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Prepping for one of the largest shopping events of the year – are you ready?

Are you prepping your online wishlist? Perhaps you have your eye on a new computer, some wearable technology, or maybe that new appliance you have been holding out for? Good news! Great deals are on the way.

The days of wrestling your way through a crowd are becoming less common as online shopping – in particular – Amazon Prime Day takes on a greater importance in the sales cycle. So what can you do to cash in on some of those famous Prime Day Deals that you are hearing about?

First, let’s brush up on the basics of Amazon Prime Day?

Covering the Basics

Amazon launched the first Prime Day in 2015 to celebrate the company’s 20-year anniversary. The shopping day was so popular with consumers that Amazon decided to make it an annual event. In 2017, millions of Amazon Prime users purchased a whopping $2.41 billion worth of goods followed by approximately $4.19 billion in 2018. This year, as in years past, deals range across all product types from technology to clothing.

Here are a few pro tips to get you started:

  • Sign up to be a Amazon Prime Member
  • Download the Amazon Shopping App on your tablet or phone
  • Shop at Midnight (3:00 a.m. EST) on Monday, July 15, 2019

It’s that simple. If you like to pre-shop the deals, Amazon is releasing a few key Prime Day deals in advance for shoppers to start creating their watch lists to snag the best prices. Amazon also allows you to set alerts through your account to inform you when your saved deals go live.

Deals this good require a lot of technology and people power. So what type of behind-the-scenes preparation occurs for one of the largest shopping days of the year for one of the largest retailers in the world?

Taking Customer Support to the Next Level

The increasing demands of the customer for service and support are growing at exponential rates for most brands including Amazon. At Startek, we understand the preparation it takes to create and implement startegies to support such consumer-engagement heavy events like Prime Day. So how do brands prepare for big shopping events like Prime Day?

There are a lot of little tasks that go on behind the scenes to ensure every aspect of the operation is vigilantly cared for. This includes proper staffing, training, and having the right technology in place to support online purchases. Most importantly, understanding how to communicate and relate to you – as a cutomer is key. Today, Startek partners with countless brands from different industries to provide insights about every touch point of the customer journey. We specialize in teaching other brands how to engage in authentic dialogue with their customers.

We arm our engagement specialists with the tools needed to participate in honest, open dialogue that meets the needs and expectations of today’s retail consumer.

This includes:

  • Demonstrating professionalism through common courtesy and etiquette that matches the level of formality with the amount of customer effort;
  • Listening to the needs and situation of the customer, incorporating prior conversations with them, and providing personalized responses; and
  • Offering appropriate, gradual and personal disclosures that create a sense of spontaneity, personalization, and connectedness.

Most importantly, we leave customers smiling long after the conversation ends. It is these types of interactions that encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand with their friends and family.

In 2018, STARTEK was awarded 11 Customer Obsession Awards across multiple lines of business for bringing the “WOW” experience to customers.

What to Expect

Now that we have covered the basics of Amazon Prime Day and the preparation to support for such an event, what should customers expect? Lots of savings and special deal offers only available to Prime Members. This year, other retailers like Target are jumping into the “Prime-like” arena in an effort to compete with Amazon during Prime Day. More importantly, aside from the deals, your customers want to connect with your brand. In fact, Sprout Social reports 64% of consumers seek that connection. If you want to amp up your customer experience let’s get started! Visit our contact us page to learn how we can take your customer conversations to the next level.


Publish Date: July 11, 2019

Improve Patient Trust Through Dialogue

Trust can be very difficult to regain once that bond has been broken. In the healthcare industry trust is imperative to the patient experience. When someone goes to a doctor or selects an insurance company, they are relaying on them as professionals to guide them in the right direction. It’s human nature to be concerned when dealing with elements of risk and vulnerability. Since patients are given the opportunity to be involve in decisions affecting their health, doctors, pharmacists and insurance specialists need to ensure they are advising the patient correctly and sharing the decision-making process. Trust is a fragile concept when it comes to healthcare. So, how do you earn trust when dealing with such a personal situation? Here are a few tips to get you headed down the right path with your patients.

#1 Establish Credibility

Patients are already dealing with a sensitive situation when it comes to their health needs. If they have to repeat themselves, they clearly are losing confidence in your ability to assist them. Active listening and competence in knowledge are both ways to build credibility. By giving the patient undivided attention your healthcare specialists are able address the concerns the first time instead of causing additional stress to the patient. As your specialist and patient dialogue it’s important to create a clear link between the patient need and provide an accurate solution without creating doubt.

#2 Communicate Clearly

When there’s a lack of knowledge or uncertainty miscommunication can occur between the patient and healthcare specialists. If the patient did not understand what the specialist meant, that confusion could lead to follow-on contacts. One way to avoid this is for healthcare specialists to use dialogue techniques—such as adapting vocal delivery through vocal emphasis, perception checking, and engaging in active listening practices. Patients should feel they are being listened to and given information in a considerate, non-judgmental way; this will help create a trusted relationship. 

#3 Ask Insightful Questions

Teaching your healthcare specialists to address certain assumptions is key during conversation. This can eliminate further anxiety with the patient which happens due to frequent call backs or additional effort because issues were not address in earlier interactions. Specialists should have proper training that helps them identify the root cause of the issue. When trained in dialogue, specialists realize that asking insightful questions is essential to first-time resolution.

#4 Make it Easy for Patients

Generally, patients contact your health specialists’ multiple times if next steps were not clearly addressed within the conversation. So how do you prevent this from happening? Healthcare specialists should use perspective to anticipate future patient effort given their training and experience with the issues. Providing additional information before the end of the call helps the specialists empower the patient to better handle frequent encountered situations.

Next Steps

Your patients are more likely to disclose information when they trust you, which ultimately improves the quality of the interaction. When trust is present patients have a better perception about the care they are receiving. This leads to higher patient autonomy and a more partnered approach to making decisions about one’s health journey. To learn more about creating better relationships with your patients, visit our website at and fill out the Contact Us form.


Publish Date: May 30, 2019

Hello! How May A.I. Help You?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming part of our daily routines. The more we interact with Alexa and Siri, the more comfortable we are inviting these technologies into our homes and lives. There’s even a chatbot now to help people suffering from depression or anxiety. Even though these smart machines lack true feelings such as sadness, love, and happiness, we’ve grown accustomed to interacting with them. In fact, if you have recently contacted customer service via a text chat, there’s a good chance you were speaking with a chatbot. But this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Brands Adding Value with Chatbots

Patience is a virtue, but in today’s consumer obsessed world, we know all too well that most of us don’t have patience. We want it now! Companies have taken notice and are using chatbots to connect with consumers, increase sales, and improve their operations. In fact, brands like Sephora, Amazon, Starbucks and Whole Foods have all incorporated bots into their customer experience strategies over the past year. And it makes good sense. Consumers communicate with family, friends and colleagues across multiple channels including messaging platforms. So why wouldn’t they want to use the same applications to talk with a retail brand, bank, or healthcare provider? Chatbots allow brands to provide automated suggestions based on specific requests, and they can be extremely useful for providing product or service recommendations. Chatbots are also instantly ready to assist and resolve customer inquiries – and they don’t take coffee breaks.

Rapid Shift to App Messaging & Chatbots

Brands are beginning to use a wide variety of bots based on situational need to bring value to each customer interaction. For example, the most commonly used is the rule-based bot that is preprogrammed to look for trigger words or phrases in conversations. This type of bot is not designed to understand everything a consumer says. Instead, it maintains a yes/no logic programming. You interact with such programming via virtual assistants and your messaging applications today.

Brands area also embracing messaging apps, which go beyond the general use of text. These apps include emojis, GIFS, video, and photo images right at our finger tips. Taking it a step further, some apps have incorporated photo filters and lenses to give users an enhanced experience while chatting. No wonder people are quickly adapting to this trend. Not to mention, messaging apps are generally user friendly and require little practice to become an expert. Consumers don’t have time to train themselves on apps that take a lot of effort. They just want their concerns and questions addressed in a timely manner.

What’s Next

Facebook and WhatsAPP report more than 2.8 billion messaging users between the two applications. Brands will continue to use these tools to further the customer experience, introducing scenarios we never thought possible. In a recent report by twilio, 85% of consumers want to receive information and be able to reply to businesses through messaging. This includes information like receiving appointment reminders, providing product feedback, receiving a check delivery status, and receiving coupons or promotional offers. Consumers want brands to understand them and to know how and when to engage using a bot. The future is here, and there’s no denying the endless opportunities that chatbots can bring.


Publish Date: January 24, 2019

Going Back to the Future with Human Connection in 2019

In the 1980s sci-fi classic movie trilogy, Back to the Future, Marty McFly is accidentally sent back in time to 1955 where he must save the day. Later, he and Doc Brown travel to a futuristic utopia in the year 2015 with hoverboards and other technological advancements. After discovering their relationships were clearly not the same in future, they returned to their current year of 1985. Just like Marty and Doc, we understand that relationships matter in all aspects of life, especially customer relationships. Jump in the DeLorean and set a course for 2019 – we’re heading back to the future to put human connection at the forefront of the customer experience in a tech obsessed society.

A Return to Personalization

Over the last year, we’ve seen major advancements in technology from virtual assistants like Alexa to customer service interactions on social platforms via artificial intelligence (AI). Through the use of technology, industries have made groundbreaking developments allowing consumers like ourselves to experience things we never imagined possible.

Even in the midst of this technology evolution, one thing still holds true – consumers expect personalized experiences. In fact, consumers still want to interact with humans in certain situations, especially when dealing with multi-step processes or complex problems such as resolving technical issues, missed payments, or billing issues. This is something that chat bots and artificial intelligence (AI) have not completely mastered.

In 2019 and beyond, we believe authentic human conversation will once again be valued as an essential component of customer relationships. Especially in the engagement (contact) center, it’s time to re-humanize what we’ve de-humanized. Utilizing our Science of Dialogue methods, we partner with brands by empowering engagement specialists to create interactions that build rapport, trust, and job satisfaction.

Consumers want human interaction

When asked about potential customer service contacts either online or by phone, 85 percent of survey respondents say they prefer a customer service representative versus a chatbot/AI or IVR (interactive voice recognition) experience.

Source: STARTEK U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, 2017

Delivering the Experience

Despite the adoption of digital channels and technologies, only a human can care about a consumer. When consumers interact with self-service technologies, no connection happens. Even the most advanced artificial intelligence software can’t convey true empathy. Artificial intelligence isn’t going anywhere, but the success of utilizing this technology is dependent upon customer feedback and advanced analytics to better understand human needs. So how do you drive personalization with disruptive technologies?

  • Real Data – Real Customers: Utilize data based on your real customer base – not theoretical personas. Consumers are your greatest asset. Their information allows brands to truly tailor messages and promotions based on their unique wants and needs.
  • Walk the Journey: Every interaction point across the customer journey matters. The customer journey map provides a visual to help understand the consumer story, allowing brands to make predictions and decisions and create targeted messages based on data driven insights.
  • Create the Strategy: Data and insights from the customer journey allow brands to segment messages based on interest and determine what type of opportunities exist for customization. A consumer that only shops at brick-and-mortars versus online requires a different strategy than a consumer who completes all their shopping on a mobile device.

Despite all the attention AI has received, it’s still not widely adopted – yet. For those of you that thought AI would take over the world by now, think again. From a business perspective AI is still in the beginning stages of understanding human behavior and communication. To meet the needs and expectations of today’s consumers, your organization should take a two-pronged, human-centric approach as part of your digital transformation strategy:

  1. Use technology to automate simple questions and transactions to enable consumers to self-serve whenever possible.
  2. Deliver an authentic and personalized human conversation for more complex issues.

With authentic human dialogue, supported by the science of human communication, your organization can build trust and rapport with consumers to grow loyalty and retention, promote your brand, and increase revenue. In 2019, let’s go back to the future because real, authentic human connections matter in the age of the customer.


Publish Date: December 6, 2018

CX Trends That Will Continue to Make an Appearance in 2019

In 2018, consumers have tons of options when it comes to connecting with brands, including interacting through digital and social channels as well as through artificial intelligence (AI). No, chatbots did not completely take over the world, but we think they are here to stay…at least for now. As brands look ahead to 2019 and beyond, they will continue to face the ongoing challenge of creating lasting, positive interactions with consumers. But to do so, brands need to avoid silos and develop strategies that integrate both human and artificial intelligence. We believe both strategies will continue in 2019 and beyond because ultimately neither one will replace the other. What else is on the horizon? Here are three trends to watch for in the new year.

Trend #1: Social Gets More Personal

A personalized experience is no longer considered a luxury when it comes to digital customer support – it’s an expectation. Now more than ever, consumers want a real human interaction and the feeling that brands understand and know what they want. One way this is being achieved is through the use of messenger apps. It’s predicted by 2021 there will be more than 2.4 billion messaging app users worldwide. So how do you achieve personalizion through a messenger app? Through two-way dialogue and the use of emojis to give the conversation a casual tone. The modern consumer craves interactions that are tailored to them and for brands to know when to approach them and when to stay away.

Trend #2: Quick Execution

As consumers evolve so do their needs. Consumers want an instant answer to their questions, no hassle refunds, and on the spot discounts before they complete their shopping cart. Reward programs, free and same-day shipping, and in-store pick-up are all incentives consumers view as quick execution, instant gratification, and a healthy respect for their time. Leading brands in this area are also making investments in disruptive technology solutions to more quickly connect with consumers. This includes utilizing augemented reality, which gives consumers an accurate predicton of what they can expect before purchasing a product – saving them time, money, and the hassle of a return. Brands who are able to deliver that instant gratification and fast service may find themselves leading the pack in 2019.

Trend #3: Chatbots & Human Interaction

Artificial intelligence (AI) to date has primarily been in the form of chatbots, self-service, and delivering convenient assistance to customers for simple transactions. Chatbots allow brands to provide 24-hour cost effective support. Even though chatbots didn’t take over the world this year, they aren’t going anywhere. In a recent survey, 15% of American adults have used a chatbot within the prior 12 months. So, what’s the perfect storm for CX when it comes to chatbots and dialogue? Authentic human conversation is once again valued as an essential component of customer relationships. This means brands need to create strategies that integrate both artificial intelligence (AI) and human interaction. Focus on human conversations and create spontaneous interactions that build rapport, trust, and satisfaction through both AI and human response.

Brands that successfully adopt personalization and convenience across both human and artificial intelligence channels will be in the winners in 2019 and beyond. Welcome to the new norm.

Check out our recent case study on how we use the Science of Dialogue to improve brand interactions in a world filled with technology.


Publish Date: November 29, 2018

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday - Is your Customer Service Team Ready?

Group t-shirts have been made, alarm clocks are set, coupons have been clipped, and online sales notifications are turned on. Customers are geared up and ready to snag some hot deals during the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Are you? Whether you’re a small business or larger retailer, preparing your customer service team ahead of time will help you survive the holiday madness. Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting trampled.

Learn from Past Mistakes

Information from prior years will provide you with a general idea of how well customer inquiries and concerns were managed. Looking at historical trends also provides guidance with forecasting staff levels, scheduling, and training. Take it a step further and review customer and employee satisfaction surveys during the same period last year. Were there any anomalies? Were you understaffed? Did a gap in the training process cause challenges? Make the appropriate adjustments before heading into this year’s holiday season to ensure you and your customers have a holly, jolly Christmas.

Give Employees the Right Tools

Keeping your employees happy and empowering them translates to a better customer experience. Invest in your talent by providing the proper applications and training necessary to help your employees handle high stress situations. Recognizing customer tension and understanding how to diffuse it also shortens the resolution time and improves customer satisfaction and net promoter scores. Additionally, you can win no-win situations by helping your employees frame adverse situations optimistically, educate customers in ways that reduce their anxieties, and anticipate customer needs to lessen effort. While product training is an important part of sales also consider introducing a behavioral-based training to take your customer experience to the next level.

At Startek, we utilize our proprietary Ideal Dialogue Essential Habits Method to train customer-facing teams to create an unmatched and effortless customer experience that is personal, professional, and punctuated by moments of spontaneity. Based on decades of empirical research in the social sciences and perfected in our Communication Science Lab, the Essential Habits form the foundation for dialogue, the most effective communication design, which is scientifically proven to maximize customer satisfaction, sales, and retention – regardless of channel. Give your team the right tools to deliver that personalized and professional experience every customer has at the top of their wish list.

Get Channel Savvy

Customers want to interact with brands in the channels of their choice. And different channels provide unique opportunities for sales and customer service. According to a consumer survey by Adobe, 58 percent of millennials will visit a store first to see an item they want to purchase online. Much like millennials, some customers may use more than one channel to communicate, which is why it’s important to have all your bases covered.

Instead of going through the motions this season, have a plan and make a list. Maybe even check it twice because your customers will know if the service they receive is naughty or nice.

If you want to learn more about how Startek and Aegis can elevate your customer experience visit our contact us page today.


Publish Date: November 8, 2018

Finding Your Social Voice – Tips from Our Social Media Expert

In today’s digital, social and interactive world, consumers want access to companies on their own terms. While phone and web channels remain vital to cus­tomer service, consumers are increasingly seeking assistance through social communi­ties. Whether adding a compliment to a brand’s Facebook wall, tweeting about a negative customer experience, or posting a customer service question through a user forum — the social consumer now controls the conversation. But marketers aren’t completely powerless. With careful planning and a little help from the experts, brands can find their voice while reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction and sales.

Recently, we sat down with Roger Huff, our leading expert on social media, to learn more about Startek’s plans to improve the future of social care. He also shares his predictions and social trends to watch for in 2019.

Pictured: Roger Huff, Director of Social and Digital Media
What is your role at Startek and how long have you been with the company?
I am Startek’s Director of Social Media and Digital Engagement. I have been with the company for over 10 years and have led social media strategy for 7 of those years. My role includes consulting with leading brands to design and deliver world-class social support.
Recently, Startek merged with Aegis to create a global leader in customer experience management. How are Startek and Aegis combining efforts to improve social care?
The Startek and Aegis merger has unlocked enormous opportunities across all areas of the business that neither company could achieve alone, including in social care where both brands have complementary strengths. Aegis brings to the relationship an industry leading omnichannel support tool in the AegisLISASM platform, which can pull in customer data not just from legacy channels like phone and email but also across social media channels, chatbots, blogs, forums, mobile apps, and messenger apps to create a unified view of the customer. Aegis also has extensive experience building and implementing chatbots for customer support. These chatbots are built to support customer communication across all channels, including social media and digital engagement. Today, Aegis utilizes these capabilities to support some of the world’s largest and most prestigious brands that are on the cutting edge of digital customer support and engagement.
Similarly, Startek brings to the relationship industry leading expertise in social media strategy design and execution. This includes a social media engagement lab with a hub and spoke support model. The lab serves as the hub of expertise to support all satellite spokes implemented across the globe. Startek executes social media support for dozens of brands worldwide and has built digital reputation management and community management capabilities that are most often found at digital agencies rather than BPO providers. Through this expertise, Startek supports tens of thousands of brand-owned retail locations and hundreds of thousands of online products while monitoring millions of brands mentions and brand-aligned topics every year for our clients.
The complementary digital expertise of Startek and Aegis brings together industry leading digital tools, proven AI and chatbot capabilities, digital agency capabilities, and complex global digital support capabilities to create a unified offering for our current and future clients not before seen in this industry.
Do you think social media has become the most important customer service platform across industries? If so, why.
Social media has quickly become the preferred method of customer service engagement for many consumers who have adopted social media as a staple in their daily lives. Brands previously believed they were reaching a specific demographic on social media, but it has become a way to reach consumers from all demographics and customer profiles. Social media is also especially important for customer service because many times it is a last resort of sorts. Customers have called, emailed, and even chatted on native brand websites with customer service specialists. When they feel they have not received sufficient help, they often turn to social media to communicate their frustrations. Social media customer care gives brands a unique opportunity to reach out in those times of frustration and save customers from potential brand defection and churn – and in many cases, creating brand advocates in the process.
In your opinion, what are some social trends to watch for in 2019?
In 2019, the largest social trend to watch for will be digital customer engagement volume growth. According to eMarketer, Facebook ad revenue in the U.S. is expected to outpace total print ad spending by 2019. With larger-than-ever portions of marketing budget being focused on growing and engaging customers on social media, the by-product of those strategies will be larger-than-ever digital audiences to engage with on those platforms.
I believe we will see brand marketing teams create stronger partnerships with digital customer care teams, both internally and externally. Scaling internal marketing resources to handle customer care concerns can be very expensive. Brands will look for ways to handle growing amounts of digital customer engagement while looking for ways to retain brand voice in those engagements. Companies like Startek and Aegis who have this expertise will be poised to grow relationships with brands that are focused on digital customer engagement, acquisition, and growth.

If your social media strategy needs a facelift, visit our contact us page to learn how Startek and Aegis can help.


Publish Date: October 4, 2018

Will Healthcare Customer Service Centers Be Staffed by Chatbots in the Near Future?

With the rise of digital channels and self-service technologies such as chatbots and other artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology, are we seeing the end of human interaction with the engagement center (contact center)? Likewise, does the availability and adoption of digital channels mean that engagement centers can begin reducing their investment in human engagement specialists (agents)?

To learn more about the healthcare industry download recent highlights


Publish Date: August 23, 2018

Optimism is Contagious Especially in Customer Service

Are you a ‘glass-half-full’ person or a ‘glass-half-empty’ person? Your answer may determine whether you are perpetually an optimist – someone who always thinks that good things will happen – or a pessimist – someone who always thinks that bad things will happen. Perhaps Winston Churchill said it best when he stated, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” When it comes to the interactions your customers have with your brand, you can’t afford to have a pessimistic mindset. You must look for the opportunity in every customer engagement to improve customer facing metrics such as satisfaction, retention, sales conversion, and net promoter scores. How? Start by communicating optimism.

Eliminate the Negative

When consumers experience an unexpected expense on their wireless bill, issues with a new product they just purchased, or delays in receiving an online order, they understandably react in ways that demonstrate their frustration. These stressful situations are often charged with negative emotion, and more often than not, it’s your engagement specialists (agents) who must try to defuse the tension. One effective method is to communicate optimism by describing and explaining events, especially unfavorable occurences, in ways that diminish their ability to negatively impact emotions. Consumers who express their concerns pessimistically are often looking for reassurance that the situation or problem is neither permanent nor pervasive. How your engagement specialists handle the situation will determine the customer’s perception of your brand. Make sure your engagement specialists create a positive and lasting impression by following these three key tips:

  • Take direct responsibility for handling identified needs.
  • Make language choices that serve to frame the situation optimistically.
  • Discuss what can be done rather than what isn’t possible.

Accentuate the Positive

By now, you may be thinking that communicating optimism is a lot like looking through rose-colored glasses. However, optimism is not about glossing over difficulties and pretending that everything is perfect. Instead, optimism requires one to take control over a situation and fix the problem rather than avoid it. By using an optimistic frame and explaining problems as temporary and fixable, it’s possible to reduce the stress your customers feel, which increases their overall engagement in conversations with your brand.

Under the direction of our chief science officer, STARTEK helps clients leverage the principles of human communication to orchestrate the ideal customer engagement. This includes coaching engagement specialists to use meaningful phrases that are likely to evoke positive customer interactions while discouraging the use of phrases that are likely to confuse customers or cause negative repsonses.

In fact, STARTEK recently assisted a regional cable provider by deploying a solution that helped engagement specialists learn and adopt conversational habits that built emotional connection. By the end of the first year, the company had increased its Net Promoter score by 10% and decreased escalations by 26%.1 STARTEK can help your brand deliver similar results and bridge the gap between science and communication.

While no-win customer care situations are the new norm, they are also opportunities to deepen your engagement with customers and finally improve customer satisfaction and loyalty scores.

Source: STARTEK “Winning the No-win Situation Customer Care Situation” Jan. 2017

Learn how STARTEK helped a regional cable provider increase its net promoter score by responding to concerns optimistically and with emotional understanding. Or, visit our website at to learn more.


Publish Date: June 7, 2018

Press Pause on Conversational Backtracking – Maybe?? Why Reducing Conversational Backtracking is Important

Do you remember the first time you used the rewind function on your tv remote? The ability to pause, rewind, and play live tv on demand gave you a level of control you’d never had before. No longer were you missing important moments due to household interruptions or being out of the room when your favorite program came back on. While the rewind function is great in our daily lives, when it comes to customer conversations, backtracking isn’t such a good thing. When customers are forced to repeat portions of their conversation with your engagement specialists (agents), they become frustrated and disengaged. So how do you press pause on this bad customer service habit? Ask insightful questions.

The Key Elements of Insightful Questions

When speaking with your customers, it’s imperative that engagement specialists ask insightful questions to help understand their pain points, diagnose the problem, and craft an appropriate resolution. For example, asking clarifying questions can help you uncover the real intent behind what the customer initially said while exploratory questions help identify root wants or needs. Different types of questions will lead to different outcomes, but asking insightful questions will ultimately help the engagement specialist gather high quality information about both the customer’s situation and the context (want, need, or issue) behind the interaction. Taking time to ask the right questions also helps engagement specialists gain a broader understanding of the situation by challenging assumptions and identifying connections between individual issues. From there, engagement specialists can narrow their focus to solve the real problem at hand.

Of course, none of this is really possible without first establishing trust, which we discussed in our previous blog. If customers don’t trust the engagement specialist they are interacting with, they are less likely to disclose important details about the real motivations behind their reasons for contacting you. As you can see, the communication skills of the specialist are critically important. Their ability to quickly establish credibility, the questions they ask, and how they frame the conversation will have a substantial impact on the customer’s perception of your brand. To help your company elevate dialogue and ask the questions that really matter, follow these three simple tips:

  • Ask insightful questions to identify root wants or needs.
  • Use persuasive statements to increase buy-in and communicate expertise.
  • Engage in verbal matching by offering a solution that matches wants or needs.

Does Asking Insightful Questions Increase Talk Time?

A concern we often hear when talking about dialogue is its impact on Average Handle Time (AHT), with the mistaken assumption that a transactional conversation is efficient while dialogue is costly. The concern stems from a misunderstanding that dialogue is just transaction conversation with chit chat peppered throughout rather than viewing dialogue as an adaptation to conversational needs. Throughout our decades of scientific research, we’ve found that conversational techniques such as asking insightful questions actually reduce the likelihood of conversational backtracking, which reduces handle time. Asking insightful questions also helps engagement specialists get to the root cause of the issue faster, which also reduces handle time. And not only does it decrease handle time, asking insightful questions will also help reduce repeat calls because you’re diagnosing and treating the problem instead of the symptoms, which is truly a win win for everyone.

STARTEK recently completed a study involving 17,000 calls and found the engagement specialist’s ability to engage in the habits of dialogue had no negative impact on AHT.

If your engagement specialists are treating symptoms instead of problems, trying to end calls too quickly, or using pre-scripted and rehearsed statements, it could be time to take back control of your contact center. To learn more about STARTEK’s principles of dialogue, visit our website at and ask us some insightful questions about our solutions through the contact us form.


Publish Date: May 10, 2018

Credibility – Can I Trust You?

Regardless of how or why a customer chooses to interact with your brand, the only thing that stands between a positive or negative experience is a human connection. But creating a unique and memorable customer experience isn’t rocket science. It’s much more difficult. That’s because human communication is incredibly complex—especially in the contact center. In fact, before an engagement specialist says or types “hello,” there are more than 750 million situations that can frame the conversation. Acknowledging this incredible complexity, leaders in the customer experience industry are faced with a pivotal question: How do I manage engagement specialist and customer communication to create a unique and authentic experience that improves customer satisfaction, retention, and sales? The first step is to establish credibility.

The Key Elements of Credibility

Establishing credibility is an important first step to building trust and creating openness. If customers do not feel valued by engagement specialists (agents), they will not necessarily trust what the agent says. This is one of the reasons why customers across all verticals re-contact brands on the same issue. In the healthcare industry, trust is a key ingredient to increasing patient compliance regarding follow-through with important medical instructions. And in the retail and financial services sectors, trust drives repeat purchases when there is a clear link between the customer’s needs and the provided solution.

At STARTEK, we partner with multiple brands to help them learn and master the concepts of using the science of human communication to create good dialogue, which builds trust. This is accomplished through STARTEK’s Essential Habits proven communication principles. Part of those habits include these three key elements to establish credibility:

  • Listen to the needs and situation of the other person.
  • Demonstrate common courtesy and etiquette.
  • Choose language to optimize comprehension.

What’s the Payoff?

Good dialogue is about using proven communication principles to adapt to the implicit needs of the customer, and by doing so, gaining credibility, rapport, and trust. Once trust is established, your customers will feel comfortable enough to divulge important details about the real motivations behind their reasons for contacting you. Once you have achieved disclosure, the engagement specialist can then make an accurate assessment of each customer’s true needs.

When you use dialogue techniques to talk, text, chat and email with your customers in a meaningful, authentic way, you can not only improve first call resolution, but measurably drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value. STARTEK can help you use the power of human communication science to establish credibility and trust and drive real results in ways traditional, scripted approaches can’t.

“When someone picks up the phone and calls, there is an expectation that you know who they are, and you respond to their unique needs as a customer”

– Cory White, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, STARTEK


Publish Date: May 3, 2018

Customer Experience Analytics - Do You Trust the Process or Change It?

The Value of Customer Experience Analytics

Every day, millions of vital service interactions take place between your company and your customers, and there is a lot at stake in your ability to manage and optimize this complex, fast-paced environment, including your brand’s reputation and your economic survival. Faced with an increasing competitive marketplace, the ongoing challenge of any company’s engagement (contact) center is how to extract the insights hidden within these voluminous, unstructured multichannel interactions and provide decision makers with the information they need to acquire, support, retain, and grow their customers.

But how do you know if you are collecting the right data? Are you leveraging the right technology? Who in your organization is leading the charge for your analytics strategy, and are they asking the right questions? Your answers will determine if you should trust the current process or change it. Disjointed systems, lack of communication, organizational silos, and inefficient processes are all reasons to take another look at your analytics process.

Analytical Insights Alone Aren’t Enough

Even with access to a wide variety of tools and information, companies still struggle to find ways to improve customer-facing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, and revenue. While big data and analytics can help identify that something is wrong in the customer conversations taking place in the engagement center, analytical insights alone don’t usually provide the level of nuanced diagnostics needed to uncover the root causes of the problems. Companies don’t have an easy way to identify, isolate, and prioritize the variables that impact their customer-facing metrics, nor can they easily test hypotheses while controlling for other variables in their production environment. So how can you uncover hidden insights? Put your lab coat on because we’re headed to the science lab.

Unlocking Insights from the Lab

STARTEK’s Communication Science Lab picks up where data analysis leaves off by applying scientific rigor and methodology to uncover micro-issues at the conversation level that are important drivers for your critical metrics. We utilize these experiments to test solutions prior to implementing them in our clients’ production environments. After testing these solutions, we analyze the data and form conclusions to determine the best customer engagement strategy.

In a recent pilot conducted in the lab, STARTEK showed through the use of universal specialists an 8% reduction in handle time and 3% improvement in customer satisfaction.

Customer needs and behaviors change frequently thus requiring continual learning and new strategies. If you want to improve the dialogue with your customers, check out STARTEK’s communication science lab and put your customer experience issues under the virtual microscope.

Watch STARTEK’s Chief Science Office, Dr. James Keaten, explain the exchange of information and the value it creates.


Publish Date: April 26, 2018

Is Robotic Process Automation the Missing Piece of the Customer Experience Puzzle?

First-contact resolution, customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS). Ever get the feeling that as you’re working to move the needle on customer-facing performance metrics that something is missing?

That something could be robots, specifically robots in the back office. That’s because even though back-office processes and personnel aren’t on the customer-experience front lines, they are often an important step in the customer journey. And frequently that step is fraught with manual and/or redundant steps, extensive data entry across multiple systems, and inefficient management of resources and work queues. The result can be delays for customers on everything from order processing to installation scheduling to returns processing.

Robotic process automation (RPA) is changing the back office to make it far more productive, effective and accurate than ever before, shortening wait times and reducing frustration for customers—and that all adds up to a better customer experience.

Improving cycle time and productivity

Recently STARTEK helped a large telecommunications firm demonstrate the benefits of automating a resource-intensive back-office process: SIM activations. Using an RPA platform, STARTEK quickly mapped the process and built the robotic model to automate the work queue and steps within the process. The resulting solution uses guided workflow and automated task processing to help back-office specialists perform SIM activations faster and with fewer errors.

What is RPA?

Robotic process automation (RPA) allows companies to configure software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.

Source: Institute for Robotic Process Automation & Artificial Intelligence

Processing orders faster and with greater accuracy

The SIM activation proof of concept quickly showed just how significant the impact of RPA can be on back-office processes. The initial results were impressive:

  • 45 percent improvement in the number of SIMs processed per hour
  • 28 percent improvement in average processing time
  • 40 percent reduction in errors

This was just a first step in showing that automating high-volume, back-office processes can have a dramatic impact on improving throughput, reducing errors, and ultimately making customers happier and more likely to stay with the brand.

Learn more about the benefits of RPA for this large telecommunications company in the detailed case study.

Read now


Publish Date: April 12, 2018

Customer Satisfaction Soars with Authentic Dialogue

Today’s travelers have high-flying expectations for customer service across the various companies and brands with which they interact before, during, and after their trip. For one company, a leader in the travel industry, meeting those expectations was becoming increasingly difficult to do—until the entire company learned how it should be communicating.

Delivering easy, fast customer service—even in challenging situations

Travelers expect that customer service will be easy, fast, and convenient to use. The team at this travel company has to not only deliver excellent customer service that meets those expectations, but do so under very demanding and sometimes stressful situations, such as major weather events, which are outside of the direct control of the company.

With help from STARTEK, the travel company launched an initiative to return the business to having a true dialogue with its customers—freeing employees to connect emotionally with customers, resolve their issues and improve perception of the travel leader’s brand.

“We’re not only well trained on how to do our job, but now we know how to communicate well with each individual customer.”

A tenured travel company employee of 20 years

Improving customer satisfaction with dialogue

STARTEK deployed its Performance Optimization solutions at the travel company to help everyone in the organization learn how to talk, text, chat, and email with customers using scientifically grounded, dialogue communication skills.

From the moment the company began using the STARTEK solutions, it started to see improvement in customer satisfaction. After implementing the first half of the program, the company experienced a five percent increase in customer satisfaction scores.

Employees are more satisfied, too

Another benefit is that the travel company’s employees report greater job satisfaction as they now have the autonomy and the skills to support the customer no matter what issue the customer brings to them on the phone, via email or chat, or in person. Employee confidence has increased as well.

Learn more about how this leading travel company uses STARTEK’s solutions to improve the outcomes of customer interactions using the science of human communication.

Read now


Publish Date: March 22, 2018

Chit-Chat is Nice, But Good Dialogue Drives Customer Satisfaction

The mandate to the engagement (contact) center is to improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) or Net Promotor Score (NPS) or first-call resolution (FCR)—or better yet, all three. But clearly traditional approaches to improving the customer experience—and the metrics that measure it—haven’t been working. Delivering scripted monologues or pre-written text in a chat window just doesn’t build the credibility, rapport, and trust that are needed to really move the needle on customer-facing metrics.

Instead, your engagement center needs to use the science of dialogue to deliver a true human conversation. That’s because only good dialogue (not chit chat) meets the needs and expectations of today’s consumer. Here’s why.

It’s all about the humans in the conversation

While some industry experts give lip service to personalized conversation between an engagement specialist (agent) and a customer, authentic dialogue that improves engagement and outcomes is much more than saying the customer’s name at certain points in the conversation or chit-chatting about the weather.

Instead, good dialogue is about using proven communication principles to adapt to the implicit needs of the customer and by doing so, gaining credibility, rapport, and trust. The result is that customers feel that someone is listening to them, they are being treated as unique individuals, they are understood, and can trust the people they are speaking with.

When asked about potential customer service contacts either online or by phone, 85% of survey respondents said they prefer a customer service representative versus a chatbot/AI or IVR (interactive voice recognition) experience.

Source: STARTEK U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, 2017

The hallmarks of good dialogue

What makes for good dialogue that improves the outcomes of customer interactions? There are three hallmarks to look for:

  • Professional
  • Personalized
  • Marked with moments of spontaneity

Here’s a test: if the conversation could have been with any customer at any point in time, it’s not personalized or spontaneous. It’s simply a series of canned responses used at appropriate points.

On the other hand, if the conversation could only have happened at that time and with that particular customer, then it’s truly personalized and spontaneous. If it’s also professional, then you have the makings of good dialogue.

Once your engagement specialists learn and master the concepts of using the science of human communication to create good dialogue, you’ll see the marked difference in CSAT, NPS, and FCR. And that’s not idle chit-chat.

Check out our video featuring Dr. Keaten, Chief Science Officer, explaining why we prefer humans in complex situations.


Publish Date: February 15, 2018

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