staffs call center with retirees

Tree Rings staffs call center with retirees

SUN CITY, Ariz. - Steve Shefveland has been growing Tree Rings, a call center outsourcing provider whose clients include the likes of Medline, in the suburbs of Phoenix since 2009. His secret sauce: tapping into communities of experienced retirees to staff his call center. Here's what Shefveland had to say about why those employees increasingly resonates with healthcare companies whose patients are often the same age.

HME News:How did you come up with the idea for Tree Rings?

Steve Shefveland:When you run a call center, it's all about using high quality, highly educated labor. Here in the Phoenix area, we have a large population of retired adults with long careers behind them, many of whom still want to work part-time. It occurred to me that these are some of the best workers available.

HME:Why are peer-to-peer relationships important in customer service?

Shefveland: When you're talking to people who've gone through a similar health condition, they have empathy and know how to relate. That makes for more effective communications and a better customer experience.

HME: What kind of services do you typically provide to healthcare companies?

Shefveland: We provide sales, customer service and support over the phone, as well as a certain level of technical support. We also provide a lot of email support and instant message chat support for clients.

HME:What are the pros and cons of outsourced vs. in-house call center services?

Shefveland: A lot of companies want to control the whole process, but they incur a sizable expense to do that. Other companies will say they're in the medical equipment space, not the call center space, so they outsource. We also work with companies that want to have a core of calls handled by in-house reps and agents, because they never want to completely lose touch with their customers.  But then they want to work with an outsource company, of around the same size, that can understand their business.  That way, they have a partner, and a back-up for overflow, weekend support and overnight hours.


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