Smile in a Call center phone interaction

Smile in a Call center phone interaction

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A smile in a Call center phone interaction is a key step to improving customer service and CSAT scores.

Why am I so confident that by simply smiling there is an improvement in call quality? It’s proven. At GuateCall, our nearshore call center located in Guatemala City, Central America, we have listened to thousands of calls of customer service agents that are smiling and those customer service agents that are not smiling. We’ve even tested the same agents and could clearly hear when they were smiling and when they were not.

What is the major difference? It’s the tone on the call. There is a clear difference in the customer service representatives’ tone when he or she is smiling as compared to when not. What is even more interesting is that there is a marked difference in the reaction of the customer which has a direct relationship to the agent’s tone. Customers seem to be more willing to listen and are more open to engage with customer service representatives that are smiling.

Joy breaks all physical and spiritual boundaries. That is a powerful concept. When applied to day to day life, joy gives the sense of control and knowledge that we can overcome any perceived difficulty we may encounter.

We all want to be joyful and happy, but for many people it doesn’t come naturally. Even those happy go lucky people have moments that they are just not inclined to be happy. So how do we maintain our cheery disposition when providing customer service to our clients? The fastest and easiest thing to do is smile! Even a not so genuine smile is better than nothing. A call center colleague advises trainees to look at your face and ask if you would want to talk to yourself if you weren’t smiling.  The most common thought process of new trainees is, we’re on calls, the customers can’t see us so why does it matter? An agent needs to be recorded and hear themselves speak while smiling and also when they are not smiling. Play the recording to the other trainees and ask them to decide which recording sounds friendlier, more confident and which has a nicer tone. This process ends all debates.

The next step is to consistently keep agents smiling throughout the day, so keep the call center floor loose, send funny messages to keep agents happy (an unexpected message at an unexpected time is usually best), create a seating arrangement that allows agents to help each other, create competition and excitement on the call center floor and make sure supervisors are there for their team members at all time.

Every company wants to improve their customer’s experience. Before creating elaborate plans and making major investments, make sure your team is smiling & happy. It’s the number one way to make the biggest and fastest impact on the customer experience, oh and it’s the least expensive as well, so try it!

Nearshore Outlook for 2022

Nearshore Outlook for 2022

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Latin America continues to be a hot destination for nearshore call center outsourcing. There is a marked increase in the number of businesses looking to outsource their customer service, back office, and technical support functions to nearshore outsource providers than ever before.

“There has been a major push to outsource, and the pandemic is playing a big part in speeding up the demand.” Says Avi Meir, President of GuateCall, a Nearshore BPO provider located in Guatemala City, Central America. “This demand was there even pre Covid-19 but has drastically increased the speed in which businesses are looking to outsource.”  

Meir provides his take on the key drivers that will shape the Near shore business services sector in 2022 and beyond:

The pandemic

The pandemic has created a new comfort level in working remotely. The result is a wave of new companies open to outsourcing their customer service as well as other back-office services. These companies have become comfortable with the collaborative process of communication via phone, chat, video, IM as well as email as part of a seamless communication effort with remote leadership.

U.S. Labor Shortage

The U.S. labor shortage has created another push for outsourcing. Employee turnover is at an all-time high and hiring employees in today’s market has become more difficult. Higher salaries, more benefits, flexible schedules, managing remote work are just some of the challenges in today’s labor market. Employee investment is becoming a major burden on businesses. “The availability of near shore employees that are highly trained, connected to the brand, and supported with dedicated management that understands the business is a big motivation for companies when considering the benefits of outsourcing,” says Mr. Meir.

Technology

The technology for outsourcing and remote communication has been around for some time and drastically improving all the time. With today’s remote workforce, most companies have learned to use these tools as part of their day-to-day interaction. The familiarity and comfort level this technology has given is another hurdle that has been eliminated in the decision of whether to outsource services.

The future of outsourcing has never looked brighter. Companies needing to satisfy a more demanding customer coupled with maintaining costs are now seeing the benefit of outsourcing as part of their short and long-term business operations.

This article was written by Perry Silber, COO of GuateCall. GuateCall is a Near-shore contact center provider of multi-channel bilingual services located In Guatemala, Central America. If you would like to learn more about GuateCall, please reach out to me at 713-474-2222 Ext 116 or by e-mail Perry@Guatecall.com

Call Center in Guatemala Central America

Call Center in Guatemala Central America

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Why choose a call center in Guatemala Central America as your outsourcing location? In today’s business reality, outsourcing customer service has become a standard not only for larger companies but medium and smaller companies as well. When looking to outsource there are a myriad of options so choosing wisely has the biggest impact to the success of the outsourcing relationship.

If you are outsourcing less than 500 agents, your best bet is to outsource with a medium to smaller outsource provider. The reason I say this is because it’s better to be a more significant client for an outsource provider as opposed to a small customer for a mammoth multinational company. The attention your business will receive and the management that you will be provided with will outclass middle and lower management that you will be dealing with from larger multinational outsourcers.

Guatemala makes a perfect nearshore outsourcing destination due to the fact that GuateCall is situated here J. Outside of that, there are some key benefits to Guatemala as an outsourcing destination such as:

  • The largest workforce in Central America
  • Over 70% of the population is under the age of 30
  • Over 15 universities with more than 170,000 enrolled students
  • Central Time Zone
  • Cultural affinity to the U.S.
  • Quick direct flights from multiple U.S. cities
  • Fastest internet connectivity speeds to U.S.
  • Experienced talent that has serviced multiple Fortune 100 companies

So as you can see, Guatemalan call center agents are not only more educated than the majority of their counterparts but also have the experience dealing with major accounts so the training time as well as understanding of the service levels required are already understood. Guatemalans also have a very neutral Spanish accent which allows them to be more easily understood by Spanish speakers from all over the world.

Guatemalan call center agents share a strong cultural affinity to the United States and Canada. This is due to the large amount of people who travel to and from Guatemala every year. Many Guatemalan call center agents have family members living in the U.S. and Canada and are very familiar with the culture. Guatemala also has lots of U.S. Franchises as well so from food, clothing, cinema and much more, Guatemalan’s are very much in touch with the same brands and services as their North American counterparts.

Company executives have realized the outsourcing gem that Guatemala has become and with cost savings of up to 50% from their U.S. counterparts, the ROI of outsourcing to Guatemala is a no brainer. So when you are looking for highly qualified, tenured agents that are bilingual in English and Spanish, look no further than Guatemala Central America.

This article was written by Perry Silber, COO of GuateCall. GuateCall is a Near-shore contact center provider of multi-channel bilingual services located In Guatemala, Central America. If you would like to learn more about GuateCall, please reach out to me at 713-474-2222 Ext 116 or by e-mail Perry@Guatecall.com

Outsourcing Customer Service and Bake sales?

Outsourcing Customer Service and Bake sales?

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Outsourcing Customer Service and Bake sales?

What does outsourcing customer service, AI and customer experience have to do with a bake sale?

As my wife and I walked by a bagel shop Sunday morning, there was a table set up with all kinds of baked goods and a couple of teenagers in front of it. As we passed by one kid said good morning to which we replied good morning and kept walking. As the other kid saw that we weren’t stopping, he quickly said good morning and followed up by asking if we would like to help them fly to New York for a competition.  What kind of competition, my wife asked, which got the kid to smile big and explain what they are flying to New York for. It was an interaction that lasted only a few minutes, but it was effective. It got the results the kids needed, which was money, but it also got the word out about what they are doing and its importance.

As we continued on my wife and I discussed that we really don’t see many bake sales anymore. I mean, we hardly see one and yet they used to be so popular just a few years back. It’s a sign of the times. People today are on social media and everything is done online, at least that’s what it seems like. Maybe most kids even do their fundraising online, getting their family and their friends to put the word out on social media. Is it effective? Yes, it’s very effective, but they would not have gotten my support or countless others that Sunday morning if they didn’t set up that table and speak to us.

So what does a bake sale have to do with customer service outsourcing, AI and customer experience?

I  saw a lot of similarities between the outsourcing of the customer service experience, AI  and the bake sale. Here are just a few thoughts that crossed my mind:

Customer service outsourcing varies greatly from one company and even one agent to another

Both the kids we engaged with were nice and seemed like great people, but one in particular was more engaging and got us interested in their story. This got me thinking about the call center agents in an outsourced call center. They might all be polite and follow protocol, but are they engaging? Do they believe in the brand enough to transmit the story in a convincing way? Are they part of the cause or doing just enough to stay on the account?

Not everyone engages the same way

We all know social media is a powerful tool. The amount of engagement that happens is astounding but it also takes a big effort to stand out from the crowd and even more so to do it in a way that gets people to engage. The reality is if I saw those kids story on social media, I wouldn’t have donated to their cause. It wasn’t personal. It was nice having a conversation with a person. Learning about what they were interested in and being able to help. Could they have raised money strictly on social media? Possibly, but they would have missed out on a lot of people that walked by them that day.

AI versus personal touch for the best customer experience

We’ve all read about how AI will replace customer service representatives. I personally believe that AI has a role to play in enhancing customer service but will not replace a live customer service agent. When it comes to customer experience, we need to engage the customer in the manner they would like to be engaged. Sometimes automation is the way and sometimes human interaction is best. The key to a great customer experience is to allow people the comfort of engaging their way. The first kid that said hello to us at the bake sale was great, but not engaging. The second got the results they were looking for but in a way that we felt good about the experience. We need to remember that when automating processes, these automations should be done to enhance an experience, not for budget cutting or other such reasons.

We should always remember that the customer is the heart of the business. If we focus on the customer and deliver what they want in the way they want it, we are bound to succeed in implementing a great customer experience.

This article was written by Perry Silber, COO of GuateCall. GuateCall is a Near-shore contact center provider of multi-channel bilingual services located In Guatemala, Central America. If you would like to learn more about GuateCall, please reach out to me at 713-474-2222 Ext 116 or by e-mail Perry@Guatecall.com

Some Companies Are Not Into Outsourcing

Some Companies Are Not Into Outsourcing

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Some companies are not into outsourcing. I get it. Actually, I don’t get it, because when the most successful companies in most, if not all verticals outsource, there is a reason. A company can’t be good at everything. We all know the old saying “Do what you do best and outsource the rest” But why do most people have such a hard time with this simple concept?

There is a big difference between outsourcing personal tasks and outsourcing company departments such as customer service, marketing, IT and the like and yet we generally use the same thought process for both when deciding if and when to outsource. What causes this thought process? Why are we hesitant to focus on our core strengths and outsource the rest? It comes down to management’s fear of giving up “control”. It’s a trait most of us have grown up with from childhood and carried it into our adult working world. We try to give logical reasons as to why we do this:

  • It’s easier to control in house
  • Outsourcing won’t do as good a job as an in house team
  • It’s too expensive; We can do it cheaper in house.

There is some level of logic to each of these thought processes and that is why it’s so tempting to follow them, however for most companies, nothing could be further than the truth. Here are some thoughts in the customer service / call center space that GuateCall, our near shore call center company, specializes in.

Let’s take the first objection, “It’s easier to control in house.” With the U.S. unemployment rate at an all time low and employee turnover constantly increasing, it takes a lot of effort to hold on to good employees. Employees aren’t just working for your business, they are working for their immediate supervisor. How much time and effort does a company need to train and maintain a management team working in the “trenches” that will embrace your company culture and maintain a staff of people under them to work the way the company wants. That alone should point to the difficulty that lies ahead for companies controlling everything in house. Add to that recruitment, training, meetings, technology and space for a changing number of employees. The monetary cost, the time spent consistently following up and creating continuous improvements is anything but easy.

The next objection is that an outsourcer won’t do as good a job as an in house team. From personal experience I know this to be false. Nothing beats having an experienced contact center that was created to focus specifically on servicing clients using the latest technology as well as time tested methods. A good outsourcing BPO partner has a management team in place with years of experience and a staff that has served multiple clients for years. A successful call center partnership creates an environment where the employees feel that they are working for the ultimate client, not the outsourcer. Outsourced call centers have consistently proven that due to their specific business focus, experience and constant improvements, they will outperform in house call centers in most instances.

The third part of the equation is it’s cheaper to run a call center in house. If looking at strictly an employees’ hourly wage, it may be true, however we all know that is only the beginning of the costs. The recruiting, training, management, liability, space, equipment, insurance, taxes, payroll, sick days, turnover, the list goes on and on. When you add up all that, outsourcing becomes a lot more attractive. In today’s global environment a business can also reduce costs by choosing a near shore call center, like GuateCall, over an on shore option. There are pluses and minuses to each option, but in general a high end near shore call center will offer on shore quality at a discounted rate. This gives a business a very attractive option for maintaining high service levels while controlling and even reducing costs.

The right outsourcing partnership allows businesses to focus on their core competencies and outsource the other work. If your company is in need of outsourcing customer service by phone, chat or email, reach out to GuateCall for high end service with affordable pricing.

This article was written by Perry Silber, COO of GuateCall. GuateCall is a Near-shore contact center provider of multi-channel bilingual English and Spanish call center services located In Guatemala, Central America. Whether through voice or chat, we can provide superior services to your organization. If you would like to learn more about GuateCall and Call Center services in Latin America, please reach out to me at 713-474-2222 or by e-mail perry@guatecall.com.

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