Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Checklist before you Outsource your work offshore

Outsourcing is inevitable in today's world. The cost benefit due to difference in the currency values is an irresistible proposition for businesses. The inexpensive and abundant human resource of developing countries is just a click away. But in the wake of many frauds and data security threats, how can one ensure that you are outsourcing to a reliable center? After all, vendor is a third party. You have to make sure that the confidential data of your company and customers that you provide to vendor is in safe hands. Along with the business process, you also give them a share of your company's brand. If the outsourced work is not done up to optimum quality, then your brand image suffers.

Therefore, we provide you a list of criteria which you need to look into, before you finally zero in on an outsourcing vendor. If the vendor meets the following check list, then you can be assured that you have outsourced your project to the best vendor.

1- Is it offering the best price as per its domestic market?

Probably because you stay in a developed country so whatever the price they offer, it might seem like a pittance to you in your currency. But you need to convert this amount into their local currency, in order to determine what they are charging actually. You must compare the costs of various service providers only after converting them into their currency. After you have the prices in local currency, you may write them in order of costliest service providers on top and cheapest one in the bottom. Then pick out those in middle-range. You must not be tempted by the cheapest ones, because they might not assure you of the best quality. The upper middle cost range vendors are usually the most promising, as they offer quality levels of the top companies and are more competitively priced too.

2- Does it have a qualified and skilled team?

You must insist on knowing the educational credentials of the team which will work on your project to make sure that they are not drop outs or incompetent. You must insist for a skype chat with as many people from the vendor side as possible, preferably the actual team workers of this outsourcing non voice support service provider. This will give you a closer estimate of their intellectual competency.

3- Has the company made headlines for wrong reasons?

It is not difficult to dig up history in the age of internet. A normal search on the search engines can tell you if ever this company was involved in any malpractice or fraud. You must do individual searches of the people who constitute the management of the company also. If you find the slightest negative review of the company, then you ought to strike it out. The reliability of the company should be unquestioned.

1- Will they customize their services and SLA as per your requirements?
The vendor might claim to provide maximum BPO Customer Satisfaction but you need to check if it provides the specific services you want. The company should be willing to customize the services as per the need of the client. And not just services, but accordingly it should be able to make adjustments in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) as well to specifically suit your case.

These are the four essential questions you need to ask besides the other obvious ones like does it have a strong infrastructure, strong IT services, Offshore Chat Support Services etc.
And only after you test the BPO service provider on these criteria, should you finally outsource.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Six tips for call center agents to deal with emotional callers

Anger is not the only emotion which Call Center Agents have to face. You might have trained your Agents to handle aggressive irate callers, but what about the callers in a different emotional state.

If a Call Center in India has insurance process, then it will receive calls from people who have experienced a tragedy like a death, or an accident, and are claiming insurance. If a Call Center has a medical process, then it will receive calls by people who might be suffering themselves or whose close ones are critical. There can be, and have been instances when callers cry over the phone. Given below are some easy tips for Agents to handle emotional outbursts by callers:

  1. Be composed – When the caller is talking in an animated manner, you also might be tempted to also respond similarly. The tone of your voice is prone to change according to that of the caller. But you have to make an effort to not get disturbed and stay calm.

  2. Empathize – There is a slight difference in sympathizing and empathizing. You don’t have to pity your callers or express sorrow. You just have to acknowledge their feelings and give them a patient hearing. You may frequently use the phrase ‘yes, I understand’.

  3. Do not ask unnecessary details – A person who is so sad might have a tendency to narrate their story. This can make them even more emotional. You must not engage them in questions which are not relevant. You must not go beyond procuring of the necessary information.

  4. Don’t promise more than you can do – We have a tendency to console by saying the phrase ‘Everything will be alight’. But you should never even falsely say that you will make everything alright. Simply because you can’t. A better phrase to use is ‘I’ll do my best. I will see what can be done’

  5. Be prompt in action – The only thing that you can do to really help an aggrieved caller is, address their grievance. So make sure that you do their work without any delay. This is the best way to bring a smile to their face.

  1. Be patient in explaining – As the caller is emotionally stressed so their grasping power is affected. You might have to explain repeatedly, and in really simple words, to the customer. If you are an agent in an offshore technical support services, then you have to especially be very patient as technical issues are the most difficult to comprehend.

Call Centers in India are adept at handling various operations and offer various services like offshore inbound phone answering services, chat support Services, etc. But the mastery over this soft skill of dealing with emotional callers is what sets them apart!