Wow! What a day we had at the office on Friday. We all got into the Halloween spirit and had a fun fancy dress day at RSVP. And with prizes to be won for the best costumes, it’s no wonder everyone made such a great effort!
There was a lovely bottle of prosecco and a box of delicious chocolates available for first prize; with a novelty Halloween prize for the runner up. It was a tough choice, but first prize was awarded to Simon Wiedlack who works on one of our customer service accounts for his original but brilliant re-imagination of Edward Scissorhands!
And coming in very close with second place… Jonathan Bristo! He created a fantastic interpretation of Professor Severus Snape from Harry Potter.
We were so impressed with everyone’s efforts! We certainly got our spook on. Well done team!
Publish Date: October 31, 2017
When working in a contact centre, there are important things your agents always need to be aware of. Whether this is their first time working in a contact centre or not, you need to ensure that they are fully aware of what is/isn’t allowed on their very first day.
NO MOBILE PHONES
At RSVP, mobile phones are not allowed on the sales floor. A lot of companies have lockers that employees have to lock their mobile phones and other electronic devices in at the start of the day. We don’t feel the need to do this; however we do make it very clear by having a zero-tolerance policy against the use of mobile phones on the sales floor. The reason being is that because we handle sensitive information such as customer details and credit card details, it’s too much of a risk to have mobile phones at desks. This also puts the client at ease. Of course, our staff are allowed to use their mobile phones on breaks when they are away from their computers and away from the sales floor. And as all of our staff are working in the entertainment industry, it’s important they are able to access their mobile phones when they need to as they may need to take a call from their agent.
PAPER FREE OFFICES
Similar to the use of mobile phones, it’s important to keep your offices paper-free. This, again, keeps the clients mind at rest, knowing customer details aren’t at risk. As a company that handles card details and other sensitive information, you have a duty to protect your clients customers.
PAUSE CALL RECORDING
All calls should be recorded in the contact centre, not only for the customers benefit, but also for the agents and managers (see blog on how to improve call quality monitoring for more information on this). Customers need to be made aware that the call is being recorded at the beginning of the call. When the agent goes to take card details, the call recording must be paused. If you’re able to, introduce an automated system where the recording pauses when the agent reaches the payment screen. This prevents any mistakes and ensures details will be protected.
Following these simple steps keeps your clients mind at rest and ensures customer information is protected when handling details. Make sure you follow them as they are all extremely important!
Publish Date: October 26, 2017
Training new and current staff is a key process within any company, and a great deal of time and effort should be put into it. Whether a customer service or sales agent, they are representing your business, so it’s vital they know a great deal about the company and are able to answer any queries the customer may have.
Following our top tips on how to train your agents will help them – and you – remain confident you’re giving excellent customer service!
1. Introduce New Staff to the Rest of the Team
As a new staff member, it can understandably be daunting starting a new role where you don’t know anyone. Allow them to meet the rest of the team before they begin training so they are able to put names to faces, find out what everyone’s role is and see who their manager is. Try to also introduce them to the company’s directors as well as the HR team so your new staff immediately know where to go if they need to speak with anyone.
Although new staff should have researched your company before their first day, it’s useful and nerve-settling for them if you give them a thorough introduction about the business – everything they need to know.
2. Have an Experienced Agent Train New Staff
For the training process to be a success you need to have a trainer who is enthusiastic and able to keep staff motivated and focused at all times. At RSVP, our experienced customer service/sales agents lead training sessions for new and current staff. We believe this is the best way to train as experienced staff know how to meet the customer’s needs. They have a fresh, up to date knowledge of the company and will likely be able to answer any questions new staff may have.
3. Have Listening-In Sessions
At RSVP, we use the last day of the training session to allow new staff to listen in to phone calls with our more experienced agents. They are able to hear what the agent and customer is saying, as well as looking at the screen, allowing them to see how they systems work at the same time. We find this is a great help as new staff tend to learn quicker by seeing and listening, rather than being sat in a room for hours – this can become tiresome.
Once your agents have completed training and are on the phones, you should have a Call Quality Development coach listen to their first few calls to ensure they are saying the right things/being brand ambassadors. This covers your business and you will be able to erase any mistakes the agent may make before it becomes habit.
4. Keep Training
It’s important to keep agents up to date with the business’ status and to notify them of any changes. Continue to listen to their calls and hold regular ‘refresher’ training sessions to ensure all agents are up to speed. This is also a great opportunity for agents to ask questions or raise any issues/points of improvement to help develop your business even more.
Publish Date: October 13, 2017
From hiring agents to managers to directors, the recruitment process can be stressful for both parties; especially when candidates aren’t being kept in the loop. Following these simple steps can result in you being able to pick the best of the best!
1. Be Organised & Responsive
As a candidate, there’s nothing worse than not being kept up to date with what’s going on with their application. This immediately gives them a negative impression of your business: a lack of organisation. It is essential you prevent this from happening. It seems obvious that candidates should be kept in the loop as to whether they have been successful or not, but unfortunately this is not the case with an awful lot of companies.
You should always tell applicants they will know if they have been successful or not by a specific date. And while it is, of course, understandable that this date may get pushed back and schedules may change, there is absolutely no harm in touching base with applicants and making them aware of this. It’s also good to make sure they’re still available and of course, that you’re still interested in their application.
If a candidate has not been successful with their application, it’s always very useful for them if you’re able to provide feedback. We’re not saying you need to write two A4 pages with ways they can improve, but we’re all aware of how rare it is to receive any sort of feedback, so if you’re one of the only companies able to do this, it reflects a positive image and the applicant will likely recommend your company to others, even though they haven’t been successful.
2. Know How to Advertise
It is very important that you advertise available positions within the company properly. This could be the first time candidates hear about your business when they come across an advert, so you want to give them a great impression from the word go. Make sure you advertise the job for what it really is. Don’t tell candidates it’s the easiest job in the world if it isn’t. It’s far better if you are honest and tell them realistically what the position entails.
If you’re able to, it’s also great if you’re able to offer some decent company benefits. A certain number of annual leave days is a given; but things like gym memberships, ability to purchase more annual leave, medical insurance, pension scheme etc. are all great little perks that will help increase the amount of applications you receive.
3. Keep Current Staff Happy
At RSVP, we mostly receive applications through word of mouth. We think this is a great way to meet potential new employees as they tend to already have a truthful idea of how the company works. And let’s face it – there is no stronger recommendation than word of mouth! We also offer a referral bonus to current staff when they recommend our company to someone and that someone starts working here. This doesn’t have to be much but it encourages your employees to spread the word about your business!
As our company is very unique, the flexibility we provide for hopeful actors sells itself, so we are constantly receiving applications from people wanting to work with us. But the flexibility isn’t the only aspect that makes RSVP a fantastic place to work – we have a great atmosphere in the office because people genuinely enjoy being here. If you can keep your current staff happy, they are bound to recommend your company to friends and family.
See previous blogs for ways to keep your staff motivated!
Publish Date: September 28, 2017
We all know how important it is to monitor agent’s calls within the contact centre; but it’s vital that this process is always carried out correctly. At RSVP, we believe in the importance of always providing agents with feedback – whether you listen to a positive or negative call.
So, we’ve put together a few top tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of monitoring calls!
1. Provide Feedback
We already know how important it is to provide agents with quality feedback – don’t worry, we’re not going to bore you with information you already know! – but when giving feedback, staff will most likely feel under pressure, especially if you have listened to a negative call:
The best way to overcome this is not to tell them off, but to talk to them. Remind them you’re on their side and you want them to succeed. A good starting point is to get them to listen to the call, and then ask them their overall opinion – see if they recognise whether they said all necessary statements during the call; if they were actively listening to the customer; not rushing etc… if they are able to pick up on their own mistakes, this proves they already know what they’re doing wrong and need encouragement rather than one-to-one coaching. Underperforming agents don’t just reflect negatively on the company from a customer service perspective, but this can cause a wider impact as well. Discuss with them, for example, how much mistakes can cost the company.
After the problem has been recognised by the agent, you can then go about providing positive feedback. It’s encouraging to highlight things they do well whilst also discussing how they can improve aspects of calls they don’t handle so well. Whatever the fault is, make it seem simple to correct, advise them that they can fix the problem by simply changing how they do this…
Feedback also needs to be given regularly. At RSVP, we have trained staff that monitor calls daily, whilst also providing the agents with necessary feedback as soon as they’ve listened to the call. Generally if problems are picked up on quickly, they can be resolved just as fast, ensuring customer service is kept to an excellent standard.
2. Ensure Team Leaders are Constantly Coaching
Your team of agents should always be kept up to speed with training – whether they’ve been with the company for years or weeks. It’s always helpful to hold regular ‘refresher’ training sessions to ensure the whole team are on the same page, whilst providing the opportunity for staff to raise any concerns they may have.
It’s also a good idea to hold mini ‘peer to peer’ sessions where agents can learn from each other.
Ideally, team leaders should be spending most of their time managing their team – monitoring calls, coaching agents and running incentives to motivate the team etc.
At RSVP, we believe that by monitoring calls, holding regular training sessions and always supporting your team, your agents will naturally improve their overall performance and therefore your business will grow.
Publish Date: September 13, 2017
Many entrepreneurs have stereotyped outsourcing solutions as a strategy only practical for bigger businesses. It’s a stereotype long gone and for some small firms, has made a powerful impact on their growth, productivity and long lived success.
One of the key reasons for outsourcing is the fast and inevitable development of technology. Technology and IT is an incredibly specific element to any business that requires the expertise and knowledge of professional who can adapt systems and networks to function properly. It certainly isn’t something that everyone can keep up with or understand fully. Small businesses tend to use outsourcing for technological developments because it allows professionals to work from anywhere in the world alongside the availability and accessibility of highly qualified professionals.
Taking the first step to outsourcing can be time consuming and appear to be rather daunting, especially when you find it hard to let go of tasks you believe only you can complete to your businesses required standards. However, figuring out how to build your business with help from outside professionals can offer increased efficiencies and economies of large scale. Ambitious and progressive entrepreneurs realise the power behind outsourcing in order to handle aspects of work they simply couldn’t complete or don’t understand themselves. Outsourcing can allow smaller businesses to compete with the top dogs in the market directly and potentially win.
So when is it right to outsource?
The right time to outsource differs for each and every company. Some companies may have a team of staff in-house but need a little extra help or man power to complete and undertake a new project. Sometimes this doesn’t justify employing brand new staff, so outsourcing becomes and more practical solutions. You may have such a growing work load that you find you no longer have enough hours in the day to complete it all yourself. You may feel like the only person who can complete the work to specification. However, if you want your business to grow you must learn to let go and start delegating. With the right attitude, your decision to choose outsourcing can pays off big time for you - you just need to choose the right outsourcers with the appropriate industry professionals to provide the high quality work you require.
What to outsource?
You may already be outsourcing parts of your business and these fays you can outsource almost any task. However, just because you can outsource it doesn’t mean you should. Don’t outsource a task just because you don’t want to do it. Some tasks are important to complete internally to improve your core business. Before deciding on what to outsource, reflect on your businesses strengths and weaknesses and what it is that makes your stand out in comparison to you competitors. If you focus your energy on your competencies and capabilities you can strengthen your resources and management in order to become the best in the market. Outsourcing any aspect of these tasks would be a big mistake as you fail to offer anything that can’t be found from someone else. For example, if your business focuses on product design you should not outsource any work related to your internal design talent or their design activities. On the other hand, they should consider outsourcing other elements of the businesses such as tangential processes; pay roll, IT, accounting and bookkeeping etc.
The types of tasks best suited to outsourcing can be categorised into three separate sectors:
Highly skilled of Executive expertise- You may not need to have a permanent position in-house for and expert. It’s very costly and most of the time not necessary. You may just need to bring an expert in when you need them in order for them to provide their services when necessary which inevitably cuts costs.
Highly repetitive tasks –Unlike an expert or highly skilled individual, highly repetitive tasks require I constant team or work force. Data entry or customer service are just two examples of tasks that may fall into this category.
Specialised knowledge- Most relevant example for this could be IT support for your in-house computing systems or network. You might not need them full time but find it easier to change to an outsourced IT person with the right skills your IT needs.
RSVP works as an outsourced call centre providing a wide variety of services to businesses, from smaller start-up companies to globally known industry professionals. You’ll find almost all of our services fit into one of the above categories, all of which we have mastered for over 25 years. At the heart of our success are our people. We pride ourselves on employing the best, and we believe there are no better people for a job rooted in communication than Actors. RSVP recruit from the vibrant community of performers in London, using their highly developed skills as communicators to support our proven high quality service. Our agents have trained, on average, for three years in vocal production and active listening, adapting themselves to many varied roles. This provides them with the resources to connect with all walks of life, using their natural empathy to match whoever they speak to, making every call a positive, personal experience.
Our expertise in understanding the demographic of your customers and their demands is proven to help your company grow, adapt and strengthen the brand identity.
If you are looking for a unique solution to your contact centre campaigns that will shine a spotlight on your company and make you stand out from the crowd, you are looking for RSVP!
Publish Date: September 4, 2017
Sponsored by BYC Aqua Solutions, Jabra GN, Moneypenny and RSVP at Verizon Offices in Reading, Berkshire.
RSVP were kindly invited by UKCCF and IS to attend a conference for outsourcing contact centre operations in Reading at the offices of Verizon. The conference was sponsored by RSVP alongside other organisations such as BYC Aqua Solutions, Jabra GN and Moneypenny. The conference was made up of several talks by industry professionals ranging from topics on social media to political economics.
The first discussion was held by Peter Ryan, founder of Ryan Strategic Advisory on ‘The Future of Working in a Contact Centre 2020’. The discussion was accompanied by leading industry professionals including Declan Maguire from TBT, William Carson from Teleperformance and Simon Foot from Ember Services. The discussion ranged from comparing problems of modern day contact centres to those that we may face in 2020 with many varied opinions of the severity of change we may face three years down the line. Conversations were held about the on-going political status of the country and how that could affect modern day contact centres and what those affects may look like in 2020.
We then moved onto a discussion on commercial banking titled ‘Economic Outlook, Another Fine Mess!’ lead by Adam Chester, Head of Economics at Lloyds Bank. The fantastically thorough presentation involved headings such as:
Finally we were given an edifying summary of the presentation and main points covered throughout.
In addition, we were addressed by Peter Ryan of Ryan Strategic Advisory on ‘The Contact Centre- Changing Times in a UK Offshore Dynamic’. He began to speak in depth on the competitive advantages that outsourcers must have available in their services to win potential business. With the presentation of a graph, it was clear that the two most important advantages are leading edge security/data protection capabilities as well as diverse social media CRM offerings.
We were also presented with a graph to indicate outsourcer UK pricing – inbound, voice based customer service (Price/Agent/Hours) USD. The UK mainland came in at second highest in this graph followed by Northern Ireland, South Africa, Philippines and lastly India. The highest country on the graph was Ireland. Peter began to speak in detail about India and its growing potential as offshore outsourcers. India was the very first offshore contact centre delivery location, therefore, as a potential business source it holds a fairly high reputation. He then pinpointed the labour scalability, the emphasis on quality across CRM value chain, English language availability, non-voice customer experience and relatively stable.
Finally, the conference was completed by an in-depth discussion on RPA (Robotic Process Automations) & AI (Artificial Intelligence) lead by Guy Clapperton from Intelligent Sourcing, Sarah Burnett from Everest Group and Andrew Burgess from AJ Burgess.
In conclusion, the exposition was an incredibly informative and interesting event for RSVP. It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss some very current issues in the contact centre world and a great opportunity to meet some fellow industry professionals and find out a little bit about leading competitors.
Publish Date: June 23, 2017
When it comes to hiring new staff, you should be looking out for their potential from the off. It’s important that candidates already possess certain qualities such as willingness to learn, a positive attitude and personality; but with regards to product and client knowledge, this is something that can be taught during training.
We’ve put together some top tips that we believe make a successful call centre agent!
As agents are the ones speaking to customers, answering questions and providing information, we believe the most important aspect of being a great agent is having excellent product knowledge. They need to be able to provide high quality support to customers and to do this, they need to learn and memorise a good amount of information about your company. As brand ambassadors it’s important that they agree with what your company is promoting/standing for.
In training, it’s a good idea to make the agent aware of frequently asked questions so that they can become familiar with answers. It’s important the agent is confident when answering questions as this will help the customer trust them and therefore trust your company.
2. Attention to Detail
When agents are speaking to customers all day, often answering the same questions and receiving similar complaints, the job can sometimes become tedious. The danger of this is that the agent can sometimes make a mistake or assume they understand the customer’s needs without fully listening to the enquiry (we’re only human after all!).
Unfortunately it seems that this is quite a common occurrence within call centres – according to talkdesk, consumers say that on average agents only answer their questions 50% of the time. For your company to stand out from the rest, your agents need to go above and beyond to exceed the customer’s expectations. It’s always a nice touch to ask the customer if there’s anything else they need help with/if they’re satisfied with the service they’ve received before ending the call. You want the customer to finish the call feeling free from doubt.
3. Communication Skills
This sounds obvious but it is so important your agents have excellent communication skills. Communicating with customers is the sole job of a call centre agent, so it’s vital this is never conveyed in a poor manner. And remember, communicating isn’t just about speaking. It’s about actively listening to the customer’s needs, digesting information and giving a quick solution to the problem.
We believe this is where we stand out from our competitors as a company. As our agents are all involved in the creative industry, they are used to being confident, polite and always willing to go the extra mile. Don’t stand for laziness – if an agent isn’t willing to meet the customer’s and your expectations this will reflect negatively on your brand.
At RSVP, we believe these 3 skills are key when hiring and training agents. If your agents carry these qualities throughout their time working for you, your customers will thank you for it!
Publish Date: June 14, 2017
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