I got an interesting email from a woman who is having some issues with her 2nd OFS.

“I have concerns that she is working for someone else and it is interfering with her performance.  She gets her basic work done but when I try to add more she is resistant and reluctant. Things that should take 2 hours to do take all day long.

She was able to make calls but not answer with our Ooma call system. Do you have any advice on that?”

My advice?

Ask her.
That’s a critical piece of communication with the Philippines.
You think there’s a problem?  Ask.
Ask “what other jobs do you have”
Ask “You seem hesitant to do phone calls. Is it something you’re uncomfortable with? Is there something else wrong?”

Asking solves a lot of problems.

Let me give you an example.

A few years back, I hired an OFS, “Manny,” to help with customer support via social media. He was doing great but couldn’t seem to do more. Like he only did the bare minimum. Even with training, it looked like he couldn’t do more than what I initially asked him to do.

So I asked him, “Hey, is there a problem? Do you have another job?”

It turned out he didn’t have another job. He’s just not that into social media.
What he’s good at is customer support (he worked in a call center for years before I hired him). He helped start our social media customer support. But beyond that, he doesn’t know what to do. He’s afraid to do anything else.

So I gave him a shot at doing more customer support. He’s what he’s done since:
– Helped us set up a team schedule, so we have 24/7 email support.
– Improved the knowledge database for our customer support team, making it easier to use.
– Helped our U/X team by giving feedback taken from customer emails.
– Assisted in improving backend processes (e.g., jobseeker account verification).
– Helped strengthen our data privacy protocols.

It turns out; this is the job he loves. I don’t need to ask him to do more. He’s the one who comes up with ideas of what he can do to improve our customer experience.

I wouldn’t have gotten all that if I didn’t bother to ask and just gave up on him 5 years ago.



My nieces didn’t ask when they found my phone at Sunday dinner…again. They just took pictures.