Archive for the ‘Inbound Call Center’ Category

Most Effective Ways to Turn an Irate Customer into a Happy one

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Executive Boutique Call Center - Irate customers into happy ones

 
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.
 
Apologize
 
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.
 
Assessment
 
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.
 
Settlement
 
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.
 
Follow up
 
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.

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Ways to reduce hold time and dropped calls in Call Centers

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Executive Boutique Call Center Agents

 
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.

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Types of Industries that outsource to Philippine Call Centers

Friday, July 11th, 2014

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.

 

Service Industry

 

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.

 

Consumer Goods

 

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 Services

 

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.

 

Finance

 

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.

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Hiring the right type of agent for your call center campaign

Friday, June 27th, 2014

 
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.
 
Specialty Agents
 
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.

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Effects of good communication lines in a call center

Friday, June 13th, 2014

 
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.

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Managing the effects of stress in a call center

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

 
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.
 
1. Productivity
 
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.
 
3. Resignation
 
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.
 
4. Expenses
 
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.

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Maintaining culture & quality calls in a BPO

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

 

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.

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Improving Call Center Agent Efficiency

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Image from Stockton University

 
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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Call Center Concerns Answered

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Executive Boutique Call Center Agents
 
Outsourcing to a call center is very important for companies who want their customer service to excel. It is difficult to find a Philippine call center that can get the job done. However, the right contact center has leverage to a company and its brand management. Here are answers to common questions prior outsourcing to an offshore center.
 
Will hiring a call center make my company any better?
 
An outsourced inbound or outbound call center team becomes the front-liners to a company’s customer service department. As they become the POC or person in contact for inquiries, the outsourced call center can set the impression desired. Call center agents have the advantage of gathering customer data which they can use to provide accurate solutions to their problems. Information from surveys such as preferred social media site, consumer trends or product comments and suggestions can go a long way to make the company better.
 
By knowing the clients preference, managers are able to modify, improve and even discontinue the service and product accordingly to what the customers want. The data gathered by the agents should be generated daily for reporting. It is better for these reports to be given frequently in order to maintain excellent customer service.
 
With all the call centers everywhere, how do I choose the right one?
 
Prior to hiring a call center, it is important to do an extensive research about all the possible center options. Look into detail their track records and how they manage and deliver their campaigns. Set a meeting with the managers and ask for a thorough rundown of how the day-to-day operations work. Do not forget to ask for actual office pictures. In most cases, a home based call center is not the best option, look for a real outsourcing firm located in a business district and see to it that their goals match yours.
 
Schedule a visit to the call center facility and observe how the employees work. A good outsourcing firm is able to establish good communication between the client and call center all the
 
I will be away most of the time, how do I make sure the outsourced job is done right?
 
Working with a team abroad could be daunting, but if you manage them properly, operations will run smoothly. Remember to set expectations and goals so employees will know where they stand. Take responsibility and ensure effective communication between the client and center at all times. Provide training materials and recruitment standards to ensure that only the most suitable employees get hired for your campaign. Supervise the offshore office as you would a team locally.
 
Effective collaboration can lead to a successful campaign. Choose an outsourcing company wisely.

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The importance of treating employees like customers

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The main duty of Call Centers in the Philippines is to serve customers by providing excellent customer service through courtesy and product knowledge. Agents represent the company brand and that is why only the best practices are given to the callers.
 
Outstanding customer service begins at the workplace. Without harmony in the office, agents will not be able to produce such enthusiasm to provide what customers need. The Philippine contact center environment can often times be a place of competition or loneliness. To rule out these situations in a team, interaction within the workplace must be encouraged.
 
Here are ways on how to maintain a positive and professionally healthy relationship in a Call Center Outsourcing office.
 
• Be an advocate of Positivity
A good employee exudes positivity in everything he does. Constantly fretting and complaining about work is a sign of negative vibes which can eventually bring the team’s spirit down. Encourage optimism by reminding them of how lucky they are to be employed and the incentives they’ll be getting if they perform well.
 
• Listen more
Empathize with your coworkers and help them with their workplace related issues. A successful team assists each other in the office for their well being including the company’s.
 
Open communication channels
Managers and agents alike should keep all communication channels accessible. Just as it is to customers, so should it be in the office.
 
• Employee value
Call Centers in the Philippines offer incentives to patron customers who has given them support over the years. It is also advisable to give out rewards to agents who have been loyal employees. There is no achievement too little; exceeding quotas, good performance or perfect attendance all deserve recognition.
 
The effectivity of a team’s customer service effort starts with how they interact with each other in the office. Practice these simple steps to create a conducive place for working and positive thinking.

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