Author Archives: PM777RD

About PM777RD

Social Media Nerd, Web ninja and a Crazy Analyst. ;)

Ways to create a positive customer experience

In today’s business world, your customers/clients are the ones with all of the power. If you aren’t providing a great customer experience, not only will they leave you for the competition, but they’re also likely to tell others about the negative experience they had with your company/brand. That’s why customer experience (CX) has moved to the forefront of business initiatives. Of course, like anything else, in order for a customer experience initiative to be executed properly, it requires an investment in time and resources.

Here are 4 things companies need to be doing today to satisfy their customers and earn repeat business:

Engage in a dialogue with customers

It’s never been easier to reach out and speak directly with your customers or clients. Social media provides a great outlet to do so. Every company today needs to not only have a social media presence, but should be actively engaging with customers via these channels. Customers have come to expect that a company is available via social media and will appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback. What’s so great about social media is that opinions/questions/concerns etc. can be gathered swiftly, unlike traditional methods of communication like focus groups. In the DR we understand that Convergys and Primetel are taking advantage of these powerful tools.

Properly train your employees

While this seems obvious, there are still plenty of companies today that aren’t adequately investing in their employees’ ongoing training and learning opportunities in regards to customer interaction. Customers need to have a positive experience when speaking with any employee, and this extends beyond the customer service team. All employees across all departments should be properly trained to speak with customers/clients or other stakeholders. Any employee contact can determine how your company/brand is perceived. Xerox training for example are one of the most efficient in our country.

Provide a seamless cross-channel experience

Customers need to have a positive experience across every brand touchpoint (Customer Service, the company website, social media pages, advertisements, events, etc.). One component of providing a positive experience across these channels is ensuring that the branding and messaging is consistent. Today’s customers are likely interacting with a company across many channels. If the messaging/branding is different depending on where they are looking, it will cause confusion and a negative customer experience.

Invest in the right tools

The best customer experience decisions are based on data. Luckily, customer experience data is right at our fingertips today, thanks to technology. In addition, technology has become more accessible to businesses of all sizes as cloud technology reduces costs due to limited need of IT resources. Of course, the customer experience data provided by modern technology is only useful if a company also invests in the proper analysis of the data in order to extract key business insights that can inform business processes.

In order to survive today, a company needs to not only listen to its customers/clients, but also take note of ways to improve their products/services/process based on feedback, to ensure that current customers stay happy, which contributes to business success long term.

Thank you for your time 😉

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Culture of Quality

Traditional quality management approaches (QMS, work process design, etc.) can help companies reduce the risk for errors, but they do little in terms of creating additional value.

Building a Culture of Quality, however, can both reduce errors and help companies unlock new sources of value through improved customer experience and employee productivity. Unfortunately for many organizations, there is a big opportunity to improve. More than 60% of employees indicate their companies have a weak Culture of Quality.

CEB’s article in a recent issue of Harvard Business Review discusses the key factors that drive quality as a cultural value as well as successful tactics from companies like Seagate and Wrigley.

In a Culture of Quality, employees “live” quality in all their actions, beyond the rules laid out for them.

Our new infographic summarizes this and other findings from CEB’s research, serving as a simple guide for what to keep in mind when strengthening your quality culture.

Benefits of Working at a Call Center In the Dominican Republic

The Call Center industry is the fastest growing industries in the Dominican Republic today. With more than 35,000 direct employees (source) The low cost of labor combined with a high-quality, English-language speaking workforce have made the Dominican Republic an attractive choice for overseas companies looking to save money by outsourcing their operations here.

This means there are not only plenty of job opportunities for the average Dominicans, but plenty of well-paying job opportunities as well –  in addition to a rather large basic salary, companies offer a number of bonuses and benefits to attract and keep the best talent. It differs from one company to another, but let’s take a look at some of the benefits they get:

Good Salary

Entry level call center agents can expect to get from $RD 20,000 to 35,000 Pesos a month, although this number varies depending on the type of business you’ll be working for. With qualifications like a 4-year degree and the right company you could easily get offers of more than $RD 45,000. But that’s not all, many companies like Convergys offer even food allowances on top of the base salary, along with sizable sign-on bonuses, referral bonuses and monthly performance incentives.

Excellent Benefits Package

Benefits make a good job great. So it makes sense that employers would try to sweeten the deal with extra benefit packages. Call centers often offer private health insurance completely free. These health insurance plans not only mean that you can walk into Plaza de la Salud Medical Center (and even Abel Gonzales sometimes!) and get consultation and medical procedures without paying, but you can also name a certain number of dependents who will also enjoy the same benefits.

But those aren’t the only benefits that are offered. Some companies get really creative with their offerings, giving call center agents a unique selection of choices. For example Alorica, offers employees a day care service, allowing them to work without having to worry about where their kids are during the day.

Low Barrier to Entry

Worried that you can’t find a job because you don’t have a 4-year degree? Worry not! Call center companies can be pretty flexible with their academic and professional requirements, and will accept even as little as a high school degree from potential candidates as long as they’ve got the right attitude.

Skill building and career advancement opportunities

Once signed with a company, it’s not likely you’ll stay an agent forever. In addition to the training you receive to support the account you’re assigned to, you’ll also have the chance to learn and build skills that can be used outside the company, like leadership training and other soft skills. Furthermore, agents, like any other employee, will have opportunities to advance within the company – provided, of course, they work hard.

FYI:

There are other companies dedicated to help people understand and show everything about Call Center in the Dominican Republic.

FYI #CCRD or Call Center RD links:

Web Sites:

1-  Call Center RD:  Up to date news about the Call Center Industry in the Dominican Republic.

2- Call Center RD Jobs: Database to post and find jobs exclusively for the Call Center industry.

3- Contact Center RD: News about the Call Center Industry in the DR. (Construction)

Facebook Fan pages / Groups:

1- Call Center RD/FB: Up to date news about the Call Center Industry on SM

2- Call Center RD Empleos: Post and find jobs exclusively for the Call Center industry.

3- Call Center RD Culture: Show and expose each CC Culture so you can choose what you like.

4- Call Center RD Memes: Humor always keep us happy.

5- Call Centers Employees Represent: or Santo Domingo call center Group: Crowd sourcing tool.

Call Center RD was founded to help you take advantage of this growing industry by connecting Call Centers and People in one place.

Wondering about become part of the constantly growing CC industry? Why wait? Check out the latest Job offers here: Call/Contact Center Jobs

Skill building and career advancement opportunities

Once signed with a company, it’s not likely you’ll stay an agent forever. In addition to the training you receive to support the account you’re assigned to, you’ll also have the chance to learn and build skills that can be used outside the company, like leadership training and other soft skills. Furthermore, agents, like any other employee, will have opportunities to advance within the company – provided, of course, they work hard.

Call Center RD was founded to help you take advantage of this growing industry by connecting Call Centers and People in one place.

Wondering about become part of the constantly growing CC industry? Why wait? Check out the latest Job offers here: Call/Contact Center Jobs

Let’s Talk about “Phone Support”

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Phone support is the black sheep of today’s multi-channel support world. Poorly trained staff, misguided processes, and confusing phone systems have all eroded the user experience. On the business side, legacy systems were complex, expensive, and took a long time (and a lot of help) to set up. These factors worked against small and midsize businesses, in particular, who need to be able to quickly scale as business expands.

Yet research continues to show that consumers often prefer the phone to other channels. A phone call makes consumers feel acknowledged, and it’s a sure-fire way to get their problem resolved, faster. Still, many smaller and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) shy away from offering phone support.

The truth is that phone support is both a vital and practical part of a multi-channel support strategy. And advances in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology now make phone support both affordable and easy to manage.

In this article, we’ll look explore:

  • some of the common misconceptions people have about phone support
  • research that explains why phone support so important for SMBs
  • tips for training and coaching new phone support agents
  • the most important metrics to track to make your phone support effective

Why phone support gets a bad rap

Many people have nightmarish stories about navigating an interactive voice response (IVR) menu, or being stuck on hold only to have the call dropped. The experience makes a liar of that soothing, upbeat voice assuring them that their ‘call is very important.’ While IVRs, hold music, and menus intend to help callers navigate support options, they often have the opposite effect.

Add to these frustrations the fact that phone support is often outsourced. Staff at large call centers may not feel empowered to truly help customers, and may feel disconnected. The whole situation leaves consumers with a bad taste in their mouth.

Customer horror stories are exacerbated by old technology. A small or midsize business evaluating the potential of phone support just sees a poor user experience and difficult implementation. Phone support doesn’t seem worth it. In fact, phone support seems like a last resort.

Go for quality, not quantity

Unfortunately, many large phone support organizations focus on minimizing downside rather than maximizing satisfaction, which is why phone support is often arduous. A McKinsey Quarterly article exemplifies this strategy through its findings at a wireless telecommunications provider. After rigorous analysis, the telecommunications provider considered raising service levels to the “delight breakpoint” or reducing them to just above the “patience threshold.” Customer-lifetime-value economics pointed to the second option.

Yet for SMBs, which don’t often encounter the same volume-related challenges that large organizations do, helping customers reach the “delight breakpoint” can be a powerful weapon in the fight for market share. Great service helps create brand advocates—loyal customers who evangelize a company’s product(s) to others. Brand advocates help businesses grow without increasing sales and marketing spending. It’s a mistake a lot of companies make—under-investing in customer-retention spending. Research revealed that brands who increase customer retention rates by as little as 5% can increase profits by 25-95%.

In fact, a Deloitte study showed that brand advocates spend more than twice as much as regular consumers on average. In this way, providing exemplary service to an existing customer base can help small and midsize companies see a return on customer support investments.

Before you can create brand advocates, you must communicate with your customers on their channel of choice.

Customers (still) prefer phone conversations

In Forrester’s “Global 2011 Consumer Preference Report—Contact Centers” study, phone conversations trumped email interactions by a ratio of nearly three to one. To explain this, the study asked respondents to prioritize what they desired in a customer service interaction. Quick resolution and human interaction topped the list:

  1. “I am able to interact with a customer service representative quickly.”
  2. “My query is resolved quickly.”
  3. “I am able to interact with a person.”
  4. “I am able to access the information I need to resolve my query myself.”
  5. “The customer service representative is based in this country.”

The reasons provided by the respondents are perhaps the most revealing takeaway from this study, especially as time marches on and live chat, social media, and self-service options continue to evolve and claim larger (and fluctuating) portions of the multi-channel pie.

More recent findings confirm that voice is still the primary channel for customer service, and Convergys RD and Alorica RD revealed that the phone actually yields the highest customer satisfaction rating. Compared with service provided via email, chat, web self-service, Twitter and Facebook, a whopping 91% of customers were satisfied with service provided via phone.

How phone support should operate

We visited Alorica RD and Convergys RD and they both agreed that Effective phone support should be simple. Telephony systems should be intuitive, and help speed resolution. And operational efficiency requires a blend of well-trained, empowered staff using intelligent, well-designed tools.

Here’s a look at how phone support should ideally operate:

Calls are fielded in-house. Research shows that in-house employees are more knowledgeable, dedicated, and have less turnover than outsourced agents.

Agents have resolution authority. Research also shows that empowering agents to make crucial decisions on their own speeds resolution and increases job and customer satisfaction.

Train and coach agents for success

Taking calls for the first time can be nerve-wracking. Agents never know what a customer will say, and every call is different. That’s why the best way to train an agent for voice support is to take things slow. At Zendesk, new agents don’t answer calls for one to two months after they’re hired.

Once live, phone agents do a lot at once: actively listen, soothe customers, create tickets, and research answers—often at breakneck speed. Agents should feel confident before flying solo, so here are a few tips to help ease them in:

  • New agents should receive standard onboarding and product training, followed by more intensive training on the tools required to provide support.
  • Before diving into phone support, agents must be adept at creating tickets, searching for product information, and using your customer service software. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have phone agents begin with email support. This gives them time to learn, research, and dig into your product and tools. You want their online tasks to come as second nature as agents listen to customers.
  • Next, have agents listen in on calls and shadow other phone agents to see how they speak and respond to customers.
  • Always check in with agents before putting them on the phone and don’t push. It’s important the agent feels comfortable.
  • When the agent is ready, have them start by handling voicemails. Without the pressure of a live call, the agent can take time to listen and figure out what the customer needs. Then they can research the answer before returning the call. Someone with more experience should be listening or available to jump in with coaching or support.

Always give your agents the green light to put the customer on hold if they need more time to find an answer or to ask for help.

Once your agents are comfortable, give them the authority to make decisions. Trust agents to handle calls without having to put customers on hold to ask for a manager’s permission or approval before continuing with a resolution.

Conclusion

We live in a fast-paced, multi-channel world where customers expect an immediate response. Smaller companies have to compete with their larger competition, which underscores why phone support is an ideal tool for SMBs looking to increase customer satisfaction and drive word-of-mouth marketing. Thanks to advances in technology, it’s now possible to lower your costs and to manage multiple channels from a centralized platform. And this, in turn, makes it possible for any business of any size to offer first-class support.

To learn more about Contact Center / Call Center, Just Vitit us: http://www.callcenterrd.com

The Cost of an agent Turnover

What is Your Cost of Turnover? (and why you should know it) Do you know what your true cost of turnover is? When I ask this question to groups of call center managers, few raise their hands. Yet it is important to know how much it costs to recruit, on-board and train agents for two main economic reasons:
a) turnover often has a major negative impact on the center’s costs;
b) knowing your cost of turnover can help you get approval for upgrades you need to make in the areas of recruiting, hiring, agent satisfaction, agent dashboards, etc.
Costs you should include in your calculation are:
– Advertising in all the various media you utilize
– Initial screening for candidates, including the people who review submissions, the technology used to test applicants’ skills and aptitude, and the costs of telephone interviews to determine their phone presence
– Final selection processes, including scheduling and conducting in-person interviews, realistic job previews, background and reference checks, etc.
– Training costs, including salary and benefits paid to new hires during training, allocated trainer costs, costs of training facilities and technology, as well as costs of on-demand training programs.
– Transition or “nesting”, including expert help needed during this phase
– You can also estimate a cost for getting to full competence, which often takes a year or more.Some of these are hard, variable costs, while others are semi-fixed costs that take a bit more thought to quantify. Certain positions may also require added costs, such as paid preparation time for employees who must pass licensing exams in the insurance or brokerage sector.When added together, these costs often total more than $5,000 per employee lost.
Recall that these do not include “soft” costs, such as the loss of institutional knowledge, negative impact on productivity and morale of high turnover, and impact on caller satisfaction from dealing with less experienced agents.Every manager should know his or her cost of turnover, and then put that knowledge to work computing ROIs on intelligent outlays for things that will secure and retain the best agents, such as improved screening tools and procedures, increased training, better knowledge management systems, agent performance dashboards, etc.
Remember, you count on your people. You should be able to count the costs that result when they leave.

Thanks for reading 😉
Pm

PM777RD

September 21, 2014

callcenterrdlogo2

Sometimes customer service can get a little stale. Here are a few tips on how to freshen up your customer service.

1. Clarify customer complaints

Sometimes customers aren’t clear when communicating a problem. They may be unsure of the problem, they may be frustrated about making the call and it is affecting their communication. To resolve the issue as quickly as possible, our own communication needs to be very efficient.

Open-ended questions – who, what, where, when and how – will always deliver information, while closed questions deliver confirmation. Use closed questions to help you control the conversation and allow you to proceed quickly to a resolution. When you need information use the open questions but include the word ‘exactly’. Example:

‘Can you please tell me when exactly did this problem start?’ as opposed to ‘Can you please tell me when this problem started?’

Adding the word ‘exactly’ will prompt your customer to be more exact with their response, which will allow you to resolve the problem more effectively.

2. Whatever you tell yourself – it’s true!

I once heard someone say that the more she told herself how lucky she was, the luckier she became. This simple act of telling yourself something and believing it delivers results. Once we start to believe something, it manifests itself in body language, facial expressions and voice. This means that when you believe your next call is going to result in disappointment, your body language and the emotion in your voice will express disappointment.

Who wants to listen to someone who sounds disappointed on the phone? No one, so your customer doesn’t listen to you and as a result will refuse your invitation to buy.

The effect works in a positive way too. Start telling yourself your calls will improve. Believe it to make sure your body language, facial expressions and voice respond positively by being happier, optimistic and confident. That’s what your customer wants to listen to, so that they can make an informed decision to buy. If you believe in your abilities, you will be more successful.

3. Smash your negative beliefs

It’s quite amazing how we can be really positive about a making an outbound sales call and just as we are about to dial, that little voice which sits on our shoulder says, “Waste of time, they won’t be interested in buying”. Within seconds our motivation will disappear and our brains go into overdrive to deliver reasons not to make the call.

Quite simply our belief system has kicked in and created a story which we choose to recognize as the truth. At this stage we have no evidence to back up our thought as fact, so how can we possibly know if someone we are about to call will buy or not?

Rather than focus on negative beliefs, focus on positive beliefs and train your little voice to say: “This could be the best sale of the day”. After all, one call does have to be the best sale of the day but until the day is over you won’t know which call it is!

4. Be fast – consistently

Consistency is key, but no one wants to be consistently bad or consistently slow. Not having fast, simple access to accurate and up-to-date information is often the agent’s downfall when it comes to these two customer service blips.

It stands to reason that agents need one common knowledge base that works across all channels – from phone and email to social media.

But without a fast powerful search mechanism it could still mean a frustrating wait for the agent and customer. So, easy, fast access to relevant and accurate information will ensure more productive agents and in the long term, create ongoing customer loyalty.

5. Make proactive service contacts

Effective customer life-cycle management isn’t just about responding to customers’ requests – it’s also about anticipating customers’ needs. Which is why proactive contact via phone or SMS at specific points in a customer’s contact history can be beneficial.

Traditionally, one of these points has been following customer registration, or when suppliers have identified that a high percentage of customers are churning to other suppliers.

Why stop there? Quiet periods could be used to contact customers and ask them if they were happy with their last service interaction – and if not, why? Get their ideas about how you could improve your product/service offering. Review their account usage and tell them about relevant special promotional deals. A proactive approach shows you’re prepared to go that extra mile.

6. Automate ‘seat sharing’ planning

With office space a big budgetary item in contact centers, managers are naturally keen to find ways to minimize physical space requirements. ‘Seat sharing’ is one option.

The problem with seat sharing is that it can take agents anything from 5 minutes to 30 minutes to find their seats by themselves. It can take a workforce management planner hour to sort out seat-sharing arrangements – especially if there are complex requirements such as ‘team seating’ and ‘special needs’ seating.

There’s a better way. By applying new automated workforce management techniques, managers can match up specific seats and their attributes with agents and their requirements. Open seats can even be matched up with individuals who don’t yet have a seat.

7. Remember different types of customers

A lot of customers wanting a basic service are increasingly tolerant of an automated process – and indeed are happy with it. However, when customers reject this service and abandon the call – perhaps because they want a more complicated service than they are being offered, one that necessitates them actually speaking to somebody – then you need to take another look at your processes to ensure customers remain on the line long enough to resolve enquiries.

8. Make sure self-service does not mean poor service

Almost every customer-centric environment has some form of self-service. Operators need to be very aware of how user friendly it is and how user friendly it sounds. Very basic, but vital to customer satisfaction levels.

9. Make sure you have enough able agents

Similarly, contact center operators with complicated product offerings need to ensure that the option to speak to an actual person is high up the automated call agenda. If the number of callers requesting this service is correspondingly high, the operator will also have to make sure that there are adequate agents available to take the volume of calls – otherwise the service level expectation will fall, along with the reputation of the company.

10. Give the right call to the right agent

If the call is presented to the right person, they will take it in their stride. There is much talk in the industry around ‘automating the repetitive tasks’, i.e. using technology to provide the services that humans would have done and it is commonly assumed that all processes have to be automated, but that is not the case at all. The amount of ‘automation’ should be determined by the client and can be increased or decreased depending upon the success threshold of the automation process.