Even if your purpose for outsourcing is because of the lower outsourcing labor rates, the quality of your customer service should not be affected. This includes knowing how to impart unfavorable news to your customers which does happen from time to time in any business. Make sure that both you and your outsourcing partner know how to inform customers of any bad news while still retaining their goodwill.
Don’t wait till the last minute to let the customer know what’s going on. Customers are far more likely to understand if they have enough time to prepare and to adjust to whatever bad news you’re bringing them. At the same time, they are also likely to get angry if they are caught unawares by any changes to their account.
Do your best to give a concise explanation of what happened and why. If the customer needs more details and demands more information, give as much information as you can provide. One important thing to remember, however, is to refrain from blaming others such as someone else in the company or partner companies or suppliers. Stick to the facts and maintain your professionalism.
Honesty is crucial at this point. Though it’s tempting to try and lessen the severity of the news, the need for the customer to be aware and prepared is more important. Make sure the customer knows exactly how they will be affected and when to expect any changes. However, choose your words well to avoid inflicting further damage.
In connection to choosing your words well, your sincerity and consideration for the customer’s feelings should be clear during this interaction. Empathize with the customer and express your frustration or concern as well over the current situation. Customers will be more disposed to cooperate if they can feel that they are still your priority and that you’re on hand to assist them through this difficult time.
It’s crucial that before speaking with the customer, you’re already equipped with a plan of action that includes other solutions and feasible options for the customer to take. It’s also a must that your representatives who will be speaking with the customer are not just knowledgeable on your products and services but are excellent as well at communicating with customers and analyzing problems.
Conflict resolution needs to be handled with care by trained customer service representatives. This is why it’s important to make the right choice when selecting your BPO service provider. Taking You Forward is a growing BPO company that provides trained agents for customer service, sales, back office tasks and technical support. Call us today.
Publish Date: July 16, 2017 5:00 AM
Many businesses are choosing to outsource some of their processes including marketing because outsourcing reduces labor costs. However, since the rise of online shopping, the continued popularity of social media and the success of digital marketing, people have started to question whether traditional marketing methods especially telemarketing are still applicable. However, research has shown that telemarketing is still useful and effective. Telemarketing continues to prove its worth in the area of sales and here are the top reasons why:
It helps you know more about your market
Being able to communicate with your customers keeps you updated on the existing state of the market as well as future trends. With a telemarketing campaign that utilizes the right questions and builds on your relationship with your customers, you can gather more accurate information from your customers to plan your next strategies.
It’s an effective method for creating a reliable database
Although there are different ways of collecting information about your customers, the conversation in a telemarketing call is one of the best ways to get accurate and complete details about your customers. With this knowledge, you can create and keep up-to-date a reliable database. In addition to that, the data about your customers when entered into the database will be easier to organize so it’s easy to retrieve and use anytime.
It provides a way of communicating with your customers
Telemarketing is one of the few marketing methods that lets you converse with your customers. You have the chance not only to take note of their information but also to gauge their emotions based on their reactions. You get to reply to them as well and empathize; this helps cultivate trust and enhance your relationship with your customers.
Certain products and services are more successfully sold when using a personal approach
Some types of products are not easily sold to customers. Finance-related products and services, for example, such as insurance are sensitive topics and you can expect that customers will be more discerning when it comes to these. In this case, customers need more details which telemarketers can provide and they will have concerns which telemarketers can also respond to.
Though telemarketing may seem outmoded to some, the reasons we’ve cited are enough to show why it continues to be a successful method until now. If you’re looking to build a strong telemarketing team, choose a BPO service provider with knowledge and skills. Taking You Forward specializes in customer service, technical support, sales and back-office admin tasks among others. Contact us today.
Publish Date: June 26, 2017 5:00 AM
Once you’ve got your contact center department up and running, it’s important to have enough manpower to take care of each customer interaction. This makes certain that your day to day operations will consistently be running smoothly. This is achieved through efficient workforce management including the ability to forecast the number of agents needed to deal with all your calls. To make an accurate calculation of the number of agents you need, you first have to determine the following information.
This refers to the number of inbound calls received by your department in a specific time period. You can retrieve this information from your system or tools. If you wish to collect your data manually, however, another option is to ask your agents to take notes on the number of calls they receive every day.
Now that you know approximately how many calls your department typically receives in a day, you should be able to set a target. Calculate the percentage of incoming calls you expect your agents to answer within a specific length of time. For most centers, the Service Level Goal is usually any number between 80 to 90 percent and in less than 30 seconds. Your customer support team as a whole must be able to consistently fulfill this objective.
AHT is a term often used in call centers and this refers to the length of time an agent takes to speak with a customer and resolve their concerns. Using this estimate and your Service level goals and comparing and analyzing these together, you can now assess how many agents your department will require including on which days and on which shifts or times of the day.
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Although you now have a good idea of how many representatives your department will need on regular days, you will also need to make a forecast for future needs. Take into account expected changes during particular times of the year such as peak seasons like holidays as well as off-season downtimes. Create a plan on how to adjust your manpower so you can still meet your Service level goals.
Figuring out the number of staff needed will be easier when you partner with the right BPO service provider. Taking You Forward is a growing call center company in the Philippines with experience in managing the workforce to maximize efficiency in call center operations. Call us today for your customer service, sales or technical support needs.
Publish Date: June 5, 2017 5:00 AM
When customers leave your company, are they gone forever or is there hope for their return? Do you make an effort to win them back or do you pay attention only to new customers? Successful companies have shown us that we should not restrict our initiatives only for new prospects. Old customers who have moved their business elsewhere are another untapped market that could prove profitable if we handle their situation correctly.
Here are some points to consider when planning your strategies for winning back your customers:
Take the time to study your customers and gauge which customers are worth the time and effort. There are different customers from different demographics and with different personalities and you’ll have to figure out which of them are likely to give you another chance or to produce a good return of your invested resources. If you’re spending too much on resources without seeing results, it might be time to change your tactics or abandon that group of customers altogether.
One highly important factor that will determine if customers will return or not is the reason they left in the first place. Have procedures in place that will document the situations and reasons why customers discontinue with your service. Whatever the outcome, whether the customer returns or not, you will have gathered essential input to help you improve your products, services, and processes and for training your personnel.
If the customer’s desire to depart is the result of an unresolved concern, be sure to fix the problem before anything else. Even if they still decide in the end to part ways, there’s a good chance you left them with a better impression of you by making an effort to solve the matter. Another benefit in doing this is that if it’s a similar concern shared by other customers, by fixing the problem at its source, you can prevent more customers from jumping ship.
Want more Customer Service blogs? Read: Handling Complaints Via Social Media Customer Service
Based on your evaluation of why the customer left and what drew them to you at first, you can now brainstorm different techniques such as offers and incentives to entice them to stay or to return. It’s also vital to note that not all offers will work for different customers so make sure to customize your program to match certain customers.
With these tips in mind, you can now tackle the challenge of winning back the customers you’ve lost or are about to lose. If you need help from a third party provider for your sales and marketing initiatives, Taking You Forward is ready to assist you. We are a BPO service provider in the Philippines skilled and knowledgeable in customer service, technical support and sales among others.
Publish Date: May 5, 2017 5:00 AM
Apr 21 - Technavio, a leading technology research and advisory company, projects that the Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) market in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.80% during the period 2016-2020.
The company considers the revenue generated from infrastructure and application outsourcing services to calculate the market size. The ITO market in APAC is reportedly gaining ground with increased IT spending and related outsourcing activities by organizations in the region needed to stay competitive. Outsourcing provides benefits in cost savings and efficiencies. In the report, key vendors were identified as HP, IBM, TCS, Fujitsu and Accenture.
Apr 21 - Philippine property giant Ayala Land Inc has allocated P88 billion in capital expenditure this year, with optimism that the property sector will continue to sustain its growth. Ayala Land president Bernard Vincent ‘Bobby’ Dy said the company’s optimism is on the back of the robust economy, buoyed by low interest rates, continued growth of remittances, and strong business process outsourcing industry.
The property giant is launching a 35-hectare property spanning Quezon City and Pasig City in a joint venture with the LT Group of Lucio Tan; the 250-hectare Evo City in Kawit Cavite; and the 25-hectare Azuela Cove in Davao City in a joint venture with the Alcantara group.
Apr 20 - Analytics firm Markit has forecast that the Philippine economy will grow 6.3% this year, citing the information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and remittances from workers abroad as two key growth engines.
As with last year, the receipts from country’s BPO industry and remittances from Filipinos working abroad continue to be the top sources foreign exchange. The International Monetary Fund has retained its Philippine growth forecast for 2017 at 6.8% pointing to strong domestic demand, a recovery in exports, and higher public spending as the major growth drivers.
Apr 18 - The Innovation Council of Cebu (ICC), a newly-formed organization under the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is organizing the online freelancing community in the city to beef up the country’s position as the preferred hub for global online freelancing and rural impact sourcing.
ICC president Michael Cubos announced that they are identifying and organizing Cebu-based online freelancers so they can get support from both public and private sectors. He stressed that the group can avail of the government’s digital and information communications technology projects, which are being introduced in collaboration with the relevant industries.
Apr 19 - The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has aired some concern over pending bills that propose to impose penalties on companies that fail to employ people with disabilities (PWDs) for up to two percent of the number of new job vacancies at the company. ECOP stressed that there are specific sectors where such requirements would be difficult or impossible to implement such as business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.
The group cited that in a BPO with 30,000 operators, at least 300 positions for PWDs should be held, but Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr, acting ECOP president, pointed out that considering the nature of skills required by BPOs, it is a certainty that most of these reserved positions will remain unfilled over time.
Publish Date: April 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Everyone loves a good story, even customers. Research has shown that when companies use stories to convey their messages, the audience is
more receptive and reacts more positively. It’s surprising, though, that not many companies utilize storytelling to their advantage in marketing campaigns. Why are stories so powerful?
Here are the top reasons why you should integrate storytelling into your marketing programs and scripts to boost your sales:
Compared to numbers and simple facts, a story is easier to recall. They are also more interesting and can grab a listener’s attention better. If we want to generate interest so that customers will give us their time of day but we also want them to be aware of the selling points of our product or service, we can incorporate the product’s features into our scripts. The chances are higher that customers will remember some, if not most, of our message.
Features and specifications alone, no matter how great, will not persuade a customer to buy a product. It is the benefits that customers will be more interested in. However, right off the bat, customers will not be able to fully understand how owning the product benefits them. A skillfully told story will let customers see and imagine themselves holding and using the product. This connection strengthens the likelihood of customers making the purchase.
When customers are able to relate to your story and comprehend how having that product is more advantageous to them, you will have a greater chance of influencing their choice. This is also dependent on not just the product itself, but on how you told the story and the way you personalized it to suit the customer’s lifestyle and personality.
Here’s another great sales read for you: Increase Sales With These Influential Emotional Triggers
Presenting only statistics and data to customers may evoke some interest but it may not be enough to get their commitment. At the same time, stimulating only emotions will catch their attention but logic will eventually hold them back and even make them second guess themselves. To get complete commitment from your customer, we use stories and narration of events both to answer logical questions and stimulate a specific feeling in customers.
Now that we know how valuable utilizing stories is for telemarketers and sales staff, we need to strategize and think of creative ways to make use of storytelling. If you or your company needs more trained personnel to handle inbound or outbound sales and marketing calls, consider partnering with a BPO service provider like Taking You Forward. We are a call center company committed to working together with you for your success.
Publish Date: April 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Customers contact customer service for different reasons: it can be to inquire about the product or service, report a problem, or to resolve an issue. Whatever their reason for calling, we need to ensure that our service meets or surpasses their expectations. If they end up complaining about the customer service instead, this could seriously discourage them from continuing to patronize your product or support your company.
You might also like: Outsource Customer Service to Turn Complaints to Compliments
Take steps to prevent these mistakes and you’ll be closer to ensuring a consistently positive experience for your customers. If you’re thinking of delegating your customer support to a BPO service provider, Taking You Forward, a contact center company in the Philippines, offers high quality customer service, technical support, and sales among others.
Publish Date: March 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Is it possible to look at the glass half-full when it comes to outsourcing? With the stigma associated with offshoring, can there be a silver lining for everyone affected? From large companies to small to medium enterprises, outsourcing, when managed properly, can benefit all.
Let us show you how outsourcing customer service solutions or SME services can be a win-win-win for you, your customers, and yes, even your in-house employees.
You cannot run a successful SME business if you keep losing key employees. Nor can your business survive if you do not have the funds to maintain your services. And without loyal customers who are satisfied with the speed and scope of your service, your company will soon be heading for bankruptcy. Fortunately, SME outsourcing helps you compromise by allowing everyone to gain something out of this initiative. Everyone benefits and in the long term, everyone wins.
Publish Date: March 12, 2017 5:00 AM
During peak seasons like holidays, it’s inevitable that call volumes will reach the highest of the year. More customers will need services, whether it’s sales, technical support or customer service. It’s vital that companies are prepared to meet this demand and continue to provide exceptional service. There’s a great opportunity for profit during these seasons but also a potential for loss when companies cannot cope with all the calls from customers.
Here’s what you can do to manage high call volume during your peak seasons:
1. Plan ahead
Your call center should constantly evaluate and analyze trends in your call volume throughout the year. This helps you determine the days when the call volumes are highest so you can make plans ahead of time. With this knowledge, you can schedule the workload as necessary and hire and train more staff to be ready when the busy seasons arrive.
2. Give your representatives advance notice
Keep your agents updated on upcoming busy seasons. Letting them know what to expect will prepare them to receive more calls and help them handle each situation more calmly and efficiently. This will make them more time-conscious and keep them focused. The quality of customer service they provide should not be affected by the increased quantity of calls.
3. Provide customers with self-help options
Customers would appreciate prompt resolution for their concerns and offering self-service options lets them have more choices than just waiting on the phone for a customer service representative. Instructional videos and answers to frequently asked questions can be posted on the website and be made known to customers via social media. The IVR can also be used to provide self-service features for minor concerns.
You might also want to read: 5 Techniques To Expedite Your Customer Service Complaint Management.
4. Look for processes that you can automate
Aside from providing self-service features for customers, on the representatives’ end, there are some manual procedures that can be automated to help them work more quickly. This will also increase the call center’s efficiency.
5. Integrate information from all customer service channels into one database
It will be tiresome for customers and time-consuming for representatives if they have to constantly check different databases when customers switch from one customer service channel to another. Make sure that all of the customer’s information and all interactions between the customer and any representative, whether by phone, email, chat or social media, are properly documented in one system.
With these action steps, you’ll be well-equipped and prepared to cope every peak season. Another thing you can do, if you haven’t done so yet, is to outsource some of your tasks either to lessen the workload of your representatives or to ensure that you have enough staff to manage all your calls. If you’re looking for a call center you can trust, contact Taking You Forward, a contact center company in the Philippines. We have the experience, skills, and knowledge to assist you.
Publish Date: February 22, 2017 5:00 AM
The live chat option is most advantageous for customers who are visiting the website or are using the company’s mobile app since they can ask for assistance anytime. On the company’s side, this customer service channel has also been shown to contribute to sales. This shows us that though the chat option is used by customers less often than phone and email, we still need to ensure that it maintains a high quality of customer service.
Here are some tips to make sure customers have the best experience when using your chat customer service:
1. Probe by asking questions. It’s not that easy to get information through chat as compared to the phone where customers can quickly talk about their concerns right away or email where customers have time to think about what they want to say. To save time and encourage the customer to give all the information needed, representatives have to ask the right questions. Never assume. Confirm and paraphrase the issue once all the details are given to avoid any misunderstanding which could lead to an incorrect resolution.
2. Keep your statements short and direct to the point. When answering customer’s inquiries, cut to the chase and give them a straight answer before giving a more detailed explanation. Take care not to use jargon or any technical terms that a customer might not be familiar with, as it might not be understood or it will need to be explained further, which will take more time.
3. Use words that convey a pleasant tone. Over-use of scripts can make representatives sound unfeeling and artificial. We need to remember that this is still an interaction between humans so we have to be sensitive to our customers as well. It can be challenging to determine your customer’s mood apart from basing it on the words he uses. In the same way, representatives need to choose their words carefully. Their words should be mostly positive and impart a friendly, helpful manner.
ADDITIONAL READ: The Untapped Potential of Live Chat
4. Know what to avoid. Whatever you do, stay away from the caps lock key and sarcasm. Messages in all caps make it sound like you’re shouting at the customer, which is unforgivable; while sarcasm and jokes can seem rude and even insulting. Maintain your professionalism when dealing with customers so that you always come across as credible and trustworthy.
5. Double check your grammar and spelling. Live chat may seem like a more casual setting but don’t be deceived. This is still a business transaction and should be treated with the utmost professionalism. Use complete sentences, with correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Representatives should make it a habit of using tools and websites to double check their statements.
Live chat customer service has the potential to grow in the future as consumers are starting to use company mobile websites and apps more. With your chat customer support representatives equipped and ready, this channel could become more profitable and beneficial for your company’s growth. If you need a live chat customer support team, BPO service providers like Taking You Forward, a call center company in the Philippines, can build a skilled team for you.
Publish Date: February 3, 2017 5:00 AM
For customers who are calling to complain, speed is of the essence. How correctly and quickly their issues get resolved will either make them feel valued or unappreciated. Though you might feel that your department’s performance at complaint handling is at par and moderately satisfactory, there are always ways to improve and enhance the customer’s experience.
Here’s what you can do to process and resolve complaints more quickly:
Once customers reach your IVR system, it’s best that they’re given options for which category their concern falls under. This is to make certain that the customer speaks directly with a specialist that can resolve his concern. This will also lessen the chances of the customer constantly being transferred from one representative to another.
Customer service representatives should be aware of what to do for every given situation. Equipping the representatives with thorough knowledge will prevent them from hesitating and becoming disorganized. This means incorporating into the procedures for each situation problem solving, analysis and empathizing. The procedures must also be clear on how to escalate complaints.
Don’t be afraid to use automation to your advantage. Whether it’s through the IVR or online on your website, this gives your customers more options so that they don’t always have to wait to speak to a representative before solving their concerns. This will assist considerably in getting minor concerns resolved quickly through self-service and freeing up more representatives to tackle larger issues for more customers.
Identify the weak areas of your representatives and re-train them on the skills they need to enhance. Your training programs also need to be updated from time to time to address common weak areas of representatives and any new challenges. Ensure that they have mastered their product knowledge, can use questions effectively and can empathize sincerely with customers.
Social media is especially useful in finding out what customers think of your brand and service. Taking note of what they say and acting immediately on issues is a proactive way of keeping the problem from getting worse. This is also an opportunity for you to redeem yourselves in your customer’s eyes as you don’t have to wait for them to call you before taking action and when they do call, you already have solutions prepared.
If you’re considering outsourcing your customer service department, it is also essential that you choose the right team from a dependable company. Contact Taking You Forward, a call center company in the Philippines with experience in providing excellent customer service and technical support.
Publish Date: January 20, 2017 5:00 AM
Many contact centers utilize training to prepare their representatives and make sure they are equipped to communicate with customers and resolve their concerns. Time, effort and funds are invested in training programs, trainers and training facilities. As such, it’s imperative to ensure that the training effectively prepares employees for their jobs and guides them into becoming excellent representatives.
Avoid the following factors that prevent your training programs from succeeding:
Begin with the end in mind. This concept is undeniably true when launching any training program. Your curriculum should be based on what you’d like to achieve as a result of the training so that every step you take helps you reach this goal. If the objectives are not met, then you would know that changes have to be made either in the program, methods or objectives themselves.
Trainees will not be able to concentrate if their environment is not conducive to learning. Having a large class size, for example, is not ideal because in this situation, discussion is limited and the method is constrained to lecture types. Another thing to consider is if the training room makes trainees feel uncomfortable, with poor lighting and insufficient ventilation. Noise and any distractions from outside the training area should also be avoided.
The training materials should be up-to-date and there should be enough for all participants. The presentations and handouts must be as close as possible to what is used in the operations area so that learning from training is easily transferable to the workplace. The equipment, hardware, and software you use also need to be current and fully functional.
Although lectures are a necessary part of training, it should not be the only method used. A variety of strategies can be utilized to keep participants interested and to ensure that relevant skills are learned. It’s best to make the bulk of the training focus on discussions that engage the trainees and exercise sessions where the trainees can practice applying what they have learned.
Assessment is vital for any training program as it helps you evaluate whether the objectives were met or not. By evaluating your participants’ learning, you can determine the effectiveness of the training program and pinpoint possible causes of success or failure. You can also get feedback from the trainees themselves on how to improve the program.
If you want your training programs to succeed and your investment of time and resources not to be put to waste, take note of these factors and take steps to overcome them. When outsourcing your customer service, be sure to partner with a contact center who provides quality training programs. Taking You Forward, a contact center in the Philippines, believes in training representatives to prepare them fully for their jobs. Contact us today.
Publish Date: January 15, 2017 5:00 AM
The American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham) has said US businesses in the Philippines are largely ignoring President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign threats, especially when it comes to outsourcing.
AmCham executive director Ebb Hinchliffe said that US firms have not expressed any reluctance to set up shop in the Philippines because Trump’s threats have not yet translated into actual policy. Hinchliffe, however, warned that should Trump’s rhetoric becomes a reality, it would be a disaster for the industry, but for now US firms are in a wait-and-see pattern.
Publish Date: December 19, 2016 5:00 AM
Email is still one of the most preferred methods of customer service especially for customers who don’t have the time to call the hotline immediately. However, email customer service, just like phone customer service needs to be of top quality for it to satisfactorily solve customer issues and fully support your company. It’s not just as easy as sending out scripted and copied responses or templates.
To make sure your email customer service is above par, here are some highly recommended action steps:
Make customers feel valued by addressing them by name even in your emails. This is going the extra mile in giving your customers service that not only solves their problems but also makes them feel good. Ensure that any email templates you send out are edited to fit the customer’s situation. Empathizing with your customer’s feelings is also a commonly neglected but highly important factor.
Keep your sentences short and simple. This will save the customer time in trying to understand your message. Your instructions should also be easy to follow. Avoid anything vague or not specific or customers will end up having to email you again. Do not use jargon or any terms that the customer might not understand. Be clear as well about what to expect.
If more details are needed, it would be best to itemize your instructions and number them. This will make the instructions more organized and easier to understand. Provide links for the source of these directions and for pages that customers can go over if they need more information. Include links as well for any forms that need to be downloaded, any pages where they need to sign up or videos that they can view.
The words you use will set the tone of your message and influence how the customer will respond. A professional tone is still ideal but this will need to be balanced with a friendly approach. Customers prefer to interact with a representative who sounds more approachable even in writing. If you need to deliver unpleasant news, however, adopt a more formal tone.
Mistakes are more glaring when they can be seen and recorded in writing. Proofread your emails for any lapses and errors. This step may seem very basic but it can be neglected if you’re pressed for time and would like to respond quickly. Sending out emails with typos and grammatical errors will detract from your professionalism.
It’s best to start and end with a positive outlook. Especially when delivering unfavorable news, focus on what can be done, what you will do and what the customer can expect in future. End your email on a high note to instill confidence in your customer about your ability to help him find a solution. (You might also like: Outsource Customer Service to Turn Complaints to Compliments)
These action steps have been proven effective at significantly improving the quality of customer service emails resulting to better goodwill between businesses and customers. For excellent email customer service, contact the customer care experts at Taking You Forward, a BPO services provider in the Philippines.
Publish Date: December 19, 2016 5:00 AM
Cebu City’s investment czar Jose Mari Yu said the local business process outsourcing (BPO) sector lacks skilled workers in the fields of software engineering and computer programming. These skills will help the BPO sector move up in the value chain, instead of focusing merely on voice services.
Yu said 90% of IT-BPO companies in the country are only engaged in voice services, accounting and inventory. While the Philippine outsourcing industry excels in voice services, China, India and Thailand are considered better in terms of higher value services. Yu suggested an overhaul of the country’s educational system to put more emphasis on mathematical skills in primary and secondary education.
Publish Date: December 12, 2016 5:00 AM