Off Center
I’ve always been the sensitive, nostalgic type. I’ve been known to get weepy while reminiscing about events that occurred only a few months or even weeks earlier. In fact, just last night I teared up at the thought of a delicious sandwich I had eaten the previous day. I’m not well – but I guess I don’t really have to tell you that if you’ve been reading my blog posts for any amount of time. 

With today’s post marking the one-year anniversary of my Off Center Blog, you can probably imagine the level of nostalgia I’m currently experiencing. Over the past 52 weeks, my blog and I have been through a lot of words together – a few of which have even linked together to make some sense and stir some action.

But what I’m feeling even more than nostalgia is appreciation – appreciation for all of you who have taken the time to peruse at least some of my odd ramblings and playfully irreverent advice over the past 12 months. I am especially appreciative of those among you who actually subscribe to Off Center – you daring individuals who willingly invite my words into your email inbox each week without fear of the consequences. Apparently, you aren’t all that well either.

I thought it would be fun to re-post my inaugural Off Center piece – the very words I shared with the online world almost exactly 365 days ago when I launched my blog and company. This way you can see if I’ve stayed true to what I originally promised to bring to the table.

And with that, I present to you the post that started this whole Off Center thing (along with a special offer at the end, so make sure you scroll all the way down!)...

I know what you do for a living. And I’m here to alleviate your pain.

I know that you work in or around a place that gets inundated by thousands of customers every day – each demanding friendly, professional and efficient service without mistakes. A place that, by its very nature, retains staff about as well as Detroit retains residents. A place that C-level managers understand and respect about as much as they do public golf courses or flying coach.

I’ve written about contact center management for over 16 years. In that time, I’ve conducted comprehensive research on just about every customer care topic under the sun. I’ve interviewed thousands of industry experts, and hundreds of so-called industry experts. I’ve coaxed dozens of managers, supervisors and agents off of tall bridges and window ledges during their center’s peak season. And I can’t even remember how many contact center conferences I’ve attended and spoken at. (I attribute such memory loss to the fact that I have access to the people who provide the drink tickets at conference receptions.)

Just as you probably never planned on managing, consulting or providing solutions to a contact center when you were young, I never planned on researching and writing about them. But here we are, so together let’s learn a little, shake things up and have some fun.

Every week until I run out of words, lose what remains of my mind, or get arrested, I will blog about key topics, trends and challenges in customer service and contact center management. Be warned: What you’ll get from me is not your typical clean, safe, clichéd corporate-speak. That’s just not “how I do”. I come from the school of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, write it down”.  Now, this is not to say that I will be attacking contact center vendors and other industry figures or constantly complaining about the state of the industry, but it’s not to say that I won’t be, either.

For those of you who used to read and actually liked my contact center humor column, In Your Ear – which was published by ICMI for years and years until the government intervened – Off Center will be like coming home again. I will employ much of the same satire and parody in poking fun at – while simultaneously paying tribute to – your mad and marvelous profession.

For those of you who never read In Your Ear or who have never even heard of me, I forgive you, and invite you to come along for what promises to be a rather irreverent and wild ride.

And for those of you who read but didn’t like In Your Ear or me, well, I never liked you either.

In upcoming installments of Off Center, I will actually start writing about hot topics/trends/challenges in customer service and contact center management rather than just write about how I’m going to write about them, as I did here. But hey, Off Center is the sort of thing you have to ease into to avoid causing any irreversible damage to your cerebral cortex or career.

See you next Friday!

SPECIAL ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OFFER: From now until the end of July, take a gargantuan 50% off the regular price of my ebook, Full Contact: Contact Center Practices & Strategies that Make an Impact. (The official ebook of the U.S. Olympic Call Center Team.)  
To learn more about the Full Contact ebook and download it, go to: Be sure to enter the following discount code to get your 50% off: anniversary1

Thanks to all of you who have contributed to Off Center's rapid growth over the past year!

Warm regards,

Greg Levin
Founder & Principal

6/30/2011 11:21:47 pm

Congratulations on the one-year mark, Greg. Keep up the good work. Our industry needs your wit and insight. I love reading your blog. I always get a chuckle. Happy Independence Day!

6/30/2011 11:27:13 pm

Thank you, Linda. That means a lot coming from the publisher of the finest magazine in the contact center industry.

(Those of you who don't subscribe to CONTACT CENTER PIPELINE are missing out!)



Janet Bailey
7/1/2011 12:25:28 am

Happy Anniversary! Your article reminds me of how much I love contact centers and how there is a lot of humor to be found in them! I look back and remember how my first contact center job was many, many years ago and I took orders for Ginzu Knives, Armorcoat Cookware, Slim Whitman albums and Fredricks of Hollywood among other interesting things. As a 17 year old kid I learned a lot from some of those calls! :)

7/1/2011 12:55:19 am

Wow, what a great message, Janet -- I'll have to have blog anniversaries more often!

Glad to see that you know how to take yourself lightly yet your job seriously. That's the key to customer service and contact center success.

I'm jealous that you used to handle calls for Ginzu knives -- they cut through cans! ;)



JR Hardenburgh
7/1/2011 07:48:15 am

Happy anniversary to a witty, charming, intelligent (wait.... this is not my wife's card!)

Happy anniversary to something we look forward to every week to alleviate the stress of caring about people regardless of their attitude...the off-center blog by GL himself. Keep up the good work.

7/1/2011 08:07:25 am

Hey JR. It seems your wife and I have a lot in common.

Thanks for the funny and, in the end, very kind comment. It's pros like you for whom I bother to blog in the first place.

So it's your fault, really. ;)

Warm regards,


Melissa Kovacevic
7/1/2011 09:26:14 pm

Happy Anniversary Greg!

Thanks for the laughs, the tears ( when I laugh too much ;-). and the spot -on comments you share about the real world issues of our industry.

Wishing you many many many more years of successful blog posts so I have something fun to read in the Nursing Home!

7/2/2011 02:02:40 pm

Very kind and witty words, MK. But I hope you don't end up in a nursing home that allows access to such dangerous websites as mine. You'd be much better served playing shuffleboard and bridge.

Great having you as a loyal reader and colleague!




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