Sitel - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 2
Entre los retos a los que se enfrenta la industria del contact center es adaptarse a las mejora de la experiencia de cliente a través de sus interacciones diarias con millones de usuarios, un objetivo en el que el Big data (almacenamiento, gestión y análisis de gran cantidad de datos) cumple un papel fundamental. Gracias a toda la información de cliente, las marcas pueden diseñar estrategias convenientes para cada consumidor atendiendo a sus gustos, preferencias, localización… pero ¿conocemos las opiniones y preferencias de los consumidores ante el Big data?
Según una encuesta publicada recientemente por Vodafone Institute en diversos países europeos, algo menos de un tercio de los usuarios entrevistados reconocieron ver ventajas asociadas al Big Data mientras más de la mitad de los encuestados afirmaron ver más desventajas.
Esta falta de confianza aplica a empresas e instituciones públicas por igual, ni siquiera marcas de reconocido prestigio consiguen superar esos bajos niveles de confianza entre los consumidores, un dato especialmente preocupante en determinados sectores como el de las telecomunicaciones. Como consecuencia, muchos usuarios tienden a evitar el uso aplicaciones bancarias, de compras online o a crear perfiles falsos en redes sociales.
Obviamente, un paso fundamental para el éxito en la aplicación del Big data es la mejora de las comunicaciones y el reforzamiento de las relaciones con el consumidor. Para ello, el contact center es una herramienta fundamental donde se da un contacto directo y personalizado con el usuario, es una oportunidad única de estrechar lazos con el consumidor. Teniendo esto en cuenta ¿cómo deberían aproximarse nuestros agentes para generar confianza? Pues el propio estudio nos da la respuesta: los usuarios esperan que las marcas se dirijan a ellos con un lenguaje claro y simple, además de un alto nivel de transparencia a la hora de informar qué datos se recogen y con qué fin.
Pero, según nos revela la encuesta, existen diferencias importantes según el origen del consumidor o su nivel de digitalización, por ello, desde Sitel recomendamos tener en cuenta estos factores:
- Los consumidores de 50 años o más son más reacios a dar cualquier tipo de información.
- Por procedencia del consumidor, los alemanes son los que menos disponibilidad muestran a la hora de ceder datos; por el contrario, los irlandeses son los que más facilidad para entregar información reconocen tener, seguida por España e Italia.
- En líneas generales, la mayoría de los encuestados no quieren ofrecer sus datos si no ven algún tipo de beneficio a cambio. Sin embargo, los usuarios admiten ofrecer información a una empresa si el fin es la mejora de un producto o servicio o para recibir una oferta personalizada, con un 45% y 44% respectivamente.
- Más de la mitad de los encuestados afirmaron preferir pagar por un servicio frente a no pagar y ofrecer sus datos personales a cambio (55% vs. 39%). Los españoles fueron los que se mostraron más dispuestos a pagar por un servicio (con un 66% de preferencia)
- Los consumidores son especialmente reacios a dar información financiera, al 86% de los encuestados no darían este tipo de datos; en España, la tasa sube hasta el 90%.
Publish Date: June 8, 2016 5:00 AM
I firmly believe that the rise of a professional methodology to manage client relationships is one of the most important changes in business that has emerged during the past two or three decades. The client relationship organization (or simply account management, if you rather) has been explored by many business-to-business partners across the globe to manage their relationships with strategically-important clients, and it has produced unquestionable business benefits.
However, to remain vital members of their organizations, the client management position must develop more breadth. I like to say that client relationship managers are also now “change agents”. In one of the most exciting and transformative eras in history, it is imperative that people managing client relationship become knowledgeable about trends affecting businesses, performance and finance, that they are prepared to adjust the types of tasks they perform, and that they proactively acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to function as full-fledged business partners.
We are all experiencing evolutionary change in almost all dimensions of our professional work environment. As competition has increased, businesses have responded by emphasizing three new priorities,
1) Adapting the quality of products and services according to customer needs to consequently increase sales
2) Reducing costs
3) Increasing productivity
Very straightforward, right?
But the fact is that many of our clients have adopted the concept of re-engineering to achieve these priorities which has naturally challenged the traditional approach of serving a client. As a result, everyone in a client-facing position, especially account managers, is being forced to become business partners and change agents, in a transition that can have a profound effect on the performance of the supplier organization. It is no wonder that many organizations like Sitel no longer see account managers as an extension of sales but as a core decision-making unit of excellence, with competencies involving collaborative skills, co-creating value.
In this fast-paced business world, we all recognized that account management is an organizational change, not a sales technique anymore. By positioning the account management position as business partners that enables transformation, we can ensure that they will continue to be involved in management decision making. Consequently, they are challenged to develop a thorough understanding of all aspects of our clients business, to provide insightful advice to top management, and serve as change agents.
This shift is not only improving the service vendor’s performance severely, but also means that we are getting closer to our clients, moving toward discussing their needs in a much broader business spectrum. We are learning to anticipate and recognize potential problems and develop solutions that benefit all stakeholders involved.
Nevertheless, the journey toward the new client relationship approach, although promising, is not easy. Serving a client requires being open to an evolving scope that entails entrepreneurship, an opportunity-driven mindset, and the willingness to provide employees with the autonomy, resources and support that can add serious fortitude to business relationships.
Publish Date: June 6, 2016 5:00 AM
Despite your industry, size of your company or your beliefs, one tenet holds true among human resources professionals across the globe: the pace of change in the next decade will be even more fundamental. Technology, demographics, macro-economic changes, and other factors will influence organizational structures and cultures.
Our experience managing a global, very diverse and well qualified labor force, as many studies released about the future of our society, our businesses and workplace, are showing the following themes and developments in People Management towards and beyond 2016:
- People management will present one of the greatest business challenges in the following years and, consequently, the role of HR will undergo fundamental change
- “Govern, accept, connect” will be one of the key mantras of the new HR. Processes used to establish relationships will be more important than the solutions provided by the HR organization
- “Social Business Model” will rise as a key tool making satisfied people coming together to achieve a common goal.
In the bottom-line, Social Business Model focuses on delivering social returns using business principles and reinvesting surpluses into furthering social goals. By “Social Business Model” we are referring to the mandatory need to review traditional Operations & HR techniques and business models in order to establish a new dialogue and relationship with our employees, candidates, partners, clients and the whole communities where we do business.
Having said that, we appreciate that the potential of the social business model is not being exploited fully across our global network – we still have important challenges ahead of us but at the same time we are proud of the milestones we have reached in this area. For instance, Sitel have recently signed up to the UN Global Compact. The United Nations Global Compact – the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative – is an attempt to align companies’ strategies and operations with 10 universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.
This reinforces our commitment to ensure that our businesses advance in ways that benefit economies and societies and contribute to a more sustainable economy – in Europe and globally. All our people are immersed on the culture of our clients and the countries served, helping us to deliver really outstanding and meaningful customer experiences.
But this is not an easy task and the complexity has been increasing. Companies need to keep investing in tools and processes to help and guide employees and to support them sharing experiences with other associates locally or across the globe. Humbly using Sitel as a benchmarking, the two key elements of our strategy are.
First, we define values that clearly describe who we are and what we expect from our people. We emphasize elements like accountability, Integrity, Open Communication, etc.
Next, we define leadership goals that are imperative supporting our employees. Goals such as:
- Being the Coach, so our associates see future possibilities and know how to achieve them.
- Growing the Business, so we create success for Sitel, which enables us to appreciate our associates.
- Acting with Insight, showing our associates a leadership team that earns their trust.
- Leading to Engage, creating a community where all of our associates across the globe belong.
In the bottom-line, together our values and leadership create a People-first culture, where our associates see possibility, feel appreciated, trust their leaders, and belong. This makes us “One EMEA”, “One Global Community”, “One Sitel”.
Publish Date: May 19, 2016 5:00 AM
Por Susana Vigaray
En el último par de décadas, hemos visto cómo la Responsabilidad Social corporativa (RSC) se ha convertido en una parte importante de la estrategia de las compañías más importantes. Los estudios muestran que los consumidores esperan que las compañías participen en iniciativas de RSC. Según algunos datos de 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, 9 de cada 10 consumidores esperan que las empresas además de generar beneficios, también operen con responsabilidad en lo referente a los problemas sociales y medioambientales.
En la industria del BPO (business process outsourcing, por sus siglas en inglés) no es diferente. En los países en desarrollo –como India o Filipinas, dos de los destinos favoritos para la externalización de las empresas del Fortune 500- la industria del BPO tiene un altísimo impacto en la economía local. Por ejemplo, en la India, la industria representa el 9,5% de la PIB (producto interior bruto) y emplea a 3,5 millones de personas. Por tanto, las expectativas para esta industria son mayores en este perfil de países.
El ser una industria importante en los países emergentes tiene aspectos positivos para RSC: puedes ofrecer un impacto social positivo no sólo a las comunidades locales sino a todo el país. La generación de empleo es una de las formas en las que la industria del BPO tiene un impacto directo en estas comunidades. Otra forma sería gestionar de forma socialmente responsable el negocio.
Con el fin de ayudar a las empresas de todo el mundo a poner en marcha prácticas socialmente responsables, Naciones Unidas lanzó en 2000 Global Compact, una iniciativa voluntaria que ayuda a las empresas a alinear mejor las estrategias de negocio y operaciones con principios universales en derechos humanos, trabajo, medio ambiente y anti-corrupción.
Global Compact proporciona unas líneas maestras para las prácticas responsables – los 10 Principios (the Ten Principles)— que toda empresa puede implementar fácilmente, sin que importe su tamaño. Más de 8.000 empresas de todo el mundo participan en el Global Compact y cada año muchas otras compañías de primer nivel se suman a la iniciativa. Esto supone un empuje definitivo para animar a las empresas que son influyentes en sus mercados para integrar los principios en su estrategia en un esfuerzo para caminar juntos hacia prácticas responsables, como es el caso de la industria del BPO en los países en desarrollo.
Publish Date: May 11, 2016 5:00 AM
In the last couple of decades, we’ve seen that corporate social responsibility, or CSR, has become an important part of top companies’ strategies. Consumer studies show that there is an expectation that companies will participate in CSR initiatives. According to findings from the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, 9 in 10 consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also to operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.
It is no different in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. In developing countries — such as India or the Philippines, two favorite offshore outsourcing destinations for the Fortune 500 — the BPO industry has a significant impact on the local economy. For example, in India, the industry represents 9.5 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product) and employs 3.5 million people. Hence, there is an even greater expectation placed on the BPO companies in these nations.
Being a big industry in these emerging economies has positive aspects for CSR: It can deliver positive social outcomes not only in local communities, but also for a whole country. Job generation is one of the ways that the BPO industry can directly impact these communities. The other way is by conducting a socially responsible business.
And in order to help companies around the globe engage in socially-responsible business practices, the United Nations launched in 2000 the Global Compact, a voluntary initiative which helps corporations to better align business strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
The Global Compact provides guidelines for responsible practices — the Ten Principles — that can be easily implemented by any company, regardless of its size. More than 8,000 companies worldwide are participants of the Global Compact, and every year many other top companies join this initiative. It is a genuine attempt to encourage corporations that have considerable influence in their markets to integrate the principles into their strategy in an effort to move cooperatively towards responsible business practices, which is the case for the BPO industry in some developing countries.
My company, Sitel, a leading company in the BPO industry, recently embraced the Global Compact principles in the 21 countries and more than 100 communities where it operates. Sitel engages local employees, communities, clients and develops partnerships that results in meaningful social changes. Community development and the fair treatment of employees can positively impact on retention and quality of services – two well-known problems of the BPO industry. One of Sitel’s initiatives to support community development is called Sitel Footprints, in which the company helps surrounding communities by investing in local programs that support education and employment readiness. Examples include language skills for newcomers to the job market and the underemployed and also investing in schools for orphanages in Latin America.
BPO companies are also increasingly mobilizing and encouraging employees to volunteer in their local communities. It gives the employees a sense of purpose and engagement in a cause that they find meaningful, and also demonstrates that the companies care and are looking beyond profitability.
But probably the most important aspect of it is that the companies can affect change and have a positive and lasting impact on society. It’s a fair way to repay the society that allowed the BPO industry to thrive.
Publish Date: April 13, 2016 5:00 AM
Today’s consumer is well informed, with high expectations and more likely than ever before to share their dissatisfaction publicly when their expectations aren’t met. Brands need to do everything they can to meet these expectations to avoid negativity and protect their reputation. Successful brands do more, as they recognise every consumer interaction is an opportunity for businesses to create a pool of loyal brand ambassadors that are willing to recommend the brand to their friends, family and online network.
Delivering an exceptional customer service needs to be an integral part of a business’ DNA by creating a customer centric environment. There are three simple steps to make this a reality and help protect and enhance brand reputation
Put people first
“If you take care of your employees they will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself” J.W. Marriott, American Entrepreneur and Businessman
Your workforce is at the heart of what you do and they represent your brand. Good customer service starts with well-trained, empowered front line staff that have the people skills required to do the job. Training including mentoring programmes, is key to creating a positive service culture where an issue is seen as an opportunity for the brand to be shown in a good light. Apart from the initial training, further investment in refresher training as well as new product updates also ensures that the workforce is well-informed and skilled.
How do your clients want to interact with you – do they prefer communicating via telephone, email, chat, social media? Understanding these preferences ensures that you are able to handle enquiries via these channels quickly and efficiently. Many customers neither have the patience for a phone conversation or have the time to – wait 24 hours for an email response. Social media, mobile, analytics and cloud are continuing to revolutionise customer care. Your customers are turning to the latest technology to interact so it is key that brands are able to keep up with their preferences. For example, customers using Twitter to contact brands with issues rather than call is clear indication of the shift in customer expectation.
Gartner’s Customer 360 Summit report has shown that by 2020, technology will move the customer-brand dynamic into a self-service model that supports personalised escalation paths for high touch customer issues. Therefore is it vital that brands continue to understand and reach their customers’ evolving expectations. Ultimately, technology helps businesses optimise each worker’s potential, while creating a comfortable solution for customers to get the right information that they need quickly.
Reduce customer effort
Customers know that from time to time they may have issues and questions about a product or service – this aspect of the customer-brand relationship is not what causes the negative customer experience. In fact, a complaint that is handled well can actually increase customer loyalty. But, to increase loyalty you need to reduce the customer’s effort. For example once the customer has been in touch, the onus is on the brand to resolve the issue and not for the customer to chase the resolution.
First call resolution is paramount in creating a good customer experience. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, happy customers who get their issue resolved tell between four to six people about their positive experience while a customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related rather than price-or product-related.
Publish Date: April 4, 2016 5:00 AM
If you’re a newbie to the Netherlands, you may connect the country to the idea of bicycles everywhere, to the varied and delicious pastries, to the cheese and flowers markets or even to the amazing atmosphere you can experience in cities like Rotterdam, Amsterdam or The Hague. What you may not know is that the Netherlands currently has the eighth-best business climate in the world (World Economic Forum).
Because of its strategic location in Europe, companies use the Netherlands as a hub to cover several European markets making the Netherlands one of the European Union’s most dynamic centers of trade & industry and outsourcing services.
Please, don’t just take my word for it. A recent report from Quint & Whitelane Research found that outsourcing in the Netherlands is expected to grow over European average in the coming years, with 49% of top spending organizations looking to outsource more. But as important as growing, is the quality of the growth.
According to KPMG’s “Dutch Strategic Outsourcing Study,” although costs saving has been a leading rationale behind organizations’ decisions to outsource in the region, the second most influential factor – access to skills – was cited by almost 50 percent of respondents and quality improvement was selected by almost 40 percent. A key component driving most part of outsourcing engagements in the region is self-explanatory: the Dutch people. The Netherlands features one of the most highly educated, flexible and motivated workforces in Europe.
Whatever your organization, whatever your industry, accessing world-class specialist skills is a vital part of ensuring your operations run smoothly and Netherlands is quickly becoming one of the preferred options in Europe strengthen its position as a singular outsourcing location.
I’ll share more details about this amazing country in the coming posts but I can’t wait to hear from you. Have you been to Netherlands? What is your working experience working with us?
Publish Date: March 15, 2016 5:00 AM
With the adoption of social technologies and new communication channels, the balance of power in service relationships has shifted into the hands of consumers. Today, our customers demand highly connected, personalized experiences across a wide range of physical, web-based, and mobile touch points. It is up to organizations to ensure they can deliver the experiences their customers want when they want them, through their channels of choice. That being said, the ability as a company to deliver seamless customer service experiences throughout all commumnication channels, directly impacts customer effort, loyalty, satisfaction, and sales rates.
Here are 9 Things You Must Know About Social Media and the Customer Experience:
- Most relevant channels must be identified
On a global basis, the two top social networks continue to be Facebook and Twitter, although on a country by country basis, we are seeing smaller local social networks that are growing in popularity. In addition, we are seeing that for certain verticals and customers, online micro-communities and forums are ideally suited for assisting with customer inquiries and issues, as well as providing a mechanism for peer-support. Very broadly, Facebook and Twitter, along with online communities, are the most relevant social networks when viewed in the context of engaging and supporting both customers and prospects. However, it is important to note that every case is different, and it is most important to be active in the social networks that are most often used by your customers, these may not be the largest ones, some examples of this are the quickly growing Instagram and Pinterest.
- Cookie-cutter doesn’t cut it
What is not relevant to one client might be very relevant to another. It is important to emphasize that with social media, there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. When a client is faced with having to make an investment in being active in a new social media channel, it is most important that those channels are being actively used by their customer base. Less commonly used social networks tend to have a lower return on investment. So while one-size-fits-all isn’t the best approach, that doesn’t mean avoiding best practices and sharing experiences, don’t reinvent the wheel.
- Full integration is key
We find that the most successful social media campaigns focused on customer experience are those which are co-located and fully integrated with the broader support team. Full integration provides a number of benefits and synergies that can not be realized by segregated teams. For instance, one of the most critical aspects of a social media campaign is the agent profile and hiring to meet that profile. Being able to promote qualified, experienced, and tenured agents from traditional channels into social media ensures that the social support team is staffed with the best talent. In addition, this promotes significantly more confidence and trust in the agents selected to perform this very important service.
We find that the challenge with fully blending social media into the existing teams is that supporting customers in social media tends to be a very different type of activity compared to voice, email, or chat support. While there are similarities between chat and social, and we have successfully blended these agents, the operational considerations and staffing may outweigh the benefits of full blending.
- As digital gains popularity, the demands of voice cannot be ignored
Digital channels are here, and will continue to grow, however, we feel the right approach is to meet the customer in their channel of choice. Many customers still feel that voice is the most appropriate channel for their inquiry, so they will use the phone, and we will meet them there. While more progressive, technology focused companies tend to have a higher weighting of contact through digital channels, voice remains to be a critically important channel.
- The right mix fuels success
A state-of-the-art BPO customer service provider has to have a full suite of social media services including monitoring, text mining, analytics, interaction, agent routing, agent logging, and same agent multichannel integration. We monitor social networks to gain an understanding of customer behavior, product interest or deficiencies, opinions on brands, competitors, and services. We interact with customers within Facebook and Twitter in both a one-to-many and secure one-to-one approach to address issues and concerns, and to provide content and advice.
- Tools and technology equal enablement
As a large service provider, we need to be able to support a number of different models, ranging from fully integrated models with robust technology, to more basic multi-channel campaigns, that leverage multiple interaction management tools. From an agent experience perspective, the ideal solution is almost always an all-in-one solution. Making it easier for the agent to do their job, and giving them the information they need, when they need it, will almost always translate into an improved customer experience. A large number of disparate systems means typically it’s harder for the agent to fully understand the customer journey.
- Social Media agents’ skillsets must be social-oriented
Social Media Agents provide usability and technical support to the customers through various Social Media channels. They will promote a positive corporate image by demonstrating appropriate conduct, high quality, professionalism and positive attitude in all interactions with customers. Social Media Agents will own each issue to completion; provide personalized responses to the customers, recognizing that each response is representing the client publically. Further responsibilities include early identification of trending issues and an understanding of the impact of the issue. Social media agents will proactively monitor a number of social media channels; They will be expected to quickly, efficiently and correctly understand what type of support the customer requires.
- Contact centers are the call centers of today
We are talking about contact centers instead of call centers now. Demographic changes are resulting in customers shifting preference away from the traditional contact center (voice) channels. As such, it is becoming increasingly important to develop a channel support strategy that is not only in alignment with customer preference but aligned with the quickly evolving technology landscape. Sitel recognizes that there is no single channel strategy that is appropriate for all clients; instead the channel mix strategy needs to be developed over time, refined, and adjusted as necessary to keep pace with customer demands and the evolution of technology. Beyond the key demographic drivers, the evaluation must include an understanding of the overall impact of customer experience, cost per contact and cost to support channel, and the associated productivity or revenue benefits associated with the channel.
- New emerging communication channels are on the horizon
Yes, but these exist at the cutting edge of the technology landscape. The most obvious ones are the two-way mobile messaging apps such as Whatsapp, WeChat, Skype, etc. We are seeing that customers are embracing these technologies at a rapid pace, but the technologies have not yet matured to the point at which they are realistic options for the enterprise contact center. These pose a whole new set of challenges, from how to manage these channels operationally, to challenges around data security and customer privacy.
Cutting-edge customer service must embrace Social Media today. Why Sitel is the right choice?
At Sitel, we have the answer to the many challenges brands face when implementing social media customer experience. Based upon our more than 30-year history, our cloud-based platform provides our clients’ customers with access to the wide spectrum of customer service channels and firmly places the engagement with the brand back into the hands of the customer. Our cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provides a full Customer Experience Management (CEM) platform, which represents the next-level of personalized customer engagement beyond traditional Customer Relationship Management.
Sitel works with clients to design the rules of engagement for the Customer Care team that includes a process for identifying and forwarding questions and opportunities that require the attention of other departments.
Our services can be sold separately, but are optimized when bundled. Monitoring Services are a recommended prerequisite for Engagement Services. Sample monitoring and engagement services provided by Sitel include:
- Monitoring to understand what is being said across social channels; observe and identity new engagement opportunities; and identify trends and patterns in the voice of the customer
- Engagement on dedicated Twitter and Facebook pages
- Expanded multi-site engagement support to assist across standard social channels as well as non-standard blog and community pages
- Escalation engagement from social to live 1:1 chat
- Personal 1:1 shopper services for VIP customers (retail)
Since customers expect a consistent level of service from an organization at any given time, regardless of their initial point of entry, Sitel keeps investing to provide a holistic view of the customer across all divisions, business areas, and even branches. Sitel will be at the right place, at the right time, on the right channel, to serve our Client’s customers as they expect to be served.
Our SaaS solution (Sitel Intelligent Desktop) is delivered via the cloud, is easy to customize and streamlines system interactions and communications within the customer’s channel of choice. The final result is reduced implementation time, decreased average handle time and increased first contact resolution, while improving the overall customer experience.
Publish Date: March 1, 2016 5:00 AM
Trends and innovation are also moving at breakneck speed, powered by an engaged, sophisticated, curious global consumer. This interview takes a snapshot of key and emerging trends for 2016, spanning technology, people management and business models that are and will keep transforming the global contact center and BPO industry.
By Gesner Filoso, Sitel Global Marketing & Brand Director
Q: According to you, what are the TOP Trends to Watch in 2016?
As we have observed in the previous years, when it comes to customer service, the conversation will not be about what consumers think, touch points, new technologies, or contact length. Great service will again be defined about feelings; it will be about experiences.
And this is not new in ours and other industries. Intuitively, most business leaders recognize the value of a great customer experience. Brands that deliver them are ones that we want to interact with, that we become loyal to, and that we recommend to our friends and family.
The challenge is delivering outstanding experiences to customers and it’s been transforming the BPO industry, but we can also point out other forces that are making companies mold their strategies in 2016. Some of TOP Tier trends to watch in our industry are:
- Customer experience focus, as we have just highlighted above, will still be one of the most important elements to deal with in 2016 and in the following years,
- Increasing level of complexity, based primarily on new consumer behaviors and in the unstoppable and accelerating change brought by new technology,
- Offshoring & nearshoring pace will remain stable and grow in some regions. Global sourcing services is expected to grow to a $500 billion industry by 2020,
- Continued shakeup and consolidation of the top BPO and Customer Relations vendors. Research and recent acquisitions reinforce the prediction of increased vendor consolidation in the following years.
- Global BPO will keep growing in excess of GDP
Q: You have mentioned Offshoring and Nearshoring as one of the trends to watch in 2016. Can you elaborate on this topic?
Indeed, outsourcing and offshoring will continue to be major drivers in the global economy, especially in industries such as Information Technology and Business. The previously mentioned increase in complexity
B6and focus on experience, along with the concern on the costs, have resulted in a demand of mixed service models (offshore + nearshore) in order to offer first class experience to customers at a very reasonable price.
But offshoring is still facing some criticism that needs to be addressed by global outsourcing vendors in 2016 and upcoming years. Main concerns of executives are related to lag time of up to 12 hours that can erode program management, lack of control and communication. So it’s not surprising that many executives are having second thoughts about offshoring and are beginning to consider the virtues of nearshoring. Ex-communist Europe and Central America, for instance, are grabbing a lucrative niche in the global outsourcing business. Pressure to stay competitive is slowly forcing governments of those regions to acknowledge and remove bureaucratic barriers, in an effort to promote their countries – outsourcing companies are looking to these countries as an option to offer to their clients locations that are cheap and very close rather than very cheap and far away.
But while “cheap” is still important, outsourcing companies keep investing in technology that enables workforce intelligence, tools, processes and new capabilities to enhance efficiency and mitigate the risks of offshore + nearshore engagements.
Q: What role will Work@Home play in the new environment?
The home-based virtual model is reaching a new level of maturity. Technologies have addressed bandwidth, security and reliability concerns. It is becoming common for home agent positions to meet or exceed the security standards of a brick-and-mortar site. Different researches and analysts point out that the adoption curve has reached a critical mass and work-at-home agents exceeded 100,000 two years ago, in 2013.
At a basic level the Work@Home solution is a mutually advantageous model in which the company saves in terms of rent, energy and sometimes hardware costs, while workers save commuting time and expenses. Beyond that, the Work@Home model made it much easier for vendors such as Sitel to find and recruit agents than when hiring conventional “brick and mortar” agents. According to data provided by Sitel Work@Home Solutions team, on average we’ve seen a productivity that reaches 15% to 20% better than the equivalent “brick and mortar” agent, and what that means is logging in on time, taking breaks at the exact timeframe, leaving at the end of your scheduled shift, and an overall reduction in the nonproductive time that occurs on calls.
Q: Now tell us a little bit about the challenges you are facing. What are the cautions points as we enter in 2016?
That is a very good question. As I’ve mentioned before, the BPO industry is under a fundamental transformation process. Every business is becoming a digital business and change is coming fast. Most vendors and TOP Tier companies we do business with are planning to accelerate the implementation of its integrated digital business strategy to respond quicker to customers’ redefinition of markets.
We also see many vendors in the Contact Center and BPO industry planning to develop new capabilities and invest in a disciplined marketing engine to drive key messaging and positioning for non-voice related services, such as consulting, analytics, technology and network capabilities that previously had been overshadowed by traditional BPO services. Market demand for Workforce Intelligence, for instance, is on the rise as business leaders increasingly recognize that its recruiting, retaining, and motivational initiatives have been critical to business growth and prosperity.
The increase in customers’ control of their experience will also continue to challenge the processes, organizational structures, and systems that companies have put in place to communicate with customers, and will continue to challenge corporate mindsets. Since customers expect a consistent level of service from an organization at any given time, regardless of their initial point of entry, we will keep investing to provide a holistic view of the customer across all divisions, business areas, and even branches.
Across the industry today, one of the most important competitive paradigms is to be at the right place, at the right time, on the right channel, to serve customers as they expect to be served.
Publish Date: February 26, 2016 5:00 AM
The customer contact industry is going through a monumental period of change and I believe 2016 will be no different as brands look to connect better with their customers. When it comes to customer care in 2016, great service will again be defined about feelings; it will be about “experiences”.
The challenge of delivering outstanding experiences to customers has been steadily transforming the BPO industry for the past decade but we can also point out other forces that will influence how companies shape their strategies in 2016. These are some of the top trends to watch in our industry in 2016:
People focus will be one of the most important elements for businesses to deal with in 2016.
Customer contact providers and their clients will be compelled to improve their ability to handle complex client interactions and customer experience through increased investment in complementary and new service offerings, including non-voice multichannel services and analytic services driven by client need. Equally important will be continuous investment in people. The BPO sector – like any other knowledge industry – is based on the talent of its human capital and that focus on talent and training will be vital in driving customer experience.
Increased complexity across the industry due to changing consumer expectations and the unstoppable and accelerating change brought by new technology.
The BPO industry is going through a fundamental transformation process. As all manner of businesses hasten their digital transformation programs, customer care providers will accelerate the implementation of integrated digital business strategies to respond to customers’ redefinition of markets.
Offshoring & nearshoring pace will remain stable and grow in some regions.
Sitel expects global sourcing to be $500 billion industry by 2020. Outsourcing and offshoring will continue to be major drivers for the industry, especially in industries such as Information Technology and Business. However, increased focus on experience and complexity, along with cost concerns, have resulted in higher demand of mixed service models (offshore + nearshore) in order to offer first class experience to customers at a very reasonable price. This is a trend that is set to continue in 2016 and beyond.
Rise of home-based agents with the stage set for broad adoption of virtual agents now that technology has addressed bandwidth, security and reliability concerns.
It is becoming common for home agent infrastructure to meet or exceed the security standards of a brick-and-mortar site. At a basic level the home-based agent solution is a mutually advantageous model where the company saves in terms of rent, energy and sometimes hardware costs, while workers save commuting time and expenses, whilst increasing productivity. According to Sitel Work@Home Solutions team data, home-agent productivity is typically 15% – 20% higher on average than the equivalent “brick and mortar” agent. As a result, we will see increased adoption of home-agents across the UK and Europe, particularly during traditional ramp-up periods such as Christmas.
An aggressive shift in control from organization to consumer will be dictated by consumers’ desire to have greater control over their experiences.
This will continue to challenge the processes, organizational structures, and systems companies have put in place to communicate with customers. Since consumers expect a consistent level of service from an organization at any given time, regardless of their initial point of entry, the most successful companies in our industry in 2016 will continue to invest to provide a holistic view of the customer across all divisions, business areas, and even branches. The key will be: right place, right time, right channel, to meet consumer expectation.
Publish Date: January 19, 2016 5:00 AM
In November Sitel Nicaragua, spent a day at the National Zoo with 30 girls from Hogar Madre Albertina. This wonderful initiative was coordinated by Chris Gillen, a former client associate and an active member of The Orphaned Starfish Foundation.
Hogar Madre Albertina (Madre Albertina’s Home) is an institution supported by The Orphaned Starfish Foundation which provides shelter and a positive growing environment for girls who come from homes of abuse and extreme poverty. They currently support girls from different ages until they graduate from high school.
“The idea was to provide the girls from Hogar Madre Albertina a day full of fun at the National Zoo and make a donation of uniforms for the entire Zoo Staff”, said Elmer Bervis, Senior Operations Manager for the client campaign in Nicaragua.
Nicaragua National Zoo is an institution which not only provides education and entertainment to thousands of Nicaraguans but it is also the only Rescue Center for species in danger of extinction in the country.
For this event, we invited the girls from the orphanage and Sitel Nicaragua employees from the different campaigns and departments. The day initiated with a guided tour directed by some of the Zoo Staff Members dressed up in animal costumes who, not only entertained our guests during the trip, but also educated them about the different species and their habitats. Once back from the tour, we proceeded to enjoy a delicious barbecue prepared by the Zoo Cafeteria and shortly after to the Donation Ceremony. The Donation consisted in uniforms for the entire staff which included shirts, pants, boots, raincoats and caps including our Sitel logo for a total amount of US $ 4,200.00 dollars.
Right after the donation we then began an afternoon of Fun and Games. We had set up a playground for the girls and our employees children with clowns, popcorn, cotton candy and a bounce house which all kids enjoyed until the end of the afternoon.
“We felt blessed and honored to be active participants in this activity which brought tons of smiles to some of our most needed.” – said Bervis.
Publish Date: January 5, 2016 5:00 AM
On 18th December Exeter-based company Sitel delivered a sack full of unexpected Christmas cheer to some of the most vulnerable young people in the county. Secret Santa gifts were collected and sent to Young Devon’s Exeter Youth Enquiry Service (YES) Centre.
The gifts will be distributed amongst young people who are supported by a variety of projects at Young Devon, including young people transitioning out of care, into supported housing placements, working towards employment and training opportunities, young careers and many more.
Based in Exeter city centre with a 600 strong work force, Sitel is a leading outsource provider of customer experience management, supporting major brands. With the season of goodwill fast approaching Sitel staff donated a gift to the value of £5 to the young people supported by Young Devon.
Jamie Keyse, Manager of Exeter YES Centre, said: “Young Devon is hugely grateful for the generosity shown by the staff at Sitel. This gesture is a fantastic way of bringing real Christmas spirit to the YES Centre in Exeter and will mean so much to the young people that we work with.
The response from staff at Sitel has been brilliant and we hope to be able to continue working with the company in future, looking at ways that we can both support each other as well as developing the services and opportunities that we’re able to offer young people.”
A spokesperson from Sitel said: “Young Devon is a local charity that gives tremendous support to young people right across the county, and it is provided with such care and enthusiasm. Their dedication to young people is visible in all their projects and we are very proud to be able to support them in bringing the festivities to the YES Centre this year.”
Publish Date: December 29, 2015 5:00 AM
Five Questions to Pedro Lozano de Castro, Managing Director Sitel EMEA
- Sitel is offering its clients a wide range of services…. How much are international companies interested in outsourcing their services?
This is an interesting question. In today’s economically challenging times with highly competitive market environments and quick evolving technologies the interest in outsourcing increases and the pressure on companies to improve financial performance and keep innovating escalates proportionally.
The good news for Sitel is that customer relation trends play to our strengths. For instance, clients are sharing concerns about increasing complexity, the need to focus on customer experience, and future plans to offshore (and nearshore) not only traditional but also value added services.
With over 30 years of industry experience, Sitel serves more than 62 markets in 40 languages, with 61,100 passionate and talented associates from 21 countries. But this is not only about really impressive numbers – We have been combining comprehensive customer care capabilities, leading multichannel solutions, and unparalleled experience across all industries, to help some of the best known global brands to deliver outstanding experiences to its customers.
- You have mentioned Nearshore and Offshore capabilities. Outsourcing to locations in Asia has proved to be accompanied by a high degree in cultural differences. Is this an obstacle to leverage outsourcing to other markets than the home one?
There are always cultural differences when it comes to different countries. Sometimes they seem to be more obvious, other times they seem to be less noticeable, as it is the case for some European countries.
Having said that, I must emphasize that Europe is a very diverse region – but this is a business advantage and presents a great opportunity. While each country and each culture is singular, there has been a constantly growing exchange of cultural values with people, and companies, learning to understand and relate each other creating a unique business environment.
In countries such as Bulgaria, Poland or Serbia for example, just like in Spain, Portugal, Germany or France – to name a few -, we found a rich diversity of people. Cultural bridges and traditions are constantly build and shared, thus, people are more culturally aligned than ever. This also means that people now adapt to people from neighboring countries, and hence with customers from other regions, more easily.
Translating all this to the outsourcing world, Sitel has been advising clients on a solution that harness major business drivers and customer needs making them feel at home, despite where they are contacting from. Our EMEA Nearshoring solutions encompass single or multiple hub strategies, delivery through native or highly fluent advisors and potential to blend low volume languages thus reducing clients’ support costs but maintaining high level of service quality.
- So, in Europe Nearshoring would be the alternative in outsourcing. What does Nearshoring mean today for your customers?
First of all, I need to make clear that offshoring is still a primary option, especially in high volume industries such as Information Technology or Communications, but as customer’s perception, cultural barriers, and high maintenance delivery model are not leading to a higher quality operation, TOP Tier companies are looking to at another form of ‘shoring’ – nearshoring.
Our multilingual offer, from countries like Bulgaria, Denmark, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Serbia or United Kingdom, brings to our clients a level of choice, performance and measurement that simply aren’t available from competing outsourcers in the market today.
Companies are moving contact centers, business and IT processes to nearby countries in a way to make the most of available skills, attractive economies of scale, nearby time zones, cultural familiarities and so on.
- Which capabilities does Sitel bring to the table when it comes to nearshoring in Europe?
Well, at first there is our remarkable footprint in Europe. We are serving clients in +35 languages, with almost 18,000 passionate and talented associates from more than 48 contact centers strategically located across EMEA, many of them multilingual sites.
Second there is our deep domain of expertise in the customer care industry. This is particularly important when it comes to hiring and attracting the right talent. We have proven experience hiring well-qualified labor force with strong customer service skills and aptitude for complex processes in Europe. We have also established strong relationships with local academic institutions that are aligned to job requirements of the sourcing sector.
Actually people management is one of our key advantages when compared to other companies. Sitel´s is recognized by its capabilities to recruit European native speakers, and to keep international talent thanks to its “People First” culture. All our people are immersed on the culture of our clients and the countries served, so every customer will really feel at home.
And finally, but not least, I would like to highlight our execution capabilities. Sitel’s Global Operating System drives consistency of support to ensure that the quality of each customer interaction is the highest it can possibly be. Through GOS we can incorporate local and cultural nuances which are critical to enhancing the customer experience and consequently client’s brand.
- How do you see the future of your company in EMEA?
We want to be true to our vision and keep our promise of serving our client’s customers with the best experience possible – really delivering outstanding experiences in each single one of the 2 million contacts we handle in a daily basis. Delivering against this vision brings about an investment in technology, a truly omnichannel approach, developing our capabilities and exploring near adjacent opportunities.
Sitel has been increasingly its capabilities in EMEA on handling complex client interactions and customer experience ans we plan to continue to invest in complementary and new service offerings, including our nearshoring service capabilities, non-voice multichannel services, the growth of Work-at-Home, and analytic services driven by client’s needs. We have an exciting future ahead of us that causes an operational and cultural shift that engages the organization across functions and from top to bottom, generating excitement, innovation, and a focus on continuous improvement.
To continue the conversation, please check out the opinion of Sitel leaders in EMEA on European Nearshoring Solutions:
- Christian Steinebach, Managing Director at Sitel Germany & Eastern Europe
- Nordine Benbekhti, Managing Director at Sitel France & Morocco
- Karl Brough, Managing Director at Sitel UK, Ireland & Nordics
- Esmeralda Mingo, Managing Director, Sitel Spain & Portugal
Publish Date: December 14, 2015 5:00 AM
Being prepared for the holiday peak provides not only great customer experience but also creates brand loyalty throughout the following year
We all know that November and December is the time for heavy holiday shopping. Yet, each year the festive shopping season seems to challenge marketers and customer care managers anew. A huge short-term workforce needs to be hired, trained and equipped in order to efficiently master the six-to-eight weeks of intensified customer interaction. Germany, for example, noted a retail volume of 85.5 billion Euros in 2014, and is expecting an increase for the 2015 holiday season – which is not at least a result of extremely low oil prices freeing cash to be spent elsewhere. Thus, customer service teams should be prepared for a strong and work-intensive holiday season in 2015.
Apart from these statistics, the increased demand for customer service during the holidays always requires a strategic coordination between management, HR, training and operations teams. Here some fey factors for ensuring outstanding customer experiences in the holiday peak season:
- Facilitate Omni-channel communication
- The customer is on the move – facilitate online shopping
- Focus on Forecasting – what we do see in our crystal ball?
- Tackle Recruitment & training
- Realize Operational Efficiencies & Cost Savings
Facilitate Omni-Channel communication as…
In modern customer communication, most brands have not only accepted 24/7/365 customer care but also understand that customers wish to interact on multiple and increasingly mobile channels, as they are always on the move. Hence it is not only important to reduce call wait times as much as possible – it is all about serving ubiquitous customer needs via the preferred customer channels i. e. to include social media.
Our customers are on the move…
It is thus no longer about another form of transactions – it is about delivering a seamless customer experience across all channels – especially all mobile channels.
Particularly, as the number of mobile devices has increased substantially. In 2015, already 12% of all German holiday sales were processed online, with other markets showing similar trends with a rising tendency. Customers increasingly expect service offers to be accessible via mobile devices, such as tablets and mobile phones. Be ready to update your website and offer help wherever you notice when customers get lost. Live Sales Chat works particularly well here delivering the lowest cost of acquisition as well as excellent customer satisfaction. It can be effective for things such as helping you minimize volume spikes, supporting customers 24/7/365, shopping cart abandonment, and assist in sales conversion.
Forecasting – reading the crystal ball
Contact centers thrive on efficiency. As a result, develop very accurate forecasting systems. A good contact center team can help a business see the correlation between its expected sales and the resources needed for the customer service to meet these figures. This is important, as the most efficient solutions for workforce and shift management have to be covered. But contact centers not only know how to align sales expectations and workforce in theory, but are very practically experienced in facilitating a smooth ramp-up and down process ensuring resources are available where they are needed. This of course includes also when less agents need to be on duty making forecasting also an efficient one.
Recruitment & Training
Whether the business is seeking new contact center hires, Work@Home agents or part time agents – all staff members need to be hired, trained and motivated to be ready on time. Agents should be comprehensively briefed to the required service level and also have the respective customer insights to help meet customer expectations. Agents should be aware that best-in-class customer service eases the pain of the consumer, while providing simple and quick solutions rather than compensation gifts for late arrivals or other errors. The perfect holiday preparation therefore also depends on the timely workforce recruiting and onboarding. That is why customer care managers start this process in summer, as experience shows that the training phase takes about a month. And, last but not least, the team structure is another key factor: professional contact centers mix the teams from newcomers and experienced agents to provide stability.
Efficiency and cost-saving without compromising quality
Besides a well-trained base of agents, technology plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect customer experience. In contrast to many clients, for which the investment in technology presents a significant challenge, contact centers command a variety of technological solutions. These tools provide insights gathered by contact center vendors, which enable a product and service forecast for the target market based on experience and historical data. Basing on this data, resources can be properly planned but also issues on service or products can easily be identified and addressed quickly, leading to fewer complaint calls, which frees team capacity for other customers.
Contact Centers do the job
That is why customer service professionals who rely on outsourcing experts are often better off than their colleagues who attempt to manage seasonal ramps on their own. Moreover, trusting a professional outsourcing vendor such as Sitel, with 30 years of business experience, not only saves time- and cost-consuming hiring procedures, but also provides established communication channels and experienced agents. Yet, customer service does not have to be outsourced entirely. Where experienced but rather small customer service teams exist, contact centers can complement the in-house base and support during overflow times or during business hours not staffed for within the in-house contact center. Thus, the availability of customer service is easily extended.
It has become clear that the holiday shopping season is a very crucial is time of the year to build or harm customer loyalty. During these few weeks at the end of the year, properly prepared and professionally implanted customer experience management secures loyalty that pays off in the following 12 months and beyond.
Publish Date: December 8, 2015 5:00 AM
Questions to Esmeralda Mingo, Managing Director at Sitel Iberica, responsible for the Spanish and Portuguese market
How are Sitel Iberia’s nearshore services positioned in EMEA?
Sitel Iberia provides award winning customer service from our experienced teams from our near shore locations. Sitel Iberia has been serving clients from Portugal and Spain since the early 90´s. We have sites located in the most cosmopolitan and strategic cities on the peninsula such as Barcelona, Lisbon, Seville or Porto. These cities provide a diverse talent recruitment pool with unique culture and entertainment options, cultural proximity, best in class infrastructure and proven experience. In summary, Sitel Iberia offers its customers a high level of choice. Our clients usually cite affinity with European culture, understanding of regional business values and similar time zones as key factors supporting their decision to outsource their services into this region. Our impressive native speaking capabilities, covering almost all Western European languages is also recognised as one of our key unique value proposition.
One of the main concerns about Nearshore is the lack of quality or excellence in the service provided, what does Sitel Iberica to cope this concern?
A nearshore model offers the advantages of a centralised structure at an optimal cost. It prevents clients having to handle a multitude of small, support structures which lack common process, communication or a uniform customer experience. Furthermore, outsourcing your customer care by selecting a nearshore strategy enables you to handle low volume languages with the same quality standards than larger volume languages. Sitel’s solutions encompass single or multiple hub strategies, delivery through native or highly fluent advisors and a potential to blend low volume languages thus reducing clients’ support costs whilst maintaining high level of service quality.
The awards received by our Spanish and Portuguese teams for some of our most complex nearshore campaigns endorse the quality of our nearshore operations. In Portugal, Sitel has been recognised with Gold and Silver Portuguese Contact Center Association Awards (APCC Portugal Best Awards) in 2015 and the Best Contact Center Gold Award in 2014, whereas Sitel Spain has been awarded with the CRC Gold Awards in different categories since 2010.
Which kind of clients are you working with under a nearshore model from Iberica?
We have been working for many years with global companies with international presence from a wide array of verticals – financial services, consumer electronics, travel & tourism, retail, etc., who demanded a multilingual provider for their customer care, sales & retention, technical support and back office services in an accessible location.
Currently, we can see how small or medium companies (normally related to the digital world) are more and more interested in this kind of services, as their business is growing internationally. These companies are looking for a provider with multilingual capabilities and the flexibility to manage day/night shifts, peaks, 24×7 operations… under an integrated customer service and Sitel Iberica is the best option for them.
And compare nearshore to other possible European nearshore destinations, what advantages does Iberica offer?
We are offering the high experience and excellence of Sitel’s Iberica nearshore proposition, as well as the availability of multilingual workforce. I would also highlight that Spain and Portugal have recently seem significant progress on the flexibility of the labour laws, which incentivises job creation, which makes those countries the best option to outsource a nearshore program.
To continue the conversation, please check out the opinion of Sitel leaders in EMEA on European Nearshoring Solutions:
- Christian Steinebach, Managing Director at Sitel Germany & Eastern Europe
- Nordine Benbekhti, Managing Director at Sitel France & Morocco
- Karl Brough, Managing Director at Sitel UK, Ireland & Nordics
- Esmeralda Mingo, Managing Director, Sitel Spain & Portugal
- Pedro Lozano de Castro, Managing Director, Sitel EMEA
Publish Date: December 3, 2015 5:00 AM