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4. How to Manage a Team of Offshore and US-based VAs featuring Ignacio Pinilla

how to manage a team of offshore and US-based VAs

This episode features Ignacio Pinilla, who owns a British Swim School franchise.

Ignacio has a wealth of experience in contact centers, communication, and franchise research. Join us as we delve into topics such as offshore and US-based virtual assistants, managing by objectives, the British Swim School franchise, and Ignacio’s inspiring journey from corporate life to entrepreneurship.

Discussion Highlights:

  • Ignacio shares insights into the world of contact centers, their importance, and how effective communication is vital for success.
  • The pros and cons of hiring offshore and US-based virtual assistants, and tips for choosing the right fit.
  • How “Managing by Objectives” (MBO) can improve productivity and employee engagement.
  • Ignacio’s expertise on researching franchises, with a focus on the British Swim School franchise.
  • Discover Ignacio’s personal journey from a corporate career to entrepreneurship, including the challenges and rewards.

It really is a great episode. Ignacio is so engaging and happy to share his experiences. Don’t miss this one!

Here is the full transcript:

RBG Episode 4

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

franchise, people, remote, started, ignacio, stateside, talk, work, contact centers, company, good, create, pandemic, franchisees, customer service representatives, give, technology, franchising, swim, nowadays

SPEAKERS

Paul Urwin, Ignacio Pinilla

 

Paul Urwin  00:01

Welcome to Remote Business Growth, your go-to source for all things remote work, and business growth. Join us as we delve deep into the strategies, insights and success stories that will help you thrive in the remote work landscape. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a remote team leader, or simply curious about how to grow your business, this podcast is your gateway to unlocking your full potential. So get ready to embark on a journey of innovation and success. Hey there, Paul, and welcome to episode four of the remote Business Growth podcast. So if you are interested in scaling or growing your business remotely, then well you’re in the right place and I’ve got a fantastic guest for you today Ignacio Pinilla we talk about contact centers about communication about offshore and US based VAs about managing by objectives about investing in a franchise and about Ignatios transition from the corporate environment to becoming an entrepreneur. So it really is an action packed episode and I hope you enjoy it. If you are looking for a virtual assistant or for remote workers to help you grow your business, then check out there is talent.com the best virtual assistants and remote workers in US time zones. You can find out more at www dot there is talent.com right let’s get cracking with Ignacio Ignacio Pinilla, who moved from Venezuela to New York and now lives in Barkley with his family brings a wealth of varied experiences to his role as the owner of a British Swim School franchise in Berkeley, California. He excels in building and leading diverse teams using the latest technology for both remote and in person setups. His background has given him valuable insights into creating a safe, enjoyable and educational environment for teaching swimming, and water safety. His franchise is part of the British Swim School Network renowned for their innovative swimming programs that prioritize safety and fun. To learn more about Ignacio has professional journey and his franchise, just search for Ignacio Penida, or British Swim School of Northern East Bay on LinkedIn, where you’ll find insights into how franchises like Ignatios contribute to their communities through swimming education. Ignacio, welcome to the show.

 

Ignacio Pinilla  02:12

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

 

Paul Urwin  02:15

And I’m really excited to talk to you a little bit about your, your history, your your very interesting story, and a little bit about remote work, of course. So Ignacio, tell me a little bit about your background, please.

 

Ignacio Pinilla  02:27

Well, I’m originally from Venezuela. But I’ve been a bit of a vagabond throughout my not only my personal life, but also my career. I become interested in technology, which is where it’s allowed a lot of the remote work that we see today. Very early on. I also wanted to study in the stage because it has modern management studies versus what I could achieve in Venezuela. So I eventually made my way to New York through brand University in Rhode Island. Started first an import export. But the.com Bubble came and I was hooked. I started selling Voice over IP that got me connected with contact centers. And all that it’s involved in the transmission over the Internet Protocol.

 

Paul Urwin  03:23

You’re in you’re in contact centers for quite a while Weren’t you in that in that area?

 

Ignacio Pinilla  03:27

Yes. I actually got my first taste of contact centers with the outsourcer for 311. So that showed me two parts of it. It shows me showed me a big scale contact center handling a 24/7 operation for 311 for New York City. That’s the non emergency city services phone. And there was the launch we actually were there when the first call came in. And it was literally someone asking if what was that? What was that number for they had to see the billboard you know, nowadays we have a lot of this information. Obviously it’s our fingertips. But this was the very beginnings. It says we’re what I learned there then I went on to work on different corporations I work in a variety of industries for transportation where speed was key managing contact centers, but for messenger service as well as a long haul transportation. I also worked on employee recognition which also showed me that’s when we first started I first really got an A taste of what remote work could be like when we were trying to serve as many industries and one of them was a cruise ship that we were servicing and they had to connect with us through very expensive satellite phones and emails was in its infancy. So we started customer support via via email. This is a little bit when The transformation of from calling them call centers started to be called contact centers become more of a multi channel, chat, they eventually came on board. And this is where the technology we started using to communicate with, with customers that were far away also started translated into the ability of not having to always bring the personnel into the office, I finally saw work with a large coffee manufacturer, that they have to support their large clientele which require the large workforce and we were running out of space in our offices in New York City. And we started using a very rudimentary technology. I mean, it had to be a proprietary app that was installed into computers. And we had to actually send that technician to the person’s house to get it set up. Not like nowadays, where zoom has become commonplace and things like, well, we’ll record the non now it says everywhere. Yeah, it’s

 

Paul Urwin  06:06

amazing. The change, isn’t it. It’s just how the technology has facilitated. remote work, basically,

 

Ignacio Pinilla  06:14

I think also when I think the pandemic really pushed it to the forefront and show that it could be done in a grand scale before that we always did in a small scale. People were always scared ourselves to depart about management. It’s like, oh, how do we control that they work and don’t do the laundry site? Yeah, you manage by results. I, one of the reasons I wanted to come to the US was because I read Peter F Drucker is work. Management by objectives really resonated with me, not this, oh, you have to be on time, you have to be at work long hours to prove your worth. I believe that the results speak for themselves. And with remote work. That’s really what you have to keep in mind, because you’re not gonna see the person whether they’re doing it at 11 o’clock at night, or 11 o’clock in the morning, you’re gonna see the next morning that the study that you requested is absolutely focus on the results. Yeah, exactly. agree with that one. Yeah,

 

Paul Urwin  07:10

I think that’s much better. Also, for the for the worker themselves, it gives them more flexibility. And one thing I’ve found, as times have gone by and flexibility has become a key component of what employers employees are looking for. Whether it’s in the amount of vacation time that they have or PPO, or the ability to do remote work, I really think that pandemic then threw it at the forefront, right before the pandemic, I worked for a deposition company. And we were trying to convince them to people to do depositions via zoom, which are legal here in California. And there was a lot of reluctancy to it, people did not want to do it, which was a big headache, because they knew that we needed to get the physically the deposition the person to take the deposition to the place to do it, versus having them in this environmental switch from the position A to that position, in that position. See, and we were were they able to get more but the reluctancy was there. And there was zoom, which nowadays, we all talk freely about zoom calls and how common are and so on. You know, the technology was there, but it was something grand scale, like the pandemic that really forced people to try it. And they realize, Oh,

 

Ignacio Pinilla  08:31

crap, absolutely. Yeah, completely. Yeah. Brilliant, brilliant Ignacio, and in your in your career story. There’s also this very interesting switch from extensive corporate experience in a number of different industries, a number of different companies over many years to now you you’re going back to to entrepreneurship. And you’re, you’ve started the or you’re working at the British Swim School of Northern East Bay. So tell us a little bit about how I’m really interested in how that change came about. And then we can talk about it in a little more detail. Yes,

 

Paul Urwin  09:17

I would say was also kind of pandemic fueled, as well as the circumstances I was going through. I would the company I was working with the big coffee producer that had embraced remote work and so on, they had created a workforce out here in California, and they came up with the idea that they had this follow the sun model and they were going to build a contact center out here in California. So they promoted me and send me here as a contact center director to build it out. That quickly started changing and they decided that their model was more of a center of excellence where they would rely on outsourcers and they were already have some outsourcer in Ohio and now they were starting to grow one out in Jamaica, that they were onboarding and they kind of sidelined me. And I really liked the technology. The reason I also my profession is management, I came to the US to study management, manage people. And there was one aspect that was being stripped away from me. We settled, I got a severance from them. And I looked for another job, as I’ve done a couple of times before. I had been in this position a few years back when my son was first born. And they actually started the ID and created my own idea, as well as looking for a job. Eventually, they offered me a job that paid me what was forecasted, if I ever gotten my ID off the ground, to give me that income in three to four years down the road. So I took the job, and then started this trip one year old, but this time around us as heck no, I took before I said, heck no, I took two other jobs starting again, kind of bottom up proving yourself getting to know the personnel. And I think at my age also, then the more attracted companies were bypassing me. So this next two jobs were, you know, literally with bottom of the barrel companies very, very crummy. I actually came to part ways with the second one, right before we went into the lockdown for the pandemic. So that gave me a lot of time to think. Also to realize that do I now want to look for it. Third job and working remotely under these conditions. Doing something for my own was probably a better last chapter for my career. And I figure franchising made sense, because it’s a plug and play, I figure I’ll get somebody else’s idea, somebody else’s operation and no directives and set it up. I knew that I wanted to brick and mortar so that made my search a lot narrower. And also then I was able to find something along my interest, I love the water, I do surfing or swim, or whatever, you come into water, that’s my happy place. So I settled on British swim school, especially also their philosophy really aligned with my personal philosophy. My son was now 14, I expose them to a variety of activities. But I didn’t tell him that swimming, he would not be able to quit until I saw him swim confidently across a pool. And it’s a very similar philosophy that British Swim School has in which the focus is on teaching the water survival skills, and then we got into stroke development if they’re so interested, but most of all, we we are focused on preventing drowning and poor, we teach techniques that would get you out of trouble if you otter accidentally or things like that.

 

12:55

Good stuff

 

Ignacio Pinilla  12:58

It’s also finding them sobering statistics like drowning is to lead an accidental cause into us from one to four year olds, is the second accidental cause from 14. And that’s because you enter on the teenage years, which they do other things. But yeah, that really didn’t raise the launching this as like I said, my last chapter of my career, I love it, I’ve been able to incorporate remote work, because obviously we have clients to answer their phones to

 

Paul Urwin  13:32

All right. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, it sounds just extremely fulfilling. And, you know, like you said, you mentioned the last chapter of your career, but I think I think it’s just saying is wonderful, you know, that you found the something that sort of seems to align so so perfectly with your, your values and your and your situation. So that’s brilliant. I have a question when, just before we go on to, you know more about remote work and so on, in terms of franchising. So, did you go through a whole research process? Did you look at a lot of different options? Did you seriously consider other options? How did that how does that how does someone who might be thinking, You know what, you were thinking back then. So I want to do something on my own franchising sounds great. As you said, plug and play. I think it’s a phrase you use. So up to there, that sounds great. So but then where do you where do you go from there? I mean, how do you find out about it? How do you find out which companies are offer franchises? How do you find the right one for you? Or the the budget to get started, all that kind of thing? Talk about that pleasing as Yeah,

 

Ignacio Pinilla  14:40

I wish I would have had AI back in those days, but we didn’t. So I did the good old Google search and look at reputable lists like Forbes, entrepreneur, magazine, and so on. They have their Top 100 Top 500 In my instance, and coming from the comp I knew that I was before and that dealt with retail, I knew the state of retail and opening a brick and mortar store was not something I was going to do so that that reduced the list significantly, because most of the time you’ll find is your subways, your Dunkin Donuts. And even places like Umang that offer math and tutoring assistance, they expect you to build a storefront. So that reduce my list a lot. I use good old spreadsheets to list the ones I was interested on and started the discovery process. I know a lot of people have done it through brokers, I’ve done percent them and curate them their information. I did that legwork myself. And then they started with we were locked home, we’re not even supposed to go around the corner. Yeah, I suddenly had the time to be my own franchise broker to do that research, send out the feelers started talking with the different companies, they’ll present you with something that it’s called the FTB, that it’s highly regulated, because this is almost consider. It’s an investment. So it’s under falls under the same regulations, that’s stock buying, and so on. So it’s very regulated. And they every franchise will encourage you then to also talk with other franchisees, too, because there have to be objective. So I went through all that discovery process with different companies, and I narrowed it down to two different companies. One was painting houses, which rather lower entrance capital requirement. And similar margins to British Swim School in which I settled, and I’ll remember when I was cavitating, between the two, my wife said, Well, if you had to pitch in, do you see yourself going up a ladder? Remember, she knows that I have a slight fear of heights and helping paint a house? Or do you see yourself going into water and teaching a swim lesson about was was obviously this one part I did end up being the first teacher that we have. Because the person we were training, as happened with many of the workforce nowadays, just disappeared midway through it. But that’s that’s how I went about and narrowed down the choices. And the last part of it is really what I was going to be most comfortable doing and even doing, which also goes in line with my management style that I I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something that I wouldn’t be willing to do. Abilities another issue. And yeah, I’d be willing to also go up a ladder and paint a house. But obviously, jumping into water and teaching the swim lessons sounded much more fun. So your fourth year in, and it’s been good.

 

Paul Urwin  17:52

Yeah, going on for four years now, which is which is brilliant. And so did that. Did that fulfill your expectations? In terms of the plug and play aspect of it? Was it easy to get up and running? And how was the growth? You know, over time,

 

Ignacio Pinilla  18:09

I mean, I’m really happy that I chose the franchise that I chose after reading later on about other upper other franchises. One of my biggest fears was that they were going to just give me a 1000 Page Operations Manual. And great See you in six months, they’ve been very supportive. They were right there. They even helped me pivot when we were looking for the traditional places that the franchise use whether it’s gyms or, or hotels, as we started the second surge of COVID here in the Bay Area and things started closing down again to help me pivot. So I was able to launch by friend in a residential pool through an app that they recommended. And to this day, four years in, I still communicate with my coach we meet regularly every three or four weeks. But he’s a text message away and you take it or so on that I put in with them has been very responsive. So I had to recommend to anyone looking into franchises, make sure that what you hear from the franchisees is that they’re receiving the type of support that I’ve received from buzz franchises. Both franchises, their support has been really extraordinary, not only in helping me get launched and so on, but even the product itself, they’re constantly adding more marketing tools. They even tweaked the aquatics program itself to you know, keep up with the times and certain things that they were noticing can’t stay in too long and one level before going to another or faster one level that they tweaked it and and then prove that so I would say those are key factors that definitely will help you launch versus other stories that I’ve read. Big piece by John Oliver about the subway franchises if you want a good laugh, John Oliver’s he’s on the subway and got really scared for reasons that a few of our franchise, but that’s where one has to really do the due diligence and keep in mind that because of being treated as a Securities Investment, the franchisor itself has to be very cautious about how much they say and in terms of given swaying the opinion or given false expectations. Yeah, that’s gonna come mostly from other fellow franchisees. And that’s why I went I got a request for that I participated, because I do think that’s an important factor of making this decision. And since I agree with my work, I’m happy to say them I would recommend to work with excellent,

 

Paul Urwin  20:57

was it tough to get going at the beginning, just in terms of the initial outlay, and making making that back?

 

Ignacio Pinilla  21:04

No, I mean, I found that there was a program called Rob’s that allowed me to grab the 401k. And I actually took out the exact amount that I got with the severance from the last company, the one that after seven decided that I was being on the side. And then yeah, luckily with them, part of it. And they recommend that you tried to find your own pool by talking to hotels and other places like that. But they also have a national partnership with a couple of gym chains so that if not allow me to immediately be able to find a very suitable location. And that’s how I’ve now have four pools open under that agreement. I’m still trying to find one. But no, the first problem here is that all hotels were probably built in an office because everybody built it out like this was sunny Florida with 80 degree weather and the Bay Area. If we hit 70 degrees on a summer day, it’s it’s so nice outdoor pools and hotels are not practical for my purposes of providing swim lessons. Because really, when I did that, then the residential pool I was lucky that says we’re still in the pandemic and kids were being homeschool. I was able to run it in the midday and many parents actually utilize that as a Yeah, eat class. Maybe we’ll have some classes with the kids, bring them to swim lesson, get them lunch and finish out today. Okay,

 

Paul Urwin  22:39

nice. Nice. Nice. Okay, just so just one more question on the front franchise. So for people who don’t know, so I think typically, you’re talking about an upfront fee, or franchise fee, I guess it’s called and that you then pay a percentage of, of, of what you make on an ongoing basis? That’s correct, right. Yes. And that obviously, varies from franchise to franchise. Yeah.

 

Ignacio Pinilla  23:05

So that varies and you know, the franchisor fees can also vary greatly and it could be the two and a half million dollar that Dunkin Donuts asked for. Yeah. Then plus then you have to build out your own store for Yeah, well requirements was like another million dollar. I looked at those out of curiosity just don’t say because I’m a big fan of Dunkin Donuts. I just wanted to be able to tell her why I didn’t open the Dunkin Donuts so one thing she misses in New York they were like in every other corner here in the Bay Area they’re far apart

 

Paul Urwin  23:40

Yeah. Wow, I didn’t realize it was that much. Yeah.

 

Ignacio Pinilla  23:45

It can be pretty pretty hefty other places like Chick fil A they also approve you based on your religious affiliation. Okay, so you know it’s always a two way street it’s not you choosing the franchise but also the franchise thinking that you also have a sound plan to to the franchise and be the type of franchisee that they’re looking for finding the right match and I know that for example, that’s where some there’s different models and the one that I’ve worked on is more of a franchise operator where they want the owner to be involved with the franchise see other people do them as investments and they really just find people to run it for them and see really are buying franchises. Left and right. But yeah, yeah, I think wrong because we miss our franchise operators are closely connected and eaten in the product itself. So

 

Paul Urwin  24:51

I’m more involved, really Yeah, good stuff. Good stuff, Ignacio. All right, well, let’s talk about remote work and you’ve mentioned it a couple At times, but let’s talk about, you know, where you are now in terms of, you know, what you do remotely and, and tell us about, you know, your, your, your journey with remote workplace. Yes,

 

Ignacio Pinilla  25:10

well, um, so my the things that franchisor gives us is the ability to receive our own phone call. So this is one of those franchisors that don’t provide a your own contact center, that I thought that was better for me because I do come from that space. So they provide you with the the phone system, and then from there, you take it so knowing that it was a phone system RingCentral nowadays, and before it was Nextiva, there’s a ton of phone systems that I know that anyone with an app and a good, stable internet connection can connect. So at first, I was answering the phone calls, but I also looked for once things started getting busier, I started looking for support, actually, initially I started with there is talent. And there was for the need of doing the phone screen. And after recruitment, because I was spending a lot of time sitting at meetings where people don’t show up or when they showed up into questions are like okay, this was a waste of time. And I knew that an HR recruiter stateside was going to cost me an arm and a leg and then having to bring them full time and so on. It’s not really in the scope of the finances that that we do. Yeah, it’s a very, it’s the margins are kind of pricey in franchising, because there’s already an ingrained chunk that the franchisor is taking. So you have to always do and this is where I knew already the possibilities of outsourcing outside. I chose something in my same time zone because in my experience, I know that if you’re talking about 1am I’m sorry, you sound like you’re talking about 1am Yeah, so if you’re in you know, somewhere in India or whatnot, answering my phone call at three o’clock in the afternoon, but it’s your 2am There’s always something and people pick it up. So I figured that something you know, in the same timezone also in terms of being able to meet them be able to give the guidance because I think one thing that it’s important with remote work is to be connected, be able to provide especially in the beginning, the support and feedback that the representative will need to get on board that has worked out great to the point that this person is now doing almost a full time work for me makes more of our cost of what our coordinator would cost me here. And probably better than many of the HR coordinators that I would find entry level here there’s no international there’s a lot of people well educated that speak perfectly well in any language I mean, this can obviously apply to you know, people from Spain hiring people from other places to answer your phone calls. So I started with that offset to help me with the HR recruiting. I did try it for a customer service then but I also hired a couple of stateside they ended up being right now I have them the and this is where sometimes the like the timezone can affect your tone of voice sometimes the cultural aspects of FIP can change the conversation in terms of flowing more freely sometimes it’s the tone that you use the speed of the speech, things like that that kind of seem to not think well when they’re not at least somewhat local. So it really started working out better with the representatives that I had stateside. So nowadays I have three stateside customer service representatives that I’ve hired directly into the company but they weren’t one in Texas and two are in LA and then we just had the the laptop I mean not not even a laptop it took me a good internet connection and some sort of computer where they can run the the software to receive the calls and so this is a perfect fit for people who are looking for part time works and not looking to make a career they just need something to round off on so stay at home mom the other one is wanting to be a mom you know in that sense it’s a good fit and then that they’re here stateside that they they understand the local culture so that conversation with with the customers even though they’re in LA or Texas it still has a certain commonality that sometimes to be a miss when the customers were talking with them. their representatives down in Colombia, and especially in my business, this is a very person to person business. People are entrusting you, their kids to for you to bring them into the water. So many times even the they’ve seen the information online, they will still pick up the call. And all it takes is someone to answer it to give them that assurance that there will be a person behind this. And then I’ve had someone actually literally read me the address where we give classes down to the zip codes directly off my website, are you located at blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, 9476? It’s like, yes, there we are, oh, great. I’ll sign up right now. And minutes later, I saw the online registration come through. So I thought that that’s what states our representatives would be a good fit.

 

Paul Urwin  30:53

I think that’s amazing, isn’t it that you can you can put together this combination of remote workers, you know, some some down in in in Colombia and Latin America and then you know, for certain tasks, then you can have other people’s stateside for, for certain other tasks, you can basically, depending on your business and on your specific needs, you can set it up exactly as you want. And for some people that might be 100% offshore. For others, it might be 100% in the States and many, many variations in between, right.

 

Ignacio Pinilla  31:22

And I found one more service also stateside, and they provide the executive virtual assistant. But I don’t have to hire a full time assistant for myself, they work a total of 30 hours through the month. And they helped me with from calling Verizon to spend half an hour discussing with them the accounts and fixing them to maybe making my plane reservations or sending out the communication to the staff about something. So this company specializes in hiring people that have been executive assistants in different incorporations, and so on. But then you get like a partial, that come with that experience and give you a partial time to myself and others. And that way I don’t have to hire. And that’s been a great help. So I really have three types of remote workers, the wonderful assistant here stateside, and again, that works very well, because she comes with the experience of supporting executive assistants and helps me with my calendar and things like that to really one track knows us, the United States know how to talk to a Verizon representative, what they can give and things like that, I have my HR coordinator doing a fantastic job out of Columbia, Colombia. And you know, we tend to that they’re not looking for your flaws and your customer service. And I have my Western side customer service representatives, which even in Texas is just one hour difference. But that’s sometimes does create a little bit of a you know, our I don’t want to work until 730. Because I’d say 30 my time. That’s just one hour difference so that four to seven coverage becomes five to eight for them. But it’s certainly better than someone say in the northeast, which then they would be six to 12, which I think is one of the issues. I also ran with a couple I’m

 

Paul Urwin  33:21

glad you talked about timezone because I think it is so important to have someone effectively on the same timezone. Or at least, you know, very close. Yes. You know, it just makes working together so much, so much easier. And how do you, Ignacio How do you manage these people? As you mentioned earlier, you know, results results. You’re very keen on measuring results and recording results rather than necessarily micromanaging, I suppose, but but how do you manage your team, your team, that’s

 

Ignacio Pinilla  33:55

we’re, you know, thanks to technology, we’re able to do a lot of a synchronous work. So a lot of the things can be communicated on their own time. For example, we use Slack as our primary form of communication, first and foremost, shields them from having to use their personal phones for the text messaging that everybody responds to a lot better than a phone call. So in that sense, I also give them the space to be in the privacy of their own space and respond at their own time. So if we need to, for example, collaborate in filling out a spreadsheet, I’ll share the spreadsheet with them in Google and let them fill it out and use the comments tab and things like that. So the goal is to be able to do a lot of the things in in a synchronous way. So they don’t feel like oh my god I have to dress up and so on. But then we have touch points. All know that whatever video technology of the time we’re using right now we went from zoom to Google meat, but and that one I am a big proponent that One should try to use the camera. So there’s like a more for face to face connection. But those are planned and in advance and so on. But having the ability to also thanks to the technology to they, my availability, increases tenfold. That’s one of the reasons one of my main goals after I was teaching lessons was to get myself out of the water. So I can be available for inquiries and things like that, especially for my own customer service representatives, especially as they’re growing and learning, they usually have a lot of questions. And this is where things such as, again, we eventually settled into Slack after using other technologies, but it gives us the ability to be instant gives the ability to provide the status of your availability, so I can put in there that or my aquatics director will put that she’s in the water. So people don’t expect an answer because they or you are able to get an answer even Like say, for example, I may be visiting a pool, but then a customer service rep is asking, can we make an exception for this absence, and I can read it and reply to it. So that being able, being available, like that does create that connection, that I say sometimes it’s even more efficient that when you’re in an office space, and you have to kind of hover around your boss’s desk trying to see when he can pay a pension. Yeah.

 

Paul Urwin  36:33

Forget all those things. Sometimes that may be I remember, I remember that hovering.

 

Ignacio Pinilla  36:41

Answer, though. So using the technology to be on us, that’s where we’ve also then add the nowadays. And this was one thing that I from the beginning added was having been able to eventually have like a knowledge base so they can go and bring up we’re using our foot called guru and can bring up the guru card, and they’ll tell them how to make a transfer of a class and so on. So you also need to give them tools, so they don’t always have to come to you. So I think that’s the other aspect of yes, I’m available and so on, I’m willing to respond. But I also want to give you the tools that you can sell serve yourself. And as synchronously work with each other, which also then whereas in Slack, we create groups and channels where then can also they can communicate with each other. This has also helped me bring together my remote team, with my ondeck team, the people at the pool can actually write like oh, so and so needs to find a new class, call them later friend. So now I’m out of the equation, now they can collaborate with the channels that I’ve created for them to be able to help each other.

 

Paul Urwin  37:56

So you’re benefiting and your your company’s benefiting from the way that you’ve, you’ve set it up basically.

 

Ignacio Pinilla  38:02

Well, what I always found that one of the big downfalls of remote work is the isolation of the worker. Yeah. And then the problem becomes when you are trying to create a fake connection, like by creating, you know, this group meetings where everybody is forced to go around and say something good about themselves this day, which probably people start dreading, especially if you started doing it every day, because now you’re face to face, you know, with the person and also doesn’t allow for like the conversation and banter that you may have, say, if you did this in an office, then you can talk to the person next to you in the Zoom environment, you don’t have this. So you’re very very intrusive. But also if you don’t create the managers within the people can feel very isolated. And this is where you have to kind of strike a balance between the two between creating some forums where you all come together like we had with the customer service team they had a luncheon I personally just popped in say hello thank you for your good work and your your lunch and remove myself so they could be amongst peers and talk more freely. Director of Customer Service the director of customer service was there with with them, but yeah, she she should build that rapport that she could be in a room with them. Yeah, yeah. Once was the owner in the room and everybody’s like, shut up and trying to Yeah, yeah. So you have to be able to balance the peer to peer atomic tivity and not allowing it to become a distraction. I know that in the previous company where we were doing remote work. The problem became that then it was creating like a almost AOL like chat had between the representatives to the point that they were even answering the phone call. So yeah,

 

Paul Urwin  40:06

okay, yeah, it’s finding that balance is finding that balance, as you say. That’s

 

Ignacio Pinilla  40:11

where your availability is also kind of key. Because if they’re frustrated with you, then they can turn online to quickly talk with their peers about their frustrations with you. Yeah, so, and that happens also in offices, and so on. But I think in online, it’s a lot easier because again, you don’t have to walk over to your peer to what you’re waiting for. You find yourself just quickly hopping from one Slack channel to the other, or even sending it as a private message through the slack. And that can happen in two seconds.

 

Paul Urwin  40:48

Totally Well, brilliant. Ignacia. Brilliant, very insightful. Very, very interesting. And, yeah, we’re really great chat that’s just flown by actually, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking to you. And some really, really good points in there. I love just you’re the sort of authenticity of of your story, and you know, how you’ve made it work, and then how you’ve made made it work through the franchise and then with remote staff, and then talking about the culture and everything. So yeah, absolutely brilliant. Love, love talking to you. I’ll leave you with the last word now. So if there’s anything else that you’d like to add, and of course, please do include details of how people can find out about the swim school, and how people can get in touch with you if they’d like to talk about anything else.

 

Ignacio Pinilla  41:32

Okay, well, not sure. As far before, but it’s been it’s been a pleasure talking with you, it’s actually kind of fun sometimes to have this time to do a little introspection and kind of say your my ideas out loud, which kind of makes me look at what my journey has been like through this in terms of friend and need for swim lessons, British swim school.com We’re finding your nearest pool with our water survival program. We’re growing across the US and Canada very rapidly. So I’m sure most people will be able to find one close to them. And we’ll follow your standard. And, Matt, you can find me on LinkedIn, I’ll probably be posting this over on LinkedIn also to share with my professional network. And maybe hear people can hear a little bit about that the network that I’ve created for my franchise of customer service, remote customer service representatives, is also something that has the bandwidth and the knowledge to also assist other franchisees because I believe that this is one of those services that can certainly be shared at a fraction of a cost and thanks to remote technology, we can be answering the phone calls for our friends in Tennessee or in new tar as as as flawlessly imperfectly as they can do it for myself here in California.

 

Paul Urwin  43:03

Wonderful. Wonderful. Well, thank you very much Ignacio Pinilla thank you so much.

 

Ignacio Pinilla  43:10

All right. All the best. Take care. Great talking to you. Thank you.

 

Paul Urwin  43:14

Okay, great. Well, I hope you enjoyed that one I thought was absolutely fantastic. You can check out all of the podcast episodes at remote business growth.com. And if you need help with a virtual assistant or remote workers for your business to help you grow and scale your business, then head on over to www.ThereisTalent.com that’s www.thereistalent.com Thanks. And until next time, all the best bye bye.

Claudia

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