Executive Boutique

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Philippine Call Center Blog

How Call Centers Achieve PCI Compliance

Failing to protect private cardholder data can undermine customer trust and cause companies to incur hefty fines. How can businesses ensure that sensitive credit card information is secure and protected against fraud? By maintaining PCI Compliance. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) is a set of criteria that were designed to make sure online sellers had procedures and systems in place to mitigate risk of data breach.

From merchants and customers to banking institutions, the security of credit card information affects everybody. The PCI standard applies to any entity that stores, processes or deals with private cardholder data, with a view toward decreasing the likelihood of cyber-attacks, identity theft and data breaches. Companies that do not adhere to PCI regulations can face severe consequences, including costly penalties, revenue loss and a tarnished reputation. Given the harsh ramifications of compromised cardholder data, it is imperative that call centers achieve – and maintain – PCI Compliance.

How do PCI Standards apply to call centers?

Under PCI DSS standards, any third-party call center provider that transmits, stores or handles credit cards, debit cards and pre-paid cards that are MasterCard, Visa, American Express, JCB, or Discover must comply with the goals listed below.

A PCI Compliant Call center must:

  • Create & maintain a secure network — Install a firewall configuration to safeguard cardholder data and continuously ensure passwords are unique and updated
  • Protect sensitive cardholder data – a PCI compliant call center must utilize multiple layers of physical and virtual security methods and never store PIN numbers or card validation codes. All data should be encrypted and unreadable to potential hackers.
  • Vulnerability management procedure – make sure that all systems are protected by anti-virus and anti-spyware and updated to the latest version.
  • Enforce strict access control measures – access to private cardholder data is restricted to only agents who have permission.
  • Regular network testing – Call centers must test networks for potential security issues on a regular basis.
  • Provide a security policy – this policy should outline protocols for operational security, risk analysis and other tasks for employees.

Harsh penalties for non-compliance

If a business experiences a security breach due to non-compliance with PCI standards, they are subject to financial penalties imposed by their acquiring bank. Fines can range from $5,000 up to $100,000 each month, depending on the specific circumstances of the breach. These fines must be paid until all issues are resolved. There is much collateral damage that goes beyond these fines, which can be avoiding by partnering with a top call center that is PCI Compliant.

Executive Boutique, a top Philippine call center, understands that PCI Compliance must be continuously enforced and reevaluated on a yearly basis per industry standards. We have the training, technical and operational requirements and checkpoints in place to help businesses avoid liabilities such as:

  • Damage to company reputation
  • Loss of customer confidence and loyalty
  • Dwindling sales
  • Penalties levied by credit card companies
  • Fraud losses
  • Remediation fees

Online compromises and vulnerabilities are constantly emerging. Protect against data breach by working with a PCI Compliant call center like Executive Boutique.

To learn more about the best PCI Compliant call center services in the Philippines, please reach out for a free quote today.

Additional Resources:

  1. PCICompliance.org, PCI Compliance Guide https://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/faq/
  2. PCI Security Standards Council, Data Security Standard https://pcicompliance.stanford.edu/sites/g/files/sbiybj7706/f/pci_dss_v3-2.pdf
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Importance of Call Center HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA, which is an acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was passed in 1996 to help ensure the confidential handling of private health information. Given the widespread data breaches and cyberattacks in recent years, this legislation is more important and relevant than ever. One of the primary goals of HIPAA is to mitigate the risk of security breaches when storing, transmitting or processing sensitive medical information that can lead to identity theft and insurance fraud.

When the Final Omnibus Rule was enacted in 2013, any service provider that stores, handles or otherwise processes electronic protected health information (ePHI) must follow the strict standards and policies laid down by HIPAA. This means that call centers that provide BPO services for the medical industry are subject to the exact same security regulations as the healthcare organization itself.

HIPAA Compliance for Call Centers in the Philippines

As a leading Philippines call center, Executive Boutique is committed to protecting patient information and maintaining full compliance with HIPAA standards. In practice, this means adopting strict rules, training procedures and safeguards to assure that every name, social security number, diagnosis code and other PHI data is 100 percent secure, whether transmitted via email, recorded phone call, or text.

Call centers that provide BPO services to the healthcare industry are obliged to have several layers of safeguards in place to prevent PHI data leaks or breaches.

This includes:

  • Ongoing HIPAA Security and Privacy training
  • Limited access to ePHI
  • Two-tier authentication process for select users
  • Data encryption for all transactions
  • Encryption of data for call recordings
  • 24-7 anti-malware, anti-virus and ransomware protection
  • Periodic vulnerability and network intrusion scanning
  • Message lifespans that remove sensitive data after a predetermined amount of time
  • Problem and incident management processes
  • Emergency protocols to protect confidential information
  • Periodic gap analysis performed by an assigned Privacy Security Compliance Officer

Data that is considered protected health information

Under the HIPAA’s privacy rules, protected health information includes: a patient’s name and birth date, their address and Social Security number; the type of medical care provided or diagnosis of a condition, in addition to any payment information for the medical care that could identify the patient.

When deciding to partner with a call center for back-office services like appointment scheduling, data verification and other processes, it’s imperative to ensure they observe HIPAA guidelines and conduct ongoing audits to confirm continuous compliance.  Outsourcing providers that are HIPAA compliant secure the confidentiality and integrity of your organization’s privacy and that of your clients.

Executive Boutique HIPAA Compliant Call Center

Leverage the experience, technology and specialized knowledge offered by EB Call Center and reap the benefits of scalable capacity, increased customer satisfaction and the confidence that protected patient data is always secure. By working with a HIPAA compliant call center, you lower the risk of security breaches, which can seriously damage your reputation and your bottom line.
 

To learn more about our wide range of call center services, we invite you to reach out for a free quote.

Additional Resources:

  1. Health IT, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) https://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/definition/HIPAA
  2. HIPAA Journal, HIPAA Compliance for Call Centers, https://www.hipaajournal.com/hipaa-compliance-for-call-centers
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AI Technology and the Future of the BPO Industry in the Philippines

Automation

The future of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines remains promising. Not only does it continue to provide jobs for millions of Filipinos, but it also helps sustain the country’s economy.

The BPO industry employs approximately 1.15 million people and together with remittances from overseas workers, it is our economic lifeline.

In recent years, we see a major shift in the BPO landscape with the introduction of automation.

What is Automation?

Also known as Robotic Process Automation or RPA, it is the usage of software robotics in capturing and interpreting existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulate data, trigger responses and communicate with other digital systems.

What It Means to the BPO industry

While it may be true that automation could mean the end of some jobs, on the flip side, it could also mean that greater emphasis will be given to higher skilled jobs.

So much focus is given to the negative impact that automation is bringing to the industry that we fail to see the role of technology in creating new jobs and making remaining jobs more productive.

Automation, even in its infancy stage, is complementing and augmenting existing human skills, resulting in workers becoming more productive and efficient and fewer in number while accomplishing the same amount of work.

The direct impact of automation, especially in its early stages today, has generated new jobs that require more advanced skills to build, train, manage, troubleshoot and enhance technology.

According to A.T Kearney’s study in 2017 on the widening impact of automation, existing workers, instead of being displaced, are actually moving into higher-value positions. The study also showed that one new automation management position is created for every four jobs that automation replaces.

The Philippines, Moving Forward

So what does all this mean for the Philippines and how are we coping?

Our track record says it all. We continually show significant improvements with an average annual expansion rate of 20 percent. Forecasts indicate that the BPO industry revenue is estimated to reach about $250 billion by 2022.

The first clear indicator that we have nowhere to go but forward is the fact that in 2017, 3.8 million square meters or 80% of total prime office spaces in Metro Manila were occupied by BPO companies as stated by global property consultancy firm Santos Knight Frank.

Add to this the fact that BPO hubs in provinces such as Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete, and Clark continue to be constructed as reported by Rural Impact Sourcing, a program which aims to expand BPO to rural areas.

Secondly, Filipinos are very empathic. This human component in servicing simply cannot be automated. And because the most common BPO service we offer are customer service types, the negative impact of automation is less likely felt in our country.

Thirdly, Our BPO industry is projected to move with the demand for a shift to Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) which deals in specialized sectors like Market Research, Fraud Analytics, Equity Research and Investment, Banking Insurance, Data Integration, Medical Transcript Preparation and Legal Processes. The jobs that automation will take away, will be replaced with highly skilled ones.

What’s Next?

Need a BPO company to deliver top-notch quality service through highly trained personnel who provide genuine heartfelt customer service? Look no further than Executive Boutique!

With us, you will not be tied down with a long-term service commitment or contract.We  give you the flexibility to modify your services according to your business need.

From routine data entry to specialized tasks with specific expertise, we have the resources and the expertise you need to make your business grow.

So call us today to find out more.

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How Live Chat Can Improve Your Business

Live chat software is becoming more widely used by companies of all sizes. The main reason for its popularity is speed and convenience. Your company may have a customer support telephone number and email address, but often making a call or waiting for an email is too time consuming. Customers may not find the time investment worth getting the answer to a simple question. This is where live chat comes in. Here are some ways implementing live chat software can help your business:

Quicker response times = more sales

Excellent customer service directly correlates to higher sales. When you use a live chat software, you can reduce purchase abandonment by directly address customer concerns in real time. When your company is responsive to buyers on their schedule, it leaves a positive impression on your customer base. It also leads to customers being more likely to follow through with prospective purchases.

Provides competitive edge

Responsive service contributes to a happy customer base, which results in customers coming back to you for your goods and services. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, online shops lack a human touch. With live chat software, your company can initiate conversations with website visitors – this establishes rapport with the customer. Once you convince visitors of your product, word-of-mouth promotion can increase your sales numbers over time.

Provides insight into online visitor behavior

Understanding why customers are buying (or not buying) is important in today’s digital business arena. Customers’ buying patterns are continuing to evolve, and businesses can no longer afford to stay on sidelines, or else they risk becoming obsolete compared to their more active competitors. Live chat allows your business to directly ask customers what their doubts are and what may be discouraging them from following through with a purchase. Gaining these insights is invaluable — it can help you streamline your product.

Reduce business cost

Live chat software does not require coding knowledge, can be installed in a matter of minutes, and requires a fewer number of service representatives than telephone support. Each agent can handle 3-4 conversations simultaneously, which means your business can cut down on its support costs.

Modern customers desire fast, convenient, and immediate access to support. Businesses that implement live chat are going the extra mile to meet their customers’ needs, and this helps them stand out from the competition.

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Latest Trends of the BPO Industry

Latest Trends

The BPO industry has come a long way since it first started in the late 1990s. It has evolved tremendously and grown by leaps and bounds spurred on by innovation and new technologies.

According to Statista.com, the global market size of outsourced services was valued at 88.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, increasing with 12 billion dollars from the year before, with the revenue of the global BPO industry at USD24.6 billion.

Based on the figures, the BPO industry does not show any signs of letting up.

With its steady growth, comes the onslaught of new trends for BPO companies that promises to shape and drive the industry to be better.

Emerging BPO trends

1) Usage of new technology

BPO companies are quickly taking to social media, software automation and using cloud technology as a means to increase efficiency while reducing operational costs.

Nearly every household have at least one social media account; Browsing social media, according to statistics, is the third most popular online activity.

With almost all interaction done through social media accounts, BPO companies are now investing in tools and capabilities that offer a wide range of social media management services.

They are also incorporating robotic process automation (RPA) for functions like data entry as it is cost-efficient and gets the work done faster.

Most BPO companies are also adopting cloud technology. Not all companies can afford to have state of the art infrastructure and facilities, so they are taking advantage of virtual storage and systems to counter this insufficiency.

2)  Data Security

We hear news of data breach that has alarmed global population. Major incidents like with Facebook and the recent one with Google where the CEO’s from both companies were summoned for questioning at the US Senate.

BPO companies will be prioritizing data security to prevent such incidents from happening.

Threat intelligence, advanced security automation, security analytics will be at the forefront of things.

3) Emphasis on Multiple and Higher skills

The past years BPO companies have been functioning mostly as call centers. However now that automation and chatbots are becoming mainstream, the demand for specialized skills such as accounting, web design, human resources, coding are increasing.

Companies are now investing in training and development to impart new skills to their staff.

4) Startups partnering with BPO companies

Startups are faced with the challenge to succeed by leveraging technology – in spite of budget constraints.

As such, companies are warming up to the idea of outsourcing for cheap labor and fulfilling office tasks such as HR and payroll. Outsourcing allows them to save on costs.

What’s Next for Business Process Outsourcing Companies?

Executive Boutique offers a full suite of services such as customer service call center, technical support, business processing functions such as telemarketing, lead generation, data mining, e-filing, contract processing.

We make use of next-generation cloud-based solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into your operations. Our team of dedicated agents is ever ready to perform a wide range of office tasks to support your business operations.

Contact us today for more information and to get your free non-obligatory quote.  

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7 Things You Should Know About Cebu City

In order to understand the success that many companies in the Philippines are experiencing, you should first get an idea of the city’s they operate out of. Cebu City, a major city in the Philippines, is one of the country’s fastest growing metropolitan areas. It is also home to many companies that operate on a global scale.

Here are 7 things you may not know about Cebu City and the people that live there.

It’s a Historic City

Cebu City has roots that reach back centuries, and the region around the city has strong Chinese and Indian influences. Cebu is the oldest city in the Philippines, in 1565 it was claimed for King Phillip II of Spain by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. But in all reality, Cebu City had already been a kingdom for 300 years, only then it was known as the Rajahnate of Cebu. It is also officially known as The First Capital of the Philippines.

Urbanization at Work

Since Cebu City has been a major hub for trade since the 13th Century, it’s one of the Philippines most urbanized cities. Cebu City has the fifth biggest population, which gets around with the help of hundreds of buses, taxis, and colorful multi-passenger jeeps.

The BPO Industry is Huge

Cebu City may have shipping roots, but business processing outsourcing, or BPO, is shaping the city’s future. The connections made with businesses overseas has inspired the creation of many BPO companies in the region. That, combined with a large, educated population, has gained companies in Cebu City international recognition.

The City Has a Modern, Middle Class

Like most historic trade hubs, Cebu City is very modern and its citizens enjoy a great standard of living. It can be crowded at times, but the amount of jobs available gives residents a chance to work and live fairly comfortable compared to many places in South Asia.

A City with Shipping Roots

Since Cebu City is a coastal city, it has maintained a reputation as a hub for trade and shipping throughout its history. In fact, most of the imported goods that come into the Philippines by sea do so through Cebu City.

Tourism is Big Business

Tourists come to Cebu City for its rich history, exciting nightlife, and breathtaking views. You can get the best views of the city from Tops Lookout, there you’ll be able to witness the mix of skyscrapers, Spanish architecture, and the ocean that makes up the area.

An Educated Island

Cebu City is what many around the world would call a “college town,” with 11 major universities located in the city, many with regional branches. The population of highly educated young adults helps keep the many emerging industries within the city thrive. Many of these graduates go on to work for BPO companies since they are always looking for new talent.

Cebu City is a thriving, economic powerhouse in South Asia that will be making more noise in the future. As more connections are made with businesses around the world, the city looks to continue expanding its role on the global stage.

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Coffee: A Call Center Staple

Coffee, is there anything more important at a call center?

Okay — sales are pretty important too, but that doesn’t mean coffee doesn’t rank high up there on the ladder. From our morning cup, to our mid-day treat that keeps us from crashing, coffee has been a key component of the call center workplace culture.

So much of the job revolves around this drink, and a good coffee situation can really help the overall mood of your employees. Here’s how to take advantage of, and improve, your workplace coffee situation.

Drink at the Right Time

Coffee’s natural ability to get us going has resulted in people downing cups of coffee the minute they wake up; this isn’t necessarily bad for you, but you’re not getting the most out of your drink that way. The reason being is that your body produces cortisol, a chemical that keeps people alert the most between the times of 8-9 am. By drinking coffee at this time, you are taking in caffeine when you don’t need it; instead, opt to have your first cup between 10-10:30 am for the best effect.

Use Creamer for Warmer Coffee

You may be one of those coffee drinkers that likes to look into their cup and see a void of never-ending darkness, but you may be surprised to find that adding creamer to your coffee actually keeps it warmer for a longer period of time.  Not everyone likes their coffee hot, but a warm drink means a slower sipping experience to enjoy while working.

Mind the H2O

A cup of coffee is about 98% water, which means that using the tap water from the sink for your pot results in coffee that taste like, well, tap water. You can better the taste of your coffee by always using water that’s been purified in a filter, or from a water cooler.

It’s also a good idea to run just water through your coffee pot every once in awhile to clean out the system, this removes any unwanted debris or tastes from your coffee.

Share the Love

If you’ve discovered a new favorite roast why not share it with your coworkers? When you can afford it, bring in a bag of coffee freshly ground at home and leave it in the breakroom. Who knows, the next week someone might bring in their own bag for you to try as well.

Fresh ground coffee isn’t the only thing you can share with your coworkers; new coffee pods, sugars, creamers, and other sweeteners can turn an ordinary breakroom into a mini coffee shop.

Now that’s something everyone in the office can get on board with!

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Top BPO Companies in the Philippines

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

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

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

Business Process Outsourcing Industry in the Philippines

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

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

Best BPO Companies in the Philippines in High Demand

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

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

Philippines a Global Hub for BPO

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

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Customer Service: Live Chat vs. Telephone Support

It doesn’t matter what your company’s service or product is, you will have to provide some sort of customer support. Traditionally, companies have relied on telephone agents to assist customers with their issues, and telephone support remains the preferred method for providing service. But with the ever-evolving live chat functions being utilized by everyone from hotels to online retail, companies are beginning to look at new options for their customer experience.

Both techniques are great for interacting with customers, so we’ve laid out the pros and cons of each so that you can better decide what’s right for you.

Telephone

Pros

  • Customers still want to hear another voice solve their problems, this was proven in a study by Google that found that 57% of respondents call a customer service line so that they can speak to a human.
  • More personal, you’re able to come off sincerer in your responses.
  • Easier for agents to determine a customer’s state of mind, or emotional state.
  • Customers may be more comfortable speaking than typing, and as a result, you won’t have to decipher interpret choppy writing.

Cons

  • It’s harder for an agent to disguise their emotions, if a caller rubs you the wrong way and your voice begins to reflect that, then they’ll be able to tell.
  • A customer’s message can get lost because of bad cell service or a faulty connection.
  • Setting up telephone systems in a call center is costly, and it requires time for them to be fully operational.

Live Chat

Pros

  • Quick response, which means customers will wait less time for an answer.
  • Live chat allows agents to handle more clients at once since problems are resolved quicker.
  • Convenience is important for customers; a 2016 report by Econsultancy found that 21% of people prefer live chat because it allows them to shop while they work.
  • The ability to engage a customer the moment they visit your website via pop-up chat plug-ins; this is helpful if your company has an online storefront.
  • Opportunities for upselling if a chat is initiated at checkout.

Cons

  • Not everyone is proficient at typing, you can encounter spelling errors, sentences that don’t make sense, and customers that type very slowly.
  • Agent will have to learn to convey sincerity, or urgency through their messaging. Additionally, messages can be misinterpreted due to the lack of personalization (in comparison to speaking over the phone).

As you can see, there are many differences between live chat and the more traditional phone-based customer service. There are benefits to each, outperforming the other in different aspects of the customer experience. Your company’s customer service strategy should incorporate a mix of both for optimum results, that way you can reach more clients in a shorter amount of time while also taking time to dissolve any major conflicts. Implementation of both also allows you to stay in contact you’re your customers, which is important since according to an Ubisend 2016 report, 51% of people think a company should be available 24/7.

Remember, customer service is the face and voice of your company, so putting the effort into customizing an efficient, pleasant, and results oriented customer experience should be priority number one.

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3 Ways to Motivate Your Customer Service Team

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

Communication

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

Encourage Positive Work

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

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

Provide Your Staff with Proper Resources and Equipment

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

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

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