Executive Boutique

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From the blog

5 Crucial Skills Every Call Center Agent Needs to Have

5 Crucial Skills Every Call Center Agent Needs to Have

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

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

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

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

Let’s hop right in.

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

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

1. Customer-centered Attitude

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

2. Composure

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

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

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

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

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

3. Resourcefulness and Flexibility

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

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

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

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

4. Organization

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

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

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

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

5. Effective Communication Skills

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

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

Active listening is also important.

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

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

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

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

Invest in these agents.

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

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

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Call Center Lead Generation Services

Call-Center-Lead-Generation-Services
For your company’s sales team to keep closing deals, you need to have a steady stream of quality leads.

While you can certainly train them to generate the leads themselves, they would be far more effective if they focused on doing one thing only — and that is, to close the sales.

If your sales team is less effective/efficient because they’re having to juggle between the task of closing deals and generating leads, then you might want to consider working with call centers for their lead generation services.

Let’s look at some of the strategic lead generation services that call centers can often help you with.

Lead Generation Services 

Inbound 

When your audience are the ones reaching out to you, then you’re in a great place to turn them into leads — so you can further establish your relationship with them — then turn them into paying customers.

Here are a few “inbound” ways to that call centers can generate leads for you:

  • Live chats and hangouts. Live chat is one of the direct ways your customers can engage with your company, show interest in your products, and qualify as a lead.
  • Social media. Networking sites function like a digital contact list where the specialists can find countless leads, examine users’ beat, and filter them appropriately.

Likes, reposts, and comments, including private messages, can all help specialists capture leads and assign appropriate action according to the campaign strategy.

  • Blogs. Blog posts on your website with a feedback section invitations also call users to engage directly with your company.

Their commenting and the kind of feedback they give signifies their interest and can lead to closing sales transactions.

  • Forms. Forms like sign-up, contact, subscription and others also help gather leads as interested users fill them up.

Outbound

In most outsourcing undertakings, lead generation is usually classified under outbound call center services.

Outbound calls are a more proactive way of gathering leads through the following methods:

  • Cold calling and Telemarketing. Telemarketing allows lead generation specialists to have direct contact with your prospects.

Through this strategy, they can immediately work from your customer information database or contact lists according to your particular needs.

They can call hundreds of accounts and build on their initial conversation with your customers for further business and sales engagement.

  • Appointment setting. Specialists can rapidly call prospects and schedule profitable appointments on behalf of your sales team.

Their services can even include follow-ups and personal meetings.

Specialists can also turn on settings that enable prospects to listen to your company’s messages at specific periods when your representative is available.

Appointment setting also allows specialists to foster client trust and relationship, and project a favorable brand image of your company.

  • Email marketing. Through email campaigns, specialists can reach out to your customers directly and appropriately.

They can thoroughly study your product and service market and create innovative messages and campaigns with compelling CTAs.

Outsource Your Lead Generation.

For your lead-generating efforts to succeed, you need to put in a lot of skill, focus, and time. 

Call centers are the perfect match to suit your lead generation needs through their dedicated specialists.

With the help of call centers, you can have highly-trained lead generation specialists engaging your audience so you can turn them into leads.

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The Difference Between a BPO and a Call Center

The Difference Between a BPO and a Call Center

There is a difference between a BPO and a call center.

Not many people know about it. And a lot of people often interchange both thinking that they’re the same.

Allow me to explain the difference between the two.

What does a BPO do?

BPO stands for Business Process Outsourcing. From the phrase itself, you can get an idea of what the industry is all about.

Companies tap BPO organizations to carry out their back-end and front-office operations, and perform tasks found in a specific process or part of a process.

Back-end processes refer to those not related directly to customer support, but complement and help improve the customer experience. 

Examples of these include tasks related to accounts and finance, data entry, billing and payments, employee payroll, surveys, content writing, processing of claims, verification of applications, and more.

Front-office processes, on the other hand, involve customer management functions through email, live chat, social media and others, helpdesk services, appointment setting, and more.

BPO outsourcing is for startups, too.

You may notice that these tasks are often management and administrative, and though menial, can take up a lot of time to be accomplished.

As such, companies often outsource to BPO organizations to do these for them. Doing so allows them to enhance their efficiency, productivity, and performance.

If you own a startup or a small business, and you think outsourcing to a BPO organization is only for big-time companies, think again. 

Outsourcing can work wonders for startups and small businesses. With the help of BPO companies, startups owners can focus on focus on the more important parts of their business.

It allows them to delegate administrative tasks so they can better focus on things like business growth, sales, streamlining their process, etc.

It also helps companies manage their workforce, costs, and resources better as they expand their business.

What Do Call Centers Do?

Just like BPOS, you can grasp the work/offer of call center companies by what they’re called.

Call centers accomplish a company’s tasks that deal mainly with phone calls. They can fulfill various objectives such as lead generation, sales, marketing, customer support, and others.

These phone calls can either be inbound or outbound.

Inbound processes happen when customers call to avail of a company’s services, make product inquiries, report a complaint or defect, or request for resolution of a technical problem.

The classic examples are airline ticket reservation and purchase, requesting internet connection recovery, terminating postpaid mobile plans, requesting pizza delivery, and a lot more.

Outbound calls happen when call center representatives reach out to prospects or leads, on behalf of the company for sales, marketing, or other purposes.

For instance, they invite customers to open a credit card account or get life insurance or even follow up for payments.

Agents or representatives typically call customers indicated in a contact list and proactively pursue them.

Services call centers provide are vital. They cultivate the company’s relationship with its customers through direct interaction, whether the customer initiates it or the call center does.

Your Turn!

Are you looking for a BPO or a call center company?

Either way, you can call us at  1-888-700-9555. Our associates are more than happy to talk to you about your outsourcing needs may it be inbound or outbound calls, lead generation, etc.

We look forward to hearing from you. Cheers!

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Self-Care Tips for Busy Leaders

As a leader, others orbit around you, looking to you for guidance and direction, hoping to better themselves in their work and overall everyday lives. Being a leader means putting the people who follow you first, and their livelihoods. A leader could be a boss, a co-worker, a politician, or just an everyday person; leader qualities live inside of everyone. Being a leader also means you might find yourself neglecting what is most important — your own self-care. Without it, everything is affected; our jobs, our relationships, and even our finances can suffer! It’s so important to take care of oneself, that we put together a list of four self-care tips for you desperate leaders. Keep reading!

#1. Be assertive! This one might not be too hard if you’re already sitting pretty with this personality trait trained and waiting in your arsenal, but if this doesn’t come naturally to join remember to practice it! Remember that YOU are your own master, and you’re not a slave to your own leadership. Say “no” when you want to — and don’t feel bad!

#2. Get away when you can. We strongly suggest that you use up your vacation days, or even weekends, to refocus. Center yourself back into the powerful leader that you are so you can attack the next work week. Sometimes just stepping away to look at the situation as a whole is just what you need to keep your sanity from slipping away.

#3. Stay involved in some sort of community. Even if you just visit your parents once a week, you’re still surrounding yourself with people who aren’t looking to you for a leadership. These people — your friends, your family, your lover — all hold you near and dear to their hearts, and will act as a softening agent to a reality that puts a lot of strain on you.

#4. The 3 Rs: Rest, Routine, Reward. You need to get the allocated 8 hours — or more — of sleep in a day. It’s hard when you’re busy, but SO MUCH changes when you’ve slept long and we’ll. You should also establish a morning routine that will leave you feeling happy and energized for the rest of the day (hint: avoid heavy starchy breakfasts). Finally, at the end of the day, you need to reward yourself with the things you like. It could be wine, a snack, a movie, or anything else, so long as you enjoy it.

Remember, self-care is the one thing we can’t afford to avoid! What are some of your self-care routines? Let us know in the comments!

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How Outsourcing to a BPO Company Can Be a Deal Maker For Startups

How-Outsourcing-to-a-BPO-Company-Can-Be-a-Deal-Breaker-For-Startups

Do you remember how your summers were spent as a child? You were either that kid who spent most of the summer frolicking under the sun or the one who got busy selling ice-cold homemade refreshments for some extra cash.

If you are the latter, you are probably longing for those good old days where things seemed so simple.

Contrary to your situation now as an adult, who just started your business venture,you are beginning to realize that running a business is far more complicated than how they were when you were selling homemade refreshments as a little kid.  

As a newly minted entrepreneur, you are continually finding yourself either doing administrative tasks that are repetitive, time-consuming, and not necessarily contributing to any of your company’s goals; or wishing that you would find a qualified and experienced person to do the same admin tasks that are eating up most of your time.

This is where working with a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company will make all the difference.

Alibaba, hailed as the world’s biggest online marketplace, started as China Yellow Pages. Their journey to become the giant global online marketplace that they are today started with outsourcing their web design.The Alibaba group is living proof that startups and BPOs are indeed, a perfect match

Especially now that the world is digitally connected, people demand efficiency and convenience. BPOs give startups the edge they need to survive in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive environment.

Perfect Match

The BPO industry continues to grow exponentially year on year. Here are some of the reasons why startups and BPOs are a match made in heaven.

BPOs are cost savers

As a fledgling company, you operate on a tight budget. Instead of hiring full-time staff and paying for monthly salary and benefits, your money is better off spent on product innovation or expansion.

Working with a BPO company will help get things done faster, for the same level of quality, but  a lesser financial investment.

It also helps you save money by eliminating the need to purchase equipment or technology, not to mention, maintaining them.  

BPO companies run state-of-the-art facilities which are maintained regularly to operate on tip-top condition. Consider this as one less concern ticked off from your long expense list.

BPOs allow company flexibility

As a startup, you need to be able to scale your business operations. Having limited resources should not stop you from meeting your clients demands. When in need of additional manpower, your partner BPO company can round up, or round down your workforce according to your needs. They help you manage your costs better.

BPOs helps streamline business process

By delegating tasks and projects to a BPO, you have more time to devote and focus on your core business functions. This takes away your involvement in needing to make decisions related to day to day operations. Not only does this save you time, but it also improves your company’s efficiency.

What’s Next?

Are you looking for your perfect match? Ready to give outsourcing to a BPO company a try?

Let Executive Boutique lead the way!

Our experienced team on BPO management, highly-trained, dedicated agents, and cutting edge technology will be with you to support you every step of the way. We offer a wide range of office tasks to support your business at attractive, competitive rates.

Contact us today to find out more!

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What Is PCI DSS and Why Is It Important?

Any business that handles credit card transactions needs to be aware of the requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This is a suite of security standards that is intended to ensure a secure environment for credit card information. These protocols are wide-ranging, affecting countless businesses. Here’s what you need to know about PCI DSS.

What exactly is PCI DSS?

The PCI DSS requirements were developed by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council. Every organization, including nonprofit entities, which accept payment cards must adhere to these standards. This includes debit and credit card transactions. It also includes any organization that indirectly manages these transactions through a third party.

What happens if my business is not PCI DSS compliant?

Non-compliant organizations are subject to fines and other penalties. The PCI Security Standards Council is backed by the five major credit card companies—American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and JCB (Japan Credit Bureau). These payment card companies, through the PCI Security Standards Council, are behind the potential penalties for non-compliant organizations.

Fines are imposed only rarely, but they can be substantial. They can range from $5,000 to $100,000 per month per violation. It’s more common for a non-compliant merchant to first receive a warning letter and guidance on the violation that requires correction. Subsequent violations may result in the cessation of payment card processing, either temporarily or permanently.

What are the requirements of PCI DSS?

There are 12 main requirements of PCI DSS. They cover the following areas:

  • The use of a firewall configuration
  • The use of custom, non-vendor-supplied default passwords and other security parameters
  • The protection of stored cardholder data
  • The encryption of data transmitted over open, public networks
  • The use and regular updating of antivirus software
  • Secure systems and applications
  • Restricted access to cardholder data
  • A unique ID for each person with computer access
  • Restriction of physical access to cardholder data
  • The tracking and monitoring of access to cardholder data
  • Testing of security systems and processes
  • Policy regarding information security

What if I use a third-party vendor like a call center?

Since call center operatives may manage credit card transactions, it’s crucial that you outsource your calls to a call center that is 100% compliant with the PCI DSS requirements. It may not be enough to simply know that the call center is compliant. It’s in your business’ and your customers’ best interests to choose a call center that has been verified compliant with the PCI Compliance Certification. This certification guarantees that the call center uses acceptable technology to protect credit card information during transactions.

Looking for a 100% compliant and certified call center? Executive Boutique is proud to maintain our PCI Compliance Certification because the safety and security of your customers is our top priority. When you choose our call center in the Philippines, your customers can safely enter their sensitive data directly into our secure service, bypassing the need for our call center agents to handle that data. In the event an agent does need to handle sensitive data, we use “pause and resume” technology that prevents credit card info from being recorded. We also use PCI DSS-compliant storage with encryption for all sensitive data. Get in touch with us today to find out how Executive Boutique can assist your company.

Additional resources on PCI DSS

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Outbound Call Center Services: We Make Calls For You

The success of your company is largely dependent upon its competitive edge. No matter how innovative your business model is, your company must still compete against countless other businesses in the same industry. And if you’re like many entrepreneurs, you simply don’t have the resources to maintain an in-house call center to generate leads and turn prospects into sales. By partnering with an outbound call center, you can gain that competitive edge you need to corner your share of the market. An outbound call center can provide many types of services for your company, including the following.

Appointment setting

These days, few businesses have time to spend making cold calls. But this method of drumming up new customers can be effective when it’s done by a skilled call center agent. You can outsource your cold calling to an outbound call center to boost your customer base by securing face-to-face meetings with qualified prospects. Cold calling professionals can set appointments for any purpose. Whether you need to get more clients or customers through your door or connect with potential buyers, an outbound call center is the versatile solution you need to scale your company.

Seminar and event registration

Seminars and other events can be invaluable ways of promoting brand awareness and positioning your company as an industry leader. But in order for your event to be a success, you need more bodies in the seats. The professional agents at an outbound call center can make the hundreds of calls necessary to register more attendees. In addition to boosting your registration list, these agents can perform the following tasks:

  • Alert attendees of scheduling changes
  • Up-sell or cross-sell sponsorship spots
  • Explain exhibiting opportunities
  • Conduct post-event followups

Market research data collection

Market research is the foundation of any effective marketing campaign. Unfortunately, it’s time-consuming and tedious—and often, it’s one of the least-enjoyed aspects of entrepreneurialism. By partnering with an outbound call center, you can completely outsource your market research needs. Qualified agents can perform inbound or outbound data collection campaigns, including surveys and polls, in order to deliver the insights you need to craft a winning marketing campaign.

Lead generation

Are you spending too much time generating and qualifying leads? These are tasks you could easily outsource to an outbound call center. Experienced agents can start with your lead list. After identifying and qualifying your prospects, the agents will distribute these qualified leads to your sales team, enabling your company to focus on what matters: Boosting revenue and reaching long-term objectives.

Executive Boutique: Your call center partner

Executive Boutique is an American and Australian-owned call center strategically located in the Philippines. Our professional agents can handle all of your outbound call center needs, from appointment setting and lead generation to market research data collection and seminar registration—just to name a few. We’ve worked with a diverse range of industries, including ecommerce, retail, healthcare, insurance, and financial. Streamline your operations by partnering with Executive Boutique today.

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Why is HIPAA Compliance Important for Healthcare Organizations?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is one of the most important pieces of legislation to impact healthcare in recent years, designed to address insurance coverage for individuals that would otherwise be left unprotected between jobs. The legislation also takes a focus on the protection of confidential information, as well as preventing fraud, making HIPAA essential to understand for healthcare organizations.

Benefits for Providers and Professionals

When HIPAA was enacted in 1996, it brought along with it a range of improvements for consumers in the healthcare industry. A central development that necessitated the introduction of HIPAA was the transition from paper records being the standard form of documentation to digital record-keeping, which required a new and comprehensive approach to patient privacy and organizational efficiency.

HIPAA helps ensure that sensitive healthcare information can be shared between insurance providers, employers, and other industry professionals can share information when necessary while maintaining the highest possible degree of confidentiality. Essentially, HIPAA helps streamline healthcare by facilitating effective communication between healthcare providers and those they serve, standardizing the process to promote flexibility.

Benefits for Patients

While HIPAA has had a transformative effect on the way the healthcare industry operates, it offers even greater benefits for patients. Where before organizations had individual privacy policies and would rarely face repercussions for exposing patient data, HIPAA protects private citizens by safeguarding personal information through a defined set of guidelines that govern healthcare providers, health plans, and other HIPAA-regulated entities.

The primary purpose of HIPAA from a patient standpoint is to define who can view patient information as well as limiting who the new data generated can be shared with. The legislation mandates that any information disclosed to a healthcare organization must be protected by stringent security standards, and patients have final determination over when personal information is released as well as who the organization’s records are shared with.

Another aspect of HIPAA is to prevent errors in data recording from negatively impacting patient care. Even the most meticulous organizations sometimes make mistakes when recording and transferring healthcare data, and giving patients the power to access these records allows them to inspect for inaccuracies. Obtaining copies of health records prevents tests from being repeated and critical information from being lost in translation.

In the wake of a severe incident, a person may be rendered unable to communicate with their healthcare providers, and so HIPAA also allows individuals to predetermine who can speak on their behalf where their wellness is concerned. Patients can select as many parties as they desire to communicate their needs in their absence, and under the act everyone elected as a representative as complete access to relevant medical records.

For patients taking an active role in their healthcare as well as organizations that rely on effective communication with other entities, HIPAA compliance is key. By giving both a new healthcare provider and a transitioning patient access to the individual’s entire health history, care givers can offer the right treatments faster and patients have more control throughout the process. Call our offices today to learn more about our HIPAA compliant call center services.

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Does My Business Need to be PCI Compliant?

Different credit cards on table, closeup

PCI compliance is mandatory for every merchant that accepts credit or debit card payments on their website. The information entered by customers is sensitive data, so it must be well-protected.

The systems often store consumers’ credit card information for long periods of time, so it’s important that customers feel confident their information will not be compromised. In fact, a huge part of every customer’s buying decision is the degree to which they believe a website is trustworthy.

Technologies are advancing and being developed every day, so the amount of fraud activity is growing, and businesses can face liabilities as a result. That’s why every merchant or payment service provider with card payment solutions must be PCI compliant. Some people have been questioning the need for it, but here’s why it’s so important.

– Eliminate Risk

When you have a payment security option, your consumers will be happier with your product. When there is no security behind an online purchase, it’s available to the black market nearly immediately. In turn, your company could get sued.

– Fraud

As mentioned, purchasing anything online can be dangerous without security options. The black market is waiting to scam people out of their money. PCI compliance helps the consumer and the provider of the product or service.

– Secure YOUR Business

The world of business is tough and keeping your business safe is even tougher. If your payment system isn’t secure, you will have a problem at some point, if you haven’t already. It’s important to hold your payment system to as high a standard as you hold the rest of your business.

– Avoiding Fines

Fines can happen easily when you’re an online company.  Should your site get breached, not only will you have to deal with the loss of data, but you may also have to deal with fines or lawsuits from customers and other organizations. This could cost you hundreds of dollars if you’re extremely lucky, or hundreds of thousands if you’re only moderately unlucky.

– Standards

If your company is PCI compliant, it improves your reputation for everything. Assure your customers that your bottom-line is not your only priority, and that your company holds itself to a higher standard than competitors.

Companies that are PCI compliant are significantly more successful and safer. Many business leaders think PCI is not important for their business, but it is necessary for the consumer and producer. Consumers knowing that the information they put into a website is safe is of utmost importance. Protect yourself and your company by protecting your consumers.

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How Do Inbound and Outbound Call Center Services Differ?

Automatic Call Distribution

Inbound and outbound calls are both integral aspects of business management and customer acquisition. Third-party services exist for both, and more companies are taking advantages of these outsource centers for maximum consumer retention. Learn about the ins and outs of inbound and outbound calls and how they differ.

What Are Inbound Calls?

Inbound calls are those made to your company from an existing customer or prospect customer. These tend to be more service-based and often include enquiries. For existing customers, these may be calls about billing, technical support, subscription renewal/cancellation, or membership upgrade. Prospective customers may be calling to ask about a particular product or service.

Inbound calls may also include complaints, which the customer service representative is trained to resolve in a calm, polite and effective manner.

What Are Outbound Calls?

With outbound calls, the company is the party that initiates the call to the customer. This can be done for a number of reasons. The primary goal usually has to do with customer retention and outreach to prospective customers. As opposed to the more customer service-based inbound calls, outbound calls are more sales oriented.

With the help of big data, metrics, and other key performance indicators, companies can actively reach out to prospective customers to take them further down the sales funnel. For existing clients, initiating the outreach helps foster positive company-to-client relations.

Examples of outbound calls include:

  • Sending current customers a courtesy reminder that their subscription requires renewal
  • Contacting customers with exclusive limited-time offers
  • Sending further information to potential customers who have made an enquiry
  • Sending offers or deals to potential customers after the end of a free trial they signed up for
  • Sending surveys (very important for data analytics)

Contrary to popular belief, most outbound calls include warm rather than cold calls. The former means the call is only initiated after the prospect customer has expressed some form of interest, such as joining the company’s social media page.

How Are Inbound and Outbound Call Centers Different?

While there is certainly some overlap, the aims of the two are different. Inbound call staff is trained to quickly resolve customer issues and complaints in a professional manner. Outbound call staff, on the other hand, are trained from a more sales-oriented approach. The goal is to convert new customers or get existing customers to upgrade their membership or try new products. Both are trained to be courteous and always act professionally.

With this in mind, it’s important to know which services a third-party calling center specializes in when outsourcing calling duties. Depending on the size of company and customer base, businesses may outsource one or the other or both.

Outsource Both Inbound and Outbound Calls to Executive Boutique

Executive Boutique’s call center has departments that handle both inbound and outbound calls in various industries. Our call center is based in the Philippines and handles incoming and outgoing calls for countless companies based in the U.S., UK, Canada, and other Western countries. Outbound and inbound calls ensure customer retention, recruitment, and satisfaction.

Resources

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