Paul Herdsman - COO of NICE Global

Paul Herdsman is a multi-talented businessman, with several years of experience perfecting skills related to customer acquisition, customer retention, business development and growth, marketing and sales growth, and operational execution. As the co-founder and COO of his wildly successful venture, NICE Global, Paul Herdsman has cemented his role as an international businessman, and brilliant entrepreneur.

NICE Global, based in Montego Bay, Jamaica, is a nearshore company focused on providing customer service solutions for businesses who are looking to outsource various processes. By offering these business solutions to already existing companies, NICE Global successfully improves customer retention, lowers overhead costs, improves customer engagement, and thus, results in higher revenue for each client.

Not only does NICE Global provide tangible results for their clients, but they also utilize several metrics to determine the tangible success of their employees, rewarding the hard work, dedication, and skills of their team through incentive-based programs. Maintaining a strong company culture based around the concept of “family”, NICE Global recognizes the crucial link between the success of the NICE team and the ultimate success of the client utilizing their services.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

Prior to engaging within my co-founder role at NICE Global, I worked within various management roles for other companies, perfecting the problem-solving skills that I ultimately parlayed within my role as an entrepreneur. I found that within these previous jobs, I was drawn to the science of streamlining processes for businesses to thrive long-term and that I enjoyed developing, and implementing, various customer service related elements to cement a business’ positive reputation amongst consumer culture.

In 2013, I was already working within the field of outsourcing various aspects of business management for large companies. However, at the time, we were providing services based out of five different countries: India, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and throughout the United States. While this was working seamlessly on a smaller scale, it eventually became difficult to manage all of the active locations after reaching a certain point of growth. By not being able to physically provide service, mentorship, and oversight to these outsourcing centers, the concern related to ongoing customer satisfaction became too large to ignore.

I began to consider an entirely different route to consolidate the outsourcing power and to provide customers with a centralized, nearshore physical base to visit without hassle. As the third largest English speaking population in the Western Hemisphere, Jamaica emerged as a positive choice, providing the physical workforce, convenient location, positive business practices, and extensive growth potential. After extensive research, we brought our operations completely in-house, and created a physical center in Montego Bay, from which NICE Global was born.

How do you make money?

NICE Global generates revenue through services rendered for each of our clients. In a perfectly symbiotic relationship, our success is directly proportional to the success of the client that we are servicing. When clients partner with NICE Global, both teams set forth parameters or KPIs, which become the standards that allow us to measure success.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

Since we started off by consolidating already-existing outsourcing locations, we had a portfolio of clients who already trusted their business in our hands. Thus, we were, fortunately, able to hit the ground running and shorten our time to profitability.

Additionally, we were extremely pleased with our team in Jamaica, they created a successful, streamlined, and swift recruiting process. This ensured that NICE Global could open our doors without delay, with a core team in place, ready to grow, learn, and build upon already existing successes.

 When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

Though everyone who takes a chance may stop to question their sanity at least once, I was generally confident in my decision to pursue the development of NICE Global. By 2014I was very comfortable with building, implementing, and delegating the tasks needed to successfully operate every aspect of a business on a day-to-day basis.

I recognized the importance of building a solid core team of employees, and the loyalty, value, and hard work that would come from providing a wonderful workplace culture. I placed great value on initial training for all employees, ongoing education, providing advancement, appreciating hard work, and engaging employees in a manner that would make them inherently want to succeed within their roles. With such a competent core group of team members, I was confident in the company’s ability to succeed from the get-go.

 How did you get your first customer?

We were our first customer so that doesn’t count. Our first real customer, believe it or not, walked in off the street while he was touring the country on a trade and investment event being hosted by JAMPRO.  Our site director gave him a tour of facilities, spoke about our culture, and explained how some of our processes worked.

Two weeks later, he gave us a call and said he wanted to partner with us, the rest is history.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

I believe that satisfied customers tend to communicate with their peers, and word-of-mouth is still a wonderful intrinsic marketing tool, I also believe in the value of transparency throughout the business. Essentially, when signing on as our customers, business owners are entrusting us with their products, services, acumen, and the hard-earned reputation of their business. In today’s fast-paced society, where online reviews can make or break a business, customer service is absolutely crucial to the long-term success of a company. Therefore, the services that we provide are essential toward maintaining longevity. The decision to entrust NICE with such an integral part of a company is not taken lightly, and I find that maintaining a high level of transparency helps to spark confidence in prospective, and active clients.

By being thoroughly honest about our company’s mission statement, extensive company culture, ongoing training and staff benefits, the metrics we utilize to effectively report successes and failures, and our business practices, we allow business owners to recognize that our own goals are parallel to their goals. We can’t succeed unless they succeed, and it is undoubtedly our mission to aid them in succeeding. I am confident that the mission statement, culture, and explicitly transparent practices provide a warm, earnest welcome for prospective clients.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

At times, I have found it somewhat personally difficult to bestow responsibility upon others, in lieu of hanging on to that particular responsibility myself. As an entrepreneur, and general problem solver, I tend to want to hold all of the cards, and resolve every issue. However, with an operation of this magnitude, it is difficult to wear every hat. I’ve learned how to successfully hire people who are more experienced in certain avenues, and to bestow complete faith in their ability to perform at a high level.

This not only results in the company running smoothly from all angles, but also allows me to focus on more long-term goals, rather than the day-to-day operational tasks related to successfully running a business.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

Though every entrepreneur is different, and every business is vastly different, I have found that there are certain shared characteristics between many successful business owners. They are mostly intrinsic traits that are difficult to teach, and appear to be somewhat embedded into the personality of individuals from a young age.

For me, I tend to attribute some of my success to my continued ability to streamline daily processes and to cut out redundancies. From my meetings, to telephone calls, and general correspondence, I try to keep things as concise as possible. My goal throughout interpersonal interaction is to relay information, without causing excess thought, stress, or getting lost in the minutiae. As there are so many moving parts to a successful business of this scale, it is easy to become bogged down with extraordinary amounts of information, some of which will never be useful. Therefore, I try to weed out the needed information, and keep the rest at bay.

Additionally, I find it absolutely necessary to utilize a core team as a sounding board, and to value the insights of team members who may have experience within another sector of the company. Most times, when I come upon an idea, I take it to my colleagues, and we have a brainstorming session. This session is usually a bombardment of questions, a few possible answers, and is eventually followed by a resolution. While each member of the team knows the ins and outs of their peers’ roles and positions, each person’s unique perspective adds to the collective thought process.

Finally, I always consider ways in which I can increase my productivity. Too many times, within all areas in life, people consider being “busy” and being “productive” as parallel terms. However, I disagree with this notion and find that often times, people who are “busy” per se, are not always the same people who garner real results. Thus, I strive to center the actual work that I am doing around the concept of gaining results based on said work. If nothing will come of it, why partake in it? This thought process allows me to focus on concise goals, rather than spend an entire day achieving only “busy work”.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

I continue to feel personally satisfied every time I witness positive results within case studies for our current customers. When prospective customers meet with us, we set concise and measurable goals, and discuss concrete ways in which achieving these goals will help their business. Sometimes, achieving these goals saves a particular company from having to downsize, or close their doors completely. With a company’s future at stake, we take our roles very seriously and put stock in the success of the company.

Naturally, then, it is so rewarding to surpass those previously agreed upon goals and provide a company with tangible positive results. For example, we are currently partnered with a fast-growing customer service company who was struggling to keep up with their workload. While the company’s increasing consumer requests meant that they were growing, their workforce could not keep up with demand. NICE stepped in, and we were proud to report that our processes and involvement allowed for the company to witness a rise of 68% in customer survey scores throughout the first year of our partnership.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

The future is bright for NICE, and we certainly hope to continue expanding our service offerings, our physical location, and our workforce. We continuously provide ongoing training opportunities for our staff, and will focus our efforts on maintaining the satisfaction of our employees, as we believe this to be crucial to maintaining a successful company.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, and globalization continues to take shape, I am certainly excited about the changing attitudes toward nearshore outsourcing. While many businesses have relied on outsourcing certain aspects of their operation for many decades, they have only now begun to explore the idea of new solutions that may be more practical, come with higher quality customer engagements, and in closer proximity. With this new change in scope, the market continues to open up for NICE, and we are looking forward to partnering with new companies within the future.

What business books have inspired you?

Though I garner lessons from many written pieces, “Rework” and “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff“ are two books that I keep coming back to. Each time I read them, I find small lessons of wisdom that I did not previously see, and I attribute that to a slightly varied perspective at the time of reading. One reminds me that family is crucial, and that it is imperative to devote time to family. While this concept seems like a no-brainer, it can sometimes be difficult to multi-task within the busy scope of business ownership. However, there will always be more meetings, and more things to check off from the proverbial to-do list. The other book reminds me not to waste time in too many meetings or on long conference calls, no lengthy boring presentations, and to focus on just getting it done.

 What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?

At NICE, we utilize Slack, and I find that it is wonderful for helping our team collaborate on projects remotely, whilst keeping all information organized in one central location. For any business that thrives from collaborative efforts, I would recommend utilizing Slack.

How do you approach brainstorming sessions or possible business decisions?

Though I think this is a rather unique stance, I tend to enter all business conversations from a skeptic’s point of view. I’m not a negative person, and I certainly don’t discourage any ideas that are presented, but I have found that approaching an idea by first deconstructing its’ flaws allows for the most productive brainstorming session.

For example, if a colleague presents a possible new addition to an operation within our company, I try to first imagine the various needs associated with putting this action into place, the potential downfalls of this change, etc. Then, working backward, the team can dispel these negative concerns, work toward troubleshooting potential downfalls, and come away with a vetted idea that has been examined from all sides.

When people are excited about a new idea, product, or venture, it is quite easy to only see it from one perspective. Thus, I find that examining from all perspectives yields the most successful result, and is truly the definition of a collaborative effort.

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