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From the blog

Why Call Overflow Services are Helpful to Your Business

Call Overflow

Call OverflowCall volume management is one of the toughest challenges every call center organization has to face. While hiring more call center agents seems to be the obvious solution to the overflow of incoming calls, it’s not always the most feasible on account of budget issues.

Speaking of solutions, here’s one that works: call overflow services.

Call overflow services serve as your backup when there are more incoming calls than your regular staff can handle. With overflow staff always at the ready, your customers get the help they need even during peak hours. This, of course, translates to positive customer experience, which positively impacts the organization’s bottom line.

Overflow agents offer benefits beyond answering the surplus of incoming calls, however. Here are the less obvious reasons why an overflow staff can be helpful to your business.

1. Better call flow management

It’s not always easy to predict call volume. Every once in a while, spikes in calls will come, and your organization needs to have a system in place to handle call spillover. After all, your business is bound to lose more money for every lost call.

Another great advantage of having a call overflow department in your call center is that they reduce the likelihood of callbacks. Callbacks can cause your organization’s call flow to spin out of control., making shift scheduling even more of a challenge.

2. Reduces stress among agents

As the cliche goes, a happy employee is a productive employee. Using that same logic, it’s fair to say that an overstressed employee is unlikely to be productive.

Taking queued calls for long stretches is one of the major causes of stress among call center agents. Reps who are stressed tend to become disillusioned about their job, resulting in high agent turnover.

Having an call overflow department to serve as backup lightens the burden caused by long queues, thus reducing stress and making agents more productive in the long run.

3. Establishes your organization’s reputation as a customer service powerhouse

If you want your company to consistently deliver a positive customer experience, you need to ensure that customers can talk to a friendly rep every time they try to reach your hotline.

When customers know they can always rely on your staff to provide them assistance, it speaks volumes about how much your company cares for their welfare.

Because 54% of millennials won’t hesitate to stop doing business with a company due to customer service, it only follows that your company’s good reputation in customer service should be maintained and preserved.

4. Helps with disaster or emergency response

When disaster strikes, your company needs all the help it can get. By providing support in cases where emergency relief is needed, an overflow staff can go a long way into ensuring that crises are averted as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Call overflow services are one of the best investments you can make as a business owner. In today’s dynamic business environment, you need a contingency plan for every situation to ensure that your company is in good working order.

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37 High-Converting Sales Tips Straight from the Experts

Sales Tips

Sales ExpertsFor sales professionals, nothing beats the rush that comes with closing a sale.

Every handshake, every signed contract, every sales receipt is a milestone worthy of celebration. Perhaps a bottle of champagne to toast for the occasion, even.

The reason is simple: Salespeople know all too well the hard work that comes with closing a contract. They’re familiar with the arduous tasks that comes with the sales process.

Selling is even more difficult nowadays, thanks (or no thanks) to an even more dynamic business environment.

So what’s a modern salesperson to do?

Why, heed the advice of the experts, of course!

As a sales professional, you have the opportunity to use the momentum of change to your advantage. But before you can do that, you have to stand on the shoulders of giants.

Speaking of giants, here are the most powerful selling tips straight from the mouths of sales experts.

1. Yuri Kruman, CEO,  Master The Talk Consulting

Before you ever sell anything to anyone, get comfortable listening to people and their issues, opening up and getting vulnerable.

People want to deal with others that are human, approachable, fallible and have gone through the same pain they’re facing and the process to solve it.

My greatest successes in sales have been through this approach.

There was basically no selling at all, just listening well and telling my story in the relevant language and with the psychology of my audience, then showing the benefits (not features) of what I offer.

When you look at add value first, especially through your story and process, that’s when you don’t have to sell, just help the person.

2. Dave Hill Jr., Go 2 Market Coach

Sit up, lean in, and actively listen to the customer. Try to get underneath their first answers to discover what is really important to them. Then help them however you can.

By leading with value and building trust, you can earn their business when they are ready to act.

3. Lyman Montgomery, Coach, Focused Driven Lifestyle

Our philosophy is based on our FOCUS Business Model:

  • Focus on Strategic Prospecting
  • Operational Process Excellence
  • Customer-focused staff
  • Utilization of platforms to promote products/services
  • Systematize profit-generating activities.

4. John Bulman, Owner & Adviser, Profitability Thinking Business Advisors

There is no such thing as too high priced for a qualified prospect, only lack of value.

5. Alex Terranova, DreamMason, DreamMason Coaching

It’s all about relationship. I don’t believe in selling. People don’t want to be sold things. People want to be heard. People want to be understood. People want to be loved, connected with and empathized with.

When we connect with people deeply and authentically we are able to see what they need without attacking them with what we want them to have.

When we provide value and create relationship from that place, the sale takes care of itself.

6. Wayne Law, Manager, InBiznez.com

Sales are the process of building a relationship of trust that can be repeated over many years and many commodities.

7. Barbara Wainwright, CPC, CEO Wainwright Global, Inc.

Provide a “sense of urgency”.

People want what they can’t have. Putting a count-down timer on your sales page will let the customer know they have a limited time to make a decision.

8. Dr. Aikyna D. Finch, Social Media Consultant & Speaker, Finch and Associates LLC

Build a demand for your Supply. Make sure that people want what you sell and how that you have it for sell!

9. Dr. Alan Jones, Director, Inspire MLP

DON’T SELL!

The old ideas of Always Be Closing (ABC) and defining what YOU (as a provider can offer) are just that, old ideas!

BECOME A RESOURCE!

Becoming a ‘resource’ for your potential clients (suspects and prospects) is the first step in establishing a relationship.

10. Scott Messer, Mad Wizard of Sales, Sales Evolution

Courtesy counts. Always ask “Am I catching you at a bad time?” and carefully listen to the reply before launching into the conversation.

11. Adrian Miller, President, Adrian Miller Sales Training

Remember to not tell your prospects what makes you “better.”

A more successful approach is to tell them what makes you “different” and explain how your points of differentiation are really benefits that will equal an improvement in their current situation.

Prospects will get cynical and defensive if you stress “better” because after all, what salesperson will say that their service or product is worse than the competition!

12. Steve Smith, President/Founder, GrowthSource Coaching

Seek to understand what your prospect really wants and approach them with the mindset of helping them solve a problem. You can do this (and quite effectively I might add) by asking a few really good questions.

The questions will differ depending on what you sell and where the prospect is in their decision making journey but any question designed to find out what the customer really wants is a good place to start.

When customers believe you are there to help them before helping yourself, they will trust you and they will buy from you.

13. Calum MacRae, Business Consultant/Mentor, Blue Momentum Coaching

It is never about you when you are selling so make sure 100% of your attention is on your client.

14. Bruce King, Zone Master & Director of UK & English Speaking Operations, iZONEN

‘THE GATEKEEPER’ AND ‘THE DOOR OPENER’

Do you have a problem getting past the gatekeeper? If you do, the solution to the challenge has as much to do with your attitude as your sales skills.

The challenge is in the use of that word – ‘gatekeeper’ because the moment you encounter them, you may think of them as the enemy – the person who is going to stop you from speaking with your prospect.

So when the Gatekeeper answers the telephone, your mind goes into a negative state and impacts on what you say and how you say it, even if you are trying to be pleasant.

What you are thinking consciously and subconsciously comes across, and the gatekeeper doesn’t like it. And then they probably get difficult.

Let’s be clear – Gatekeepers are NOT hired because they are horrible, nasty people whose sole function is to ruin the livelihoods of salespeople.

If they were horrible and nasty, they wouldn’t get hired in the first place. He or she is probably very well qualified, often with a university degree, they are personable, sociable, frequently have a background in sales, and often run their boss’s office for them and handle their diaries.

They do however have various responsibilities, one of which is to prevent their boss from being disturbed by irrelevant and unnecessary telephone calls AND, and this is important, and to put through calls that they think their boss would possibly benefit from taking.

So, from now on, instead of thinking of them as Gatekeepers, think of them as Door Openers. Be polite, respectful and professional. Don’t try to avoid answering questions and don’t tell lies, or even half-truths. And don’t be over friendly.

Treat them as The Door Opener; have something intelligent and interesting to say, that their boss is likely to want to know about, and more often than not, they will open the door for you!

15. Nigel Temple, Sales and Marketing Consultant & Trainer, The Marketing Compass

Get the customer talking by asking a series of open questions.

For example: ‘I wonder how you found us?’ and ‘are there any specific things that you are looking for?’ Customers can reveal a host of information, if you let them.

Once you understand what their requirements are, you can start to talk about specific benefits which are relevant to them.

16. David Hoffeld, CEO, Hoffeld Group

Salespeople need to develop an intense focus on their customer.

We must seek not just to understand what our customers want and need, but also how to sell in a way that guides them through their buying journey and into a confident buying decision that they’ll feel good about.

In other words, we must serve buyers not just with what we sell, but also with how we sell.

17. Annelies Bommeljé, Owner, My Own Marketing Coach

Always take your buyer’s perspective when thinking of your sales approach.

Think of their needs, their context, their possible barriers with your product or service. This way your prospective clients will be more receptive to what you have to say.

18. Marc Prosser, Co-Founder, Fit Small Business

Every great sales is a sales consultant. I sell advertising, however, I often talk with new clients for 20 minutes about their sales process during our first call.

By understanding what happens to the leads are generated from advertising on my website, I can make better suggestions on what type of advertising the client should buy.

Even if the conversation does not lead to a better recommendation, the potential client almost always appreciates the effort and the chance to talk about their company.

19. Jim Ackerman, Marketing Master & Licensed Certified Marketing Coach, PCMarketingCoach.com

Prospects care about WIIFM (What’s In It For ME), so focus on speaking in benefit language. Of course, sales trainers have been saying that for years, but few have explained HOW to do it.

Here’s a tip. Begin your statements with a verb, or the word YOU. “Watch response to your advertising soar.” Or “You’ll see an immediate increase in profits… and you may even get a promotion.”

Even FEATURES can be stated in BENEFIT language… “You can choose between 3 easy payment plans.” 3 easy payment plans is a pure feature, but when you say “You can choose…” you put it in BENEFIT language.

The more you use benefit language, the more receptive to your message the prospect will be. Hope this is what you’re looking for.

20. Jonathan Keable, Managing Director, Business Success SW Ltd

My number one tip for successful selling is…don’t sell.

Pushy, outright selling is a high-pressured technique that automatically turns off many prospects. Forget outdated transactional selling and focus on building relationships that nurture a certain level of trust and add real value:

  • Learn about the customer’s situation
  • Give personalised recommendations
  • Resolve objections Find a win-win solution
  • Remain honest and authentic
  • Continue to provide consistent value

Long-term success hinges on your ability to leverage relationship selling and effectively align customers with your offerings, making for repeat custom, a strong network and a top reputation.

21. Ryan Dohrn, Founder, SalesTrainingWorld.com

Know your audience. As a sales professional, you must prove to the prospective customer that you have done your homework, and you are presenting a solution that benefits them in copious ways.

While this sounds easy, many sales professionals fail at proving relevance over and over. Stop sending generic emails.

Use Ryan’s 3 Elements of Email Relevancy Subject Line Specificity:

  • Your subject line presents a solution to a particular problem that the prospects is obviously facing. For example, “Reducing -insert name of prospects company – Office Supply Costs” If you do not know of a problem, take an educated guess.
  • Keep the Body Relevant: First, personalize your email. Mention the recipient’s name and avoid the generic “Hello Friend.” Then, keep your body relevant, short, and sweet. Show the prospect you have done your homework, and briefly, explain what solution you offer to their particular problem.
  • Include Samples: People will not nip at something that they cannot see. To pique interest, include a link to a promo video or entice them with an introductory discount so that they have a reason to follow through.

22. Danelle Brown, CEO, Queen Bee Consulting

My best tip is to Listen.

Listen to the clients needs and desires – what is it they are trying to move away from? How can you help them get there. Then demonstrate the number one biggest result they will get by buying from you.

Usually, if you just have a normal conversation with them, they will tell you exactly what you need to know. Don’t try some canned elevator speech. Really ask them what it is they want and you will know what to say.

23. Parag Prasad, MD & Head Coach, London Business Coaching

I think asking questions is massively important. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.

The more they talk the easier your job is.

You can use question softeners like “can I just ask…?” or “can you explain further…?” but basically you’re just playing dumb and digging deep. And keep asking questions until you get asked a question back – that’s when they’re ready to buy.”

24. Terry Viney, President, The Plus Factor In Your Business LLC

3 ways to increase sales in 3 words.

Be more courageous. Communicate to percolate. Try new things.

25. Jason Lee, Founder & CEO, Unleashing The Alpha Networker | Elevacy Inc.

Understanding tonality in your prospect’s voice, and the difference between a question and an objection can lead you to the right things to say at the right time.

Once you understand the difference, it becomes easy to tell whether a person is looking for the back door or trying to get more information because they’re subconsciously interested.

26. Jessica Lorimer, Sales Coach & Founder, The Smart Leaders Sales Society

Start with premium offers first. Increase your cash flow by selling high ticket offers first, and then expand into selling lower ticket items to increase your cashflow and increase your time.

27. Dr. Greg Chapman, Director, Empower Business Solutions

The best known secret in Sales is that on average most Salespeople are average!

You can spend a lot of money on sales training, but a better investment is to develop a great Sales Pipeline and then even average Salespeople will become great.

28. Mike Stokes, CEO, Indicator Group

Be focused on incremental improvements every day, reflect after every meeting and every engagement and ask yourself how could you have done that better, what value did I add to the person or company.

29. David J.P. Fisher, Author, Hyper-Connected Selling

A simple and powerful way to strengthen your connection with a prospect or customer is to mirror their language back to them.

When they describe challenges they have or goals their trying to achieve, use the same words that they do when referencing those areas later in the conversation.

It might not match the exact terms that you use, but it will resonate with them more powerfully because it matches what they are already thinking internally.

30. Jeff Bajorek, CEO, Parabola Consulting

I’d rather see you make a connection at the expense of a sale than a sale at the expense of a connection.

31. Peter Rathmann, Founder, MKE Sales Accelerator

I tend to look at sales more objectively and pragmatically in the years I have trained teams.

I think the best advice is for sales people to really understand who their prospect is, understand where you can impact the prospects business, and then align the sales approach on the way they buy, not how you sell or rely on company collateral.

It helps to understand the numbers that impact your efforts as well. Numbers can’t lie.

32. Liston Witherill, Sales Trainer & Coach, Liston.io

Serve, don’t sell.

The thing most people get wrong about selling is that they think there’s a winner and a loser. Not true. When done right, you’ll be helping your buyer and that takes the pressure off of everyone.

If you believe people wh0 buy from you are better off when they use your product or service, focus on helping them and your sales will follow.

33. Mark Davies, Sales & Marketing Consultant, MD Sales Pro

My one biggest tip when it comes to selling is actively listening to the client, keeping quiet and being able to outlay the information they give you succinctly and in your own words to demonstrate understanding and gain trust.

34. Don Buttrey, President, Sales Professional Training, Inc.

For each proactive call, a salesperson should prepare a written tactical plan.

They should not just “show up and throw up” but prepare what they will say to start, what questions to ask and how to word them, what benefits and value they will be ready to present, and how they will ask for the order, commitment, or next action.

I call this “The SELL Process”: Start, Evaluate, Leverage, Lock. This is fundamental consultative selling!

35. Mark Wyngaard, CEO & Head Coach, MW Coaching

How do you know how much activity you need to do to achieve target when you do not understand your Closing Ratio’s?

Sales is like baking, use the wrong measurements and no rising takes place!

Once you understand your Closing Ratio’s you will know exactly how many calls you need to make to get X appointments. X appointments will get you X quotes/proposals.

How many quotes/proposals do you need to submit on average to get a deal?

36. Tibor Shanto, CGO, Renbor Sales Solutions

The one thing all successful sales techniques have in common is the need for execution, everything else is just talk!

37. Forrest Dombrow, Owner, Solvesales.com

Many people think selling is about talking. In reality, the most important selling skill is listening. If you ask the right questions and listen carefully, prospects will literally tell you how to sell them.

While that’s my best tip about selling skills, there is one thing that is more important that all selling techniques combined, and that’s offering the most uniquely valuable product or service in your market.

If you offer a product or service that is clearly better than your competitors, in a unique and relevant way, selling skills become secondary.

Ultimately, product development is the most powerful sales tool. And there is nobody better positioned to inform product development than the sales people on the front lines who, if they’re listening closely to prospects pain points, know exactly how to beat the competition.

Succeeding in sales requires an incredible amount of grit, resilience, and smarts. If you want to be great at it, you have to be willing to put in the work.

More importantly, you have to pay attention to what other people in the sales industry have to say, even more so those who have achieved tremendous success in the field.

Do you have other helpful sales tips you can share with our readers?

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4 Reasons Why You Need to Invest in a Good Call Center Billing Software

Billing Software

Billing SoftwareEvery business has a responsibility to ensure accurate billing for its customers. As soon as a client signs up for your service, a reliable billing software that protects each customer’s billing information needs to be put in place.

To bring home the point, a BriteBill study reports that inaccurate billing is one of the major concerns of consumers.

It only goes to show how critical it is for every call center to invest in a billing platform that positively impacts the business call center and makes a billing inquiry simple to handle. 

That’s easier said than done. After all, the software may have less obvious features that can make a big difference. Without much familiarity with these features, you run the risk of investing your money in something that would not generate enough return on your investment.

The point is, when it comes to investing in a billing software, you can’t afford to be a cheapskate.

Here are the reasons why:

1. Scalability matters

A growing customer base comes with the territory when you’re running a business, especially if you have a dedicated call center customer’s billing information.

Whether you’re running a cable subscription or a telecom business, you need to set up a billing system that can handle large volumes of data even at the outset.

After all, and especially if your business is doing well, you have to ensure that your company can handle the constant influx of new customers, not to mention the vast amounts of billing data that need to be processed in each billing cycle.

2. Better security

A billing system with robust security features is one of the best investments you can make as a business owner, especially because you’re handling sensitive customer information

To better safeguard your customers’ information from hackers and malicious attacks, you need to make sure that your software has passed the PCI compliance test.

You also have to ensure that your customers’ private information remains private under any circumstances.

Lastly, you need to pick a billing software with damage control features that protect customer data the moment a security breach is detected.

3. Automation is good

Automation tools help businesses in streamlining their processes, thus gaining them every competitive advantage required to face business challenges that come their way.

The billing process is one of the most crucial aspects of running a business, and therefore needs to be automated so that the call center can achieve optimized results.

Your call center’s billing software could be on-premise, cloud-based, or a hybrid of both. Whatever you’re using, it’s important to check if your software can integrate data in ways that serve the customer’s needs and bring about accurate results.

4. Better flexibility

The billing process is a big part of what makes it possible for clients and providers to maintain excellent customer service and satisfaction in your call center.

The process itself, however, can be complicated, and you’ll need a billing system that can simplify the handling and integration of elements such as invoicing, collection, data generation, analytics, and more.

It bears noting, however, that not everything is set in stone when it comes to business.
As such, you need a software that can adapt to any changes in customers’ preferences and the market.

Final Word

Reliable and robust billing software is one of the best investments you can make as a call center owner. Not only does it ensure high accuracy and efficiency in your billing processes, but it also improves customer satisfaction in more ways than one.

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Scheduled Call-Backs Are Integral For Customer Service at Your Call Center

Schedule Call-backs

Schedule Call-backsMost of us have experienced calling customer support only to end up listening to the following recorded message:

“Your call is important to us. An operator will be with you as soon as possible.”call overflow

It sounds like it’s going to go on forever, right? Soon enough, boredom sinks in, prompting you to hang up the phone.

Let’s state the obvious: long hold times can have damaging effects on relationships between customers and providers.

According to a 2017 study by Arise, almost two-thirds of customers said they would wait two minutes or less while 17% said that “no wait time is acceptable.”

Those figures are significant, which is why you need to implement key strategies that will help eliminate long hold times in your contact center.

One such key strategy is to implement scheduled call-backs in your call center operations.

Offering customers the option to schedule a call-back at a time that’s most convenient to them will not only positively impact your relationship with customers, it will also prove beneficial for your company’s bottom line.

Here are the reasons why.

1. Prevents spikes in call volume

Unless you’re overstaffing on a regular basis, spikes in call volume come with the territory when you’re managing a call center. Handling call overflow in the call center is an important aspect to customer service.

These spikes, of course, result in unbearably long hold-times, causing customers to feel frustrated. Moreover, high call volumes place a lot of burden on agents, causing agent morale to take a dip.

All these combined can have negative implications on your company’s bottom line.

Scheduled call-back protocols and call center technology has a strong positive impact on call center customer service and help to handle call over flow. Scheduled call-backs, after all, defer calls to a later time, smoothing out call traffic.

This is where scheduled call-back protocols and technology come in. Scheduled call-backs, after all, defer calls to a later time, smoothing out call traffic.

2. Paves the way for a more personalized customer service

Scheduled call-back technology offers customers the option to enter information that’s relevant to the issue at hand.

After setting up a scheduled call-back using the IVR system, the call center will have access to plenty of information that may prove instrumental in bringing about a quick resolution.

With all these information entered in the CRM, agents are better prepared to handle the customer’s issue before they make the scheduled call.

It also saves a lot of time, since agents don’t have to ask their customers for information or dig deep into their CRM software to get access to relevant data needed to resolve the problem.

3. Reduces costs

Extended hold times not only reduces customer satisfaction, but they also cost your business money. By offering a call-back option, callers won’t have to spend such a long time waiting in the queue, saving your company a lot of money in the long run.

4. Increases customer retention

Scheduled call-back technology saves customers the hassle of having to make them waste their time waiting in the queue.

More often than not, being offered the option to receive a call-back at a time that’s most convenient to them will make customers feel that their time is being respected.

The fact that the call center is taking the initiative to return the call is also a good indication that your customer service is always willing to go the extra mile for customers.

Conclusion

Scheduled call-back technology is a cost-effective solution that can catapult your business to new heights.

It lowers abandonment rates, improves customer satisfaction, and increases your bottom line. It’s simply one of the best investments you can make as a business owner.

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4 Contact Center Technologies You Need to Integrate Into Your Call Center Operations

Contact Center Technologies

Contact Center TechnologiesCall centers have evolved a lot over the past several years thanks to a plethora of emerging technologies that continue to change how customers and brands interact.

These technological breakthroughs are optimizing call center customer service processes in the Philippines and reducing operational costs. The best part? Customers are also getting plenty of benefits from these emerging trends as well.

There are no two ways about it: If you invest in these technologies, your brand and customers have everything to gain.

Do you want your call center to stay head and shoulders atop the competition? Then you’d do well to consider adopting the following technologies.

1. Cloud computing

Cloud-based solutions have been elevating the call center industry for years, and they continue to do so.

And the cloud is showing no signs of slowing down. According to a Forrester report, the global cloud market share of $146 billion from 2017 is expected to rise to $236 billion by 2020.

It’s not hard to understand why. Cloud-based solutions, after all, promise greater scalability, better security, and improved efficiency in many areas of call center operations, resulting in better customer service and higher ROI.

2. ‘Smart’ IVR Technology

IVR technology has made significant gains over the past several years thanks to its integration with automated solutions, cloud-based technology, and advanced analytics software — just to name a few.

Call monitoring has never been precise and comprehensive as it is today. As a result, call centers are getting more relevant and accurate insights about their customers, allowing them to provide much better service across the board.

To top it off, ‘smart’ IVR technology has become even more consistent in routing customers to the correct departments, improving first call resolution and enhancing overall customer experience.

3. Agile CRM Systems

With the way APIs have become more versatile lately, the integration of CRM systems with multiple applications has become even more seamless.

As a result, call centers have become even more effective in acquiring relevant customer data from all communication channels.

This, of course, paves the way towards a more robust omnichannel service. Whatever platform each client prefers, agents can have a full view of his or her interactions with the brand and therefore are able to deliver a more consistent and personalized service.

4. Workforce Optimization Software

Workforce management has always been integral to maintaining a more productive workforce. But to maximize the competencies of the workforce in the long term, the scheduling, forecasting, and tracking of employees have to take into account all relevant data.

That’s not always an easy task for the workforce staff.

Thankfully, most workforce optimization software available these days are powered by robust AI algorithms and predictive analytics that not only help call centers streamline workforce processes but also generate forecasts with high accuracy.

Final Word

Today’s customers are more technology-savvy than ever. If you want to keep them satisfied and engaged with what your brand has to offer, you have to keep up with the latest technological trends.

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3 Creative Ways to Train Call Center Agents

Train Call Center Agents

Train Call Center AgentsMany of us have experienced having slept through an entire lecture on account of an instructor’s boring and uninspired teaching style.

There are many contributing factors on why some lectures are boring to students, but first and foremost among them is rote teaching.

A subject matter may be of particular interest to students, but if a professor is teaching in a manner that is mechanical and repetitive, there’s a good chance that the students may eventually lose interest, thus stifling the learning process.

The same rule applies to training our call center customer service in the Philippines.

If you want to effectively train agents, you have to adopt a progressive and improvisational approach to delivering instruction or coaching.

Here are the creative ways you can train call center agents.

1. Group activities

According to a 2014 study conducted by Johnson, students learning in a group setting have “greater knowledge acquisition, retention of material, and higher-order problem solving and reasoning abilities.”

Unlike individual learning, group activities create opportunities for exchange of ideas and cooperative learning, not to mention train agents on how to work well together.

By paving the way for members of a group — big or small — to capitalize on one another’s resources and skills, group activities create possibilities for new and innovative ideas.

Group activities can always be added to the agenda in team huddles and team building activities. They are also a great way to create or establish a positive relationship with co-workers.

2. Storytelling

All of us have an innate love for stories. Not only do they entertain us, but they also teach us about life in a manner no other medium is capable of.

Storytelling is effective as a teaching method because it creates an emotional response that lends more impact and gravity to the ideas and lessons within the story.

There are many ways storytelling can be incorporated into training. You can always start with product training in which a trainer can tell the story of why and how the company’s products are created, and how the owner brought them into being.

Business owners or managers can also share inspiring stories, fact or fictional, about successful individuals, telling how they came upon their success.

3. Role Playing

Role-playing is an effective teaching method, especially during the training process. By acting out call scenarios, agents can put into practice what they’ve learned from the product training.

Through these practice sessions, agents can familiarize themselves better with different call scenarios, and as such will know how to respond when they encounter such scenarios while speaking to real customers.

Role-playing offers great opportunities for agents to smooth out their rough edges. More importantly, it’s a perfect avenue for them to make mistakes, and as such are unlikely to commit them again once they’re on the floor talking to real clients.

Key Takeaway

Agent development doesn’t end with onboarding; rather it continues throughout an employee’s life cycle within the organization.

Learning opportunities can happen anywhere, and a call center organization has much to gain by recognizing them as such and capitalizing on them. By engendering a culture of creativity, learning, and innovation within the organization, an upward trend towards success is easily achieved.

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3 Reasons Why Self-Service Options Are Crucial to Delivering Top-Notch Customer Service Experience

Sel-Service Options

Sel-Service OptionsWe sure have come a long way regarding technology. These days, we can do nearly everything on our mobile phones.

As such, it’s not entirely surprising that our recent leaps in digital technology have radically changed the way customers interact with businesses.

The more tech-savvy customers become, the more they become self-sufficient. If you want to address customers’ need for self-autonomy, implementing self-service options is a good start.

Self-service resources can take many forms: FAQs, knowledge bases, self-checkout, interactive voice recognition (IVR), just to name a few.

According to a Pew Internet study, 92% of people rely on search engines to find information on the web. It only goes to prove people’s natural inclination to help themselves.

There are many ways self-service resources can improve customer experience, and we’re going to discuss them in great detail below.

1. Empowers customers

Recent studies show that 60% of Americans would rather solve problems on their own rather than talk to a customer service agent.

By providing customers self-service options, you satisfy one of their most basic psychological needs — the need for self-autonomy.

In short, people enjoy having a sense of control over their problems. If a customer, say, goes to the FAQ section on a company’s website to find out how to redeem a gift card, it gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Provide them with the means to do things on their own, and they’ll appreciate your brand for it.

2. Increased voice support availability

Most customers prefer going to a service provider’s website first before deciding to call our customer service call center in the Philippines hotline should they have questions about a product or service they need answers to.

If your company website doesn’t offer self-service options, chances are customers are going to call customer support for help even for the most basic questions.

This, of course, results to overloaded customer service queues, which can be frustrating for customers.

By adding an FAQ page or a knowledge base to your website, customers who prefer to solve their issues with the service won’t have to compete for accommodation against those who are more inclined to talk to a live human agent.

As a result, the latter won’t have to wait long before connecting to a call center agent.

3. Better customer service

Agents who are made to answer the most basic questions over and over again over a long period might eventually feel bored and disillusioned about their chosen career.

But when you provide customers self-service alternatives, customer service professionals are spared from repetitive questions, since the answers to which are already made available for their convenience.

When work stops becoming a drag and a dull exercise, your agents are more likely to be happy with their work, and such will deliver better customer service.

Final Word

The modern customer is always looking for streamlined customer service experiences. By taking advantage of self-service resources to meet and exceed customer expectations, you’re providing your brand excellent opportunities to deliver a positive customer experience without even talking to customers in the first place.

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4 Customer Service Mistakes You Are Probably Making Right Now

Customer Service Mistake

Customer Service MistakeGood customer service plays an integral part in a business’s long-term success. Numerous studies and statistics over the years have proven this without any shadow of a doubt.

It is for this reason why most call centers are adopting a customer-centric approach in communicating with their clients.

That said, one crucial mistake a company can make is to assume that it’s delivering excellent customer service even when it’s not. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

The first order of business to avoid this predicament, of course, is to become aware of the most common customer service mistakes call center companies make.

So without further ado, here are customer service mistakes you are probably making right now.

1. Not enough focus on active listening

It’s often emphasized how important active listening is when it comes to providing good customer service. Active listening, however, is a skill that’s often overlooked and misunderstood.

Contrary to what others think, active listening goes beyond hearing the words coming out of the customer’s mouth.

It involves listening to all our senses, asking the right questions, and knowing when to shut up, just to name a few.

Active listening is a tough skill to master, but you’d do well to provide your agents with the relevant training in this regard. It’s an investment that is sure to pay dividends in the long run.

2. Call center agents are not motivated enough

As the old chestnut has it, “happy employees create happy customers.”

By compensating your call center agents well for their efforts and fostering a positive workplace culture, you are giving them more reasons to stay motivated at work.

When employee engagement is high, agents tend to take their jobs more seriously. Better yet, they are more likely to take delight in what they do. This results to happy customers. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

3. Long hold times

It’s no secret that many customers don’t like being put on hold. In fact, 32% of customers believe that call center agents shouldn’t be doing so in the first place.

While that is an unrealistic demand, it only goes to show why call center agent have to avoid putting customers on hold for a long time.

To eliminate the need for long hold times, you have to optimize and streamline your call center’s processes so that your agents can pull up customers’ information with minimal effort.

4. Long call queues

Long call queues are just as annoying as long hold times, possibly even more so. It can be very unpleasant for most callers to hear the words “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold.”

If you want your customers to think highly of your customer service, you have to take the necessary steps to avoid long call queues. Hiring more agents often does the trick. If that poses a problem budget-wise, you can shuffle employee’s schedules in such a way where more agents are available during peak hours.

Another solution that has been proven to be effective is to provide customers with the option to request a call-back.

Final Word

A company’s reputation is only as good as the quality of its customer service. Your brand may have the best product in the market, but if your customer service is poor, most customers won’t hesitate to look to other competitors.

In the final analysis, it’s how well you treat your customers. Treat them like we do at customer service call centers in the Philippines and that will separate your brand from the rest. Considering how fast information gets around these days, you simply can’t afford to make mistakes.

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4 Ideal Characteristics of a Successful Call Center Manager

Call Center Manager

Call Center ManagerEvery call center needs great managers in order to thrive, even more so on account of the rapid changes in today’s business climate.

While each call center manager is different, the successful ones share distinct personality traits that drive their success.

And by “success” we mean their ability to encourage and motivate their agents to perform better on the floor. But then again, that’s not all there is to it.

With the way customer service processes have changed through the years, call center managers always have to keep up, and as such need to adjust accordingly in order to be more effective leaders.

So what are the common qualities that separate the great call center managers from the rest? Feel free to dive in if you want to find out.

1. Communicates with agents all the time

Since agents are the ones who talk to customers on a regular basis, they have a more profound knowledge of what customers need. Managers with good sense know this.

A customer service call center manager in the Philippines worth his salt will use this knowledge to the organization’s advantage, especially in terms of how to improve customer experience and inspire customer loyalty.

In addition, call center managers who talk to their agents regularly go a long way into empowering the workforce.

Furthermore, agents who feel that their thoughts and opinions matter will feel more motivated to be at their best.

2. Critical thinker

Call center managers are regularly tasked to come up with big decisions that will make a significant impact on the organization going forward.

As such, managers need to have the ability to think critically.

This means not taking everything at face value. By making it a point to look at challenges from every angle, a manager can come up with decisions where the positives outweigh the negatives not just for the present situation but in the long run as well.

Call center managers who are strategic-minded are a great asset to your organization because you can exchange ideas with them and in turn enable you to come up with great decisions yourself.

3. Excellent coach

According to recent research, the most significant ability that separates great managers from the middling ones is coaching.

By taking the time to have meaningful coaching sessions with agents, a call center manager can establish a meaningful connection with them. This, of course, leads towards meaningful growth.

Just the mere knowledge that the manager has his back engages the agent in more ways than one. It allows them to move forward positively but in a way where a sense of accountability is established.

4. Stays on top of the latest technological trends

The new wave of technology spurred on by the digital age has radically changed customer service processes as well as customer expectations.

A manager oversees many areas of a call center’s operations, and as such will have to stay updated on the latest innovations that would change the organization’s infrastructure.

If the call center is transitioning to the cloud, for example, a manager, who has more than a passing familiarity of how the technology works will be more able to help agents build and develop the necessary skills needed to thrive in the new system.

Key Takeaway

As the cliche goes, change is the only constant thing in this world. This is why being a great manager is a lifelong pursuit that needs to be taken seriously.

While it’s true that some people are born leaders, anyone can develop the leadership skills needed to thrive in any industry. You can certainly get a good head start by emulating the four characteristics discussed in this article.

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4 Ways to Handle Irate Callers in the Call Center

Irate Callers

Irate CallersLet’s face it: handling irate callers is not fun. But then again, angry customers come with the territory when you’re a customer service professional.

As such, it’s worth noting that customers are far more likely to tell their friends about their negative customer service stories rather than the positive ones.

Which goes to show that if your agents haven’t been trained enough on how to handle irate callers, your organization is bound to suffer severe losses in terms of its overall bottom line.

While you can’t please every caller,  it pays to ensure that your agents are well-versed in the best practices when it comes to handling difficult customers in your call center.

Here are steps your agents can do to satisfy irate callers.

1. Sit back and listen

You can already tell by the customer’s voice that he’s upset, and he wants to tell you all about it, perhaps in the most colorful terms.

At this juncture, the best course of action is to shut up and listen.

It might be tempting to interrupt the customer if you know that it’s not entirely the company’s fault. But then again, doing so would only upset him more.

So listen. Really listen. By allowing the customer to vent his frustrations without interruptions, chances are he’ll be much calmer once he’s done.

Better yet, he might even have a better understanding of his situation or issue just by talking it out. Either way, once the customer is done talking, you’ll find that he’ll be much more cooperative.

And since you took the time to listen (and jot down notes), you’ll have a better understanding of the customer’s issue yourself and thus will be more equipped to work with him in coming up with solutions.

2. Apologize

Once the customer is done explaining the issue, the next thing an agent should do is apologize.

And yes, the same thing applies even if the issue is the customer’s fault. This is even more, the case if the caller is upset.

It is the call center agent’s responsibility to assist, not blame the customer for mistakes or misunderstandings about a product or service he has paid for.

By providing the customer a sincere apology, an agent is making it known that he’s there to help.

3. Provide solutions and be quick about it

If the customer is already feeling angry, it will only agitate him more if the agent is a slow poke at providing answers and solutions.

So make it quick. If possible, avoid putting the customer on hold. This way the customer will feel that their issues are being addressed with a sense of urgency.

Additionally, call center managers can help agents deliver solutions more efficiently by providing them with high-end cloud-based call center software.

4. Go the extra mile

One great way to appease irate customers is to offer them some form of compensation. No surprise there. After all, everyone wants free stuff.

By going the extra mile for upset customers, you are letting them know that you’re truly sorry for the inconvenience and that you value your business relationship with them.

If you’re worried about the financial losses that come with offering freebies, just take comfort in the fact that acquiring a new customer costs six or seven times more than to retain an existing one.

Final Word

On top of the tips mentioned above, call center customer service agents in the Philippines can go a long way into satisfying angry customers by maintaining professionalism, patience, and courtesy at all times.

Besides, irate customers are part and parcel of running a business. Above all, businesses that employ sound strategies to make grumpy customers happy will have increased customer retention and customer satisfaction, which will bode well for their ROI.

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