Most people may not be familiar with outbound customer service. Though not as widely used as inbound customer service, outbound customer service serves important purposes as well. Generally, outbound customer service representatives make outgoing calls to new and existing customers and assist them with their concerns. Although they do not answer incoming calls, the skills they need are similar to those of inbound customer service, but mainly focus on the following tasks:
Companies verify any changes made to a customer’s account – personal information, billing information, financial information, etc. Outbound agents are in charge of contacting customers and confirming the updates to ensure the security of the customer and the company. Authenticity of transactions also needs to be verified by outbound customer service representative. They do this by calling and validating the identity of the customer and the information he or she may have provided.
Outbound agents also need to be skilled in offering appropriate customer service solutions. When customers have pending inquiries and are waiting for callbacks, outbound representatives can assist inbound customer service by making the callbacks or follow-up calls for them.
Another important responsibility of outbound agents is to remind customers when their bill is overdue and ask for a date the company can expect the customer to pay. This task needs tact and courtesy as some customers might feel harassed or become upset, especially if they are unable to pay. Some companies offer other payment options or programs to help customers settle their bills.
Usually at the end of a call, outbound agents are expected to promote new products. Outbound calls then are useful not only for customer service but also for marketing programs. Aside from getting their issues resolved and their needs met, customers are informed of special deals which they can benefit from.
If you choose to delegate these tasks to a business process outsourcing provider, choose a company that can offer established systems and innovative solutions. Taking You Forward is a BPO provider that has managed campaigns for clients in the inbound and outbound call center industries. Talk to us today and learn how we can help you accomplish your goals and grow your business.
Publish Date: June 22, 2016 5:00 AM
Though both inbound and outbound calls require telephone communication skills, the dynamics of outbound calling is different. Inbound call center agents are expected to assist as many customers as they can, while outbound call center agents face the challenge of having to seek out their customers. Lost time and wasted opportunities have taught most telemarketing and telesales representatives to avoid the following common mistakes:
Giving out just names and telephone numbers to your agents will make it more difficult for them to connect with their prospects. How do they properly address the customer – with a Mister, Missus or Miss? Which time zones are they located? Are they likely to be home at the time of your call? More importantly, further data about each prospect is needed so that an agent can personalize his or her presentation.
Some call centers, when they run out of leads, resort to calling random numbers the system automatically provides. More often than not, the agents end up talking to someone unsuitable or calling inactive numbers. What a waste of time and effort.
Calling customers who are in the ‘Do Not Call’ lists or those who have already stated that they want to be removed from your list serves no purpose except to further aggravate them. Some of them are even likely to file a complaint against your company.
The need to adhere to quality standards is understandable, but not at the risk of sounding mechanical. Needs often vary per individual. The features a mother may find attractive about your product could hold no appeal for a student. Let your agents adapt the script slightly to focus on the specific benefits of each prospect they talk to. Do not forget to train them on how to deliver the script.
On the other hand, we have outbound centers that do not use any script at all. Giving the agents free rein to say whatever they like is also not a good idea. They might miss important terms and conditions regarding your product, or worse, say something inappropriate. Strike a balance and be clear on what agents can change in the script, what should always be included, and what they are not allowed to say.
Some call centers expect their agents to make calls even without proper briefing or training. This may result to wasted opportunities if the agent lacks confidence or does not understand what he or she needs to do. Underperformance can be remedied in most cases with proper training. Agents are also better able to cope with various situations when they are equipped with all the necessary information about your product and customer data.
To increase the likelihood of your campaign’s success, partner with an outsourcing provider with experience as an outbound call center. Taking You Forward offers both inbound and outbound solutions, as well as back-office processes. Call us today and together, we will grow your business.
Publish Date: June 16, 2016 5:00 AM
Now that you have partnered with a call center company in the Philippines and are ready with your outsourced team, you can leverage this new team to improve your sales or customer service functions. Whether you are a large company or an SME (a small and medium-sized enterprise), you can benefit from a new team with upgraded skills and a new system.
Here’s what you can do to transform your functions with your outsourced team:
Go through all the present and previous feedbacks you received from your customers. Additionally, you can get the results of your customer satisfaction surveys and ask your current employees what your customers are often saying.
Based on what your customers want, plan the changes you are going to implement. Your new team is perfect for starting your new initiatives. Make sure to document everything and set goals and objectives.
One challenge you have to be prepared for is that not only are you executing new policies, you also have new representatives who are still in the process of mastering your products and services. Allow them a reasonable period of adjustment and help them succeed by equipping them with the information, resources, and skills they need.
To motivate your agents to perform above par, set up a rewards program for those who meet the target and goals, and celebrate your team’s achievements. Sanctions should also be enforced for those who cannot fulfill expectations, but this should be supported with coaching or retraining.
Let other agents learn from the top performers. This is also a good way to acknowledge the contributions of those top performers to the team’s success and mark those who are ready for leadership positions.
Your QA team should be dedicated to monitoring the progress and work activities of your representatives. Choose individuals, preferably previous top performers, who are skilled in coaching and can help hone the skills of the team.
Build a connection with your representatives by letting them feel your presence. If you cannot physically be with them, have regular meetings with the management instead, or keep employees updated with what is going on in the company through email. Also, support team building activities that will help your team grow together and strengthen their bond.
Secure everyone’s trust and cooperation, and your sales and customer service solutions will be better than ever. With your vision and leadership, and a talented outsourced team from your call center company, your business is well on the way to growth and success.
Publish Date: June 16, 2016 5:00 AM
Solo entrepreneurs and SME business owners are always the hands-on type of managers. They love to try their hands on almost everything, probably because they are still learning about their business. But that is how problems begin: Lack of focus and time on the core activities, budget problems and poor production, not to mention stress and worries over unfinished tasks at the end of work. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, what can you do to avoid such consequences? The answer is simple: Focus on what you do best and outsource the rest to a virtual assistant from the Philippines.
Be Like the Big Guys – Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)
The closest thing to being a big boss is to delegate non-essential responsibilities to a VA, who performs the same duties as a personal assistant (PA), only remotely and online. You can entrust to your VA some or all of your responsibilities, from administrative tasks to online research and email management to client follow-up. If you can land a VA with a wide range of IT and social media skills, then you are more than lucky.
Does Country of Origin Matter?
Not if you can look beyond nationality, but if you want to be sure, then hire a VA from the Philippines, one of the biggest outsourcing locations and the call center capital of the world. By hiring a Filipino virtual assistant, you are sure of hiring the right person for the job, one who can speak and write excellent English, a job candidate who is highly educated, and has adequate IT skills. In short, you are hiring a candidate from a country where outsourcing is a major economic player.
The Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
What benefits can you get from hiring a VA from the Philippines?
By hiring a virtual assistant from the Philippines, you can grow your business even beyond business hours or when you’re on a trip. With a VA working by your side, you become better in managing your business.
Publish Date: June 9, 2016 5:00 AM
As a businessman, you keep track of your sales day in and day out. They say not everyday is a good day and this could very well define the stats of your business. For your products and services to sell really well, there are a number of factors to consider – marketing strategies, uniqueness of the brand, its presentation, and so on. When everything has been done top notch, you wonder why sales are going down and why people are giving your business bad reviews. Then you actually see where you are doing wrong – your customer service is the culprit.
Because there are so many things to be done, you may have partially or completely turned over the management of your customer service to someone else – which should not be the case. Remember, customer service is as crucial as the important processes and tasks in the company. You should know how your customer service representatives are treating customers. Know that one misinformation and mistreatment will cost your SME business thousands of dollars in lost profits, if not millions.
It seems obvious that you need to remind your employees about their role as customer service representatives (CSR) – to provide excellent customer service. Your CSRs must improve on certain areas to improve their interaction with your customers, increase sales, and – for their part – keep their jobs. They should start scoring high (again) on the following areas:
Employees come and go, but customers stay, especially the few ones that bring in 80% of your sales, but regular customers or new ones, still are the lifeblood of your SME business. In return for their continued patronage, they deserve good service. You owe them the continued success of your venture, and your employees their job. Show your employees that you mean business. Allow them time to improve on their customer service skills.
If you are looking to improve your customer service delivery, why not contract a call center company that offers customer service solutions? If interested, call Taking You Forward, a fast-rising call center in the Philippines today.
Publish Date: June 9, 2016 5:00 AM
Big companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) outsource their non-core services to outsourcing companies to cut costs not only in terms of operations, but also in talent acquisition. Access to better talents seems to be a secondary goal for companies that outsource, but it is still important. Many businesses may not understand the benefits quality hires bring in terms of cost-savings because they tend to see their employees as liabilities rather than assets.
For companies that outsource, they have 2 choices, and any choice is as good as the other. They can either:
Either way, your business wins. Whatever option you choose will guarantee continued or renewed success, provided that outsourcing is done correctly. Your success may be attributed to your customers’ patronage, but do not forget the people who work behind the scenes. After all, success depends on working with the right kind of people, may they be your employees or third party service providers.
Keeping the People You Need At No Increasing Costs
As essential it is for your business to delegate the non-core business processes to outsourcing companies, it is just as essential to keep the core employees who have direct roles in the core activities. As for the non-core processes, it is best that they be handed over to people who possess the core competencies to perform them.
Temps? Not a good idea. If you want to give your business a competitive boost and a somewhat global feel, seek the service of a recruitment process outsourcing provider. They know how and where to find your next “employee of the month”. Since the advice is coming from a recruitment outsourcing expert, you will know their recommendations are the people you want to keep, not the temps you let go after handing them the paycheck for a day’s work.
RPO service providers initially invest in the skills of the people they recruit for you, thus ensuring you have employees who can readily contribute to your business and become important role players behind the scene.
Talent: The Most Critical Ingredient to Your Success
What brings capability costs money, and that is what talent is. Companies that outsource are way ahead of the others in recognizing the importance of having top-quality employees when considering cost-saving benefits. After all, don’t the right people make cost-savings measures work?
Treat outsourcing as a forum for talent acquisition. Use it to build better access to global talents and gain new insights without incurring additional costs. Use it to improve and expand your talent base without hiring new employees or training new staff. Overall, learn how people perceive your business through your outsourced talents.
Want to grow your business with new faces? Let Taking You Forward assist you in your talent acquisition. Give us a call today and let us discuss how we can build your talent base.
Publish Date: June 2, 2016 5:00 AM
While new customers are certainly sought after by businesses, existing customers should not be taken out of the picture. Keeping customers loyal is not something you can afford to take too lightly. Losing customers just as quickly as you win them over does not bode well for your business’ future. Fortunately, with a little more thought, planning and the right mindset, you can still win back these customers. Here are the 4 best practices of successful companies which helped them increase customer retention:
1. Pay attention to your customers
One of the easiest ways to earn your customers respect is to listen to what they have to say – whether it be a positive or negative feedback. Work to find out more about their experiences with your representatives through customer surveys, callbacks, and follow-up calls. This customer centric mindset should also be clearly seen in the professional and courteous way your agents handle interactions whether it is over the phone, chat, email, or in person.
2. Keep customers updated
Make customers feel valued by keeping them informed with a general idea of what is going on in the company. No customer likes being kept in the dark and surprised by changes, particularly if the changes have a direct effect on them. Just as employees want to be reassured of the stability of their jobs, customers also want to be reassured that they will continue to receive uninterrupted quality service.
3. Use social media to encourage and strengthen communication
Staying active on social media helps you easily establish a personal connection with your customers and thus improving customer retention. Customers are also more likely to voice their opinion over social media than by using traditional methods like calling, answering surveys, or sending an email. Be sure to respond appropriately and promptly to any customer comments. You can also post and share any information that customers might find interesting or useful.
4. Improve your processes and systems
It would not hurt to also keep a close watch on your competition and analyze how their initiatives would affect your customers. At the same time, do not wait for your competitors to entice your customers. Proactively find ways to keep them with you. Continue to provide consistently great service but innovate however you can. There is always room for improvement.
If your customer service function has been suffering recently, why not delegate this to a third party provider who are experts in customer retention? Call center outsourcing in the Philippines continues to grow and nowhere more so than in the field of customer service. Partnering with a fast-rising call center company in the Philippines, like Taking You Forward, can greatly improve your customer service process. Call us today to find out how we can help you.
Publish Date: June 2, 2016 5:00 AM
Just when you thought things were going well when you outsourced your SME services to a call center company, the cracks in your otherwise brilliant move started showing. You and your outsourcing provider are having issues and your disagreements are getting in the way of your company’s growth. But where did the trouble begin and could you have prevented this from happening? To ensure a smoother transition to outsourcing, there are certain mistakes an SME business should avoid right from the start:
Mistake #1: Choosing the provider with the lowest price
The main motivation to outsource for both an SME business and a large corporation is to minimize costs. Because of this, many make the mistake of choosing the BPO provider with the lowest price, believing that all call center companies are the same. The quality of work one company provides is always different from others, just as your products are not entirely the same as your competitors. Do not sacrifice quality for price.
The solution: If you are really hard up on funds, select a BPO provider who can offer you value for money. Do your research and find a provider recommended by your associates. Or, check the testimonials of your preferred provider’s previous and existing clients.
Mistake #2: Relinquishing all control of your operations
While being able to step back and let someone else do the work is indeed a benefit of outsourcing, removing all your responsibilities and letting your provider learn everything on their own is unwise. Your vision and leadership is still needed, to keep them on the right track and set them straight when they deviate from your standards.
The solution: Empower the management staff of your team to make decisions and implement improvements for your SME business but draw the line at what they are allowed to do and what needs your feedback and consent. Continue to oversee and monitor the progress of your outsourced team by communicating regularly with the management designated by your call center company.
Mistake #3: Not setting concrete performance expectations
Believing the best of your BPO partner is all well and good but allowing them to set targets for your SME business by themselves may not give you an accurate picture of growth and progress. What might be considered an improvement by them might not be the same as what you have pictured out.
The solution: Set a benchmark based on your current operations and then determine your targets and performance indicators for the outsourced team. This will give you a more precise report of their progress and help you plan any needed improvements or contract renegotiations.
Save yourself from heartache and unnecessary arguments by avoiding these three mistakes. Start your outsourcing initiative off on the right foot for higher chances of a successful partnership with your BPO provider.
Publish Date: May 26, 2016 5:00 AM
So you’ve finally decided to let go of some of your responsibilities and to hand them over to a virtual assistant from the Philippines. Congratulations for finally coming to terms with outsourcing! You can finally relax at the end of of the day and not worry about unfinished tasks. Your expert from the Philippines will take care of them for you. They will be done by the time you will have your morning coffee. But one question remains, “How do you prepare for the transition to having remote staff?” The answer: Careful planning. You can’t just outsource right away. You should follow these steps:
Remember that your virtual assistant from the Philippines will be working remotely, so make sure they know their schedule and assign them their tasks on time. More importantly, respect them and value their contributions to your business.
Publish Date: May 23, 2016 5:00 AM
Competition is tough in the world of sales, even more so when it is an insurance policy you are selling. For insurance agents, there is more at stake than just profit. To emerge victorious, you need to be more assertive, be knowledgeable about the best strategies and avoid common pitfalls. What are the usual challenges faced by insurance agents and how can you successfully dodge them?
Fluctuations in the economy affect consumers’ spending ability and make them more wary of where they invest their money. Fortunately, products like insurance policies that can protect customers’ assets and properties have become more necessary in an unstable economy. You just need to help your customers see that and help them realize how being insured can benefit them in the future.
Every time policies are amended, new processes are established which may result to old practices being eliminated. Because of the changes, your product and procedures also need to adapt. Agents need to be aware of what to do when changes occur in order to respond accordingly. Keep yourself updated on the news and any changes in government policies so you do not heedlessly do something illegal.
Looking for consumers interested in your product is getting more and more difficult. People will either refuse your product or say they are incapable of paying for the said insurance policy. How do you find and explore unknown markets? You can either utilize technologies that can generate more leads for you or referral programs that encourage existing customers to get their acquaintances for incentives.
Digital marketing – which encompasses email marketing, newsletters, search engine optimization, and social media – has increased businesses’ ability to connect with their patrons and reach out to more prospective customers. However, managing digital marketing programs requires your time and effort. Updating your social media accounts, for example, is something that needs to be done daily if you want it to be effective.
Closing the deal does not end your transaction. Customers will continue to throw questions at you which is why after sales customer service is very important. To keep your customers happy (which eventually leads to them recommending you), you need to be available to address any of their concerns.
The good news is that there is a way to easily overcome all these challenges without overextending yourself. Lead generation, customer service and online marketing are exactly what insurance outsourcing can take care of for you. With insurance outsourcing, you can focus on what you do best – the actual sales and personal interaction with customers. An established call center company in the Philippines, like Taking You Forward Inc., can help you effectively manage your time and resources. Partner with us and see your sales increase rapidly.
Publish Date: May 12, 2016 5:00 AM
Every good entrepreneur knows that it is not enough to have a top quality product or service. Effective marketing is where profit actually comes in. As an ecommerce business, you have the power of the internet at your disposal and all you need to do is click that button to reach more customers. But is ecommerce marketing simply that easy?
You may already have put your business online, but it seems that there is not much increase in the sales which should have been the case after establishing an online presence. If it is not bringing in money for you, you need to ask yourself – “Is there something wrong with the website?”, “Is the site not up to standards?”, “What can I do to make the website work wonders for the business?”. Here are five things you may have missed and may be discouraging customers to purchase from you:
Consumers choose to shop online for convenience. If your site takes ages to move to the next page and it is difficult for users to navigate through it , they will quickly leave the site and will never likely to return. With the widespread use of smartphones, it is also imperative for ecommerce websites to be mobile-friendly and accessible anytime.
The threat of identity theft is always lurking. If customers feel that they cannot trust you with their information or your site seems incapable of keeping their data safe, they will leave your site in a hurry. Invest in software and programs that can keep your site secure and be sure to show this on your page to reassure your customers.
If your website looks old, your content is obsolete, and your photos are unattractive, other websites will leave you in the dust. Customers may wonder if you can keep up with your competitors. You are more likely to generate interest and entice customers to linger on your site if it looks visually appealing with a web design and layout that is suitable for your brand.
Everyone that is anyone has a social media account, ranging from Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram. If you do not have one, you are missing out on a chance to establish a connection with your customers. Businesses use social media accounts to promote their products and services, share information with customers and generally make customers feel valued by responding to them.
When there is no one available to represent your company and take care of customers when they need help, your customers will not only stop supporting your product, they will also discourage others from your company. If you do have ecommerce customer service representatives available but they are either unpleasant or unable to help, they will also unwittingly drive customers out the door. No matter how much we innovate, excellent customer service will always be a tried and true method for attracting and keeping customers.
For outstanding ecommerce customer service, outsource to an established call center company. Taking You Forward offers more than just customer service, we provide solutions and innovations for your success and growth.
Publish Date: April 28, 2016 5:00 AM
What things should you consider in choosing a call center company? Is location a big factor in your choice? Is culture perhaps something you are wary of? Of course, these things may influence your decision. However, in many instances, they may not amount to anything.
There is no arguing that it is cheaper to outsource to countries such as the Philippines and India, but you may be required (or be forced) to compromise on quality, security, and customer satisfaction as majority of American customers think poorly of overseas call centers.
On culture affinity, if you are someone who pays more emphasis to performance and results, you may not care how Westernized your outsourced team is or what clothes they wear to work, as long as they understand both your business and your customers. The important thing is that they boost your sales and make your customers happy and well-informed.
But what should you look for in a call center company? Please keep the following criteria in mind:
If you want to protect your business and your customers, make sure you look for a call center company that will help you achieve that purpose and not just give you great pricing. Your choice of call center will greatly impact your business, so, do not forget to check for these criteria when deciding which call center company to outsource to.
Publish Date: April 21, 2016 5:00 AM
The banking and financial services industry is one of the industries that generate the most revenue. With majority of the population using these kinds of services, well-known banks have delved into outsourcing with insurance companies following suit. Because of the large amount of money involved, just like banking, insurance outsourcing has become a great investment. However, in spite of a potentially high return, insurance outsourcing also poses a correspondingly high risk.
To succeed in outsourcing your insurance customer service, you may have to take note of what you should or should not do. Here are the things you have to consider:
Adding more service channels, like chat and email, can make you run the risk of less personalization. With some companies’ tendency to depend on technology, some customers no longer feel the human touch in their transactions which can make them feel less valued. It is always better for agents to address customers’ needs right away themselves. Other channels may be provided for customers to have an option when they are unable to speak with an agent.
Insurance companies are expected to regularly provide the same high quality of customer service that customers have always enjoyed. This becomes a challenge when you now have several service channels to manage. Make sure you check on these channels regularly so as to avoid any of them from performing poorly.
In this ever-changing and constantly upgrading world, more products and services are being created and improved. Customers can get more for their money and they therefore expect more. Keeping up with your competition means making sure your customer service representatives can satisfy your customers long-term.
Turning over your work processes to a third party without proper training and coordination can be disastrous. Instead of achieving efficiency, work will slow down and errors might even be made. Make sure you’ve walked through the entire process with them. Go over the details and share with them all your inputs.
Every time the representatives handling your customer service are replaced with new workers, time and money go into training them once again. Make sure that this is not the case for your chosen call center partner.
Personal information, particularly financial information, is always a sensitive issue. You need to assure your customers that they are safe with you and the provider you have chosen.
Give it a careful thought before choosing a call center company to work with. All points above are valid concerns and they should be met in order for your insurance customer service to be successfully outsourced. The best way to meet these challenges head on is by partnering with a trusted insurance BPO provider. Excellent BPO providers genuinely value your customers and would always aim to delight them. To increase profitability and ensure your customer care is not compromised, choose BPO providers who can closely coordinate with you. Taking You Forward Inc. is one of the rising stars in the Philippine call center industry. Your business is our business and we value all our clients and their customers. Contact us today to discuss your insurance business needs. We are always ready for you.
Publish Date: April 21, 2016 5:00 AM
The way one does business has changed dramatically over the years. What once was done through paper and pen, can now be accomplished with just one click of a button. Technology may have improved the quality of service and performance of various companies, but there are still those who insist in doing things the traditional way.
Majority of businesses have second thoughts about integrating technology in the way they do business – either they think it is too expensive or they just don’t know how. But the delay – or the refusal – to do ecommerce marketing will eventually cost them more. In this new age, customers rely more on the internet for all their wants and needs. If you fail to put your business in the web, how will your business extend its reach?
Owning a business equates to having a website. Why should this be the case? Read the points below:
Outsource Your Ecommerce Website Creation
Creation of your Ecommerce Website can be outsourced to BPO service providers that offer IT and ecommerce marketing. These providers have trained and competent personnel specializing in web creation, development and maintenance. Outsourcing this process saves you from doing all the complex and crucial tasks involved in putting up a website. Moreover, these providers also offer to handle your back office processes, customer support, sales and lead generation services for you at a cost much lower than when they are done in-house.
Upgrade your way of doing business with your very own ecommerce website now!
Publish Date: April 15, 2016 5:00 AM
Being a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), your main concerns right now are to preserve the integrity of your product or service, and at the same time, work at growing your business. Since social media has the greatest potential for expanding your customer base and making your brand known, it’s important to give it careful thought and consideration. We have to admit, the online world is now at the forefront of advertising. But with all the platforms and the time needed to update these daily, how can you squeeze them in with all your other priorities? If ever there was a need to outsource, the time is now.
Here’s why outsourcing your social media management to a BPO provider, like a call center, will work to your advantage:
Your outsourcing partner can provide the resources for your profile to be online most of the day, constantly posting updates for you at the times most customers are actually online, increasing your visibility. They have the software and hardware needed to research and market online for you.
If you have other non-core SME services, like web development and chat support, you can outsource them, together with your social media management. You’ll have a team dedicated to these services, with more efficiency and less effort from you.
You can learn from the advice and experience of others. The digital world is constantly upgrading, with trending topics quickly changing. Your outsourced team keeps abreast of these changes by connecting and brainstorming with other individuals and entities in the same industry.
Reducing expenses has always been a top feature of outsourcing and this can apply to your social media marketing. With outsourcing, someone executes your online marketing programs for you at relatively little cost.
Your outsourced team can give the necessary time and energy on building your social media profile and staying connected with your audience while you work on improving existing products and services and interacting with clients.
Traditionally, outsourcing involves services like customer service, sales, technical support, administrative support, and back-office operations. But with the growing power of the internet, almost anything can be outsourced now. So if you want to establish and maintain your online presence as a growing SME but save time, money, and effort, then outsourcing your social media should be your new game plan.
Publish Date: April 14, 2016 5:00 AM