It’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic put a wrench in our plans to grow this year. Yet, instead of being disheartened about the current state of your business and future …Read More »
It’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic put a wrench in our plans to grow this year. Yet, instead of being disheartened about the current state of your business and future prospects, now is the time to see how you can reinvent your company and keep your customers. In this post, we will look at creative and successful ways to bring your post-pandemic customers back to your business.
Win Back Your Post-Pandemic Customers with a Customer-First Strategy
To ensure that your customer relationships outlast the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to have a customer-first strategy. This includes understanding what your customers need from you and how you can offer that in a safe and secure way. Let’s look at these 5 ways to win back post-pandemic customers.
1. Gather New Customer Insights & Preferences
The first step to implementing a customer-first strategy for your post-pandemic customers is focusing on what they need. Gather information about customer insights and preferences by asking them, conducting social media polls, and getting your marketing team on task. Brainstorm ways in which you can surprise your customers or make them feel valued. Thank you notes or emails, complimentary presents for using your service, etc., are some ways to get their attention and make them feel welcomed.
2. Demonstrate What You Are Doing to Stay Safe
Since individual and collective safety is of utmost importance at this time, you will need to show your customers what your business is doing to stay safe. Social media posts and an email detailing your safety plan can go a long way in gaining their trust. Some ways to display good and safe practices include:
Keeping your website and online transactions secure from hackers
Highlighting employee safety regulations; what employees are doing to stay safe and healthy
All of this information not only educates your customers about the virus and how your business is dealing with it but also helps them trust you and your employees enough to make a purchase.
3. Offer Multichannel Communication & Support
Besides offering phone and email support, you may even consider other channels of communication. For example, instant messaging, social media engagement, live chat, and video conferencing. Video conferencing can go a long way in interacting with a potential customer, doing product demonstrations, and securing their purchases.
4. Prepare for Antsy and Worried Customers
Now this one is important. There is general anxiety all over the world right now. And so, your customers may be angry, worried, or antsy. But be mindful and respectful of this. Treat them with kindness. Be prepared with solutions to their issues and concerns. And you will gain global customers for the long-run.
5. Make it Easy for Customers to Come Back to Your Business
Encourage your post-pandemic customers to come back. It is not going to be easy, which is why your business must attempt to make it convenient for them to return. Shower them with deals and promotions, membership programs, let them know how much you miss them. These actions will reap results in the future when everything opens up again.
Prepare For When the Pandemic is Over
Remember that even if customers do not immediately start purchasing from your business, they will remember the above initiatives when the pandemic is over. They will know that your business did everything it could to ensure safety and customer satisfaction, and that will also influence them to come back. Work now so that when COVID-19 is gone, your business is the first thing customers think about!
Call centers are everywhere and if you want to up your game and become a reliable call center, then you need to make some changes. Here we outline 20 proven …Read More »
Call centers are everywhere and if you want to up your game and become a reliable call center, then you need to make some changes. Here we outline 20 proven tips and call center best practices to help you grow positively.
Call Center Best Practices: Proven Tips for 2020
The following list of best practices for call centers is meant to help you enhance the way agents interact with customers as well as improve overall call center productivity.
1. Focus on Customer Experience
Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance when considering call center best practices. This includes good product development, offering satisfactory customer service, and improving customer experience. Customers interact with your business through different mediums: website, chat, phone, email, etc. Ensure that their experience on all these channels is acceptable and excellent. Some ways to do so include:
Watching these metrics can help you identify areas of strengths and weaknesses within your call center. Then based on this information, you can train employees to better meet the company’s standards and mission.
3. Train Agents Effectively
This one goes without saying. Training agents is a must. Do not just assume that newcomers who have worked in other call centers will do their jobs as you desire. Train them for your company’s specific needs and goals. Furthermore, they may not be familiar with your management systems, technology, or software. Use webinars, guides, workshops, etc., to help employees understand how processes work and how to achieve goals set by the company.
4. Reduce Agent Turnover Rates
Agent turnover rate refers to the percent of agents quitting a call center. This is an important KPI to track because it is better to retain your agents than constantly hire new agents. Understand that working in a call center can be monotonous with little to no reward. At times, agents may even feel overburdened or unable to achieve goals set for them. Taking care of your employees is extremely crucial to reducing agent turnover rates and increasing the chances of good customer satisfaction rates. After all, happy employees lead to happy customers.
5. Consider Work-from-Home
Work-from-home as an employment option is growing more popular. And with advancements in VoIP technology, it is now possible to work from a call center from the comfort of one’s home. Being able to offer this option can help employees save on commuting costs while providing them with flexibility. This in turn helps reduce agent turnover rates. Plus, it helps your call center offer jobs beyond your immediate location. This way, you can hire agents in different states and even different countries, making your call center more geographically accessible.
6. Invest in the Right Virtual Call Center Software
Virtual call center software supports on-premise as well as virtual call centers. It comes with a variety of features that help your employees manage calls better and produce desirable results. Common virtual call center software features include:
Call forwarding and routing options based on location, time, skills, agent history, customer history, etc.
Outbound calling with web dialers and dynamic caller IDs
Black and white lists
SIP trunking to enable voice and video transmission over the internet
Simultaneous ringing, and much more
7. Consider Workforce Optimization Solutions
Workforce optimization (WFO) software can ensure workforce satisfaction and productivity. With workforce optimization solutions, you can track quality and performance. All of this helps you manage your workforce better in ways that are beneficial to you as well as your employees.
8. Record Business Calls
Recording and reviewing business calls can assist managers in studying how their agents are performing. You may choose to review failed calls to see what went wrong or successful calls to see what went right. Managers can even review early recordings of a newly hired employee to help them with ways to improve their interactions. Recording VoIP calls also gives agents an incentive to do well as they know they are being recorded.
9. Use an Outbound Calling Service
An outbound calling service supports your outbound call strategies by making it inexpensive and easy to connect with local, long-distance, and international customers. Such a virtual communication service comes with a customizable caller ID. With this feature, you can choose which of your purchased numbers to display as the outgoing caller ID. Display toll free or local numbers when calling different states or countries and present your company as a local one.
10. Regularly Check in with Agents
One of the top and most commonly practiced call center best practices is to regularly monitor the performance of your agents. How are they performing? Are they overburdened or taking on too many or too few calls? How long are they taking to complete post-call activities? Are they struggling with the software or technology used? And so on. Checking in with them will help you get a better idea of how your call center is running and what, if any, changes need to be made.
11. Choose Easy-to-Use Software
Agents and employees at a call center will find themselves using a variety of software to track and store information and more. For this reason, ensure that the software you’ve selected is easy to use and learn. Agents should not have to spend days and weeks learning how to use these systems.
12. Use Automation Appropriately
Consider using automated IVR systems to appropriately distribute incoming calls. This ensures callers receive help from the right department or agent. It can also be used to equally distribute calls among agents so that no one employee is over- or under-burdened. Calls can be routed under different rules such as:
Location-based routing — based on where the call is coming from
Time-based routing — based on the time of day of the call
Skill-based routing — based on agent skills needed
Least occupied routing — routes calls to agents who have answered the least amount of calls
Regular routing — routes calls down a predetermined list of agents
13. Get the Right Project Management & CRM Systems
Project management and CRMs are necessary to store, track, and share important customer information in any call center. Find systems that work well for your needs. You may even consider free trials at the beginning to see which ones are most suited and easy to use.
14. Offer Real-Time and Multi-Channel Support
More recently, call centers are offering real-time support through multiple channels such as phone, email, live chat, trouble tickets, and more. In order to step up your customer service game, it is highly recommended to offer more channels of communication. You may even consider chatbots, online knowledge bases with guides to common issues, an IVR system, and more to offer callers and users quicker ways to resolve their queries.
15. Provide 24/7 Customer Service
Most customers also expect 24/7 customer service from a company they are doing business with. Being able to offer customer service whenever a customer needs it can greatly impact customer satisfaction and retention. Here is where multi-channel support comes into play. Chatbots and IVR systems can provide solutions to common issues or FAQs. Guides or knowledge bases only can help users resolve their queries on their own; it is best to offer a range of options to fulfill as many needs as possible. This way, even if an agent is not immediately available, they can get help another way.
16. Improve First Call Resolution Rates
First call resolution rate refers to the percent of calls resolved on the first try. As a call center manager, this is an important KPI to track and maintain. A good FCR rate implies quick and effective customer service. And this can directly impact customer satisfaction rates. To resolve calls on the first try, agents need to be well-versed in their knowledge of the product or service and possible issues that come up. Provide agents with easy access to necessary information so they can offer help quickly.
17. Use VoIP to Expand Your Team
A VoIP phone system or cloud phone system can revolutionize your call center’s communication. Such a system enables agents to work and stay connected from any location. It also gives you access to virtual communication features and software as well as access to a multitude of virtual phone numbers. All of this is possible while keeping your monthly bill low.
18. Collect Customer Feedback and Conduct Satisfaction Surveys
One of the most important call center best practices includes collecting customer feedback to improve your service. You can gather feedback through surveys via email, phone, IVR systems, SMS, chat, etc. Customer feedback is essential to understanding the customer experience. Oftentimes, even if you think your call center is doing well, there may be certain aspects you are overlooking and surveys can help highlight these areas. Develop your surveys based on specific areas you want to get feedback on and then use the feedback to make necessary changes.
19. Prepare Guides and Knowledge Bases
Create easy-to-understand guides and knowledge bases that can be used by agents as well as customers. You may choose to create two versions; one for agents and one for customers. The point of such guides or content that provides quick solutions and support is so that when the need arises, agents can help customers and at times, customers can help themselves. Being able to resolve concerns quickly is instrumental in retaining valuable customers.
20. Stay Open to Change
Finally, be open to change. Any call center manager worth their salt is open to feedback, criticism, and change. Change implies growth and you should always look for ways to grow and expand your business.
Put These Call Center Best Practices to Use
Now it’s time to apply these call center best practices and give your agents the support they need. While these tips may not prove useful to your specific business, choose the ones that are most applicable. For information about virtual phone systems and call center software, contact us at 1 (888) 908 6171 today!
Supporting a global customer base may seem overwhelming and unattainable. However, with the right tools and business moves, bringing aboard more global customers can be a piece of cake. Here …Read More »
Supporting a global customer base may seem overwhelming and unattainable. However, with the right tools and business moves, bringing aboard more global customers can be a piece of cake. Here are 8 proven tactics to appeal to an international customer base.
How to Get More Global Customers: 8 Surefire Tips
Bringing on new global customers requires a few different strategies working at the same time. For example, you will need to increase business visibility and awareness through advertising and international marketing. Then, you will have to make your business easily accessible to customers in these global markets. Read on for specific tactics you can use to entice new customers as you expand globally.
1. Hire Locals
Work with local recruiters to bring locals on board who know how to work within these target markets. Hiring locals means you can offer customer support in that area’s time zone and in regional languages. Furthermore, these employees know what the purchasing and buying culture is like within that country, state, or city. And this information can be used to better appeal to customers and vendors.
2. Work with Remote Teams
Hiring employees for global markets does not always mean opening field offices or relocating your current employees. You can easily hire and manage remote workers and teams by using a virtual phone system that allows users to conduct business communications from any location and any device. This lets you hire locals without needing to worry about getting an office space, equipment, etc. This helps you keep communication costs low as well as save on moving or office costs.
3. Plan to Offer Customer Support in Different Time Zones
To reach maximum global customers, it is important to offer support in current time zones. This means making your agents available in the time zone of the region you are targeting. This can be done by hiring locals from the countries or regions where you want to offer global customer support. Then, you can have incoming calls forwarded to those agents and remote workers during certain times of the day through time-based routing or location-based routing. This way, global customers can get support quickly.
4. Invest in Multilingual Support Tools
A global expansion best practice is being able to reach global customers in languages and terms they understand and appreciate. More than 29% of businesses in a recent survey conducted by Inside Intercom said that they lost customers by not offering multilingual support. This is why it’s essential to use multilingual support tools to make your business more accessible. Consider investing in:
Machine translation features to translate your website
Chatbots that support different languages, etc.
This can help you reach a larger audience and improve brand awareness and visibility giving your business an international reputation.
5. Consider Automation
Automation can help offer support when agents are unavailable. For instance, you can develop a cloud IVR system to answer incoming calls, identify the purpose of the call, and take action accordingly. This automated voice response service will interact with callers, ask pre-determined questions, and present callers with pre-recorded menu options. Then, based on caller input, the system will offer support, transfer the caller to the right agent, or send them to voicemail. The same goes for chatbots.
These automation services can help reduce the burden agents feel by taking care of smaller concerns, giving employees the time needed to work on more complicated issues. Automation also helps provide support during off-hours and the weekend, making your business more reachable to global customers when they need you most.
6. Use Multiple Social Media Platforms
If your business is not on social media platforms, then it is lacking in business awareness. Social media has grown into an important and effective global marketing tool. Use your platforms to demonstrate your business’ (geographical) reach, its values and products, customer reviews, events, and more. Engage with followers, respond to queries and concerns, and adopt a neutral, non-political stance.
7. International SEO
Consider search engine optimization or SEO for international marketing. This usually includes boosting your website and increasing your business’ visibility through country targeting and language targeting. Develop content that is original and relevant and use keywords that will draw local as well as international traffic to your website.
8. Display Quality Testimonials and Reviews
Lastly, highlight reviews and testimonials from your global customers. Social proof goes a long way in showing new prospects how your business values its customers and how your business works. You may even choose to publish case studies on successful clients, detailing how your product or service benefits them, and so on.
Need Communication Tools to Reach Global Customers?
Global Call Forwarding can help you get the right communications tools for global expansion. Call us today at 1 (561) 908 6171 to find out how we can help you improve the customer experience for your global customers.
Dealing with a difficult or angry customer can be tricky, yet it is a common occurrence in the customer service industry. And because it happens so often, customer service employees …Read More »
Dealing with a difficult or angry customer can be tricky, yet it is a common occurrence in the customer service industry. And because it happens so often, customer service employees and agents need to be prepared to deal with such customers. In this post, we discuss 7 proven tips to help you deal with difficult customers while doing your job effectively!
Dealing with a Difficult Customer? Try These 7 Tips
Quite often customer service teams are not trained specifically to deal with angry or difficult customers. This can lead to conflicts and the loss of a potentially valuable customer. For this reason, it is important to practice the below tips so you are better equipped to work with disgruntled clients.
1. Adopt Active and Reflective Listening
The first step to dealing with an angry customer is identifying the issue. And to do so, you need to listen carefully. Listen to your customer actively to identify what their concern is so you can find the appropriate solution. Another tactic is reflective listening where you pay attention to what the other is saying and then respond by reflecting the thoughts and feelings heard. For example:
Customer: “I’m annoyed because your service has the features we need but does not fit our budget.” Agent: “What I understand is that your budget is limited and we are not offering you any discounts or promotions that fit your requirement.” Or, “Tell me more so that I can understand better and find the right solution for you.”
When you are practicing reflective listening, be careful not to promise a definitive solution to the problem. For issues such as pricing, you will need to check with supervisors and managers before you give the customer exactly what they need. But when interacting with the difficult customer, you must focus on listening and identifying the issue while making them feel heard.
2. Keep Calm and Focus on the Process
It is easy in a hostile situation to lose your calm (even slightly) and get nervous. However, remember that conflict and disagreement are common in business. But how you respond to conflict is essential because it determines your relationships with your employers as well as your customers.
Even in the heat of the moment, make an attempt to treat your customers with respect and consideration. Lower your voice, take deep breaths, and maintain a professional tone. Additionally, try to resolve disputes while over the phone. And ask for help, if you need it.
3. Try to Genuinely Empathize with the Customer
Besides listening to the difficult customer, try to empathize with them. Call them by their name, instead of “sir” or “ma’am.” Pull up their customer records so that you know their history with the company. Make them feel heard and valued and treat them as an individual person as opposed to just another customer. This can go a long way in calming the customer down and arriving at a solution.
Most businesses should have some kind of knowledge base or support center that agents and employees can use when dealing with customers. If your company does not have one, it may be helpful to suggest it. This knowledgebase can help you:
Walk customers through common processes
De-escalate conflict with useful strategies
Set up audio/video recording
Get help from a fellow employee or supervisor
5. Demonstrate That You Are Taking Their Issue Seriously
Provide realistic solutions and avoid sounding monotonous. If you are repeating a script that you use with other customers without personalizing it, the customer will recognize this and become even more agitated. You need to demonstrate that you are taking their case seriously without simply saying it.
6. Don’t Take it Personally
This is hard to do when certain customers target their anger towards you instead of the issue they are facing. However, remember that this is not a personal problem. At the end of the day, the customer does not know who you are. And since you are the only way they can interact with the company, their anger is targeted towards you. Avoid taking it personally and attacking the customer back. Instead, apply the above tips to diffuse the tension.
7. Follow Up and Ask for Help, if Needed
Finally, if the problem is above your paygrade or the interaction gets too intense, then it may be prudent to ask a co-worker or manager for help. Let the angry customer know that you will contact them again with a solution or to follow up, and make sure that you do.
Dealing with Difficult Customers Can Be Hard, But Not Impossible
Different customers will require different methods of interaction. Use your discretion but learn from mistakes. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask for help from managers and bosses who may be able to offer additional options for handling tricky situations properly.
Expanding internationally and entering new markets can be unsuccessful if not planned properly. One of the most important parts of global expansion is preparing to communicate overseas and across borders. …Read More »
Expanding internationally and entering new markets can be unsuccessful if not planned properly. One of the most important parts of global expansion is preparing to communicate overseas and across borders. What are some useful communication tools for international businesses?
Global Expansion: Useful Communication Tools
The following 7 global expansion communication tools can help you maintain good communication with your employees as well as future clientele when you expand internationally.
1. International Business Numbers
First and foremost, consider using international toll free numbers. These are essentially toll free numbers for international countries. Depending on where you want to expand, you can get international toll free numbers for that area. For example, if your US business wants to extend sales to Asia, you can get India or Singapore toll free numbers, and so on. Calls made to these numbers can be forwarded internationally to a number or device of your choice, including your US office.
Individuals calling from these countries will think of your number like any other local numbers and your business as locally accessible. This allows you to enter new markets and encourage customers to call your business number for free. And since you use an international toll free service, you won’t be paying high international calling rates. Instead, you pay according to your subscription plan.
2. Local Phone Numbers
Virtual local phone numbers are numbers with local area codes. These are useful when you are targeting specific states, cities, or regions in different countries. For instance, you can get a Dubai local number or a Sydney local number. Locals calling a local number are charged regular rates, even if the call is forwarded internationally to your business in the US.
Both ITFS and local phone numbers give your international clientele and business contacts convenient and inexpensive ways to connect with your business, irrespective of its location.
3. Outbound Calling
Outbound calling is a telecom service that supports your outgoing and cold-calling efforts. An outbound calling strategy will help you contact local and international customers through any device or number. You can even display a local or domestic toll free number as your outgoing caller ID to present your business as local. Global Call Forwarding’s outbound calling service comes with a web dialer that is easy to install and use. You can save contacts, update caller history, and more with our dialer.
4. Live Chat and 24/7 Customer Support
Offering live chat on your website with either agents or chatbots can assist web visitors who want to learn about your products and services or need troubleshooting help. You may choose to hire remote agents located in the areas falling under your global expansion strategy. These agents can provide around-the-clock customer support via chat and phone conversations. They will also be able to offer services in regional and local languages and time zones.
You may also consider getting an SMS plan along with your business number. Doing so will give interested prospects another easy method of contact. While most customers prefer to interact via phone calls, some customers prefer email or text messaging. You can appeal to this target group by making the option available.
6. Ticketing and Problem Tracking Software
Additionally, having a reliable ticket or case tracking system will prove useful when customers need quick support. Consider investing in an online help desk that allows customers to submit a ticket and track the ticket’s progress. Furthermore, train employees to quickly resolve tickets as they come up. This can help increase customer satisfaction and trust in the company.
7. Social Intranet
A social intranet refers to a private hub or network that only certain members of an organization have access to. A social intranet for your business can enable internal communication and collaboration. You can develop your office’s intranet by using a content or project management system. Furthermore, an intranet is a recommended solution for companies executing a Bring Your Own Device or “BYOD” policy.
Prepare Well for Global Expansion
To successfully enter your business in the global market, one must be prepared in many ways. And global or virtual communication becomes an important aspect. To learn more about how Global Call Forwarding can help you build a strong communication system, speak with our global specialists today!
Is global expansion on your agenda for 2020? Then it’s time to look at the top 5 countries to consider expanding to this year. Here we highlight countries to consider …Read More »
Is global expansion on your agenda for 2020? Then it’s time to look at the top 5 countries to consider expanding to this year. Here we highlight countries to consider and resources such as important contacts and business phone numbers.
Global Expansion in 2020: Top Countries to Consider
This list of top countries for global expansion in 2020 is based on:
Availability of skills
Quality of infrastructure
Complexity of the landscape
What do you need to make your global expansion successful? Here are a few best practices to pay attention to:
Before entering new markets:
Conduct market research to determine which countries are suitable for your business
Plan how to target and enter these markets
Test marketing to see how your product may do in new markets
While entering new markets:
Local authorities to work with
Local partnerships to develop
Business phone numbers to establish contact
International SEO to boost marketing strategies
Once you’ve entered and established business in the new market:
International toll free service to offer locals a free way to contact your business
24/7 customer support to increase customer satisfaction
Regional offices to develop a stronger local presence
Keeping these in mind, let’s now look at the top 5 countries to consider for global expansion:
Singapore continues to attract international attention with its flexible market, strategic location, and favorable environment for foreign investment. Singapore ranks high for the availability of skills and innovation.
Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
EntrePass — a work pass for foreign, international business-owners.
Denmark has been and continues to be one of the easiest Scandinavian countries to enter and do business with. Additionally, Denmark is also home to much highly-skilled talent across numerous industries.
Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:
Register of Foreign Service Providers (RUT)
Danish Business Authority
Danish Tax Agency’s online service — TastSelvErhverv
Irrespective of Hong Kong’s current social and political instability, it ranks high in the interest of US and UK tech companies. This is due to its growth and development, dense population, competitive advantages as well as access to premier talent.
Local Authorities to Pay Attention to:
Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) System
Business Facilitation Advisory Committee (BFAC)
Economic and Employment Council (EEC) and Business Facilitation Team
Business Liaison Groups (BLGs)
Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA)
Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs (SUCCESS)
Expanding to these countries is much easier thanks to advancements in technology and telecommunications. You can start by establishing connections through business virtual phone numbers, testing the market, and then gradually moving physically. We here at Global Call Forwarding can help you communicate globally with ease and without dramatically increasing your expenses. Learn how today; call or chat with us now!
How do you decide if a Bring Your Own Device or BYOD policy is right for your business? More and more employees are attracted to working remotely or on their …Read More »
How do you decide if a Bring Your Own Device or BYOD policy is right for your business? More and more employees are attracted to working remotely or on their own devices. And doing so can positively impact productivity and efficiency. But can your business handle such a policy?
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy: What Are the Pros and Cons?
Before we delve into the advantages and disadvantages of a BYOD policy, let’s first have a look at what is a BYOD policy. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) refers to a business practice where employers let employees use their own devices and tools for work-related purposes. A bring your own devices policy can be based on:
Employees using their devices with or without IT control
Use of devices with limited or no local storage
Use of devices for non-sensitive tasks
With growing remote-working trends, the need for a BYOD policy seems more and more prevalent. Such a policy ensures that business continues even in the middle of a pandemic where employees work outside of the office.
However, as with any new policy, one must consider the pros and cons before committing. Let’s have a look at why you should implement a Bring Your Own Device work practice.
Pros of a BYOD Policy
So, why are more and more businesses considering adopting a BYOD policy? Here are some major advantages of letting employees bring their own devices to work:
Employees get to work with devices they are more comfortable with.
Employees can use tools and apps of their choice to improve productivity.
No learning or training is required to use devices.
The potential loss of company data and privacy when an employee leaves.
Complex and experienced IT team required to integrate devices and operating systems.
Is a Bring Your Own Device Policy Right for Your Business?
So, now that you know the pros and cons, how do you decide if BYOD is right for you? Such a policy can greatly impact productivity and reduce costs. However, there are risks that cannot be ignored. The solution then is to create a policy that addresses the risks and includes solutions to combat them. For example:
Consider using a virtual phone system to stay connected from any location and device.
Decide who will be responsible for repair or replacement costs, and so on.
Having these factors decided beforehand will ensure a smooth and successful implementation of the policy.
That aside, a BYOD policy may seem more fit for small businesses than large corporations. Before making a commitment, think of different ways such a policy can impact your business and employee productivity. Also, consider remote-working as a trend and attraction for new employees. If BYOD is right for you, take time to create a solid policy that addresses your primary concerns!
With the rise in work from home as an option, more and more employees demand flexibility in hours and location. This has given rise to the possibility of a home-based …Read More »
With the rise in work from home as an option, more and more employees demand flexibility in hours and location. This has given rise to the possibility of a home-based call center that does everything a regular call center does, however, running entirely from home. Here we will highlight 4 best practices that can help ensure your work from home call center runs smoothly.
How to Make a Home-Based Call Center Work Effectively?
Agents and employees prefer to be employed at a work from home call center because it offers flexibility and convenience that can directly impact the quality of their work. With remote or virtual call centers, employees do not have to worry about commuting or work their location. They can work from the comfort of their homes while still doing their job well.
But as a call center manager, virtual call centers may seem like an unproductive alternative as you are not able to keep a constant eye on your agents. So, what are some ways to improve work from home call center productivity that can keep managers and agents happy? Here’s a look.
1. Invest in Virtual Call Center Software to Improve Productivity
Unlike on-premise call centers, virtual call centers comes equipped with necessary call center tools to let your remote and work-at-home agents perform well. Here are some of the top features included:
Virtual phone numbers (toll free, local, and international numbers) — To improve local and international calling at cheaper rates.
Call forwarding and routing — Direct and route calls based on location, time, skills needed, etc.
IVR systems — An automated response that interacts with customers when agents are occupied.
Extensions for different departments and call transfer — To improve connectivity and collaboration between teams and departments.
Call recording — To record business calls for quality assurance.
Outbound calling — Includes a web dialer and customizable caller ID capabilities to make local and international calling easier.
2. Choose Useful Project Management Systems & CRMs
To ensure that employees are doing their jobs well, it is important to have reliable systems in place that track projects, progress, and more. Here is where project management and customer relationship management systems come into play. With the right systems, your teams can create and manage tasks, update customer information and interaction, and more from any location. And you can keep track of their progress, review recordings of calls, and offer ways to improve.
3. Get Outbound Calling Features
An outbound calling service can be very helpful when running a work from home call center. Outbound calling makes local and international calling from any location easy and inexpensive. You can get outbound calling through your VoIP service provider along with your selected local, toll free, and international virtual phone numbers.
With this service in place, your remote employees can call local and international customers by displaying local or toll free caller IDs instead of a random, unknown number. For example, when calling Florida, they can display a Miami local number or US toll free number. And when calling Dubai, they can display a Dubai local number or UAE toll free number. Customers are more likely to answer and even return the call of a number they recognize as local or if it is a toll free number. An international or “unknown” number is much more likely to not get answered.
Plus, the web dialer makes it quick and easy to place and answer calls on any device it is installed on; such as a computer, laptop, smartphone, etc. You can store customer contact information and interaction in the dialer, as well as check voicemails. All of this makes an outbound calling service a work from call center must-have.
4. Track Call Center KPIs
Finally, track performance through call center KPIs. Software such as your CRM or VoIP phone system will help you get call reports and analytics. Here you will find information about:
Increase Productivity and Accountability for Your Virtual Call Center
Feeling more confident about running a work from home call center? There are plenty of tools and practices that can make virtual call centers work effectively. The trick is to find what works best for your needs. Call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 to learn more about how our services can improve your call center.
Is global expansion on your next business meeting agenda? Any business aiming for success will consider entering the global market at some point. This is because expanding beyond your immediate …Read More »
Is global expansion on your next business meeting agenda? Any business aiming for success will consider entering the global market at some point. This is because expanding beyond your immediate location can help increase sales and credibility. But how do you make such a big decision and ensure it doesn’t fail? Here are some best practices and tips to consider when going global.
11 Global Expansion Best Practices to Enter New Markets
Considering global expansion for any business can seem like a daunting task. However, there are plenty of tools and resources available to make this transition as smooth as possible. Here we outline best practices to consider when expanding internationally. These practices are divided into different stages:
Stage A: Planning
The first step to any business’s global expansion strategy is thorough planning. This includes choosing which markets or areas to target and how to go about targeting them.
1. Which Markets to Target
Conduct market research and gather data and intelligence that can help you determine which regions are prime for your business. Create new buyer personas and study different demographics. Research customer behavior, preferences, patterns, and local trends. Consider: what is the demand for your product and purchasing power of your buyer persona?
2. How to Target New Markets
You can start small by test-selling specific products or services in these markets to see how they respond. You may even consider using research and small business tools made available by the governments in those areas.
3. How to Offer Sales and Support in These Markets
Open lines of communication between your main office and the new areas you want to target. Common options include contact forms, live chat on the website, social media accounts, and local phone numbers. This way, you can sell and provide support to entities located in these new markets.
4. International Payment Methods
An important aspect of global expansion is to make processes easy for customers and clients in different states and countries. One of these processes includes setting up international payment methods. In order to decide which payment methods are useful, you will need to research the local buyers’ preferred methods. Additionally, ensure that this payment method has a reputation for security and is credible.
Stage B: Presence
Now, once you’ve decided which markets to enter, the next step in global expansion is creating and maintaining a local presence in these markets.
5. Global Marketing with Partnerships
Start by establishing connections and partnerships with local experts and business contacts. A local partner that has access to the right network of customers, employees, and contacts will prove beneficial. This way, you can quickly enter the market, access the right audience, and create your local presence. You may also consider starting on existing online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, etc. You can test the demand and make the necessary changes before you start selling with full force.
6. International SEO
Next, you want to optimize your online presence with international SEO strategies. International SEO is like geo-targeting where you’re optimizing your website for different countries and languages. It helps search engines identify the countries you want to target. Then it provides the tools to support your marketing efforts. For example, it may offer different languages you may use or show users local results before international results, etc.
7. Global Sales Development
Now it’s time to start making calls. Once you’ve got your partnerships set up and your website optimized for different markets, the next step is to increase brand visibility and awareness in these local markets. To do so, you can use phone sales. A business phone service can support your sales development strategy by letting you call your local, long-distance, and international customers. Furthermore, you can buy international SIP trunks in order to display a local phone number instead of a number they don’t recognize. This way, you can establish connections virtually while taking your time with opening a field office.
Stage C: Follow-Through
Once you’ve got your markets ready and have partnerships and communications set-up, the next step in global expansion is to start making sales and offering customer support. There are a few different ways you can do this. The best way is to get virtual phone numbers and talk to your business contacts over the phone. Here are the most important tools to consider.
8. International Toll Free Service
An international toll free number is a toll free number for different countries. In other words, each country has designated toll free numbers that customers from within this country can call for free. Global Call Forwarding is the most trusted provider of international toll free numbers. Your business can get international toll free numbers for each country that you want to do business in.
9. 24/7 Customer Support
Another important global expansion best practice is to offer 24/7 customer support on different channels. This includes phone, email, live chat, SMS, trouble tickets, and more. You can offer after-hours service by developing an efficient automated self-service system that resolves common queries. Most commonly, businesses will facilitate global customer support using ITFS. Customer support is often handled by workers in remote locations and different time zones.
9. Regional Offices and Infrastructure
Ultimately after reaching global revenue targets, your business will need to open regional offices and colocation centers. Regional offices will host local staff in each region. In addition, your critical infrastructure will be hosted at colocation centers. You can find co-working spaces and regional data centers by doing a quick search online.
10. Local Phone Numbers
Local numbers have specific area codes that distinguish them from other areas. Local calls are charged local rates instead of long-distance rates. This is why businesses choose to get a local business number so local customers can contact them without any hesitation. When it comes to driving international growth in 2020, convenience is more important than ever. Your business should aim to provide a convenient experience as part of your follow-through.
11. Universal Freephone Numbers
A UIFN is a single, universal toll free number accessible from 45 different countries. However, this list of countries is predetermined and cannot be altered. If most of the countries you want to do business with fall under this list, then you search for a UIFN to streamline your inbound calls.
Start By Setting Up International Communications
We at Global Call Forwarding can set you up with local, international, and toll free numbers to get your international communication taken care of. Start by signing up for a new business number or porting your existing number on our homepage. For more information, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171.
Is your business considering moving to virtual offices? Then you need to be well-versed in virtual team communication tools and practices that will maintain productivity and efficiency. Tips for Virtual …Read More »
Is your business considering moving to virtual offices? Then you need to be well-versed in virtual team communication tools and practices that will maintain productivity and efficiency.
Tips for Virtual Team Communication
When businesses allow for remote working, there’s always a certain level of nervousness attached to it. How will managers communicate with remote employees? How will different teams or offices communicate with each other? How do we track progress and productivity? Here are 10 proven tips to ease virtual team communication to ensure productivity.
1. Make Remote Working a Reality
In this day and age, a business that absolutely does not consider work-from-home as an option may run the risk of losing good employees. The most popular reason why business managers don’t want to consider remote working is because it’s hard to keep an eye on employees and maintain accountability. However, with the right work from home setup, you can establish and maintain communications while tracking the progress of remote teams.
When working remotely, many issues may pop up such as:
Lack of collaboration
Inability to contact employees
Urgent problem-solving needs, and so on
However, the right tools and platforms can help resolve these issues and create a more cohesive virtual office. Here are some of the tools available right now that can assist your team in virtual environments.
2. Invest in Reliable Technologies and Platforms
When working virtually and in different locations, what are the best ways to keep in touch and track your employees’ performance? The most popular answer: project management and cloud phone systems.
Project management systems can help track progress and milestones. On these platforms, teams can work together on projects and share them through the internet. As a manager, you can have access to your teams’ tasks and projects, and keep yourself up to date.
Get a business phone system that enables voice and video communication over the internet. Your entire team can make calls from their computers. This helps reduce costs and maintain connectivity. Communicate with employees as and when needed. Additionally, you can have calls routed to specific employees to ensure everyone is doing their job and no employee is sitting idle.
3. Choose the Right Virtual Team Communication Tools
Similar to the above point, depending on your business’ functions and needs, you will require appropriate virtual team communication tools. These include:
One platform for all communications (phone, email, chat, SMS, etc.)
Call forwarding and call transfer
Call recording software to record business calls
Audio and video conferencing
Project management systems
File storage and collaboration tools, and more
Find applications and software that work best for your teams. This may require some trial and error but getting the right tools can positively impact collaboration and productivity, even when working remotely.
4. Offer Different Mediums for Easy Communication
Don’t just stick to email or phone conversations for quick support. You may consider having a chat or SMS tool that can be accessed via their smartphone. You can also develop a system where employees who have queries or encounter issues may submit trouble tickets or “problem-forms” and receive the right solution via email. The trick is to offer different ways to stay connected.
5. Consider Time Zone Differences
Remote teams are not always located in the same city or country. And for this reason, all of your employees need to be aware of the different time zones involved. You may consider creating an online spreadsheet detailing contact and time zone information. This ensures no calls and meetings are conducted at inappropriate times. A time zone calculator may prove useful so users don’t have to spend time calculating the exact hour.
6. Create Guides, Knowledge Bases, and More
Another important aspect of virtual team communication is the ability to quickly access important or necessary information. One way to do so is by creating reliable communication channels (as mentioned above). However, another effective method is to create support guides and knowledge bases that can be accessed by relevant people. The point is to provide easy access to information so employees can do their jobs effectively. These guides can be stored on Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, or on your project management system’s storage feature.
7. Monitor Metrics and KPIs
Next, monitor important and relevant KPIs instead of constantly micromanaging and monitoring your employees. Focus on the results of their performance instead of how they are getting work done or how long they’ve been at their desk.
8. Make Goals and Proper Business Communication Behavior Clear
All your teams and employees need to be on the same page and know what the final goal is. The same goes for proper business communication. Define, explain, and practice. For instance, are emojis or GIFs allowed? How does voting take place? Does everyone need to respond or do only relevant people? How many times should employees check their messages or email, every 30 minutes or every hour? And so on.
9. Avoid Long and Unnecessary Video Calls
Video calls are necessary at times to get everybody on the same page to receive quick updates. However, it is easy to go off-track and end up on video calls for more time than needed. Therefore, plan to have video calls only when necessary and follow best practices. This will help in reducing the time spent on these calls and increasing productivity.
10. Check-in With Your Team Regularly
Finally, check in with your remote teams as often as possible but within reason. You may choose to do brief monthly meetings. However, it may help to check-in via email, a quick call, or chat every week to make remote employees feel valuable.
Need Help with Virtual Team Communication? Ask Us!
We offer tools that can help keep your business communication stay connected no matter where your employees or offices are located. Our virtual phone system can route calls as needed and it provides high-quality connection. To build your cloud phone system, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 today!