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From the blog

A Manager’s Guide to Evaluate the Performance of an Outsourced Team

Working with an outsourced team is already tricky, but it’s definitely a different challenge measuring how they’re faring. Aside from the fact that you can’t monitor the employees 24/7, measuring their performance requires you to consider several approaches and angles.

The Importance of Performance Evaluation When You Have an Outsourced Team

Evaluating the performance of your outsourced team allows you to track their progress and check if their processes align with the project goals. It enables you to address loopholes and resolve them as they happen. Ultimately, it helps drive home the importance of performing well and sends the message of meeting or even exceeding expectations.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to evaluate the performance of your outsourced team effectively.

KPI and Metrics to Measure Performance

  • Customer Service Levels

This key performance indicator (KPI) measures your outsourced team’s ability to deliver the standard service to your customers. It particularly gauges the time between the client calls in and when an agent responds to it. Average response time, resolution rate, and abandonment rate are the common criteria under this metric.

  • Backlog

Backlog refers to unfinished tasks or customer orders that have been received but are either incomplete or in the process of completion. Tickets go unresolved for numerous reasons—it can be attributed to the agents’ slow performance or that there has been an unexpected peak. With a backlog metric, you can calculate potential revenue by plotting all work that has been accepted but not yet fulfilled.

You can measure backlogs in hours and then convert them into weeks. A healthy total backlog is four to six weeks for daily and weekly work. If the backlog is six weeks and no additional work orders are added, it will take six weeks for the crew to finish all job orders during regular work hours.

  • Schedule compliance

Also called adherence to schedule, this maintenance KPI calculates how much of the work scheduled for a certain period is completed on time. In essence, it measures your outsourced team’s ability to deliver results as promised.

This metric is calculated in percentage and derived by dividing the actual hours spent on the task by the total planned work hours. For example, if the week starts on Monday, the compliance factor should reflect the work scheduled for that week as of Monday morning.

  • Quality

Quality is “the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind.” The Net Promoter Score is a widely known metric for the quality of a product or service. It usually takes the form of a single survey question asking respondents to rate the likelihood that they would recommend it to others.

You can use other KPIs to measure your outsourced team’s performance in terms of quality, such as complexity metrics and the number of complaints per period. These are mainly used when what is to be measured is not numerical. 

  • Quantity

Quantity KPIs are used for projects that take the form of numbers and ratios. Counting is by far the easiest way to quantify something you’re observing, such as the number of satisfied customers and total sales. Percentages are an ideal option when you’re interested in how many of your target population matches your performance result. 

Meanwhile, ratios are a great way to measure productivity—for example, total sales revenue divided by the total hours spent on sales calls or total sales revenue received divided by the total sales revenue invoiced.

  • Process

Process metrics focus on efficiency, assessing how tasks were performed by measuring the systems and procedures against the goals. A commonly used tool is the balanced scorecard, which aims to align the workers’ performance with the project objectives. 

High-level KPIs gauge the business’ overall progress, while low-level KPIs evaluate the processes in departments such as sales, marketing, human resources, and technical support, among others.

6 Strategies to Evaluate the Performance of an Outsourced Team

1. Assess your professional relationship

A good professional relationship hinges on setting your expectations of what success looks like clearly. There should be a point of contact on your side who frequently communicates with your outsourced team and who sees to it that tasks are progressing—for instance, through a project management system. This way, you can deliver output to your clients on time and within the budget and work specifications.

Studies have always underscored the importance of making your expectations known and clear when collaborating with other business organizations. One survey notes that firms that exhibit open communication tend to be more productive. You can leverage the power of clarity by outlining your objectives and conveying them to your outsourcing partner, making sure you are both on the same page. 

2. Look at how they do system maintenance and management

Your outsourced team should be able to support your company’s needs and demands fully. Their IT infrastructure should include the latest technology and a reliable network of phone and internet lines. They should also be available through email, phone, or other messaging platforms at designated times. 

If you’re operating in different time zones, your provider must make sure you regularly communicate to minimize communication gaps. You also need to agree on the point of contact for concerns and queries for a smooth exchange of information.

3. Notice how they communicate

Is your outsourced team capable of effectively communicating their concerns? Do they keep you informed of the issues with the system? It’s crucial that they keep you in the loop by giving regular updates so that you can monitor things and concerns can be promptly resolved. 

According to a survey, 86% of corporate executives, educators, and employees cite ineffective communication and poor collaboration as reasons for failures in the workplace. With this in mind, ensure that matters don’t get out of hand by designating a point of contact. This way, you can ensure smoother operations.

4. Aim for transparency

Does your outsourced team make documentation and records available to you? Is there a client portal where you can access tickets and view system status? Do they openly share problems and issues they’re experiencing and how they plan to resolve them? 

These are some important questions to ask when assessing your provider’s performance. A good outsourced team should act as a partner—they should be as open as possible and not make you feel like there’s a barrier between you. They should be honest enough to share information with you, even those that are not necessarily positive.

Another essential thing to note is that miscommunication can cost companies an average of $420,000 per year. Given this statistic, it’s always helpful to aim for transparency when working with an outsourced team to help ensure efficiency and productivity. 

5. Establish the habit of follow-up and follow-through

One issue when working with an outsourced team is the lack of a follow-up mechanism. A survey revealed that 28% of employees consider poor communication as the reason for not delivering results on time. Given this possible consequence, thoughtfully following through helps bridge the gap and keep things smoothly going.

A regular follow-up ensures that your team is working towards the target results outlined in your contract, regardless of whether they’re in-house or outsourced. It will remind them to prioritize tasks, prompting them to align their processes with the project goals. With this tracking approach, work is adjusted according to client feedback, guaranteeing optimized results.

6. Make them accountable for promised output and results

In an outsourcing partnership, your provider has generally set the expectations by way of their proposal. Whatever bar they have set is what you need to measure them against. Whether or not they’re balancing multiple clients, you need to receive the support and services you signed up for.

A great tool teams can use to track their performance is the OKR or objectives and key results. It’s a management framework used by companies to implement and execute their goals. This should be a part of your outsourced provider’s evaluation strategy, as it is useful in determining whether or not they’re delivering what they say they will.

Evaluating Your Outsourced Team Impacts Your Project’s Success 

Assessing your outsourced team’s performance enables you to identify areas that can be improved, which, in turn, can positively contribute to your project’s success. There are several metrics and strategies you can use to evaluate how your provider is faring. These indicators and methods provide you with a glimpse of how things are moving along, helping you manage your operations better and more effectively.

If you want to work with a call center in the Philippines as your outsourced team, EB Call Center offers excellent, top-notch services. Head on over to the Contact Us page and drop a message. 

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Why Your Outsourcing Partner Should Be HIPAA Compliant

The digital period has transformed the way people do business. Apart from being able to conduct operations remotely, new tools and technologies also allowed the ease and convenience of outsourcing.

Gone are the days when you have no choice but to limit yourself to partners near your base of operations. Thanks to the entrance of digital communication channels, you can work with an outsourced team from halfway across the globe.

Ultimately, this development reduces your overhead expenses and gives you easy access to world-class talents. However, with the good comes the bad. Or, at least, the somewhat challenging. Without the right measures, giving an outsourced team access to pertinent data could put your business’s privacy at risk. 

Cyberattack cases increased by 29% in the current year. The constant exchange of information across digital platforms may increase the chances of data falling into the wrong hands. If your business falls victim to a security breach, hackers can and will profit off the data they’ve procured.

At the same time, your business’s integrity gets compromised, making you lose clients and incur hefty penalties. If you’re planning to outsource a business process, you should find a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant outsourcing partner. 

What is HIPAA, and Why Does it Matter?

Good outsourcing solutions can optimize your business processes in several ways. But that can sometimes come at a cost. For instance, allowing third-party access to your organization’s data equates to opening up another point of entry for hackers. And if your chosen business partner fails to impose strict privacy and security protocols, that would make it easier for a cybercriminal to attack. 

The subject of cyberattacks is most critical if you’re in the healthcare sector. The cache of data in your hands contains sensitive information, such as patient records. That information has real monetary value and could be a quick source of ill-gotten profit for hackers. Fortunately, the HIPAA seeks to address this risk. 

Introduced in 1996, HIPAA champions two goals. The first is to provide health coverage to individuals that are in between jobs. The second is to ensure that the patients’ personal and health information is protected to prevent healthcare fraud. That is achieved via strict data security standards to which stakeholders need to comply. 

HIPAA made the day-to-day operations of healthcare entities more manageable through the digitalisation of information. The transition has allowed convenient sharing of data between healthcare providers and stakeholders. The law also assigned accountability to any business associate tapped by a healthcare provider through stringent HIPAA compliance measures to reduce the risk of a data breach.

If you’re in the healthcare sector, you need to regularly check whether you’re compliant with HIPAA guidelines. To do that, here are a few recommendations. 

  •  Clearly define service agreements with your business associates, keeping HIPAA compliance in mind. 
  •   Audit business associates to ensure strict and consistent HIPAA adherence.
  •  Gather proper documentation of due HIPAA diligence.

Why You Should Work with a HIPAA-compliant Outsourcing Partner

Working with a HIPAA-compliant business associate means sharing responsibility and accountability. In addition, partnering with a third-agency service that shares the same principles as you do allows you to operate your business with peace of mind, knowing that your outsourced partner is doing their part in securing patient information. 

It’s essential to define the term “business associate.” As per the HIPAA Privacy Rule, a business associate could be any of the following: 

  • Third-party admin assisting with claims processing
  • CPA services requiring access to patient information
  • Attorney whose duties require access to patient information
  • Consultant performing hospital utilisation reviews
  • Healthcare clearinghouse
  •  Independent medical transcriptionist
  •  Pharmacy benefits manager handling a health plan’s pharmacist network

When looking for an outsourcing partner, HIPAA compliance should help you shortlist your candidates. One name you may consider is EB Call Center, a HIPAA-certified agency. The organisation’s HIPAA compliance certification process was overseen by the Compliancy Group. The audit covered six core components of data privacy:

  • Security Standards
  •  Asset and Device
  • Physical Site
  • Security IT Risk Analysis
  •  Privacy Standards
  •  Hitech Subtitle

These audits make up a robust security system that considers administrative, physical, and technical safeguard requirements. While the agency’s main thrust is to remain proactive when it comes to the risk of a data breach, EB Call Center also takes pride in its readiness to address the problem should it happen.  

Keep Your Business HIPAA healthy

You can’t go wrong with looking for HIPAA compliance when narrowing down your outsourcing options. Given the real and serious threat of cybercrimes and their financial repercussions, you can’t risk it. With a HIPAA-compliant organisation, you can rest assured that you’re in tandem with a business entity that carries out the same level of care and scrutiny when dealing with sensitive client information as you do. 

If you’re looking for a HIPAA-compliant outsourcing partner, check out the business solutions offered by EB Call Center. Our primary goal is to help you simplify your business processes and maximise your organisation’s growth. Contact us today to learn more! 

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EB Call Center is Officially HIPAA Certified

As the world rapidly shifts towards the digital space, technological innovations continue to progress as well. While these developments grant millions the ease of doing business, one can’t deny that they also come with their fair share of risks.

But now that more companies are conducting their daily operations online, cybercriminals from all over the globe are working tirelessly to steal sensitive information.

To avoid these threats, organizations must take necessary measures to protect themselves from cyberattacks. More so, if you’re operating within the healthcare or finance sector. You wouldn’t want criminals to access critical data like customers’ or employees’ personal information and protected health information (PHI).

Eventually, a policy was created for companies involved in the healthcare industry to strengthen their infrastructure and avert breaches. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is now the standard for recording health data and electronic transactions. This policy prevents healthcare fraud by ensuring that all PHI is secured with restricted access to authorised individuals.

If you’re looking to outsource a particular business process, it will be in your best interest to transact with a HIPAA-compliant outsourcing partner. Since it’s your primary responsibility to protect your client’s information and your company’s data, doing so will ensure the confidentiality of all resources. Fortunately, EB Call Center is here to help you take a step in the right direction!

EB Call Center is Officially HIPAA-Compliant

Optimise your daily operations and ensure the privacy of all stakeholders! Now that Executive Boutique (EB) Call Center is officially HIPPA certified, our company will ensure that all your data is encrypted and transmitted through a secure cloud-based network, with only HIPAA-trained agents allowed to access them.

Our outsourcing company went through a strict HIPAA compliance certification process that the Compliancy Group supervised. The process included the completion of the six (6) audits:

  1. Security Standards
  2. Asset and Device
  3. Physical Site
  4. Security IT Risk Analysis
  5. Privacy Standards
  6. HITECH Subtitle D

These audits allow EB Call Center to comply with the HIPAA Security Rule’s administrative, physical, and technical safeguard requirements, adhere to the Privacy Rule standards, assess preparedness and risk management for a data breach, and have effective written procedures in place for breach notifications.

Outsourcing and Security

One of the biggest issues in the outsourcing industry is a breach of privacy and data theft. It’s crucial that you choose to work with agencies that follow data and compliance standards such as HIPAA. When outsourcing agencies are HIPAA certified, you can be at ease knowing that they will secure your company’s resources.

In the event of a breach, your HIPAA-compliant partner is required to follow the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule procedures. Since all implemented safeguards are recorded, an investigation will take place to discover how the breach happened. With this, all parties can be held accountable.

Power Your Company With a HIPAA-Compliant Outsourcing Partner

Healthcare information is possibly the most important data a company possess. It contains a patient’s medical history, test results, and perhaps details of their health insurance. That’s why it’s reassuring that HIPAA protects this kind of sensitive information.

Safeguard health data by working with a HIPAA-compliant outsourcing partner, like EB Call Center. Not only will you get to protect private information, but your organisation can also easily move data between parties without worrying about cybersecurity.

Ensure data protection and get in touch with Executive Boutique Call Center. Contact us today to learn more!

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The Art of Persuasive Speech: How to Ace a Sales Call

The Art of Persuasive Speech: How to Ace a Sales Call
The Art of Persuasive Speech: How to Ace a Sales Call

At its core, selling is a conversation—it involves communication between two parties. While memorizing a script and knowing a product or service’s full suite of features is one thing, convincing a prospect of its benefits is another thing altogether. Persuasive speech is more than just calling a prospect, giving your pitch, and then closing a sale. It is an art that requires excellent communication skills and critical thinking. 

This infographic will explain the art of persuasive speech, how it is used to make successful sales calls, and how it provides a great customer experience overall.

The Art of Persuasive Speech: How to Ace a Sales Call

What is the Art of Persuasive Speech?

The art of persuasive speech works to convince the listener to accept the perspective you are presenting. For call centers, this means introducing products and services to prospects and compelling them to make a purchase.

Persuasive speech makes use of various communication techniques that appeal to both logic and emotions. This includes using certain verbal cues, word choices, conversation points, and the like. When used correctly, these techniques can convince prospects to accept the agent’s message and act on it.

8 Tips to Ace a Sales Call

When done right, a sales call can convert a prospect into a paying customer. Here are some sales call tips to help things go according to plan.

1. Set an agenda

One big way to earn the trust of a prospect is to be clear about the agenda of the call. This helps the prospect know what to expect from the call and be open to hearing the agent’s message. Additionally, it lets the prospect feel like they are just as in control of the conversation.

For agents, setting a clear and focused agenda makes it easier to keep track of which points have and have not been discussed in the call. It also gives them an anchor to help steer the call to, especially in the event that the conversation strays.

2. Find common ground

Prospects are more likely to listen and be persuaded by an agent if they feel a connection to the message, and by extension, to the brand. By establishing a common ground between the brand and the prospect, it becomes easier to connect the sales pitch with the prospect’s concerns.

Having this common ground is also a good way to build trust and rapport with a prospect further. If they aren’t ready to purchase yet by the end of the call, they will, at least, be more willing to accept future calls that may push them into agreeing to the sale.

3. Be personal

While sales are matters of practicality, they can also be emotionally driven decisions. A good sales call allows for a two-way conversation between the agent and the prospect. With this, an agent can steer the conversation to find what motivates a prospect and what emotional triggers work best with them.

Like with finding common ground, this information can be used to deliver the sales pitch in a way that is tailor-fit to the prospect’s exact concerns and address their needs. This can make all the difference in making the call more persuasive.

4. Use visual language

A challenge that sales calls have is the lack of visuals—a prospect can only rely on the agent to provide enough information for them to envision the product or service being offered. The best way agents can make up for this is to use highly visual language that engages the prospect’s senses.

Visual language can even serve to highlight key features through the use of descriptive scenarios and situations, making it easier for prospects to visualize their use and applications.

5. Explain features vs. benefits

The words “features” and “benefits” are par for the course when convincing prospects that a product or service is right for them. Sometimes these words are used interchangeably, but mixing up the two can lessen the credibility of a sales call.

To distinguish the two, keep in mind that a feature is something that the product or service is or does. Meanwhile, a benefit is the value added to the customer by using the product or service. A sales call that makes both these features distinct and apparent is more likely to convince a prospect.

6. Avoid using jargon

Sometimes, using industry terms and business-related jargon is a way to flex a brand’s expertise in the field. However, too much jargon can be confusing and end up alienating the prospect. It can also make a sales pitch less personalized, making prospects less likely to make the purchase decision.

Instead of focusing on jargon, discuss the product or service in easy-to-understand terms that make their features and benefits clear.

7. Highlight your uniqueness/unique selling point (USP)

In a highly competitive market, brands and their offerings need to distinguish themselves from their competitors. For agents, getting prospects to agree to a sale means showing them exactly what they stand to gain when making a purchase with the company.

Emphasizing a brand’s uniqueness and the USPs of its offerings can create a more persuasive pitch. The goal is to demonstrate to the prospect that not only are they buying into a solution for their needs, but they are also receiving something exclusive to this brand.

8. Adjust and be flexible to the situation

While preparation is key for any sales call to succeed, not everything will go according to plan. Adapting quickly to the changes in the conversation can help steer the call back on track or to a more desirable outcome. Being adaptable is also an essential skill for agents to pick up on a prospect’s cues and address them while keeping the conversation flowing smoothly.

Step Up Sales Calls with the Right Team

Mastering the art of persuasive speech is crucial for any successful sales call. Agents who can hone this skill are able to both sell for a brand and communicate effectively with prospects and customers alike.

Get ahead of your competitors by partnering with a call center in the Philippines with professionals who are masters at persuasive speech. Contact EB Call Center today for excellent and top-notch service.

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The Rise of AI in the Call Center Industry

The Rise of AI in the Call Center Industry
The Rise of AI in the Call Center Industry

Today, people live in the age of technology—a more comfortable and convenient life thanks to digital tools and machinery that are transforming industries. One of the latest technologies that are disrupting businesses is artificial intelligence (AI).

Many people still associate artificial intelligence with science fiction, but it is no longer a new concept and buzzword that holds ambiguous meaning. AI has gradually become commonplace in people’s daily lives, continuing to break into industries such as food, transportation, security, and many more.

Soon, AI will enter the call center industry, and people are looking forward to the promising integration of AI and call center. The infographic below will walk you through how AI will be incorporated in the call center industry’s existing processes to keep you up to speed with the latest developments between this merge.

The Rise of AI in the Call Center Industry

Role of AI in Call Center 

As technology advances, many tasks and issues can now be resolved with a click of a button. With this, customers’ expectations in addressing inquiries and problems are growing higher. Regardless of the medium, they expect immediate solutions and quality customer experiences.

The introduction of artificial intelligence in the call center industry gave people the impression that live agents will soon be replaced with machines. In reality, AI is implemented to complement the human agents’ work and make their job more efficient and effective. AI is breaking into the industry to enhance—not replace—customer service representatives.

For instance, when customer interactions are simple, a chatbot can take over such basic inquiries without any significant value needed to be generated or exchanged. If the query requires more than a few clicks to solve, that’s when a call with a human agent would be better. AI is effective and highly helpful because it provides data to agents as they need it, elevating the customer experience in real-time.

How AI Supports Customer Service Agents

  • Chatbots for common inquiries

About 69% of consumers actively select chatbots to help address their basic queries because they are faster. Chatbots make for excellent assistants, taking care of the rational side of customer service. However, an expert still works best to manage the emotional side of the job and other more complex issues.

Resolving simple questions automatically reduces or eliminates holding times. If a human agent were to answer basic queries, it might take them a couple of minutes or more to find the proper script or resolution for the problem. Automation allows customers to get the answers they’re looking for with reduced friction, regardless if it comes from a live agent or a combination of both humans or chatbots.

  • Captures data from customer interactions

AI tools are programmed to capture and learn data collected from every customer interaction, which goes through their analytics engine. The insights can then be used to improve and optimize the call center process and customer experience. 

For instance, AI tools that run sentiment analysis can catch tone, mood, and language signals that entail impatience or dissatisfaction faster than a human advisor can spot.

  • Automating repetitive tasks

To help your agents focus on what they do best, you can free up their time from performing menial, routine tasks with automation. 

AI technology for customer service can take care of queries like bill payments, address or account changes, and more. Additionally, workflow automation can aid agents with everyday tasks, like inputting and locating data, sending emails, creating a profile for future reference, and following up with leads.

By equipping agents with advanced tools, call center companies can encourage their employees to focus on elevating the customer experience and reduce costs in inadequate training and onboarding processes.

  • Predicts customer behavior and detects emotions

Call center AI offers in-depth insights of individual customer calls at a level human managers or specialists cannot provide. This ability to capture customer data trends allows managers to set up best practices and predict the end-result or consequences of any particular course of action.

For live agents who are new, inexperienced, or don’t have the natural ability to discern customer emotions during a call, the AI technology can notify them when their clients are growing moody so that the agent can adjust correspondingly. This can help resolve problems before the caller gets snappy or worked up.

Summing It Up

Automating certain processes in any industry is not new. AI-supported call centers harness the power and benefits of combining analytics and machine learning and human skills and techniques, bridging the gap in inefficiency.

While AI is slowly taking over the industry and helping call center companies improve their customer experience and employee satisfaction, there’s one thing it can’t replace: human connection.

If you’re looking to outsource certain business functions, consider working with a call center in the Philippines. Executive Boutique Call Center provides top-notch service that can serve your business well. Head over to the Executive Boutique Call Center Contact Us page and drop a message to learn more!

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How to Work with Your Outsourced Team: A Manager’s Guide

How to Work with Your Outsourced Team A Manager's Guide
How to Work with Your Outsourced Team: A Manager's Guide

Outsourcing is the process of hiring another individual or company—either domestically or internationally—to handle business activities and tasks. Hiring an outsource company has become a standard practice as it allows businesses to acquire services and skills that are usually hard to develop due to financial or workforce restrictions, sometimes even both.

By outsourcing, entrepreneurs get to focus more on core competencies, cut costs, and improve the efficiency of their business. Compared to hiring someone locally, outsourcing can save business owners as much as 60%.

With the onboarding of this team in your company, it’s only natural to face challenges when managing a remote team to work productively and achieve the results you want. In this article, learn more about the speed bumps in working with an outsourced team and how to come out on top of these challenges.

Challenges of Managing an Outsourced Team

Admittedly, managing your in-house and outsourced teams require two very different styles. Here are some of the challenges that go with managing an outsourced team:

1. Time difference or scheduling conflicts

It is likely that the outsourced team lives on the other side of the world and, therefore, in a different time zone from yours. Some offshore teams are willing to adjust their schedules to match their employer’s time zone, but then, there are also the holidays of their respective countries. Another scheduling conflict that could arise is their perspective of time—some countries are strict with time, while others are lax about it. 

You can overcome these scheduling conflicts by doing the following:

  • Find a middle ground – Establish how many hours you want your offshore team to work for you. Do you want them to work for ten or 12 hours? Check your team members’ respective time zones and see if there are any overlapping hours between all time zones.
  • Establish a work schedule and scheduling protocol – Will you follow strict working hours, or will you offer a more flexible working schedule for your team? When it comes to scheduling meetings, deadlines, and projects, find out how many days or hours your team members need to prepare for so that they can carefully plot their calendars.
  • Research beforehand key dates and holidays of your team members’ respective countries – These days may be non-working holidays in your team members’ countries, which could potentially mean delays. Determine if you want them to come to work during that particular holiday and make up for it as their overtime pay.

2. Language and communication

When working with a remote team, communication is crucial. Some countries have a good grasp of the English language, while others don’t. 

When hiring a member or a company to become your offshore team, check which language they can speak and communicate in. Use simple language to explain tasks, deliverables, and overall goals. Moreover, establish clear and open communication channels with your team. 

Conduct video calls so that everyone can become familiar with his or her communication styles, ticks, and gestures. This also helps your team associate a face with the names and voices they will usually work with.

3. Understanding different cultures

Each country has a different culture, belief, values, principles, and habits; these differences are inevitable when working with an offshore team. Overcome these first by acknowledging the differences from the very beginning. 

Practice basic courtesy and work ethics, and make sure everyone in your group knows what these are so they are aware. Ask your recruitment firm or HR personnel to conduct culture and sensitivity training for your offshore and onshore teams.

4. Managing expectations

For many companies, setting unrealistic expectations is one of the top problems of outsourcing. Manage expectations by defining and identifying your offshore team’s roles, responsibilities, and priorities to minimize or prevent mistakes and failed expectations. Provide project briefs that give your team the scope of work that needs to be done, the exact dates and deadlines, and the like.

5. Lack of leadership

In a traditional work setting, there is always a manager on the floor keeping members motivated and making sure that they meet deadlines and that the same high quality is maintained. Assign a point person in your team to act the role of a project manager. 

He or she can help mitigate the challenges of cultural differences and scheduling difficulties and help you understand these differences, as well as your team members, better. At the same time, the project manager will help the offshore team channel their work problems with you.

Tips to Work with Your Outsourced Team

After being aware of the various challenges you may face when working with an outsourced team, how can you solve such hurdles? Read on to equip yourself with the best solutions you can implement with your outsourced team.

  • Make them see the vision and set a goal

For a virtual team to work harmoniously with you, make them see and believe in your company’s goal. Have them understand how vital your company is to you and what your definition of success is. Maybe then, they will feel motivated to work hard for you and, thereby, share your vision. If needed, remind them about the company’s goals. 

  • Show a united process

Keep everyone on the same page and up-to-date with his or her tasks, deadlines, and expectations. By ensuring cohesion within and between your outsourced team, they get to accomplish valuable work. To keep everyone in the loop, choose one out of the numerous communication tools that everyone on your team will use, and make sure that they align with the type of work involved. 

In addition, encourage accountability within your team through collaboration tools such as Dropbox and Google Drive. These tools will help you see your team’s progress, thereby encouraging them to spend their time efficiently.

  • Allow some room for flexibility

Not everyone responds well with a rigid structure or micromanaging. Maximize your team’s efforts by ensuring that they can work when they feel most energized and motivated. At the same time, you should trust your offshore team. Never forget that you hired them for their expertise in a particular field or task. Make your team feel that you trust them to make decisions based on their professional judgment. 

Ask for their opinions and make them feel included in the project or task. Encourage them to ask questions, get involved, or speak up.

  • Highlight achievements, reward good work, and show gratitude

Sometimes, saying “good job” and “thank you” already makes a world of difference to an employee. This can boost productivity because they feel appreciated. Your appreciation and gratitude can also come in the form of a gift or award. There is a reason why many companies nominate someone as their “Employee of the Month.” 

To amp up your team’s productivity, introduce incentives or rewards systems for their outstanding effort. These are great ways of encouraging your team to work better and meet their deadlines or targets and demonstrate their involvement with the team and the company despite being miles away.

  • Check your offshore team

Once in a while, check-in with your offshore team outside work hours. This gives you and your team a chance to get to know each other beyond emails and deliverables, thus strengthening your relationship with them. This also shows them how much you value their work and the effort they have put in for your company.

Manage the Challenges

When it comes to working with an offshore team, there will always be challenges, but these can be resolved through open communication, understanding, and working together toward a common goal. Outsourcing should not be a burden but rather help alleviate problems and tasks that you cannot do alone.

If you are looking for professionals to execute certain functions for your business, work with a call center in the Philippines for excellent and top-notch service. Visit Executive Boutique Call Center and drop a message here.

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The Future of Call Center: 14 Must-Know Statistics and Trends

Banner The Future of Call Center 14 Must Know Statistics and Trends (1)

The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry which includes outsourcing of call centers is one of the fastest-growing sectors for many years now. The BPO industry continues to create job opportunities for many people across the globe, largely contributing to the economies of Asian countries including the Philippines and India.

While some critics have wrongly predicted the demise of call centers due to advances in artificial intelligence (AI), the industry continues to thrive and is still evolving and innovating—just as new technologies and tools continue to emerge. With these new technologies, BPO industry veterans look forward to creating more value for their customers and making the job easier for businesses and call center agents alike. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look into the future of this continuously-growing and evolving industry. This visual graph below illustrates a complete picture of call centers—the figures and trends to keep watch so you can stay on top of the game. Let’s get started!

Infographic The Future of Call Center 14 Must Know Statistics and Trends

Understanding Customer Expectations and Needs

As a business, it’s understandable that you want to differentiate yourself from other organizations and stand out from the competition. 

As part of your plans and strategies to keep on improving, this can also mean that you outsource certain business functions to better-skilled professionals. This will allow your company to uncomplicate issues and unload you of tasks, providing you more time to focus on important matters such as maintaining high customer satisfaction.

Many technological advances are emerging and there will only be more to come. Considering the numbers and the new trends mentioned above, you could better improve processes by looking into the right metrics, using automation tools, and implementing machine learning, among others, to reduce the number of frustrated customers and elevate your satisfaction score.

Call Center Industry Trends to Watch Out For

1. Chatbots

More brands and businesses are turning to chatbots. A study shows that consumers would like to use chatbots to get quick answers during an emergency (37%), to resolve an issue (35%), and even make reservations (33%), among others.

Messaging platforms serve as the primary drivers for the growth of chatbots. Platforms that feature chatbot functions can improve brand awareness, sales or lead generation, and customer support services. What’s more, chatbots are available 24/7 and can respond almost in an instant, even when managing multiple conversations.

As chatbots utilized by contact centers get more advanced and sophisticated, they will be able to incorporate more empathy and personalization in their conversations. Implementing chatbots in contact center companies enable them to cut costs and allow agents to focus on more pressing calls while providing a positive experience to users.

2. More advanced data analytics

Prior to the introduction of new technologies, contact centers depended on their quick-thinking and experienced team leaders and managers to lead their agents and boost their performance. But, in this data-driven era, analytics and insights now influence long-term strategy development and approaches for better decision-making, identifying the root cause of a problem, and evaluating agent performance to propel the business in the right direction.

Since call center companies serve as the point of contact between businesses and their customers, it makes sense to utilize advanced analytics software and tools to churn out information from their interactions.

The data collected and studied highlights valuable insights regarding important metrics like average handling time, agent idle time, first call resolution, and more. It also includes user information, such as demographics and preferences, to help develop more effective strategies for better customer service.

3. Non-voice commerce 

Conversational commerce is growing, and it’s changing the way people communicate with businesses. This convenient communication method allows customers to chat, make purchases, ask questions, and receive help from companies whenever and wherever they want.

Statistics show that on Facebook Messenger alone, people and businesses exchange 20 billion messages each month. Messenger for Business allows brands to provide support via Messenger, which is one way to simplify the customer journey. Customer service centers are exploring this new way of communication to enhance customer experience and generate additional revenue.

4. Social media presence

Customers connect with businesses on social media platforms and expect to receive a quick response. About 37% of consumers expect answers on their queries or complaints within a day. Additionally, more than 76% of people message businesses to get customer service support for a product or service.

Users go on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to talk about and get in touch with brands, which is a clear indication that you must invest in social media. 

Forming your social media support teams will let you tap on more customers and foster brand communities. As such, consider including investing in training and social media management tools for more efficient, responsive, and personalized two-way conversations. 

In line with this, new customer support platforms allow agents to have all of their customer interactions in one window. This platform has access to all forms of communication such as Facebook, Viber, WeChat, Twitter, etc.

5. Cloud computing 

Nowadays, call center businesses recognize the practicality and functionality of cloud-based platforms as they help remote agents interact with customers the same way they would on-site. Using cloud computing applications for your contact center not only let you gather and generate data from customers, but they also do so smoothly and conveniently by making customer files accessible online.

Given this, you can subscribe or avail of a cloud-based tool on a pay-per-usage basis instead of spending a chunk of your marketing spend on IT and infrastructure. This allows brands to serve more customers and have the advantage of flexible time, as well as hire skilled agents from other parts of the world for round-the-clock support.

6. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is leading the conversation around call center trends as it’s one of the more exciting and powerful technological disruptions in the industry. 

AI solutions and machine learning can filter complex conversations and redirect them to contact agents for comprehensive support. It can determine the next steps when interacting with customers based on its previous interactions. 

For instance, it can detect the customer’s language and tone by looking for specific keywords and utilize sentiment analysis algorithms to manage calls more accurately. This helps route calls to the skilled agents at the right time, boost agent productivity and performance, and ensure customer satisfaction. 

For example, Cogito has a human-level of artificial intelligence that’s aware of all conversations and in real-time analysis as well. It studies multiple conversations and provides the best guidance for agents to converse with empathy, and confidence.

Final Thoughts on the Future of Call Centers

There you have it—the leading figures and trends at play in the BPO and call center industry. Acknowledge these new technologies and statistics or you risk getting left behind, as other organizations adapt and advance. Being a leader in the outsourcing industry means keeping up with the latest innovations to meet your customers’ expectations.

Are you looking for ways to outsource specific functions of your business? Executive Boutique Call Center is a reliable and progressive call center in the Philippines that provides excellent and outstanding service. Visit the Executive Boutique Call Center Contact Us page here and drop a message to get started.

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How to Choose Between In-house and Outsourced Customer Support Teams

How to Choose Between In-house and Outsourced Customer Support Teams

Providing excellent customer support to your clients is a top priority for any business. It can improve your customers’ overall experience, elevate your brand image, and foster loyalty. It can even be argued that as the bridge between you and your customers, customer support can make or break a company’s performance.

To nurture customer relationships and put your best foot forward, your company needs to have a strong and capable customer support team that is guaranteed to deliver. However, while this function is vital for operational success, decision-makers face a dilemma: should customer support teams be in-house or outsourced? 

This article will discuss the differences between in-house and outsourced teams, as well as the factors to consider when choosing between the two.

In-house vs. Outsourced Customer Support Team

The main aspect that sets in-house and outsourced teams apart is the source of the labor. 

In-house teams—also known as insourced—are teams made up of individuals that are hired under and work directly for the company. In-house customer service teams are hired, trained, and managed by people within the company itself. These teams also use the equipment and resources that the company provides.

Outsourced teams, meanwhile, are contracted through a third-party service provider. Every aspect of these teams—hiring, training, workflow, and management—are covered by this third-party organization. Additionally, the service provider covers the office space, equipment, and other resources needed by their staff to perform services for the client company.

Factors to Consider in Choosing Between In-house and Outsourced

For providing customer support, there are several factors to consider when choosing between an in-house and outsourced team.

1. Size

There are two ways to discuss size: the size of the team you want to build and the size of the office space that you plan to place them in. When it comes to the size of the team, it’s important to determine not only your immediate or near term needs, but also try to predict your anticipated growth and your ability to manage and house a large number of people. 

If you are only catering to a small number of customers, it may be wise to outsource your customer support instead of building a team internally. By outsourcing, you don’t have to spend a lot of money building the infrastructure, recruiting the talent and training the new team, all of which a call center can handle for you. 

However, a big customer support team can be challenging to manage and oversee, especially if you are a budding startup. An outsource call center’s expertise in managing a large group of people with unified training and performance may also help.

The size of your office can affect the decision to hire people for an in-house team, as well. The workplace should be large enough to accommodate all current employees comfortably, as well as the anticipated amount of new hires to comprise your customer support team. Otherwise, an outsourced team will operate in a separate location from your company, reducing your space requirements.

2. Cost

Investing in an in-house customer service team will require large upfront capital spending on the necessary infrastructure, labor, and overhead costs. Outsourcing to countries such as the Philippines typically will result in savings of 50%-70% from the cost of hiring internally. When comparing outsourcing to an in-house team, it’s important to not just compare the hourly rate of the outsource center to the hourly rate of an in-house person. That would be like comparing apples to oranges. The hourly rate you pay for an in-house employee does not include the percentage of the overhead costs that can be allocated to each employee including: recruiting costs, rent, utilities, management cost, payroll taxes, benefits (including health insurance, paid leave, vacations). Whereas, with an hourly rate you pay an outsourced call center, all of those items are baked into their flat hourly rate.

3. Flexibility

For businesses that cater to international markets or want to provide more accessible customer service, having a customer support team that can work at any time or during peak hours is vital. 

In-house teams may be restricted to local time zones and require special wage arrangements for odd hours. Outsourced teams may be able to work around these requirements, especially if they are located in a different time zone.

4. Scalability

Depending on the nature of your business, you may experience seasonal or cyclical sales. This can lead to peaks at certain parts of the fiscal year, with little activity before and after. An in-house team may be enough for off-season concerns, but outsourcing may be necessary to address the increased demand during peak season adequately. 

Outsourcing customer service can also be advantageous for smaller businesses wanting to focus on growth opportunities.

5. Management

Creating an in-house customer support team will require the resources and labor necessary to complete the recruitment and training process for these specific roles. Outsourcing service providers primarily focus on these aspects, resulting in a more streamlined process and a roster of already-capable staff.

6. Expertise

With some products and industries, having more specialized knowledge or technical understanding is crucial to offer valuable and effective support solutions to customers. 

In-house training can ensure that your customer service teams are at the level of expertise needed for the job. Getting this same level of expert knowledge from a third-party provider may depend on the provider’s capabilities and the terms of the contract. However, with video conferencing technology, your ability to train a remote outsourced workforce has never been easier, and in many ways is better than having to schedule in-person training.

7. Technology

Setting up customer service operations will require the infrastructure necessary to run it effectively. Workstations, storage spaces, servers, telephone lines, and other IT resources are just some of the equipment needed to keep operations in proper working order. 

This technology will also need to be regularly updated or upgraded to satisfy both operational and cybersecurity requirements. This kind of infrastructure is a costly investment for in-house operations. 

8. Security

Another top priority for companies is data security. Keeping sensitive customer information safe from cyber threats or unauthorized access is essential for operational requirements and fostering trust with clients. 

Contracting a service provider may open up points of security breaches, depending on how thorough their data security protocols are. However, you have to keep in mind that the people you are outsourcing are good at what they do. As an entity, they are more focused and determined to keep your data secure.

If your company plans to have the outsourced call center process credit card payments, it is critical to work with a call center that has been audited by a third party security company and has been certified by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

Moreover, if your company works with Private Health Information (PHI) then the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to you and your venders with access to PHI:

A. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards – These standards have been established to secure debit and credit card information that is shared with you over the phone and stored within your company. To comply with the PCI DSS standards, your company needs to get certified by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC).

The certification process is very expensive to set up. Outside third party security auditors are required to obtain your Attestation of Compliance. By using an outsourced call center that already has their PCI compliance in place, it will save you tens of thousands of dollars annually. 

B. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – HIPAA was established in part to secure and protect health care information, and other health related transactions such as patient’s billing details provided by your customers. Some outsource call centers specialize in healthcare services and have all of the processes in place to ensure HIPAA compliance.

9. Brand Awareness

Customer service representatives are the customer’s first point of contact with your brand. Having reps who have full knowledge of your brand—from its vision to the full suite of offerings—can make all the difference in the way a support transaction is handled. 

Outsourced teams may not be able to have the full grasp of your brand the same way that in-house reps with firsthand experience will, though with the proper training, the outsource reps can get up to speed quickly.

10. Language and Culture

A good customer service team can embody the language and culture of your target audience, creating a smooth and seamless support experience. Depending on the demographic of your company’s client base, an in-house team may have an advantage with local clients. 

If you want to have a customer support team that is flexible and can adapt to different customs and cultures, outsourcing your customer support team is your best bet. Keep in mind, though, that careful screening is needed to ensure that an outsourced team can uphold the level of proficiency required to be effective.

11. Control

Being able to change and control aspects of the work process, especially for customer service, may be necessary to deliver good customer service. 

Outsourced customer support teams are less controllable, as the service provider may have their own workflow and processes in place already. You have to sit down and put a management strategy in place just for your outsourced customer support team.

In Summary

While in-house operations allow for a more specialized and branded service, a huge investment is needed to ensure its effectiveness. Outsourcing customer service can greatly reduce the investment required to hire and train a team, allowing for better scaling and flexibility. However, companies will have less control over the overall workflow and need to assess the risks involved with working with a third-party provider.

At the end of the day, deciding between an in-house customer service team and outsourcing with a third-party service provider will depend on the company’s needs.

 For your business function outsourcing requirements, Executive Boutique Call Center offers excellent service from top-notch professionals. Contact us today for more information.

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Key Advantages of Outsourcing Legal Services

Outsourcing has become an indispensable method for law firms of all sizes and specialties to streamline workflow and while enhancing operational efficiency. Delegating non-core tasks and chores to an overseas call center can help legal departments scale more rapidly without investing large sums of money in staffing or infrastructure.

BPO legal services can be an effective solution for law firms plagued by high turnover rates, staff burnout, or an inability to generate new leads and higher income. Business Process Outsourcing, or BPO, is driven by client requirements and goals. Whether your partnership needs assistance handling inbound calls or savvy social media upkeep, outsourcing provides several key advantages.

Key advantages of outsourcing legal services

Legal BPO confers the expertise and resources to grow your business exponentially. Contracts are flexible and designed to meet your individual needs and milestones.  Outsourcing the most time-intensive and burdensome processes can help advance your law firm in a competitive industry while saving up to 40 percent on overhead costs.

The benefits of legal outsourcing are myriad. Law firms gain access to state-of-the-art technological infrastructure, domain expertise, and a designated staff of talented, English-speaking professionals who shine in their chosen field.

BPO providers for law firms act as an extension of your own business. The goal is seamless integration that allows you to allocate internal resources in a smarter and more efficient manner.

Highly-skilled agents work round-the-clock, 365 days a year, handling a wide range of tasks and projects with the utmost professionalism. This extends your working hours considerably, without the expense or headache of hiring in-house support staff.  Outsourcing administrative and back-office legal processes can decrease turnaround times and boost productivity. This allows you the financial freedom to ramp up or scale down as necessary.

Confidentiality of legal documents and records is critical. Because leading BPO partners employ best-in-class quality control measures and data security policies, you can feel confident that all transactions are 100% secure.  

Affordable outsourcing solutions for the legal industry

Expand your law firm’s bandwidth and capabilities with tailored BPO services that cut costs and save time. Services can be customized to meet each client’s requirements, and include:

  • Live web chats
  • Appointment setting
  • Inbound and outbound calls
  • Accounting and billing
  • Claim filing and processing
  • Lead generation
  • Data entry
  • Litigation research
  • Document coding
  • Social media support
  • 24/7 customer support

Scalable BPO legal services from Executive Boutique

Executive Boutique Call Center provides cost-efficient BPO services for attorneys, legal departments, and law firms worldwide.  We are located in the Cebu IT Park office complex and leverage top-level talent at incredibly affordable rates. Tap into our industry expertise and flexible service delivery models to increase efficiencies and improve your bottom line.

EB Call Center is a trusted Philippines business process outsourcing partner. To learn more about our suite of services and fee structure, please call our office for a free quote.

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What is BPO in the Insurance Industry?

Economies of scale are a key concept for any business trying to gain a competitive advantage. Companies within the insurance sector are no exception. Stringent regulations and cut-throat competition have pressured many insurance agencies to look outside the box for more flexible business models. Outsourcing is one strategy that provides great flexibility to scale up as needed while improving customer experience and satisfaction levels.

When profit margins are shrinking, and skilled manpower is too expensive, outsourcing non-critical tasks can be an efficient solution. BPO service for insurance companies lets your agency achieve economy of scale by increasing production and lowering costs.

Customized BPO services for insurance companies

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services are meant to be an extension of your own company. Whether you need to scale up for a short-term campaign or want to grow your company’s brand without incurring high operational costs, your specific needs and goals can be met. Established BPO providers can develop a service package that is customized and doesn’t tie you down with lengthy contract terms.

As an example, EB Call Center in the Philippines features service contracts on a month-to-month basis, with zero set-up fees. Agents are college-educated, speak fluent English, and leverage extensive expertise in their chosen field, be it IT, customer service, accounting, or data analytics.

Outsourcing means access to not only talented agents but also state-of-the-art technological infrastructure.  Customer queries are seamlessly handled through omni-channel platforms, including social media, email, phone, texts, and chat.

Achieve a global presence & boost in-house efficiency

BPO offers another vital advantage to companies within the insurance industry–a global presence– that operates across various time zones and in multiple languages. Call center agents are available around-the-clock, 365 days a year. It’s no secret that exemplary service drives customer loyalty. Answer calls and resolve disputes promptly and watch your business thrive.

As market demands fluctuate, you want the capital and manpower to stay agile, without spending valuable time and money on repetitive office tasks. Hiring a peripheral staff to handle back-office needs like renewals processing lets you concentrate on essential initiatives to take your company to the next level.

Whether your company offers Annuity insurance, Life Insurance, or Property Insurance, there are a host of back-office tasks that can be outsourced:

  • Appointment setting
  • Customer inquiries and resolution
  • Bill payment and processing
  • IT support
  • Policy changes and verification
  • Underwriting support
  • Claims processing
  • Accounting
  • Data entry and management
  • Customer loyalty programs

Executive Boutique for insurance back-office needs

Executive Boutique Call Center is a trusted third-party Philippines business process outsourcing center. Our professional agents are experts in their niche and well-versed in insurance industry best practices and regulations. Realize the long-term benefits of our affordable solutions to help your business maximize revenue while lowering operational costs.

Find out how EB Call Center can help your insurance company quickly scale and grow. Reach out to request a free quote.

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