Managing a Young Workforce; Three Principles From Employee Leasing Providers

Managing a Young Workforce; Three Principles From Employee Leasing Providers

Are you managing multi-generational teams? This is common in employee leasing providers, and often majority of your personnel comes from the younger generations. As boss and leader, it’s important you pay attention to your workforce’s needs and expectations. Handling people of any age is a challenge. In anticipation of next generations entering the industry, what adjustments should you implement to ensure effective and healthy work environment?

Entry-level crowds most likely involve people within the same age range. This generation of millennials face a particular set of work practices, but these can be addressed with three basic practices:

1. Instruction

Most young employees are new to the workforce. They’re also typically fresh out of the education system. Employee leasing providers are updated with relevant school curriculum. Gain the advantage and do the same, leverage or adapt in effort to develop an updated corporate culture. Many of these young individuals are capable of developing any habit that is beneficial to your company. Your role goes beyond the limits of first employer. You’re in many ways a guiding force in the early stages of their career.

2. Involvement

Offer younger team members more opportunities. More importantly, give them a voice. Offer them the chance to participate in the company’s activities. Help build a strong foundation of skills and habits, resulting in better performance in the industry. You reap rewards from this initiative; you’ll see who steps up to challenges; your potential team leaders and managers. Use this one to scout for your top employees.

3. Diplomacy

Mistakes can happen no matter the age. However, you need to understand the reaction of a nervous intern is understandable, in comparison to new and seasoned employees. How you handle these kinds of situations is important.

Employee leasing providers know, prevention is still the first and best solution. When you need to reprimand an agent, be clear and direct, be blunt if necessary. Emphasize on what went wrong, how it happened, and why it went wrong. Afterwards, develop a way to fix such issues; these become precedents to avoid in the future. Curb your expectations, though; it’s likely they aren’t the first or the last to make mistakes.

These fundamental steps get you going, in effort to manage a young workforce. However, remember you need to find and practice other appropriate ways best suited to your company’s needs. Work your way around on handling the concerns of new team members. You can also consider employee leasing providers to handle most of the staffing concerns. You can reap the benefits of a solid, efficient team, without much effort and expense.

Five Steps in Choosing Contact Center Providers

Five Steps in Choosing Contact Center Providers

In the competitive field of contact center providers, finding the right one for a specific type of business is a tough job. Even though more and more businesses outsource their customer service to third-party call centers, you should ensure your partner delivers your company’s needs. What looks great on paper sometimes lead to unmet expectations.This is the reason why you should take time to define needs, beyond the immediate fix. Below are some starter tips to help you assess contact center vendors, before you sign any contracts and agreements.

1. Clarify the goals and support you need.

Identifying the type of services the business needs is the first step to classifying or trimming down the list of prospective call center providers. Decide whether your company wants 24-hour service, online chat representatives, or appointment scheduling. Aside from these, you should also set goals, develop a detailed roadmap which shows what the company wants to achieve within a given period.

2. Conduct background checks on contact center providers.

How does the business operate? What are the values they uphold? Who are their customers? These are just some of the many questions you should consider during the process of selecting the right call center vendor. And the best way to find answers is to ask their current clients. Aside from client recommendations, the competency and reliability of a call center vendor can also be assessed through proven track record, in your industry or with your type of clientele.

3. Choose the right people and available resources.

After listing your goals and learning more about the outsourcing company’s reputation, it’s time to know whether they have the right professionals to handle your customer service and support. Since their staff becomes ambassadors of your brand, their skill set should meet your standards. These requirements may include language proficiency, relative work experience, certifications, and the outsourcing company’s training and programs for employees.

4. Can the contact center manage your customer database?

This tip is one of the most valuable criteria you should consider when choosing contact center providers. The provider must seamlessly integrate customer support data into your customer relationship management (CRM). Through them, you would gain further understanding of your customers’ preferences and requirements, in effort to improve your brand’s performance.

5. Clearly communicate expectations.

In order to meet your company’s specific needs, you have to clearly state your expectations, as well as the procedures to be implemented. Explain the purposes of policy, security, and privacy measures. The goal is to develop a lasting relationship between your company and the outsource provider. In addition, you can also discuss your budget and consider asking the outsourcer to suggest changes that can save you from overspending.

The best contact center providers are dedicated to successful delivery of message and service, mirroring the ethics of their clients. Keep in mind the priorities are customer retention and brand value.

3 Skills Required Of A BPO Contact Center Agent

3 Soft Skills Required Of A BPO Contact Center Agent

The contact center industry has grown, almost exponentially so. Today, a BPO contact center is part of everyday society, offering job opportunities to young and driven people looking for promising careers.

As easy as it may seem to be a contact center agent, there are some essential skills you should consider requirements. These skills can be learned, but honing these early on, as well as preparing to use them is sure to make the entire experience run smoother.

1. Calm and Collectedness

First of all, your agents should have calm disposition, in order to take in information and retain it. This can be expanded by helping customers, by taking notes of conversations, and giving an appropriate response. Agents also need to learn about their client inside and out, in order to help customers in need of assistance.

2. Patience

This is best complemented by flexibility. Customers come from various demographics, and not everyone is the same. A diverse group of people is bound to call for support, and agents need to know how to handle everyone. Some may be pleasurable, others not so much, but each customer is still to be given the best service possible. It can be rough, but that’s why clients hire a BPO contact center to handle this work.

3. Communication

Communication is key, and not in the sense of speaking eloquently and having a good hold of the English language. It’s in the way that a customer can be sure that the person on the other end of the line is giving their best service. Clear instructions, digesting information, and responding accordingly are integral for the customer’s satisfaction.

It can be challenging and tiring, operating a BPO contact center, but your agents can thrive in that environment if they’re trained and developed by these essential skills.

Three Notorious Misconceptions About The BPO Process, DEBUNKED (Part 2 of 2)

Three Notorious Misconceptions About The BPO Process, DEBUNKED (Part 2 of 2)

In a previous blog post, we covered three misconceptions that prevent small businesses and start-ups from considering BPO process as solution. Did you find this shortlist familiar? It’s likely you have hesitations grounded on different reasons. This supplement aims to debunk more notions in your list.

Many businesses now streamline operations through BPO solutions. You’ll notice the first advantage is in the leased/outsourced manpower. You also save on overhead costs (literally), since the lease service includes its own office facilities by default. If these savings don’t convince you to hire a BPO provider, maybe debunking these three myths will help:

Editor’s note: click here for part 1 of this list.

Misconception #4: BPO Process Is Not For Start-ups

There’s the assumption start-ups are as streamlined as businesses get. Why consider BPO when you only have a skeleton crew to work with? It turns out many of the typical start-up’s tasks are routine, low priority, or repetitive. You have a lot to gain by delegating these tasks to a dedicated team, for a feasible cost.

It’s true larger companies outsource and lease business processes as regular practice, and with good reason. There are so many moving pieces in large operations, it’s more convenient to just hire a third-party to handle the routine tasks. Start-ups and small businesses are also staffed by core personnel, so they have goals and priorities down to pat. They know which processes to outsource, how to delegate, and how to keep the business lean.

Misconception #5: Leased Teams Are Unreliable

The reason behind this myth: leased staff often operate remotely. There’s also the saying that if you want anything done right, you should do it yourself. This is where it’s all the more important you choose the right BPO process provider to handle your campaign. Scout for the best handful of third-party providers, shortlist, and narrow these down to the competent few.

Visit your handpicked provider at their home office as formality, if you can. This is an advantage because you have opportunity to meet the leased team in person. You also get to meet with the supervisor assigned to the campaign. Even though all these are doable via teleconference, nothing beats spending time with your team in the same physical space.

Misconception #6: The Language And Culture Barrier

Offshore staff leasing often (if not always) involves working with teams based abroad. Often this also involves different culture and time zones. Sometimes, language is an obstacle. These need not prevent you from availing BPO process as solution, though. In countries where BPO is booming, competent, capable workforce is the default.

There’s expectation the team you’re hiring can adapt to the language requirement. Timezone is hardly ever a concern when you have staff rotating round the clock. Culture is also secondary to having a professional work ethic, which is requirement regardless of culture or location.

Hiring a BPO process provider can be the best way to streamline your small business or start-up. The advantages are too numerous, and you have everything to gain from lean and cost-effective operations.

Your BPO Process Destination: 5 Strengths of PH Business Sector

Your BPO Process Destination: 5 Strengths of PH Business Sector

Research was published on, “Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups: 2015 and Beyond.” This aims to generate BPO process providers that will greatly help the country’s economic growth. One of the points mentioned in the research is the SWOT analysis of the Philippines. This is used in measuring the growth and development of country’s economy.

Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups: 2015 and Beyond” stated these five strengths of the Philippine business sector:

1.Strong Tourism Initiatives

In 2012, the Department of Tourism in 2012 launched its campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.” This aimed to immerse tourists in Filipino culture, in the form of destinations, people, and experiences. The campaign brought 10% growth in total earnings of US$4.84 billion, exceeding previous year’s earning of US$4.40 billion.

2. Proficiency in the English Language

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores in 2010 showed that the Philippines ranked 35th out of 163 countries worldwide. This is according to the Educational Testing Services Report. The Philippines also ranked first in Business English Proficiency, based on a study by the Global English Corporation. This language proficiency allows Filipinos to attain jobs that need strong proficiency in English language, especially in BPO process.

3. This Generation’s Population

As of 2014, the Philippines has one of the youngest populations in Southeast Asia. 60% of this population range 15-64 years old. This rate indicates that with young working population and fewer dependents, household income devoted for consumer spending and investments can increase.

4. Competitiveness in BPO Industry

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry contributes 4% to the Philippines’ GDP for its sustainable growth, in terms of industry size of at least 17% every year from 2006-2011. The Philippines also ranked 2nd among other countries in BPO process, next to India. According to the latest Tholons’ Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations for 2015, Philippines now has eight Next Wave Cities location from which Manila and Cebu City remained in the top 10. Other Philippine spots in the Top 100 are Davao, Santa Rosa (Laguna), Bacolod, Iloilo, Baguio, and Metro Clark.

5. Business Climate Best for BPO Process

According to the ASEAN Business Outlook Survey of 2015, the Philippines’ business climate has greatly improved over the past five years. American firms that were surveyed say low cost of labor, laws and regulations, personal security, and tax structure are among the satisfactory considerations.

Considering these five strengths, BPO process in the country will only progress in the coming years. The Philippines possesses developed hubs, as well as professionals who are always available as sourcing prospects.

Three Notorious Misconceptions About BPO Solutions, DEBUNKED (1 of 2)

Three Notorious Misconceptions About BPO Solutions, DEBUNKED (Part 1 of 2)

Have you considered the advantages of BPO solutions to your business? Or are you among those hesitant, even wary about the prospect? Outsourcing is staple practice in big corporations, but does this translate to small businesses and start-ups? There are many reasons why businesses avoid BPO services and its potential to bolster operations. However, it’s likely some of these reasons are based on faulted notions on the industry.

If you’ve yet to hire a BPO service provider, this short list is meant for you. Consider these three misconceptions on BPO that are far from the truth; you have a lot to gain by outsourcing your business!

Misconception #1: You’re Risking Your Data

This is by far one of the most pressing concerns companies have against outsourcing. Entrusting operations to BPO solutions means you’re willing to hand over necessary, essential data. Aren’t you going out on a limb, is the risk too much for the payoff? This is reason why companies want to keep processes contained and in-house. After all, supervising your teams hands-on sounds better than having someone else handle them for you.

As is with anything worth doing in business, due diligence is your ally in sourcing processes to a BPO provider. Scout and shortlist all viable prospects, conduct background checks. Grill your prospects for credibility and competence. You’ll eventually realize one of the perks of outsourcing debunks the next point:

Misconception #2: BPO Solutions Is Costly

This needs to be addressed bluntly: outsourcing is as feasible as you want it to be. Not costly or cheap, but feasible. The resources you’ll invest in outsourcing will have ROI comparable to investing in-house, but there’s significant difference in cost. There’s competition among BPO companies to provide service at competitive rates, for one thing. You have a range of options to consider, in cost and terms.

The source of the service is also a practicality, usually involving offshore companies with competitive, feasible offers. The least you can do is consider BPO solutions for a limited run, and then compare costs spent with your previous practice.

Misconception #3: No Control, Oversight On The Project

The notion is you’re giving the BPO service provider control of the campaign, down to the smallest details. This is true in as far as you’re granting autonomy, but if you’ve done your due diligence there’s nothing to worry about. A good BPO company will also have supervisors on board who will ensure your interests are prioritized throughout the campaign.

Let a reliable third party handle the details, and you’ll have more time and energy to focus on the big picture. Partner with a good BPO company, someone able to take care of day-to-day routines, ensuring your long-term goals are on track.

(Part 2 of 2) Here’s How You Negotiate With A BPO Services Provider

(Part 2 of 2) Here’s How You Negotiate With A BPO Services Provider

You should always negotiate with a BPO services provider, as much as you can. There’s always room to bargain from initial proposal. But, as established in a previous post, silence can be an effective negotiation tactic. There’s a handful of ideal opportunities when you’re better off staying put, and here are three more to consider the next time you consider a quote:

1. When The Other Party Makes A Counter-Offer

Have you ever felt stonewalled? It’s unpleasant and frustrating, and you’re at a disadvantage the first few minutes after you’re given the cold shoulder. This is but natural, since there’s an expectation for immediate response in communication. The trick is responding with a meaningful pause, long enough to cause the other party to flinch.

Silence in negotiation is an acquired skill, though. If you’re corresponding in person, supplement your silence with a nod of acknowledgment. If it’s a phone conversation, stall with hanging responses like “I see…” or “I understand…” Reserve this tactic for the most important terms in the negotiation.

2. After The Initial Small Talk, Right Before You Talk Brass Tacks

Pleasantries are important in business correspondence. You need to build rapport with a BPO services provider so you’re relaxed the moment you talk details. However, the challenge is in the transition; how do you bridge the gap between small talk and real talk? It turns out silence (or short pause) could be the only transition you need.

The brief lull in conversation gives both of you breathing space. It also allows you to effortlessly shift gears, as soon as possible. Bide your time and wait for your prospect to resume the thread, though. If you have initial terms and proposals, best wait what the other party has in mind. You can then adjust responses in your favor.

3. Immediately After You’ve Presented Terms To A BPO Services Provider

This complements the first point; you should give your prospect ample time to compose a response. In turn, you’ll also pick up queues from the other party (in face-to-face conversation). Do you see disappointment or relief? Rethink your strategy according to the response. It’s a given face-to-face correspondence is preferable to text, audio, even video chat; you’re missing out on all those non-verbal cues if you don’t meet your prospect in person.

If silence is too much and you need to break the ice, you can pitch pointed questions instead. Loaded questions like “What are your comments on our proposal?” or “We sent you terms yesterday. Any thoughts?” catch your prospect on guard. This puts the burden of response on your prospect.

It’s possible the BPO services provider you’re considering is fine with the terms. Aren’t you thankful you didn’t open negotiations by offering a discount? Develop silence as a staple tactic and you’ll notice an increase in meaningful, favorable negotiations. It takes a while to learn, but it’s second nature with persistence and practice.

BPO Services, And Product/Service Promotion

BPO Services, And Product/Service Promotion

Promotion is a crucial aspect of business, especially for small and start-up companies; many even commission BPO services for the task. Compared to giant corporations, small-scale businesses struggle more when it comes to getting their brand out there. This is because the competition nowadays is tight, and the way consumers think about purchasing products has changed – they have become more cautious and meticulous in terms of deciding which product/service is worth it and which is not.

While it is true the way the business world works is cut-throat, small and new businesses, however, still get the chance to attract customers and gain profit through marketing. Product and service promotion is one of the most effective ways to raise awareness and popularity of a business, which eventually increases actual sales.

BPO Services In Marketing Campaigns

This process, however, is just as hard as putting up a business in the first place. However, BPO services effectively engage in various marketing campaigns. What many don’t realize is that there’s more to an effective promotion than just spreading words about a company’s brand. If you want your business to be really successful, you should depend on service that puts your name in the spotlight and makes it stick.

Just like in communication, there are so many ways you can promote your business, and with unlimited access to technology, promoting your product is as easy as one click. Using social media to promote your business is probably the easiest and the surest way to attract people’s attention, but you can also hire a media manager to pull all the strings. Since everyone browses the world wide web everyday, creating accounts and pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other types of social sites would definitely reach a big portion of your target market.

Advertisements Expand Your Mileage

Advertising has grown into a giant industry that plays a big role in the business world. Considered as the most dominant mode of marketing, advertisements will be helpful in raising your company’s popularity, for it uses different forms of media (print and electronic). Advertisements allow your campaign to target specific audience to which your message is directed to. Television commercials, newspaper ads, and radio promotions can reach a wide range of audiences, in different demographics.

Other types of marketing strategies (telemarketing/telesales, networking, charity events, gift promos, and community programs) are staple offerings from BPO services. Tactics like run-for-a-cause marathons and social-welfare-themed programs, help build good image for your business. Because people love engaging in these kinds of events, companies often get the highest attention from existing and new customers, resulting to an increased sales and brand popularity.

All these strategies are proven to generate success, but only when done correctly. It’s not enough that you just execute the campaigns, in order to truly reach your target consumers, you must be able to establish a clear connection with them. Conducting surveys through phone calls, social media, or emails will help you better understand your consumers. This strategy allows you to gather information that would be useful both for marketing purposes and in developing new features or services that would suit the needs of the customers.

Outsource Customer Service? Here's How You Negotiate With A BPO Service Provider

Planning To Outsource Customer Service? Here’s How You Negotiate With A BPO Service Provider (Part 1 of 2)

Are you sifting through offers and counter-offers from providers? Option is always a good thing, the more the merrier. But, squeezing the best deal out of your candidates requires different skill: negotiation. If you’re going to outsource customer service, the negotiations determine how feasible the terms turn out. You don’t want to be on the losing end of the agreement, even if it’s a bargain.

Silence is a tactic seldom used in negotiations. But, if timed properly and in the right context, your silence will give you the upper hand. Here are three opportunities you’ll leverage by staying quiet:

1. When The Other Party Makes An Unreasonable Demand

Your impulse could be to protest with a retort, but in almost every occasion it’s better to stay quiet. At the very least, sustain a prolonged pause. The other party might be thinking you’ll cave in or argue; either way they get what they wanted. It’s also possible the goal is to obtain a reaction from you; will you flinch?

The best response is to keep your composure and stay still. This is effective if you don’t know exactly how to respond, not yet. The other party may have caught you off guard. Don’t show it, stall until you’ve regained your bearing.

2. When You Realize You’re Monopolizing The Talk Time

It happens. You’re so engrossed in your pitch you forget the other party may have reservations with your proposal. Or the questions piled up unaddressed because you’ve rattled so much information it’s too late to backtrack. Note that some prospects like to bide their time so they can build a case against your offer, and then retaliate with a nasty, point-to-point counter.

Discretion is important in negotiations; tread slowly, like you’re walking on eggshells. Share only information relevant to the negotiation, the bare minimum. Everything else can wait. Compare the conversation (or correspondence) to chess, where every move you make has end-game consequence.

3. When The Other Party Is Speaking

Never interrupt; it works to your advantage. If you’re going to outsource customer service, apply the principle of good conversation with intentional listening. Is your prospect five minutes into a litany of terms and exclusions? Hear the other party out; approach it as someone after a bargain, and find a way to turn the tables, if you can.

Take notes, and use these as fodder for your counter-offer. It’s ideal if the negotiation is conducted over email, but the same principles apply in person or over the phone. Maintain presence of mind in the interchange, and resist any urge to butt in on your prospect’s spiel.

Finding the best BPO service provider can be a challenge, especially if you want to outsource customer service to a provider with the most feasible bid. Remember, silence is your ally in negotiations; when in doubt, pause and resist the urge the speak out.

Optimizing BPO Call Center Options: Orienting Agents Before Rollout

Optimizing BPO Call Center Options: Orienting Agents Before Rollout

As a real-time medium, contact center support continues to gain traction over the years, with many companies outsourcing their services to BPO call center companies. If you want to lease service that’s effective in voice support, here are some services you should expect from the provider you choose:

Customers Transcripts Are Available If Necessary

It’s a surefire way to ensure that the interactions with the customers is transparent. Customers are going to want to save the useful information they get whenever they talk to agents. Note this service isn’t staple from most providers, so consider these added value to the offer. Agents must be ready to email a copy of the transcript to customers after the live chat, provided the need and urgency are established.

Mastery Of Products Or Services Endorsed

Common knowledge? Unfortunately, you’ll find BPO call center companies that are content with general knowledge of the client’s offerings. To avoid this, your provider should be fully aware of what you have to offer, follow-up on current discounts or promotions. Informed agents definitely make customers happy, ensuring conversations are pleasant and progressive.

A Positive, Can-Do Attitude

In terms of delivering a good customer experience, having the knowledge is not enough. It’s also important to give off a pleasant and approachable vibe to the person you’re talking to. How exactly can your provider do this? It’s all in the mindset. Every challenge is an opportunity to serve clients as best as you can, anyway you can.

Prompt And Responsive

A key aspect of contact center support is almost-instant interactivity. Customers are going to expect that they talk to an agent as quickly as possible. When it comes down to it, agents shouldn’t keep them waiting for more than 10 seconds. The best chat agents can do so with four to six simultaneous requests, too.

Your BPO Call Center Should Remain Grounded, Genuine

Customers are going to see all through those pleasantries, particularly if they feel they’re just weaving through to a spiel. It’s important to be honest in every live chat session – no empty promises. Own up to the limits of what you can do. This could mean that if you don’t have knowledge of the issue at hand, you should simply transfer the session to a superior or an agent who specializes in the subject matter.