Archive for September, 2010

Nine Things to Check Before you Hit The Right Inbound Call Center

inbound call centers sevicesInbound call centers need no introduction. Keeping in pace with competitive marketplace, increasing costs of infrastructure, labors and technology, they are serving businesses to help them evolve their practices to more efficient and faster. However, seeing the huge demands of inbound call centers, everybody is trying to cash in on the trend. Result- the mushroomed inbound call centers, half lies and broken promises of guaranteed results and assured promises.

Here are nine tips to help you alert from and side- step such spoilers before you close on the right one.

1)Assured Quality Services: Inbound call centers are known for quality services at nominal rates. They should assure you the quality, the boast of at every level; be it with simple communication with customers or call scripting.

2)Technology: An inbound call center must have latest edge state of the art technology and expert team of engineers to help it utilize for your business.

3)Reporting: Call centers should provide you with monthly or fortnightly report of the performance consisting call evaluation, call waiting, call hold, customer satisfaction and other information.

4)Confidentiality: Call centers should have strict physical and digital measures to maintain the data security of clients.

5)Positive References: Ask them for references and talk with their clients. There is no harm in verification with them about the services and quality of the work provided by call center.

6)Staff: They should be well educated, trained, intelligent and polite.

7)Comprehensive Range of Services: Some inbound call center offer performance based services while some others provide requirements based services. You also need to know what type of services would suit your budget and business needs. A call center should be one stop source for all your business needs such as: Customer Care and Support, Catalog/Order Entry, DRTV/Direct Response, Appointment Setting/Sales Visits, Credit Card/Order Processing, Multi-Language and Communication Support, and  Order Management & Fulfillment Services.

8)Cost and Comparison: Are they costing too much or too low in comparison with other vendors? Ask why? There may be a star or asterisk hidden well under SLA. Does less amount mean quality compromise?

9)Working Style/Environment: What kind of atmosphere are they providing to their agents? Do their agents are leaving company before an year or so, we advise you to think. If they are possessing their employees instead of happily employing them, chances are those unhappy employees won’t be able to bring in happy results for you.


Webinar – The Important Aspect of Call Center

There is an open secret among the employees who work in the BPO sector: when you share tricks, you pick up more than you share. That is the skeletal concept of having a webinar for the executives who work in call center companies. For those who are not in the loop, webinars are conferences conducted over the internet. The participants can take part in the webinar without having to set out of their office. This is convenient for busy executives who do not have the time to travel to a conference. Moreover, they can continue with their tasks as they participate in the webinar. Webinars are very helpful for the business process outsourcing industry, as much as it is for other sectors. In this article we will take a deeper look as to how webinars can be useful for the business prospects of a call center.

The advantages of a webinar start with the knowledge sharing process. Call center companies are spread out across the world. They are doing their own thing in terms of innovation and technology building. It’s true that they do discuss their work at forums and profile pages, but a webinar gives them the chance to interact on a more personal, proactive way. The audio-visual aspect of a webinar draws them closer than they are when they communicate through emails and other business correspondence. There is also the chance that executives of call center services have their own preferences when it comes to online hang-out spots. Webinars bring all of them on a single dais like never before.

In these webinars, executives can discuss about the work that they do. Because they are all stalwarts in their own field of expertise, the young guns participating in the webinars can learn a lot from them. They can pick up tricks about how to optimize their call center services and earn better returns on investment. They can learn about the better use of technology and also about the latest developments in the technology that they use. Call center companies who want to cater to a global market have to keep a close eye on the ever-expanding and changing BPO technology. If they do not find themselves growing with the rest of the industry, they will soon find the telemarketing projects drying up.

Webinars can be excellent grounds for lead generation, too. The speakers and the organizers of the webinars can impress the business heads and participating influencers into getting more business for their companies. That is why the organizing BPO has to be very careful about the process. They must put their best foot forward. The speakers need to work on their presentations and make the time worthwhile for the participants. You cannot talk about irrelevant details and expect participation from the very busy people that you are dealing with. If you disappoint them once, the word goes around. Arrange for material that will hold them rapt in attention. It pays to schedule webinars at convenient times as well.

Call Center Trends for 2011

trend in call center

call center trend

The contact center market continues to evolve with changing customer and business expectations. This evolution is happening at an increasingly faster rate, making it a challenge for some businesses to adapt. Running an effective contact center requires an understanding of how customer and contact center trends are changing. Here is a summary of 5 contact center trends going into 2011, based on a recent North American customer survey by Frost & Sullivan.

Customer Satisfaction A Top Priority
Half of respondents were classified as ‘customer-oriented.’ A further 35% were classified as searching for the ‘latest and greatest’ applications. ‘Cost-focused’ represented the remaining 15% of respondents.

Hosted Services Adoption
Hosted contact centers are being increasingly adopted. Respondents with contact centers of over 500 seats was the fastest growing segment for hosted services adoption. 30% of all respondents plan on using hosted services in 2010, up 6% from 2009.

Rapid growth of social media customer interactions
Of respondents surveyed, 30 percent indicated they support social media customer activity and interactions on external social media sites (facebook, twitter, etc.), and 29 percent indicated they monitor and extract intelligence from this activity; of social media benefits, the top three cited were to “provide better customer service,” (75 percent), “drive sales,” (58 percent), and “drive customer loyalty” (54 percent).

Growth of Web collaboration, text and video
Of supported inbound interaction channels, growth from 2009 to 2010 was highest for text/SMS (25 percent increase), video (15 percent increase), and Web-based interactions (8 percent increase).

Consistent customer experience across channels continues to be a high priority across industries
The largest majority of respondents – 67 percent – rated ensuring consistent service across channels as a “very high priority” or “high priority.”

Significant increase in proactive customer contact activity across industries
Of three types of outbound customer programs, the majority — 65 percent — indicated they would increase their “proactive, value-add customer contact” programs over the next two years; 43 percent said they would increase their “sales and marketing” programs, and 42 percent said they would increase their “collections” programs.

The LifeBlood of Call Center Efficiency

If you operate a call center, you know how important it is to have reliable Workforce Management (WFM) software .

Without it, you face the danger of being understaffed during peak call periods, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction and a possible loss of business, and you won’t be able to accurately gauge your workforce’s efficiency.

And with the high rate of turnover associated with many call centers, it is important to maintain your workforce as much as possible, which can be accomplished with the aid of WFM software.

So what are some of the things to look for in WFM software? First of all, it should be able to help you when it comes to forecasting.

Many call centers have peak periods throughout the year, especially if it is a company that sells holiday gift merchandise or seasonal clothing.

Conversely, there can be periods where business is slow, and you don’t need much more than a skeleton crew to keep things going.

Your software should be able to provide an accurate accounting of sales and service activity from past years, so you know exactly how big or small of a staff you need to have on hand at all times.

Your WFM software should also be able to assist you when it comes to scheduling.

Since many call centers operate on a 24/7 basis, and offer a variety of full-time and part-time shifts with flexible scheduling, meeting your employees’ needs can be a big challenge.

You want to keep everybody happy, but at the same time you need to make sure you have all the bases covered, including lunch breaks and vacations.

The last thing your business need is for a customer to be greeted with a phone call that goes unanswered or is routed straight to voice mail.

The software you use should allow you update schedules easily and efficiently.

Another feature of WFM software is that it should allow you to track employee accountability.

With all the different shifts available, there are workers coming and going at various times during the day, so the software should indicate who is showing up for work on time, or if there are attendance issues to be concerned with.

This can be especially important when it comes to determining employee productivity.

So don’t leave your customers and employees in the dark.

Select WFM software that meets all of your call center’s needs.

Top 3 Reasons to Choose Call Center Services

In an economy laid low by the recession, it is difficult to expect an industry to remain unaffected. This is especially true for industries which are dependent on other business firms, like the business process outsourcing industry. Experts have claimed that with the falling value of the American dollar, it’s most likely that the process outsourcing field will trickle down to a dry state. They were proved wrong. The call center services industry
continues to thrive and this is possible because of a number of reasons.

The main reason why call center services did not receive a bad jolt is that it cuts down costs, which is the main objective in the times of economic
meltdown. Telemarketers offer the sales teams of companies with assured and qualified leads which reduce sales expenditures. Call center services firms have data pools which have the results of surveys conducted on customers and buyers to study their needs, requirements and buying patterns. These data banks serve the company who hire the business process outsourcing
firm. The use of these data banks
saves money for the clients and also time. They know where to target their sales efforts. Cost cutting being the main motive of recession-hit companies, these reductions in expenditure appeals to them immensely. So they go ahead and hire BPO firms even in these times.

The next reason to hire a call center services center is the way they treat your customers. This is a fiercely competitive market. The only way you can survive the slide is to have reliable and loyal customers as your cushion. Building up and retaining a steady bunch of customers is what call center services does for you. Agents at the BPO firms know the tact and protocol needed to handle customer queries. Agents know how to answer the customers’ questions precisely and professionally. They make the customers feel wanted. As a result of this personal interaction, customers feel good about being associated with your company. They feel a sense of belonging. This prevents them from signing up with your rival firm. If you do not pay heed to this rather necessary need, you might do your business a lot of harm.

Another reason why call center services are an absolute must is the experience of telemarketing experts to plan and implement your marketing campaigns. If you have a budget in mind, these experts will work your marketing plan around your budget with no excesses. This is particularly helpful when your main efforts are to save money. With the help of call center services you can achieve a lot of benefits, not to mention the saving of costs. Proper guidance and plan is very integral to the growth of any company. BPO firms offer that much needed support at extremely affordable prices.

Call Center Outsourcing: Access the Experts of Customer Services

call center services expertsWith globalization; when boundaries, nations and timezones have all rolled into one, businesses opportunities have grown by leap and bounds so do the onerous tasks of handling huge customer calls  and large volumes of customer queries. To rescue the companies from this bewilderment, the call centers and their customer support services come into scene.

Customer services has become the backbone of any aspiring business and service sector and call center services aim to assist you in the mission of providing excellent customer support with a proper back-up of latest technology, well trained agents and quality assurance tactics.  Customer Support Executives of a call center work as an extension of your company and relieve your in-house team from the burden of this monotonous and time-killing process.

With them you do not need to hire team to handle customer calls and allocate resources, infrastructure and finances for their development. You save on costs and time. Moreover, the services of offshore contact centers are on 24/7 basis. They are available throughout the year, so if you are one of those passionate entrepreneurs who think that one missed call is equal to missed business opportunity, there is nothing to worry about from now on. They will update you with complete call log on monthly basis which will include call waiting, call hold times, average call times and so on. Call centers’ customer services help you to strengthen the bond between you and customers by elating them with extraordinaire support and response. They have state-of-the-art infrastructure and provide standardized and uniform service across all levels. They align your internal and  external operations.

The customer services of call centers focus on first call resolution which means satisfying the query or understanding the cause of customer’s problem at the first instant, he calls up. Their customer services are designed to enhance customer satisfaction. They streamline your processes, free your team to concentrate on the major strategic issues of business. Their services help you to understand their customer preferences better and quick, thus, reducing the romp-up time to accelerate product launch that provide you a competitive edge in the market place.

The Factor of Compliance in BPO

There are several levels of compliance in the BPO unit. There are those that deal with the call center services, there are the ones that deal with the other employees and also the one that revolves around their comfort levels with the policies of the call center.

At different levels, the new recruit has to be compatible. It’s difficult to work with someone who doesn’t fit into the scheme of things, no wonder how skilled the person may be.

At one point, your patience with the incompatible employee will snap. But it may be that the damage is done by then. An employee that does not fit into the scheme of things is more likely to cause damage to the BPO service unit in more ways than one. Let’s take a look at the ways how compliance is important for better work.

Let’s begin the discussion with the compatibility with the call center services.

Various call centers have their own methods of doing business. They have their innovated use of technology, reporting structure and performance parameters. There may not be any vast differences between them, but some aspects are bound to be different. The new BPO agents that you hire must be comfortable with the practices of your organization.

You have to make it clear to the new recruits about the processes and parameters that you follow. It could be that they are not aware of certain things. But as a recruiting manager, you have to ensure that they have this desire to pick things up and adapt. If they don’t have the right attitude about learning new things, they are not going to be assets for your call center.

Telemarketing agents have to work in teams. They are part of a team of equals and have a supervisor who takes charge of the team. In other words, they have to be a team player. A call center agent has to perform individually, no doubts on that. But at the same time, he/she has to contribute towards the team.

They have to take on extra work for their peers if the deadline is near and they are not meeting the telemarketing services targets on a regular basis. In the same vein, they have to stand in and support their BPO colleagues when the going gets rough.

An agent who doesn’t want to adhere to the team and be cooperative is a bad hire. Such agents do not contribute to the BPO service process. Rather, they have a de-motivating effect on the others.

Finally, the call center agent has to be comfortable with the rules and guidelines of your organization. No BPO unit would want agents that are not serious about their job or the project on hand. Rules of the call centers are framed with certain specific goals in mind.

Primary among them is to lead a disciplined team of telemarketing agents to the pinnacle of success. The rules are not impediments to the full realization of a talent’s potential. It only hones the skills of the employees towards a definite goal.

We have a stringent hiring policy in our BPO units. We do not like to accommodate any call center employee that doesn’t go with our organization’s needs and brand image.

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September 2010
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