Executive Boutique

CALL US - US: 1-888-700-9555 US | UK: 44-2031-503484 AU | AU: 1300 728 848 AU| SGP: 65-6653-6528SGP
Your Call Center Partner in the Philippines

Business Process Outsourcing

Data Privacy in Call Centers: An In-Depth Look Into HIPAA

EBCC Info12 Blog Banner HIPAA

The health sector faces a bulk of work daily as the demand for quality healthcare continues to increase. Even as the world is slowly returning to a pre-pandemic state, their services are needed now more than ever. 

With that in mind, major industry partners and multiple other sectors look to business process outsourcing (BPO) services to manage this growing public interest.

Since the healthcare industry deals with highly confidential information, outsourced partners should always be aware of how they can comply with data protection regulations. This involves getting familiar with a national standard called Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA. 

To guarantee that your call center is HIPAA-compliant, use the infographic below to learn about HIPAA protocols.

EBCC Info12 Infographic Data Privacy in Call Centers HIPAA

What is HIPAA?

Signed by the former U.S president Bill Clinton, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law established in 1996. The U.S. government set it in place to ensure that there would be a regulated national standard in how healthcare institutions in the country safeguard patient health information.

Unless the laws of the involved state are classified as more stringent than HIPAA, this act can override other legislations involving the safety of a patient’s medical information. Through this, medical facilities can’t disclose private information regarding your medical accounts without your prior knowledge or consent. 

In terms of its use, medical institutions can efficiently cut costs on healthcare by having a standardized electronic system that manages financial information and administrative transactions. Also, this allows workers to gain continuous health insurance coverage if they lose their job or source of income.

What is HIPAA Compliance?

The HIPAA provides a standardized ruling for sensitive patient data protection. All related industries dealing with protected health information (PHI) must comply with established rules and procedures. Covered entities specifically include:

  • Healthcare providers
  • Health plans
  • Healthcare clearinghouses
  • Business associates

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stresses the importance of HIPAA compliance as more healthcare facilities begin to adopt computerized operations. 

Physical and technical safeguards are required for all parties that will host sensitive patient data to help organizations follow these protocols. These can include audit reports, tracking logs, and limited facility access.

HIPAA Compliance Requirements Essential for Call Centers

Some requirements for healthcare facilities and business associates may differ since they can have varying uses for sensitive patient information. Because many health organizations are extending their operations to outsourcing partners, call centers must comply with these established standards.

If you’re looking to partner with one for your operations, here are a few factors you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • Privacy rule

The HIPAA privacy rule limits how related healthcare organizations can use and disclose PHI without the prior consent or knowledge of the corresponding patient. It also allows individuals to easily get a copy of their health records and gain the right to use and correct their information as needed.

  • Security rule

The HIPAA security rule compliance covers electronic PHI, thus mandating technical and physical safeguards. It would be best if you also protected physical devices to avoid the risks of theft and unauthorized access to healthcare information and other related records. Call centers must limit access and audit controls to designated workers. 

  • Business associate agreement

Business associates are any person or entity that performs functions and activities on behalf of the covered entity. Through this contract, outsourced call centers mustn’t disclose information beyond what’s permitted in the agreement. Additionally, they must report any data breaches or cyber fraud incidents as soon as it occurs.

Important Practices for a HIPAA-Compliant Call Center

Partnering with a HIPAA-certified call center can help ensure that your patients’ data and other sensitive information will remain safe and secure. To do this, you’ll need to establish proper protocols to guarantee your business will make no violations.

Below are a few major practices worth taking note of:

  • Enforce data encryption

Data entry encryption allows you to protect private data by enhancing the security of your networks. If an unauthorized person accesses your data, the encryption will prevent them from easily gaining valuable information from your system. 

  • Secure messaging solutions

In a call center, a dedicated team should regularly check apps, software, and servers for any vulnerabilities that may allow cybercriminals to sneak through daily operations. Customers should also be reminded to avoid connecting to unsecured networks that may increase their risk of cybersecurity issues and other online threats. 

  • Conduct regular HIPAA training and refreshers

While the HIPAA was established to provide a standardized approach to data security, changes to these protocols can still change over time. Using a call center vendor with updated training methods is best to keep your business HIPAA-compliant.

  • Limit access to patient data

Avoid allowing general workers full access to the database to ensure the security of your network. Limit these to higher-ups and assign dedicated accounts to easily track who goes in and out of your system.

  • Report data leaks and breaches immediately

Whether intentional or otherwise, data breaches can happen at any time. Because of this, your partner call center should always monitor any abnormalities and report them immediately to mitigate risks. 

  • Create detailed internal practices

An internal process lets you know what’s going on with your system and complies with regulations more efficiently. It also gives you better control over your operations, despite working with third-party vendors, as your operations will follow standard practices daily.

  • Safeguard PHI

Utmost care should always be observed when handling and transporting PHI to any medium. To avoid accidentally leaking any private data, ensure that it isn’t connected to any distribution systems, auto-forwarding marks, or portable devices within the call center.

Success and Security through HIPAA Compliance

The healthcare industry provides equal access to quality healthcare and social health protection. Now that the world is slowly moving towards a pre-pandemic state, the demand for healthcare services continues to grow. 

But without the proper protocols or strategies, data management in the healthcare sector can easily become hectic as factors like security breaches and data theft are added to the equation. 

To prevent data theft and efficiently control how PHI is used within operations, becoming HIPAA compliant is a must for both covered entities and business associates. It would help if you considered a HIPAA-certified call center partner like Executive Boutique Call Center to avoid legal complications and other conflicts. 

A HIPAA-compliant partner will help you build your credibility in the market and ensure progressive growth towards management and control over your network.

Get in touch with our team of experts today to learn more!

Read More »

9 Essential Tasks to Outsource for Your Ecommerce Business

EBCC Info11 Banner Ecommerce Task Outsource

As the world continues to depend on technology for everyday needs, the ecommerce industry has shown significant growth over the years. Global online sales increased more than 24% as consumers shifted their spending to digital sources in 2020. These numbers are mostly due to the pandemic as everyone was forced to stay indoors, limiting physical and social contact. 

This gave businesses a chance to transition into the ecommerce space and gain certain advantages in their respective fields. While some could adapt quickly, others had to take on unfamiliar strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Plus, with consumer demands rapidly changing, many businesses were overwhelmed with more tasks than they could handle. 

When managing your ecommerce business, it’s important to have a checklist of essentials for a seamless operation. But if you aren’t sure about those, this article can help give you a better idea of the kind of tasks you can outsource to a reliable team. Let the infographic below guide you toward the best decision for your business. 

9 Essential Tasks to Outsource for Your Ecommerce Business

These days, outsourcing makes it possible for businesses across industries to relay tasks without needing to recruit in-house talents. For ecommerce, multiple functions need to be fulfilled to ensure smooth and consistent operations per customer order. With a team of experts, you can manage your company better by outsourcing these essential tasks:

  1. Website development

Website developers ensure that your ecommerce site runs smoothly and allows users to access the needed information when they’re about to make a purchase. This is important as 42% of visitors will likely leave your site if it has poor functionality.

  1. Product listing and optimization

This task focuses on creating and improving a catalog of items to be sold on your ecommerce store. On each listing, there should be a product description, creative copy, and a list of other related information on each product in your shop. It’ll help your customers better understand your offerings and how they work. 

  1. Inventory management

Inventory management allows your team to keep track of how many products you have left in stock at any time. While monitoring purchases is tedious work, it’s important because it ensures the availability of items that customers are looking to purchase.

Outsourcing inventory management tasks can help you analyze which goods sell best at which time so that you can meet demands better.

  1. Customer service

Outsourcing your customer service allows your ecommerce business to create better relationships with your patrons. It includes answering inquiries, collecting feedback, and providing basic assistance to customers and prospects, whether they’re difficult callers or otherwise.

Partnering with experts in this field is important, as studies show that 93% of customers are more likely to stay loyal to your brand if you provide great customer service.

  1. Order processing and fulfillment

This process involves the delivery of goods and services to your customers based on the data recorded on your system. In this step, your outsourced ecommerce team takes care of picking, packaging, and shipping out goods to your customers.

For order processing and fulfillment, you must select the right outsourced company to work with because this is one of the most crucial ecommerce tasks on the list.

  1. Graphic design and video

Research proves that around 90% of information that people absorb is visual. You must create good graphics and videos to retain current customers and attract new ones. Opting to outsource professional creative work helps your customers and prospects positively associate and remember your business in today’s digital market. 

  1. Social media marketing

Promoting your ecommerce business through platforms like Facebook or Instagram can make it more convenient for your audiences to look at your products. Social media marketing strategies include posting helpful content in blogs or vlogs, running online campaigns, and offering subscriptions. 

  1. Product sourcing

Before your business can sell anything, you must find ways to gain stocks, materials, and equipment to create your product. By assigning this task to an outsourced team, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. You’ll get help finding the necessary resources and equipment to produce your merchandise.

  1. Accounting and bookkeeping

Accounting and bookkeeping outsource experts keep you briefed on your income and expenditures and provide the information you need to make good business decisions. They also help ensure that your business’s financial health remains safe.

Benefits of Outsourcing Ecommerce Tasks for Your Business

Outsourcing select tasks in your ecommerce business can help ease your load and open opportunities to learn from other experts. For many brands, it’s also a good way to improve overall operations by gaining the following benefits:

  • Reduced operational costs

Outsourcing ecommerce tasks can be a good alternative to help your company save on overhead costs, particularly on in-house resources. Generally, these teams are already equipped with their own tools to perform specific tasks you assign them. There’s also no need to provide other requirements, such as employee benefits and training. 

  • Improved efficiency

Having a team of experts manage your other ecommerce tasks can help streamline your operations and improve your productivity. It allows you and your in-house employees to focus more on core responsibilities to scale the business forward. 

  • More flexible hiring processes

Outsourced teams can be hired on flexible terms depending on your requirements. If you only need help during peak season, you don’t have to commit to a full-time partnership. 

  • Retained competitive advantage 

Many outsourced workers have the necessary skills and knowledge about a particular field that your company may not be equipped with yet. Utilizing this can help you stay updated with trends and gain new insights to help you compete in the market. 

  • Boosted overall profits 

Outsourcing different ecommerce tasks can improve your standard operations and help your team focus on closing sales better. When aligned with other strategies, your business can be sure to retain customers and gain a loyal following.

  • Quick kickstart to other projects

With other duties out of the way, your business can work towards its goals faster while allowing you to develop and discover new ways to expand your brand. It’ll enable you to do more while consistently improving your business operations.

Boost Your Business through Outsourcing

Managing an ecommerce business can be challenging, especially for those unfamiliar with the digital landscape. As such, getting off on the right foot within the industry is important, and you can do this by ensuring you have the right people on your team.

While recruiting in-house workers can help your operations gain more structure, outsourcing is another option that can help you get your name out more quickly in the ecommerce market. Not only can outsourcing help you save on your business resources, but outsourced teams can also give you the expertise you need to stay updated in the ever-changing world of ecommerce.

Ready to partner with an outsourcing company? Check out Executive Boutique Call Center! We are an American and Australian-owned call center outsourcing service and business process outsourcing provider in the Philippines that can handle your ecommerce business’s needs and more!

Learn more about how we can help elevate your operations. Contact us today!

Read More »

5 Cybersecurity Threats for Call Centers and How to Solve Them

EB Call Center - Info 10 Banner Cybersecurity Threats for Call Centers

The emergence of the pandemic led many industries to face a lot of new challenges, such as the sudden shift to remote work setups and the rise of cybercrime. 

Data security is a serious concern for everyone. Online fraudsters are becoming more aggressive with their approaches now that sensitive data is mostly stored online. To make matters worse, many businesses aren’t equipped with the right tools, and most employees lack the essential knowledge to identify and prevent cyberattacks. 

Around 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error, like opening an email with malware and clicking on suspicious links on a random website. Hence, more organizations are making cybersecurity a higher priority to keep their employees and customers safe. 

Cybersecurity should be of utmost importance in the call center industry since employees deal with personal and sensitive data daily. Cybersecurity threats can come in from any angle, so it’s important to know how to deal with them immediately. 

Read on for tips on cybersecurity that you can apply to a call center setting.

What is a cybersecurity threat?

Cybersecurity threats classify as any action that exploits vulnerabilities in a system. It aims to steal, damage, or disrupt information. These attacks typically use elements like computer viruses, data breaches, and other attack vectors to access a company’s network. 

Cybercriminals, also called bad actors, usually launch their attacks from remote locations through unknown parties or unsafe software. But, it’s also possible for them to physically breach your site and gain access to your network from your devices.

Major Impacts of Cybersecurity Threats

Any threats to your security can mean potential dangers for your company and customers. Here are some consequences you may face from a cybersecurity threat. 

  • Reputational costs

Service providers like call centers should protect their client’s information and provide good customer support. However, cybersecurity issues resulting in a massive data breach can automatically ruin your image. If customers know their information isn’t safe with you, they’ll reconsider their options and move to your competitors.

  • Financial losses

Data breaches can imply significant financial losses. Cybercriminals can steal information that grants them access to financial resources and other information they can sell. 

  • Regulatory fines

If you can’t prove that you can protect personal data, your business may experience more cybersecurity threats. Not meeting the minimum regulatory compliance can result in more fines and other consequences. 

  • Operational disruptions

Your company may take more time to recover from large-scale cyberattacks. These threats can put your operations on hold while establishing the necessary security protocols to keep your system safe again.

5 Cybersecurity Threats Common in Call Centers

As technology continues to develop, fraudsters are coming up with new ways to steal your data. Some of the methods you may face can include the following:

  1. Denial-of-service attacks (DoS)

DoS attacks happen when a cybercriminal directs traffic to your network and causes it to crash and shut down. Without strong network security in place, this can prevent you and your customers from accessing your system and getting the resources you need. 

  1. Data breaches

Malware attacks or hacking attempts cause data breaches that aim to expose or steal personal or sensitive information. While most cases have malicious intent, some can happen unintentionally, like when an employee neglectfully reveals important data. 

  1. Threats to physical security

A cybercriminal can also access your network by stealing your devices and logging in through your accounts. If your physical workplace doesn’t have any security measures, such as guards, biometric entry systems, or CCTV cameras, it may be easier to get what they want.

  1. Identity theft

Data is the most valuable resource in the world today. Cybercriminals use strategies to pose as customers and steal information from call center databases. The reverse can also happen when fraudsters make sales calls to your customers and pretend to be from your company to fetch valuable information.

  1. Social engineering attacks

Social engineering attacks focus on elevating your sense of urgency by manipulating the situation. These can include pretexting, persuasive speech, and phishing schemes where bad actors psychologically control you to take action quickly without giving you time to assess the problem at hand.

Best Practices for Strong Call Center Cybersecurity

Keep cybercriminals at bay by establishing strong cybersecurity protocols in your organization for on-site workers and remote employees. Here are some call center security best practices you can try.

  • Improve physical security

Invest in options that make your physical branch safer, such as installing CCTV cameras and hiring trained guards. You can also optimize your entrance doors with security passcodes and biometrics systems and set up passwords for employees’ work devices. 

  • Implement role-based access

Limit access to certain points in your network to team leads and trusted employees. This practice will help control the traffic in your system and make it easier to trace different activities, whether the person is reporting on-site or remotely. 

  • Update software regularly

Software support with regular updates often includes security fixes that make your system harder for bad actors to penetrate. These upgrades can boost app performance and remove outdated features that hinder your operations.

  • Invest in staff training

Teaching your staff how to spot abnormalities in your system and suspicious activities can keep your network safe. With proper training, they can perform tasks with more caution and avoid making basic mistakes like clicking on unsafe links.

  • Use authentication and authorization systems

Authentication systems use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to ensure that only legitimate users with the right credentials can access your network. You can also combine these systems with other protocols like two-factor authentication to challenge cybercriminals in accessing your data.

  • Maintain regulatory compliance

Legal compliance with regulations such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other data privacy laws should always be one of your priorities. Doing so saves your business’s resources and reputation, as well as proves that your company can uphold customer data protection. 

  • Test your security

Perform regular vulnerability assessment tests on your network to secure any holes that cybercriminals can exploit. This practice will help reassure you and your customers that your portals are safe and protected with the best cybersecurity protocols against cyberattacks.

  • Make use of the cloud

When a cybercriminal breaches your network, it may take a while to recover and return to normal operations. If you migrate to cloud-based services, you can immediately shut down your processes to avoid more damage and restore your network faster. Opting for cloud solutions mitigates any operational disruptions, eliminating further losses.

  • Use the right tools

Utilizing the right tools (like encryption applications, firewalls, and antivirus software) in your daily operations can help you establish good cybersecurity. The integrated tools can simplify your processes and expand your company’s capabilities beyond network security.

Rest Easy with the Right Cybersecurity Solutions

While remote work setups are growing popular in different industries, challenges like cybersecurity threats are becoming more rampant. Fraudsters are getting bolder with their approaches. This leaves your system and employees vulnerable to attacks, especially when they’re home without the right tools to protect them.

While you can always train your workers to spot abnormalities in your system, partnering with a firm with a better cybersecurity protocol may be a stronger way to keep your business safe. If you’re looking for a call center outsourcing group that can make your cybersecurity their top priority, then Executive Boutique Call Center is for you!

Reach out to our team of experts today to learn more about our services.

Read More »

A Remote Team’s Guide to Asynchronous Communication

asynchronous-communication
asynchronous-communication

The concept of remote work is nothing new, but with the COVID-19 pandemic taking its toll on the world, it has become the norm for companies across all industries over the past few years. 

Pre-pandemic, only 17% of U.S.-based employees worked five or more days per week from home. However, that number drastically increased during the height of the pandemic, wherein 44% of workers started to report to work at home.

With telecommuting becoming the new normal today, multiple ways to work productively have surfaced. Besides having a proper workstation setup, establishing effective communication amongst your team members will be vital. One method business owners could strongly consider and look into is asynchronous communication.

But what is asynchronous communication, and how can it be an asset to remote teams? Let this infographic serve as your guide to asynchronous communication, its benefits, drawbacks, and how to successfully practice this form of communication in your organization.

What is Asynchronous Communication?

Asynchronous communication is when two or more individuals communicate without being present in real-time. In other words, it’s sending a message without the immediate need for a response. This type of communication allows employees and employers to set their schedules and answer inquiries without much dependence on the availability of others.

Employing asynchronous communication aids in staying connected with members of the company and ensuring everything is operating efficiently, regardless of time zone, location, and other factors.

Benefits of Asynchronous Communication

Now that we’ve established what asynchronous communication is, let us discuss the various benefits of utilizing this form of communication.

  1. More thoughtful communication

In work conversations, workers often feel obligated to come up with an immediate response, which may not be relevant or conscientious. 

With asynchronous communication, team members get more time to digest new information, formulate an answer, and mull over crucial decisions that lead to more strategic conclusions.

Additionally, asynchronous communication decreases distractions. Without an immediate need for a response, workers can reply when their set schedules allow it, improving concentration and productivity.

  1. Better productivity rate

Asynchronous communication grants remote teams more flexibility to prioritize important work. There will be instances employees would feel obligated to respond to every message sent their way, which could be detrimental in the long run.

Constantly taking time off your day to get back to a considerable volume of requests and questions prevents you from conducting deep and meaningful work. This communication method enables you to deal with these tasks at your own time and pace, putting more critical and urgent work atop of your to-do list.

  1. Documentation for transparency 

Documentation, whether through writing or pre-recorded videos, gives your team a clear vision and timeframe of their duties. With asynchronous communication, all traces of internal exchanges and relays get automatically documented. 

This could be beneficial as the logged data could be easily referenced or shared for others to review.

  1. More honest communication

Asynchronous communication improves honesty amongst your team members due to the higher quality of feedback it allows. Some employees have no problem being true when confronted in a one-on-one setting. However, others may find it difficult to have to answer immediately.

Due to conversations and evaluations not being done in real-time, asynchronous communication gives adequate time for your employees to voice their concerns more accurately when they’re most comfortable.

  1. Decrease burnout chances

Constantly staying on top of things can be taxing. Through asynchronous communication, stress is diminished as it grants your team more control over their pace at work. 

Conventional synchronous communication setups often tether you to your desk to deal with work-related issues immediately. This ability to step away and recuperate could positively improve employees’ physical and mental health, drastically decreasing the chances of burnout.

Drawbacks of Asynchronous Communication

While asynchronous communication certainly has its merits, it also has its drawbacks. Consider the following if you’re looking to make it a staple in your business’s day-to-day.

  1. Inconsistent immediacy

One big drawback of employing asynchronous communication is the inability to address urgent situations because business is not conducted in real-time. As such, it’s best to plan accordingly in case an immediate need arises, as it will require synchronous communication to solve the urgent problem.

  1. Unclear tone-of-voice

Unlike its synchronous counterpart, where it feels more intuitive, natural, and human as it gets the point across with the help of body language and tone of voice, asynchronous communication doesn’t always convey the necessary emotion to make people feel connected

The lack of this real-time communication element could lead to miscommunications and disconnection that could affect the efficiency and productivity of your team.

  1. Decreased spontaneity

Synchronous communication allows employees to conduct brainstorming sessions and exchange ideas in real-time. While patient reflection can be helpful in many business situations, unfortunately, the async method falls short of the quick, witty, and spontaneous elements essential for collaborative and real-time ideas. 

  1. Lack of community

Since most asynchronous communication doesn’t require deep in-person engagements, it may magnify feelings of isolation for teams working remotely. While it allows employees to function independently, this freedom diminishes the opportunities for direct interpersonal interactions.

Strong connections are essential to building a cohesive team. Although it’s not impossible to develop bonds through asynchronous communication, the process can be arduous.

  1. Micromanagement

The key to any high-functioning team is trusting your fellow teammates. However, due to the inability to give instructions personally, some superiors might resort to micromanaging their subordinates. 

This type of management could strain working relationships if practiced regularly, as your employees could feel alienated due to constant scrutiny.

How to Successfully Practice Asynchronous Communication

Learning the various pros and cons of asynchronous communication is a start to implementing this strategy. To effectively introduce and incorporate this form of communication into your team’s daily routine, let us discuss the best practices for this technique.

  1. Set rules that work for everyone

If your business utilizes internal communications, you will likely have defined work channels in place. Have a clear strategy on what should be communicated in each designated space, who needs to be included, and what channels are for private and public use. 

  1. Integrate the right tools

As established, asynchronous communication doesn’t require employees to work simultaneously. However, it’s imperative to integrate the right tools to ensure that every individual can work in sync despite not working with each other in real-time.

Tools like time tracking apps, communication platforms with multiple features, knowledge management tools, and task management software can aid an asynchronous team to work in harmony despite the circumstances.

  1. Avoid information overload

The business world can sometimes run at dizzying speeds, leaving some important information overlooked due to employees’ substantial volume of work. However, ensuring content relevancy regarding disseminating information allows you to avoid information overload.

One efficient way to achieve this is segmenting workload by criteria, such as department, location, language, and interest. Doing so ensures that every employee gets the right message at the right time without risk the benefits of asynchronous communication becoming irrelevant.

  1. Provide easy methods for employee feedback

Conducting intuitive employee surveys and collecting feedback allows you to analyze and formulate actionable recommendations to improve the current communication setup you have in place.

  1. Make content fun and easier to understand

Keeping your employees engaged will become increasingly difficult as the workload piles up. However, making your content fun and easier to consume could make an otherwise monotonous routine engaging. 

Think about producing webinars or podcasts to gain your employees’ attention, especially for important company-wide announcements.

  1. Understand your workforce

Having a clear understanding of your workers’ responsibilities allows you to gain better insights on what you can improve upon as a group to create a more successful asynchronous environment. 

Take into consideration their strengths, weaknesses, and how they conduct their work in this remote setup, and evaluate how you can help them be more effective in the workforce.

  1. Advocate patience

The corporate world is guilty of expecting immediate results and instant gratification. However, practicing patience can be more rewarding. 

Through asynchronous communication, you can connect with your employees better by giving them a sense of security about communicating in their own time unless it’s a highly important or time-sensitive task.

  1. Build trust

Trust is an important factor in any and every kind of business, especially when it comes to an environment with little to no personal contact, like asynchronous communication. If supervisors and workers lack trust in one another, employing this method will be futile.

Stay In Sync with Asynchronous Communication

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many changes in people’s personal and work lives. While some weren’t too keen on working from home, methods such as asynchronous communication allowed teams from all across the board to operate efficiently. This specific technique offers many benefits for businesses whose employees report remotely full-time.

However, with benefits comes drawbacks and constant learning. Keep in mind all the things stated, and you can effectively incorporate asynchronous communication into your practice. 

In case you need a call center outsourcing firm to help with your asynchronous team, consider Executive Boutique Call Center. Executive Boutique Call Center provides best-in-class customer service that can cover all of your back-office needs and increase your bottom line. Contact us today to learn more!

Read More »

11 Customer Service Trends You Should Expect in 2022

customer-service-trends
customer-service-trends

Customer service plays an integral role in growing a business, and implementing customer service best practices and good strategies will help your company reach its goals.

According to recent reports, 90% of American consumers consider customer service a primary driving force when deciding whether or not to do business with a company, with 89% of consumers choosing to do business again with the same company after a positive customer experience.

Customer service has evolved through the years, especially now that many companies have gone digital due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With new technological advancements constantly arising, businesses need to stay up-to-date with the latest customer service trends to accommodate consumers’ ever-evolving needs and have a leg up on the competition. 

With that in mind, let’s discuss the various customer service trends expected to dominate 2022.

By exploring new and emerging trends, you could find solutions to address some of the issues your company is facing. 

1. More mobile-optimized customer services

Towards the end of the past decade, smartphones have been the preferred medium by customers to conduct business. In fact, mobile accounted for 65% of all e-commerce traffic and 53% of sales in 2019, and the mobile commerce industry is expected to surge at a 25.5% CAGR, hitting $488 billion by 2024.

With the continued rise of mobile, businesses should make their customer services options mobile-optimized. Realizing that mobile is not a trend but the future, companies can calibrate their online customer services to improve their overall performance.

2. Social media as the main channel for customer engagement

Nowadays, most consumers discover brands, products, and services online. Currently, 58.4% of the global population uses social media, translating to 4.62 billion users, while 91% access social media platforms with smartphones.

Social media is no longer just for the younger generation. These platforms are necessary for businesses more than ever, as they are the new primary tool customers use to engage with companies. Being active on social media can build brand loyalty and trust, providing an avenue for your company to interact with customers regularly and easily.

3. Higher demand for real-time support

The need for immediate response has risen through the years. With smartphones providing consumers everything they want and need at the palm of their hands, having real-time support can prove beneficial to your company.

In terms of satisfaction ratings, real-time support such as live chat is favored by 85% of customers, coming second to phone support with 91%. However, 41% of consumers say they prefer live chatting over phone support (32%), email (23%), and social media support (3%).

4. Added self-service options for customers

Modern consumers tend to be more independent and look for answers before contacting the business. A Statista survey supplements this, with results that show 88% of U.S. consumers expect organizations to have online self-service portals.

Having a FAQ page, community forum, or mobile application set in place can help optimize your operations and urge customers to inquire about your products or services further.

5. Video call integration

Video calling has been around for some time now. However, the pandemic made this fundamental feature essential. During the second quarter of 2021, 38.5% of Internet users worldwide have used video calling apps with their mobile devices in that specific examination period.

With the global health crisis still ravaging the world, this trend is projected to continue even after the pandemic. Now, more than ever, people realize video calling’s potential as a more convenient way of conducting business while companies have the opportunity to address issues remotely.

6. Rise of chatbots and artificial intelligence 

Per a Juniper Research study, chatbots could help businesses cut costs by $8 billion every year by 2022. It also projects that between three-quarters and 90% of queries related to healthcare and banking will be resolved by chatbots within a five-year time frame, resulting in up to $0.70 of savings per interaction.

When your company uses a chatbot, you gain round-the-clock support with the automation of solutions to frequently asked questions and the enhancement of the agent experience through the prioritization of customer requests. All that contributes to the reduction of lead response time, thereby enhancing your B2B lead generation.

7. Added focus to personalization

According to a report by Accenture, 91% of customers are more likely to do business with brands that provide offers and recommendations tailored to their preferences. Personalized customer care adds value to customer experience, increasing the chances of consumers’ loyalty and retention.

Hyper-personalization can be achieved by investing in customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Their primary function is to unify and organize all interactions from various touchpoints, giving businesses insight on how to customize each offer for a specific customer.

8. Increased focus on proactive support

The norm for multiple companies has been reactive customer support for the longest time. However, with the business world being more competitive than ever, consumers appreciate companies who practice proactive support—when they take the initiative to follow up or seek feedback from their consumers.

Proactive support urges companies to assess the status of a consumer before they reach out. This allows businesses to identify possible problems and necessary improvements before it materializes. In a survey by Gartner, only 13% of 6,000 customers surveyed received proactive customer support.

9. Establishing omnichannel

According to a study, businesses with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of their clients, contrary to the 33% rate of establishments with underdeveloped omnichannel customer engagement.

By definition, an omnichannel is a lead nurturing and user engagement approach that unifies all existing social media channels of a business, streamlining all its processes to result in consistent service.

10. Increased outsourced customer service work

With the pandemic’s unpredictability on businesses, companies enlisted the help of third parties to accommodate the sudden shift in their work volume. This makes outsourcing a new commodity for enterprises looking to accomplish and achieve quality work. 

Outsourcing has been around for decades. However, with COVID-19 causing delays and shutdowns to industries across the globe, outsourcing has been helpful for those seeking a sudden workforce injection without sacrificing output quality. Based on research, 300,000 jobs are outsourced by the U.S. yearly, with 70% of the reason being a significant cut in cost.

11. Small Businesses Communicate With Their Outsourced Teams Daily for Maximum Results (UpCity)

To maintain consistent, open communication, 53% of U.S. and Canadian small businesses reported that they correspond with their outsourced teams on a daily basis. This allows them to ensure that day-to-day tasks are running smoothly and that roadblocks are quickly resolved. Overall, businesses still want to contribute their input to outsourced projects.

For Consistent Customer Service Today and Beyond

Customer service has evolved exponentially through the years due to the ever-changing trends in the business world. As such, your company needs to keep up and formulate new plans that would fit the wants and needs of your customers. Let this serve as a guide when considering customer service best practices that correlate with your company’s vision and help your business meet its goals.

If you’re looking for a trusted company to help you enhance your overall customer service with these practices in mind, consider Executive Boutique Call Center. Our team ensures that you have the best customer experience possible with our pool of highly skilled agents and state-of-the-art technology. Check out our various services, or contact us today to learn more.

Read More »

Outsourcing in 2021: A Year-End Report

outsourcing-year-end-report
outsourcing-year-end-report

Growth is always a welcome development for most businesses. However, rapid growth will inevitably hit a plateau that can stunt your venture’s earning power. One business practice you can consider to prevent this is business process outsourcing (BPO).

While expansion is one of the main reasons companies have tapped the services of various outsourcing agencies, there are other perks that come with hiring such services. Ultimately, the efficiency they can provide for the costs they incur can significantly help your company’s bottom line.

Unlike other fields that were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, global outsourcing industries have experienced remarkable increases in their businesses and received positive projections in the coming years. In this article, we will provide you with relevant outsourcing statistics for a clearer picture of the current and future state of the dynamic outsourcing industry all over the world.

While the global health crisis has limited the growth of some businesses, the outsourcing industry has seen significant changes that are projected to carry through in the years to come.

In 2019, the industry’s global value hit the $92.5 billion mark. With strong optimism for the field’s future direction, a Grand View Research study estimates it to expand to $405.6 billion come 2027 at a CAGR of 8%. This leap shows how more companies are starting to see the value outsourcing can bring to their business, even when everything goes back to normal.

2. The Philippines’ BPO industry generated $26.7 billion in 2020. (IBPAP)

Even as the health pandemic affected the economy, the BPO industry in the Philippines saw a revenue increase of 1.4% in 2020, recording a $26.7 billion total. According to the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), the climb reflected the efforts of BPO companies to ensure continued operations amid the global health crisis.

In terms of employment rate, BPO establishments hired 1.8% more people in the same year, resulting in 1.32 million direct employment in the country.

3. The United States remains the biggest client for outsourcing companies. (Reliable Plant)

Even before 2020 changed the way businesses operate, companies in the United States have always been the top subscriber to BPO services. It’s not unreasonable to think the same thing rings true today, as at least 68% of American companies still rely on third-party contractors to do some of their work for them.

Interestingly, as the top digital nation in 2021, the United States is among the largest supplier of online labor in the world. In their rising gig economy, 16% of Americans are reported to have earned money from an online gig platform.

4. Call centers will remain an integral part of customer retention strategies. (Morph Networks)

Many businesses closed due to the pandemic, so retaining customers can become a tough task to accomplish. The numbers paint a different picture, though. Call centers increased their volumes by 14% in 2020 to meet customer demand. Moreover, over half of all businesses partner with a third-party customer support business in 2021 to enhance their customer experience.

A Salesforce report reveals that at least 84% of customers stay because of loyal customer service. Additionally, companies that invest in customer retention initiatives by at least 5% see their profit rise between 25-95%. These statistics alone make call centers a vital component of your business strategy.

5. Cost reduction is the leading reason for outsourcing work. (Deloitte)

Not many companies have fully recovered from the pandemic’s impact on their coffers due to the current global economic situation. As such, at least 70% of companies that use outsourcing services attribute their decision to reduce costs.

Meanwhile, flexibility (40%) and speed to market (20%) are the second and third most important factors businesses consider when opting for an outsourced partner for their operations. Other attributes like access to tools and processes and agility (15%) are also included on the list.

6. The move to cloud services will only accelerate the rise of outsourced work. (Fortunly)

Aside from video conferencing tools, the pandemic also highlighted the importance of cloud servers to hold crucial files during a remote setup. Data shows that more than 93% of businesses are considering or have already implemented cloud technology as part of their processes.

As it allows for more effective and efficient work, a third of all companies are willing to increase their operating budget if it means getting better-outsourced support.

7. IT work is the most outsourced work worldwide. (Clutch

The outsourcing industry long held the reputation of only handling a company’s customer service needs. However, 2021 was a different tale as more skilled labor is being outsourced by companies worldwide.

According to a Clutch study, 27% of small businesses outsource their IT work. This can be attributed to the technical nature of the work that some smaller companies have no resources to build themselves. Furthermore, the report shows that 23% relegate their finance operations, 21% want a third party to handle their legal needs, and 20% tap another company for their marketing work.

8. A more efficient workflow is the leading reason behind most outsourcing orders. (Clutch)

Most small businesses will outsource work to get a more efficient workflow. In fact, 24% of business owners opt to outsource for this reason alone. An increase in efficiency means spending less time delivering products and services to make room for other tasks.

Efficiency isn’t the only reason most enterprises tap outsourcing companies, though. Some want to get expert help (18%) on their processes, while others use such services to provide more flexibility (16%) to their work.

9. More IT companies are opening up to the idea of outsourced work. (Fortunly

Although once aloof to the concept of outsourcing, the IT industry is now becoming more receptive to such work. Today, at least 44% of chief intelligence officers welcome the idea of outsourced teams handling some of their tasks for them. 

Functions that have to do with software application development make up most (64%) of the field’s outsource requests. Meanwhile, technology executives delegate application and software maintenance (51%) and data centers (40%).

10. India and the Philippines continue to dominate the outsourcing industry. (Outsource Accelerator)

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian countries remain at the top of the outsourcing list, specifically India and the Philippines. The two countries are the world’s most preferred outsourcing hubs for different services. India specializes in IT and software development, while the Philippines is better known for customer service and back-office work. 

Move Forward to Greater Success with Outsourcing

Outsourcing has long since shed its customer service roots and is now an asset for big and small companies. With this list of strong facts and figures as a basis, you now have a snapshot of the industry’s potential moving forward.

In case you’re looking for a call center outsourcing partner to scale your business, there’s no better place to go than Executive Boutique Call Center. We are a team of highly-skilled customer service specialists that can provide you with optimal results to increase your bottom line. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Read More »

10 Ways to Improve Teamwork in Your Customer Service Team

improve-teamwork-customer-service-team
improve-teamwork-customer-service-team

A day’s worth of work in a call center can be unpredictable. Employees have a hectic schedule to follow that changes daily, as they interact with numerous customers with varying levels of concerns and demands. Despite this, people from the customer service track need to be headstrong throughout the adversity to provide quality services.

As a manager, it’s integral to foster a positive environment for your employees to boost team morale and performance. However, like all valuable efforts within a company, this cannot happen overnight.

To help you get started, this guide will walk you through tips on improving teamwork in your customer service team and creating the ultimate ideal workplace for everyone. 

The Importance of Teamwork

Although having skilled individuals is a definite advantage in any team, customer service work requires teamwork more than you might think. Since it revolves around a series of processes, a seamless internal collaboration leads to faster service, satisfying 75% of customers who want a consistent quality service experience.

Apart from building strong relationships, reactive and proactive members can help eliminate stress and exhaustion within the group. With 74% of agents at risk of burnout, having an easy and even distribution of work can snowball into improved team performance, boosting overall business numbers.

How to Improve Teamwork in Your Customer Service Team

If you’re yet to come up with strategies to enhance your customer service team’s teamwork, here are several effective ones you can try:

1. Establish and optimize communication channels

“Communication is key” is a commonly used phrase in most businesses—and for good reasons. Whether you’re working in-person or remote with your team, it’s a must to communicate effectively to serve customers properly and resolve any issues quickly.

A straightforward way of maintaining contact internally is through team chats or meetings. Besides aligning for customer-related tasks, conversations can also involve brainstorming, evaluations, and suggestions on how the group can improve. Keep in mind that each session must have a primary focus to emphasize productivity.

Google Meets and Zoom are a few common channels you can use in your operations. Alternatively, you may look into Slack, which allows for private messages, team huddles, and data storage to keep things organized.

2. Align internally on team goals and beliefs

Having an outline of your team goals enables each person to dedicate themselves to their roles. The point of this is to create a timeline of what you want to accomplish, as focusing on a clear target in a customer service environment can ultimately lead to better performance.

Take the average response time as an example. According to a recent report, it takes around 12 hours and 10 minutes for a team to handle a request. With this, a goal you can set for your group is to have a quicker response time that doesn’t affect quality.

3. Clarify and distinguish roles and responsibilities

Individual roles and responsibilities play an integral part in line with team goals. Each member should be comfortable and confident with their job to perform effectively. You must clearly communicate each one’s responsibilities and your expectations about them. To achieve this, you need to seek feedback from your employees and schedule productive team meetings. 

Through these methods, you will see if there’s a need to reorganize the team’s dynamic. As a manager, this allows you to place people on tasks they’re good at and happy to do. Remember, finding the fit for the roles ensures quality work. 

4. Encourage out-of-office hangouts

Having after-hours hangouts is a vital part of building team chemistry. Casual events such as out-of-office dinners and weekend movie nights are a great way to establish trust and rapport among team members. 

Other activities such as out-of-town trips and holiday parties are major get-togethers to look forward to. This allows employees to socialize with others more, encouraging open communication in the workplace. 

5. Empower employees

An American Psychological Association (APA) survey shows that 93% of employees who feel appreciated are motivated to do their best at work. With data to back it up, be sure never to miss a chance to recognize your employees’ contributions.

Showing appreciation and encouragement are some of the simple ways you can boost your employee’s morale. You want to create a positive atmosphere that encourages everyone to keep working hard and promotes a constructive dynamic. Working in an unappreciative environment is toxic not only for your crew but for the enterprise at large.

6. Incorporate a task management system

Task management systems are used to streamline daily operations and increase team productivity, which is why it’s essential when improving teamwork within your customer service group.

One of the most recommended collaborative work management apps today is Trello. Conveniently, it allows you to schedule tasks, organize multiple schedules, and post documents with the option for everyone in the workspace to collaborate. With Trello, numerous people can share an assignment to speed up the process while managers monitor the progress.

7. Improve customer service strategies

Sure, having a set of updated strategies can provide better quality and increased customer satisfaction. But did you know it can also make a grand impact on your team’s harmony?

When the clients win, your employees win as well, which is why it’s vital to revamp your customer service methods on a schedule to make both parties happy. If your playbook is due for an upgrade, here are a few things to consider for the new one:

  • Having consistent availability or coverage
  • Engaging with customers on various social media platforms
  • Assigning the right representatives to specific customer needs

8. Enhance employee engagement

No matter how skilled and experienced your employees are, there could still be a dent in their performance if they’re unhappy with their overall work experience. Because of this, it’s important to know how the team feels, as it can improve the work they’re doing daily. 

Engaging with them through suggestion boxes, surveys, or one-by-one meetings is one way to do it. You may utilize an employee engagement template to get an insight into what your staff feels and what you need to change to make them feel better. 

Much like a chain reaction, as you promote positive changes within your crew, you can be sure to see happier employees right after.

9. Consider flexible work hours

There are different types of people in the workplace. Some are early starters, while some are more productive later in the day. With customer service almost always on-demand, considering to allow flexible work hours might just level up your crew’s productivity rate, especially when all are working in the hours they’re most comfortable. 

Aside from that, such flexibility can also promote collaboration with members who are working simultaneously, which ultimately increases the job done in a day.

10. Create an open communication

There are customer service teams with strict hierarchies when it comes to communication. Especially when a pressing issue arises, the flow of resolution is longer where the employee would report to the supervisor, who would then report to the manager.

To avoid such a stretch in workflow, encourage open communication within your group. Doing so will allow your representatives to solve customer issues faster, especially if other members—whether on the same level or higher—may be more knowledgeable about specific concerns.

Make it Work with Teamwork

Being in a demanding field such as the call center industry is already tough, but managing a customer service team takes this challenge up another notch. Apart from providing excellent service for your customers, it’s also well within your scope of responsibilities to look after your members’ welfare as a manager. 

A straightforward process, a fair distribution of workload, and a fun out-of-work engagement activity can make all the difference in improving the overall working conditions of your team. Remember, fostering a positive dynamic between everyone can translate to greater work performance for your customers.

If you need to partner with a call center outsourcing service that has great teamwork and even better work performance, check out Executive Boutique Call Center. Our team is one of the best in the Philippines, composed of highly trained agents ready to provide quality support for your business and clients’ needs. Learn more about our best-in-class customer service when you contact us today!

Read More »

10 Tips to Help You Deal With Difficult Callers

" "

Individuals with customer service jobs are the most prone to burnout. Working under extreme pressure, they deal with complex problems, handle tedious administrative tasks, and interact with demanding customers daily. Due to the nature of their work, these professionals must carry qualities or be trained to be more empathic, efficient, and calm under extreme stress.

Amid adversity in a fast-paced environment, service representatives need to develop resiliency. Given that they handle numerous calls each day, it’s not a surprise if they end up interacting with a demanding customer. In such circumstances, correctly assessing the situation and approaching these clients with the right tactics will help manage things with ease and avoid burnout.

If you want to improve your interactions with your customers, you’ve come to the right place. This infographic will list down useful customer service tips on how you can deal with difficult callers!

The Value of a Pleasant Customer Experience

Companies usually overlook customer experience because its success and value are difficult to measure. Yet, without a customer focus, companies won’t survive. 93% of customers say that they will make repeat transactions with a brand that provides excellent customer service. Similarly, companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%.

Indeed, during this period of commodity trap, too many products and services are the same. To stand out in a saturated industry, customer experience is the perfect way to create a competitive edge. However, providing a pleasant customer service experience can be challenging with demanding consumers.

9 Types of Difficult Customers

1.     Highly Aggressive

Aggressive customers scream, complain, and often get verbally abusive to get what they want. This behavior is because they think their needs and demands are superior to everybody else’s; hence, their needs are more urgent and important.

2.     Vague and Indecisive

An indecisive caller is notoriously fickle. Consequently, they ask lots of questions and keep shifting between different options. Not only can these discussions ramp up handling times, but they can also be confusing to deal with.

3.     Demanding and Impulsive

This type of customer usually makes decisions at the spur of the moment. Triggered by emotions and feelings, their excitement can turn into entitlement. They demand special treatment and think your business will not survive without them.

4.     Overly Critical and Cautious

Critical callers can be a considerable challenge. They seem to know it all and are very critical of your suggestions. Moreover, a problematic, over-cautious client can become a frustrating lead. They ask more questions than anyone else and hesitate to complete a sale until they’re 101% sure.

5.     Complainer

Generally, callers have complaints. And it’s a good thing because negative comments can be a rich source of constructive feedback for your company. But when you encounter a customer who makes a fuss about everything–even about the pettiest of things–you may have a chronic complainer on your hands.

6.     Impatient

Impatient callers are the kind who don’t care that something is not available or can’t be completed at the moment. They can’t imagine you don’t have some features or services available at all times.

7.     Talkative

Talkative customers tend to deviate from the real issue and talk about something else. While having someone talk your ears off is better than being screamed at, chatty customers can harm your average handle time and keep you from helping other callers in your queue.

8.     Know-it-All

They seem to know everything about anything, including your business, product, or service. But unfortunately, these callers could be highly critical and rude in their bid to showcase their knowledge. They also tend to speak a lot and dominate the conversation.

Know-it-alls believe they are always right, and it’s almost impossible to change their beliefs. This type of caller can be complicated because you can’t tell what they want.

9.     Penny-Pinching Customers

Sure, everyone enjoys a reasonable price. But some clients try to stretch things too far by asking for freebies or accusing you of nickel-and-diming them. These customers might present your price tag as life-or-death when it isn’t necessarily the case.

How to Cater to Difficult Clients

1.     Remain calm and collected

Take deep breaths and harmonize into your emotions when interacting with demanding customers. Your conversation with them is more likely to succeed if you learn to recognize and modulate your feelings. It is in your interest to relax and make every caller interaction as smooth as possible. When you stay composed, you keep the situation from escalating into a more complex discussion.

2.     Validate the customer’s feelings

The person shouting at you on the phone often wants you to recognize that they are upset for a good reason. Unfortunately, many customer service professionals tend to calm the caller because they don’t understand what is happening. Rather than telling them to calm down, try acknowledging the problem first and then finding a solution.

3.     Understand the customer’s point of view

When managing a demanding caller, take time to reflect on their point of view. Practicing empathy acknowledges the present emotional state of the caller and allows you to respond accordingly. If you want to understand their point of view better, try asking questions. Clarifying their needs will show them your genuine desire to make it right.

4.     Assess their needs

One of the most effective ways to deliver customer service is by discovering each caller’s specific needs. Understanding the caller’s expectations and the solutions they desire will help you resolve their issues more efficiently. Let the caller know that you will try everything in your power to address their complaint.

5.     Speak in a soft and understanding tone

When a customer raises their voice, it may be best to speak even more softly than usual. Speaking softly is a strategy that is useful for de-escalating tense conversations. You may want to communicate with them calmly and talk lightly. A serene presence helps to keep the situation under control. Their anger will generally dissipate as you approach the problem unaffected by the caller’s tone or volume.

6.     Practice active listening

Active listening helps you understand the significance of the caller’s words to do your best to make the situation better. Active listening is especially relevant when your customer needs reassurance that you’re engaged in the conversation.

One technique to practice active listening is to use verbal affirmations that let the client know you are listening and engaged in the discussion. It involves focusing your attention on the caller, understanding what they are saying, and responding thoughtfully.

7.     Keep communication professional

When communicating with a customer, remember that your behavior reflects your employer. Therefore, it is always good to be mindful of your words and repress any impulses to take the problematic customer’s behavior personally. To manage professional communications, keep a service-oriented demeanor. Use an even tone and show the caller that you’re open to the feedback they’re giving.

8.     Seek multiple solutions

It can be helpful to ask the customer what they need directly. Asking can help you get straight to satisfactory solutions. Focusing on solutions will give you a greater chance of resolving the situation quickly. This option is best when you’re unsure which actions would ease a customer’s mind. Knowing what they want will help you reach their expectations and find a compromise.

9.     Don’t make promises you can’t keep

It’s natural, when panicked, to tell someone exactly what they want to hear and get off the phone as quickly as possible. However, if you don’t figure out what’s wrong, the customer will either keep calling back or take their business elsewhere.

This person needs a real solution, so it’s better to tell them in definite terms what you know, and if you don’t, be transparent and tell them that you will do your best to find a resolution.

10.  Give a recap of the next steps

Before you end the call, let the caller know exactly what to expect, and then be sure to follow through on your solution. Document the call to ensure you’re well prepared for the next interaction.

The Customer is King

There are different types of difficult callers, and providing a remarkable client experience is crucial to the sustained growth of any company. To ensure that you give callers the service they expect, always be polite and prioritize their needs. If customer service isn’t your realm of expertise, you should consider partnering with a reputable outsourcing vendor.

Fortunately, acquiring EB Call Center’s Customer Service Expertise will increase sales, optimize conversion rates, and create a positive experience with your clients. As a premier call center in the Philippines, our pool of highly trained agents will treat your clients with the care and attention they deserve. Take the next step in providing a remarkable customer experience and contact us today!

Read More »

Everything You Need to Know About Call center Fraud and How to Stop Them

" "

Today, the world is growing reliant on the web and other digital tools, making people’s lives easier and more convenient. But with ease comes its risks, as cybercrime cases are also steadily rising over the years. As more and more people run their business operations online, hackers get more opportunities to infiltrate and steal valuable information.

Large and small businesses are targets of cybercriminals, as they can be sources of enormous profit out of their resources, assets, and critical data. Some of the companies that cybercriminals target are healthcare centers, financial institutions, and call centers. Since support agents manage sensitive data regularly, hackers can pose as customers to trick them.

With cybercriminals getting more creative and innovative with their tactics, it’s imperative to educate yourself about call center frauds to help prevent one from happening to you. Here’s an infographic that discusses the common fraudulent methods they use and how you can stop scam calls.

3 Types of Call center Frauds

Call center fraud can happen without you realizing it until it’s too late. Once fraudsters trick agents into believing they are legitimate account holders or customers, they can do virtually anything from there. Below are the common methods they use that you should be aware of.

●        Account Takeover

Account takeover, also referred to as customer impersonation, is when fraudsters pose as real customers when speaking with call center representatives. They use social engineering tactics to convince agents into revealing personal information for illicit purposes.

When successful, fraudsters can take over the account, allowing them to change contact information or account PINs to lock out the real user. Before impersonators attempt to call contact centers, they research online about the critical details behind the account owner like their pet’s name, favorite teacher, mother’s maiden name, and other personal information.

●       Identity Theft

Scammers who can get their hands on critical personal information through call center interactions can commit identity theft. They obtain the necessary information so that they can use the account holder’s identity to apply for credit cards, make purchases, get loans, and conduct other illegal activities.

Fraudsters start to gain personal details through stolen devices or by hijacking unsecured networks. When they find a target, that’s when they contact the victim’s financial company to get other personal information.

●        Card Not Present (CNP) Scams

Since COVID-19 kept people holed up in their homes, more and more consumers are shopping online. From groceries and food deliveries to casual shopping, it’s become commonplace for individuals to make purchases or transactions online or through their phones.

Cards that are not present or swiped through a machine are another way cybercriminals can scam account holders. Fraudsters use stolen credit cards to purchase items online or over the phone. Often, the order is processed and delivered before the real cardholder realizes they have been a victim of fraud.

Call centers must be aware of this since they manage and process transactions made through a phone call. 

6 Tips to Keep Fraudsters at Bay

To steer clear of call center frauds and ensure the safety of their customers’, organizations must adopt a multi-layered approach to security. As you become aware of the different signs of fraud, you should also learn about the different ways you can stop scams from happening.

1. Double-down on employee cybersecurity training

Refine your cybersecurity employee training process. Both new and experienced call center agents must be informed of your procedures and policies regarding scam calls and malicious callers. You should conduct training on cybersecurity to make them aware of such behaviors and help them stay vigilant.

You must train your employees to identify potential fraudulent calls, what to do when a caller is suspicious, and the questions they can and cannot answer.

2. Make use of multi-factor authentication

As new technologies emerge and cybercriminals find modern ways to infiltrate and manipulate individuals and call center agents, organizations must elevate their security and means of authentication.

Explore identity and access management solutions, such as PINs or passwords (something you know), smartphones (something you have), and face or voice recognition (something you are) to integrate into your processes.

You can use SMS-based OTPs (one-time passwords), knowledge-based questions, and biometric authentication methods. Biometric authentication, like voice recognition, is a unique identifier that can’t be replicated or stolen, making it an ideal method for enhancing your security and flagging signs of fraud.

3. Set restrictions among employees

It’s not uncommon for customers to call for assistance when they need to change their credentials. With this, agents address such requests and are more than willing to assist. Unfortunately, this is why some agents fail to recognize fraud attempts, and scammers get away without being flagged or caught.

A solution to this is to limit or deny some types of requests or transactions for further verification, especially if they ask to change details like address and phone number. You can also consider limiting access to certain information to senior employees.

4. Invest in CRM solutions

Legitimate customers wouldn’t want to go through a series of interrogating questions before completing a transaction. To help you filter malicious calls without compromising good customer experience, harness the power of technology.

Using CRM solutions with promising fraud analytics tools will allow your agents to monitor and read cross-channel and channel-specific behavior insights. Such tools will help call center representatives ascertain suspicious activities or actions that fall within a threshold of suspicion. Agents can flag these calls and transfer them to fraud specialists for further assessment and management.

5. Work with fraud specialists

Hire fraud specialists to take on sensitive calls. Fraud experts are trained to be constantly vigilant to detect imposters and recognize the risk associated with their behavior.

Instead of training all your agents to expertly flag fraudulent attempts, which can take a lot of time and resources and affect their productivity, you can instead set up a specific team for managing the tricky and sensitive nature of malicious calls.

6.Partner with third-party agencies

If you’re shorthanded and not equipped or knowledgeable enough about handling call center fraud, you can work with third-party providers. They can integrate a fraud prevention process or utilize their knowledge and expertise to take over your customer service.

Combat Call Center Frauds

It’s crucial to know and understand that fraudulent activities are socially engineered attacks that use manipulation. Technologies and tools can help detect vulnerabilities, but it’s still important to educate your agents about spotting scammers before they can pull off their tricks. Contact centers should be prepared and have protocols in place to take control of customer security.

To prevent cybercrime and malicious callers from infiltrating your system and manipulating your agents, work with a HIPAA-certified outsourcing partner that upholds security and values to deliver a quality customer experience.

EB Call Center is a call center in the Philippines made up of highly trained agents equipped with the right skills to deal with call center fraud. Contact us to learn more! 

Read More »