Customer service is an essential part of doing business today, and can be one of the quickest ways to either gain or lose customers. When done right, a first-time customer quickly becomes a repeat customer. When done wrong, an otherwise loyal customer can be lost forever.
To improve customer service, many companies are finding that outsourcing it to a specialized firm is much more beneficial than trying to do it themselves. By outsourcing it to a professional, they are able to save significant money and time that they can use to better run their business.
Outsourced customer service firms are set up to handle all of your customer service needs in a way that can be easily tailored to your business. They focus on specialized training for their agents that allow them to handle any type of customer scenario.
Here are some of the benefits of outsourcing your customer service:
1) You save on both money and resources – Creating your own call center from scratch can be very expensive and a logistical nightmare. By using an outsourced call center, these costs are now spread over many different clients with no additional training required on your part.
2) 24/7 customer support – Around-the-clock availability is not an option for most companies with in-house customer service. However, many outsourced customer support options have the staff and resources to offer this kind of total access, which your customers will more than appreciate.
3) Increased flexibility and scalability – As call volumes rise and fall throughout the day, many agents can be left sitting idle and restless. This is not only bad for the agents, but it reduces productivity and efficiency if there aren’t other clients for the agents to work with. Sharing agents in an outsourced firm can substantially reduce the cost-per-call rate for each client.
4) Dedicated call managers – Many call managers at outsourced firms are specially trained to handle a much wider variety of customer scenarios. These dedicated managers not only cut down on additional training costs for hiring your own managers, but can increase your clients’ customer service experience as well.
5) Specialized industry knowledge and experience – Many outsourced call centers have expertise in a particular industry. This experience has given them insights and strategies that you can leverage that in-house call centers simply can’t offer.
6) Access to analytics and cost management tools – Outsourced call centers typically have advanced tools to measure per-call costs that in-house call centers do not. This allows them to share this information with clients every month to monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns while also saving the client money in the process.
7) Quality monitoring and control – Some call center activities require resources and experience that most in-house centers don’t have. Often certain monitoring tools and improvements plans are necessary to ensure certain benchmarks are met that only outsourced call centers have available.
Additional benefits like access to future technological improvements and a likely increase in your Customer Satisfaction Rating (CSAT) are also worth considering when it comes to outsourcing your customer service.
While outsourcing customer service can be an excellent way to not only cut costs and improve overall customer experience, it must be done the right way to be effective.
At Goodbay, our state-of-the-art call centers offer 24/7 support, specialized industry knowledge, advanced analytics and cost management tools, and much more.
We understand the needs of clients to provide top-quality customer service while also reducing costs and have designed our business to meet both of those needs better than any other provider. Get in touch with us to learn more!
At Goodbay Technologies, we always strive to be more than just another solutions provider for your organization. Yes, we want to make sure that your call center always has the people necessary to create better and more fulfilling service experiences for your customers. But we also want to offer a fair bit more than that, too.
If you had to make a list of all the qualities that separate you from your competitors and help to create a true advantage in your marketplace, customer service and the larger experience you offer would unquestionably be right at the top. As one of the most critical touch points between your business and your target audience, we need to offer more than just a friendly voice on the other end of the phone when someone reaches out to your call center. We aim to provide not just product experts who know your organization from the top down just as well as you do, but true brand ambassadors in every sense of the term.
As a valued partner with a vested interest in your long-term success, we work hard to achieve these goals every day by way of our robust and innovative Agent Certification Program. All told, this helps us make sure that it isn’t just anyone answering the phones in your call center, but the right people for the right task at precisely the right time.
Our Agent Certification Program: Breaking Things Down
The team at Goodbay Technologies are firm believers in the fact that every business is a little bit different from the next. Nobody does what you do quite like how you do it, which is part of what attracts so many people to your organization in the first place. But because of that, a “one size fits all” approach to customer support and call center services just won’t do. We need to play to the strengths that make you unique, which means that we also need to learn about those distinctive qualities as early in the process as we can.
This is why we work directly with our clients in an intimate way to not only onboard but also train our team of agents that will be providing your support moving forward. We want them to feel like they’re existing members of your organization, because in a lot of ways that’s exactly what they’ll be.
If you have your own dedicated training program, we can easily replicate that on our end and implement them at our own center. This in and of itself is a critical step towards making sure that our agents act as consistently as possible with your own values and internal structures moving forward.
If there’s ever a situation where one of our client’s training isn’t as mature as it needs to be to facilitate this – like if their own process is mostly comprised of tribal knowledge and on-the-job training – we’ll work hard with them to mature their own processes for the benefit of everyone involved. Not only will we be able to provide more effective customer service over time, but you’ll also have the rock-solid foundation necessary to improve your own efforts in the future.
This includes not only creating and documenting the training process itself in an easy-to-replicate way, but also involves the creation of training materials and content like email ticket examples, call recordings, and even the implementation of CRM screen share solutions.
Our People Are Designed to Support Your Processes and Goals
All told, user experience training on our clients’ products and services is critical to our core mission at Goodbay Technologies. After the onboarding and training processes have been completed, we segue all of our agents into our robust Agent Certification Program that helps to guarantee that everyone involved maintains “Company” certification to be able to support their customers.
To put it another way, this Agent Certification Program doesn’t just make sure that our agents are experts in customer service. It guarantees they’re experts in your business above all others, regardless of how that business continues to change and evolve.
All of our agents must take either weekly or monthly online tests to maintain that certification once they’ve achieved it. We feel that this is a critical part of the process, as our client’s products are constantly in a state of flux. You depend on innovation to maintain your competitive advantage in the marketplace, but that also shouldn’t hinder your customer service efforts by way of products that are evolving faster than the agents are. Because of this pressing need, we consistently and continuously train our agents through our Agent Certification Program to guarantee they’re always ready for anything your audience happens to throw at them.
Our Mission Involves Helping You Accomplish Yours
By design, our Agent Certification Program helps to guarantee that all of our agents are always up to speed on what is going on with your company. But more than that, it’s also an invaluable tool to identify those agents who need further training in specific areas of support where they may not be as naturally strong as their peers. As soon as we identify these training issues, we take proactive steps to reduce the likelihood that further issues and problems will arise when engaging with a customer in the future.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Goodbay Technologies will carry the cost of ALL ongoing agent training and certification as part of our mission to better serve you in any and all ways that we can. It is our top priority to eliminate the burden of our client’s own in-house teams to consistently have to train their own customer service agents, a process that takes a tremendous amount of time, money and energy to execute correctly.
Once our agents are certified, whenever they engage with a customer, they are speaking as a user themselves. That makes for not only a much more fluid conversation with the people you’ve dedicated yourself to serving, but also higher levels of customer satisfaction as well.
When a customer speaks with a certified agent, they are speaking with more than just a true product expert. They are speaking with a true brand ambassador, which is exactly how it should be.
In the end, you’re left with something more than just simple outsourced customer service. You’ve got a team of people who are friendly, knowledgeable, infinitely helpful and forward thinking. At your disposal is a collection of people who know your products – and your customers – every bit as well as you do. At that point, you can stop focusing so much on customer service and can instead turn your attention towards the most important thing of all: running the business you’ve always dreamed of. Because the truth is, our services and efforts like our Agent Certification Program aren’t designed to replace your existing employees. They’re designed to empower them, supporting them in a meaningful way so that they can help accomplish your own mission today, tomorrow and beyond.
If you’d like to find out more information about our Agent Certification Program, or if you’re just eager to discuss how product experts and brand ambassadors may fit in with your own long-term strategy as a company, please don’t hesitate to contact Goodbay Technologies today.
To say that there’s a lot of hype surrounding the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), at this point, might be something of an understatement.
According to a study recently conducted by Stanford University, the total number of active startups operating in the AI space has increased by a massive 1400% since 2000. Adobe estimates that the number of jobs requiring AI has increased by 450% since as recently as 2013. Things have gotten to the point where, according to Monster.com, the three most in-demand skills for new hires today are machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing – all of which tie directly into the larger category of artificial intelligence.
As one would expect, this isn’t just changing the way businesses operate in the present – it’s changing the shape of their futures, too. A significant 83% of businesses say that artificial intelligence is one of the biggest strategic priorities for their business today. 61% of business professionals say that machine learning and AI together are their company’s most significant data initiative for the next year, regardless of the type of business they’re running or even the industry that they’re operating in. Based on all of this, it should come as no surprise that the global value of the AI market will balloon to a massive $190 billion by as soon as 2025, this according to the research firm Markets and Markets.
Of course, all of this demands a fairly important question: what does the rise of artificial intelligence mean for the future of your call center? The answer to that question requires you to keep a few key things in mind.
Artificial Intelligence and Call Centers: The Story So Far
These days, everyone is talking about the myriad of different ways that you can use AI and similar techniques like chat bots to not only answer support tickets, but to also drive down costs across your enterprise. But the fact of the matter is, experience has shown that even with all the advancements in machine learning that are taking place around us every day… AI is still just not very good at these types of tasks.
Sure, it’s absolutely true that bots are fine for the most basic of tasks. They’ve been able to help call centers reduce incoming ticket volumes by between 20 and 30% in many cases by giving customers an easy way to interact with their accounts and make basic adjustments without the intervention of a living, breathing human being. Based on that, it’s safe to say that there is very much a home for bots to drive overall efficiency.
However, that undeniable advantage comes with a fairly big caveat: using bots to manage a customer support experience and using them to create a better one are two entirely different concepts and need to be treated as such.
The more complicated the task you hand over to artificial intelligence, the less likely that task is to get done correctly. At that point, you’re talking about worse than a lateral move – you’re talking about something that harms your long-term efforts at support and retention, not helps them.
The Trouble With Artificial Intelligence in the Call Center
For the purposes of this discussion, the main type of artificial intelligence that you need to concern yourself with as applied to the modern day call center is called the Front End Deflection method. As its name suggests, this is a type of proactive support that usually involves knowledge capture, a chat bot and similar techniques that often enters into the equation prior to the customer ever writing a support ticket in the first place.
The goal of this type of solution is generally to inject some logic and intelligence into the situation as early as possible, in an effort to deflect potential issues up front. In call centers, this is the type of AI that most people know about and have the highest degree of experience with – it’s also the type that is largely responsible for a reduction in call center volumes, as outlined above.
The problem with this is that it’s also the least up to date and least dynamic type of solution out there. The “brains” of the solution are fundamentally restraint to the content that has been manually created by humans and made public on your website and/or support site. If that type of content doesn’t exist, the solution cannot draw from it.
This, of course, is where the problems begin.
The tangible “help” that this type of solution is very basic. If a customer loads an interaction with a chat bot and asks a question, the active assistance that it can provide is limited to “if you have a problem with your bill, go HERE. If you want to find out more information about a charge, go HERE” and things of that nature.
Because the content that solution is drawing from is essentially incomplete, if a customer were to replace words in a ticket, the system is unlikely to pick up on it. The major issue is that nobody actually writes this content with SEO and AI logic in mind – meaning that critical synonyms are often lost. Full and complete answers are often not written in these locations, which limits the overall efficacy of these solutions to somewhere around 15 and 20% – in the absolute best case scenario.
Another issue is that most companies want to be very guarded with this information, as it essentially amounts to intellectual property. The majority of it is set to be used by an internal macro and/or support article, to be given to trained and proficient customer support agents to answer a specific question from a customer. This method is usually preferred instead of putting detail into a larger “playbook” that is available to everyone in the general public.
More Intelligence, More Problems
To get an idea of what this looks like in practice, consider the example of a player for a mobile video game interacting with a customer support service to assist with a problem they’re having. Once they write and support a support ticket, must current customer relationship management platforms will offer automated responses to answer tickets BEFORE an actual human ever has an opportunity to do so.
The problem is that the player is having very specific issues and they’re not necessarily outlining those problems in a way that the AI-powered system can “understand.” Lingo, buzzwords and unique words that are used in the “world” of the game get looked over as unrecognizable – the system has a hard time linking them to the best article to feed to the customer. A human customer support employee who plays the game themselves would pick up on these words – a computer, however, won’t.
Likewise, if the player writes something to the effect of “I played in the weekend tournament promotion a few days ago, but I still haven’t gotten my rewards” – the player didn’t write which tournament, which means that the system has no idea what articles to offer up. A human would absolutely know which particular tournament they were talking about based on the date and the context of the conversation, even if multiple exist within the system. Artificial intelligence won’t be able to recognize this because oftentimes time-related content (think: events, games, specific promotions, etc.) are all handled by the Live Ops teams that do all event-based promotions.
Equally complicating things is the fact that oftentimes support tickets are not as straightforward as artificial intelligence “needs” them to be. Once people start to ask three or four different questions in a single ticket, AI is easily confused. Depending on the specific phrasing and word choices of the player, it might serve up several support links or it might only offer one – thus leaving all other questions unanswered.
Finally, one of the major issues that comes along with most modern day artificial intelligence solutions is that it treats all customers the same – which is a problem, particularly in situations like gaming companies who depend on things like micro transactions as a form of repeat business.
An AI-powered system, for example, essentially cannot “acknowledge” new users. This is a person who problem hasn’t spent any money on the game yet, as they’re likely using virtual currency that was given to them when they originally signed up for their account. They may be a big spender in the next week or two, however – it’s just that they haven’t developed this pattern yet.
Humans can give particular types of responses that cater to the needs of these new users. By treating all customers the same, artificial intelligence cannot. It won’t be able to acknowledge the number of logins that player has had, for example, and it won’t have information about whether or not that person participated in recent tournaments, etc. Non-spenders absolutely have the potential to become spenders if they’re given the appropriate amount of care and attention during these fragile early days of their relationship. If you create a positive experience – if you welcome them to the community in the right way – you’re in a position to help make this happen. While an artificial intelligence response is better than nothing, it does little to actually further that relationship during this pivotal moment in its existence.
The truth is, even most sophisticated clients have maxed out on an accurate artificial intelligence response rate of between 25 and 30%. Average clients hover around 10 to 12%. Neither of those situations is ideal, and neither proves that artificial intelligence is the “magic bullet” we’ve been waiting for.
Most clients dedicate between 12 and 18 months of time, money and effort to get artificial intelligence to work properly – and between 70 and 80% of them end up giving up entirely. At that point, the facts are clear: artificial intelligence isn’t an opportunity cost, it’s a cost of opportunity in a time where you can’t really afford it.
Why a “Best of Both Worlds” Approach is Critical
Even as we move into 2019, customers are still not ready to have artificial intelligence and bots handle EVERY support issue that they have – as the issues outlined above go a long way towards proving. They understand these limitations, too – which is why many of them still insist on human support more often than not.
However, that doesn’t mean they want you to get rid of AI entirely – and you shouldn’t want that, either. Customers like the fast and easy answers to simple questions they can get from a bot. However, they also prefer that human touch to more serious issues. In those situations, they often find automated responses cold and inhuman and, worst of all, unhelpful. This makes them feel like your company doesn’t actually value their business enough to allow them to speak with a living, breathing person – thus harming the customer experience, not helping it.
Again – AI does have a place in the future of your call center, it just might not be the one you originally thought. Gone are the days where you can get by hiring low skilled customer support agents to handle monotonous transactional work. Instead, agent skill levels will only need to be further elevated in the not-too-distant future to handle critical thinking and judgement calls during the fragile post AI/bot interactions.
This is going to increase the cost of these agents, certainly, as they will be in a better position to command a premium hourly rate or salary – with expensive benefits packages needed to attract and retain top talent inflating an already loaded cost.
Luckily, there’s a better way – and it’s a lot more attainable than you might think.
The Goodbay Approach
At Goodbay Technologies, our intelligence customer support team is excellently equipped to handle tickets and calls post IVR or bot interaction. We’re a collection of passionate, critical thinking, empathetic problem solvers who use our best judgment to handle all tickets and other issues that a bot simply cannot.
Our highly skilled agents are perfect for lowering your costs in the ways that you thought AI would, all with the same quality of support you’ve come to expect on a 24/7 coverage basis.
In the End
Ultimately, nobody is saying that artificial intelligence, machine learning and related concepts will not one day become a ubiquitous part of life in a call center. It’s true that significant advancements are being made all the time, and every day things like chat bots get a little bit better than they were the day before.
Having said that, in the present day, they’re still not quite “ready for prime time.” If your company does not care about important metrics like CSAT scores and the quality of the customer experience that you offer on the balance of the 70 to 80% of tasks that cannot be automated, by all means – automate away. At that point, it’s clear that driving down costs are your only priority and to that end, AI will help nicely.
But if you do value a strong and positive customer experience – and make no mistake, you should – you need to think about artificial intelligence differently than your competitors. Remember that the quality of the customer experience you offer and the level of satisfaction you’re able to bring to people every day is the major driver of your competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded marketplace. It’s what allows you to stand out in a crowd and, more importantly, it’s what empowers your customer retention efforts.
Even though technology has come a long way, there are still a significant number of support tickets that absolutely require careful thought and the type of decision making that only human beings can provide.
For the best results, at least for the next few years, most call centers will likely want to experiment with a mixture of human support professionals and AI/machine learning-powered solutions like chat bots. This is particularly critical if customer retention is important to you, and if the lifetime value of a customer is significant to your business.
For the vast majority of all businesses, be they mobile gaming companies, e-commerce brands, or businesses focused on consumer electronics, the future of your organization depends on your ability to build strong, intimate and organic relationships with your customers where they keep coming back for more. If they keep coming back for more, they keep spending more – and at that point, the cost of retention with a high quality support system in place is far lower than the cost to acquire a new customer.
So while it’s true that a bot may save you the aforementioned 20% of new tickets by volume, it’s going to cost you dearly on the other 80% by way of customer attrition.
Instead, you need to look at the current state of artificial intelligence for what it really is: an opportunity. Not one that will allow you to replace your people, but instead to empower them – giving them a chance to work “smarter, not harder” in an appreciable way. With the amount of time they’re saving on that 20% reduction in ticket volumes, they now have more time than ever in a day to devote to the most important thing of all: getting out there and providing that intimate level of support to customers that, at least right now, the machines simply cannot match.
If you’d like to find out more information about the never-ending battle between artificial intelligence and humans in the context of call centers, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
To say that the technological landscape has shifted enormously over the last decade or so is, at this point, probably a bit of an understatement.
Even when you think about how far we’ve come since 2007, when Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone to the world, it’s incredible. Who would have thought that one day, we would all be walking around with powerful little supercomputers in our pockets that put the sum total of all human knowledge at our fingertips? And yet, that’s exactly where we are – and there’s truly no going back again.
This evolution of technology has also triggered an enormous shift in the foundation of many different industries, with contact centers perhaps being chief among them. In the past, a contact center was hardly thought of as a “high tech” affair. A customer had a problem, they picked up the phone and talked to a human being to work towards a solution, and that was that.
Flash forward to today and contact centers are not only technological affairs, but ones that are also powered by sophisticated artificial intelligence, machine learning and more. Chatbots have become the new norm and indeed, all of this has changed the way messaging even operates in these environments.
Which, of course, has created a balancing act between technology and automation and those essential live agents who still operate within these contact centers. Luckily, it’s a balancing act that is also fairly easy to navigate – you just have to keep a few key things in mind.
The Future of Customer Service: The Importance of Automation
Maybe the most important thing to understand about all of this is that as the relevance of technology has grown dramatically, the very focus of contact centers around the world has changed along with it. There has been a shift that has taken place – moving away from live agents and more towards computerized, automated responses.
There is a pressing need in many of these environments to create a system that not only allows for a more spontaneous level of interaction between the customer and a support team, but one that is also constantly adapting and evolving on the spot to offer better services across the board.
However, artificial intelligence alone CANNOT create this level of service customers now demand. Indeed, the essential idea that most savvy contact center operators understand is that technology is not supposed to REPLACE live agents.
Instead, it needs to empower them.
Walking this balancing act will depend on one’s ability to combine human intellect and interactions with machine learning in a way that makes achieving customer service goals a foregone conclusion.
In the future, good customer service and customer satisfaction will be born from RELATIONSHIPS – and those will always be founded on human interactions first and foremost.
These days, there are so many different channels customers use to communicate with your business. Some may prefer email, while others will immediately take to social media with a grievance. Some might be more than happy to deal with a chatbot, while others will ALWAYS prefer the option of picking up the phone and speaking with a friendly voice on the other end.
These days, you can’t just “pick one” or even a few of these and funnel all of your efforts in those directions, ignoring everything else. You need to support the customer WHERE they are, WHEREVER they are, absolutely no exceptions.
Balancing technology and automation with live agents is how you take full advantage of all of these channels, turning them into opportunities in an instant and away from being the liabilities that so many people still operating via the “traditional” model of customer support still see them as.
How to Master Automation: Finding the Perfect Combination of AI and Live Agents
In an effort to take full advantage of all of this, there are a few key concepts that will need to grow in importance.
First and foremost, the goal of a contact center operating in the modern era should ALWAYS be to maintain personalization between support teams and the customers they serve. Customers want to feel like they’re the ONLY person you care about, even if both of you know this isn’t necessarily the case. This can be done through the careful and strategic use of contextual data, among other sources.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a MORE personalized customer experience than ever before – something that simply cannot happen if ALL human intellect is “mechanized.”
AI and machine learning is powerful – but without live agents using their hundreds of hours of experience to adapt to the customers’ needs, you’re going to be moving away from your ultimate goals, not close to them.
When automating communications, this type of contextual data provides the ability to deliver those personalized, relevant bits of content that customers have come to expect. Companies could make us of customer profiles, for example, that could provide an understanding of customers on an individual basis. This alone can be a great way to make experiences feel far less machine-generated than ever before.
Likewise, one of the biggest recent challenges for any contact center has to do with how people expect quick service, but at the same time they also want their interactions to be (or at least, to feel) more “human” than ever.
These two ideas may seem like they’re at odds with one another, but they’re really not. Ultimately, it just means that you should leverage automation only where it makes sense, and leave live agents to handle the rest.
In an effort to better achieve this, businesses of all types need to provide customers the OPTION of whether to interact with a chatbot or a human or, in certain situations, even a combination of both.
If your organization really wants to incorporate automation for customer service wherever possible, consider using it for only those repetitive tasks and simple questions that never really required a living, breathing human being to begin with. That way, the customer still gets what they want and your live agents are free to focus more of their care, time and attention on those tasks where they’re needed the most.
When it comes to the actual subject of messaging, automation typically works very well for responding to things like frequently asked questions or, at the very least, simple queries. Again, this is a great way to both guarantee the customer the level of service they want AND to free up agents to focus on more detailed situations where “that human element” still cannot be matched.
The Goodbay Approach: The Road to the Future Begins Today
As it pertains to traditional outsourcing, the level of shift that we’re talking about is very much a threat to most “Big Box” outsourcing companies. These are the organizations that always tried to fit companies into a “one size fits all” customer service box – one that, to be honest, never really existed in the first place.
Every business is a little bit different than the next and the same is absolutely true of every customer. Even if two customers have the exact same problem, they may want to arrive at the exact same solution in two totally different ways. Treating every business and every customer as if they’re the same may work on paper, but in reality it’s totally giving up on that personal approach to customer service – something that may very well form the basis for most business’ competitive advantage over the next decade.
Likewise, most traditional call centers have a very simple revenue model. They work based on the idea that “more human effort is equal to higher revenue for the outsourcing company.” Because of this, they’re usually the ones who are NOT inclined to embrace something like artificial intelligence, which is a decision that directly impacts their top-line revenue.
When you begin working with a support partner who is capable of looking BEYOND direct revenue, however, you arrive at an organization that is willing to embrace ALL forms of improved customer experience efforts. At Goodbay, this has always been the target we’re trying to hit and it’s one that we think will only get more important over the next few years.
In an effort to better balance technology and automation with live agents, you NEED a partner who will deliver more than just efficiency. You need someone who will deliver the correct blend of innovative, forward-thinking and proactive support that your customers have come to expect. Regardless of what resolution a customer wants, you need to be willing to support them HOW they want to be supported. Don’t force customers to adapt to make up for your own limitations – you should adapt to make up for your customer’s preferences. At Goodbay Technologies, that’s exactly what we’ve always tried to do for as many of our partner organizations as possible.
In the end, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal is NOT to create a process that is overly efficient or that is packed with wall-to-wall automated responses. Instead, you’re trying to deliver personalized experiences by leveraging technology when it makes sense and live agents when the situation demands them. At Goodbay Technologies, we do this through the use of highly trained agents who work in tandem with the best that modern technology has to offer – a winning combination that will serve both you and your customers well for years to come.
If you’d like to find out more information about balancing technology and automation with live agents, or if you have any additional questions that you’d like to see answered in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
Although the term “Quality Assurance” may bring with it some fairly sophisticated and far-reaching implications, the concept at the heart of it couldn’t be more straightforward. It simply refers to “an ongoing testing and/or evaluation activity that ultimately provides valuable insights into both the compliance and effectiveness of direct customer and business interactions.”
It’s a viable way to not only test and evaluate the performance of your own efforts, but to do so in a “detective” method that helps uncover valuable insight into those interactions that have already happened. Essentially, you’re learning from your own history to help make sure you’re not “doomed to repeat it.” Mistakes that happened in the past stay in the past, which is exactly the way it should be. Indeed, most QA programs are performed after the customer and business transaction in question has already been finalized.
In other words, quality assurance is a way to find out two very important ideas, both at the exact same time. First, you’re uncovering those efforts you and your people are engaged in that work incredibly well – thus giving you a chance to reinforce them. But more importantly, you’re also getting insight into what ISN’T working as well… all so that you can step in and eliminate those vulnerabilities wherever possible.
The problem with this, however, is that errors detected in quality assurance testing cannot be prevented or repaired. If one of your agents has a negative interaction with a customer, you can’t “prevent” that from happening unless you happen to have a time machine handy. The damage is done – all you can do is use that information to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.
From a certain perspective, this is still an opportunity… but at Goodbay Technologies, it’s one that we want to make even more effective use of in the future.
In an effort to maintain our own industry-leading levels of quality assurance at Goodbay, we have created what is known as the Goodbay Quality Charter. As the name suggests, this is a document that outlines the intentions of core team functionality. It outlines how control processes are applied and, crucially, how the QA team operates within the firm’s framework.
This level of cooperation provides the quality assurance team with a wide range of potential benefits. They can both identify trends AND high-risk areas of opportunity in a far more effective manner than ever before, all while utilizing the results from each group in the most forward-thinking way possible.
All of this directly impacts our ability to service our own clients in a number of positive ways, all of which deserve a closer look.
The Importance of Evaluations: What You Learn and How You Learn It
As a part of the Goodbay Quality Charter, evaluations with regards to customer and account interactions are typically handled in three ways, all of which command equal importance but for different reasons:
Individual evaluations are those that are performed on a monthly basis in no less than two review rounds. This is necessary to monitor adherence to not only things like regulatory, compliance and contractual demands, but also customer experience, case handling and professional conduct requirements, too. Individual evaluations aim to review an individual’s interactions and the decisions they’re making as they pertain to customer accounts. In an effort to guarantee that the population reflects interactions that are both current and accurate, two rounds of evaluations are performed in a given month.
Target evaluations are those that are performed on precise, critical business processes or populations WITHIN a monthly review period, usually as requested from the LOB. Each request then outlines the parameters for scope and frequency or, at the very least, as identified by the quality assurance team.
With regards to target evaluations in particular, results are made available to management via the Goodbay Technologies reporting site and are always provided within monthly reporting for maximum convenience. Any and all results provided to operations teams are monitored for potential risks and trends, all of which are determined by the particular request that was submitted in the first place.
It’s also important to note that these evaluations are used to gain insights into specific populations sampled in an effort to determine if there are any potential or emerging issues that need to be addressed within that operations process.
So again – part of the problem with the traditional quality assurance program is that it’s reactive by its very nature. You have to wait for a problem to occur, at which point you can gather information in an effort to stop it from happening again in the future.
With this level of targeted evaluations, on the other hand, suddenly you have access to information about potentially negative trends and patterns that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. At that point, you’re in the best possible position to stop a small problem today BEFORE it has a chance to become that bigger, more permanent problem tomorrow.
The third and final type of evaluation executed as part of the Goodbay Quality Charter are parallel evaluations, which are utilized as an internal control process that is administered monthly to assess the evaluator’s accuracy.
In other words, it’s a critical way to maintain the checks and balances that the entire system was founded upon.
Parallel evaluations are always completed by a team leader, and the designate is subject to one such evaluation during a review period. The frequency of these evaluations are dictated by the team leader and individual evaluations are completed as specified by LOB leadership.
Overall, the results are used to guarantee consistency between QA evaluators and team leader/designate evaluations. If any discrepancies are discovered, organizational leadership again has access to the information they need to correct these issues as quickly as possible.
Scoring and Reporting: An Overview
As stated, the three types of evaluations outlined above are performed by BOTH the quality assurance team and team leaders. The results of the evaluations are scored and are then used as a measurement of success. While it’s absolutely true that every organization defines “success” in a slightly different way, for the sake of clarity a 95% pass rate is used.
Everything is then reported using an average monthly score, thus giving leaders the most complete “picture” from which to work from.
Evaluations that are below the standard measurement will be reported as “fails” and may require action to remediate. Evaluations that are reported above the standard measurement will then be reported as “passes.”
But even though the term “fail” is a harsh one, it’s still an invaluable opportunity just waiting to be capitalized on. The Goodbay Quality Charter is designed to give organizational leaders more information than just “this person is doing well and this other person isn’t.” If someone is coming up short, you know WHY. You know WHAT contributed to those scores and you know that they’re accurate thanks to the sophisticated level of checks and balances at play.
With all of that, you’re able to do more than just get rid of a particular agent or “keep a closer eye” on them and hope the problem corrects itself. You know what specific type of training they need. You know whether they’re having a regulatory and compliance issue or a customer experience/case handling issue – both of which are equally severe but would require two totally different strategies to correct.
But even going beyond that, if you know where you stand as an organization TODAY, you get a better idea of where you’re headed TOMORROW. Even low scores, with the right corrective action, should absolutely be trending upwards over time. So in a lot of ways, the Goodbay Quality Charter is all about eliminating as much guesswork from the equation as possible. You’re no longer operating blindly, trying anything and everything to make up for limitations within your own system.
Instead, you’re shining a spotlight on them.
Goodbay Technologies: Your Partner in Your Current and Future Success
Once you know what specific issues you’re dealing with, you almost immediately know WHY they’re happening. With that level of insight and clarity, the WHAT can’t help but reveal itself – meaning you know exactly what needs to be done to guarantee the improved outcomes your organization needs at this critical moment.
All of this will become even more important over the next few years as customer expectations continue to change and evolve all around us. Never forget that in the tech-based world that we’re now living in, life moves incredibly fast. The hard and firm “best practice” of today may seem woefully inadequate six months from now, to say nothing of how things will continue to evolve over the course of the coming decade.
When faced with that type of disruption, organizations MUST become as proactive as they can possibly be about not only what they’re doing, but how they choose to do it. They need to be able to see where customer experience demands are headed so that they can get there before anyone else, thus carving out a genuine competitive advantage that can guarantee success moving forward.
The creation of the Goodbay Quality Charter is one of the many, many ways that we’ve attempted to help all of our partner organizations do precisely that. It’s a system that will only get more effective over time, and for those businesses who don’t just want to think outside the box but who want to live there, we feel that it’s a very powerful asset to have on their side.
If you’re interested in finding out more information about the importance of a quality assurance program in the modern era, or if you have any additional questions about the Goodbay Quality Charter that you’d like to see answered in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
At one point, it didn’t matter what type of business you were talking about or even the industry they were operating in – the job description of a customer service agent was essentially a hard and firm framework that most organizations were fine with following.
Even though these were hardworking people, you were still talking about someone who had to crank out responses to customer problems and questions as fast as possible. They were following a rigid script or macro and their most important metric was volume. They had to get people off the phone as fast as possible to move onto the next call – it wasn’t much more complicated than that.
It’s safe to say that this era is long over.
Thanks to the advent of concepts like artificial intelligence, solutions like chatbots are taking away more of this “low level” work with each passing day. Volume isn’t just lower on the list of priorities – for most businesses, it’s no longer on the list at all.
There’s still work to be done by live agents, but the rules have changed dramatically. These positions not only require critical thinking, but agents now have to put time and care into researching the proper responses for a more personalized, proactive approach to customer service. The script that agents previously followed has been thrown out and today, they need to be detail oriented and must know how to write and speak logically and intelligently.
To that end, the term “customer service agent” may itself be something of a misnomer at this point. In truth, that position likely doesn’t exist anymore – at least, not in a way that is appropriately filled by a human.
Instead, businesses of all types now need a small army of Critical Thinking Agents at their disposal. This is true for a wide range of different reasons that are certainly worth exploring.
The Advent of the Critical Thinking Agent
In other words, agents need to be smarter and more effective than ever to perform well in an AI-based world. An organization needs people who are able to address trends in calls and customer contacts in a way that ushers that insight towards people in management positions where it belongs.
Likewise, the types of requests that these agents are responding to are getting more and more difficult all the time. It’s no longer possible to write a “one size fits all” script that will allow someone with limited knowledge to address every possible issue or complaint a customer might have in the first place.
Make no mistake about it: the customer doesn’t care if their problem isn’t listed on your script. They just want their resolution, and they want it faster than ever.
So how do you get these Critical Thinking Agents for your own business? It certainly isn’t easy. But with the right approach, you’ll quickly find that it’s a lot more straightforward of a process than you previously thought.
Intelligent Support Begins and Ends With Intelligent Agents
Part of the reason why Critical Thinking Agents have become so important in the last few years in particular is because the idea of customer support, as we know it, is changing. What we used to think of as “Level 1” support is now essentially going away, offloaded to a series of increasingly sophisticated AI-powered bots who can handle things just as effectively as a script or a macro ever could.
Likewise, a variety of self-help solutions are also significantly reducing the volume of “Level 1” tickets that are being created in the first place. Not only have Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resources proven to be very helpful to that end, but you also have Help Center Articles, crowd sourced support like forums and user generated help articles and more. When coupled with many of the effective ticket deflection strategies that a lot of businesses are also running, the support landscape has changed immeasurably.
Because of that, what we used to know as “Level 2” support has now become “Level 1” support. Thus, there’s an increasing need for smart, empathetic problem solvers who are both empowered and who rely heavily on common sense at the same time.
At Goodbay Technologies, we have a firm belief that this process begins and ends with the agents themselves. If you interview correctly to identify ideal candidates as soon as possible, then train correctly to make sure they’re an appropriate fit for your business and its users, you therefore empower them to use their brains to your advantage. Oftentimes, this can take one full year of implementation to truly “get things right” but if you do things properly, the results aren’t just positive.
Finding the Right Agents Begins With the Right Process
While it’s certainly true that Critical Thinking Agents are always unique (and should be by design), they all tend to share a few key qualities:
They’re college educated.
They have high emotional intelligence.
They have sound judgment.
They’re coming into your organization with previously existing experience necessary to make the biggest impact possible.
College education is key, for example, as oftentimes these agents will have significantly expanded their own critical thinking skills through a lifetime of relevant education. When recruiting these Intelligent Agents, it’s also important to find candidates with previous work experience in world leading CS organizations or BPOs. That way, you’ll spend less time training someone on the basic framework of the job and can spend more time integrating them into your own unique organization.
To find the widest array of candidates, look at people who are already the top performers in their career. Get recommendations from peers, colleagues or even former employers. Look for people with excellent soft skills and by all means, prioritize niche technical proficiency when required.
In terms of your larger HR process, do not be afraid to be picky. The stakes are far too high for you to be willing to accept anyone and everyone. At Goodbay, we interview up to 100 agents per day and we make an offer to three, if that. We thoroughly test an applicant’s critical thinking skills, problem solving abilities, empathy and even their EQ. Then, we confirm what we think we already know. We follow up with the candidate to guarantee they are truly as good as they appear.
We’re also willing to make them an offer they can’t refuse. We believe you have to pay over the market rate for top talent because, as the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”
Likewise, we allow all of our clients to interview each agent for their team to guarantee that they’re getting the best fit possible. This is also a great way to avoid surprises – you don’t want to go through all the trouble of onboarding someone only to find out that there’s some quality they lack that you need.
The Art of Delivering Intelligent Customer Support
We also believe that it’s important to understand that the new world of customer service requires a far more proactive approach to your agents than ever before. Finding the best agents is no longer something you “do once and forget about.” You need to keep working at it to maintain that perfect fit moving forward.
For many businesses, this means investing in an Agent Certification program to bring agents up to speed and keep them there for as long as possible. Often this will include weekly or even monthly tests to help agents maintain necessary certifications. As a bonus, this enables providers like Goodbay to update agents on all of our clients ever-changing product and service offerings.
To speak to our own specific approach here at Goodbay, we also let the data do the talking as much as possible. Our Custom Quality Assurance program, for example, continually verifies that agents are meeting all client-directed QA criteria and goals. The development of this program is something we do in partnership with all of our clients to help collect the most accurate and actionable data possible at all times. We even link QA scores to agent pay to give them that extra motivation need to go above and beyond when the situation calls for it.
Another one of the important steps we take comes by way of our CSAT program. We always run CSAT surveys after customer interactions to hear precisely what a customer has to say about the agent in question. This is invaluable because the feedback is completely impartial.
KPIs are also critical for the ongoing development and support of these agents. At Goodbay, we always judge our agents on First Contact Resolution Rates, for example. Generally speaking, the more knowledgeable the agent, the fewer interactions required to solve a ticket. Therefore, there is a strong correlation between CSAT and other KPIs like FCRR as well.
Average Handling Time or AHT is also something to pay attention to. A short AHT usually indicates that an agent can quickly and reliably solve a ticket. A longer AHT isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, as it might show that an agent was willing to take as much time as possible to extend that extra level of care that customers are looking for.
The Impact You Need When You Need it the Most
All of this hard work and care generates the type of positive impact that your organization would be hard-pressed to replicate through other means – especially if you’ve chosen to partner with an outsourced provider like Goodbay.
To be clear, this is the level of service that your customers now expect at a bare minimum. Finding agents that meet these qualities to add to an in-house team can be incredibly costly, especially in an era where bots and artificial intelligence have basically eliminated the need for low cost CSRs in the first place. Those higher quality agents command a premium and that price may be cost prohibitive for your organization.
Outsourced support is therefore an inherently more cost effective way to guarantee all of these results as inexpensively as possible, without skimping out on quality. Not only do you get the chance to deliver a higher quality of support at scale while NOT going over your budget, but high quality support can also quickly become yet another profit center for you to leverage.
Think about it like this: the better the level of support you’re able to offer, the happier your customers are likely to be. This takes one-time customers and turns them into repeat buyers, which also increases new customer opportunities from referrals, increases loyalty and factors like Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and more.
What would you rather have – an average number of satisfied customers with short relationship life-spans, or a loyal army of advocates who spend more money over longer periods of time?
Obviously, the latter is preferred to the former – and in the 21st century, Critical Thinking Agents are how you get there.
The Goodbay Way™
At Goodbay Technologies, we believe that it is critically important to look for an outsourcing partner that emphasizes these traits in agents. If you don’t, you’ll continue to get the types of robotic answers that upset customers who are looking for something that a bot can never provide – that human element that is missing from so many customer service interactions these days.
Finding a company that emphasizes intelligent customer support is essential because a company like that is better positioned to become a true partner in every sense of the term. Not only will this relationship help you drive positive CSAT and FCR scores, but it will also help create satisfied, repeat customers that lead to appreciable cost reductions as well.
Yes, this type of partner is going to cost more than someone who inexpensively offers you little more than “human bots.” But then again, smart people anywhere in the world cost more than those who are inexperienced or who lack the knowledge to get the job done properly. You would never look for the cheapest person possible when filling an important position like CFO. Why should your customer support team be any different?
In the End
All told, the most important thing for you to understand is that everyone needs to step up their game in a post-Artificial Intelligence world. The bots have taken us as far as they can – it’s up to us to collectively meet the demands of the modern customer at this point. Success to that end begins with the Critical Thinking Agents of today, and at Goodbay we believe that this is one trend that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
If you’d like to find out more information about the role of Critical Thinking Agents in the new world of customer service, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
The international marketplace is consistently evolving, merging globalization and technology to create new opportunities in innovation. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the omni-channel era provides a way for companies to interact with customers across traditional channels such as email, live chat and telephone, with BPO partners expanding customer interaction with non-traditional channels.
What are these non-traditional channels?
Non-traditional channels include:
800 number support is becoming a last resort due to long hold times. Customers have taken things into their own hands, utilizing social media such as Twitter to @ a company to get their questions answered, or alert the company of an issue. Smart companies have their BPO partners respond in real time, mostly through traditional channels to solve problems offline. Due to the promptness in which issues are resolved, customers are incentivized to change or edit their complaint to a positive review.
BPO partners also engage directly with customers through in-app support. This increases the level of response time, and keeps transactions easily accessible. Major CRMs have an SDK integration that is compatible to effortlessly work with agents and customers.
App store/Google Play & retail reviews
When consumers are frustrated, they usually skip support and go leave a negative review. BPO partners now engage customers in their review sections to let the customer know their feedback has been seen and valued. BPO partners takes the interaction offline, resolving the issues and politely requesting a follow-up positive review. This works in improving the company’s brand image, increases sales and user acquisition. Good reviews are necessary, as most people do not engage with brands who have poor reviews.
Digitally transforming with BPO
Business Process Outsourcing must change with the times. Forward-thinking companies implement new digital transformation strategies that work to engage customer interaction through real time channels. This works to reduce the amount of concurrent agents staffed to handle inbound call volume and remain efficient in the handling of digital channel support. This can occur with less agents, as the need for direct call interaction is lessened.
Most companies consider BPO as a back office outsourcing function, with an emphasis on functions such as human resources, finance and customer service. These functions could also extend to telecom, healthcare, retail and more. A very lucrative platform, global outsourced services continues to rise, with revenues under $100 billion in 2012.
Now, BPO location is considered archaic, with a perceived notion that specific locations of the globe offer better BPO support. This is incorrect. We live in a global society where everyone has access, and agents in foreign countries are the norm, especially if they are smart, empathetic problem solvers. With digital channel support being at the forefront, customers do not know where their agent is handling their issues, whether it is local or overseas. There are a number of companies who have their reservations about having foreigners handling their accounts and critical business functions, but good providers in this area address these concerns and demonstrate their capabilities through innovative project management.
Advantages of BPO
BPO handles customer support, but also offers CX consulting to improve CSAT, KPIs and SLAs through their work with multiple clients and exposure to different customer experiences. Standard companies who have in-house support only know how to operate in their manner. Working with a BPO provides exposure to many different customer support strategies, and allows the company to choose the best solutions to implement with their BPO partner that can enhance and correctly represent the brand and customer journey strategy.
A good example of a BPO provider working with digitally disruptive companies, blue chip companies and unicorns to implement digital transformation strategies is Goodbay Technologies. They provide non-traditional support from Bangalore, working with high-growth companies with expensive labor markets like San Francisco, New York, Barcelona and Manchester. Goodbay also delivers a 30-50% cost savings on customer support labor while delivering support quality that is on par, or in most cases, better than in-house customer support.
How important is a strong BPO?
With customer service being one of the top priorities in organizations today, BPOs must pay attention to U.S. consumers and their dismay with service through international call centers. There must be an emphasis on delivering the best experience no matter where the agents are located, as the BPO model has shown no signs of regression, and is expected to continuously grow over the next few years.
With many companies switching to online models as the foundation of how they now do business, they are starting to realize how important it is to have a strong customer support platform in place that will get results. The BPO model must take into account the apprehensiveness of U.S. based companies, delivering well educated, articulate and knowledgeable customer service teams, regardless of their location.
The implementation of the BPO model reinforces how companies can utilize their in-house employees more effectively working on relevant projects that will increase revenues, leaving the other functions on the BPO to fulfill. In many instances, the human resources function will handle recruiting, resumes, interviews, onboarding and other protocols that would usually fall under the in-house staff. This process helps retain good talent while aligning with the company’s goals. As part of the strategic process, the individuals working in the customer service area undergo handle to training to ensure they are in step with the strategic goals and know enough about the products they represent to put customers at ease.
Establishing the right partnership with a BPO provider who has the experience and track record to make a difference in your organization is key for staying ahead of the curve in a digitally progressive space. With 17 years of CX consulting experience, Goodbay Technologies has earned their reputation of helping businesses in the retail and business space take their strategic goals to the next level through premium BPO services. They specialize in guiding high-growth companies through the consumer experience model, providing the protocols needed to deliver effective, high-level service from anywhere in the world.
You’re signed a service agreement and you’re ready to get started with your brand new Outsourced BPO provider. Now, what happens?
First off, congratulations are in order – you made it! It certainly wasn’t an easy process to get to this point, but the RFP phase is finally over. Your decision-making committee has selected an outsourced provider and your legal and finance teams have all had their say. You’ve got a freshly signed agreement in front of you and the ink is probably still drying. Now, at long last, you’re ready to get to work.
We don’t want to sugar coat things – beginning a relationship with a new outsourced customer support center is certainly a tall task. But what it DOESN’T have to be is arduous or painful. In fact, with the right approach, it can be quite the opposite. In reality, it can be the genuine first step towards reinventing, reinvigorating and advancing your customer support department to rise to the challenges of the modern era.
But training is only one small part of a much larger story that is about to unfold before your very eyes. What else is involved, you ask? It’s simple:
A thorough documentation and review of both your policies and support processes.
A healthy amount of scrutiny when it comes to updating all of your self-help content.
A careful analysis of your tools and technology.
An advanced augmentation of your support style and culture.
A deeper look at your business analytics and what we can do to help put technology to work for YOU instead of the other way around.
Now, if you’ll permit us, let’s take the opportunity to go over all of these things in greater detail, one-by-one.
Training Your New Team
Quite often, there is a realization of how much of your training is based on the transfer of knowledge and information. This is usually referred to as Tribal Knowledge, and it runs contrary to working through a defined and comprehensive training manual.
Your brand new support partner should absolutely do most of the heavy lifting to that end on your behalf. At the very least, they should work alongside you as a genuine partner to update, document and organize ALL the training materials needed to train your new support representatives.
For the best results, training should actually be broken down into a series of smaller and more manageable chunks. Most in-house departments only focus on the first piece, otherwise known as product knowledge. But the entire process encompasses things like:
Product Training. This is the true “nuts and bolts” of the process as it enables people to learn your product and your “widget,” all while becoming the true subject matter experts about your unique style of doing things that you need them to be.
Business Process Training. In other words, this is where people learn the policies and guidelines they should be following.
Almost immediately, you begin to gain an extra benefit if you’ve selected the right partner. Here is where you get to ask questions of and challenge your policies in a way that makes them better, stronger and more effective.
Do your policies share in the best practices of other clients, suggest opportunities to re-evaluate the “way things have always be done” and offer more room for improvement? Because they absolutely should and, with the right partner, they will.
Are there efficiencies that can be gained in these processes? These are the types of questions you need to be thinking about at this point in the process.
Shifting to an outsourced provider will certainly force some new tools, practices and collaboration points into the mix. They might be as rudimentary as passing a post-it note around the office but, over time, they add up to something incredibly powerful that you would be hard-pressed to replicate on your own.
A few of the other things that you’ll go over at this point in your relationship include factors like:
Systems and Tools Training. In the best case scenario, your new partner should hopefully know your own software tools either as well as or better than you do today – if you’ve selected the right partner, that is.
We all fall into the trap of clicking the same five buttons in our software suite because “that’s just the way things work.” Is there more in front of you that your team isn’t using today that your new partner has experience in? That’s the kind of thing that they’re supposed to help you find out.
Communication Style, Tone and Cultural Training. Has anyone ever asked you what your communication style actually is and what ideas you want your support to display?
Have you ever asked this of yourself? Because you should have.
Has your in-house team ever been trained to uniformly communicate in this way, creating the most consistent experience possible for your customers?
Do you even have a trainer on hand to facilitate this level of training and specificity?
If you’ve selected the right outsourcing partner, they will help you realize the value of ALL of these discussion points. But more than that, they’ll SHOW and not TELL you that they understand through the careful training of all staff members they’re bringing with them.
Documentation and Review of Your Policies and Support Process
But one of the most critical things to keep in mind throughout all of this is that ALL the above points should be discussed, shared, documented and refreshed whenever you have the opportunity to do so. These are the core ingredients necessary to make tangible progress possible.
Sure, you might say to yourself “of course I have that written down.” That’s a great start – but that’s all it is, the start of something bigger. When was the last time a process was reviewed, refreshed and retain at the speed of your business?
If you answered “not for awhile,” don’t worry. That’s actually the most common answer we hear at Goodbay Technologies.
A successful on-boarding process is one that will guarantee you have updated and documented all topics that people will go over during the training process. But the good news is that you will now have a partner who not only takes ownership over this role, but who is self-motivated and who refreshes the information on a regular basis as-needed.
Overall, a successful on-boarding process should have an owner that leverages not only state-of-the-art online learning tools, but also certifications and ongoing educational systems. All of this adds up to a great way to make sure that agents are continually provided with the details they need to be successful.
Agents aren’t mind readers, and they shouldn’t be expected to be. But they DO learn fast – and that’s part of what this process is all about.
Scrutiny and Updating Your Self-Help Content
Another significant part of the training process comes by way of collecting information from public-facing resources. This includes the data contained in not only your own self-help guides, but also your official social media pages on sites like Facebook, Twitter and any social forums that you’re participating in.
But what about “unofficial” support sites? Think about all the invaluable insight contained on retailer product review boards. What can you and your people learn from Yelp, Google and reviews with the Better Business Bureau. What about any fan pages that have been created, or sub-reddits that real customers are having real conversations in on a daily basis?
Do you even know where your customers are going to get the valuable information they need when they need it the most?
These are the sites that you should be not only paying attention to, but actively participating in. You should be MODERATING The conversations on those sites, gently steering them in the very precise direction you need them to go in.
Therein lies the beauty of choosing the right outsourced partner in the first place: they know the true value of supporting your customers where THEY currently are, rather than trying to force them to go wherever YOU want them to. To put it another way, don’t start a conversation and hope that your customer decides to pay attention. Participate in the conversations that those customers are already having.
After you’ve carefully audited WHERE all of that communication is occurring, do you have a mechanism in place that will tell you how accurate and comprehensive the information at each of those locations really is? Do you have someone who can correct, update and moderate those self-help sites?
If you’ve selected the correct outsourcing partner, the answer to that question is easy: “you will.”
Analysis of Your Tools and Your Technology
It’s truly amazing how many software tools, systems and technologies are deployed in a vacuum. It’s actually quite rare for your own in-house IT professionals to proactively prepare for the day someone outside your office has to actually use those tools.
When these systems exist in a vacuum, the critical data contained within them does the same. The insight hidden inside that data cannot be shared easily or, in some cases, at all. This means that each agent is essentially running their own mini enterprise, creating a confusing and ultimately frustrating experience for your customers when they try to get the support they need on the topics that matter most to them.
This is the part of the process where your new partner will change all of that, for the better and for all time.
Yes, this will force a complete re-analysis of your current environment. In may even prompt you to update, refresh or change many of the tools and technologies that you use to deliver support to your customers in the first place.
But all of this effort is in service of the most important thing of all: your customers.
If you don’t have the IT time (or budget) required to make any of these improvements, don’t worry – your new partner should have an in-house software engineering team who can build ALL the middle-ware required in the fastest and most cost effective ways possible.
IF you’ve selected the right partner, that is.
Augmentation of Your Support Style and Culture
At this point in the process, you need to look inward – asking questions of yourself that, by now, should have fairly obvious answers. You’ll need to carefully consider questions like:
Why did you decide to outsource your support department in the first place?
Were you trying to improve response times and the quality of replies that were going out to your customers?
Did you want to increase the hours and days of coverage that you were capable of providing?
Did you want to allow your in-house staff to offer the highest level of “VIP” support to your most valued customers?
Was it some combination, or even all, of the above?
There are no wrong answers to these questions. All that matters is that you take the time to answer them.
No matter what you were trying to accomplish and no matter what the benefit actually was, NOW is the time to re-invent the perception of your current Customer Support team. Keep in mind, however, that this involves both the external perception (meaning how your customers see you) and the internal perception (meaning how you see yourself).
The answers to questions like those outlined above will create brand new ones – all of which will help act as a roadmap as you transition from the organization you currently are to the one you always hoped you’d be.
What, exactly, do you want this new perception to be?
Why is that perception so important to you?
What will it allow you to accomplish tomorrow that you can’t today?
Are you working with your marketing and human resources teams to be incredibly vocal about these improvements, both in internal and external capacities?
At this point, a proverbial road map of self-improvement has been created for you via the important work that you’re doing with your new outsourced partner. Now, all you really have to do is follow it.
A Deeper Look at Your Business Analytics
An intelligent customer support partner will want to take a long, hard look at your business intelligence and analytics BEFORE they answer their first call or email for you.
They’ll want to know what your highest volume of issue categories are, what trends they need to be aware of, and what the KPIs are for all of these topics. Their goal will be to guarantee beyond the shadow of a doubt that they have a baseline for ALL of these measurements BEFORE they get started. This puts them in the best possible position to measure the positive impact of your new relationship.
If you don’t have these numbers handy, you once again shouldn’t worry. Your new partner should be a master at this already and they can easily glean these numbers for you from the work they’ve already been doing. Case in point:
Your new partner will have their own need for reporting and analytics. They will know what other clients in your industry desire to see in daily, weekly, and monthly reporting. But more importantly, they will recreate those best practices for you.
Your new partner will have a deep understanding and appreciation of business intelligence for your customer support. In a lot of ways, this is their ONLY job. They need to SHOW the benefit of your relationship and would do all the heavy lifting for you in this regard.
The Goodbay Technologies Approach: Learning From the Past to Improve the Future
If you’ve selected the right partner at the start of this process, all of this will be done long before they ever pick up the phone or open that support ticket for the first time. This process and this structure has always been a core part of what we do here at Goodbay Technologies and indeed, it’s precisely what has allowed us to act as “the perfect partner” for so many organizations like yours in the past.
This process is long, yes. It contains many valuable items to flesh out. But it does NOT have to be a painful process. If anything, you should see it for what it really is: a reinvention in the best possible way.
The majority of all successful on-boarding engagements will give you access to value and insights that you simply didn’t have before your decision to outsource. The kind that would have been difficult – if not impossible – to get on your own. But none of that changes the fact that before you have the very first KPI for Customer Support Performance from your new partner, you WILL already have acquired immense value from your new relationship.
Truly, what could be more critical to the long-term success of your organization than that?
If you’d like to find out more about what a successful on-boarding process truly looks like in the modern era, or if you have any additional questions that you’d like to see answered by someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
Any entrepreneur or business owner will tell you that hiring is tough – this is true whether you’ve just started your first business or your fifth. In a lot of ways, hiring the wrong person to fill a position is actually worse than not hiring anybody at all.
For starters, the wrong hire will hurt more than just your organizational productivity. It could actually cause damage to your company culture that is difficult to recover from – if you’re able to do so at all. Likewise, the cost to replace that bad hire can be staggering – certainly more than any business owner would like to be dealing with.
But at the same time, hiring INTELLIGENTLY is even harder in a lot of ways. To achieve this goal, you need an equally intelligent hiring process. At the very least, it must be equal in intelligence to the ideal candidate you’re trying to find in the first place.
At Goodbay Technologies, we understand all of this – which is why we’ve made it a priority to deploy many different facets and departments to help select the best possible candidates as quickly as we can.
The Goodbay Hiring Process: Breaking Things Down
At Goodbay, our hiring process is made up of a number of distinct parts that, when taken together, add up to something far more powerful than any one of them could be on their own. These include:
Leveraging the best in modern hiring technology for not only pre-interview filtering, but also on-site testing as well. This allows us to cut through all the noise of potential applicants, allowing the proverbial cream to rise to the top of the pack, so to speak.
We also leverage a dedicated, traditional human resources team to help shepherd people through the process in the most effective way possible.
We employ a series of passionate communications experts, many of whom were former educators and other experts in the space, to assess the communications skills and styles of potential applicants.
We then turn everything over to our operations team to measure experience, skills and an overall alignment of someone’s personality to YOUR unique company culture.
So, all of this demands the question: how do you find the right people with the right skills, anyway? How do you do this successfully ONE time, let alone enough times to fill a 1,200+ seat call center?
The answer to that question involves multiple layers, all working in tandem with one another. These are not only layers of skill, but also talent, personality and even experience assessment.
It may sound like a lot of work and, from a certain perspective, it absolutely is. It takes an incredible level of commitment to do it right and it takes a lot of time – possibly as many as six hours – per candidate.
But at the same time, you have to remember that time spent upfront equals time PRESERVED down the road if the process prevents you from hiring the wrong person to begin with.
In other words, when the stakes are this high, is this really a process you want to rush through?
Of course it isn’t – and that’s not what we want, either.
The problem with many BPOs is that they are essentially content with the bare minimum. They hire a candidate who can A) speak the language required, who B) has basic computer skills, and who C) is willing to work for the salary band or hourly rate offered. They do this because they’re operating under the assumption that every other skill needed to actually excel in that position can be trained.
That assumption, of course, isn’t based in anything even remotely resembling reality.
At Goodbay Technologies, we do things a bit differently. Goodbay realizes that you can only train the RIGHT person to be the BEST person – end of story. You cannot train the WRONG person to suddenly become a GOOD employee. If they’re not a fit for the position, they’re not a fit for the position – to pour time and money into pretending that to be true is only delaying the inevitable revelation that you’ve made a series, mission-critical mistake.
We prefer to take steps today to avoid that mistake tomorrow.
Even the best training in the world will yield mediocre results if the person engaged in that training is not the right fit, which is why we go above and beyond to find those ideal candidates in the most effective ways that we can.
The Costs of Getting it Wrong: What You Need to Know
But before we get to the process itself, it’s important to establish what the stakes are. Poor hiring processes ultimately create poor workforces, which can have a negative ripple effect across your organization in the worst possible way.
Consider the following statistics:
According to one recent study, a massive 58% of employees say that they have either left a job or would consider leaving one if the company culture was negative. Remember that it takes only one “bad” employee who is the wrong fit for an organization to create this toxic environment.
On the flip side, having the type of culture that attracts top talent to your organization in the first place can leadto a 33% higher revenue.
Another recent study revealed that companies with strong cultures had an increase in revenue growth that was literally four times higher compared to those without.
Another study indicated that 82% of executives said that a strong company culture was directly attributable to their own competitive advantage.
This is what we mean when we say that hiring is about more than just finding a warm body to fill a seat in your call center. Not only do you need someone willing to give 100% to their job – you need someone who fully believes in your mission and who has dedicated themselves to not only serving your customers, but to making meaningful contributions to your larger organization.
The wrong hire isn’t capable of doing that, and it isn’t even necessarily through any fault of their own. The wrong hire is exactly that – the wrong person for the wrong job at the wrong time.
Regardless of the type of business you’re trying to run, that’s a situation that you would do well to avoid at all costs.
The Art of Finding the “Right Fit” – A Process Begins
When we say that someone is the “right fit,” we’re going off of more than just intuition or a gut feeling. When we use the term “right fit” at Goodbay Technologies, we mean exactly that – someone who is a clear communicator and an empathetic problem solver who is culturally aligned with your unique customer-base.
This comprehensive skills assessment begins before the candidates ever even walk into our building. It starts with an in-house, proprietary and web-based (read: mobile friendly) skills assessment examination that is deployed before the candidate is ever even invited for an interview.
Clients who clear that assessment are then invited in-house for additional rounds of assessment, which include things like:
The Writing Round.
The Typing Test.
The Cultural Fit Assessment.
The Human Resources Round.
The Ops Round.
Again – all of these are hugely important on their own. But when taken together, they’re a fluid and organic way to make sure that you’re hiring the right person for the right position at exactly the right moment in your company’s history.
The Writing Round
At Goodbay Technologies, our Writing Round consists of two core components: a non-voice segment, followed by a voice segment.
During the non-voice portion of this round, a question bank of 100 different questions will be maintained by our own in-house people. Writing samples are then to be corrected by language professionals (former teachers and language instructors), who will do a basic check for both grammar and sentence construction.
At that point, candidates who have been identified as having strong writing skills are cleared to take the Typing Test round (see below).
For the voice portion of this round, a basic questionnaire with two questions on both accomplishments and mistakes is given to all voice-based candidates. Writing samples will once again be corrected by the human resources interviewing team, who will still be doing their basic check for both grammar and sentence construction. Those candidates who are identified as having average writing skills or above are then cleared to proceed to the next round.
The Typing Test
At this point, anyone who has cleared the previous round will be given the Typing Test – something designed to allow us to dive deeper not only into their abilities as a candidate, but into how they may fit within the context of your business and its voice.
At this point, certain types of candidates will begin to reveal themselves based on the aptitude they’ve shown thus far. It still won’t necessarily be enough to land someone a position, but we will be in a better position to single out the types of people who have clearly shown that they are worth paying attention to.
The Cultural Fit Assessment
While a particular candidate waits for the human resources round to begin, a corporate video will be shown on the LCD screen in the Goodbay Technologies waiting room. This video expresses our mission statement, our core values and our personality trains – all of which we expect our staff members to exhibit.
Ultimately, this serves two purposes. The first is that it helps people develop their own expectations, as by now they will begin to get a better idea of whether or not THEY fit in for the position to which they are applying. It also gives us another opportunity to observe how people react to the corporate video itself, thus shedding valuable insight into what additions they may make to a particular cultural environment.
The Human Resources Round
This is one of the most important parts of our intelligent hiring process, as anyone who clears the Typing Test will have a personal interview with the human resources interviewing team. During this time, the below checks will be done – and notes and other details will be recorded – by way of a Candidate Assessment sheet:
General Attitude. How seriously does this person take the position to which they are applying? What are their thoughts on the type of impact they might make? What ideas do they have about how they might contribute to the organization? The answers to all of these questions and more will be considered.
Experience Details. Does this person’s work history up to this point align with what we are looking for in a candidate? Do they have the literal skills as well as the real-world skills necessary to do this job in the first place? Would it be unreasonable to expect this person to rise to the challenge we are putting in front of them?
Stability. How many jobs has this person had throughout their career? If they’ve changed jobs often, why is that? Was it due to a problem with the way they work, or are they unsure of their career path and thus likely to leave again? Remember that we don’t just want to find the right person for a job – we want to find people who will STAY in that job and contribute for as long as possible.
These and other factors examined during this round will begin to paint a vivid picture about the overall background of the person sitting in front of us. By now, a variety of additional candidates will have been weeded out and those who still remain are free to proceed.
The Ops Round
Last but not least we have the ops round – something available to anyone who clears the Human Resources round who still wants to proceed.
The Ops Round takes the form of a personal interview with the Ops team itself, during which the below checks will be completed. Additional notes and details will also be recorded in the Candidate Assessment sheet, as was true above.
We’ll take a deep dive into a person’s overall skills not only in terms of writing, but also with regards to technical skills, sales, customer skills and more.
We’ll thoroughly examine someone’s ability to communicate including their comprehension of contextual questions (always essential in a nuanced line of work like customer service), their critical thinking abilities and more.
We’ll carefully consider their cultural fitment from a number of angles. The candidate will be invited to participate in a question and answer session about the corporate video they viewed, for example, which will give us a chance to properly judge their overall customer alignment.
Finally, we will look at both their personality and their project fitment. Overall, we’re looking to answer a very simple question: does this candidate align with the specific client we have in mind for them? This is the period during which their personality and motivation will be assessed in great detail.
The road to get to this final part of the process was time-consuming, yes. But as the old saying goes – anything worth doing is worth doing PROPERLY.
Generally speaking, for every 100 people who begin this process and who go through this rigorous level of pre-screening, only about four are actually selected and invited to begin the journey with Goodbay Technologies.
Some people may look at a 4% success ratio and call it a failure. We take a decidedly different view. For both ourselves and our clients, there is nothing more devastating than hiring the wrong person. The wrong hire could negatively impact the quality of the work you’re able to do for your own clients. It could potentially harm the ability of your other employees to come together to function as the team they were meant to be. It means you’re paying the wrong person to do a job that ultimately doesn’t live up to anyone’s expectations – all before you have to let them go and begin the process all over again.
Why go to all that trouble just to wind up back in the same position you were when you started? Isn’t it better to take steps today to mitigate these types of problems down the road?
What’s better for your long-term goals as a business – waiting for a problem to arise so that you can solve it, or proactively preventing the problem from happening altogether?
At Goodbay Technologies, we deeply believe in the former – and it’s something that’s allowed us to generate a great deal of success for our own clients for many years. Once you see the quality of the candidate this in-house process is capable of delivering, we think that you’ll start to believe in it, too.
If you’d like to find out more information about why hiring intelligently is of paramount importance in a fast-paced environment like a call center, of if you have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
These days, customer experience isn’t just important – it’s essential to everything that you’re doing as a brand. It’s the cornerstone upon which your competitive advantage will be built, even in the must cutthroat of industries. According to one recent study, a massive 67% of customers say that they’d be willing to pay more for a great customer experience – and that’s if the products and services they were paying for didn’t change one iota.
To put themselves in a better position to deliver the personalized, quality and relevant experience that today’s consumers have come to both expect and deserve, brands must be able to process and analyze the enormous volumes of data that are now available to them. If you want to offer the best experience possible, it stands to reason that you need to know as much as you can about how you’re offering it to.
Likewise, brands must be able to act on those insights in the most timely and cost-effective manner possible, all in the name of positively impacting customer experience while managing costs and resources as well.
In the not-too-distant future, thanks largely to the impact that only Artificial Intelligence (AI) can bring to the table, there is no doubt that the customer experience of tomorrow will be significantly enhanced via both automation and customization. In fact, contact centers are already shifting their focus away from voice and prioritizing assets like chat bots and other digitized forms of communication for that very reason.
The Era of Self Service and Automation is Upon Us
Modern day customers understandably have high expectations for their support experience. Naturally, this is totally understandable – who doesn’t want service that is as instant as it is accurate?
Many contact centers are already embracing these needs with open arms, providing automated help for customers via websites and sophisticated algorithms that can offer the correct answer to any query as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, is poised to take this idea one step further. With AI, when a customer interacts with a chat bot, that interaction is almost human in nature. Indeed, many customers don’t realize that they aren’t talking to real employees at all.
The motivation behind this push towards AI in customer contact centers involves a combination of factors: better or faster customer service, convenience with customer self-service, higher agent productivity and, in many cases, lower costs. AI is a viable way to accomplish all of these goals, essentially all at the same time.
Examples of this can be seen all over, the most basic is the use of automated responses to frequently asked questions. This approach usually results in deflecting the support need to a human altogether. Yet with basic questions answered by AI the old days of ‘tier 1’ are gone and the 1st interaction with a live person is typically already a ‘tier 2’ topic. An increase in the use of self-support or FAQs means the issues that do reach a live person are more complex and first-call resolutions my suffer as well. Both of these things realities are true, and aim for the exact same goal: a decrease in service costs across the board. Let’s explore how contact centers are achieving a true synergy between AI and their live staff.
Contact centers where humans rely on artificial intelligence for assistance are seeing similar gains, albeit in a slightly different way. AI can be used to route inquiries to the right person, for example, or to interpret incoming messages and develop initial responses that can later be edited by live, human agents.
This not only shortens the call wait time and call handling times significantly, but also satisfies customer expectations as well.
The Power of Digitizing Conversations
As time marches on, more and more companies are going to try to digitize conversations between their agents and their customers. This, too, is important for a number of reasons.
First, digitizing lets conversations be preserved so that they can later be further analyzed through the use of AI and machine learning. This lets agents better understand those interactions and use that actionable information to better serve customers in the future.
In other words, it’s a perfect way to find out what is working and, more importantly, what isn’t. Call centers are now in the best possible position to double down on the former and get rid of the latter.
Anticipating Customer Needs is Critical
None of this is to say, however, that AI should be seen as a way to replace human support agents. Far from it. The most common support environment will soon become a combination of technology and those human contacts.
Examples of this are found all over the customer experience, where humans and technology come together to form something far more efficient than either could be on their own:
The skills-based routing of support, for example, usually happens through some type of automated assistant, category selection, or pre-chat form presented to the user via the data embedded in the mobile device or account that a person is longing in from. Once contact with a merchant is establish, AI can be used to route someone to the right agent group that is the most highly trained and knowledgeable about the particular issue they’re calling about. So if they need to speak to sales, they automatically get routed to someone in that department versus technical support or customer service.
Need-based routing is a slightly different idea, one in which AI can be used to anticipate a customer’s needs. Is someone who already has an established relationship with your company looking for more information about a package that should be out for delivery today? In that case, you can proactively provide them with delivery details. If they still want to speak to an agent, they can be automatically routed to someone who already has their most recent order details up on screen. With this technique, artificial intelligence can be used to predict someone’s most likely need based on A) their current activity, B) their current reservation, or C) their historical support interactions.
User-based needs are maybe the ultimate example of this idea. It’s a way to let all of your agents operate like they know exactly who they’re talking to… or at least, to give them immediate access to the data they need to make it appear that way. AI lets user-based routing occur to direct customers to the same service members they’ve dealt with in the past automatically. Far too often, people need to provide information like their name, phone number, email address or customer account number over and over again. With user-based routing, things can take on a different context. Your agents can literally say something to the effect of “oh hello Kyle, last time you called I see you were concerned about X, how did that work out for you?” This helps create a more personal – and pleasurable – customer experience across the board.
All three of these ideas are right at home in the modern call center environment, and your customers are going to start expecting them a lot sooner than you realize.
In the end, it’s important to realize that many of these advancements are a lot closer to coming to fruition than people realize. There will come a day sooner rather than later where even the smallest of call centers are able to leverage artificial intelligence to their advantage. At that point, the true value differentiator that separates one brand from the next will no longer be the quality of the products or the reliability of the services that you offer.
It will be the nature of the customer experience that nobody else can provide quite like you can. Everything else will become secondary – and for savvy brands who are ready and willing to stay ahead of these types of trends, make no mistake this is a truly exciting position to be in.
The Goodbay Technologies Approach
At Goodbay Technologies, we’ve worked hard to become more than just another in a long line of call center outsourcing providers. Anybody can handle your immediate needs in the most literal, short-term way. Instead, we want to focus on the bigger picture – and the value that artificial intelligence can bring to an organization like yours.
Not only do we always take the time to learn as much about our customers as we can, but we do so in a way that allows us to apply the best that modern technology has to offer in a way that is wholly unique to those organizations. What you’re left with is the type of infrastructure that isn’t just optimized for your people and your processes, but one that even your fiercest of competitors won’t be able to match.
In other words, we don’t want to just provide you with “human bots.” We want to help you construct the rock solid foundation upon which the next decade of success for your business will be built.
At that point, your competitors aren’t something you should be worried about any longer. Just the opposite, in fact – they should be worried about you.
If you’d like to find out more information about the closely connected relationship between artificial intelligence and the future of the customer experience, or if you’d just like to discuss the specifics of your own needs with an expert in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact us at Goodbay Technologies today.
If you were to look up the term “unicorn” in the dictionary, you’d find two key definitions. The first is the one that probably came to mind instantly: “a mythical animal, typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.” It’s an image that has been seen in everything from children’s fairytales to animated cartoon shows to, perhaps most curiously, Ridley Scott’s seminal science fiction classic “Blade Runner.” The second definition is a bit more reality-based, but only from a certain point of view. It refers to “a startup company valued at more than a billion dollars – typically in the software or technology sector.” For the purposes of everything that follows, we will be talking about the latter definition. But as you will soon come to find out, we might as well be talking about the former. Right now, there are 335 Unicorns operating all over the world. To put that into a little bit of perspective, there are 543,000 new businesses started in the United States every single month. More than 750 new businesses are registered every single hour. That means that there are more new businesses started every 30 minutes than there are Unicorns on the planet Earth. If you happen to have spotted someone who bought the proverbial winning lottery ticket and is in command of one of these Unicorns, congratulations: the odds were overwhelmingly against you ever getting to that point. More than 2,500 left-handed people die every year when they attempt to use products designed for right-handed people – which means you’re more likely to both A) be a lefty, and B) die by not being a very good one than you are to be associated with a genuine Unicorn. But at the same time, that demands the question – in such rarified air, who is there to guide and nurture these emerging Unicorns to their fullest potential? Thankfully, the answer to that one is simple: We are, of course. At Goodbay Technologies, three of those current Unicorns are our clients. We have three others who have long since outgrown their Unicorn status (successfully, we might add). In a state-of-the-art facility nested in a technology park surrounded by more Fortune 100 companies than we know what to do with, the team at Goodbay Tech is proud to have the highest concentration of Unicorns under one roof in the entire world. If anybody knows how to care for a Unicorn, it’s us. Now, we’re going to show you how. Identifying, Attracting and Wrangling a Unicorn In a lot of ways, taking care of a “Unicorn” business is actually a lot like taking care of a “Unicorn” the animal (or at least, we assume it would be. They’re not real, after all). Different strategies are required based on the age and the trajectory of the entity standing before you. In general, there are two key types of Unicorns to be aware of: the Baby Unicorn and the Adult Unicorn. As the name suggests, the majestic Baby Unicorn is very new on the scene – hence the affectionate nickname, the “Sparkle.” In other words, you’re dealing with a new disruptor that managed to immediately stand out from the rest. They know they’re different, and they can feel it – and everyone else around them can, too. They’re not just doing something better than anyone else – they’re doing something nobody has ever even thought of yet. Because of that, it can be in a very inhospitable position with a lot of curious looks and fierce competitors.
A Baby Unicorn will have just closed a significant venture round (think A/B/C) and their revenue may not yet have actually crossed $1 billion. But with the proper care early on, that Baby Unicorn can not only keep up its current pace… it can also grow that beautiful Billion Dollar Horn sooner rather than later. But because it’s so young, a Baby Unicorn still needs a lot of support and guidance on HOW to grow up. It’s going to make mistakes, yet – but it needs that guiding hand necessary from a parental figure to allow it to do that in as much of a consequence-free environment as can be created. Oftentimes, they will have still-maturing customer support processes – meaning that they need someone who knows what they’re doing to step in at exactly the right moment and act as that light to shine the way. But how often do you really come across a Unicorn Whisperer, anyway? How many companies out there have built a business in nurturing and fostering Unicorns as their business model? At Goodbay Technologies, that’s exactly what we’ve done – and we’ve had a great deal of success so far. All of our team members are trained to deliver the type of exceptional customer experience across all channels that will have those Baby Unicorns – and their admirers – captivated. That includes but is not limited to billing, customer service, outbound support, technical support, sales and more. We have so much experience to that end that Goodbay can typically identify these Baby Unicorns before the business itself does. Remember that both Baby and Adult Unicorns HAVE to be doing something different – if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be where they currently are. But at the same time, they live in a non-saturated market. Eventually, that shine is going to wear off – and at that point, it’s all about what keeps their clients coming back for more. In an effort to better address that very idea, a lot of these Sparkles may have already tried low cost, at-home, outsourced providers. Quickly, however, they will have outgrown them – just as a Baby Unicorn will quickly outgrow its saddle. At that point, they need a Unicorn Whisperer to complete the maturation of those customer service processes. If you take away nothing else from this piece, just remember: Unicorns grow fast. To contextualize this stage of the Unicorn wrangling game, understand that for as rare as it is to spot a Unicorn in the wild, it’s even rarer to spot a Sparkle. It is very common that by the time a Sparkle has figured out its current support services, they’ve already outgrown it. It is at that point that Goodbay steps in, catching the Sparkle as it stumbles and loses focus while trying to grow its horn. Just like the Sparkle’s horn itself, these businesses tend to grow faster than the rest of the body can keep up with. In business terms, that means technology is outgrown, business processes are outdated, and customer service staff is outmatched. In metaphorical fantasy terms, it means that the horn weighs so much that the head can no longer hold it up. In Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” terms, it means that Rick Deckard may or may not be a Replicant (there’s a metaphor in there somewhere). In any event (except for maybe Ridley Scott, who has insisted for 30 years that Harrison Ford being a secret robot is somehow a good idea), it is not the fault of the Unicorn for growing so quickly. That’s not a mistake. That’s nature. But nature becomes a problem if you’re not in a position to anticipate those growing pains. To build an infrastructure for the Unicorn to grow into, not just keep up with. To add the leadership and industry expertise that doesn’t just meet the Unicorn’s needs today, but prepares you to meet the next evolution of those needs as they will exist six months from now. With equal parts foresight and anticipation (and, admittedly, a couple of scars along the way), Goodbay has gotten to the point where it can see the beauty and success ahead often before our Unicorns see it for themselves. The Adult Unicorn The second major type of Unicorn to be aware of is the Adult Unicorn. As its name suggests, this magnificent animal has been a unicorn for years. It’s an established disruptor that clearly stands out – even among other Unicorns. It may be considering an IPO (as is their wont) and they absolutely have revenue over $1 billion. By this point, these Adult Unicorns have likely received adequate care and have matured many – if not all – of their CS processes. But with a new round plateau, there is a pressing need to push through that stasis to become the thoroughbred Unicorn they were meant to be. Up until now, human nature, curiosity and a desire to live on the cutting edge have all been enough to make Unicorns grow rapidly. But when that curiosity wears off – when that shine isn’t quite as bright as it used to be on social media, and with competitors nipping at their heels – many Unicorns struggle to find their long-term place in the market. It is at this point that even the strongest Unicorns understand that the situation isn’t just dangerous. It could very well be deadly. We all have our favorite “flash in the pan” businesses that we check out once a year – not out of a desire to buy anything, but out of pure nostalgia. Because we suddenly remembered they existed and wanted to see if they’d closed up shop yet. This is the moment that will decide whether that happens to a Unicorn. As Unicorn Whisperers with years of proven experience, Goodbay Technologies knows how to provide the right level of care, insight, analytics and smart employees to guarantee that this big fellow will be off to the races. “Customer Support” must evolve into “Customer Experience,” for example. Customers return not because they want to. Because they NEED to. Because they are influencers and evangelists. Don’t mistake revenue and reoccurring customer engagement. They are not one and the same. You must use intelligence, insight and analysis to cut through what customers want to get at the heart of what customers NEED. Support must extend outside of the established channels, meaning that you have to go beyond a simple support website and toll free number. You’ve got to take the service TO THEM and reach customers where they are talking openly and honestly about their experiences. That means social media, public forums, and via self-help portals. That means leveraging the best in user interface and design best practices to prevent the problem from happening in the first place! This is the type of insight that Goodbay is ready and waiting to provide. The Art of Attracting and Wrangling a Unicorn Once a Unicorn has been spotted in the wild – and you’ve had a moment to truly appreciate the beauty standing before you – you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot. Now is the time to wrangle them up and become the Whisperer they need when they need it the most. Understand that it is a big, big responsibility to be taking care of a Unicorn. It’s also not something that is just going to happen because you want it to. In order to get to that point, you need to be able to convey to the Unicorn a genuine company culture fit. You need to convince that Unicorn that they will receive extra care and attention, and that their customers will receive only the highest levels of quality support at scale. Plus, you need to prove that you can provide them with a steady stream of insight and innovation into the larger customer experience… so long as the Unicorn is with the Whisperer, of course. In other words, this all comes down to biology. If you want to take something and nurture it to adulthood, you need to provide the basics of life on Earth: water, food, companionship and shelter. You also need to understand the difference between thriving and surviving. That is, professional care, supplements and good, old-fashioned training. Water Whether you’re talking about man or myth, water is the most essential element for all living creatures. In terms of customer support, that element can be summed up in a single word: PEOPLE. The Unicorn Whisperer must provide top talent at all levels – from Director to Agent and everything in between. Remember that only the Whisperer can replicate the Unicorn’s company culture AND do it at the scale required. Food The second most critical element for living creatures is food – something that you won’t get very far without. Calories are broken down into energy and that energy keeps us – and our Unicorns – going. In the customer support world, this food takes the form of data and analytics, business intelligence and insight. The Unicorn is literally powered by that data at all levels and the more of it they can consume, the better their products, their services and their competitive advantage-creating CX will be. Companionship Literature has proven that Unicorns are nothing if not social creatures – they really only thrive when surrounding themselves with other Unicorns. Because of that, it is important for a Unicorn to work with the Whisperer who attracts other Unicorns (read: like-minded people). Through this level of intimate companionship and congregation comes best practices and a unique understanding on how to take the very best care of a Unicorn’s valued customers. Shelter If you want to make sure your Unicorn survives the elements (and you do), you need a world-class stable to match their world-class potential. This nice, inviting home will form the foundation of everything that happens moving forward. The Unicorn Whisperer’s stable is usually an office space that inspires and empowers their employees, allowing them to collaborate and always perform at the highest of levels. At Goodbay, for example, our stable has a world-class design, incredible amenities and is thoughtfully laid out in a way that enables our Unicorns to start from a baby and grow into an adult in all the right ways that they need. We also offer smaller spaces for customer service teams, along with the flexibility needed to accommodate larger teams, too. The Difference Between Surviving and Thriving As stated, it isn’t enough to merely keep your Unicorn alive. You need to help that Unicorn become the very best that it can possibly be. This too includes a few core elements, all of which you need as much of as you can get. Professional Care In the best case scenario, a Unicorn will forge a unique bond with its Whisperer. At the highest level of management is the Unicorn’s VP or Director of CX, who will collaborate with the Whisperer’s Director of Operations to guarantee a high level of collaboration, communication and consulting. The benefit here is that the Unicorn will take a great deal of comfort in knowing that the Whisperer has cared for other Unicorns. they will rest easy knowing that they can benefit and learn a lot from that experience. Training
Never forget that a Unicorn is a high performance animal – it has already achieved a high level of recognition, success and (ultimately) funding to arrive at their current valuation. But a Unicorn is a GROWING animal, too. They may not have yet matured their training processes to scale their customer experience team at this essential moment. The Whisperer, however, should know how to develop and mature training processes for this Unicorn as they have for many others. Oftentimes this will involve a gap analysis of tools, processes, training modules and workflows. The Whisperer can identify any missing pieces of the training puzzle to bring their customer support training to world-class status. This in turn enables faster agent onboarding and, of course, scalability. Any good Whisperer knows that it takes about 30 days to onboard and train a Unicorn’s CS team. They will also understand the importance of creating an Agent Certification program to keep those agents up to speed on new updates, changes to the Terms of Service, new products and services and more. A Unicorn is always an evolving creature and a quality Whisperer must anticipate that. The end result is a Whisperer that has helped the Unicorn evolve their support to maintain their growth and scale – which is a very exciting position for both parties to be in. The Health and Wellness of a Unicorn There are two key elements that are absolutely vital to the long-term wellness of any Unicorn: regular health checkups and supplements (as required). Health checkups take the form of weekly business review calls between the Unicorn and the Whisperer. They will include QA calibration sessions between teams to make sure beyond the shadow of a doubt that the water is safe to drink (meaning the people are as good as they can be) and the food is okay to eat (meaning the data is of exceptional quality). They also involve quarterly business reviews, which are akin to a much more in-depth physical exam. This will afford the opportunity for a deep dive into the people and the data of both parties, strategizing together to make sure that the Unicorn’s support system is healthy and that it’s growing in all the right ways given the situation. Supplements, on the other and, can be added to a Unicorn’s diet as necessary to make sure that they are always performing at the highest level possible. In other words, supplements are an opportunity for a Whisperer to give the type of consulting advice, best practices and insight to the Unicorn that literally no other customer support provider can offer. These are also the times when the Unicorn itself must be open to experimentation. They’ve got to keep an open mind, allowing the Whisperer to see what it can do to move the needle on things like CSAT and profitability. When all of these elements are present and accounted for, two things happen. The first is that you have an invaluable relationship between a Unicorn and its Whisperer – one that has everything it needs to stand the test of time. The second is something far more magical – you have the makings for the type of Unicorn that will literally be written about for years to come. Something that comes along once in a generation – if that – and that is so incredible that many people don’t even believe it exists. But it does exists, and it’s real, and you’ve just had a front row seat for the entire experience. Goodbay Technologies: The Unicorn Support Company Whether you’re a Baby Unicorn, an Adult Unicorn or even an aspiring Unicorn doesn’t actually matter. At Goodbay Technologies, we want you to know that you are ALWAYS welcome to try out our stable, taste our delicious food, and mingle with the other Unicorns we’ve dutifully cared for over the years. We even offer a full 60-day risk free program to test us out. We’re so confident in our 100% pilot conversion rate with Unicorns that we KNOW you’ll be beyond satisfied. Because after you’ve spent some time with us, you won’t just have everything you need to survive. You’ll be thriving in ways you didn’t even realize you were capable of. If you’d like to find out more about how to properly care for and look after a Unicorn, or if you have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
According to one recent study, there are approximately 60,850 call centers with ten seats or more located within North America alone.This represents 3.3 million agent positions in an industry that, according to Gartner, is valued at about $28 billion.
Of that number, BPO Companies – those that operate in both an inbound and an outbound capacity – represent about 5.1% of the industry, or roughly 2,900 centers.
For years, businesses in nearly every industry that you can think of have turned to outsourcing their call center operations for two key purposes. First, it’s long been seen as a viable way to expand an organization’s own ability to service the needs of its customers beyond what they’re naturally capable of. If you outsource your call center operations to a third party, those in-house employees who would normally be filling those roles are then free to focus on bigger, better and more proactive actions.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, call center outsourcing has historically been seen as an efficient way to save money that can be better used elsewhere.
Make absolutely no mistake about it: those days are over.
The relationship that an organization has with its clients is about more than just answering questions and solving problems. Those customer interactions, in many ways, act as the foundation upon which everything else is built. It’s an often missed opportunity to provide value to as many people as possible in the most effective way that you can, all while taking average customers and turning them into loyal advocates along the way.
Outsourcing your call center may be an action that saves money in the short-term, yes. That much is still true. But what is missing in terms of actionable insight and intelligence by sticking to a “one size fits all” approach to customer interaction can cost dearly in the long run.
Far too often, companies still rely on standard reporting to fuel the important decisions they’re making in this regard. That standard reporting relies on the premise that all companies are created equally and all audiences been serviced are the same – something that is woefully inadequate on the best of days, and unacceptable on the worst.
The fact of the matter is that by using the right data and analytics, coupled with a consulting mindset, companies can still position their call center as the significant profit and market leadership opportunity that it has the potential to be. By making a concerted and ongoing effort to dive beneath the standard reports that companies often look at, it’s possible to collect, synthesize and use massive volumes of data to uncover tremendous insights that would otherwise go undiscovered.
Those insights can then create a snowball effect in the best possible way, ushering in a new series of recommendations, driving policy, improving products and services and more. They also bring with them perhaps the most important benefit of all: a real competitive advantage to an organization that looks at their data from a strategic and consultative point of view.
If you have the right partner, that is.
Having the right partner that can think in these terms and offer this level of consulting offers companies of all types the type of strategic advantage that comes along once in a generation, if that. Without this partner, these gains aren’t just difficult to obtain on your own – they’re essentially impossible.
But luckily, all of this is significantly more straightforward than it may appear to be at this point. It is very possible to leverage the full power of consulting and data analytics to better evaluate and position a call center to ready itself for the challenges of the next five years and beyond. All it requires is for you to keep a few key things in mind.
It All Comes Back to the Customer Experience
If you had to make a list of some of the most valuable assets you have as a business, customer experience would be right at the top.
Also commonly referred to as CX for short, customer experience is about more than just whether or not your products and services work. It’s about whether they work well, offering something that users are unlikely to find anywhere else.
But more than that, it’s about the sum total of every experience that a customer has with a business – both before they make a sale and, most importantly, after. Focusing on this is also a decision that brings with it a host of powerful benefits that can’t be ignored, from a new ability to improve customer retention to a way to improve customer satisfaction to a chance to increase cross-selling and up-selling opportunities and more. According to one recent study conducted by Oracle, a full 86% of buyers say that they would be willing to pay more for something if that added cost guaranteed a better experience. Likewise, it should come as a surprise to nobody that businesses that lead in CX tend to outperform those who don’t by nearly 80%.
Your customer experience strategy therefore becomes the set of plans, policies, best practices and procedures that you put in place to guarantee that you’re always delivering a value-filled, meaningful and above all else positive experience across those interactions.
Your call center is right at the heart of all that, and it has been for quite some time.
This is once again another major reason why using analytics and a consulting mindset is so critical when it comes to managing an outsourced call center. CX consulting, along with data and analytics, can help usher in not just a new era of customer support but intelligent customer support. Your call centers need to be able to do more than just answer calls. They need to answer them better than ever before, all while feeding insights into customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and the different solutions that a business uses. Your call center needs to support different levels of working with clients in their own lifecycles, giving them answers to questions, solutions to problems and suggestions for how to create the best possible experience along the way.
A New Approach to Call Center Evaluation Requires a New Approach to CRM
One of the major issues that most businesses run into in terms of CRM is that they rely on an off-the-shelf solution that, again, assumes that all businesses are created equally. The problem with this is that it’s a solution literally incapable of providing you the answers to essential questions like:
What, specifically, is my customer trying to tell me?
What are the issues that are ultimately impacting my revenue?
What are we doing that works and, more importantly, what are we don’t that doesn’t?
What can we do better? Where are the genuine opportunities for improvement that we should be taking advantage of?
At Goodbay Technologies, we don’t just have the type of tools and methodologies that can help you collect this data. Our people at all levels are empowered to give you feedback and make meaningful suggestions based on it. All off-the-shelf CRM solutions have a fundamental reporting and analytics gap to this extent. You can’t glean valuable information from the thousands of emails that you’re getting, for example. You know how many of your survey responses are positive and negative, but you can’t go deeper than that. You can’t dive beneath the data and uncover the narrative that is really unfolding in front of you.
With the right solution and the right partner by your side, however, you can. Take your Fundamental Ticket Workflow, for example. When you partner with a company like Goodbay Technologies, we set up a workflow that is custom built with your people, their processes and their goals in mind. Together, we go through and create an organic process in total congruence with all of your most important business policies. We then set up programming and custom setups to support those ideas in the long-term.
On a weekly basis, we’ll tell you what people are calling about. We’ll tell you what they like and what they don’t like. You’ll have more detailed feedback than ever before, all so that you can go back and address client problem topics in the most sophisticated way possible.
In other words, you’re taking a much more proactive approach to support than ever before. Instead of reacting to issues as they’re happening, you’re fixing small problems now before they have a chance to become much bigger ones later. You essentially have a productive Q&A approach to get an immediate description of the problem, allowing you to address the cause, not the symptom.
None of this is possible without a consulting and data analytics approach to call center evaluation.
The Power of Customized CRM Reporting
This approach pays dividends in other ways, too – like by way of the customized CRM reporting that your organization will now have access to.
Instead of cookie cutter, overly general “reports” that do little more than provide you with a cursory glance at what is going on, you get insightful information that enables you to make your products and services better. Instead of just tracking productivity, you can make sure all those efforts are actually focused on the things that matter the most.
Oftentimes, this will require the building of tools for data capture OUTSIDE of the CRM in an effort to augment trends analysis and insights. Again – this is about not just creating and capturing data. It’s about making sure that data is available to all of the most important people who are making all of the most important decisions moving forward.
At Goodbay Technologies, for just one example, we have the types of reporting templates and APIs you need to make all of this possible. In addition to basic metrics you get access to weekly productivity reports that you can use to go into the data, extract insight from it and use it to support and empower whatever your own unique goals happen to be.
You can see how your partner is doing versus your own in-house staff – those support tickets can finally be segregated in a valuable way. You can look at CSAT scores for days, months and even years for whatever value of customer you are supporting. Finally, you can have the type of intelligent discussion you need to support your intelligent approach to customer service – and the importance of this cannot be overstated enough.
This approach can even help automate certain elements of your call center in the future by way of macro, template and help center content creation. Now, you don’t have to author every single response that you send out to a customer. You can create a custom macro that supports the customer while you work on fixing the underlying issue. Your agents don’t have to type the same thing 500 times in a given week. A perfect response can go out automatically if they haven’t replied. You write the content, document it and put it on the CRM – the solution takes care of the rest.
SLAs, KPI Benchmarking and More
Another area that this new mindset has a positive effect on in terms of evaluating a call center comes by way of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and KPI (Key Performance Indicator) benchmarking.
Your SLA is more than just a document outlining a commitment between your business and your clients. It’s a promise that you’re making, and one that you cannot afford to break at any cost. Every decision you make should be one ultimately dictated by the answer to the question “are we living up to that important promise?” and KPIs are how you do that. KPIs are what lend themselves to and inform your SLA.
A consulting and data analytics approach to evaluating your call center clues you in on the best SLAs and KPIs to benchmark for improvement. With SLA and KPI reporting, you have access to an essentially real-time stream of data that you can use to see what is working and what isn’t as it happens. Almost immediately, this confirms whether or not you’re headed in the right direction and it again provides you with the type of actionable intelligence you can use to make the right decisions at exactly the right moments.
The “one size fits all” approach to call center evaluation just isn’t going to be able to get you there.
The Advantage of CSAT Surveys
No discussion of KPIs would be complete, however, without diving into the topic of CSAT – or Customer Satisfaction Score – surveys.
Essentially, this is the most important KPI of all – the one that takes everything in context and tells you just how happy your customers really are. In general terms, this is perhaps the best way to measure whether or not the customer experience you’re offering actually meets (or hopefully exceeds) the expectations of the people you’ve dedicated yourself to serving.
Thanks to a consulting and data analytics mindset, you can aggregate and present CSAT data to meaningfully drive decision-making. Again, this is less about the number itself and is more about the story lurking just beneath the surface.
This point of view puts you in an excellent position to leverage techniques like A/B testing to improve CSAT scores across the board. You can now test what your average customers will positively respond to before you roll that decision out to the widest possible audience.
Say you wanted to dive deeper into efficiency and its impact on your Customer Satisfaction Scores. In that case, you would look at the average number of replies it took to adequately resolve a case. If these CSAT surveys revealed that there were too many back and forth conversations going on, you would now know that you need to re-analyze these and other business processes that are ultimately inefficient.
With this mindset, everything that you do is able to be reported on. You can see it all, down to the tonality your customers and agents are using when they respond to one another. There is literally no other single piece of software in the world that has this level of reporting. Many are only concerned about status, calls and ultimately “superficial” qualities of that nature. Not that these aren’t important, but to double down on that superior experience you’re offering to customers – and to cement your own competitive advantage – you truly do need to be able to go deeper than that. Not only does Goodbay Technologies help meet the needs created by these limitations in other solutions, but if something is needed that isn’t present we create our own tools to get the job done. Building tools for better data capture is a large part of why we do what we do in the first place.
In the end, you’re left with more than just a way to use CSAT insights to drive policy making and create a competitive advantage. You’re in a position to make your products and services better than they’ve ever been at any point up until now.
From Theory to Execution: Real World Results
For years, Goodbay Technologies has been practicing all of these ideas and more as we forge valuable relationships with our own clients. Our past work has proven that not only does this consulting and data analytics approach to evaluating a call center matter – it’s every bit as effective as you would hope it to be.
One of the clients we work with is in the entertainment industry, offering a cross-platform game that is played by countless people around the world. Recently, they came to us in an effort to take a more data and analytics-based approach to their customer relationships. They wanted to take advantage of custom reporting to find out which issues mattered most to their players in an effort to improve long-term retention. They needed to find out what wasn’t working, in essence, in an attempt to fix the underlying issues that were ultimately harming that valuable customer experience.
Through custom reporting we were able to begin charting their top ticket inflow in a way that was easy to compare from one week to the next. We were able to break everything down to a granular level – from the total number of bans to reports of cheaters to crashes and launch issues, general errors and more. From one week to the next, for example, we quickly uncovered that there was a 30% increase in tickets for one particular type of error brought on by a recent update. The client was able to quickly address the issue and roll out fixes using the insight we provided them.
None of this would have been possible without custom reporting, and none of that would have been possible without this new data-driven mindset for their help desk.
Goodbay Technologies has also applied all of these principles in terms of work we’ve done with another client in a consulting capacity, too. In the gaming industry, every single game needs to have its own unique “it factor” – that is, that special hook that drives both the highest level of customer satisfaction and that results in players who stay, come back for more and are willing to pay more to add to the experience. In essence, it requires you to identify exactly what players want you to do and, more importantly, how they want you to do it.
For one client in particular, we were able to uniquely identify this “it factor” through rigorous A/B testing over a specific period of time. Once singled out, we were then in a better position to coach and train agents to make sure that these elements were enforced by ALL QA efforts in every response that was being sent. This consultation also allowed for Goodbay to use QA scores and reports to identify agents who required additional training and one-on-one coaching, thus cementing these gains across the board.
If You’re Ready to Get Started, Contact Us Today
By now, it should be clear that a consulting mindset and data analytics are no longer recommendations for properly evaluating a call center – they’re a requirement in every sense of the term. When positioned properly, your call center should be more than just an outward-facing, customer-centric arm of your operations. It should generate value, empower innovation and create loyal advocates out of your users – all at the exact same time.
The only way to get to this point is with the right approach, and the only way to take advantage of the right approach is with the right partner by your side.
So if all of this sounds interesting to you, that’s terrific – you’ve just taken your critical first step into a larger and more fulfilling world for everyone involved.
If you’d like to find out more information about why consulting and data analytics are your two most powerful weapons when it comes to evaluating and empowering your call center, or if you’d just like to sit down and discuss your own situation with someone in a little more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.
Although managed services growth is steady, as customer support outsourcing matures, the prevalence for working with the lowest cost customer support provider is diminishing. Developing a strategic partnership with your outsourced customer service provider is key, as there is truth in the old adage – you get what you pay for.
Today’s customers are sharp and can recognize when your company’s outsourced customer service provider is not the top of the line. In the long run, cheaper customer support is never better, as this leads to low CSAT, negative online reviews, loss of revenue and erosion of your brand.
It is important to know what you are getting when you outsource. Smart companies have learned the hard way, hearing about and seeing companies that have outsourced to inexpensive providers, only to realize they were not effective. As a result, they may have to bring that function back in-house.
Finding the right outsourced customer service provider
Companies who find themselves in the position of having to bring functions in-house now look to premium customer support providers that deliver intelligent customer support at scale. This need has caused a resurgence in the outsourced customer support space. A premium customer support partner will save on support staff, while delivering high quality.
Does this benefit the company? Absolutely. This strategy has a positive impact on the bottom line, in addition to gaining satisfied customers. Companies who get the most out of their premium provider can improve their customer experience and customer journey without incurring the costs of having an in-house model. .
Customer support companies offer consulting, and a perspective on how successful companies provide the best customer service, which cannot be achieved just using in-house employees. Around the clock support is easily achieved with a customer service provider, and is no longer an expensive option for those operations who need to manage manpower at different hours of the day or night.
Effectiveness of an outsourced customer service provider
An outsourced customers service provider is effective in a number of ways:
In-house customer service employees can make a company lose productivity and coverage if an employee misses work. With a customer service provider, the organization receives redundant staffing. By using the outsourced model, the company will always have coverage that they pay for, instead of affecting your bottom line.
Advanced reporting & analytics
Customer support partners provide advanced reporting & analytics to help companies gain more insight into their customers. The data they provide creates opportunities to make better strategic decisions, stronger marketing campaigns, and enhanced profitability. When in-house, the company has one specific way to handle reporting and evaluate customer service data. An outsourced provider has experience in providing information through a number of sources to add value and insight.
HR, staffing and scaling is easy with an outsourced customer service provider. The company can focus on internal functions while the service provider handles resumes, interviews, and talent acquisition. They help by taking full control of the talent management process, including onboarding, training, and process management.
This is advantageous for an organization, especially during the holiday season. While most companies have a period of downtime, an outsourced customer support provider allows you to scale up during these periods to meet the needs of the company any time of year. There is no need for temporary workers or additional overhead costs.
An outsourced customer service provider serves as an additional layer of management. Your in-house CS management team can work with them to implement changes and try new customer support strategies. While the provider is known to provide top-notch customer service solutions, you also get world-class management where you need it the most.
Taking a closer look
A great example of a premium customer support provider that has worked with companies who initially used the more inexpensive route is Goodbay Technologies. We are effective at engaging and working with companies who have encountered unfortunate situations and were considering bringing their customer service functions back in-house. Companies have found Goodbay more than capable of handling support and customer service the right way. These client testimonials demonstrate what can be done with the right customer support partner:
“After interviewing many firms, I realized that Goodbay was run very differently than other offshore outsourcing companies. After meeting with your team, I got the sense that our customers and critical business process would be treated with the utmost care, which is why I moved forward.”
– CEO of Diversified Consumer Electronics Company
“We selected Goodbay as a service provider because they have a specialization in mobile first customer support and were already in tune with our business needs. This made onboarding, transitioning, piloting and partnering for the long term easy. We would only consider outsourcing customer support permanently if it was on par or better than what we’ve been doing in-house.”
–SVP Operations – Mobile AdTech Company
This demonstrates that companies can get premium support while controlling their costs at the same time by using an outsourced customer service provider. This increases productivity, efficiency and effectiveness to generate revenue. A model that consistently evolves, employing a provider that meets your needs can truly make the difference.
In an era that has long since ended, if one of your customers had a question or a problem with their service and needed to get into contact with someone, they essentially had one option through which to do it:
They picked up the phone and hoped for the best.
Then came email, which was followed (relatively) quickly through social media. People began to realize just how inefficient phone communication really was – for both parties. It’s still an option that people are willing to embrace, but today’s modern customers want the ability to connect with a brand through a huge variety of channels. In addition to the phone we now have instant messaging, online chat, text messaging, social networking and beyond.
But in addition to convenience, all of this variety has spawned another key trend. Customers don’t just want positive experiences with a company – they want PERSONALIZED experiences, too.
This, of course, is where omni-channel support becomes fundamental in fulfilling this desire.
When a true omni-channel support system is implemented, customers quickly come to expect an experience that enables them to seamlessly switch between these communication channels as needed. They can begin an interaction over email and continue it on the phone, before finalizing everything on social media and beyond. They want an environment where they can pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the same conversation on another… which means that you need to want that, too.
Luckily, omni-channel support is how you do it.
Multi-Channel Customer Support vs. Omni-Channel Customer Support: What You Need to Know
One of the most important things to understand about all of this, however, is that omni-channel support must not be confused with multi-channel customer service. They’re both opportunities that offer more than one channel for communicating, but that’s largely where the similarities end.
In a multi-channel customer support environment, the channels largely work alongside one another – but are still separate at the same time. This means that if someone were to call and speak to an agent in the morning, then decided to call back in the evening, they’d essentially be starting that conversation all over again.
Omni-channel support, on the other hand, is comprised of two key ideas – the nexus between multi-channel support and a customer experience focus. These communications channels are integrated in a way that allows a customer to have a seamless experience not only across multiple outlets, but multiple devices as well.
The major benefit of this is one of a new level of flexibility given to your customers. They can navigate between more than one channel whenever their heart desires, all without losing any quality of experience. They won’t have to start a new conversation every time they engage with your business – they can just continue the same conversation they were already having.
Why Omni-Channel Support is Crucial to Your Success
Maybe the most important reason why omni-channel support is important is because it takes your existing processes and makes them far more effective and efficient than ever before.
With a true omni-channel strategy, the best available agent is ALWAYS ready to answer a customer’s question. A customer will get routed to an agent automatically who can support their question. They don’t have to worry about explaining everything in great detail to Agent A, only to find out that “actually, Agent Z is better suited for this, let me direct your call…”
Customers get the best overall customer experience because they’re always guaranteed the right channel and the right agent at exactly the right time.
This also comes with the added benefit of reducing multitasking by collecting huge volumes of data about customer history. Instead of keeping someone on hold while you “look up their records,” that information is already present. It prevents the customer from needing to restate reoccurring issues to new agents, thus keeping their frustrations low and their satisfaction levels as high as possible.
All of this is attainable thanks to omni-channel integration – a concept that combines information from different communication channels into a single source for your agents to employ. But more than that, it creates a shared context about a customer’s behaviors, concerns and major communications. All of this is hugely important because it allows your agents to provide a more tailored experience each and every time.
By combining customer information from multiple channels into a single source, companies also put themselves in a better position to identify and repair weak links throughout the service experience if needed. Trends and patterns that may have otherwise gone undiscovered quickly become visible. This, too, increases customer satisfaction and even customer retention over the long-term.
Many CRM and software providers have already begun to realize this significant paradigm shift. As a result, they are already working to enable the technology necessary to deliver this level of service to organizations all around the world, regardless of size.
At the same time, however, it’s also important to consider that there are many traditional customer support departments that themselves are NOT prepared for this level of shift. Staff members are often skilled in one very particular, very precise level of support – and in one variety of need.
This is okay. This doesn’t mean there is anything “wrong” with your organization if that describes your situation. It just means that you need to evolve to meet the expectations of the modern audience, and you need to start doing it as soon as you can.
This reality is challenging both traditional call centers and traditional customer support departments alike to act and think differently. Rather than focusing on channel-specific skill sets, you need to start examining opportunities to pivot your staff in a more holistic direction. This is especially true with regard to their training, their knowledge and their aptitude necessary to reach the customer where they currently are.
The Challenges with an Omni-Channel Support and Strategic Solution
None of this is to say that omni-channel support will suddenly “solve all of your problems,” however. There are still a number of challenges that you will need to proactively work to overcome.
Chief among these is the idea that customers often have preferences on channels – preferences that vary wildly depending on who you’re talking about.
One customer may prefer connecting via a mobile device versus the phone, meaning that it can be difficult to decide what to invest in if they’re not necessarily indicative of your entire user base. This means that companies must also take into account their own unique demographic and target markets to decide which channels will be the most effective.
Limited resources is another major hurdle, which itself can be difficult to mitigate. Adding channels means an increase in the cost needed to support – which may be hard for smaller organizations to overcome.
The best companies usually focus on a few key channels rather than spreading themselves too thin across many. It’s better to do a few things really well than to become a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None.” Don’t let the level of the customer experience you’re able to deliver suffer.
At the same time, customers will also communicate on their own terms. Customers aren’t limited to a simple toll free support number these days. Because of that, their expectations have evolved to assume they can talk via whatever platform they choose and that it has become YOUR obligation to have a radar broad enough to pick up on those communications. You would also need a proverbial megaphone large enough to provide responses back via those same channels. This, too, can be difficult to properly address.
Obviously once the technology and the perception of your audience has been updated, the skilled staff you employ will need to follow suit. They will need to be proficient enough to communicate intelligently along ALL traditional channels and newer ones as well. But keep in mind that this isn’t just true in terms of omni-channel support as it exists today. They’ll need to stay on the edge of whatever evolution omni-channel support goes through tomorrow, five years from now and beyond, too.
Thankfully, Goodbay Technologies has a few things to say about that.
The Goodbay Approach
At Goodbay Technologies, we’ve worked hard over the years to become far more than just another outsourcing provider. We take a great detail of pride in how we’re able to be a true partner for our clients in every sense of the term. By making an effort to learn as much about you as we can, we do more than just offer you a viable mechanism to implement omni-channel support across your enterprise. We come up with the right deployment that is optimized for both your people AND your customers, exactly the way it should be.
If you’d like to find out more information about why omni-channel support is becoming more and more important to the modern day customer all the time, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact Goodbay Technologies today.
At Goodbay Technologies, we always strive to go above and beyond the call of duties when it comes to our outsourced customer support services. You need more than just someone to answer customer questions and address customer concerns. You need champions of the larger customer experience and you need them right away.
By acting as a provider of Customer Experience Consulting, we believe that this puts us in an ideal position to do more than just streamline and optimize the operations of your call center. We want to not only improve the overall level of support you’re able to offer, but we also want to provide you with valuable data, analytics and insight into your business that will uncover genuine opportunities for improvements that may have otherwise went undiscovered.
We don’t just want to help you. We want to empower you and help drive your brand forward. We do this in two distinct ways, both of which are worth exploring.
One Part Call Center…
Above all else, our mission is to provide more than just warm bodies to answer call center tickets. At Goodbay Technologies, we pride ourselves on our ability to bring you thoughtful, intelligent and empathetic problem solvers – the right people for the right challenge at precisely the right moment. But even going beyond that, we empower them to deliver only the highest levels of support and assistance in a wide range of different ways that are certainly worth exploring.
All of our agents are trained to not simply “follow the script” like so many other services providers. They’re not “bouncing ball” type agents, desperately looking for “whatever the customer wants to hear to get them off the phone” in the moment. They’re genuine product experts in every sense of the term. They’re brand ambassadors who know your products, who use them and who love them every bit as much as you do. This alone helps to create a much more fluid and natural engagement with your customers, regardless of the channel of support they choose to use.
Every one of our agents is trained to thoughtfully engage with customers through all of the traditional channels that are important to you, including but not limited to things like phone, email and even live chat functionality on your website. Additionally, they’re also able to provide a superior level of support to your customers through non-traditional channels as well. These can include things like social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, retail sites like your e-commerce storefront, and even through app stores on all of the popular smartphones and other mobile devices that are available today.
But a team is only as strong as its captain, which is why it’s so important to us to guarantee that our agents are always managed by some of the smartest, most experienced and most professional people operating anywhere in the outsourced customer support space today. Our agents are managed by true thought leaders who are not only up-to-date on all of the latest industry tips, tricks and best practices, but who can also see where customer support is headed before it gets there.
At Goodbay Technologies, it is our belief that this delivers far more value to our own clients than “routine” outsourced customer support ever could.
But the story of our relationship with your brand doesn’t end there. Far from it. In many ways, it’s just getting started.
… One Part Management Consultant
The fact of the matter is that any outsourced call center can provide “support” in the most basic definition of the term. However, not many of those “routine” providers are positioned to work with clients to truly innovate their support, their products and their services.
To put it another way, we don’t just want to keep your customers happy by providing them with the satisfying experience they’ve come to expect. We want to create something they’ll truly be unable to find anywhere else – the type of experience they ever knew they needed but will soon wonder how they were ever able to live without.
To get to that point, we go far beyond the standard call center tactic of reporting how many calls are answered and what types of resolutions you’re seeing. Using sophisticated analytics and state-of-the-art technology, we dive deep into the factors that are creating these calls in the first place. At that point, this puts us in an invaluable position to work with our clients to help reduce contacts in any way possible.
From the point of view of your customers, what is more ideal: a satisfying customer support experience, or a product and service that works so well that you never need to contact support in the first place? We believe it’s the latter, and that’s exactly what we want to help your business achieve.
From our inception, we’ve positioned ourselves to share our experience, our insight and our best practices with our clients – helping them to improve their own customer experience along the way. We don’t just want to provide you with the data. We want to uncover the actionable, meaningful insight contained inside – putting it all at your fingertips so that you can always make the best decisions possible in any situation.
The changes and ideas that we bring to the table are always backed by this data and by these analytics. When we make suggestions, we’re not just working off a “gut feeling” – we can prove that The Goodbay Way has a rich, material impact on our client’s customer expertise that we are delivering for them. We would never make a suggestion that we couldn’t back up with cold, hard facts at our side.
In the End
Oftentimes, our satisfied clients will tell us that we add far more value to their customer experience than other providers operating in this space. Many say that after partnering with Goodbay, they now have access to a wealth of knowledge and a plethora of new ideas that generate far more advice and insight into customer experience improvement than any other vendor they’ve worked with – or that their own in-house teams could provide, for that matter.
This is an honor, to be sure, but in our opinion it’s also not something that you “do once and forget about.” Getting to this point is one thing – staying at the cutting edge is something else entirely. It requires a proactive, contemplative approach to not only how you’re interacting with your customers and other people in your target audience, but how you continue to interact with them as the world changes around us.
By acting as one part call center and one part management consultant, we find that we’re able to act as a genuine partner in your own organization’s success in the most literal way possible. At that point, we’re not just helping your own in-house people. We’re empowering them to focus more time on the critical aspects of your enterprise, all while putting your best foot forward when it comes to interactions with your customers as well.
If you’d like to find out more information about how Goodbay Technologies is poised to act as one part call center and one part management consultant, or if you’d just like to discuss the specifics of your own situation with someone in a little more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.
In the modern digital world that we’re now living in, your major competitive advantage has less to do with your specific products and services and is more about the unique customer experience you offer – the kind that people simply won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Customer support plays a huge role in that, but this is also a major hurdle for smaller organizations in particular to overcome. With that in mind, there are a number of critical benefits that you’ll get by partnering with a boutique contact center that are absolutely worth taking a closer look at moving forward.
Ideation, or: The Art of Breaking New Ground
When you partner with an intelligent customer support outsourcing company like Goodbay Technologies or others for your boutique contact center needs, one of the major benefits you get almost immediately comes by way of exclusive attention from not only a dedicated ops team, but management as well.
Boutique contact centers, thanks to their size, are in a unique position to spend more time with you and your team on managing all of your support needs – from CRM implementation to engaging customers through all channels and absolutely everything in between.
These people are almost hyper specialized in your space, allowing representatives to “speak the same language” that you do, all in the name of better achieving your customer service innovation goals.
Likewise, the high level director at a boutique contact center has a vested interest in your success. They’re not a junior level account manager juggling too many things to give you the appropriate level of attention or care. You are their number one priority and your organization benefits because of it.
Consultative Advice You Won’t Get Anywhere Else
Along the same lines, a boutique contact center is in a better position to give you forward-thinking, expert advice on all of the factors that matter most to you. This includes but is not limited to things like your own unique CRM implementation and strategy, custom reporting and analytics, KPI and SLA improvement (which can generate better quality and faster responses) and more.
Boutique contact centers are also in an ideal position to help you experiment more fiercely than ever before. It’s easy to try new things to move the needle on your CSAT scores, for example, as well as other mission critical objectives like KPIs and profitability.
In the end, all of this blends together to form the most important benefit of all: you’re now in a better position to optimize staffing and coverage hours by way of a team of experts who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
It’s Not About Quantity, It’s About Value
One of the most important things to understand about all of this is that a boutique contact center focuses more on delivering the best support possible, which should always be your number one priority as a brand. This is in contrast to larger call centers, which focus first on being as cost effective as possible and everything else comes second.
Because of this, boutique contact centers are ideal for companies with a major emphasis on growth who are also looking to scale their five star customer experience. This is as opposed to long tail and legacy businesses who are instead looking to reduce their costs as their organization is maturing.
To put it another way, businesses who are willing to invest in the best customer experience possible would be hard-pressed to find an alternative as powerful and as innovative as this one.
The Advantages of a Director of Operations
Working with a boutique contact center also gives you access to a Director of Operations as your daily POC – and the importance of this literally cannot be overstated.
This is an individual who meaningfully understands not only your business, but your products and services. They get to know who you are and why you do what you do, putting you in a better position to implement all of your ideas regarding what a successful CS partnership actually looks like.
This ongoing collaboration takes many forms, like through the use of weekly business review calls and quality assurance collaboration calls.
But you also get access to ongoing advice on all the latest industry tips, tricks and best practices – not in a general way, but with regards to the ones that best suit your unique business needs as you strive to improve your overall customer experience as powerfully as possible.
The Right Team For the Right Job
The other major benefit that you get by partnering with a boutique contact center comes by way of a dedicated team of non-billable support staff, all working hard to enable the best overall customer experience possible.
Simply put, you won’t have to worry about whether these people truly care about the long-term success of your brand. You’ll know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, and the peace-of-mind that comes with that alone is often worth the investment for most people.
At a support outsourcing company like Goodbay, for example, we always staff extra agents on a team to allow for on-demand overtime requests, to deal with unexpected spikes in calls/emails and anything else that life happens to throw at you. You once again get a dedicated trainer who makes an effort to learn your products and tools and who is intimately aware of your customer base’s personalities. You also get dedicated Quality Analysts who are focused on improving each call and not just following a rigid process, and team leaders who work closely with your own in-house people on day-to-day issues like queue balancing, negative feedback, support hours, personalizing responses and more.
All of this blends together to form a unique cultural alignment of the call center’s staff to your organization. The boutique call center can replicate your unique company culture to a T, custom tailoring support via dedicated agents who are passionate product experts and brand ambassadors.
Overall, you’re not talking about a traditional vendor relationship. You’re getting a true partner in every sense of the term.
This results in clearer communications, as a boutique solution is in an ideal position to spend more time to find the right people who are the best fit for your support. You still have the ability to interview agents just like you would in-house, so there are no surprises under a dedicated agent model. You get to build relationships with your agents just like they were working in your office.
Plus, with Agent Certification Programs like the kind offered by a customer support outsourcing company like Goodbay, you get custom tailored training solutions that bring agents up to speed on your way of delivering support, the voice of your brand and company and more.
Your customers feel like they’re engaging with your team and NOT a third party, and you get to deliver the best experience possible to those same people. It’s truly a situation where absolutely everybody wins.
Contact Goodbay Technologies Today
If you’d like to find out more information about the major benefits you’ll only receive by working with an intelligent customer support outsourcing company, or if you just have additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
According to one recent study, the global market size of outsourced services across all industries is currently sitting at somewhere in the neighborhood of $85.6 billion. That’s a massive amount of money for something that is, within the context of the fast-paced evolution of modern technology, still a relatively “young” concept.
Organizations of all types are turning to outsourcing for just about everything – from cutting costs to optimizing their infrastructure and beyond. But at the same time, there are still a lot of misconceptions out there about how it all actually works – especially as far as smaller organizations are concerned.
Chiefly, the most important thing to understand is outsourcing probably works exactly the way you think it does – but what is actually going on behind the scenes probably doesn’t resemble what you may be picturing. In fact, by clearing up a number of the most common misconceptions about outsourcing, you’ll probably realize that it’s a lot more viable of an option for your business than you may have originally thought. Also that it is an option best suited to vibrant, growing or digitally disruptive firm, not the huge old-hat insurance companies and telecoms of the world!
“If I Outsource, I’ll Lose Total Control and Visibility Over My Infrastructure”
Maybe the most common misconception about outsourcing is also, from many points of view, among the most unfounded. A lot of people assume that by handing over access to their infrastructure to a third party, they will no longer be “in the loop” about what is going on and why things are happening. Luckily, this is far from the truth.
Outsourcing simply means you are getting some level of technical support from an outside source. Outsourcing companies will still provide you with the best solutions possible, all falling within the confines of your requirements and the various, specific needs you present.
The fact is, the best outsourcing companies will fully embrace both your technology and your existing business processes. You will still “own” every last kilobyte of data on your servers, along with the processes used to deliver support.
In many ways, this will only enable you to further enhance your data and visibility, all while maintaining complete control over the support functions.
If the outsourced provider forces you to leverage THEIR tools and THEIR CRM solutions, on the other hand, they are not truly collaborative partners meeting you on your own terms. This doesn’t mean that outsourcing is bad – this just means that this particular partner is not right for you.
Although you won’t be controlling the workers yourself, you will ALWAYS have the ability to communicate with them and check on the progress of your outsourcing company.
In short, you will always be in control. You’re not being “replaced” by an outsourcing team, you’re being supported by them. You will still have the right to select your staff and the team representing your business. If you are not given these rights unconditionally, all it means is that you need to select a different outsourcing partner.
“The Quality of Work Will Never Be as High as What I Can Do Myself”
This is another common misconception that, thankfully, doesn’t have any basis in reality.
The team working for your business by way of an outsourcing provider only has one goal in mind: to deliver you the best results possible, no exceptions. This can even happen without your involvement depending on the situation.
Just as you might “outsource” some of your accounting services or legal functions in order to receive a level of expertise that you yourself do not possess, your customer support functions are absolutely no different. In fact, for many people, their results will IMPROVE by selecting a partner that specializes in this one critical business function.
“Outsourcing Not Only Costs More, But Takes More Time to Achieve the Same Results”
If people aren’t worried about losing control, the “time” and “money” factors are usually among their top other concerns. Again – these should not be concerns provided you’ve selected the right partner in the first place.
With regards to cost, outsourcing is actually a viable way to eliminate a lot of the overhead and operating costs you’re currently dealing with. In the vast majority of all situations, it will actually work out to be LESS expensive than maintaining your own in-house processes.
With outsourcing, not only are you eliminating administrative costs and HR expenses, but also overtime and holiday/weekend support costs, too. Everything is handled by way of one fixed, competitive monthly fee that is set based on your needs and budget.
You also have to consider that working in-house may actually run up extra costs due to issues like a lack of resources, infrastructure or even workforce. With outsourcing companies, on the other hand, all of these things are already accounted for. This not only helps to achieve better results, but significantly reduces the amount of time normally required to get to that point.
On the subject of the time factor, when you outsource you are enlisting the help of a specialized team of people who are singularly focused on improving your company’s productivity. If you were to do all of this work yourself, that would be time that you wouldn’t be able to spend focused elsewhere within your enterprise. That would ultimately reduce your ability to accomplish critical business activities and achieve better outcomes, not help it.
“If I Outsource, My Security and Privacy Will Be Lost”
This is a totally understandable concern, but again – it isn’t based in any type of fact with regards to how things actually work when you outsource.
Never forget that a client’s security is always one of the top priorities for any outsourcing company. These organizations NEED to develop trust between themselves and their clients – their entire business model depends on it.
They use the data they are given, for example, exclusively to help their clients and they will always act with your best interests in mind.
Many leading companies even have incredibly strict guidelines and procedures built to guarantee data privacy. In truth, a lot of the competition among outsourcing companies is based on this very idea.
Any reputable outsourcing partner, for example, will follow both GDPR and PCI Compliance policies. That alone may very well be a higher level of security and compliance than you are running internally. Do you have a mobile phone in your office, for example, or do your staff members? If so, you’re already not as secure as a reputable PCI compliant outsourcing company like Goodbay Technologies.
“Outsourcing is Only Good for Big Businesses. I’m Just Too Small”
Finally, one of the major mistakes that a lot of businesses make involves assuming that they are just “too small” to take advantage of everything that an outsourcing partner provides. In fact, outsourcing is totally viable for ALL businesses, regardless of their size or the number of users they’re working with.
As a matter of fact, in today’s economy most outsourcing relationships have a small business at heart. Fortune 500 companies began embracing this trend as a way to save money, yes – but that was going on two decades ago. In the present, it’s the small businesses who realize the value, the agility and the other major advantages that only an outsourcing provider offers.
Think about it like this: you’re already small and nimble, so staying that way should always be one of your goals. You need to be the best at what makes you profitable, special and unique – everything else is just a distraction. Instead of allowing those things to be YOUR distraction, you can make them someone else’s – which is ultimately what outsourcing is all about.
Any viable company in this field will always tailor their approach and their solutions to your business and its objectives. Their goal is always to improve your company regardless of scale.
At that point, all you have to do is let them. Everything else will naturally fall into place because that’s exactly how the system was designed to work.
Goodbay Technologies: Your Outsourcing Partner in Every Sense of the Term
At Goodbay Technologies, we totally understand a lot of the concerns (or even fears) that you might have when it comes to switching to an outsourced model. Misconceptions like those listed above may not have any basis in fact, but that doesn’t make the issues at the heart of them any less legitimate.
This is why we’ve always made it a point of pride to become more than just another services provider to our customers. We want to come in and act as an organic extension of your business in every way that we can. We don’t want to replace your people or your processes – we want to support and empower them. All of this is in service of the most important goal of all: giving you an opportunity to do better work for your own customers every single day.
If you’d like to find out more information about some of the most common misconceptions about outsourcing, or if you’d just like to discuss your own needs and goals in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact Goodbay Technologies today.
Because an Investment in Your People is an Investment in the Future of Your Business.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re running or even what industry you’re operating in – one of the major contributing factors to your success is and will always be the people that you surround yourself with.
Your employees are such an invaluable part of the hard work that you’re doing on a daily basis. They’re the hardworking men and women who have devoted a significant portion of their lives to helping you accomplish your goals. They’re an investment in the current and future success of your business and any investment like that is one worth protecting.
A large number of studies have proven that making an emphasis on creating a positive company culture can pay huge dividends to that end. Those employees who are positively connected to their working environment tend to not only be happier and healthier than others, but more productive than average as well. It’s also important to note that the reverse is true, too – those employees who feel disconnected from the larger company culture around them are far less productive and, as a result, can end up costing you money in a wide range of different ways.
Likewise,about 94% of executives and even 88% of employees who responded to one particular survey said that they believed having a distinct workplace culture was a very important part of the business’ overall success. When people are positively connected to their company, the way they see it tends to improve in regard to qualities like collaboration, their work environment, their mission and even their value alignment. Companies with strong cultures also tend to see a 4x increase in revenue growth on average according to another studyreported on by Forbes.
All of this is to say that at Goodbay Technologies, we strive not only to provide an intelligent approach to customer support. One of our major goals – and one that has remained unchanged from the moment we opened our doors until now – is to create a collaborative, enjoyable environment for not only our employees, but for our clients as well.
In other words, you don’t have to actually work at Goodbay to feel like you’re a part of the larger company culture we’ve tried to create. Anyone can participate and we absolutely encourage it.
The culture at Goodbay Technologies is one built on the rock-solid foundation of hard work, dedication and care – both for employees and for clients as well.
We’ve always believed that the development of any company’s culture begins with the hiring of employees. You need to look for more than just “another warm body” to fill a seat and perform a job. You have to go out of your way to find people who work well together – who mesh in a way that allows them to do more as a collective than any one of them could do on their own. You need your people to empower and support one another, enabling all involved to do more with what they’re given every day. That’s no small order, to be sure – but it’s one made significantly easier if you manage to hire the right employees in the first place.
At Goodbay Technologies, we’ve always looked for intelligent, hard-working and enthusiastic employees who believe in our company’s core mission and who are willing to do whatever it takes to help us all succeed. We do this not only for our own benefit, but because this is the best way that we can bring thoughtful, intelligent and empathetic problem solvers to each and every one of our clients.
When searching for those employees, we also try to find people who align with our core values at Goodbay. We find that if we’re able to quickly identify people with virtues that carefully overlap with our own, so much of the “hard work” has already been done for us to a degree.
A Search for the Right People Begins with a Search for Core Values
Another one of the elements of Goodbay Technologies that has remained unchanged throughout our history has to do with those aforementioned core values. These values are followed by ALL employees and, because of that, accurately reflect the company’s overall work and social cultures.
These core values include things like:
Humility and respect. There is no ego in our work culture and in fact, we just don’t have room for it. Even our leadership will agree that we cannot afford to surround ourselves with people who are only in it for personal gain. We celebrate each other’s victories and help each other be the best that we can be, no exceptions. Whenever a new employee comes into the fold, we make sure that they check their ego at the door. Our business – and our clients – come out all the better for it.
Collaboration. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, we solve problems and make smarter decisions together. Yes, each of our employees has been carefully selected based on their skills, their expertise and their work history. But when they walk through our door, they become a part of something much more powerful than the individual. They become a member of a genuine family in every sense of the term and families do nothing if not help each other whenever they can.
Intelligence. We work with smart people who want to make a difference. If we want to be able to deliver the best possible results for our clients, we need to hire the best people in the first place. That means conducting a far-reaching search for the best and brightest minds working in the industry today. Not only do we make it a priority to locate and attract these top employees, but we also go above and beyond when it comes to retaining them, too.
A “Can Do” Attitude. Not every job is going to be easy. Not every problem is going to have a straightforward solution. This has nothing to do with the industry itself and has more to do with the way life works. But when times get tough and when a situation is particularly problematic, we want people who are willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out. They know there is a solution – they just have to find it. This is one of the major ways that Goodbay Technologies has remained so flexible over the years, allowing us to accommodate the needs and the demands of our clients – regardless of how or even why they happen to change in the moment.
Opportunity Based on Merit. Far too many businesses run into problems when they start hiring people based on the length of someone’s job history as opposed to the actual details hidden inside. Someone who has been on the job for a decade isn’t always going to have the right answer. Sometimes a fresh approach is needed, and that may come from a new hire who has only been here for six months. Because of that, we always opt for talent over tenure whenever possible. We also recognize achievements, as a “win” for an individual employee is ultimately a “win” for both Goodbay and our clients.
We Do What We Say. But more than anything else, we value transparency and consistency in all of our relationships. If we come up with a plan to execute a strategy on behalf of a client, we follow that plan to the letter. We do exactly what we say we’re going to do and if something changes, we always let clients know immediately. Not only do we get the job done, but we do it with a level of care, commitment and attention-to-detail that most of our clients just won’t be able to find through other means.
Even something as seemingly simple as placing an emphasis on humility and respect can pay off beautifully in the long-run. When people are forced to remove ego from the conversation, they can focus on the thing that ultimately matters most of all: the client, as opposed to their own personal successes. When we solve problems and make smarter decisions together – both with our fellow employees and with our customers – everyone comes out ahead.
Many of our customers find that our commitment to simply doing what we say is something that far too many other service providers lack. We don’t just want to get the job done. Anybody can do that. We want to get the job done PROPERLY and in the right way given the demands of the situation we collectively find ourselves in.
Those core values are all related to the way Goodbay Technologies has historically hired employees. They have served us incredibly well throughout our history, and that is one trend that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The Impact that a Work Culture Can Make
Those values also form the foundation upon which the entirety of our business model has been built. They support and empower us as an organization and, as a result, bleed directly into our larger work culture-related values, too.
Those work culture values include things like:
Maintaining a Customer Focused Approach. The details of a particular task may change, but one thing always remains the same: we want to guarantee that our clients are provided with the absolute best customer experience possible. Yes, everyone has a slightly different idea of what “success” means to that end, but that’s why it’s so important for us to remain flexible. We’re able to do this because our agents are always well-trained and are well acquainted with the clients they are working for. When we provide you with a team of agents, you can be confident in knowing that they’re as familiar with your business as they are with ours. Not only does this go a long way towards making interactions as smooth as possible, but it ultimately enables you to deliver a superior experience to your own customers and end users, too.
Collaboration is Key. When your goal is to provide superior customer service to as many people as possible, you can’t afford a group of “heroes.” As was true with our larger core values, we value that collaborative spirit in our work culture, too. This means that all of our employees are trained to work well as a team, developing different and innovative new strategies on the best approach when working with a client. When a problem happens, it’s a problem for all of us. When a victory happens, we celebrate as a collective. This again helps take “ego” out of the equation and makes sure that all of our people remain singularly focused on helping you bring your powerful vision to life.
Flexibility is a Requirement. We understand that every client is a little bit different from the next. It’s a large part of the reason why we’ve thrown out the “one size fits all” approach to what we do. Rather than forcing you to change your expectations to make up for what we’re providing you, we want to optimize all of our services with your core organization in mind. This means that we always work directly with clients to make sure their needs are being met – regardless of what those needs happen to be or how they may change. We can alter employee numbers based on what the client requests, for example, allowing us to pivot as needed and to continue to provide you with the excellent level of care that you deserve.
If you don’t have these three critical elements accounted for, you really don’t have as much as you thought you did.
Why get into business in the first place if you’re unwilling to take a customer-focused approach? Why should someone put their faith in you to deliver a service or perform a task if it’s clear your top priority is your own bottom line?
If you’re not willing to collaborate – both with your fellow employees and with your clients – you’ve probably joined the wrong line of work. It’s unreasonable to expect a single person to handle every task on their own. Oftentimes we need to draw insight and inspiration from those around us and that just won’t happen if employees suffer from an “every man/woman for him/herself” mentality.
Likewise, flexibility is of paramount importance because life comes at you fast. If a client changes their expectations or needs adjustments to the way things are done, they’re not making those pivots with malicious intentions. They’re making them because they’re responding to the changing demands of their own market or customers. In those situations, they need to adapt quickly and their partners need to be able to do that, too. It doesn’t matter what the client’s needs are – everything begins and ends with whether or not they’re being met in the first place.
The Power of Social Culture
Our core values and our heavy emphasis on a positive, outward-facing work culture make up two-thirds of what we do here at Goodbay Technologies. Equally important is our social culture, which we believe is the factor that ultimately makes us such a compelling business to work for (and with) in the first place.
The major elements of our social culture include things like:
We’re a Rewarding Culture. In some businesses, a team leader is ultimately the one who draws all the praise – regardless of what his or her contributions actually were to a project. At Goodbay, however, we do things a bit differently. We make sure that achievements and contributions are always recognized, regardless of where they happen to be coming from. When a brand-new employee has a victory, we make sure everyone knows about it and we recognize that in the exact same way that we would with someone who had been with us since the beginning. Because once again, a “win” for the individual is a “win” for the collective – and those are all worth celebrating.
We Always Strive to Maintain a Work/Life Balance. The work that we’re doing at Goodbay Technologies is important, to be sure. But we understand that people need a personal life, too. That’s why we always try to maintain the delicate balance between “work” and “fun,” hosting a wide range of different events for employees both inside and outside of the office.
That last point is especially important in the wake of a number of recent studies that have been done on the topic.
According to a survey that was conducted by the Harvard Business School, about 94% of service professionals today actually put in a 50+ hour work week. While most organizational leaders would probably argue that those longer hours are necessary, research also indicates that when the work/life balance starts to suffer, it creates a ripple effect in the worst possible way that is difficult (and often even impossible) to recover from.
Once the average person passes a certain number of working hours in a given week, the most immediate impact is that their sleeping schedule starts to suffer. At that point, their judgment starts to become impaired – meaning that they’re no longer capable of making the right decisions as quickly as you need them to. People are also far more likely to become depressed or stressed out, and can even experience difficulties in communication, collaboration and completing simple tasks.
If we were to put those types of demands on our own people, we would quickly hit a point of diminishing returns. They’d no longer be able to provide you with the superior service you’ve come to expect, which is a large part of the reason why you began partnering with Goodbay Technologies in the first place. We acknowledge that work is important, but living a healthy, happy life is, too. That’s why we always host events like volunteer days, award ceremonies and even sporting events – all in the name of keeping things as productive AND as fun as we can.
A shocking number of business professionals have failed to realize this simple fact and, make no mistake, it’s a problem they need to address at all costs.
Once You Have the Right Culture, the Possibilities Are Truly Limitless
All of this is to say that even if building a strong, positive company culture wasn’t the right thing to do, it’s a decision that brings with it a wide range of additional benefits that would be difficult to replicate through other means – if it were even possible to do so at all.
Going to these lengths to create the perfect company culture is certainly not the easiest way to do business. It’s probably not the cheapest, either. But anybody can provide you with a steady stream of customer service agents who may technically be able to “get the job done,” but who are incapable of doing it particularly well.
Instead, we want to go above and beyond. We want to prove to you that we care about your own success every bit as much as you do. We want to provide you with the level of service that you simply won’t be able to find anywhere else and we can’t do that without the strong culture to back it up.
When you come to Goodbay Technologies, we know that you’re looking for more than just another service provider. You’re looking for a true partner in every sense of the term. No matter what, that is always what we will work hard to be – and all of this is a large part of how we do it.
Because everything we do at Goodbay is in service of our clients – and to be honest, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hard work. Dedication. Care. Those three elements are what Goodbay Technologies was built on. They’ve allowed us to accomplish a number of powerful things over the course of our history and we’re confident that they will continue to do so for years to come.
If you’d like to find out more information about the lengths that we’re willing to go to when it comes to crafting the right company culture, or if you’re just curious about how a partnership with Goodbay might be able to help you accomplish your own long-term goals, please don’t delay – contact us today.
Over the last decade, in particular there has been an enormous level of disruption taking place across the contact center industry. Those who are still holding onto the “tried but true” best practices of an era that has long since ended are rightfully scared. Any change brings with it an incredible amount of uncertainty, and there are many in the industry right now who feel anxious at best and threatened at worst.
What savvy professionals understand, however, is that disruption isn’t necessarily bad – with the right perspective, it is simply an opportunity just waiting to be taken advantage of by those who have been paying attention.
Over the next few years, users will actually begin to favor digital interactions over voice-based interactions when utilizing contact centers. For the purposes of this discussion, the term “digital interactions” refers to not only popular channels like phone apps and web chats, but also instant messaging, social media and similar channels.
So what, then, becomes of the living, breathing human agents who still come to work in these contact centers every day?
While it is absolutely true this shift is occurring and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon, it doesn’t mean we’re approaching an era where those live agents are about to be replaced by fully digital counterparts. If anything, the reverse is true – contact centers MUST maintain quality voice-based interactions IN ADDITION to digital interactions to better serve their customers and to maintain a competitive advantage moving forward.
Therefore, big data becomes the best chance most contact centers have at accomplishing both of these core goals at the exact same time.
What is Big Data and How Can It Assist Contact Centers During This Shift?
At its core, big data is about more than just a series of 1s and 0s sitting on a hard drive somewhere. It’s a term that refers to “an analysis of data in various forms that can reveal patterns, trends, and associations.”
According to one recent study, approximately two quintillion new bytes of data are created every single day. Another recent study conducted by Forbes revealed that more than 150 zettabytes, which is equal to roughly 150 trillion gigabytes, will need careful analysis in enterprise environments by as soon as 2025. About 90% of all data that currently exists on planet Earth was created in just one year – between 2015 and 2016. Based on all of that, it’s no wonder that the big data industry alone will be worth about $77 billion by as soon as 2023. If anything, it’s amazing that number isn’t higher.
All of this is based on the universal truth that data, on its own, is meaningless. So much of it is being created on a daily basis that it’s virtually impossible to glean anything meaningful from it on a surface level. Big data and solutions like business analytics and business intelligence allow organizations to dive beneath those 1s and 0s, uncovering the true story that is hidden underneath.
That insight represents actionable intelligence that, when applied properly, can allow even the smallest contact centers to finally unlock their full potential for the benefit of customers everywhere.
In a larger sense, big data enables and empowers contact centers by:
Giving them a chance to dramatically improve both agent performances and customer satisfaction at the exact same time.
Uncover opportunities to streamline processes and enhance productivity, thus cutting costs while also improving the quality of work that is capable of being performed.
Delivering improved products and services based on the very real, very actionable preferences of the users a contact center has dedicated itself to serving.
Enhancing security to make sure all of that private data actually stays that way for as long as possible.
Recognizing both strong and weak aspects of a company in equal measure.
That last part is particularly important, as if you know what’s working you can obviously focus more attention on those areas and essentially “double down” on those results. But most critically, if you know what ISN’T working, you have an objective roadmap that you can follow to fix it. At that point, improvements in customer satisfaction and service are no longer a matter of “if” but “when.”
Why Big Data Matters: Breaking Things Down
Big data helps to accomplish all of these things by not only highlighting important communications in real-time, but by also uncovering trends in complaints, customer satisfaction and even product issues over time – all of which can be used to make meaningful improvements as quickly as possible.
Yes, it’s absolutely true that data volumes are increasing all the time. But something that a lot of people don’t necessarily realize is that this data is actually EASIER to collect as the use of digital interactions increases. This is especially true when those digital interactions are paired with the right software-based solutions in the first place.
Artificial intelligence, for example, can be used to highlight key words during conversations as they’re taking place. At that point, you can use them to identify and assess the interactions between customers and the agents they’re talking to.
So if a large volume of customer interactions all contain keywords that highlight the same issue in a short period of time, you suddenly have an opportunity to:
Track agent responses to help make sure those customers are getting the viable solution they’re after.
Getting that solution into the hands of other agents so that they, too, can address the problem quickly.
Figure out what is actually causing that particular problem with your product in the first place, thus taking steps to correct it to prevent that issue from happening moving forward.
All of this would be difficult – if not impossible – to do if communications still existed in an analog, siloed-off world. Some agents would probably be able to help those customers, but others wouldn’t necessarily have the knowledge needed – and that wouldn’t even really be their fault. Much of a customer’s chance for a successful resolution would come down to who happened to pick up the phone at the moment they called, thus creating an inconsistent and ultimately frustrating experience for absolutely everyone involved.
After that data has been collected, companies are actually in a much better position to predict interactions that are likely to happen in the future – thus taking steps to improve their approach to resolution before the situation has actually happened.
Likewise, advanced systems can easily be used to leverage this information to formulate appropriate responses and to anticipate customer needs.
So if you wanted to uncover opportunities to improve customer satisfaction, you might want to look at not WHAT resolutions are offered, but HOW agents are doing the offering. Companies can gauge customer satisfaction when analyzing tone and keywords, all thanks to the intelligence that big data brings with it. If a customer is angry, for example, a speech analytics tool can provide the agent in question with a protocol that can be used to temper that anger and properly handle the situation.
Likewise, advanced systems can even be employed to use data to predict a customer’s age – all so that the agent can tailor their responses accordingly. After all, a 14-year-old and a 55-year-old may be looking for the same answer to the same question, but they’re very likely to have two totally different sets of expectations. With big data, you’re suddenly in a viable position to address both of these things at the same time.
Once businesses are able to better understand not only what their customers are saying but also how they think and what they want, they’re therefore able to fix problematic processes, do more targeted training and even identify the most efficient and satisfying customer approaches as quickly as possible.
You Cannot Fend off Disruption. You Can Only Prepare For It
This is what was meant when it was said that this disruption taking place in contact centers represents an enormous amount of potential just waiting to be taken advantage of by someone who is paying attention. Yes, it represents a major change from the traditional operations model of a contact center. Even though those older environments were built on the backs of customer interactions, things were fairly passive from the perspective of the agents themselves. Someone called with a problem and you either had the answer or you didn’t. You either provided the answer to a question or were unable to. Those really were the only potential outcomes and out of that, the myth of the “one size fits all approach to customer interactions” was born.
But thanks to big data, all of that has been torn down at this critical moment in the industry’s history. Customers want to have more personalized, specific interactions with the brands they’re doing business with. This is going to require a significant amount of effort, but that effort also represents a positive investment in the very future of your organization.
The contact centers that “get this wrong” will quickly find themselves left behind by their savvier and more proactive competitors. The ones that “get it right,” however, will have paved the way for a decade of prosperity and beyond. They won’t have to worry about the next big disruption taking place across the industry because they’ll finally be ready when it arrives.
If you’d like to find out more information about the importance of big data within the context of the modern contact center, or if you have any additional questions that you’d like to see answered in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact Goodbay Technologies today.
According to one recent study, a massive 60% of all small businesses permanently close their doors within just six months of a cyber attack taking place. When you also consider the fact that the vast majority of these types of attacks actually target small businesses in the first place, it’s easy to understand why this is such a big – and important – deal.
But the truth is, it isn’t necessarily the attack itself that causes these organizations to prematurely close. Yes, the dollar value attached with the downtime you’ll experience can be staggering. Just getting back up and running again at all can take weeks, if you’re lucky. But the major reason why so many businesses are forced to shut down after some type of cyber incident can ultimately be summed up by the damage done to one particular area:
It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re running or even the industry that you’re operating in, your organization depends on establishing a certain amount of trust with your target audience. That trust is earned, but it is also inherently fragile. One wrong move and it could be gone forever.
That is essentially why ideas like data security and protection are of paramount importance. If someone is willing to trust you with their personal, identifying and potentially compromising data, there’s no such thing as a “small mistake” at that point. Once that trust is gone, you’re never getting it back – and your entire business is going to suffer because of it.
At Goodbay Technologies, we completely understand that these are all ideas that you are (rightfully) concerned with as a business owner. Luckily, they also happen to fall squarely within our areas of expertise. There are a number of critical things for you to know about data security and protection… and Goodbay can help you address every single one of them.
The Art of Physical Security: Breaking Things Down
In addition to the proactive network monitoring, antivirus solutions and other software-based security mechanisms you employ, physical security is of paramount importance with regards to keeping your people (and your data) safe and sound at all times.
Remember that not all security issues are the direct result of a cyber attack. Many issues stem from employee movement and access control, or in most cases a total lack thereof.
At Goodbay, we address this by way of sophisticated RFID Employment Badges and limited access control to appropriate workspaces. In other words, if someone doesn’t need access to a particular place to do their job, they don’t actually have it.
Proper identification like this helps to not only secure restricted areas, but also goes a long way towards differentiating between employees and visitors as well.
Going paperless is another way that we address physical security, as it prevents the physical storage and long-term documentation of sensitive information. Passwords would also fall under this umbrella, and training employees on creating strong passwords is something that we feel is always a top priority.
One of the biggest ways that we help tackle physical security, however, comes by way of unique IDs for all employees. This checks a number of important boxes, all at the same time:
Each employee has their own unique log-in credentials, regardless of who they are.
The system automatically logs you out at least 30 minutes after activity or if six log-in attempts fail, all to maximize security.
Users must always re-authenticate if software sessions have been idle for more than 15 minutes, no exceptions.
This also extends to the mechanisms we have in place to carefully monitor the comings and goings of security staff members, too:
Key access points are always managed by different security personnel. In that way, our approach is not to dissimilar to the one you might find at any major airport in the country.
Random physical checks are performed on a regular basis to guarantee that absolutely NO outside materials are carried into the production space.
Dedicated security staff members are also available for a “if you see something, say something” culture among all staff. This too adds an additional level of accountability to the environment that wouldn’t necessarily be present in other circumstances.
The Critical Nature of Security Training
A lot of people assume that cyber incidents and data breaches happen because some hacker halfway around the world suddenly turned their attention in your direction. While this is absolutely possible, in most cases these issues crop up from the exact same source:
Sadly, the absolute easiest way for a breach to occur with regards to security comes down to an employee. It doesn’t even have to be a rogue employee who wants to do you harm, either. Someone may make a mistake that quickly spirals out of control.
In a call center environment, there can also be high employee turnover – which only serves to increase this level of risk.
It is always hugely important to make sure that all agents understand and operate by the same security guidelines, particularly when it comes to accessing and sharing customer documents. The responsibility of data security is ultimately the responsibility of EVERYONE within the contact center. Nothing short of an “all hands on deck” approach will do.
For the absolute best results, ongoing training should always be carried out across the entire company in order to help underline the general importance of it in the minds of your people. This could include everything from training at new hire orientation or even providing monthly resources by email.
Background checks are also seen by many organizations as their first line of defense in terms of data security and protection. Employee background checks are the perfect way to make sure that people coming into your enterprise through third party organizations are actually trustworthy enough to be there in the first place.
A Modern Approach to Data Protection
When it comes to the actual information that your customers are trusting you with, however, there are also a number of additional opportunities you’ll want to employ. To truly secure a customer’s document, multiple security layers are not a recommendation, but a requirement.
This absolutely includes encrypting and protecting documents, even if they are currently located on a secure network. This guarantees that information sent via email between a call center agent and a customer, for example, cannot be compromised if intercepted.
You should also work hard to employ a system that sends out alerts whenever there is unusual activity, allowing you to stop a small problem today before it quickly balloons out of control.
Overall, you should not actually store sensitive information at all if you can help it – which is a practice that Goodbay Technologies lives by. Delete all cardholder data after processing in a way that makes that data totally unrecoverable. Never store information from the magnetic strip or personal identification number (PIN) during payment. All of this will go a long way towards making sure you stay protected moving forward.
The Genesis of Network Security
Finally, with regards to network security, you should always install antivirus programs that are capable of not only detecting, but also removing and protecting against ALL known types of malicious software. At Goodbay, for example, we not only have software that can pick out viruses but also Trojans, worms, spyware, adware and even rootkits. Likewise, all of our antivirus mechanisms generate audit logs, and all the logs are retained in accordance with PCI DSS Requirement 10.7.
Likewise, networks operating within your call center should be proactively monitored on a constant basis and tested just as regularly. This will help confirm to everyone – from leadership on down – that security measures for your networks are in place and functioning properly. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that security processes are being followed and that everything is up-to-date, all allowing you to rest easy and return your focus on the most important thing of all: your customers. Goodbay Technologies makes it a priority to do all of these things, as well, generating the type of peace-of-mind that many of our clients just wouldn’t be able to create through other means.
Goodbay Technologies: Your Data Security and Protection Partner
At Goodbay Technologies, we always make it a priority to learn as much about our clients as possible. This doesn’t just allow us to offer you a superior level of service, but in terms of data security and protection in general, it also allows us to come up with a unique “plan of attack” that helps mitigate risks from all the types of issues that YOU are likely to experience. There’s no “one size fits all” approach to data security and protection and now, thanks to a partner like Goodbay, there doesn’t actually have to be.
If you’d like to find out more information about the essential elements of the modern approach to data security and protection, or if you’d just like to discuss your needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
One of the most important things for you to understand about running a business in the modern era is that your relationship with your customers is more active than ever before. People no longer have passive connections with brands. Thanks to the fact that most adults own a smartphone, people aren’t just reaching out with comments and concerns more than ever – they’re doing so in more intimate ways thanks to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The major thing that separates this from customer support interactions you may have had in the past has to do with the fact that a collective of literally billions of people around the world didn’t have the opportunity to listen in on a call between a customer and one of your support agents. On social media, the world is watching and rest assured – they do not forget.
If you don’t have the infrastructure to manage these interactions, you’re not only doing your customers a disservice – you’re potentially causing long-term harm to your brand, too. These are just a few of the reasons why social media support and moderation efforts should quickly become top priorities for your business moving forward.
Social Media as a Channel of Support
One of the major benefits of finding an intelligent customer support outsourcing company to handle social media support and moderation has to do with the way modern day customers interact with your brand in the first place.
Today’s customer is savvier than ever and they have proven themselves more than willing to bypass traditional methods like phone, email and even live chat support in favor of Facebook, Twitter and even your own forums. This is because they know they can get a faster response or resolution than ever.
The potential issue with this is that customers are now essentially airing their grievances in public. If they have something positive to say, the whole world will see it. If they have something negative to say, the whole world will see that, too.
They’re essentially challenging you to solve their problem with the highest levels of priority and you’d better believe that potential customers are paying attention to see what you do next.
The right support outsourcing company, on the other hand, will actively engage customer posts in public on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites to make sure people feel like they’re being heard. This frees up your valuable time so that you can focus on other initiatives within your business, all while making sure that customer inquiries are handled as quickly and as effectively as possible.
At Goodbay Technologies, for example, we always make it a priority to move these social media interactions into your CRM for ongoing tracking and analysis. Not only will this lead to better resolutions for tickets, but we also encourage customers to leave positive posts as well – thus helping to eliminate the types of negative posts that can ultimately harm your brand.
The team at Goodbay also uses many different tools (like Admin Access, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and more) to manage this effort. We’re able to use sophisticated analytics to track the success of these engagements, giving you an excellent idea of how your social media support impacts both the quality of your customer experience and your brand’s reputation in general.
App and Product Review Moderation
Another modern day phenomenon that brands must think about has to do with app and product reviews left online. Reviews in places like the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Amazon or at any other retail site are great because they allow customers to voice their opinion and give a rating.
The problem is that many products and services live and die by their user ratings online, which makes moderation a top priority.
When left unchecked, negative online reviews or “review bombs” can end your sales and marketing efforts before they truly have a chance to get off the ground. Positive reviews, on the other hand, will influence sales, downloads your brand and, most importantly of all, your bottom line.
You might not have the time every day to manage these app and product reviews yourself, but when you find the right customer support outsourcing company like Goodbay you don’t actually have to. We manage review responses with similar techniques to how we engage on social media. We always move the engagement to your CRM to guarantee that customers are taken care of and that they get the resolution they seek.
Afterwards, we still encourage customers to leave positive reviews, even if it’s only about the positive support experience they just had.
By utilizing tools like Bazaar Voice to manage retail review responses, you gain access to powerful analytics that offer insight into how to improve your product and customer experience moving forward. This gives us the ability to respond to many reviews as efficiently as possible on your behalf, all while tracking agent performance on how they engage with customers in a public setting as well.
One of the most important things for you to understand about the digital world we’re now living in is that user generated content is one of the fastest drivers of growth for many online companies in existence.
However, this valuable resource cannot go unchecked – which is why the moderation of said content is of critical importance. Oftentimes, this is a significant challenge for not only gaming and social media companies, but also dating sites, on demand services, online marketplaces, communication apps, photo content centers and many, many others.
The moderation effort needed to maintain a safe and trustworthy community is significant. It often includes not only making sure that submitted content adheres to your guidelines, terms of service and legal stipulations, but also implementing a block/ban policy and more. Even self-policed communities need a team that will monitor user submitted content complaints to make sure everything is proceeding as it should be, which is again why a partner in these efforts will quickly prove invaluable.
When you partner with a company like Goodbay Technologies or a similar source, a team of moderation agents will operate on your behalf to address all of these concerns at the exact same time. Using back end tools, they can validate and verify content, block and/or reject content, enforce a moderation bible/playbook, look for trends that can help you positively impact the way users submit content and more.
Oftentimes, this requires a concerted effort between your partner and your own in-house team – especially as far as things like legal issues, safety/trust concerns and community management go.
If you tried to handle all of this in-house, this type of transactional “busy work” can bog down even the highest paid Community Managers and Customer Support Agents. But if you outsource this work to a partner, you’re not only getting the job done at a lower total cost, but you’re doing so in a way that still gives you the ability to significantly scale while keeping your users and community safe and trustworthy at the exact same time.
Contact Goodbay Technologies Today
These are just a few of the important factors you need to consider when operating a business in the modern online era. If you’d like to find out more information about the importance of social media support and moderation, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss with someone in a little more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.
As businesses of all kinds look for opportunities to scale in size, cut costs, preserve profit margins, and create a better experience for their customers all at the same time, they often begin to think about call center outsourcing as a viable way to accomplish these goals.
At a certain point, business leaders usually realize that they have two main options available to them: they could choose to enlist the help of a call center outsourcing provider in the United States, or they could turn to an overseas counterpart.
Depending on what you need and what you’re trying to do, it’s entirely possible that an overseas call center outsourcing provider may immediately be the “cheaper” of the two options. But, as history has shown, that doesn’t always make it “better” – far from it, in point of fact.
It’s imperative that you look at your outsourcing relationship as an actual relationship in every sense of the term. From that point of view, it’s not too dissimilar to any other interpersonal relationship that you might have – be it one with your lifelong best friend, or your marriage to your partner, or something else entirely.
Relationships are many things – but one thing they aren’t is passive. Even the strongest relationships will thrive or fail for the same basic reasons:
A general lack of communication between the two parties, or communication styles that vary so much that they’re essentially incompatible with one another.
A mutual misunderstanding of the shared goals, or future desires, between the two parties.
A lack of trust (and by association, accountability) that one party has to the other.
It doesn’t matter where your relationship began or what mutual qualities it was founded on… if it’s going to end, it’s likely to do so because of one (or even all) of those three elements.
The same is true of your call center outsourcing partner. While issues can certainly arise in a domestic outsourcing partnership, there will always be a greater risk when there is an overseas misalignment – particularly if these elements are missing. In fact, it may even be safe to say that for the vast majority of all businesses in the United States, overseas outsourcing just doesn’t work for a number of key reasons that are certainly worth exploring.
The Problem with Varying Communication Styles, or a Lack of Communication
Maybe the number one reason why overseas outsourcing often fails is usually, for most organizations, the most obvious. Often organizations are too quick to commit to a vendor without proper time to establish long-term communication. Both parties enter into an agreement with the best of intentions and often everyone is more than willing to act in good faith – but a massive physical distance, coupled with significant time differences, proves to be far too difficult to overcome.
You’re having a problem that can’t wait until morning, it needs to be addressed now – regardless of what the clock says. But if your outsourcing partner is halfway around the world and eight hours ahead of you, even the simple act of getting someone on the phone can oftentimes be a lot easier said than done.
Again – nobody wants to provide you with poor or subpar service. They don’t want to let your call unanswered. But sadly, that’s often what happens – even in the fast-paced digital world that we’re now living in.
Along the same lines, certain cultural or communications gaps usually rear their ugly heads fairly quickly – often with potentially disastrous results. This can be something as simple as “you say one thing, your outsourcing provider hears another.” Or it could be more deeply rooted than that, where your expectations just don’t line up for the way business is actually conducted in a certain part of the world. It doesn’t matter where the problem comes from – it’s a problem all the same, and it’s one that will be difficult to mitigate moving forward.
It’s also important to keep in mind that remote locations within the same organization will likely suffer the same consequences. If you have a business with multiple locations that are already spread out across a large geographic area, or if you have a lot of employees who are working from home, you need to be able to leverage technology in a way that gives them this freedom while still allowing them to come together to form something far more powerful than they could be on their own. They still need to be empowered to the point where they’re capable of contributing to the greater good.
If you and your outsourcing partner are not on the same page, they won’t be able to do this – and that is a problem that is only going to get worse as time goes on. You need to ask yourself, is your organization set up for success with a remote workforce? Do you still have sufficient real-time human connections (video conference) to ensure continuity of your message and of your orgainzation’s culture, mission and values?
Similarly, these issues will only be exacerbated if technology or physical means of communication varies across organizations. This is true both in terms of those remote offices within your business, and with your outsourcing partner. If you and your teams rely heavily on fast-paced, peer-to-peer communication via a solution like Slack, it’s going to prove challenging if your outsourcing provider insists on email, telephone or video conferencing to get things done.
At that point, both parties are being forced to change the way they do things to bend to the will of the other. This is always a recipe for disaster, but especially so when you and your outsourcing provider are separated by a couple of thousand miles of ocean.
A General Misunderstanding of Shared Goals or Future Desires
As is true with a more literal relationship like a marriage, oftentimes things begin to break down when one party slowly realizes that they just want something different out of the future from the other. A husband might realize that he really wants to have children and start a family and his wife may want the opposite. This can always happen with your outsourcing provider and if that partner is located overseas, it’s only going to make things worse.
Sadly, this type of conversation itself doesn’t always occur – either originally when the “relationship” begins, consistently as it plays out, or honestly when a problem is identified. You might even reach the point where you and this business partner are fully aware that something is wrong, but you can’t bring yourself to bring it up. Again – this is not the type of business relationship you should be in and it is certainly not one that is going to drive your organization forward.
For the best results, you absolutely need to think about what the shared goals of each organization actually are. Leadership may have two totally different ideas about what the next few years looks like – but provided those trajectories overlap enough, that isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm.
But if both cannot be achieved at the exact same time… it’s a crystal clear indication that something is wrong.
Again, think of the example of a marriage where one spouse desperately wants to relocate for the purposes of securing a better job, but doing so would be at the detriment of the other’s education. It’s not that one of these goals is invalid and the other isn’t. It’s that they’re two completely viable options that are totally incompatible with one another.
At a certain point, you have to ask yourself – “are these discussions occurring internally at least at first, so that they are fully informed, knowledgeable and most importantly proactive?” If they’re not, you’re dealing with a problem that you can only delay addressing for so long. It’s also a problem that is another in a long line of reasons why overseas outsourcing doesn’t always work.
A Lack of Trust, and Accountability, to the Other Party
At this point, it should be clear that you need to see your outsourcing partner as exactly that – a partner in the strictest sense of the term. They’re not an organization that you’re hiring to perform a simple service. It’s not like calling a plumber to fix a leaky sink, or a locksmith because you locked your keys in your car.
They’re business professionals, the same as you are. Because of that, you’re talking about someone that not only needs to become an organic, intimate part of your business that is baked into its very DNA, but also one that will continue to play that critical role for years to come.
How, then, are you supposed to reach that point if one of the parties trusts and holds themselves accountable to the other, while the other does not?
Think about it like this – trust isn’t necessarily something that is going to happen naturally. It takes time to build up and strengthen and, most importantly, it’s something you need to earn.
You would never even dream about committing to a lifelong friendship after a two minute meeting with someone on the first day of school. That relationship develops slowly – usually after bonding over a sports team, or on a first “play date,” or what have you.
The point is, it’s an evolution over time. It encapsulates a wide range of environments and a wide range of people. Unfortunately, this also makes it incredibly fragile – which is another reason why overseas outsourcing is not the right decision to make for so many businesses.
In a professional setting, the list of reasons why trust can be lost is every bit as long as it is varied. One minute everything is moving along smoothly, and the next you’ve missed production targets due to communication difficulties. Or maybe you’re gearing up for a new wave of your business, only to realize that your provider has failed to staff the right people for the right job at exactly the right time.
Maybe it’s come down to a series of broken IT tools that are causing more problems than they’re solving, or even a series of unethical actions that make you question why you even started this relationship in the first place.
At that point, you really do have to ask yourself – where is the accountability in all this? Are both parties genuinely acting in an accountable way towards the other?
In a more precise business sense, accountability in this context comes down to a number of key factors. Are they making an effort to make sure there is a genuine personality alignment between their staff and your company culture? Are they branding in all the ways you need them to? Are they genuinely giving your goals equal weight to theirs, or is it clear that they see you as a cog in a wheel? Do they seem to be legitimately excited about the work that you’re doing together?
If the answer to these questions is “no,” you’re looking at more than just a lack of accountability to you from your overseas outsourcing partner. You’re looking at a lack of trust – if trust ever truly existed in the first place.
The key takeaway from all of this is that it’s not that outsourcing doesn’t work – it’s that oftentimes challenges like these quickly become far too much for overseas outsourcing providers to handle.
At Goodbay Technologies, we fully understand this – and we also have a series of processes and best practices in place designed to help avoid these types of unfortunate situations altogether.
The Goodbay Approach
Again, absolutely none of this is to say that overseas providers are somehow “inferior” or are “out to get you.” There is absolutely nothing sinister going on, here. There are incredible businesses overseas who are doing terrific work – it’s just that they’re doing them for local businesses.
Likewise, none of this is to say that a domestic partnership is impervious to failure. If you don’t have communication, trust, accountability and an understanding of what you both hope to accomplish, that relationship will fundamentally collapse regardless of where in the world your partner is located.
Having said all of that, it’s not like there are no potential advantages to be enjoyed when partnering with an overseas outsourcing partner. In fact, maybe the biggest is also, likely for most people, the most important – cost savings.
It is absolutely true that you can cost effectively find a team of people overseas who are ready and waiting to answer your calls, respond to emails and perform every other basic function that you need a call center to do. They will likely do so dutifully and on time, and will help guarantee that your customers always have someone to talk to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
It’s just that more often than not, this is where the extent of the value they provide will end.
At Goodbay Technologies, we’ve always made an effort to do things a bit differently. It’s part of the reason why we don’t call our employees “customer support agents” at all. We call them “critical thinking agents,” because that’s what we need them to do – and that’s what they’re prepared to do for you.
Our extensive agent certification program, for example, isn’t just designed to quickly get our people up to speed on the inner workings of your business. It’s designed to keep them there for as long as possible. It lets us quickly identify those people who are the right fit for your particular needs, thus putting us in a better position to deliver to you a steady stream of people who will be able to meet your needs and exceed your expectations for as long as they have the opportunity to do so.
A side effect of this approach (one that is very much intended) is that all of our agents are always up-to-date on exactly what is going on with the product and service offerings of our clients, regardless of how often those offerings happen to change.
Along the same lines, we have a custom quality assurance program that continually guarantees that all of our agents are meeting or exceeding all of the criteria and goals that you’ve told us are important. We’re always collecting data about what our agents are up to, allowing us incredible visibility into what they’re doing well and – more importantly – what they might not be. If someone needs a bit of additional training, we find out as quickly as possible – thus putting us in the best position to do something about it.
Because we’re based in the same country that you are, we can also provide a variety of additional value added services, too. We always make an effort to run CSAT surveys after every customer interaction, for example, because we always want to hear every thought that a customer might have about the agent in question.
Finally, a domestic partnership with a company like Goodbay Technologies also gives us a chance to pay closer attention to all of the metrics that matter most to you. It’s hard to keep a constant overview on key performance indicators (KPIs) like first contact resolution rates, average handling time and more when your partner is halfway across the globe and in a different time zone. That’s just the way things are. Thankfully, we DO have an opportunity to cover your bases to that extent… and that’s an opportunity that we are ready to take full advantage of.
At the end of the day, perhaps the most apt description of the difference between an overseas call center outsourcing provider and a company like Goodbay Technologies is the following:
By design, an overseas provider will always be an add-on for your business. They have a very precise job to do, and the chances are high that they’ll be able to do it – as long as you don’t suffer any of the unfortunate side effects as outlined above.
But a domestic provider is something totally different – because of their close proximity to the heart of your organization, they can become a natural, organic part of that business in all of the ways that you need. They can be a powerful force on the inside of your business facing outward, rather as acting as little more than a “middle man” on the path customers take to get into contact with your brand in the first place.
It may not seem like a big distinction, but it absolutely is. In an era where customer service is becoming one of the key value differentiators and competitive advantages in nearly every industry you can think of, it’s also one that you cannot afford to ignore any longer.
Contact Goodbay Technologies Today
At Goodbay Technologies, we’ve always taken a great deal of pride in being more than just another call center outsourcing provider. Yes, we provide those types of services – but in truth, it’s only a small portion of the value that we can bring to a business like yours. We emphasize intelligent customer support above all else – one that creates exceptional experiences and even better outcomes, both for your employees and the customers you’ve dedicated yourself to serving.
Not only do we take the time to actually learn as much about your business as possible (so that we can “speak the same language,” as it were), but we also double down and focus on all of the qualities that matter most. Yes, this includes driving positive CSAT and FCR scores – but also with regards to the techniques that help you create satisfied, repeat customers that themselves lead to significant cost reductions down the road.
We don’t want to just provide you with “human bots.” Anybody can do that. We want to provide you with the rock solid foundation of customer support that you can then build something incredible on top of – and that is a goal that we will work hard to achieve every single day.
If you’d like to find out more information about why overseas outsourcing doesn’t always work in situations like yours, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Goodbay Technologies today.