Archive for the ‘Call Center Articles’ Category
Social media is a new marketing strategy that companies use to reach new customers and keep in touch with current ones. Almost everyone has a social media account which makes it easier for consumers to communicate with their favorite brands.
Although social media access is very convenient, it also involves higher chances of a company being involved in negative publicity. Poor customer service, stock market crashes and even workplace controversies can go viral in second if not easily contained. Here are ways to avoid being in the center of social media drama.
1. Provide excellent customer service
The number one reason people take issues to social media is because they received poor customer service from inbound call center agents. In most cases, posts become viral when many consumers can relate to it. The best way to prevent these posts from making rounds on the internet is to make sure that everyone gets fair treatment which is excellent customer service.
2. Open communication lines
In some cases, people vent out on social media because they do not know who to call. Be sure to publish customer service hotline numbers and enable social media private messaging so the company can immediately address customer issues. Philippine call center agents will be glad to help customers out through these channels.
3. Understand the importance of customer resources
Understand that the customer is busy or has a financial timeline to follow. Customers want quality work delivered at their most convenient time. Outbound call center agents should call at times that the customer agrees upon and not bother them anytime throughout the day.
4. Be Clear
It is poor customer service to tell the customer to read the contract or anything else on their own. Terms and conditions should be explained to them as well as why certain issues have arise. Inform them if a new policy changes and let them know if something will be offline beforehand.
Complete product knowledge is an important key for providing excellent customer service and experience to the customers. Employees who are more knowledgeable about what they sell are much preferred by customers to answer their inquiries. Outsourced call center agents become the company’s representative of reliability and expertise. The impression of a customer depends on how an agent supports the transaction from the time it begins.
Customer service representatives that know the products well are very effective employees. Call center outsourcing agents who have this ability are able to have more sales, have faster problem resolution time and performance in general.
Here are ways on how to prepare call center agents with the skills they need to exceed a customers expectations.
1. Regular and Standardized Training
Consistent training is an efficient method of making sure that agents are able to master the standardized processes from the same resource. Training should be conducted accordingly with the frequency of product updates.
2. Firsthand Participation
The effectivity of a training session only comes in effect if it is practiced and put into use. A firsthand experience guarantees familiarity over the various products and services being offered to the customers.
3. Great Compensation
Training programs are effective. However, compensation and rewards must be added in order to motivate inbound and outbound call center agents to do better. Companies can use the point system to recognize top performing agents and encourage those who are not as well.
4. Training Modules and Guidelines
A shared database or reference booklet is useful for agents who want to access accurate information anytime. Guidelines such as information posted on bulletin boards and desks can also be used as cheat sheets. This kind of reference material is practical.
By implementing these pointers, managers can transform agents into experts that can convert leads into sales in no time. Turn a boring telemarketing spiel into a sales transaction effectively and watch those numbers go up.
Philippine call center agents will always encounter angry customers, especially in an inbound call center setting. Even companies with the excellent customer service and product line encounter irate customers on a day to day basis and it is very important to fix the problem immediately.
Here are proven and tested ways to appease irate customers.
Apologizing sincerely is the best way to express regret over the incident. In cases such as natural calamities or delays because of third party vendors, agents should always make sure to apologize even if it is not their fault and find a way to solve it. An apology should contain empathy that tells them they are being listened to, their importance and that the company is on their side. Learn to earn the customers trust as well.
Assess the customer’s problem by asking what it is all about. Let them talk about their issue before asking any questions. If you question about their capability to fix it before they could explain further, the caller might see it as an insult instead of assistance.
Earn back a customer’s loyalty and trust by always giving them something extra. Customers have gone through a lot which costs a lot of time. The least you can do is to extend an extra pleasant customer experience and service for them.
Problems and fixes will vary according to the situation, but after-service should be done regardless of how small the problem is.
Customer service does not end after the product has been replaced or when the service is troubleshooted. It is important to make sure that the customer is satisfied after providing the initial customer service. There are three ways to facilitate after-service.
• Promptly – Following up promptly shows an agent’s sincere concern for the customer. This practice should be done if the problem has been transferred to another representative or escalated to another department.
• In-house Update – The call center agent should follow up within departments about the concern of the customer.
• Finalization – Conclude the transaction with a formal letter of agreement or a call that signifies the stability of a client relationship. This approach assures the customer that the problem has been solved already.
Do not forget to keep records of all the transaction so it will be easier to pull them out if another situation arises.
It is a customer’s worst nightmare to be put on hold. Callers who seek out the assistance of Philippine call center agents are in a hurry and want solutions fast which is why every second matters. “Please hold” are the two words that can decrease the levels of customer experience. At the same time, it can also raise tempers up. In worst cases, many of these calls are hung up or abandoned.
A customer’s problem level determines the amount of patience he has on the phone. It is less likely for a caller to hang up if the issue is believed to be unresolvable without the aid of an inbound call center agent. Dropped calls are usually the result from callers who have found a solution while waiting in queue. A BPO with high dropped call rates does not look good to potential clients. Instead of using the dreaded phrase, give the customers other options that they can choose from.
• Easy Do-it-yourself options
Easy and self servicing sections are more convenient than letting customers wait on the phone. Examples are mobile apps, FAQ pages and even how to videos. With these easy to use applications, customers are able to do things themselves, at the same time, ridding the call center of abandoned call volumes.
• Mobile and Desktop Channels
Not all customers are comfortable to talk on the phone. Open non-voice channels such as email, social media (Facebook and twitter), live chat and even text messaging. This can also be a great option for customers to contact again after the call has been ended without it being resolved.
• Always do a callback
It is always appreciated when customer representatives call back when they’ve promised to do so. Callbacks are not only limited to phone calls, but are also applicable when a follow up is done through email. This method reassures clients that their concerns are not neglected. It shows that the service provider cares and chooses to fix the issue even outside the first transaction.
A Call center in the Philippines that truly cares for its customers will always provide excellent customer service. Transactions are carefully done leaving the customer with a memory that entices one to transact and patronize even more.
The Philippines is one of the most reliable countries to outsource inbound and outbound call center services. Many companies outsource to a Philippine call center because it provides quality work and is not expensive. A good BPO has proven track record and solid clientele line up. An experienced outsourcing company is assured to provide clients with skilled professionals to get the job done right.
Clients can hire as many or as less agents according to their needs. Here are the main industries that commonly seek the services of a call center in the Philippines.
The most industry that is most advantageous of outsourcing is the healthcare sector. During the early years of call center outsourcing, accounting and legal practices were the most commonly outsourced services.
Retail accounts are now a common account in Philippine call centers. Agents handle everything from live chat functions, order receiving and processing, as well as post-sales transactions. Many of these transactions are from major retail brands.
Telecommunication providers need call centers in the Philippines to handle customer service inquiries from customers. Agents also encourage subscribers to avail of additional services, upgrades and even buy new phone units.
Credit card, banking and insurance companies also outsource to Philippine BPO companies. Through inbound call center agents, these banking institutions are able to assist customers by providing solutions. On the other hand, outbound call center agents help banks and credit companies by reminding customers of their dues.
The industries that outsource to the Philippines do so to have a team focus entirely on customer support services. Not only does it cut costs, it also assures clients that their customers are well taken cared of. Technical support, telemarketing and other services are only some of the many back office services that a BPO can provide for your customers.
Not all Philippine call centers are the same. Outsourcing companies may handle accounts that are not another company’s niche. Before outsourcing to a BPO, you have to check if the call center employs specialist or generic agents.
Aside from being inbound and outbound call center employees, agents can also be classified as specialty and general services agents.
General Services / BPO Agents
General services agents, virtual assistants and call center representatives are agents who are able to handle several types of customers and support assistance. These employees can fill in tasks that could have been done by chat support representatives, tech support agents, customer service specialists and even sales.
BPO agents of this caliber are very good in time management, scheduling and organizing. They can take almost any type of calls and customers. Since transfer rates are so low with this type of setting, first call resolution rates are improved. Escalation calls are rarely needed since the agents can solve mostly everything themselves – so there is no need to transfer issues to another department. They can troubleshoot, help and even sell everything in one phone call.
Agents that specialize on specific accounts such as tech support, chat functions, telemarketing and sales require them to have special skills to deliver the job well. However, they have more knowledge than the generic services agent because they are experts on their accounts. More often than not, first stage calls are escalated to them when the need arises.
Specialists do not need as much training as the former since they are already familiar with the topics needed for the job. Therefore, eliminating excess costs.
Which of the two should I hire?
Both types of agents are efficient. The decision to hire all depends on what the business needs. In most cases, outsourcing providers hire both.
Solid relationships are built through good communication. In a Philippine call center, it is very important that communications are kept clear as to maintain a sense of efficiency and urgency. The opportunity to communicate with colleagues leads to better teamwork and even increased productivity rate. Here are the benefits of having good communication in the workplace.
Promotes real and engaging conversations
Technology has enabled people to communicate even better with almost everyone around the globe. However, its effect on society has made real live conversations a thing of the past. When call center outsourcing encourage employees to have face-to-face conversations such as meetings and coaching. Though effective tools that enhance communication is very important, having real interaction helps agents in dealing with customers as they practice their interpersonal skills. Sending emails and chat messages are the primary tools of BPO employees to communicate. These types of technology are essential when it comes to keeping up with different time zones and a fast paced environment. However, real conversations are important to build rapport among co-workers.
Acceptance of Constructive Criticism
Coaching agents not only improves their performance but as well as gives the opportunity for employees to speak out about their performance. Therefore, it will improve their communication skills. Assessment should be concise and encouraging. Generic sounding comments will most likely not have an impact on employees. Constructive criticism should be given for inbound and outbound call center agents to improve and realize their mistakes.
Improves Listening Skills
Agents who constantly exchange feedback become good listeners in the process. An employee with good listening skills can help delegate accurate information within the workplace.
Philippine BPO centers that improve communication channels have employees who are more productive and motivated. When agents have the freedom of professionally communicating with each other, teams become stronger and will give better performance results.
Stress is a common experience in any workplace. There are many factors that make it possible. Meeting deadlines, shifting schedules or the pressure to make sure that customer concerns are met while keeping metrics high are only some of the stress contributors.
Philippine call centers are the most affected by this kind of situation and it can affect their performance and attitude if it is not addressed. Call Center Outsourcing heavily depends on its call center agents. Bothered employees will not make operations productive. These are the effects of stress and how it can be solved.
Stress is the number one efficiency decline cause. Agents who are stressed are not able to focus and will not perform well. There will also be more absences and tardiness. Help by interacting with the team as to what might have caused such and figure out solutions together.
2. Customer Experience
Employees who bring their personal problems at work become stressed and grumpy. When this happens, the customers are the first ones who get to notice. Avoid having low customer service ratings by reminding agents to leave their worries behind and just work pleasantly. Motivational activities are a great way to boost their mood.
Exhausted agents often think about resigning. The effects of stress are physical, mental, emotional and even psychological. When employees are burned out, all they want to do is quit. Avoid increased attrition by providing them with a healthy work environment to balance their professional and personal life.
The cost of replacing agents are expensive. Advertising, hiring, training and paying for premiums are all put to waste if an employee quits right away. High turnover rates are also a sign of poor management. Avert the frequency of replacing agents by offering newly hired employees with benefits and working environment that they were promised with.
An office environment is made better by creating a positive work-life balance atmosphere for everyone. Agents are more productive when they are excited about going to work and concerned with operations and each other. A call center that does not have constant employee turnover will have a happy work environment since new agents and tenured ones are able to get acquainted even more. Call Center agents work in a stressful industry and it highly affects the customers if they are stressed. It is essential for management to look after the level of stress in the office for everyone’s sake.
Philippine call centers operate at nighttime because it is daytime in most continents. This kind of working shift is new to Filipino workers making them prone to habits to help them adapt to their new environment. However, there are certain mannerisms that should be prevented at all costs to avoid poor quality calls.
Agents are trained for as little as 4 weeks or as long as 6 months. During these times, Philippine call center agents are made to develop their communication skills, customer service skills, product knowledge and culture. Outbound or inbound call center agents come from all walks of life. It is important that everyone has the same business goals when they start working in the production area no matter what.
When employees have problems at home, it is required that they leave it there. Going to work in a bad mood can result to agents having a bored or monotonous voice tone. Customers expect a willing and enthusiastic customer representative to answer their inquiries. The last thing they want to hear is someone who sounds like they don’t want to help. Let agents know that HR is there for them to hear their problems out. More importantly, since agents are representatives of a company, it is only proper to address clients formally as Miss or Mister. Save the nickname calling for other agents only, not clients.
A call center is a fun working environment where different personalities meet. However, employees should be reminded that the production area is for work related activities only. Eating and talking unnecessarily should be avoided to prevent the client from hearing noise. It shows disrespect and lack of attention. The use of foul or offensive language or tone is never welcome in a call center. Pacify customers with understanding words and do not make the situation even worse by projecting negativity. An office lounge can be of great help to agents who want to pass time and chat while on break.
Excellent customer service can be provided when employees are pleasant and in a good place. Management can help them achieve this by setting realistic goals and expectations. Employees often imitate what they see, so it’s important to be good examples to them as well. It is ideal to maintain a happy culture at work, but one should never forget to ensure quality work and calls first.
The competence of agents in making sure tasks are delivered successfully can strongly affect the productivity of a Philippine call center entirely. Agents who have difficulty in achieving standards in metrics, performance level and even attendance can weaken the foundation of the BPO since the employees behind it do not perform well. Improve agent efficiency with these simple methods that are proven to be effective in any offshore call center.
Consistent and Continuous Training
It is important to constantly find ways to improve and develop call center agents performance and skills. A consistent training period enables agents to develop skills as well as improve what they already have through ample lectures, mock calls and exams.
Fixing common issues at work
Make sure to immediately fix common issues at work by mediating when agents have concerns. By doing so, conflict and coming up with incorrect solutions are lessened or avoided at all. A common database of tried and tested solutions is beneficial for agents who want a quick reference.
Monitor live calls
By monitoring calls in real time, supervisors are able to listen in on actual calls and provide agents with feedback and coaching. Agents learn more with proper mentoring.
Optimal team leader to agent ratio
The ratio between these employees are important so that supervisors are able to make time for everyone in the team. If the agents are well supervised, they become efficient. Team leaders who have enough agents can equally provide feedback and attention to all agents.
Call Center agents are able to interact better with customers if they are motivated and calibrated well. Listening to their concerns is important for them to feel valued. By implementing these practices, employees are guaranteed to be productive and happy which can help you reach business goals efficiently and effectively.
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