Featured Founder: Trevor Clark of Shyftoff
Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Trevor Clark, Co-Founder of ShyftOff, which provides flexible customer support outsourcing for businesses.
What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?
Prior to starting ShyftOff, I was leading contact center operations for a large telecommunications company. My team and I were responsible for accurately predicting customer contact demand and efficiently staffing agents to handle those contacts. In my years of experience in contact centers, I learned a few things about the industry...
- Being an agent in a contact center is a lot harder than most people realize - low pay, inflexible schedules, and extreme micromanagement are just a few reasons this line of work is difficult and unappealing.
- Contact centers are extremely inefficient - In traditional contact center staffing models, you either have customers waiting on hold, or the center is overstaffed which means your business is losing money.
We started ShyftOff for a few reasons…
- We created a solution for the inefficiencies in traditional contact centers - we have demonstrated extreme flexibility and responsiveness to changing demand while maintaining high quality for our clients.
- “US Agents, Offshore Cost” - we can offer significant cost advantages with ShyftOff’s model, which gives small and mid-sized businesses a way to staff US Agents for a comparable cost to Offshore (Philippines).
- We can still offer significantly better pay and working environments for agents - we pay almost twice as much as traditional contact centers, and we have never issued schedules to our agents, and we still deliver flexibility and cost savings to our clients.
What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?
It's easy to take for granted the comforts (work-life balance, sufficient pay, and flexibility) that corporate management jobs provide, but it's sobering to truly comprehend the struggle that a contact center agent endures every day. In addition to earning low wages, an agent’s livelihood can be jeopardized after getting stuck in traffic, taking the day off to care for a sick child or any life event.
"If you make >$100,000/yr, there's a 60% chance you can work from home. If you make <$40,000/yr, there's a 10% chance you can work from home." - Scott Galloway
Contact centers are constantly looking for ways to better respond and plan for increases and decreases in customer demand. Yet the agent’s wellbeing is often last on the list of priorities.
The exciting thing for me is that we've identified a path to make life as an agent significantly better while solving major operational challenges for businesses. This is a win-win, and I'm excited to help shape the future of this industry.
Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?
Personally, making the decision to leave a comfortable corporate position to fully pursue entrepreneurship was scary. I officially made the jump in March 2021 but after a few years of preparation.
I saved up to make the transition, expecting not to take an income from my company. Being financially stable was super important to me - I wanted to put my energy into making ShyftOff successful, and I didn’t want to worry about making ends meet or bring desperation into my startup.
I mentally prepared - this wasn’t an overnight decision, and it comes with a fair amount of risk. It was important to me to think through this new path and bounce ideas off of my mentors.
I already had a business - the decision to pursue ShyftOff was based on evidence that our hypothesis was working and it was time to accelerate growth.
Where do you see your company headed next?
We're expecting ShyftOff to grow considerably in 2021. Our focus is on adding new pilot programs with companies that share our vision for this next-generation contact center model.
We've had a lot of successful testing and proving our hypotheses with existing pilot clients, and as a result, we've begun broader commercialization efforts. Most recently, we've added a business development leader to our executive team, who we believe will be instrumental in accelerating our growth.
Give us a tactical piece of advice that you'd share with another founder just starting out.