“We do a lot of internal staff development and instill a culture within all of our operations. I can’t develop that culture in India, only here in Florida,” he points out.
The call center proved to be a case study for that philosophy. Since it was new to the business, DME hired a consultant to design its original call center and ended up with the standard, impersonal setup.
Panaggio decided to take over from there and design the second half of the call center to better fit the DME culture. That included breaking up the space with live plants—instead of manufactured dividers—to absorb sound and to give off oxygen. The individual work areas feature desks imported from Germany and ergonomic chairs.
“The call center operation has been a success almost from day one. It runs 24/7,” Panaggio notes.
As president, Walther says he views the organization as being somewhere in between a direct marketing agency and a production facility. “We are a high-tech direct marketing company with industry specific knowledge.
“I think our vision is getting more focused than it used to be,” he continues. “We’re less willing to try anything within our economic means, but we are experimenting more now than ever within a pretty tight mission statement.”
PURLs of Wisdom
One of the growing uses for the video studio is to create streaming media for personalized URLs (PURLs). DME is aggressively promoting PURLs as a response vehicle because giving mail recipients a way to respond online has proven to dramatically boost response rates, Panaggio reports.
“By the end of the year, all of the campaigns we produce should be featuring personalized Websites because it doesn’t make sense to not offer that response option,” he says. “We’ve developed a program that allows us to create personalized URLs simultaneously with the mail file, so there is no additional cost. Except, of course, for the creative work required because you must have content to put on the personal Websites.”