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From the blog

Qualities of the Best Call Centers in the Philippines

Listen to our agentsTop-notch customer service is pivotal for any business to succeed. Today’s customer demands not only superior service across a variety of channels, but instant access to the information and answers they need. Organizations that are unable to provide this level of service, be it after-hours support or dealing with billing inquiries, will invariably lose customers and future sales.

Businesses across a broad range of industries have much to gain by outsourcing their call overflow to the Philippines, where there’s a highly educated workforce and labor costs are significantly lower. Thanks to its expansive technological infrastructure and diverse talent pool, the Philippines is now the world’s call center capital.

The top 10 call centers in the Philippines do much more than schedule appointments or field customer complaints. A leading inbound call center has agents who obtain valuable feedback, strengthen brand awareness and provide a seamless, positive experience that fosters customer loyalty.

Features of the best call centers in the Philippines

One of the Philippines’ biggest assets is its young and upwardly mobile population, the majority of whom hold university degrees. English is a first language for most Filipinos, which is spoken with a neutral accent, much like that in the United States.

Some of the best call centers in the Philippines share similar qualities and performance metrics. Companies seeking to improve customer management with an outsourcing partner should look for the following characteristics.

Flexibility

The top call centers understand the importance of flexibility. They work with you to develop a solution that is compatible with your current and anticipated needs, your budget and your brand. They are fully equipped to support a broad range of industries, including hospitality, retail, E-commerce, finances, healthcare, insurance and others.

Diverse Expertise

Call centers that invest in their employees, hiring those with college educations and training across specialized fields, provide access to a diverse talent pool.

Advanced Technological Infrastructure

A cutting-edge telecom infrastructure with redundant Internet lines, IVR technology and a hybrid VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone systems that can be customized according to client needs.

Superior Quality Assurance Practices

Monitoring for professionalism, listening skills, process adherence and attitude are integral for inbound call quality assurance. The best call centers perform routine internal evaluations for agent performance and also employ QA monitoring software.

Performance Metrics

Want to know how effectively call center agents use their time, how quickly calls are resolved, or the average response and handling times? The most successful call centers work with clients to develop specific key performance indicators (KPI), which provide rich insight into the productivity and success of a campaign.

EB Call Center Philippines – a Leading Outsourcing Partner

Executive Boutique is proud to offer results-driven solutions to dozens of companies worldwide. Take your customer service and profits to the next level by partnering with a reputable inbound call center in the Philippines. Reach out to our Cebu IT offices to learn more about our customer support services or to request a free quote.

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Top BPO Companies in the Philippines

Business Process OutsourcingBusiness Process Outsourcing is a vital component to a growing Philippine economy. BPO and call center companies in Cebu, Manila, Makati and other cities account for nearly 10 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, and the top BPO companies in the Philippines are forecast to employ some 1.8 million residents by the end of this year.

The Philippine BPO industry has realized immense growth thanks in part to tax exemptions and other government initiatives used to entice investors. With the aid of the Philippine’s Commission on Higher Education, there are even University-level training courses for potential BPO call center workers, which feeds into an impressive talent pool of highly-motivated college graduates.

Executive Boutique, a rising BPO company in the region, has the privilege of working with some of the very best of these individuals to service the business processes of companies throughout the world.

Business Process Outsourcing Industry in the Philippines

According to ASEAN Briefing, the BPO industry in the Philippines has shown a median expansion rate of 20 percent each year, which bodes well for future growth. India’s apex trade association, ASSOCHAM, reports that BPO services there have declined significantly as more organizations shift their focus toward the Philippines, where citizens are fluent in English, have neutral accents, and leverage extensive training in finance, accounting, IT and other relevant sectors.

BPO companies in the Philippines are projected to generate some $40 billion in revenue while providing stable jobs for 2.8 million Filipinos over the next five years. For many, this thriving industry, which includes data transcription, software development, back-office processes and call center operations, has highlighted the myriad talents and skillsets of the Filipino people, while giving businesses around the globe the chance to cut costs, streamline operations and scale workforce as needed.

Best BPO Companies in the Philippines in High Demand

Every year, more than half a million Filipino residents earn an undergraduate, Masters or doctoral degree. Not surprisingly, the country boasts a wealth of professional talent, including those in the IT-BPO sectors such as health care, accounting and other complex services. The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines reports that the BPO and call center industry is among the nation’s most significant generator of jobs.

The top 10 BPO companies in the Philippines remain in high demand. They attract the cream of the crop by offering a positive work culture, a healthy work-life balance and numerous benefits along with competitive salaries.  Employees have opportunities for career advancement, whether in the fields of customer service, technology, development, consulting or operations.

Philippines a Global Hub for BPO

The Philippines has shown itself a major player in the business process outsourcing industry as rising numbers of organizations have partnered with leading BPO providers to gain a competitive edge. Cebu City is a thriving outsourcing hub for BPO companies and boasts more than two dozen IT Parks and IT Centers in addition to numerous top-tier higher education institutions. Cebu City is also home to Executive Boutique. Call today for  more information about how we can best serve the needs of your company by becoming “Your Call Center in the Philippines!”

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Select VoiceCom and Executive Boutique Call Center Expand BPO Operations in Cebu, Philippines

Executive Boutique Call Center

 

Executive Boutique Call Center

The business process outsourcing firm Select VoiceCom and its sister company Executive Boutique Call Center are expanding to 525 seats at their Cebu IT Park location in the Skyrise 2 Building. In addition to the added seats, they will be building a new employee lounge and entertainment area. Cebu is one of the top global outsourcing hubs in the Philippines.

Founded in 2008, the companies currently employ more than 400 people between them, and service both B2B and B2C accounts in a wide variety of verticals such as healthcare, legal, education and real estate. Select VoiceCom services clients based primarily in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, while Executive Boutique focuses on the US and UK markets.

“We have seen steady annual growth by partnering with small and medium-sized companies looking to move all or some of their domestic call center operations offshore to expand their operations and increase profitability,” said Mark Shapiro, President of Select VoiceCom and Executive Boutique. “Our location in Cebu IT Park has been a tremendous plus for us. Being surrounded by some of the largest call centers in the world has given us access to a constant supply of well-trained agents that prefer a smaller center work environment and a more results-oriented salary structure. We encourage our clients to offer substantial performance incentives that can attract top tier agents.”

The client accounts for both companies typically range in size from 10 to 100 dedicated agents, and they anticipate adding at least 200 more agents by the end of 2017 just to service existing client growth.

For more information on Select VoiceCom and Executive Boutique Call Center, please contact them through their website www.selectVoiceCom.com.au or www.EBcallcenter.com. Or by email to info@selectvoicecom.com or info@ebcallcenter.com.

For career opportunities at Select VoiceCom and Executive Boutique Call Center please email careers@selectvoicecom.com or jobs@ebcallcenter.com.

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12 Tips to Improve the Quality of Your Call Monitoring

Call Monitoring
Call Monitoring
© viappy / Dollar Photo Club

Call monitoring is one of the best ways to make sure agents are treating customers fairly and helping your company make more sales. Unfortunately, monitoring is only useful if it is done correctly. If you are concerned about the quality of your company’s call-monitoring efforts, follow these tips for improvement.

1. Provide Consistent Feedback

Call center agents need consistent feedback to improve their performance. It’s not enough to deliver feedback once every few months and expect employees to improve on their own. Schedule weekly or monthly call reviews so agents know where they stand at all times. During these sessions, give employees specific guidelines for improving their performance.

2. Listen to a Mix of Calls

Many call center supervisors make the mistake of focusing on bad calls during training activities. Using a mix of good and bad calls makes it easier to teach agents what they should be doing when they talk to customers. Try to use a mix of 50 percent good calls and 50 percent bad calls.

3. Ask for Customer Feedback

Monitoring calls is an important part of managing a call center, but you should gather feedback from multiple sources if you want your monitoring program to be successful. Even if an employee did everything right on a call, the customer might have some useful feedback for all of your agents. Make post-call surveys a regular part of your business.

4. Monitor Live Calls

Delivering feedback after an agent has already completed a call is not always the best way to improve performance. If you have enough supervisors on staff, have them listen to live calls and provide immediate feedback. Delivering feedback immediately makes it easier for agents to identify performance issues and understand what they need to do to improve.

5. Engage Employees in the Process

Your call-monitoring program will not be very successful if you don’t engage employees in the process. Instead of delivering one-way feedback, ask agents if there is anything they want to add about a particular call. If you know why an agent veered from the call script, you’ll be better equipped to handle similar situations in the future.

6. Use Independent Call Monitors

If you have a close-knit group of agents, it might be difficult to deliver unbiased feedback on calls. In this case, you should outsource your call-monitoring activities to a neutral third party. Independent call monitors don’t have relationships with your agents, so they are able to deliver constructive feedback instead of giving in to personal biases.

7. Stay Objective

It’s difficult to stay objective when providing call feedback to an employee you know very well, but you must be objective at all times. You don’t need to be rude to the agent, but you should avoid mentioning personal topics or going easy on an under-performer because of your personal relationship.

8. Use Standardized Evaluation Forms

Use an agent scorecard to ensure agents receive consistent feedback. The scorecard should address common metrics used in the call center industry.

9. Solicit Feedback from Other Departments

Requesting feedback from your marketing, sales, and customer service departments can help you identify issues that regular call-monitoring activities do not uncover. Use an objective survey to allow other departments to provide anonymous feedback about your agents.

10. Review Call Notes

Reviewing a few seconds of call audio isn’t the best way to identify problems and determine how agents should improve their performance. Before delivering feedback, review the agent’s notes from a particular call. In some cases, the call notes help you understand why an agent handled a call in a certain way.

11. Select Calls Carefully

For best results, select calls from different types of customers or calls focused on handling different issues. If every call you monitor addresses a billing complaint, you won’t know if call center agents are struggling with technical support problems or other customer service issues. Listening to a variety of calls can also help new agents learn how to handle calls faster.

12. Determine Customer Impact

Your call-monitoring program is only successful if it improves customer service or results in improved customer satisfaction. Any time you make a change to the way you monitor calls, find out how much of an effect the change has on your customers. Run reports to see if any of your key performance indicators improved, or ask customers for direct feedback.

Conclusion

Done right, a call-monitoring program has the potential to help you make more sales and deliver better service to your customers. If you aren’t following these tips already, start following them now to see improved results. Contact us if you aren’t sure how to implement these tips, or if you need to outsource any of your call-monitoring activities.

Featured image – © viappy / Dollar Photo Club

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Contact Center Predictions: Where Will They Be In 15 Years?

Contact Center
Contact Center
© Gajus / Dollar Photo Club

You walk around your call center with a smile on your face as you observe your call center agents fast at work. Hold times are down, calls are handled smoothly, you have a high success rate of sales, and your average call handling times are reasonable.

Close your eyes. Where do you think your call center will be in the next 15 years? Where do you think the call center industry as a whole will be in the next 15 years? While these are all just predictions and speculations on what may come, that does not make them any less fun to think about.

Conversational IVR is Coming

To some degree (depending on your budget), most call centers are partially automated. Automated systems are great for the call center. They bring down the amount of time a caller spends on hold and they bring down the overall call handling time. The problem with automated systems is that they frustrate the caller.

What happens when the automated system doesn’t understand what the caller is saying? The caller spends several minutes yelling at the automated system before getting transferred to one of your agents where they end up having to repeat everything the automated system did not understand.

With advancements and implementation of conversational interactive voice response (IVR) it will be easier for your callers to interact with your automated system. They will be able to communicate with the automated system and navigate farther through it. The conversational IVR setup will make it easier for your caller to talk to an agent who already understands the caller’s situation and is able to jump right into helping.

Focus Will Shift to Live Chat and Email Customer Support

In time, all call centers will be referred as contact centers or support centers. This is because the concept of calling and talking to a call center agent on the phone is a thing of the past. More and more people prefer to use a live chat system or communicate with a representative by email than on the phone.

For some callers, communicating over the phone is just inconvenient. Imagine having a customer with children. In this situation, it would be beneficial for both the customer and your call center to have the customer contact you online or through email. When on the phone with a distracted customer, your call times will be longer through no fault of the agent who is handling the call. Naturally, you cannot fault your agent for long call times when it is your caller who is distracted.

What this means is you will need to hire call center agents who know how to work a computer. It is not going to do you any good to hire an agent that has worked for years answering phones, but has never touched a computer. In 15 years, you and your call center agents have to be ready to embrace technology. Technology is the only way you will be able to keep up with the competition.

Customer Values Will Change

In 15 years from now, what a customer sees as an important quality for a call center is going to be very different from what they see as important right now. For example, it is not going to matter how big your company is or how well known your company is. Your customers are going to be more concerned with how fast your company is. They don’t want to sit on hold or on a phone call for very long. They want to very quickly be pushed through the system and have all of their needs addressed.

Your Center Has to Go Mobile

It is no secret that mobility matters. Much sooner than 15 years from now, your call center is going to have to be mobile user-friendly in order to survive in the industry. Call centers that are not mobile user-friendly will not make it.

Statistics show that 26 per cent of call centers plan to integrate some sort of customer support and service mobile platform for their customers by the end of 2016. Where will your call center be?

Social Media Matters Too

A lot of people do not like calling or jumping online and spending time in a chat room. They would rather get on Facebook and send a message to a Facebook page or post a message on a Facebook wall and wait for an answer. This means you need to have call center agents who know how to work social media. By 2030, you could find yourself in a situation where nearly all of your customers are doing almost all of their business through social media. Will you be ready?

Conclusion

As you can see, advancements in the call center industry are largely about embracing the Internet and advancements in technology. Fortunately, the future of the industry is a very bright one.

Featured image – © Gajus / Dollar Photo Club

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How to Give Constructive Criticism to Call Center Agents

Call center agents
Call center agents
© leungchopan / Dollar Photo Club

As a call center manager, you have to be comfortable giving feedback to your agents. Good feedback helps agents improve their performance and do a better job focusing on business outcomes, making your company more successful. Keep these tips in mind when you need to deliver constructive feedback to one of your call center agents.

Start with Praise

Call center agents aren’t likely to be motivated by a constant flow of negative feedback. If you must provide constructive criticism, start the coaching session by praising the employee. Giving praise first puts employees in a positive frame of mind so they are more open-minded about what you have to say.

Base Feedback on Your Observations

Your agents are more likely to take criticism seriously if it is based on your own personal observations. When you observe calls, write down notes about each agent’s attitude and adherence to your company’s call scripts. It is easier to give constructive criticism if you can point to specific issues instead of giving generalized feedback.

Maintain Eye Contact

Don’t give feedback while you are reading a script or staring at your computer screen. Wait until you have time to look employees in the eye. Maintaining eye contact shows that you respect your employees and want them to succeed.

Put Aside Personal Problems

Before you deliver feedback, set aside any personal problems you might have with that particular employee. If you go into a meeting with these personal problems in mind, there’s a good chance your feedback won’t be very constructive. If the issue is too big to overcome on your own, ask another call center supervisor to deliver the feedback instead.

Watch Your Tone

When you meet with an employee to discuss performance issues, pay attention to the tone of your voice. If you sound irritated or stern, the employee might think you are being too critical without offering any constructive feedback.

Address Problems in Confidence

No one likes to receive negative feedback in front of their colleagues. If you need to deliver constructive criticism, meet with the agent in a private office or conference room. Discussing performance issues in confidence eliminates the risk of embarrassing agents, making them more likely to work on their performance.

Use Objective Data

Back up your constructive criticism with objective data collected by automated tools. Using objective data eliminates the risk of appearing biased against a particular agent. For example, if an agent has a call handling time that is longer than it should be, you can easily show the agent his call times on an automated report.

Ask for 360-Degree Feedback

Before delivering constructive criticism, ask for feedback from customers and other employees. Gathering feedback from multiple sources sometimes makes call center managers aware of problems they didn’t know existed. Requesting feedback from other sources also makes you more aware of how each agent is perceived by customers and colleagues.

Give Specific Examples

If you are providing feedback about call handling issues, use specific examples to show employees what they need to improve. Review past calls together so each agent knows what is acceptable and what is not. If an agent strayed from your company’s call script, for example, explain why this is unacceptable and provide tips for avoiding the problem in the future.

Empower Agents to Handle Problems

Constructive criticism is only valuable if an employee uses it to improve their performance. If agents do not have the power to create change, things will stay the same no matter how many times you discuss performance issues. If company policies need to be changed to give employees more control, talk to executives about making the necessary changes.

Follow Up on Goals

If you never follow up with employees after delivering constructive criticism, you’ll never know if they are benefiting from the feedback. When you deliver criticism, schedule a meeting for several weeks later to discuss what steps the employee has taken to resolve performance problems.

Explain How to Improve

Some call center agents don’t know what to do with negative feedback, even if it is delivered in a constructive manner. Make it easier for your employees to improve their performance by giving specific suggestions for improvement. If you deliver feedback about an agent’s use of call scripts, let him know he can improve by sticking to the script instead of improvising during calls.

Conclusion

Constructive criticism is a good tool for letting employees know about their shortcomings and providing guidance for performance improvement. If you plan to use constructive feedback, be ready to share specific examples of performance issues. Delivered correctly, constructive criticism can help you improve call center performance without losing valuable agents.

Featured image – © leungchopan / Dollar Photo Club

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Cover Letters That Will Get You a Call Center Job

Call center job
Call center job
© BlueSkyImages / Dollar Photo Club

Whether you are looking to break into the customer service field or move from one call center to another, you need a well-written cover letter. If you don’t create a customized cover letter for each potential employer, you have very little chance of securing an interview. Follow these tips to create a cover letter that gets results.

Organize Your Letter Carefully

Your cover letter should have an introduction, several paragraphs detailing your skills and experience, and a strong closing paragraph. Organize all of the information in your cover letter in a logical order. You can start with your most recent achievements and work your way backward, or you can start with past achievements and close with information about your recent job.

Personalize Each Greeting

If you don’t know the name of the hiring manager at a particular company, don’t start your letter with “To Whom it May Concern.” Instead, take time to research the company and find the name of the person to whom you should address your letter. This demonstrates initiative and makes it more likely a call center supervisor will want to interview you.

Focus on Specific Achievements

The point of writing a cover letter is to make the hiring manager want to learn more about you. A generic cover letter is not likely to generate much interest, so use as much space as possible to describe your achievements in the call center industry. If you reduced your average handling time by 40 percent, make sure you mention this achievement in your cover letter.

Avoid Summarizing Your Resume

When you apply for a call center job, you need to distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other applicants applying for the same position. Instead of rehashing the content of your resume, your cover letter should contain extra information to help the hiring manager learn more about you. Talk about your achievements or about any special training you have had in the industry.

Share Performance Metrics

Sharing performance metrics with potential employers is a great way to make them aware of your value as an employee. The first paragraph of your cover letter should tell the hiring manager how many calls you typically handle, your average call handling time, and metrics related to call abandonment.

Use the STAR Method

Use the STAR method to make your cover letter more interesting to employers. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. If you want to explain how you handled a problem, describe the situation, outline the task you had to complete, summarize the actions you took, and provide details about the result. This gives employers insight into your problem-solving abilities.

Include Relevant Keywords

Some companies have turned to automated screening tools to narrow down their applicant pools. If your cover letter doesn’t contain the right keywords, there’s a chance the hiring manager won’t see it. Use keywords related to the customer service industry, such as “call center agent,” “CRM,” “customer service,” “call center,” and “outbound calls.”

Address the Job Requirements

Your cover letter needs to be very specific to improve your chances of landing a job. As you write your letter, address each of the requirements listed in the job posting. If the advertisement says you need at least three years of experience, make sure you let the hiring manager know you’ve been working as a call center agent for more than three years.

Use a Strong Closing Paragraph

The closing paragraph of your cover letter should make a good impression on the hiring manager. Summarize the contents of your letter, thank the hiring manager for his or her attention, and request a follow-up telephone call or on-site interview.

Include Current Contact Information

If you do a good job writing your cover letter, the hiring manager will need some way to contact you to schedule an interview. Make sure you include a current email address and telephone number somewhere in your cover letter. Many people include this information at the top of the page, but you can also include it in your closing paragraph.

Proofread Carefully

Accuracy is a very important part of a call center agent’s job. If your cover letter contains several grammar mistakes or typographical errors, it reflects poorly on your ability to produce accurate documents. Before you send a cover letter to a potential employer, proofread it carefully. For best results, ask a friend to proofread it in case you missed any errors.

Conclusion

Your cover letter is usually the first thing a hiring manager sees when you apply for a job. Taking the time to write an excellent letter helps improve your chances of getting an interview and landing the job of your dreams. If you need help crafting the perfect cover letter, contact us to discuss your concerns.

Featured image – © BlueSkyImages / Dollar Photo Club

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Save Your Online Reputation with Call Center Outsourcing

online reputation
call center outsourcing
© tashatuvango / Dollar Photo Club

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.

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Ways to Increase Agents Product Knowledge

Product Knowledge
Product Knowledge
© kbuntu / Dollar Photo Club

Comprehensive product knowledge is an important factor for providing excellent customer service and experiences to the customers. Employees who are more knowledgeable about what they sell are more preferred by customers to answer their inquiries. Outsourced call center agents become the company’s representatives of reliability and expertise. The impression a customer leaves with depends on how an agent supports the transaction from the moment it begins.

Customer service representatives that know the products well are the most effective employees. Call center outsourcing agents who have this ability are able to generate more sales, have faster problem resolution times, and better performance in general.

Here are ways 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 resources. Training should be conducted accordingly with the frequency of product updates.

2. Firsthand Participation

The effectiveness of a training session only comes into 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 perform better. Companies can use a “points” system to recognize top performing agents and encourage those who are not meeting expectations.

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 both practical and effective.

By implementing these small changes, 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 your agents’ numbers hit new peaks.

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