5 Major Advantages of Outsourcing Your Help Desk

In any way you look at it, help desk is a big help to a company. It generally takes calls, emails and even tickets filed online by customers with concerns and employees seeking technical assistance. Outsourcing your help desk can provide multiple advantages for your business but it can also gain a negative impact on your bottom line if not done properly.

In order to gain success from outsourcing your help desk, you should have a solid plan and the right service provider. If you are still wondering what‘s in it for you, here are five (5) major advantages you can reap from outsourcing your help desk.

#1: Operational and Financial Leverage

Financially, outsourcing costs less than housing a help desk team, especially if your business requires a large number of service desk agents working 24/7.

By outsourcing your help desk, you generally get:

  • Recruitment assistance – No more need to go through all the tiring process of recruiting more heads because your service provider will be responsible for that. All that’s left for you to do is to hand pick the staff you want to hire from a list of qualified candidates.
  • HR assistance – Employee benefits, payroll and taxes are handled by the service provider. There is no need for you to worry about them anymore.
  • Opportunity to expand and expand more – You will no longer need to add more office space and equipments to house your newly hired help desk agents, and you will never have to worry about additional software licenses and basic office supplies.
  • Access to latest technologies – Outsourcing companies are always up-to-date with the latest technologies and gadgets to run a smooth call center.

#2: Flexible Solutions Based on Your Needs

Since outsourcing companies today have become more competitive, some have created flexible and customized solutions to accommodate any type of businesses in need. So for companies with complex employment or project requirements for help desk agents, you are sure to find a service provider that will take on your challenge without having to spend a fortune.

#3: Free Supervisor or Manager

Before, you will need to hire a supervisor or manager to monitor your outsourced employees, but not anymore today. Most outsourcing companies already have a supervisor or manager assigned to monitor your help desk agents, whether you hire just one staff or a team.

You will be having an additional pair of eyes and ears to monitor the performances and punctuality of your leased employees. Plus, some work issues can be resolved by the supervisor or manager before it even arrives at your doorstep.

#4: Continuous Upgrade

There will be times that your outsourced help desk agents will need trainings in order to learn new software and online applications. With an outsourcing company, your leased employees will always be updated; all you have to do is give your permission so they can attend the free trainings and seminars.

#5: Technical and Industry Expertise

When you look for an outsourcing company, it is best if you choose the service provider that specializes in your industry because they are the experts when it comes to handling various call issues, hardware and software upgrades, and they are always up-to-date with the latest technologies that can enhance your help desk. They provide an edge over other outsourcing companies that are not in your industry, a great benefit for you!

Over-all, help desk can either be outsourced or not depending on the needs of your business. If you do decide to partner with an outsourcing company to help you, you better be prepared because no successful business has made it to the top without taking risks and sacrifices. There will always be a con whenever there is a pro, the key is to overcome the con with strategic and intelligent planning.

The Importance of Administrative Support

At first glance, administrative support is just another routine and boring job to have and tedious to supervise for managers, CEOs and newbie entrepreneurs. People often forget that a company will not function properly without an effective admin department.

Admin support is a day-to-day function that generally helps you in:

  • Financial planning
  • Keeping records
  • Personnel management
  • Logistics
  • Billing
  • Recruitment

If your business is in the IT industry, data entry and QA specialists ensures the safety and better management of your company’s data. Or, if your business is in merchandising, help desk agents and virtual assistants ensure that your customers are taken care of and increase your brands’ online presence. Admin support is a big help for any types of business in all kinds of industry. It is the all-purpose glue that binds every processes of your business!

Staff Leasing and Admin Support Services

Many companies today are opting for complex business models instead of the traditional one, which is having all your staff in-house and hiring locals only. Some even go to greater heights such as hiring offshore help desk agents and data entry specialists or have their whole admin department outsourced. But it’s not just for cutting administrative costs, for them it’s a great way of sourcing out talents and a new method that allows their business to grow even more.

Staff leasing companies and admin support services helps you:

  • Get a wider range of talents with diverse skills and expertise.
  • Higher level of function for simple and complex tasks.
  • Complex projects become easier to handle.
  • Admin support services are cheaper without sacrificing quality.
  • Increase operational efficiency, flexibility and productivity.
  • You get a variety of staffing solutions from short-term projects to full-term staff leasing.
  • Strengthen the core of your business.

Staff leasing can both be a temporary and permanent solution to your staffing needs.

Should You Go Offshore Outsourcing for Admin Support?

First of all, offshore outsourcing is not the only way to grow your business; it’s only a method that can help you achieve your goals as an entrepreneur, which is why outsourcing and staff leasing needs to be done right and for good reasons.

Admin support services are offered worldwide by outsourcing firms and freelancers with years of experience, you can choose not to outsource and still be a successful business owner. But when you do decide to source your employees from an offshore staff leasing firm, remember that hiring your first offshore employee and achieving your set goals will all rely on your well thought out plan.

Staff Leasing: What to Look For When Hiring a Data Entry Specialist

Data entry services are offered almost anywhere in the world and can be cheaper when afforded offshore. If you are planning to hire a professional or a team of data entry specialists, you should be as keen and inquisitive as shopping for your own pants.

If you want to reap the great benefits of outsourcing data entry, you have to set your own metrics when searching for the right service provider. Never let a service provider limit you with what they want and what is only written in their proposals.

Always Look For Flexibility
Asking for a price list is always important, but flexibility has to be too. There will be times that your business will undergo financial difficulties or change direction, so your service provider should be flexible in order to accommodate your needs.

There Won’t Be Any Loophole If You Don’t Allow It
If the data entry services being offered to you via an emailed proposal or over the phone have even a very small discrepancy with the contract the service provider wants you to sign, point it out. If they don’t want to change it, simply refuse the offer and move on to the next.

What a Data Entry Specialist Should Really Possess
Typing skill and years of experience plays a big role in deciding who to hire from a list of qualified candidates, but that’s not all that’s important. The speed of inputting data and the accuracy is a must, but those are skills that can be learned. Some clients look for candidates with good personalities and work ethic, the types of qualities that are very hard to learn and impossible to learn for others. Would you rather choose a data entry specialist with high speed and accuracy and an absenteeism habit, or the one with average speed and accuracy but never left a day at work?

Data Entry Services With the Latest Technologies
Always look for service providers who are using the latest technologies available for data encoding and management, so whenever you need to upgrade big or change drastically, you will never have to worry about software and hardware upgrades. Your team of data entry specialists will always be using the best equipment and your business will never be left out.

So the next time you look out for professionals for lease, remember these simple tips so you can avoid unnecessary costs and stressful partnership with the wrong service provider. Outsourcing data entry services are very helpful when done right.

Outsourcing Is Not Just for Big Businesses

Many entrepreneurs think that outsourcing and offshoring is a business strategy only for the big guys and small companies are not cut out for it. But as technology evolves, so are consumer demands for better products and services, outsourcing has developed new ways for small companies and start-up businesses to benefit from it.

Cost-Cutting and More

Both outsourcing and offshoring began as a cost-cutting measure to help businesses control their cash flow. But as they evolve, they have provided better options and solutions for small businesses to help them grow and improve their bottom lines. Using various strategies, small businesses that outsource were able to strengthen their brand, widen their consumer network, provide their products in market faster and more effective, target more customers without having to spend more on marketing services, and tap into the global pool of talents.

Today, almost everything can be outsourced. From a simple proofreading task, data entry, email and back office help-desk support, computer parts, cable wires, nuts, bolts and screws to a team of engineers or developers, or an entire HR and payroll department.

What to Outsource?

First time business owners may think that they can do everything all the time because they want to keep everything in check. But later on they realize that they cannot do the entire job that runs their business. If you want to start out small, consider outsourcing repetitive and tedious tasks that take too much of your time so you can focus more on the core functions of your business.

Hiring your first outsourced employee can be very beneficial to your small business if you are able to start it right. So be meticulous when choosing for a service provider.

Business Model Innovation

Since outsourcing and offshoring has become a very useful tool, many businesses are starting to change their business model not because they are cutting down costs but due to the increase in demand of their consumers and for the betterment of their products and services in the market.

Introducing new ideas and making tweaks and changes are the things that can help a company thrive, especially to those who run their business in a very popular niche. What you have learned and accepted to change today might not be the best strategy tomorrow, but tomorrow offers a brand new idea where you can either adapt and grow or ignore and remain stagnant.

When to Outsource Your Help Desk?

In any way you look at it, outsourcing your help desk is not an easy task, considering to outsource it is even harder. So every time you ask yourself when is the time to outsource, make sure you are going to do it for the right reasons.

Some companies have complex business models wherein their help desk agents can grow big only during peak seasons. While some companies only need a handful of help desk agents but do not want to build their own call center, they want to focus more on the quality of their products and services, therefore outsource them to the experts.

When the Cost Is Way Too High For Your Business to Support

New office space, equipments, chairs, tables or cubicles and even software are needed when expanding, and it can cause a lot of strain in your budget. It even cost more when customer service needs to be around the clock 24/7. Outsourcing your help desk agents erases all of that.

Outsourcing firms also thrives to be the best in their field; therefore they are always equipped with the latest technologies available in the market. Hardware and software upgrades will never be an issue.

When You Lose Sight of Your Main Goal

Customer care is important for your business but sometimes it can make you lose your focus and steer you away from the right path. It can also take so much of your time which you could have spent improving your products. Newbie entrepreneurs tend to lose valuable time because they try to manage everything, thinking they can. Outsourcing your help desk to the right third party provider can help you overcome this issue.

When Customer Service Isn’t Helping At All

You want to make a better product for consumers and a better service for your clients, but managing a help desk department is not your expertise. Hiring a third party provider, an outsourcing firm that specializes in call support, can be a wise decision if done right. They can provide you with highly skilled help desk agents who had real experience in helping customers through the phone.

When you have finally decided to outsource, do consider partnering with the right outsourcing firm that can help you improve customer satisfaction. Don’t just hire someone outside to take calls for you, establish metrics so you can determine if the partnership is successful or not.

3 Great Benefits of Outsourcing Data Entry

The process of manually typing, updating, maintaining and retrieving information from a computer system database are the specialties of Data Encoders. Though it may look like an easy task, Data Entry requires precision and accuracy at all times. It has become widely essential for business today to hire Data Encoders, since data is the foundation of all businesses.

Why the need to outsource Data Entry? Whether local or offshore, outsourcing parts of your business gives you access to the latest technologies and a wide pool of talents you’ve never seen before. Here are the top 3 great benefits you can enjoy from outsourcing Data Entry.

Higher Efficiency Rate and Time Saving

Partnering with the right service provider enables you to focus more on the core competencies of your business. It takes away the cumbersome and tedious Data Entry tasks and places them in the hands of the right people who specialize in them. This is a huge advantage for large businesses with a lot of data storage to manage.

  • You get more time resolving in-house issues
  • You can focus more on customer service or other revenue-generating tasks
  • You get access to the latest technologies
  • You get to choose from a wide range of talents to work for you

Strategic Advantage over Competitors

Your in-house employees can be more creative and productive and because of competency, your outsourced Data Encoders would perform more effectively.

If you’re business is in the USA and you’re considering hiring an offshore outsourcing company, specifically in Asia, this gives you faster turnaround because of the huge time difference. Same goes for businesses in the South America, UK and other parts of Europe who are seriously considering offshore outsourcing.

Lowered Overhead Cost

The money spent on hiring and training new employees will be decreased if you outsource your Data Encoders. Same goes for the time and equipment you’ll be investing in. You can get your work done at comparatively lower costs.

  • Time and effort in hiring and training in-house Data Entry staff will be eliminated
  • No need to invest on new equipments
  • You can get lower costs without sacrificing quality

The Philippines, where English is the second language, has always excelled in providing English-based services; from simple clerical tasks to complex web-based programming and designing.

iStaff Outsourcing Services is always ready to help you grow your business. Let’s start from what you want and what your business really needs.

Hiring Your First Offshore Employee – Outsourcing Tips for Beginners

Outsourcing may sound easier to set-up compared to offshore outsourcing, but really, both share the same patterns of success and failure. What’s important is that you must have a well thought out plan.

After all the tiring research and canvassing you’ve done on all the offshore outsourcing partners that pique your interest, there’s still one more thing to do before you can hire your first offshore employee; signing the contract.

The Agreement

Offshore outsourcing companies will present you their contract for review and approval. They might offer you two types of services; staff leasing or project-based. Choose one and if everything in it goes well with your plan, sign it! But if you’re striking a deal with an offshore freelancer, you must remember to deal only with the one who has the highest probability of delivering what you asked for. That’s why prior research and a bit of investigation are important.

Here are some of the common problems with offshore freelancers you might encounter.

  1.  No contract that binds him to his responsibilities;
  2. Skill level on prospects’ online resume isn’t always what it seems;
  3. The risk of data security – your offshore employee might not have the best protection system in place;
  4. How you’re going to send him your payment if he doesn’t have a Paypal account; and
  5. Not 100% committed to your project due to multiple clients – for some, it depends on how much you’re paying him.

Take note of the above if none of those ever crossed your mind before!

Getting Started

Now that you have an offshore employee, you can get started.

The most important part of getting your projects done right is communication. If you chose offshore staff leasing or project-based with a third party company, expect that communication will be smooth because they will be the ones to contact you regularly. But if you opted for the offshore freelancer; there’s Email, Skype, Yahoo! Messenger and even Facebook, use all tools available if those will get the job done correct and on time!

Assigning the Project. It will be very helpful if you list down all the projects for your offshore employee, sit down with him on a live chat or Skype video call so you can do a bit of demonstration yourself.

Daily Reports. It is also important that you require him to send you daily updates at the end of his shift, a summary of the progress will do. Get daily reports via DropBox or any other online tool you feel comfortable using.

Provide Positive Reinforcement. Every now and then problems will occur during the development of your project, you will get sad and angry, but do not hurdle the tension and frustration to your offshore employee. Instead, provide yourself with positive reinforcement. Your employee is also human, he gets hurt and the work he does for you might get affected if you pressure him too much. If the problem is too big to handle, take a break and discuss the solution with your offshore employee.

Be Always Available. Accidents happen and most of the time without a warning. So be sure you can easily be reached.

Payment for the Services. You can have your offshore employee work for you full-time or part-time, depends on how much is the work load. But when it comes to payment, I would suggest that you do not to pay in advance for offshore freelancers. You may pay in advance to third party outsourcing companies if you feel comfortable about it, they’re easier to locate and contact compared to a freelancer who has no physical address.

Over-all, offshore outsourcing is really a matter of choice, for most businesses today, it’s a matter of cutting down costs. You may find equally competent professionals in your own country, you may hire them or not, it truly depends on your decision. But if you do decide to outsource parts of your business, make sure you do it the right way. Take time in reading success stories of businesses that have outsourced to the country you’re interested in. While online, take down important notes and digest the tips provided to you by others, never pass the chance of learning more about offshore outsourcing even if you think you’ve already gone through all the nooks.

5 Major Roles You Can Assign To Your Outsourced Virtual Assistant

When it comes to outsourcing a Virtual Assistant (VA), most entrepreneurs think that a VA is only good to be a secretary, a receptionist, a typist or for booking their meetings.But there’s a lot more that a VA can do to help a business grow, a VA is a master of various administrative tasks!

Entrepreneurs often think that they are the key to their business’ success; therefore they must do everything, literally. So they overlook the potentials of their VAs.For others, a Virtual assistant is only good for dumping their excess paper works in the office or for taking unwanted calls or irate clients.

If you’re anentrepreneur looking to hire a Virtual Assistant of your own, here are 5 major roles you can assign to your outsourced Virtual Assistant so you can efficiently maximize their skills.

Role 1: General Virtual Assistant (GVA)

Email handling, reports generation, file organizing, data mining and booking an appointment with clients are just a few of what a VA is very good at. But did you know that your VA can also be your alter ego whenever you’re out of the office? Here are a few things you can hand over to your GVA.

  • Voicemail, Email & Spam Management: Voicemail checking, filtering of emails, spam, setting reminders, responding to tickets, and answering customer service emails are tasks that your GVA can handle well.
  • File Organization & Storage: Tired of waiting for your employees to email you important files?Forgot to upload your projects before leaving the office? There’s Google Docs and DropBox for your GVA! Both are free, easy to use and can be accessed anywhere with internet.
  • Managing Your Blog: BlogSpot and WordPress are easy to learn, teach your GVA how to edit and post an article or a press release on your blog, reply on comments and manage subscriptions to your newsletter.So every time you are away, your blog is always updated.
  • Database Management: Ask your GVA to coordinate with your programmer and for help in memorizing the sections of your database. Your GVA can easily handle most database management tasks if it’s automated.
  • Finance Tasks: Bookkeeping, creation of invoices and vouchers are a few Finance tasks you can also assign to your GVA to lighten your load. All you need to do is provide a guide or tutorial to your GVA.

Role 2: SEO/Internet Marketer Virtual Assistant

A lot of old SEO techniques may no longer work today but a few important ones are still vital to the success of your business online. Hire a Virtual Assistant with basic knowledge of SEO and Internet Marketing techniques.You’ll be happy with the extra time you’ll be saving on these tedious tasks.

  • Keyword Research & Analysis: An online tool like Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner Toolis easy to learn and navigate; your SEO/Internet Marketer VA can surely handle this one.
  • Competitor Analysis: Too much on your plate to check the other side of the battlefield? To keep yourself updated on the latest marketing strategies your competitors do, have your VA do it for you.
  • Web Traffic Reporting: Web analytics are automatically generated reports, tech your VA how to navigate through your web analytics, making a report out of it would be a piece of cake.
  • Managing Your Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and many more. A VA can learn how to create and manage various social media accounts for you, you just have to teach your VA what to post, when to post it, and whether to reply to comments or not.
  • Other SEO Techniques: There’s XML sitemap submission, social bookmarking, ad campaigns, forum participation and blog commenting you can add to your VAs SEO and Internet Marketing tasks.

Role 3: Content Writing Virtual Assistant

Here’s another role that can reward you additional time with your family or for other business work. Virtual Assistants are experts in communication! Because content is king, a couple of web articles and press releases a month is a big help. Here are a few more content writing tasks you can assign to your Content Writing VA:

  • Guest posting/blogging
  • Newsletter writing
  • SEO content writing
  • Proofreading
  • Ad creation
  • Gallery titles, captions and descriptions
  • Business portfolio content

Role 4: Video Editing Virtual Assistant

YouTube is a hit! So you want to upload your own videos to market your brand? Direct uploading is easy, most internet users today can do it, but editing audio and video requires a bit more skill. Hire a Virtual Assistant with a background in audio & video editing to save you time in training. You can even throw him the tasks of managing the email inquiries and the comments section of your YouTube account.

  • Basic audio & video editing
  • Removing background noises
  • Adding watermarks
  • Adding intros & outros

Role 5: Sales Rep Virtual Assistant

Though not all outsourced Virtual Assistants are good with sales talk, there are still some sales tasks you can hand over to your VA.

  • Follow-up on potential clients
  • Maintain& update customer database
  • Double check inventory
  • Monitor price of products online
  • Learn product details that can help the business

Now, I think you’re surprised of what more a VA can do for you and your business. These roles are meant to help you lighten your load and give you more time to focus and manage the more important parts of your business. Don’t be like the other entrepreneurs that stack up a ton of various tasks to their outsourced Virtual Assistant because they paid good money for him. Be smart, think twice and do your own research before your hire a Virtual assistant of your own.

2013: The Growth of Call Center Industry in Philippines and Asia

Philippines is a “rising tiger”, this is how World Bank country director Motoo Konishi describe the growth of Philippine economy during his speech on the closing ceremonies of 2013 Philippine Development Forum in Davao City Philippines, February 5, 2013. Motoo alleged that the government has demonstrated good governance and resulting to good economic status of the country. In terms of economic stand Philippines is no longer the “sick man of Asia”, Motoo added.

Due to the economic growth of 6.6 percent from the expected 5 to 6 percent target, The Philippines is expecting to reach the peak of its economy before the end of year 2015. There will be more employment especially to skilled workers, more job opportunity in Call center in the Philippines and Business Process Outsourcing, or BPO.

Call center industry in Asia will boost up due to the high English proficiency of Asians and particularly in the Philippines. Though China and India (other Asian countries that has a blooming call center industry) has an advantage due to low cost of labor, investors still prefer the Philippines to settle offshore outsourcing companies due to the fact that Filipinos are more polite and westernized than other Asian countries. Also call center in Philippines was an established industry since we beat India roughly 3 years ago as the leading in industry of call center in Asia.

BPO industry in the country opens another field such as healthcare accounts in which nurses could land in the said job. Philippines have approximately 40,000 new nurses every year, plus the knowledge of Filipinos in English language which could help them find a job such as Health care representatives in contact center industry of the country.

Today, Philippines hosts the biggest global call center companies like Convergys, IBM, Docomo, and Hinduja. This attracts more call center in Asia and other companies to start an offshore outsourcing company in the country.