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Call Center Agent Training

Why Multitasking May Not Really Be the Best Strategy

We have all learned to do things in the most effective way possible, and oftentimes, we think that way might be with multitasking. We think that, if we can get two or three things done at the same or at about the same time, our days would be much easier, right? Well, the truth is, multitasking isn’t for everyone — or for just any project; you may actually be spending more time doing these things at once than you would if you did it all one at a time.

Multitasking isn’t really what it’s called; it’s a basic task-switch. You’re not really getting anything done because you keep switching from one task to another. Have you ever watched a toddler go from building a block castle to coloring a single page from a coloring book? When they switch off from task to task, neither gets done right away, or the way they want it. Or maybe you’ve noticed that it takes longer while driving to your destination while on the phone, rather than not? That’s because your brain is split between two different — and important — things, when the tasks really deserve your undivided attention. What will get things done faster, though, is doing things in batches. For example: send out all your emails at once, write your reports one after another, etc. Your brain gets super-focused on the task at hand and you fly right through everything.

Not only is it a total time-waster, but with the more projects or tasks you take on, the more mistakes you’ll make, especially when you’re doing something important that involves critical thinking. People can lose up to 40% productivity when they choose to task-switch, and honestly, that doesn’t sound worth the time you think you might be saving.

It’s also incredibly stressful! Have you noticed that the terms “busybody” and “hectic” always seem to coexist alongside individuals who try an multitask? That’s because it’s true! When you’re busy doing all sorts of things at once, your body jumps into an anxiety-driven panic, and your heart rate is stuck at a racing speed. So, by the end of the day, you’re exhausted, and have no energy for any other activities outside of work.

While we think that multitasking is a great way to get things done and have more time in the day, it’s more trouble than it’s worth; your work isn’t as neat, your body is tired, and your mind wants to shut down by the end of the day. So, take your time, work on one task before turning to another, and enjoy what you’re doing!

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5 Crucial Skills Every Call Center Agent Needs to Have

5 Crucial Skills Every Call Center Agent Needs to Have

Are you thinking of expanding your business but have limited resources to secure better infrastructure and hire more customer support agents?

If you answered with a “yes,” then consider outsourcing call center agents.

Allow us to share with you the skill set that your customer service agents should possess to contribute positively to your business.

Agents with a customer-centered attitude recognize their chief role in assisting their customers and genuinely helping them.

Let’s hop right in.

These agents consider their customers’ needs as of prime importance and look at the situation from their callers’ perspective.

In this way, your agents can implement appropriate measures that are not only efficient for them and your brand, but, more importantly, best for their customers.

1. Customer-centered Attitude

If their callers had a negative experience, customer-centered agents still foster customer relationship by suggesting better options and schemes, expressing goodwill, and the like.

2. Composure

When interacting with and serving customers, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

There will be days when customers will storm agents and blast them with a gripe and angry demand to fix them.

Your agents should learn to filter through customers’ negative emotions and remain focused on the concern at hand. 

Composure will enable them to think critically, find a solution, and still speak pleasantly and coolly.

Your agents should learn not to take customers’ statements personally, detach themselves while still actively engaging, and respond appropriately.

3. Resourcefulness and Flexibility

Although you want your agents to stick to their script, customers will sometimes have inquiries that are not in the reference material.

If your agent can promptly answer questions not found on the script, he can work toward accomplishing his objectives more effectively.

At a call center, unexpected issues may arise, so it’s crucial that your agents exercise resourcefulness in finding solutions and flexibility to go off the script when needed.

Remind them that resourcefulness begins with their willingness to resolve customers’ issues, and they must do their best to address them at the soonest possible time.

4. Organization

It’s essential for your agents to have a high degree of organization, like in recording contact information, jotting down notes when needed, and generally forming a functional work routine.

Organized agents are efficient in their tasks and overall performance. Organization also enhances their working relationship with you and your customers. 

Imagine finding and giving the wrong information from the CRM to them. That mistake can spell disaster for your business.

Remind your agents to stay organized all the time, especially in documenting incidents and data.

5. Effective Communication Skills

Agents shouldn’t merely communicate to customers — they need to communicate effectively.

They should speak courteously and confidently, balancing amiableness and professionalism.

Active listening is also important.

Your agents should understand the context of where their callers are coming from before they respond. 

They should also be asking questions for clarity, and avoid interrupting their callers when they’re speaking.

Agents may read from cues and scripts and put a personal touch to them. It’s vital that they don’t sound apathetic to their customers’ concerns.

Agents must also be consistent in how they communicate with their customers, including the kind of language they should use and avoid.

Invest in these agents.

Hiring agents with these skills can help you cultivate favorable customer relationships and loyalty. 

Invest in these competent agents, and that big step can have a game-changing impact on your business.

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Five Ways to Motivate Your Agents to be the Best in Their Job

Agents

AgentsWith the rise of data science, cryptocurrency, and cloud computing, many industries are currently on the verge of a systemic shift.

As a business owner, you need to be able to adapt to change if you want your business to thrive. That said, there’s one thing that will never go out of style: great customer service.

If you want your customer service to make customers happy on a consistent basis, you have to take the necessary steps to ensure that your agents are motivated enough to be at their best.

It’s not an easy task. For one, being a call center agent is a demanding job. If you don’t give agents enough reasons to stay motivated, your customers and your business are bound to suffer.

Below are tried-and-tested ways to ensure that call center agents are motivated enough to put their best foot forward at all times.

1. Foster a positive working environment

As a business owner, the onus is on you to take the initiative to reinforce the right attitudes and proper mindset among call center employees.

In short, you need to foster a positive working environment.

Sounds like hard work? Perhaps. But if you take the time to interact with every employee (not just agents) and take the steps needed to contribute to a pleasant and friendly environment, then you are well on your way.

After all, as a leader, all agents and managers look up to you for guidance. As a leader, what you do serves as the blueprint which employees will be adhering to.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to communicate your desire to create a warm and friendly atmosphere to managers and agents. As the business owner, you’ll have many opportunities to do that.

2. Encourage a feedback culture

Forget suggestion boxes and put them where they belong: the dustbin.

To ensure that feedback is always contributing to the improvement of the workplace, you have to encourage a culture or environment where ideas and feedback are freely shared by employees.

In turn, a system where ideas and suggestions can be reviewed quickly by a committee needs to be in place. For optimal results, a reliable feedback loop needs to be implemented as well.

When employees realize that their ideas are being taken seriously, they are more likely to realize that they’re part of the company’s growth and as such will feel more motivated to make contributions.

3. Recognize and reward employees for good performance

Everyone craves recognition for a job well done. Yes, even those who pretend that personal accolades don’t matter to them.

A word of praise, a pat on the back, or a simple complimentary shout out can go a long way into boosting an employee’s morale.

When an employee feels that her contributions are valued and recognized, the behavior that led to the positive feedback is reinforced. It gives the employee something to aspire to.

That said, agents who perform poorly need to be guided as well. But it should be done in private to save them the humiliation.

4. Assign agents a variety of tasks

Agents who are made to do the same tasks over and over again are likely to feel disillusioned and bored by their responsibilities down the line.

This is why agents need to be assigned a variety of tasks to keep them engaged and interested.

Instead of consigning an agent to voice work 100 percent of the time, you can ask them to work on email or web chat or other support responsibilities as well.

5. Promote from within

Employees will feel more motivated to do their best when they know that their hard work could land them a promotion.

After all, promoting from within is one of the best ways to show your agents that you appreciate them for their contributions. It gives them the validation that their talents are an asset to the organization.

In addition, setting up career development programs gives agents the support they need to advance in their career. It gives them a sense of direction and purpose, thus keeping them engaged and motivated.

Key Takeaway:

Every business is bound to face challenges that will make it difficult for employees to stay motivated.

But if you implement the steps above and ask each member of your team to support you in the endeavor, it will only be a matter of time before your business achieves the growth that you’ve been planning for.

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4 Training Techniques to Help Your Call Center Employees be Better Salespeople

Call Center Employees

Call Center EmployeesSelling is not an easy job. Your call center employees not only need to say the right things, but they need to be also persuasive to close as many sales opportunities as possible.

As a business owner, do you wish that you can do more to build up their confidence in selling?

Here are four training techniques that will help your call center employees to be better salespeople.

Improving their knowledge of your company’s offerings

One of the biggest mistakes in sales training is how product knowledge seems to be under-estimated.

The truth is, your call center employees need to be the experts in your company’s offerings so they can answer any possible questions your customers will ask.

Thus, your training techniques must include ample time in making them learn the ins and outs of your products and services. In turn, they will gain more confidence in carrying a sales conversation.

Sell the benefits rather than the features

Product knowledge is just half of the story.

To become better salespeople, your call center employees must learn how to position features of your products or services in a way that encourages purchasing interest. In short, they need to know how to sell the benefits of what you offer.

That’s what is called features versus benefits.

While a feature describes what your offering can do, a benefit is about connecting with the need of your buyers.

For example, instead of saying that a camera has X amount of gigabytes of memory, sell instead that it can store over a thousand pictures of their most important memories.

In your training then, encourage them to come up with a benefit for each of the features of your offerings.

Handling objections

Many call center employees, especially those without any sales experience, would not like selling because of rejection. However, rejection is part of the game. Not every pitch can convert into a sale. Therefore, train them to have a positive, winning mindset.

Additionally, teach them how to deal with people turning down their offer by learning how to handle objections.

You can do this by listing down all possible scenarios that customer will decline the offer and write down good rebuttals to persuade them to change their mind.

Assumptively close the sale

Another effective training technique in helping your call center employees to be better salespeople is learning how to assumptively close.

Assumptive close means that you assume your buyer is about to make a purchase. Rather than ask, “Are you interested in our products?”, inquire instead, “How many units would you want us to ship to your address?”

The assumptive close encourages buying signal and creates a sense of urgency in the sales pitch.

Wrapping it all up

You can bring all the above sales training techniques together through role-plays.

Through role-playing, you allow them to practice different sales scenarios as well as use new and suggested spiels so they can work on how to speak persuasively. You can also provide valuable tips and give helpful feedback.

By giving them the chance to practice, you are ensuring that they can apply what they learned and become better salespeople when they go back taking calls.

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How to Train Your Newly Hired Customer Service Agents to be More Engaging

newly_hired_customer_service_agents

newly_hired_customer_service_agentsWhether you’re running a product or a service-based business, living up to your customers’ expectations is a must if you want to succeed.

What makes this tricky, however, is the fact that your customers aren’t just looking for a solution to their problems, they’re looking for quick solutions.

They want their problems solved the soonest and would often ask to speak with a skilled agent who can do this for them.

Of course, if your company can’t give them just that, then they won’t hesitate going to your competitors.

This tells the business owners that for them to outdo their competitors, they need to provide exceptional customer service.

How are you going to accomplish that, you might want to ask?

Well, you can start by training your newly hired customer service reps to be more engaging and interactive.

The following are several crucial ideas and tips on how you can help your customer representatives become more engaging, more confident and more effective!

1. Start with the basic induction and let them learn the Product.

Induction is the first step that helps a new employee familiarize with the product and services that you are offering. Make sure you give your newly hired customer service reps a thorough insight of the products that you are offering.

They should understand the product or service as their own. The first part of their training should revolve around products, services and solutions that they can offer.

2. Conduct scenario-based training sessions.

While you train the new reps, throw multiple scenarios at them. This will help in two ways. One, your reps will understand the kind of queries they may face. Two, it will help them think of multiple ways to provide a solution to the customer.

This is a good way to build a line of communication and boost their confidence.

3. Recognize their mistakes and acknowledge their effort.

It is essential to tell your employees where they are going wrong. Guide them with patience and be professional when you criticism them.

Another thing that you must do is to acknowledge the efforts that your employees are making. A small dose of encouragement can make your reps move mountains (not literally). It can certainly help them display more confidence while speaking with a customer.

4. Include quests and challenges in your program.

Challenges evoke productivity and creativity. Therefore, make sure you add quests and challenges to your training program.

Take them through online challenges or ask them to take an impromptu call with a customer. Such challenges can help your new hires learn quickly and perform better.

5. Assign mentors to new hires.

You can hit two birds with one arrow if you practice this. Assigning a mentor to a group of new hires will not just help in their training but also encourage your existing employees to perform better so as to grab the position of a mentor.

If your newly hired customer service rep is motivated to perform during the training session, they will be able to absorb the knowledge efficiently and excel while enrolled on-process.

Conclusion.

A well-trained and enthusiastic customer rep can help your business expand in ways you’d never imagine.

Always devote enough time in training them with new materials and they’ll most likely perform better with how to address your customer’s concerns.

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5 Effective Tips You Should Implement When Phone Prospecting

Phone Prospecting

 

Phone Prospecting

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Zig Ziglar once said this.

When phone prospecting, this quote should be at the top of one’s mind.

Cold-calling is a challenging feat, with both parties on a seemingly unpleasant situation. The caller may interrupt the prospect’s day, and both just want to get off the phone as soon as possible. This doesn’t have to be the case.

Listed below are the five effective tips to make you great at what you do.

1. Be a consultant.

Sure you have to be thick-skinned to be a successful prospector, but you don’t have to be the annoying one that prospects want to avoid. Rather, you can position yourself as a consultant, offering honest and helpful advice for your prospect’s situation.

This means that you have to be knowledgeable about the product or service you’re proposing so you can provide the best product that suits them. You should be able to explain it clearly and effectively to different buyer personas.

Armed with your consultative information, this may just be the confident push you need.

2. Write your goals.

Did you know that just by writing your goals, you have a 40% higher chance of achieving them?

Goal setting opens up your mind to a different level of consciousness, ideas, and productivity. Not only that, when you take the time to write down goals, you are also taking a step towards being organized.

Push this further by scheduling your day and planning out your calls, and you’re sure on your way to closing more deals. You can use Google Calendar to help notify you and your prospects about your call appointments.

3. Warm up your calls.

With social media, everyone’s connected somehow. Use this to your advantage by researching on your prospect and following them on LinkedIn or Twitter. Share their posts or favorite their tweets.

In this way, you can understand your buyer’s context more, and you can better position yourself at selling a comparable product or service.

4. Choose the brighter side.

As a telemarketer, you need to generate quality leads, and chances are, you’ll go through an extensive list of rejections before you get to your pot of gold.

Staying positive is not just a practical tip, it’s key to survival. Good vibes not only increase your motivation, but it also leads to greater sales productivity and safeguards your health.

So before you feel the urge to give up, take a breather. Most of the time, its irrational fears that keep you from being great.

Once you take hold of that receiver on a positive note, the fears dissipate. By taking action, not only do you find out how to make things better, but you also silence your inhibitions.

5. Continuously learn.

Innovations are happening all around you, and everyone is learning something new every day. Embrace the training and impartations that your higher ups give. Allow yourself to be coached and open yourself up for nuggets of wisdom. When your prospects challenge your efforts, don’t balk at them. Instead, learn different approaches.

You can make a difference. Challenge yourself every single day and keep learning new ways to motivate yourself.

Now what?

Phone prospecting is vital in any business. This is one effective way to create awareness for your products and services. Here at EB Call Center, we are always training and seeking ways to improve the quality of life for our call center agents. Connect with us through our contact page.

If you find this article helpful, do share it with others. If you have other effective tips that you would like to share, do comment below

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4 Effective Tips to Handling Customer Complaints

Handling Customer Complaints

Handling Customer Complaints

Customer is King,” though this is a cliche, it doesn’t make it any less true. Customers are the backbone of every business — big or small. And today, a lot of emphases is given to offering the best customer experience. You’ll win half the battle if you’re able to meet the needs of your client and solve their problems.

One of the greatest challenges of a business is dealing with customer complaints. At the end of the day, customers are mere humans. It’s their nature to seek only the best.

If your clients are unable to get what they need from you, they’ll opt for your competitor’s service. It’s as simple as that. Satisfying your customer alone does not work, you need to delight and earn their trust. Here are practical ways on how to handle a client complaint.

1) Listen intently

It’s crucial to be a good listener, especially when you’re in the service industry. No matter how angry or irate your customer is, allow him or her to blow off some steam. Occasionally, respond with a simple, “Tell me more,” “Okay,” “I see” or “Hmm.” The client will automatically calm down after venting out his or her frustration. Then you can proceed with offering your solution.

2. Apologize sincerely

It doesn’t hurt to apologize. In fact, a simple “sorry” proves that you care enough to accept your fault. Same goes for dealing with customer complaints. When he or she senses that your company or its representative is genuinely apologetic, the customer will retract from being furious. All you need to do is say that you’re sorry and that you understand their situation.

3. Act on your callers’ issue intently

Offer immediate help to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Make your customer feel that you’ve taken his or her problem as a top priority task. Try offering a practical solution. And if it does not work, pass it on to the department that can. You will get a loyal customer if you act on the problem immediately.

4. Thank your client and do a follow-up

When a customer complains — regardless of the manner or language tone — you should always diffuse the situation with courtesies, and one of them is “Thank You.” The best customer experience involves strengthening the client relationship. So, follow-up with your customer, even after the problem has been resolved. It will make your customer feel good, and you’ll earn his or her loyalty.

What’s next?

Handling customer complaints is a strategic course of action. A trained and professional team can transform a negative situation into a positive one for your business. Therefore, it is important to learn and acquire all the necessary information and facts before handling a complaint or problem.

If you need advice or assistance in customer management, feel free to contact us. Also, share this article and help deliver the information to those who need it.

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The Contact Center’s Guide to Creating a Positive Scripting Experience

positive scripting experience

positive scripting experience

For any business to reach greater heights, one of the main pillars they need to focus on is their customer service team.

For a customer team to become a powerhouse, however, the agents needs to have ample amount of training in positive scripting. That way, they can address their callers’ concerns without upsetting them even when they are declining the callers’ request.

Allow me to share with you three crucial points that you need to remember when creating a positive scripting for your call center agents.

1.Product availability

Occasionally, you will run into situations when your customers are keen on buying one of your products, yet you’re out of stock.

In cases like these, instead of your representatives merely telling their callers that the product isn’t available or it is out of stock, a better way of going about it is for your agents to shift the guests focus on a different product that can still address their problem.

That way, your agents are still offering solutions to their callers’ problems, needs, or wants — albeit a different one.

This kind of positive scripting will make your representative seem capable and willing to help.

2. Transferring a customer

There will be times when your representatives need to transfer their callers to either a different department or to a supervisor.

When the need arises, your agents ought to create a positive scripting experience by telling their callers that they will transfer them to a department that can best assist them with their concerns. That way, the callers will have the notion that they are about to be connected to the best person who can help them.

When you compare that with your agents telling their callers, “I can’t help you. I need to transfer you, right now.” I’m sure you can see how big of a difference the callers’ experience is going to be on that phone call.

3. Closing a conversation

Ending a conversation in a positive tone is one of the most important aspects of creating a positive scripting experience. When your agent’s conversation with their callers ends positively, it will help nourish the relationship that you’ve established with your customers.

Regardless of how the phone call went — whether the agent was able to give the caller what they need or want — the call center agent can end the phone call on a positive note by thanking the customer for calling.

Call center agents are highly discouraged to end phone calls while emphasizing how they are sorry that they couldn’t help the caller or give them what they need.

What’s next?

Creating a positive scripting experience is not an easy task; however, it is one of the best tools any contact center representative can have to influence their callers to accept the solution that they are offering, instead of the caller complaining.

Are you looking for a contact center company that is keen on using positive scripting to give your customers the best customer service experience? If you answered with a “yes,” then you can contact us using this form.

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Three Ways to Refine Call Center Morale

CallCenterMorale

Taking consecutive calls from disgruntled customers on a daily basis can lower the morale of your call center agents. It’s because of this that you need to find ways to help ease that stress your team is contending with, and create a positive atmosphere on your office.

Allow me to share with you 3 things that can help improve your call center agent’s morale.

Recognition

Having goals is a best practice among all Call Centers. What is not always a best practice is recognizing when someone has done a tremendous job in achieving their goals. Whether they need to be recognized on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis, having some public recognition given to each representative who achieves their goals is vital towards creating a positive morale.

In contrast to this, if there is any constructive criticism to be given, it should be done in private. This will help keep each representative engaged, and knowing anytime they are publicly recognized; it is a positive achievement.

Representative Feedback

Each representative has an idea of how things are going, and what can be done to improve the overall customer experience. Often, they are not asked for their opinion, which can cause them to feel devalued over time. By engaging with each representative, and asking them for their ideas on how to improve performance, they feel as if they partly have control over how the call center operates.

The more invested a representative is to the health of the organization, they better they will perform. This sense of collaboration also helps improve communication among all team members with management, which helps solidify a team atmosphere rather than a contentious one.

Empower them with Knowledge

When a customer calls in and knows more about a product or a current deal than the representative does, this can lead to little satisfaction among customers, and causes morale to sink within the call center. Since the representatives are the front line in dealing with the companies customers, they need to have all the information available to them to answer any and all inquiries.

This may mean setting up separate training sessions for individual representatives, or having weekly morning meetings with the team to ensure they know all of the current promotions. Each call center is unique, and how the information is communicated will vary, but the important aspect to this is there is communication taking place, so the representatives are fully informed, and can meet the customer’s expectations in taking care of any issue.

Conclusion

Overall, keeping the representatives engaged while creating a healthy and positive work environment takes time and effort. By refining the call center morale on a consistent basis, you help keep the representatives engaged, which can create a better customer engagement process for all involved.

If you are thinking you might be in the market for needing more call center support, please contact us and explore the solutions we provide for you.

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5 Tips Your Agents Can Use When Dealing With Frustrated Callers

Dealing With Frustrated Callers

Dealing With Frustrated Callers

Your customer support team is bound to receive phone calls from frustrated callers. That’s just how things work when you are providing customer service.

It’s during these situations when your agent’s mettle is tested. Depending on how they manage the call, the caller can either end up even more disgruntled, or, they’ll end up as happy campers.

This guide will help improve your agent’s performance so the results you’ll achieve will end up being the latter.

Allow me to share with you 5 call handling tips that your agents can use when dealing with frustrated customers:

1. Listen and don’t interrupt

Sometimes, your agents might find it tempting to immediately retort at an upset customer in an attempt to solve things right off the bat. Inasmuch as we all want to speed things up, you must invest time in finding out what the problem is.

Once things are starting to heat up, take a step back and listen to the customer. Effective listening is the first step in trying to resolve a problem. Your customers need to feel that their problems are acknowledged and the first step in conveying this is by listening without any interruptions.

2. Distance yourself

Here’s an advice that most contact center agents take for granted… Don’t take it personally!

If anything, customers are not directly frustrated at the agent but rather, they are frustrated at the situation.

The best thing to do is to look at things in a bird’s-eye-perspective. It helps because once you distance yourself from the situation, emotions will not get in the way of how you handle things.

You can only deliver effective service once you know how to separate yourself from the problem and put more weight in your intention to help.

3. Repeat the customer’s concerns.

Train your agents to develop the habit of paraphrasing the customers’ concerns. This is an effective strategy because:

  • This will prove that your agents have been actively listening and acknowledging your customers’ concerns.
  • It gives the agents a chance to clarify the issue, or to sort out any ambiguity to see whether they are indeed addressing the real issue.
  • It gives the customers a sense of validation on their end.

4. Avoid putting your callers on hold.

Given the fact that your callers are already frustrated, try to avoid putting your them on hold.

A viable option is to employ the call-back solution, depending on the complexity of the problem. Aside from practicality, a call-back option secures the customer’s position of being attended to.

5. Smile while speaking.

You may be thinking that it is practically impossible to keep a smile on your face during this type of situation. But let me tell you this—body gestures will affect the way you interact with your customer.

Your desired outcome is to ease the tension. As much as possible, move the way you want your customers to hear you. Keeping a smile on your face will definitely lift off all the heaviness in the conversation. After all, your customer wouldn’t want to hear a confrontational tone from you.

Conclusion

Dealing with frustrated customers can be quite overwhelming, but with the proper approach, you can turn situations around in your company’s favor.

Are you looking for a team of customer service professionals who can help you with your business’s’ customer support? If you answered with a “yes”, then you can contact us using this form.

Photo courtesy – ©Fabio Balbi / Dollar Photo Club

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