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This story appears in the February 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Neil Franklin began offering round-the-clock telephone customer service in 1998, customers loved it. The offering fit the strategic direction Franklin had in mind for Dataworkforce, his Dallas-based telecommunications- engineer staffing agency, so he invested in a phone system to route after-hours calls to his 10 employees' home and mobile phones.

Today, Franklin, 38, has nearly 50 employees and continues to explore ways to improve Dataworkforce's service. Twenty-four-hour phone service has stayed, but other trials have not. One failure was developing individual Web sites for each customer. "We took it too far and spent $30,000, then abandoned it," Franklin recalls. A try at globally extending the brand by advertising in major world cities was also dropped. "It worked pretty well," Franklin says, "until you added up the cost."

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