Customer Service Trends to Watch Out For in 2022

The black swan event of the 21st century has without a doubt been COVID-19, a pandemic that has reshaped the way society organizes itself. With widespread lockdowns and quarantines in place, consumers and corporations alike have had to reorient themselves to a new way of living that means more and more of our previously in-person interactions now take place online.

Almost every industry has been affected by the pandemic, especially direct-to-consumer brands and businesses that need to service large customer bases. Now that the new-normal is remote and digital, companies are integrating outsourced customer service offerings to reach, service and cross-sell consumers.

Customer Service Representative

 

The Post-Pandemic Picture

The rapid integration of internet services across the planet and consumers’ pandemic-induced push into them has meant that business has gotten even more competitive over the past few years. Consumers now have a wide variety of brands, products and services accessible with just the tap of a smartphone screen, equalizing the playing field and allowing for the penetration of upstart firms alongside with the entrenchment of bigger players as well.

This is why it’s more vital than ever before for companies to create strong customer support teams to boost customer retention and create strong value propositions to attract new clientele.

The data back this up: surveys indicate that half of customers expect special treatment and status from the brands they do regular business with and utilize customer service as their top proxy for whether or not to trust a brand and do repeat business with it. Some studies indicate that a full one in four consumers expect proactive service from brands with which they interact.

In order to keep up in today’s extremely interconnected world businesses have to up their customer service offerings and provide top-notch communication, follow-up and detailed offerings to consumers. Read on to learn about the biggest trends to watch out for in customer service this year and how outsourced customer service offerings can help your firm achieve these goals.

 

Omnichannel Messaging Apps

With more people staying indoors and avoiding crowded stores, malls and indoor spaces due to lockdowns and quarantine restrictions, customers are going fully digital. Over half of online shoppers have indicated that they bought from an online retailer they’d never heard of before the pandemic, and a full 80% expect to stay with them.

Brands have turned to Messenger, WhatsApp and other popular messaging apps to handle the deluge of new customer service questions and requests accordingly. These messaging apps are widespread and easy to use, making interacting with your customers easier than ever before.

 

Millennials and younger users in particular have flocked to these apps, leading to over half of companies deciding to roll out new messaging channels to support customer service offerings. 

With live chat dominating as young consumers’ preferred method of communication, outsourced live chat offerings are becoming extremely attractive to firms looking to seamlessly deploy remote customer service representatives at scale and economical rates.

 

Chatbots and Automation

Oftentimes a consumer’s question has been asked before, and businesses are utilizing automation to generate automatic answers to the most common questions. This allows businesses to handle high-volumes of customer questions and provide accurate information to consumers.

This helps protect the company’s image and promotes customer loyalty by helping consumers troubleshoot quickly. Automation allows your team to handle all your customers’ questions while reducing wait times and the burden on the customer service team.

FAQs and automated responses have helped 71% of companies manage their influx of customer service requests over the course of the pandemic. With advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning enabling computers to answer more and more questions with each passing year, automation needs to be part of your business’ customer service strategy to help drive brand loyalty and improve your online image.

 

Remote Support Technology

With the full consequences of the pandemic still being played out, the prospects of returning to in-office work seem as hazy as ever. Now that workers have been pushed to working remotely for almost two full years, many firms and employees have grown accustomed to remote work setups. 

Businesses working with BPO providers have utilized remote staff to help in-house employees handle large volumes of customer service requests for decades already. As more businesses go virtual with their customer service, it’s become easier than ever to work with an outsourcing vendor to implement offshore customer service teams that can handle almost all a business’ customer relations needs.

This allows a business to protect its employees’ health and save time, money and resources, allocating its energies to core competencies and diversifying its revenue streams. 

To take full advantage of the remote support trend, however, businesses need to invest in remote support technologies that empower them to monitor, interact with and keep track of customer support representatives. These technologies allow employers to collect data on customer service representative performance on key metrics such as ticket resolution, wait times and customer satisfaction. 

These technologies are paving the way for managers to stay on top of customer service and drive their business forward with ever-improving product offerings.

Customer Service Representative

 

The New Normal: Adaptation

With the lockstep march towards digital integration across all aspects of the consumer journey, businesses must now adapt towards offering perennially-available customer service. In order to stay on top of the competition and attract new customers, businesses must get used to constantly adapting to the new business environment and the challenges of new technologies disrupting the field. 

Implementing dedicated customer service teams can be distracting and difficult for many businesses whose core expertise lies in other areas. This is why many businesses are turning to outsourcing providers such as Sara Call Center to help keep up with their customer service needs. 

 

Discover Outsourced Customer Service Today!

By outsourcing your customer service needs to Sara Call Center your firm can enjoy savings of up to 70% with our cost-effective labor practices. We take care of screening, hiring and training for you to help your firm retain customers, boost its bottom line and keep growing at steady rates.

Get in touch today to learn how Sara Call can provide your firm with outsourced customer service offerings.

 

10 Tips for Finding the Right BPO Provider

When choosing to outsource, picking the right BPO partner is of utmost importance. Outsourcing non-core in-house functions can be a great strategy to help your firm reduce overhead costs, reduce time spent on training, offer more services and products and scale up quickly. 

But choosing the wrong partner can make your venture into the outsourcing world more troublesome and time-consuming than keeping work in-house. That’s why it’s extremely important to make sure your partner is a trusted and experienced firm with a track record of success in the sector. In this blog post we outline how to pick the right BPO partner and enjoy the full advantages of outsourcing.

Business Planning

1. Familiarize Yourself with Management

In your journey into the outsourcing world you will need to interact regularly with the executive and management branches of your BPO firm. Make sure you are interacting with trustworthy executives and managers with a track record of accomplishment in the field. They will be the ones overseeing the projects and engagements you choose to outsource, so choosing excellent management is key.

2. Track Record and Experience

Next, ask for references to ascertain the firm’s track record and experience. Have they been in the outsourcing field for a significant amount of time? How many clients do they currently have, and are any of them similar to your firm? How do they ensure the success of each client? Ask performance-based questions that will help you ascertain their effectiveness in delivering what you need.

 

3. Ascertain Communication Effectiveness

Communication is key when it comes to outsourcing business projects. Communication and transparency help ensure that projects are set to be executed on time and that deliverables meet the quality your firm is demanding. Also consider language – if you need an English, Italian, German or French-speaking partner, consider a BPO vendor in Albania where these languages are commonly spoken by the majority of people.

 

4. Geography and Time Zone Differences

Only consider providers in economically sound and politically stable countries so that macroeconomic and political trends don’t interrupt your business dealings. Also take into account the time difference between your home office and the outsourcing partner – will you need to communicate with them in real-time? Or will they be providing 24/7 customer service in shifts? Since time zones can create difficulty in terms of scheduling and communication, make sure that the geographical differences make sense for your business.

Call Center Agent

5. Availability of Talent & Resources

Seek talent where it can be found – different countries boast different levels of general technical and soft-skill infrastructure. Your provider will need access to a wide pool of talent that can help your project scale up easily, so make sure they are located in a city and country with excellent educational infrastructure. Also make sure to ask about staff retention rates, as low rates will make your engagement costlier and less productive.

 

6. Costs, Fees and Rates

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch! In the BPO world, the lower the hourly rate quoted the more likely your work is to be lower-quality. Just because a provider is offering affordable rates does not mean that they will meet your expectations and provide the quality of work you need. Make sure you ask a lot of questions about what’s included and mention every relevant detail in the SLA you sign.

 

7. Protection of Intellectual Property & Confidentiality

Make sure the systems and requirements you have in place protect your intellectual property and that the outsourcing provider likewise has protocols that ensure confidentiality and protection. Otherwise, a cost-saving engagement can turn into an expensive legal battle over your firm’s valuable IP and trade secrets.

 

8. Culture, Values and Norms

Make sure to choose an outsourcing partner who shares your values, goals and general philosophy. Compatible values and work norms will set your firm on the path to success as it works in tandem with your BPO provider. If your in-house and offshored teams do not mesh well due to cultural differences that can bear out in terms of communication, work quality and style, your entire organization will suffer. 

 

9. Infrastructure & Technology

To get the most out of your outsourcing setup, make sure you have technology and infrastructure in place to facilitate sharing of documents, communication across teams and access to sundry databases. A top-notch outsourcer will provide you with a safe and effective transition of your in-house functions to their offshore team. They will work with you to make sure that systems are in place to manage all technical aspects of the collaboration including file sharing, data storage, operational optimization and cybersecurity. 

Outsourcing

10. Physical Facilities

Some firms prefer to visit their partner’s physical facilities before signing on the dotted line. This can be a great way to familiarize yourself with your BPO partner and build rapport, giving you insight into their operations, work style and the quality of their talent. 

 

The Benefits of Outsourcing

It can all seem intimidating at first, but outsourcing offers business myriad benefits:

  • Scaling up staffing without the stress and hassle of screening, interviewing and hiring
  • Enjoying the benefits of a multilingual, omnichannel team ready to service clients anywhere and anytime on the planet
  • Cutting on costs while accessing a large labor pool of talented and skilled staff
  • Flexibly scale and cut down on staffing as your needs wax and wane

 

Find out more – Sara Call Center is here to help!

Sara Call Center has been helping international firms since our founding in 2012 to set up outsourcing teams and access highly talented staff in Albania. From helping you find the right solutions, hire the right personnel and set up the optimal campaigns, we are available to help take your business to the next level – get in touch, today!

The 7 Secrets to Successful Outsourcing

The dizzying rate of growth many global companies experience is now the norm, with everyone from tech to healthcare to insurance and ecommerce companies looking for ways to rapidly grow their user base and sustain that growth with reliable customer service, back office, data entry and marketing services.

This makes it ever-more vital for your business to focus on what it does best rather than on administrative, secondary tasks that aren’t core to your area of expertise. This is why many companies turn to BPO vendors such as Sara Call Center. Working with an experienced outsourcing partner provides flexibility, agility and cost efficiencies to your firm so it can stay focused on big-picture projects.

Outsourcing has helped many companies achieve their positions of global domination – but the journey can seem daunting to those not familiar with the process. What are the keys to success when it comes to outsourcing? Below we list out the seven secrets that every successful company with experience in BPO already utilizes to get the most out of their outsourcing engagement.

1. Set Concrete Goals and Define KPIs

When setting up an outsourced team it’s vital to first know your goals. For example, many businesses outsourcing back office needs want to save money and reduce in-house burnout. Set up KPIs (key performance indicators) such as retention rate and hours saved per week to track how your set up with the outsourcing vendor is working out. Many executives find it helpful to consult with local staff on the most difficult pain points and where an outsourced team might be most helpful. Once you have answered the questions of what you need help with and what your hoped-for measurable results are, you are ready to get started with the next step.

2. Delineate the Roles and Responsibilities to Outsource

From marketing to back office to IT to accounting, there are plenty of roles that can be staffed remotely or outsourced. Administrative tasks that are repetitive are especially easy and productive roles to outsource. Once you have identified the roles and tasks you want help with (anything that is essential to the running of your business should probably be kept in-house) you are ready to find a BPO partner.

3. Find Your Trusted BPO Vendor

There are many BPO vendors out there specializing in different fields. The success of your outsourcing project will hinge upon selecting the one with the best staff to execute your tasks and deliver value to your firm. Check the basics, first – does the company have a track record of success, management in place to perform quality checks on deliverables, high retention rates and access to the latest technology? Then ensure that the vendor has the right cultural competency, skillset and capacity to meet your outsourcing needs. Go through multiple consultations and make sure you are picking the right vendor for your project needs.

 

4. Calculate Costs

While labor costs in different locales can mean up to 70% in savings for your firm, your firm stands to lose money if your outsourcing setup isn’t done correctly. Beyond simply sourcing talent from another locale, outsourcing helps you set up efficient, specialized overseas teams that can get the work done faster because of their distinctive knowledge in a specific service area. Pick a call center or outsourcing vendor with a history of success, active accounts and expertise in your areas of need – tapping into their product offering will give your firm the leg up on the competition and provide access to services otherwise not available to you.

 

5. Set Clear Expectations

Communication is key when working with an outsourcing vendor. Communicate and set clear expectations, deliverables and deadlines. Provide a business development plan and timelines and schedule regular touch-bases to make sure everything is running smoothly, especially in the beginning of your outsourcing engagement. This will help your BPO partners understand your goals and focus on what’s important to you. Rather than letting them read your mind, communicate your expectations and needs clearly to reduce execution errors and so your partner can provide the best service.

 

6. Face Challenges Head On

There will inevitably be challenges and roadblocks on your road to outsourcing. Evaluate possible risks in areas such as tech, legal, brand safety and business development and communicate them directly to your BPO provider. This will help you create opportunities for success and to avert the pitfalls that some firms fall into when outsourcing their work.

Call Center Staff

7. Maximize the Benefits of BPO

The ideal outsourcing partner will become an extension of your existing firm, supporting you at every turn. They will help you evolve your team, strategies and goals themselves to maximize sales, reduce costs and find new and service existing clients. You will need to continuously focus your efforts on your core business, and outsourcing will help take the strain of managing tertiary tasks off your shoulders. A smart outsourcing agreement sets your firm up for success and helps you focus on the core competencies which give your business its competitive edge.

Find out more – Sara Call Center is here to help!

Sara Call Center has been helping international firms since our founding in 2012 to set up outsourcing teams and access highly talented staff in Albania. From helping you find the right solutions, hire the right personnel and set up the optimal campaigns, we are available to help take your business to the next level – get in touch, today!

The 5 Do’s & Don’ts Of Successfully Managing Remote Teams

With many companies turning to remote workforces to help them meet their business objectives, a large percentage of firms find themselves struggling to extract all the value they can from their BPO set-ups. In this blog post we discuss how to reap the highest possible ROI from a remote workforce and add the most value to your operations.

Maintaining ongoing growth and managing existing workloads can be tricky in today’s business environment, and utilizing outsourced teams is a great way to do just that. By utilizing offshore teams, companies are reducing overhead and staffing costs, scaling faster and maintaining the flexibility to move as quickly as possible with agile staffing solutions. Outsourcing gives companies access to highly-educated and talented employees that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to source locally to provide support in different time zones and languages.

Here are our top five tips for getting the most value out of your remote team:

1. Don’t: Be Inflexible

Different employees have different needs; not everyone works the same. While some of your staff might thrive working 100% remotely, others benefit from coming in person to an office every day or a few times a week to work distraction-free. As a business manager it’s important to keep an open line of communication with your remote team to see what is and isn’t working for them.

Mandating everyone on a remote team come into the office can make employees feel constrained and under-appreciated; it is vital to understand what does and doesn’t work for your staff. How do they stay engaged to reach their full potential, and how can you support them? Such a small investment on management’s side can pay handsome dividends in the long run.

2. Do: Take Advantage of Available Technology

The rise of Zoom and other video conferencing applications during the pandemic has proven to be a sticky business development, with more companies than ever turning to technology to improve collaboration on cross-team projects. Most companies now have policies in place to allow even local staff to work from home at least once a week as video chat and instant messaging make it easier than ever for managers to stay connected with staff at all times.

Aside from teleconferencing, popular work management tools like Asana and Trello make it easy to track work progress in real time, while Google and Microsoft offer a whole suite of free tools to keep your team connected at all times. The latter has even made its legacy Office apps on the web free!

3. Don’t: Skip Regular Check-Ins

While every manager hopes to hire staff that can get the job done with minimal oversight, even the highest-performing employee benefits from regularly touching base with management. These check-ins can be utilized to establish rapport and familiarity, discuss ongoing projects and engagements, troubleshoot issues as they come up and brainstorm solutions to keep projects on track.

Different team structures will require different check-in cadences:

  • Some teams find a fifteen-minute status in the middle of the day every working day is a great tool to keep junior staff motivated and focused
  • More experienced staff might benefit from a weekly or twice-a-week check-in
  • One popular work set-up calls for a Monday morning check-in, followed by a Wednesday afternoon pulse check and a final Friday touch-base

During these check-ins it’s useful to work with a set agenda or project tracker displaying work progress, stakeholders, deadlines and relevant notes.

4. Do: Nurture Employee Potential with Training

With the pandemic driving everyone online to get their work done, many employees are finding more time for reskilling and learning new things through digital webinars and online tutorials. Providing your remote staff with fixed amounts of time during the week to become more knowledgeable on topics in their field shows them that you are committed to their development and promotes higher retention and loyalty. You will also start to see the benefits of an experienced staff that brings its newfound learnings to the workplace.

Setting up your employees for success contributes to your business’s bottom line: happy and capable employees stay longer, contribute more to the firm and help train each other. Strengthen your business by investing in your staff.

5. Do: Develop Outstanding Work Culture

The office isn’t simply a place to work – your employees spend a good chunk of their waking hours there, and if they don’t feel appreciated and welcomed, they won’t be motivated to get work done. Managing a remote team is more than just ticking boxes off a list: it’s about creating a sense of camaraderie around the work your staff do, celebrating achievements and recognizing the growth of every individual.

When your firm hits its milestones, share that with the team. If someone goes above and beyond to provide excellent customer service or an outstanding deliverable, recognize it at one of your status meetings. A little bit of recognition goes a long way, and appreciated employees are more likely to stay with your firm and provide high-quality work.

At Sara Call we love to invest in our staff and show them our appreciation with quarterly team outings. While these events help improve staff retention, they also provide employees chances to make new relationships and build a sense of community at work. With the top reason for people quitting being dissatisfaction with their manager or work environment, creating a positive work culture is vital to retaining staff and propping up the bottom line.

Looking for tips on how to best manage your remote workforce?

Sara Call’s BPO experts are here to help. We have been helping firms looking for talent in Albania, the Philippines and India for a decade, with experience in customer service, sales, lead generation and more. From helping you get started with dedicated virtual assistants, fine-tuning high-performing teams or sourcing remote workers, we are available to help your business meet its needs. Get in touch today!