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Call center scripts

7 Best Practices for Call Center Scripts that Convert

How your agents communicate over the phone can make a huge impact on the success of your call center strategy. Convert more callers into returning customers and reel in the …Read More »

How your agents communicate over the phone can make a huge impact on the success of your call center strategy. Convert more callers into returning customers and reel in the sales with effective call center scripts. Here we outline 7 best practices to keep in mind when creating your scripts. We also include tips for effective scripts and how to train your employees to meet your standards.

How to Create Effective Call Center Scripts: 7 Best Practices

Call center scripts can make or break the way your business interacts with its customers. These scripts carry information about your products and services intending to convert callers into recurring clients and ultimately, generate sales.

When creating your call center script, focus on developing scripts for both inbound (incoming) and outbound (outgoing) calls. This way, your customer support teams are prepared for callers seeking customer support and product inquiries and your sales teams are prepared for sales pitches and lead calls. Additionally, call center scripts can help reduce training time and agent turnover. Businesses that don’t have time to offer rigorous training and provide in-depth knowledge can use scripts to get the job done quickly.

Here are 7 call center script best practices to consider when developing your business’ scripts.

1. Hire Excellent Customer Service & Sales Reps

First, hire quality customer service and sales talent. Use business networking sites to find agents and reps that have experience, training, and certification. This will ensure you have a robust team ready to tackle whatever issue comes their way. Plus, they will have developed the right personality needed for delivering scripts naturally and effectively.

2. Keep Call Center Script Writing Tips in Mind

When creating your script and training your agents to make the most of the script, keep these key tips in mind:

  • Develop scripts that lead to action and be clear in their purpose.
  • Plan for multiple scenarios.
  • Allow for flexibility (but not too much) and more genuine interaction with customers.
  • Write scripts keeping common customer complaints and preferences in mind.
  • Emphasize the importance of understanding customer needs so they can be helped efficiently.
  • Include positive phrases and reword negative phrases.
  • Focus on personalization and train agents on proper etiquette.

3. Create an Effective Call Center Script

Your call center script should include these useful elements:

  1. Greet the customer and say the name of the business.
  2. Introduce yourself.
  3. State the purpose of your call (outbound call) or find out why they are calling (inbound call)
  4. For outbound calls: go through your script at a decent pace and pause for questions or concerns.
  5. For inbound calls: listen carefully and attentively to the caller. Take note of key issues or questions, repeat to clarify, and offer practical solutions. Provide accurate information or offer a follow-up call, if you do not have the information on hand.
  6. At the end of the call, ask if they need any additional assistance, thank them for calling, and add a pleasantry.
  7. Score the call.

4. Train Agents & Employees Well

Besides merely providing your employees with quality scripts, you also need to train them in how to use the scripts well. Spend sufficient time teaching employees bad and good call center practices. Help them understand the company’s goals and standards. When training employees:

  • Focus on making customer service a top priority.
  • Keep communication two ways; adopt active listening.
  • Demonstrate examples of bad customer interactions and provide solutions.
  • Use call recording to identify positive and negative behavior.
  • Use call monitoring to listen in on calls with new employees so you can train them “on the job.”

5. Emphasize the Importance of Utilizing Customer Data When Using the Script

Part of executing a call center script well is personalizing it for each individual customer. This means using customer data alongside your script. Businesses with a customer first strategy or those that are customer-focused need to use customer data to offer better, more customized service.

Before your agent or rep answers the call or calls a customer, they must pull up the customer’s data, history, purchases, and so on. This ensures your agent is prepared for the conversation and has all the context needed. Additionally, the customer won’t have to repeat their query again and again or bring the rep up to speed. You can save time for both your agent and customer. And move towards resolution faster.

6. Use Call Recording to Analyze the Effectiveness of Scripts

Recording business calls can help you and your teams listen in to calls from the past. This is a good way to identify what is working and what isn’t and how to improve your phone interactions. Pay attention to your best-performing agents. How are they effectively bringing new clients on board? What techniques and strategies are working? Then integrate their practices into your call center script so others may attempt them as well.

7. Provide Agents with Knowledge Bases and Support

Finally, make sure your reps can provide accurate responses to customer questions quickly. And to do this, they will need access to knowledge bases or support resources that outline common customer questions, product descriptions, company policies, and so on. This way, they can consult accurate resources if they are hit with a question or query they do not have an answer for.

Improve Sales with Call Center Scripts

Call center scripts have a great impact on whether a customer continues to do business with your company. Ensure your scripts are customer-centric as well as informative and helpful. Train employees to have an upbeat attitude and treat each call as a new slate. And before you know it, your scripts will be an effective aspect of your strategy that brings more and more customers to your business!

call center scorecard

7 Useful Tips for Creating a Call Center Scorecard

Call center scorecards are quality monitoring tools that help you test and analyze call center and agent performance. By doing so, managers can identify areas for improvement and success. Here …Read More »

Call center scorecards are quality monitoring tools that help you test and analyze call center and agent performance. By doing so, managers can identify areas for improvement and success. Here we look at 7 useful tips for creating a call center scorecard and what you need to focus on.

How to Create a Call Center Scorecard: 7 Tips

First, what is a call center scorecard? And why do you need one? Call center scorecards are a great tool used by many call centers when conducting performance analysis. You can track and measure call center metrics, agent responses, and phone interactions, as well as conversions. Here are 7 tips to help you create an ideal scorecard:

1. Define the Purpose of the Scorecard and How it will be Used

First, you must decide and be clear on the purpose of your scorecard. What elements do you want to include? How often will you utilize the scorecards? How will you collect information about agent performance? What parameters and metrics will agents be scored on? Additionally, is every parameter equally important? Defining the purpose and the various elements that the agents will be tested on can help aid in quick and accurate analysis.

2. List Down Parameters that will be Assessed

Part of using a call center scorecard is testing your agents on various parameters that help you and them understand what they are doing well and where they can improve. Some parameters to consider include:

  1. Greetings: Agent greeted customers politely and with a clear introduction of the company and themselves.
  2. Script adherence: With outbound sales calls, agent followed the script naturally and paused for customer questions or concerns.
  3. Account and identity verification: With inbound calls, agent verified the caller’s information and identity to find their account and gather information about the customer’s past interactions.
  4. Customer service quality: Ability to clearly determine the caller’s needs, provide accurate and useful assistance
  5. End-of-call protocol: After resolving the issue, agent must ask if there is anything else they can assist the caller with.

3. Define and Note Different Call Center Metrics

Next, you might consider including certain call center metrics that apply to your particular business. Call center metrics or KPIs assess how a call center is performing. They also help managers understand how individual agents are performing. For example, which agents resolve calls quickly and accurately or which spend too long on calls, and so on. Most call centers use call center software and call analytics to track and measure relevant metrics. You may want to consider including the following on your scorecard:

  1. Average time in queue
  2. Response time
  3. Average speed of answer
  4. Average handle time
  5. First call resolution rate
  6. Customer satisfaction rate
  7. Occupancy rate
  8. Agent absenteeism

4. Include Different Types of Customer Interaction

Often, phone conversations might be the most common communication method for your call center. However, more recently, call centers have been striving to offer multi-channel or omnichannel customer support. If your call center offers more than one channel of customer interaction, then you should measure performance on each different channel. As such, try to include different types of customer interaction (live chat, email, video, etc.) used often in your call center in your scorecard.

5. Focus on Various Skills

Depending on the type of center you run, your agents may need to multitask using multiple skills. For example, you may have agents on both phone and live chat duty simultaneously. Or, agents may need to research solutions while managing the conversation and documenting each part of the conversation.

Different departments require different skills. Customer service will need to look at knowledge bases or support documents to provide help. Reception will need to ensure the customer arrives at the right department quickly. Sales needs to make pitches using customer data and personalization.

6. Monitor, Collect Data, & Refine

Since the purpose of a call center scorecard is to collect data and measure how your business and agents are performing, these scorecards need to be monitored regularly. By monitoring on a regular basis, you will not only gain insight into how well or badly your agents are doing, but also what elements or parameters are worth measuring and which ones are not useful.

Then, you can make the necessary adjustments and refine your scorecard for functionality and accuracy. Additionally, you can make necessary changes to improve agent and call center performance.

7. Treat Your Agents as Humans, Not Robots

Finally, remember that your agents are humans and not customer service robots. As such, set realistic goals and expectations when creating and monitoring your call center scorecard. Be flexible and leave room for error. Provide sufficient training materials so agents can continue to do better.

Evaluate Performance with an Effective Call Center Scorecard

Designing a call center scorecard takes time and refinement. Get started now by developing your own scorecard or using online templates and tailoring them to your needs. There are many resources available for tracking, measuring, and improving productivity. Take steps in the right direction and watch the efficiency grow in your call center.

call center etiquette

16 Tips to Ensure Outstanding Call Center Etiquette

Effective and excellent call center etiquette can go a long way in securing valuable customers and leads. However, you may have noticed that the rules are constantly changing. In this …Read More »

Effective and excellent call center etiquette can go a long way in securing valuable customers and leads. However, you may have noticed that the rules are constantly changing. In this post, we detail the dos and don’ts of call center etiquette and how you can offer an outstanding call center experience. Read on to learn more!

Top Tips for Excellent Call Center Etiquette

How call center agents conduct themselves during calls can determine customer satisfaction and retention. Poor etiquette leads to bad customer service and low caller satisfaction. Call center etiquette can be divided into four different phases of the call such as:

  • Answering the call.
  • Speaking to customers and identifying issues.
  • Transferring customers to another agent or supervisor.
  • Ending the call.

In each of these phases, you must demonstrate professionalism, concern, and a desire to genuinely assist your caller. We’ll look at each of these phases individually and the different aspects to keep in mind to ensure you are providing outstanding call center etiquette. Learn more about promising customer service tips here.

When Answering the Call

The speed at which you answer the call as well as your tone can determine how the rest of the call goes. If you take too long or answer the call in a rushed manner, callers will immediately be put off. Keep these tips in mind as well:

1. Answer the Call Promptly
Customers do not like to be kept waiting when they are trying to reach customer support. Always answer the call on the second or third ring. Any longer than that, they may feel frustrated and abandon the call. Additionally, if it is too hard to reach your business time and time again, that customer will likely switch over to a competitor instead.

2. Greet with a Friendly Tone
Always greet callers with a positive attitude. Callers can sense your inflection on the phone. Smiling while you’re on a call is an old trick that conveys a friendly tone through the phone. Starting a call with a positive attitude encourages the same from the caller on the other line.

If someone is distraught about their product and in need of help, your positivity will help ease their frustrations because they will know by your tone that you are eager to help. You do not need to go overboard with this. A simple greeting like “Hello, you’ve reached (name of company) my name is ___, how can I help you today?” will suffice.

Identifying the Issue

Next up is taking the time to listen to your caller and identify the issue. This means you should key into their emotions and being empathetic while clearly understanding what the problem is. After all, if you do not know what is concerning them, you may not be able to help effectively.

3. Adopt Active Listening
Let them explain and describe the issue to you before you repeat it. Nothing frustrates a customer more than an employee that is not paying attention to them and seems in a rush to finish the call. Take time to understand where they are coming from and what the problem is. Reinforce your understanding by showing you have heard their situation and are working on a resolution.

4. Identify the Issue
Once you think you have a good handle over what the issue is, confirm it with them. Reiterate the problem as best as you understand it. Something like, “So, from what you are telling me, I understand that you are having an issue with . . .” or “. . . that you would like to . . .” This will help you ensure you have thoroughly understood the issue and will also demonstrate to the caller that you have been paying attention.

5. Be Patient and Helpful
Always be patient. Whether they are taking too long to explain the problem or are repeating themselves, your patience will determine whether this customer returns or not. When a client calls a company, it is more than likely to resolve an issue. Patiently listen to them. If you are unable to help them, transfer them to the correct department.

Transferring the Call or Placing the Caller on Hold

Most callers do not enjoy being placed on hold or transferred to another employee. Unfortunately, at times, it is necessary to transfer the call to someone who can handle it better or place them on hold so you can find the right information and help them better. Here are rules to observe when transferring a call or placing it on hold:

6. Determine Who to Transfer to
Again, listening intently to what their needs are will help you determine what department to send them to. After all, customers will only get more agitated if they need support but you sent them to sales.

7. Explain Why They Need to be Transferred
Most callers do not like to be bounced around. However, sometimes it is inevitable, especially if they reached the wrong department, to begin with. Explain to your caller why they need to be transferred to another department or employee.

8. During the Transfer
When you transfer a phone call, make sure that there is someone in that department available to take the call. Stay on the phone with your caller until someone answers and then you can introduce the caller to this new department. Do not abandon your caller till they have someone who can take care of them.

9. Ask Before Placing on Hold
Before you put someone on hold, ask them for their permission. Instead of saying “I’m going to put you on hold now” or nothing at all, say “Would it be alright if I put you on hold for a brief moment?” Then wait for an answer.

10. Use The Hold Button Appropriately
Make sure you and your teams know how to use the hold button so there is no confusion. For example, when you place someone on hold while you speak to another customer, the person on hold should not hear you speaking with the other customer or hear employees in the background. Hold music or a custom message can be played when they are on hold, instead.

11. Do Not Place Callers on Hold for Too Long
Do not leave someone on hold for a long time. If they are waiting to speak to someone in particular who is not available, inform them that they will be waiting for a certain period of time. If the wait exceeds 2-5 minutes, check in to let them know you have not forgotten about them but are taking longer to find what they need. If they do not want to stay on hold for long, encourage them to call back later or offer to call them when you have the information or person available.

call center software
Source: Stockphoto.com O#100053743383

Ending the Call

The last part of maintaining good call center etiquette focuses on how to end a call. This largely depends on how the call went. Were you able to resolve everything or is a follow-up required?

12. End The Call Politely

Always aim to end the call on a “high note.” If something needs your attention right away, offer to call the person back and let them know you will finish the conversation after you have dealt with this urgent matter.

When the conversation has come to a natural end, ask them if there is anything else you can do for them. If yes, proceed to assist. If no, thank them for their call. An example of a good way to end a phone call is, “Thank you so much for calling (company) today, I hope you enjoy your weekend.” Or, “It was a pleasure speaking with you, I’m glad that we could help you out today. Have a wonderful rest of your day.”

Additionally, if your company asks for surveys post calls, ask your caller if they would be interested in participating in a brief survey. And respect their wishes, whichever way they lean.

Do not rush them off the phone, and always wait for the customer to hang up before you hang up.

13. Offer Follow-Up Information
Alternatively, if a follow-up is required, let them know how to expect it. Will you send an email or phone call reminder? Should they call you back instead of your company contacting them? Either way, make sure that you have the information they need when the follow-up occurs.

Additional Call Center Etiquette

In addition to the above points, there are some other aspects of call center etiquette to pay attention to, such as call management and training.

14. Training Employees and Agents
So that agents know what they are supposed to do and how to best help customers, they need to be trained well. This includes:

    • Training new employees, even those that come with experience
    • Offering refresher courses and workshops to current employees periodically
    • Using call recording to record and review interactions
    • Conduct regular performance analysis
    • Provide access to seminars and training programs

15. Making a Call
Employees should be trained to make calls professionally. Be sure to introduce yourself and the reason for your call right away. Provide them with all the necessary details at the beginning of the call.

Leaving a voicemail is similar to making a call. Even with the voicemail, introduce yourself and explain the reason for your call. Also include contact details such as a phone number and, if needed, a time frame for them to call you back.

16. Forward Your Phone To Voicemail
If you are out of your office, send all incoming phone calls immediately to your voicemail so that the caller knows that you are unavailable. Having a caller sit through 20 rings before realizing that you’re not going to answer is impolite and leaves the caller with a negative feeling. Your voicemail should state who you are and when you will be back. An instant and informative voicemail saves the caller time and allows them the option of leaving a message or calling back at a more convenient time.

Offer Better Customer Service with the Right Etiquette

If you don’t try to do the best you can, chances are, you will miss the buck. To gain new customers and convert them into regulars and to treat your regulars like royalty, your call center etiquette needs to be on-point. Make the necessary changes, implement a strategy for continuous education, and watch as your business grows!

Related: 5 Surefire Ways to Improve Virtual Call Center CSAT Scores

customer first strategy

5 Ways to Create a Customer First Strategy

A customer-first strategy can help your business enhance customer experience, increase customer retention, and boost employee productivity. How? In this post, we outline some proven ways to put your customers …Read More »

A customer-first strategy can help your business enhance customer experience, increase customer retention, and boost employee productivity. How? In this post, we outline some proven ways to put your customers first.

What is a Customer-First Strategy?

A customer-first strategy is a business plan that revolves around the success of your customers. It focuses on improving their customer experience by solving major problems.

This includes addressing the following points:

  • What are the expectations of your customer?
  • What are the common issues your customers are looking to solve?
  • How can you make life easier for your customers?
  • How is your customer’s team set up?
  • How can you improve your customers’ experiences by leveraging customer stories from the past?

Besides focusing on your customers, an effective customer first strategy will also focus on employee needs. After all, it is your employees who will be interacting with your customers or creating products and services for them. If your employees feel undervalued, they will not put 100% into satisfying your customers.

Why You Must Put Your Customers First

Any business that relies on recurring revenue must put their customers first. Improved engagement and the quality of customer interactions will drive sales down the line. We all know that happy customers spend more and are more likely to refer your business to others.

A customer-first approach that focuses on solving customers’ problems will improve the longevity of your business.

5 Elements of Customer Strategy to Consider

An effective customer strategy usually consists of two initiatives: customer-focused and employee-focused. You will need to pay attention to the needs and expectations of both your customers and employees so you can put your customers first. Here are 5 useful elements to consider when creating a customer strategy for 2021.

1. Understand your Customer Base

If you haven’t yet, it is extremely crucial to create personas depending on your customer. Creating customer personas helps you get into the mindset of your audience, their needs, demands, expectations, preferences, and so on. This can further help you serve them better.

By failing to understand the needs of your customer base, you might not be able to guide customers along the right journey. In addition, you might not be able to quickly solve their problems.

2. Study Customer Behavior & Needs

To have a true customer-first strategy in 2021, you will need to pay attention to customer needs. This will help you retain more high-quality account. It’s very important to study your customers so that you can proactively respond to their needs.

Start by tracking customer metrics such as lifetime value (LTV), customer retention, satisfaction, and net promoter score. Ensure that all departments (especially sales, operations, and support) have access to this data. Your business can then start building an incredible overall customer experience.

3. Focus on Improving Employee Experience

Employee experience (EX) must be considered as part of your customer strategy. The value of a great employee experience is immense!

EX means taking key steps towards improving the collective experience of your employees. You may consider popular incentives such as remote work and perks. Additionally, you can provide employees with training materials and courses so they can continue to better their skills and talents. Above all, you should allow for growth within the company. This helps lower employee turnover rates and ensure productive employees but also save.

Working on your business’ EX means creating a stable and healthy work environment. Happier employees have more pleasant customer interactions, which in turn drives customer success.

4. Be Accessible Worldwide

Part of a strong customer first strategy is being accessible and reachable to your customers no matter where they are. No customer should have to pass through hoops or wait for days to get support. You must have enough customer service and technical support reps to satisfy customer needs. Furthermore, be active on multiple channels such as phone, email, live chat, social media, video. This ensures that you are always reachable.

If you are running an international business, it is important to have strong global communication. Consider subscribing to an international call forwarding service. Such a service will route calls to your team anywhere in the world. This gives your customers a free or inexpensive way to call your business, irrespective of physical distance.

Being reachable and providing quick responses will increase customer trust in your business and improve customer success.

5. Collect Feedback & Grow

Finally, collect feedback from customers on a regular basis. You can use surveys to understand where your business is succeeding and what problems you can solve for customers in the future. Then, brainstorm and apply practical solutions to key issues. A strategy that puts your customers first will make your business a better place to be.

Create Your Customer First Strategy in 2021

Implement the above tips to build and execute an effective customer first strategy that proves helpful for your customers and employees. How can Global Call Forwarding help? Check out this list of great customer service tips.

international call forwarding

6 Cost-Effective Ways to Maximize International Call Forwarding

With international call forwarding, your business can extend sales, marketing, and customer support services to new target areas around the world. Step closer to global expansion by getting the right …Read More »

With international call forwarding, your business can extend sales, marketing, and customer support services to new target areas around the world. Step closer to global expansion by getting the right tools and improving brand visibility around the world.

International Call Forwarding for Global Expansion

Taking your business to the global stage can often mean more work and more expenses. However, an international call forwarding service provider can help your business create a local presence in multiple international markets at the same time.

You can use this service to test and survey markets before you enter them, scale your business as and when necessary, and offer sales and customer support in different time zones. And you can do all this without wasting capital by using a toll free or local number associated with those areas.

Read on for 6 cost-effective ways to use international call forwarding to achieve global expansion.

1. Test New Markets

Part of entering new markets involves testing the market and conducting research. You can use international call forwarding to test new markets. Establish yourself as a local business, even without having physical infrastructure. Your team can have a local number which potential customers are more likely to respond to. This helps you understand the expectations, preferences, and needs of potential customers before investing further.

2. Scale Your Business in Existing Markets

As you continue to do business and plan to grow and expand, changes and adjustments need to be made. And you will need a phone system that lets you easily scale up or down as your plans require.

With international call forwarding, you can easily scale your business in markets that you have been successful in. Assign direct inward dialing or DID numbers for every sales agent and customer service rep. You can track their calls, no matter where they are located.

3. Consider BPO & OffShore Team Management

Another benefit of an international call forwarding service is the ability to work efficiently with distributed teams. Not all international operations need you to open field offices and warehouses in target areas. Some businesses only need to have remote teams offering sales and customer support services to customers in these areas and time zones.

Most businesses with an international customer base choose to work with call center outsourcers to reduce costs significantly. Others hire remote workers or manage remote teams within these regions. Either way, with call forwarding, you can easily manage incoming and outgoing calls to provide uninterrupted service to your customers, no matter the location.

4. Provide Local Customer Support

To make the best out of your international business, you will be expected to be reachable and close by. Having virtual local offices can greatly help with building a local presence. Additionally, providing local customer support with a toll free number or local phone number will also increase customer engagement. A toll free number or local number that matches your lead’s location means that they can call your business for free or local calling rates, respectively.

This will encourage them to call you for product or service inquiries, to learn more about your services, and receive assistance. And that gives your business the opportunity to convert them into new and returning customers.

5. Advertise Locally & Improve Brand Awareness

As with any company, the best way to gain new customers and retain your existing ones is to execute strong marketing campaigns. With international business, this is more important as you need to increase brand awareness and visibility in these new regions and markets.

By getting a local number and establishing a local presence, you can enter your business in the local marketing scene. Manage local advertising campaigns by promoting your product with your local number:

  • On billboards, local magazines, and newspapers
  • By entering your company in local exhibitions and marketplaces
  • Displaying your local contact on your website, emails, and social media
  • Using location targeting

These efforts will help your company become more visible in new markets and eventually the talk of the town!

6. Convert Web Visitors (Even Ones from Other Countries!) Into Sales

Finally, work on improving website traffic and conversions. Are you seeing website visitors from other countries in your Google Analytics or Google Search Console? If you are executing your international marketing strategies effectively, you will start to see web visitors from around the world. This is because your marketing efforts are directly boosting your international brand visibility.

As you start to see a pattern, you can plan to capitalize on this. Convert more international customers by putting local phone numbers for those regions in your contact sections and on localized pages. Even if your business is international, a virtual phone number that matches a potential customer’s location will diminish their calling charges. This will encourage these web visitors to call your business for inquiries and sales.

Expand Internationally With Global Call Forwarding

Ready to take your business to the global stage? We are the most trusted provider of call forwarding services to help businesses with global expansion. Learn more by speaking or chatting online with our experts today.

winning emerging markets Asia

12 Rules for Winning Emerging Markets in Asia

From expanding your business to the UAE to opening a field office in Russia, you need the right tools and contacts to win in emerging markets in Asian countries. Let’s …Read More »

From expanding your business to the UAE to opening a field office in Russia, you need the right tools and contacts to win in emerging markets in Asian countries. Let’s look at 12 rules to pay attention to if you plan to do business in Asia successfully.

How to Win Emerging Markets in Asia?

Asia is home to many up and coming countries that focus on everything from manufacturing to technology to agriculture and more. Countries in Asia include: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

While some of these countries are well-established, they are still open to foreign investment. And the emerging markets have the right conditions for foreign businesses. So, how can your company do business in Asia successfully? Here are 12 rules to be aware of and follow.

1. Establish Virtual Offices & Enter the Local Market

Establish virtual offices in target markets by subscribing to an international call forwarding service like Global Call Forwarding. You can create a virtual local office in any location and it is a simulated presence. Incoming calls are forwarded seamlessly across borders to your headquarters, call centers, mobile phones, or computers using VoIP technology.

And you can use toll free numbers or local numbers so callers have no long-distance fees to pay when they connect with your business. In this manner, callers think your office is local and are less reluctant to do business with you.

2. Get International Toll Free Numbers & Local Numbers

When you choose to do business in Asia, you need to have strong and reliable communication channels. This means that you need to make your business available to locals in target Asian countries.

Global Call Forwarding provides the largest selection of local phone numbers and toll free numbers worldwide. Its international call forwarding service covers over 160 countries, including cities, states, and regions around the world. You can get Asia virtual business numbers such as toll free or local numbers for countries you want to expand to.

Then, offer locals a free or local calling rate when they call your business. This can help your business attract more customers from different parts of the world and build strong customer relations.

3. Stay Reachable with Virtual Communication Tools

Virtual communication tools or virtual call center software can help your business stay connected and reachable no matter where your business or teams are located. Here are some ways virtual communication tools can support international business:

  • Call forwarding — route calls to your headquarters, satellite offices, remote workers, BPOs, home office, smartphone, and more, as needed.
  • Call routing — forward calls to any location based on time, location of the caller, or skills needed.
  • Call recording — record all incoming and outgoing calls to review in the future.
  • Cloud IVR — an automated voice response that assists callers with menu options to resolve their call.
  • Voicemail, Fax, and SMS to email — send voicemails, fax, and text messages to an email inbox.
  • Local ringback tones — make your business “local” using local ringback tones that are heard by customers when they call your business.

4. Conduct Market Research: Understand Your Demographic

Before taking any business to a new market, it is important to conduct market research and test your product. Doing so can help you understand your demographic and prepare for success. Use market research to find underdeveloped or under-served market areas. Find new opportunities in market segments that your competitors do not serve well. And, further identify customer needs in those areas and take steps to satisfy those needs.

5. Learn from Product Testing

Planning and forecasting are necessary, but they may not predict the market impact of product or service changes. Rely on testing, either in-house or in the marketplace, to get insight into the market. Testing allows you to make changes as needed before full market release. You may even conduct pre-service surveys of potential leads and customers to get an idea of what they expect from a business like yours and your products.

6. Study Your Competitors

This is an important part of doing business in any new market: survey and study your competitors. Try to get a complete understanding of the actions, strategies, and tactics used by successful competitors. Buy competitor products to learn their mechanisms, strengths, and weaknesses. Try to visualize how competitors will respond to your business strategies. This will give you insights into what needs to be done to best serve your customers and boost your business.

7. Put Emphasis on Customer Feedback

To know how exactly your business is doing, you need to hear from your customers. Customer feedback will let you know if you are fulfilling your customers’ needs and what their preferences and expectations are. Additionally, outsiders who are familiar with your business can provide valuable advice on market desires. Listening to outsiders can help you become a stronger competitor.

8. Hire Local & Skilled Talent

You can boost your virtual presence by hiring local, remote employees to conduct sales and customer support. Additionally, hiring skilled talent will ensure that your employees are prepared and fit for the job and bring in more customers.

To do this, it is important to consider competitive salaries, benefits and perks, company culture, and opportunities for career growth. Engage prospective employees by looking at career hubs like LinkedIn or Facebook. Advertise openings on your websites. When you make an offer, be willing to negotiate.

9. Pay Attention to Employee Experience (EX)

Besides hiring talented employees, you also want to retain good and valuable employees. For this reason, pay attention to your company’s EX rates. Ensure employees have good working conditions, growth opportunities within the company, and other incentives to stay put. EX determines how your employees treat your business and your customers. Happy employees lead to happy customers, and overall greater business success.

10. Keep Up With Local Trends

As with any market, to do business in Asia successfully, you need to be aware of current trends and expectations. Don’t get buried only within your own business. Follow industry developments, regulatory changes, market trends, and competitors’ new product announcements.

Your business needs to keep evolving so that it can continue to stay relevant and ahead of the competition. When you repeat certain behaviors and patterns, your competition can begin to anticipate your actions. Be less predictable by changing your operational methods. You may find that different approaches can accelerate growth opportunities.

11. Compete on Experience Instead of Price

While the prices for products and services do play a big role in customers choosing a business to invest in, customers are often willing to pay more for high-quality and reputable products and services. Strive to provide unrivaled products and customer service by doing the following:

  1. Make it easy to do business with your company
  2. Make your business customer-centric
  3. Humanize your brand through effective marketing and communications
  4. Provide customer support even when sales are not pending

12. Exercise Care When Cost-Cutting

Lastly, do not allow cost-cutting-steps to degrade your products and services. When that happens, your competition will take advantage of and possibly steal business from you.

Related: 11 Global Expansion Best Practices to Enter New Markets

Ready to Do Business in Asia?

Tap into emerging Asian markets by being prepared and ready to take on whatever comes your way. With the right business plan, advanced technology, and resourceful employees, sit back and watch as your business grows and expands across the world!

How to win back post-pandemic customers.

5 Ways to Win Back Your Post-Pandemic Customers

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:

  • Mandating face masks when in your store
  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Ensuring the availability of hand sanitizers
  • Offering flexible return to business policies
  • 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!

20 proven call center best practices for 2020.

Call Center Best Practices: 20 Proven Tips for 2021

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 2021

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:

  • Reducing wait times
  • Solving issues quickly
  • Offering multi-channel support
  • Responding quickly and effectively

2. Track Call Center KPIs

In order to make sure that your call center is performing as per your standards, it is important to track progress through metrics or call center KPIs such as:

  • Average Time in the Queue
  • Average Handle Time
  • First Call Resolution
  • Average Response Time
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Average Number of Calls
  • Abandonment Rates
  • Occupancy Rates

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.
  • Inbound/outbound call recording
  • Interactive voice response
  • Extensions and call transfer abilities
  • Access to virtual phone numbers (toll free, local, international, universal toll free numbers)
  • 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.

Best practices for virtual call center agents.
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#75940443 ID#27446420

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
  • Simultaneous routingring multiple phones with one number

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!

get more global customers

8 Proven Tactics to Get More Global Customers

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:

  • Multilingual agents
  • Language and location targeting
  • Localization services
  • 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.

Tips for dealing with difficult or angry customers.

7 Proven Tips to Deal With Difficult or Angry 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.

Related: 23 Incredible Customer Service Tips for 2020

4. Use Support Resources

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.

Related: 9 Best Customer Service Examples for 2020

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.