Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ryla Teleservices Retaining Employee In A Down Economy

By: Harold Michael Harvey

I’ve often heard about the “RYLA huddle,” but had never witnessed one until yesterday when I drove out to Kennesaw, Georgia to the two tiered campus of RYLA Teleservices, Inc.

RYLA, a privately held Georgia corporation, essentially operates a call center for businesses, governmental agencies and faith based institutions. It is located at the foothills of Kennesaw Mountain where General Sherman encountered his last major resistance before marching down Peachtree Street in Atlanta.

The “RYLA Huddle” is a gathering of company employees in a huddle around the company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Wilson. Mr. Wilson uses the huddle as a masterful football quarterback does. He doesn’t just bark out the next play. He looks into the eyes of each employee and gives them an update of the company’s plans and goals for marching into the 21 st century with a secure future for the company and their families.

Eight years ago Mr. Wilson started RYLA Teleservices with a hope, a prayer and $1,000 cash. He leveraged all three into a $700,000 venture capital investment from SJF Ventures. He has never looked back and knows that the key to his success is providing good customer service to the customers of his customers. For 15 years Mr. Wilson managed call centers for Dun & Bradstreet Corporation. His experience taught him that he had to find a way to retain good employees in order to provide outstanding customer service in the very competitive outsourced customer market.

According to the trade group American Teleservices Association, the national turnover rate in the industry is 43%. Mr. Wilson has consistently maintained a turnover rate under 30%. In 2007 Mr. Wilson told the Wall Street Journal: “The industry has a bad stereotype of sweatshops and high turnover. We’re proving you can overcome that if you take a creative approach.”

Before yesterday’s “RYLA huddle” the staff was treated to pre-game entertainment presented by the drum section of the Clark Atlanta University marching band. At precisely noon time, the band’s drum major blew his whistle and the drummers began to march to the rhythm of their beat throughout the campus. In step to the rhythm of the band were a group of majorettes (company employees) who held placards proclaiming the joys of working at RYLA. When the band reached the crowd assembled over on campus number two, they “parted the sea” so to speak, revealing a 2010 Kia Soul Exclaim automobile. As it turned out the day’s “RYLA Huddle” had all to do with the hottest automobile on the market today.

Thinking outside the box, Mr. Wilson huddled his staff yesterday and told them some lucky employee at year’s end will drive home in the new Kia Soul Exclaim This news was greeted with applause and expectancy. The contest rules are easy to follow: Show up to work on time, flash a broad smile often, and do the job you are expected to do.

Mr. Wilson told his staff he was out to prove “you can be at work and feel like you are at home.” As I drove away from the campus I could feel the synergy taking hold as company employees sized up their chances of winning America’s hottest new car.

© April 14, 2009


TenFeet2Hands said...

Ryla appears to be a company of high human consciousness. I applaud companies, which do not exploit the work base; they are the face of the product and the reputation of the company as a whole.

Well written article Michael.

Anonymous said...

TenFeet2Hands, I found the owner and management at Ryla to be of extremely high human consiciousness. It was refreshing to see an owner take the time to communicate with the staff on such a human level. I soaked up much of the engery swrilling around Ryla as I could on yesterday. said...

Editor's note:

The previous comment was made by the writer.

Anonymous said...

I would be very interested to what your findings would be this very day if you visited the Ryla campus...something isnt kosher at Ryla as of late. Payroll isnt being met and several of those happy employees aren't so happy now... and to add insult to injury, Mr. Wilson where are you? your emloyees cant find you on campus...come out come out from where ever you are and address whats going on.

Anonymous said...

Team leads were allowed to attend the unveiling of the car. The car comes with strings attached to the point where if you get first place you will trade with the winner of the TV or just say 'no thanks'. They like to juggle schedules and team leads every three months. This is not conducive to stability in the workplace. Yes he took a dollar and turned it into a dream providing many with jobs in an economy that is faltering. It could be so much better if there was consistancy and less management X.

Anonymous said...

Ryla is the most unorganized and unprofessional company that I have ever worked for. Each day when arriving at work, I never know where my desk is, whether the PC operates properly and on top of that I ve been there for three months and do not have a manager that I can report these difficulties to.

Anonymous said...

Ryla is so not human conscious. They treat employee as disposable garbage. Check the rate of employee turn over within the company! Just getting your pay check on time and correct is a job. Their stand point is diversity but there is non stop gay bashing and body discrimination. The sexual conversations and advances are extremely uncomfortable too. Everyday I get into the car to go to work and I worry how I will be harassed. Human Resources never return calls or emails. I don't know if the owner knows what is happening with his company but it is certainly not "human conscious" On top of all that the company no longer offers raises or a bonus. A job there pays $10 an hour but right around the corner at working for a direct center is pays $16 an hour for doing the same thing. The company profits $6 per hour, per employee. This company's ethic is in some serious question.

Anonymous said...

I have worked for the ryla location for almost two years and has been very unhappy since training was over. Rules and policies change everyday, every pay day either people checks are wrong or no check at all. The computers are never working right and if someone sits in your sit you have to find somewhere configure it bout time you done all that you are late and they dont care. I have tried to move up in the company buy my AD didnt turn in my app because j missed days for surgery. Dont get me started on shift bid you canx forget about getting a shift that fits your needs they want you to work with them but wont work with you. You havw up your question flag and sups wont help unless you are on their team you have to track and drag them to take a sup call. Rylas slogan is best job you every had well they lied this is the wrost and i havw worked cleaning clinics and thrift store like dirt cheap. Plus someone tell me why when they changed from a differ company we were getting our checks from to a new company we paying a service without them informing us until you see it on your first check with the new company.

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