Having Fun in your Call Center- Games to Play and More!

play

Call center/customer service work is hard. Representatives on the phone can take a ton of abuse no matter when channel they are working. The environment must be one of comfort and….yes its ok to say…FUN!

Our job is to make the customers that interact with our center have a world class experience. We cannot do this if we have associates that are lethargic, have bad attitudes and do not want to be at work. One way we can help them is by making the contact center THE fun place to work.

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Why Startups Need to Look at US Boutique Call Centers

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Why Startups Need to Look at US Boutique Call Centers

So many huge call centers dominate the landscape. Thousand seat centers with locations that span the globe. When startup companies think of a call center or call center outsourcing, for many, these large companies are the first to come to mind. For many larger clients they do serve a great service. They offer high volume service and sales to major companies that need hundreds or even thousands to seats filled that they could never do in-house without incurring massive expense and management. I will say though, for startups there are other more relevant options.

Imagine a high end call center with all American associates, best in class client services and lower costs and more flexibility that utilize the newest in Omni channel communication channels and cater to companies that have the need to outsource 5-50 seats. These are your US Boutique Contact Centers.

I have operated in both environments and love the hands on attitude, quality and flexibility of the smaller center especially for youthful growing organizations that are looking to outsource for the first time. The ability to grow with smaller outsourcing clients and really have an impact on their customers and their bottom line is something that really drives the operators of smaller high quality centers and provides a great service to startup companies.

Some of the great qualities of a Flexible US Call Center partner:

1.Quality- When you go offshore or a large call center agrees to take a smaller program are you comfortable with your program being in a room with hundreds if not thousands of other seats that are catering to many other clients? When you are the small fish in the pond, the time and care for your program gets treated as such.

If you place that same 10-50 seat program in a 150-300 seat center the level of quality and care rises as the importance of your program to the outsourcer rises. I really believe that you should only outsource to a Contact Center where your program will take up at least of 3-5% of their seats. You know they are going to really work day in and day out for your business. When you are only .00001% of a large centers business do you really think they are maximizing your program….human and business nature tells a different story.

You get to focus on your core business while a professional US call center handles your sales and customer needs.

2. Pricing- This is one of the largest differences and most misunderstood pieces of outsourcing. For the most part (and speaking from my experience) smaller call centers are more entrepreneurial just like a startup. Their setup costs are less stringent. Their cost per hour or by the minute for the most part as well is very negotiable. They do not have the high overhead of other departments to have to bill to. I know at my center we can undercut all the big boys because of how lean we are, most of the smaller US centers think the same.When you are a smaller client you are at the will of the larger call center. They will charge you for everything because they can. You will pay setup fees, IT fees, and fees to setup reporting fees for scripting. The larger call center’s per hour or per minute rate will be set for you. Don’t even ask about changing a report or a script or god forbid the screen after the initial setup…you will be charged.

3. Client Service- This in my opinion is the biggest difference between the large and smaller centers. Many of the larger call centers have you call the operations person on the floor to have a production problem taken care of. They make you put in a trouble ticket for an IT change or call “creative” to have a scripting change done. I personally think that shows a lack of caring and empathy for a client. If the call center can’t show that to you, how are you to trust them with your customers!?

Most of the smaller call centers give you access to 24/7 client support with one person who understands your program inside and out. When you have a problem you get one point of contact for all you issues. You cannot put a price on that kind of peace of mind.

4. Partnership- Smaller call centers lend themselves to really partner with a client, something that cannot be undersold when dealing with startup partners. Try telling a large center you want to AB test a new product with just a couple associates next week. That would never happen and if it did would come with exorbitant costs. With a smaller center not only would it happen, they would bend over backwards to make its success.  these centers cater to the needs of a startup.

Smaller centers don’t just “work” a program and go home. They monitor, find improvements, scour reports to make every program a client brings a success. You get so much more then human making or answering calls.  I personally never stop thinking about my clients and their programs.

There are so many reasons why outsourcing to the right partner makes sense for your startup. There are call centers out there that cater to all companies no matter the size or budget. Do not think that the big boys are the only game in town.  Rethink how outsourcing is done, your customers will appreciate it!

Thomas Laird is a customer service and contact center consultant and operations professional with over 25 year of experience. Thomas is currently the CEO of Expivia Interaction Marketing Group, Inc.  and usacallcenter.net A 100% onshore multichannel contact center and lead writer for the Contact Center Muse Blog.

For More information on how we at Expivia Interaction Marketing Group May be able to help your startup, please fill out the form below for more details!

Basic Gamification Concepts for your Customer Service and Sales Call Center

gamification

One of the best ways to improve stats, morale and to add to the overall “fun” culture of what can be a very tough job, is to add gamification concepts your contact center in very simple ways.  This doesn’t mean you need a team of developers to create games, interactive screens and video game quality effects (although that would be AWESOME!!)…far from it.

Call centers are a very stat driven environments which lend very well to being able to make achieving certain statistics fun when done right.

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Think You are too Small to Outsource Your Customer Service or Sales…Think again!

www.usacallcenter.net

So you started your in-house call center with a couple of office workers sitting the back with a phone.  It now has grown to the point where you are not servicing customers and your customer service department is inefficient, expensive and not providing the quality that your product or service demands.  Plus you are tired of handling call-offs and turnover. What do you do?

You have looked into outsourcing but every consultant or call center has told you that no one will take anything less than 25 seats and the setup and cost structure is outrageous. All you are looking for is to outsource 10 maybe 12 seats…I have heard this story time and time again.  The alternative is here.

usacallcenter.net at Expivia is a contact center whose niche is high quality USA customer service support and sales that excels in the “small program” that the mega centers won’t even consider.  Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, we have built our business of servicing programs that are less than 50 seat and most of them are less than 10.  We have the processes for quality and pricing in place to make outsourcing your program an easy adjustment.

In our 30 years’ experience in the outsourcing business we have seen more and more how smaller type programs had gotten the squeeze and are very difficult to place. Mega call centers have Mega budgets and overhead that makes taking projects under 40 seats not a profitable venture for them.  Sad thing is these companies looking for help with 5, 10 or 20 seats are the companies that may really need the service yet not one will help.  We have shifted our business model to help these organizations.

At Expivia you will get all the technology and processes that the “big boys” have (inbound, outbound, chat, email, video) with the quality of American associates.  Expivia has partners as well in the near-shore and offshore markets so we can help you even if you are looking for a hybrid model.  Companies are using our American agents for voice buffered with an offshore partner for chat and email making is a truly cost effective process.  We at Expivia would run your program so you would have one point of contact for all your call center needs no matter what type of model you are looking to utilize.

We have or are working with some of the largest brands in the USA, startups, retailers and small businesses.  We do not discriminate.  We take the burden away from you running your customer service, inbound/outbound sales programs.  Let us handle your customers while you handle your core business.  It’s time to give your customers a world class service and sales experience, let us help. No program or company is “small” at Expivia.

For more information:

Thomas Laird is a customer service and contact center consultant and operations professional with over 25 year of experience. Thomas is currently the CEO of Expivia Interaction Marketing Group, Inc.  and usacallcenter.net A 100% onshore multichannel contact center and lead writer for the Contact Center Muse Blog.

 

 

ERQ Needs to Replace the Word “SALES” in your Contact Center

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Sales….

No matter what type of Contact Center you are, now a days there is always some aspect of sales.  Customer service centers are looking to upsell and cross sell, outbound center are looking to sell.  How do you get your associates to do this the right way with out having your quality drop?

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The “TONE” is the Message…Enhancing the Quality of Customer Service

customer service

Most companies put all their education (Notice I sad Education…When we worked for MBNA before the BOA merger they always said you TRAIN animals and EDUCATED people…that always stuck with me) in how to run a specific program, skill or channel. What to look for, what screen do you have to be on, who button do you have to click. They do NOT do a great job in facilitating tone and delight in their calls. Most companies want to educate as fast as they can so they can have reps producing as quickly as possible even to the detriment to their client or customer. Remember you need to understand in the age of social media your customers will talk to others. We want them to be evangelists for our brand. We need to understand that as we train.

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Managing Associate and Supervisor Confrontation in a Call Center

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Confrontation in the work place is going to happen. How we manage it is a trained skill that all managers must have. Since I have run call centers for most of my life this is the example that I will use. These are some of the tactics that we cover in our management trainee program at my company Expivia Interaction Marketing. These can be very easily transferred to any manager who leads a team.

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“Sunshine Attitudes with an Entrepreneurial Mindset”: Effect of Culture on Hiring the Best Customer Service Associates

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Through the 25 years of running a contact center we have tried many different methods of trying to figure out what methods and what traits we look for when hiring the best customer service and sales associates for our center. Through all the years of trial and error, of trying everything from personality tests, job test and different interview tactics we believe we have found what we believe is the best method/system for getting the best associates in our contact center. This is what we have found works great here at Expivia.

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The 5 Absolutes for an Amazing Call Center and Customer Service Culture

culture

You learn some things after running contact centers for 20+ years. The following are 5 tips or to take that a step further, absolutes on changing or creating a great contact center culture in your customer service center.

“You can’t expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don’t exceed the employees’ expectations of management.” -Howard Shultz CEO Starbucks

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