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Philippine Call Center Blog

3 Ways to Motivate Your Customer Service Team

Anyone who has worked in the customer service field knows just how stressful it can become, as well as how easy it can be to experience burnout. Customer service staff are the face and voice of your company, so it is important to be understanding and motivating in your support of them. Here are some tips for getting your team back to their best:

Communication

Maintaining an open line of communication between service staff and management is one of the most helpful things you can do. The impact of your representatives’ work on your company is undeniable, so it’s essential to treat them with respect by communicating well. The more comfortable your representatives feel about communicating with management, the greater insight management will have into making positive decisions for the staff overall. Having good relationships between management and your service team helps maintain morale, motivation, and support.

Encourage Positive Work

Every moment that you spend communicating one-on-one with one of your representatives is valuable. Management can often make the mistake of thinking of their representatives as disposable, rather than take the time to help them develop and improve in their work.

Take the time to provide encouragement to your staff. Let them know when they’ve done a good job, and give them plenty of constructive feedback when there is room for improvement. Connect with them, maintain that line of communication, and watch your representatives blossom.

Provide Your Staff with Proper Resources and Equipment

It’s easy to lower staff morale by accidental negligence. Make sure your staff has the equipment and resources to do their job correctly. Poorly-performing equipment (phones, computers, workspaces) can lead to delays and lower service quality, potentially decreasing customer satisfaction. Ensuring that your staff has the proper resources to do their job can motivate them to do their best work, which benefits everyone involved.
Providing thorough, proper training is another great way to ensure that your representatives are prepared to provide exceptional service. These trainings can help your staff develop skills, but can also be used to boost team morale.

You don’t have to wait for your employees to burnout to get them back on their feet. When in doubt, provide clear communication, support, and make sure they are taken care of. Additionally, you can ensure that you have a customer service team that is treated well and equipped with the proper resources by outsourcing your customer service work with a company you trust.

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4 Traits of an Effective Leader

There’s certainly no “one-size-fits-all” managing approach. However, it has been shown that when managers are focused on being effective leaders, their good habits are picked up by their employees. In addition to focusing on their own advancement and authority, good leaders should focus on providing genuine and positive experiences for their peers and team members. Here are six traits that help form influential and effective leaders:

Effective Communication

The ability to communicate clearly and tactfully is a vital leadership skill. It involves more than listening attentively and providing responses; it also includes asking smart questions, sharing important information, clearing up misunderstandings, and being clear and direct about your expectations. By being a good communicator, your team will have a better understanding of their role.

Empowerment

Truly great leaders understand that in order for people to do their best, they must feel a sense of pride in their work and believe that what they’re doing is meaningful. It is a good idea to communicate clear expectations (such as goals and deadlines) to your team, and then leave them with the authority to decide how that work gets done.

Vision

It’s important to have a look into your company’s future and create goals that make sense for that trajectory. Good leaders are optimistic, confident, and they look to inspire growth. Being a visionary means managing change in conjunction with a balance between growth and stability. It also means understanding that things are always changing, and that what has worked in the past may not work now.

Accountability

Successful bosses know how to use their authority and power appropriately so as to not overpower or overwhelm their employees. They hold themselves accountable for their own mistakes and expect others to do the same. They understand the importance of supporting individuality while still following the rules and policies that are put in place.

Motivation
The best leaders push their team forward with enthusiasm and passion. If you invest time in your people and determine their needs, priorities, and strengths, they will feel valuable and you will better understand how to motivate them. Make sure to show them that their work is making a difference, and continue to encourage the development of their skills with reasonable (but meaningful) goals.

Being an effective leader can be a challenging job, but it can also be very rewarding. If you’re looking to evolve your leadership skills, make sure to incorporate these five traits into your skill set. You & your team will be better off for it!

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Five Strategies You Can Do to Help Your New Call Center Agents Manage Their Average Handling Time

Average Handling Time

Average Handling TimeAHT (Average Handling Time) is one of the most important metrics in a call center. Simply put, a low AHT is one of the good signs that a call center is delivering great customer service.

That’s not in the least surprising. When customers call, they want solutions, and they want them fast.

Since it’s the goal of every call center organization to deliver a positive experience to customers, it only follows that you take the necessary steps to reduce the amount of time they spend on calls.

Here are proven strategies you can use to reduce average handling time in your contact center.

1. Strengthen your knowledge base

A strong knowledge base allows call center agents to pull up customer information and resolve issues with minimal effort.

When the knowledge base is optimized, agents can find relevant answers to even the toughest queries at their fingertips. This way, agents are able to close calls quickly, which in turn makes customers happy.

2. Record and analyze calls

A call center needs to have a system in place that records and analyzes calls. This makes it possible for you to identify which issues and questions are usually taking a long time to be resolved.

Once these issues are identified, you can come up with more efficient solutions to resolving them.

By training your agents to execute such solutions, average handling time can be reduced significantly.

3. Optimize call routing

One great way to reduce AHT is to optimize call routing. After all, a lot of time is wasted every time a caller is routed to the wrong department.

The best way to speed up your call center’s call routing system is to use a high-end automatic call distribution software (ACD).

When customers are always able to reach the agent qualified to handle their issues, it takes significantly less time to end a call.

4. Initiate call backs if necessary

Sometimes a customer will call in with an issue that is much too complex to be resolved immediately. Agents need to be able to identify such cases quickly since attempting to resolve the issue right then and there will only be a waste of time.

What agents can do instead is to initiate a call back at a time when answers and solutions to the customer’s issue are readily available.

5. Optimize the IVR system (Interactive Voice Response)

Recent studies show that more and more customers prefer self-service over having to speak with a customer service representative.

However, it can be frustrating to a caller when the IVR system eats up a lot of time promoting your brand’s wide range of products and services.

To optimize your IVR configuration effectively, you can start by structuring your IVR according to the customer’s perspective. Make your IVR scripts short and simple.

In addition, you can provide pre-recorded messages in a way where customers can help themselves better.

Final Word

While it’s crucial for every call center organization to reduce AHT to meet  KPI targets, care should be taken to ensure that the quality of service is not compromised in any way

A call center organization has to manage AHT the right way and for the right reasons, and you can pull that off by employing the five strategies mentioned above.

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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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4 Ways Your Call Center Agents Can Help You Get More Business

Call Center Agents

Call Center AgentsSo you want to generate more business for your company?  There are many ways to do it, but if you want your efforts to pay dividends in the long-term, you will do well to invest in your call center agents.

The reason is simple: your call center agents are in the best position to improve and maintain customer loyalty in your business.

Why? Because they add that personal touch that other communication channels can’t provide.

Sure, customer loyalty can be difficult to quantify — but still, accomplished business managers will tell you that it’s the most valuable metric.

To drive home the point, a study made by Fieldboom concludes that “a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to an increase in profits of 25%-95%.”

Without further ado, here are the four best ways your call center agents can help you get more business.

1. Loyal customers are an investment

If your call center agents consistently deliver exemplary service, customers are more likely to buy additional products from your brand.

It bears noting that customer support should be treated as an ongoing process. For one, customers aren’t just buying your brand’s products, and they’re also buying an experience.

As such, your organization’s customer support is a significant part of that overall experience.

When customers are satisfied with their overall experience of your product and services, you’re giving them every reason to be loyal to your brand. This opens up opportunities for repeat business.

2. Telemarketing

While current technology offers companies multiple platforms for marketing and promotion, telemarketing is still far from being considered a lost art.

TV ads, infomercials, emails, and coupons may be more efficient and faster, but calling prospects, if done well, can generate positive results in your marketing and selling efforts.

Why? Because calling is more personal. As mentioned earlier, it has the human touch that engages customers in ways no other form of communication could.

Also, prospects are likely to pay more attention when they’re talking to a live, breathing human being.

3. Acquire Valuable Customer Insights

Aside from in-person sales reps, call center agents directly communicate with customers, thus giving them opportunities to gather customer information you can’t possibly acquire through other channels.

Through call center processes, your agents can gather qualitative and quantitative data while talking to a client. These data include customer feedback, product issues, sales trends, and more.

By gather and analyzing these data, your company can acquire customer insights that will help you come up with better strategies for growing your business.

4. Generate Quality Referrals from Satisfied Clients

Satisfied customers love to talk to friends about products and services that improved the quality of their lives in some form.

This is why successful companies are banking on the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Existing clients can be your most effective marketing tool. For one, consumers tend to trust friends more and as a result, will take their recommendations seriously.

In addition, you can ramp up referrals by offering existing customers a comprehensive referral program. Loyal customers love incentives, and you’d do well to capitalize on it.

The best part about it is that this referral cycle continues ad infinitum, which should work wonders for your organization’s bottom line.

What’s Next?

By making sizable investments in your company’s call center processes and adopting a customer-centric approach to customer support, you are putting your call center agents in an excellent position to drive client satisfaction.

This results in more business opportunities, which should bode well for your ROI.

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4 Causes of Conflicts Between Your Customer Support Teams

Customer Support Team

Customer Support TeamAs much as you would like to run your organization of customer support teams like a well-oiled machine, you cannot avoid conflicts to arise among your employees.

This is because your business is made up of people. No matter how great your organizational culture is, misunderstanding and unclear communication are inevitable.

Your role as a business owner is more than just a peacemaker, mediating between two parties that are odds with each other.

For one thing, you need to make sure that you can identify sources of conflicts so you can prevent frictions from happening in the first place.

Here are four causes of conflicts between your customer support teams.

Unhealthy competition

When there is simply an unhealthy dose of competition, your workplace will always be rife with conflicts.

An unhealthy competition between customer support team means that your agents believe that winning is a zero-sum game: a team only wins at the expense of another.

The situation can lead to a toxic atmosphere where your agents no longer value mutual respect and instead are focused on grabbing whatever rewards being promised at all costs.

Lack of team spirit

Another source of possible conflicts between customer support teams is the lack of team spirit.

When your agents are not encouraged to work together or even reach out to other people outside of their teams, they are more likely to form into and stay loyal to their small factions.

They are more likely to misinterpret communication or may distrust the intentions of agents from another customer support team.

Vague instructions

Giving unclear communication is also another kindling point between customer support teams. Usually, conflicts occur when there are institutional changes that are happening or when roles and responsibilities are not well-defined.

Your employees will have a harder time understanding not only the instructions but also about how to deal with the change or the evolving roles of their colleagues.

A clear example is creating a new customer support team that can handle not only billing concerns but also do basic technical troubleshooting.  

Without any clear set of rules that define the extent of the troubleshooting required of them, the agents in the team may face challenges when their colleagues do not completely understand their new job and have unfair expectations about them.

Leadership conflicts

Another cause of conflict is when the people in leadership position have unresolved bickering.

Their conflict can spread to the rest of the organization when it is not given resolution immediately, as the parties involved may not be able to control their words or actions to each other.

Eventually, members of customer support team may pick up on the simmering tension and maybe, in the process, pushed unwillingly to pick sides.

Harmonious workplace

There is no doubt that a harmonious workplace makes your customer support team more productive and engaged.

Do everything you can to prevent conflicts from happening by maintaining great communication, resolving misunderstanding in a timely manner, building healthy competition, and urging your employees to collaborate.

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4 Tips on How to Correct the Customer Service Mistakes of Your Agents

Customer Sevice

Customer SeviceYour agents are bound to make mistakes.

These can range from simple misses such as forgetting the correct opening spiel to big mistakes like a potential act of fraud.

Consequently, giving them support and correcting them in a timely manner will help them develop the right set of skills to succeed in the workplace and be a productive member of your organization.

Here are four effective, handy tips in correcting customer service mistakes of your agents.

Conduct a review

A simple review of the processes can do wonders. During team meetings, take the time to go over workflows and issues that are often encountered on the call and highlight the need to follow established guidelines to avoid customer service mistakes.

Listen to calls

Listening to calls is another opportunity to correct common mistakes and share best practices. You can demonstrate how well the agent managed the conversation as well as point out the things that need to be improved.

In the process, by having your agents listen to an actual call, they can learn to copy good attitudes and prevent any customer service mistakes from happening.

Provide feedback

Providing feedback is a chance for you to provide focused mentoring particularly when your agents have committed customer service mistakes that are negatively impacting the organization.

Just one crucial thing to remember: back up your feedback with something concrete. Never let your feedback be generic.

Instead, it needs to be relevant to the agent. This can be done through taking the time listing down the things that they need to work on from listening to their calls, feedback from Quality department, customer surveys, and other sources of information about their performance.

By providing feedback, it is important that you set goals that are to be met with a given timeline. These goals can be simple, such as following the call flow, or serious like avoiding causing aggravation to customers.

Follow through

Afterwards, follow through the goals by continuously and regularly monitoring performance. Track their progress by listening to their calls and getting feedback from customers.

Then, you can hold another coaching session to discuss how well they are doing at work.

Provide a mentor

You can also tap into the spirit of teamwork through a buddy-up system. For instance, you can pair up a new employee with a seasoned agent as a mentor so that best practices will not only come from you but a member of the team.

In turn, customer service mistakes that a new agent is likely to commit will be prevented through the help of a mentor.

Conclusion

Customer service mistakes are costly for your business, but they are bound to happen.

However, you can lessen their impact or even prevent them from occurring in the first place by providing a great supportive environment in your workplace and consistently building the capabilities of your agents.

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5 Tips in Running Your Call Center to Make Your Company Stay on Top of the Game

Call Center

Call CenterYour company’s call center operations play a crucial part in your organization’s success.

After all, your contact center serves as your organization’s hub for interaction with customers.

Running a successful call center, however, is no easy feat. You have to pay close attention to every cog in the machine.

But it gets easier if you follow these four simple rules.

1. Foster a positive work environment

It’s been said too many times, but it bears repeating: happy employees are productive employees.

As a business owner, there are many steps you can take to keep call center agents happy and motivated.

Such steps include implementing a competitive incentive or rewards program, setting up comfortable workspaces, incentivizing performance milestones on the spot, just to name a few.

If call center agents can maintain a happy disposition in the workplace, they’ll be more driven to perform better at their jobs.

2. Invest in Advanced Call Center Software

Your call center may have the best agents, but if you don’t equip them the right tools with which to serve your clients, then don’t be surprised if most of them decide to jump ship.

Simply put, advanced call center tools and software are essential for executing and integrating the many functions of your contact center operations.

For one, they keep every component of the operations organized. Second, they allow your agents to pull up customer information much quicker.

In a nutshell, investing in the right software and tools allows your call center to run like a well-oiled machine with self-regulating components.

Your call center’s list of tools and software should cover many areas of your call center’s operations, including CRM, customer feedback, skills-based routing, call monitoring, data collection, and more.

3. Set up an effective feedback loop

Studies have proven time and again that a customer-centric approach to management is what delivers results.

As such, by setting up an efficient and reliable system that actively gathers customer feedback, you can get access to real-time data that give you valuable insights as to how you can serve clients better.

4. Foster Employee Engagement

For call center agents to perform consistently at a high level, they need to feel that their contributions are being valued by the company.

During team meetings, each agent should be provided opportunities to voice out their thoughts and opinions on how the service can be improved.

In addition, staff development sessions need to be implemented to give employees opportunities for self-improvement and professional growth.

5. Keep Learning

Running a successful business requires mental acuity, some business acumen, and a lot of common sense.

Most importantly, you have to constantly push yourself to learn more about the industry you’ve chosen.

You need to stay on top of ever-changing business trends, keep pace with new call center technology, read books, attend leadership development programs — the whole works.

Because when the business throws you a curve ball (and it will sooner or later), it’s your commitment to lifelong learning that will put you in a better position to stay on top of the game.

What’s Next?

The call center industry has taken great leaps in technology and processes over the years, but one thing remains the same: it’s ultimately the people that drive your business’s success.

It is this same guiding principle that has made Executive Boutique an industry leader over the years.

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Why Your Sales Agents Should Know the Difference Between Features vs. Benefits

Call Center Benefits

Call Center BenefitsSales agents play a vital role in a business’s success. After all, they serve as the frontline of your brand’s marketing and sales efforts.

It goes without saying that a sales agent is very familiar with the terms “features” and “benefits,” so much so that they’re probably saying and hearing them in their sleep.

Many, however, still confuse the two. Which is a big mistake since recognizing their subtle differences can spell the difference between a sales pitch that fails and one that converts.

To bring good ROI for your business, a business owner should make it a point to remind sales agents the difference between “features” and “benefits.”

Of course, it bears noting that while they are distinct from each other, however subtle, they also go hand in hand.

In fact, with better training, a sales agent can make either one strengthen the other.

Features vs. Benefits

To get started, let’s look into the definitions of both terms and discuss how a sales agent can use both concepts in ways that can convince leads to buy a product or service.

  • Features are the characteristics of a product or service. Usually presented as a factual statement, a feature is something that your product is or has.
  • A benefit, on the other hand, is the end-result of a feature, describing what that the product in question can do to improve users’ lives.

To get a better grasp of their differences, let’s state an example.

For example, when you mention that a laptop is equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor, what you’re doing is stating a feature.

When you tell someone that a laptop provides gamers a smoother gaming experience, you’re mentioning a benefit. Framed this way, you are telling a prospect how the laptop can improve their lives.

It’s important to note that mentioning both the features and the benefits are important, and using each of them to your advantage is a matter of determining the needs of your target audience.

How a Benefit-Driven Sales Pitch Drives Sales

The problem with a sales pitch that relies too much on mentioning features is that there’s a good chance the prospect won’t know what you’re talking about.

Imagine recommending a laptop unit to someone who lacks knowledge about computers by mentioning that it’s equipped with a Xeon processor, an Intel Iris Pro Graphics P580, has up to 1TB HDD storage…

Well, you get the picture.

This approach is bad because you’re putting the burden of understanding on the prospect.

Before you know it, the potential customer will look somewhere else to find the laptop he’s looking for because you were too busy talking in a language he doesn’t understand.

But if you tell that same person the laptop’s features as well as its benefits, then you are on the right track. Why? Because it answers the question, “If I buy that laptop, what’s in it for me?”

Features are static; Benefits can change

A product’s features are static and unchanging.They are just there.

A product’s benefits, on the other hand, can change depending on the specific needs of a prospect.

A laptop with a high-end processor, for example, allows a user who is fond of playing video games to have a smoother gaming experience.

For a graphic artist who has to upload high-quality images on the internet all the time, that same laptop will no doubt improve his working life immensely.

This is why it’s important for every sales agent to pay close attention to what a prospect is saying over the phone.

Having more knowledge about the caller helps a sales agent determine the benefits that will convince him to buy a product or service.

Conclusion

As a business owner, empathy is an asset you can’t afford to take for granted.

If you want better revenue for your sales campaign, your sales agents have to talk to potential clients in ways that address their needs.

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How Philippine Call Centers Are Promoting Their Employees’ Welfare

Employee's Welfare

Employee's WelfareIn the Philippines, call centers are hailed as the sunshine industry.

For the past two decades, they have become one of the country’s important growth sectors that drive the economy, employing over 1.2 million employees according to Department of Labor and Employment. (A link to the source: https://www.rappler.com/business/industries/174-outsourcing/125889-information-technology-bpm-bpo-dole-jobs)

So why do many Filipinos choose to work in call centers? Here are six ways call center companies are looking after the employees’ welfare.

Above-industry compensation

Regularly, the government labor agency publishes minimum wage for all Filipino workers. It sets the starting pay all employers are asked to give to an entry-level worker.

Call center companies in the Philippines are consistently offering above-industry basic compensation. In the process, they provide agents a financial head-start in ensuring that they live a reasonably decent lifestyle.

Better benefits

The country’s Labor Code lists down many obligations of employers including tax, social security, health, and housing contributions for their employees.

Not only are call center companies in the Philippines doing their part on these items, but they also provide health and life insurance as part of their employee package.

In this way, agents will have fewer worries during times of illness or untimely demise, protecting them and the people they love from financial stress.

Generous incentives  

Call centers are attracting talents from the labor market through their generous incentives program.

Agents are given performance bonus and other incentives on top of their basic salary, increasing the amount of money that they take home from work.

Healthcare

Another way companies promote their employees’ welfare is health care. Many call centers offer free annual physical and dental exams as a means to check on the state of their overall health.

Additionally, they have also company clinics with the on-duty nurse to cater to any first-aid needs or medical concerns.

Job Security

One other great benefit is job security. As training new agents are costly, call centers tend to go out of their way to keep their best employees.

Moreover, they hire their managerial and leadership positions mostly from within the organization, rewarding successful agents with a well-defined career development path.

World-class training

Call centers boast of world-class training for English language, business communication, customer service, technical support, and leadership skills.

All of the above are very valuable business skills that allow agents to develop holistically in their line of work.

Personalized support

Call center agents are not set up for failure once they start working. They are constantly being mentored to become the best versions of themselves to succeed in their job.

For one thing, supervisors look after their employees’ welfare day in and day out.

Other support departments such as training and development, quality, and human resource departments also play important roles in their development.

Filipino employees’ welfare

Call centers who are doing business in the Philippines are not just providing good-paying, secure jobs to more than a million Filipino workers.

As great employers, they are also establishing great industry standards in looking after their welfare too.

They know that by taking care of their employees, their business will be taken great care of as well.

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