The Future of Customer Care is Multilingual & Socially-enabled

The business world is not immune to the force of globalisation and new trends pave the way for new opportunities.

Technology made our lives easier and its seemingly endless capacity makes it possible for people and organisations to connect in ways never dreamed possible. New venues and communication channels are advantageous to business endeavours but also provide challenges, ones which continue to shape the customer care landscape.

Tech-enabled interactions enable people to collaborate over long distances, thus digitally but also tangibly shrunk the world.  Multilingual contact centres are at the forefront of new communication trends and are able to tap into this potential and enrich the customer experience.

The whole process has changed as it’s no longer as simple as it once was, simply providing a service or selling a product is not enough as demand for implementing a coherent, effective and personalised customer journey is impossible to ignore. Brands need to ensure that every customer interaction is pleasurable, convenient and as a result, leaves a lasting impression.  Thus, turning a customer into a loyal brand advocate.

Multilingual, social media enabled customer care centres are the driving force behind customer experience change as they serve as a company’s ticket to success in today’s fast-moving, digital world.

 

Customer diversity is a fact

If you had to describe “The Customer of Today” what qualities would he poses and which traits would be essential for you to tap in order to provide a positive customer experience?

Today’s customers are first and foremost, highly mobile, constantly on the move and connected. Second, due to the popularity of e-commerce sites as well as their international reach more people are using their services.

Last but not least, global purchasing power has always been highly decentralised but the free movement, as well as e-commerce solutions, amplify this phenomenon and as a result, you’re dealing with customers from all over the globe.

All of the above factors influence the convergent of multiple cultures, which is quite the conundrum for businesses as each customer relationship needs to be nurtured differently. If you want to remain relevant, not to mention competitive you need to embrace this diversity with all the challenges it brings. This includes accommodating all your potential customers, no matter the language or culture.

 

Language is personalisation

Providing customer care services in your customers’ native language is the ultimate form of convenience as you make them feel special and show your appreciation for their culture (and part of the market). Most importantly, it clearly and vividly shows that you genuinely care about them as your company adjusted to their preferences and needs.

Multilingual contact centres are actively pursuing new ways to build strong customer relations, which makes them the perfect business partner in achieving your customer experience goals and building a personalised customer journey – no matter the language or geo-location.

 

Eliminate any barriers

If your end-game is to establish a global legacy then you have to do away with cultural and language barriers. In order to build loyalty and nurture relationships, you need to understand your customers, which can only be done if you master the art of effective communication. Which can be quite the daunting task when attempting to do it on-site as not every company poses the operational capability of that magnitude.

Social media enabled contact centres to excel at establishing,  maintaining and facilitating high-quality relationships between brands and their target audience. Social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) and microblogging platforms (Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat), due to their instantaneous nature allow for real-time communication 24/7 but also enable enterprises to build real relationships with their customers by showing what’s going on behind the scenes as well as tapping into the unlimited potential of viral marketing.

 

The key to customer satisfaction

Considering my vast experience in the customer care solutions field I will let you in on a secret (pro bono naturally) to company longevity – make your customers happy.

There’s no one more important than your customers, not even shareholders it’s them who are the catalyst to your success. You need to accommodate their needs, provide convenient solutions to their problems and meet them on the communication channels of their choice by taking the proactive approach.

Creating an unforgettable customer experience is just the first step on your path to building lasting relationships with your target market but if you succeed, customers will be coming back for more. They will simply realise that on top of providing a premium product you also provide them with a premium service throughout every step of the customer journey.  Thus, not only meeting but exceeding customer expectations in a way no other company has before you.

But what if you already realise how detrimental to your success, going multilingual is or if you already are tapping into the limitless potential social media enabled contact centres provide?

Then, you probably want to improve your processes or implement best practices which will ensure high-quality customer experience for each and every one of your customers.

I’ve had the pleasure to sit down with my customer care partner, who operates a multilingual centre in Poland and came up with these four basic principles which will strengthen any socially-enabled contact centre:

  • Quick and personal: Response times matter as they are the main selling point of providing customer service through social media networks, however, in your pursuit of the fastest response time you cannot allow yourself to lose sight of how essential personalization is. Drop the robotic, pre-scripted, near automaton sounding tone, even if it means slower resolution. Make your social media response quick, personal while maintaining company tone.
  • Lead by example: Only excellent leadership breeds excellence in service. Communication tone and style are only as good as the advice provided to your consultants by their managers. Remember, attitude is everything.
  • Tools of the trade: Multilingual customer care centres have adapted so well simply because they emphasised employee training more than their traditional counterparts. The ever-changing social media landscape demands that everyone, from agents, through team leaders, to managers be up-to-date with the latest social media trends as well as knowledge on how to apply it in customer service situations. The only way to achieve that goal is to embrace continues improvement and train your employees even more –don’t stop, ever.
  • Collect feedback: Proper methods of feedback collection are essential when maintaining a socially-enabled contact centre. The best approach (for both parties involved) to solicit feedback is short customer surveys, as they ensure you’ll get a response from a customer; ask quick, essential and most importantly, actionable questions, ones which will enable you to pinpoint key problem areas as well as highlight possible improvements in your overall processes. Just do not turn them into a tax return form and you’ll be fine.

However, what about the sceptics oblivious to the benefits socially-enabled contact centres provide?

Well, we think it’s only fair to provide them with basic benefits going multilingual and embracing social media as the customer care channel of the future provides and let them be the judge:

  • Monitor mentions: Build complete customer history by measuring your brand mention volumes; personalised to accommodate each and every customer. Thus, ensuring agents are seeing the full picture before responding.
  • Real-time response: Leverage the power of instantaneous response times social media platforms provide and enact upon the customer need for urgency. Depending on the value of the customer as well as the volume of mentions regarding a particular case you can dedicate an individual or an entire team to handle a certain case and respond to customer enquiries in real time on behalf of your brand.
  • Always be there for your customers: By harnessing the power of social media management you’re capable of answering customer enquiries 24/7, almost at the same time they ask them; overnight, on weekends and even during holidays. A dedicated socially enabled customer care team provides an always-on solution: from monitoring, through engagement and problem recognition, to a successful resolution.
  • Brand engagement: Pro-actively engage your customers by leveraging the capabilities social media monitoring tools provide. Keep in mind that not every success story started from a positive experience so do not be afraid to engage negative opinions. Embrace failures but don’t forget to learn from them and fix the underlying cause.
  • Build awareness: People trust their peers more than anyone else, which is why harnessing the power of online “word of mouth” is so highly sought after by enterprises of all shapes and sizes. Building and maintaining a reputation for timely response will turn your customers into brand evangelists; increasing your reach and further spreading your customer experience “gospel” to friends and family members.
  • Invest in customer lifetime value: Nurturing existing customer loyalty is more beneficial than new customer acquisition through targeted paid advertising. Keeping your current customers happy, will increase the likelihood of them staying with your brand, spending more money as a result but also providing free advertising on your behalf.
  • Free feedback is the best feedback: Social media networks provide you with free and actionable feedback in the form of likes, comments and shares. Previously collecting such vast amounts of insights would require costly surveys or focus groups but social media changed the rules of the game and as a result levelled the playing field for everyone. You instantly know if your campaign is a success or is it going viral, which makes tweaking easier than ever before.

Multilingual customer care companies empower global brands by widening their reach through omnichannel solutions and implementing cloud services.

Opting for a multilingual approach opens new possibilities for your company and amplifies your customer service efforts, while simultaneously allowing your brand to penetrate emerging and dynamic markets and disrupt stagnant sectors.

Boost Your Productivity With These 6 Actionable Steps

Being productive in the workplace is a problem many of us face, but what can be done to increase our productivity tenfold and not experience burn-out?

Let’s  start with these six simple tips:

You can’t afford to waste time

The first step you should take is to avoid wasting time, the amount of opportunities you have during the day to plan and think things through is astonishing.

All those ‘pre-requisites’ and mundane tasks you have a each day. Showering, commuting to work are just two examples of thinking opportunities we have each day, don’t pass on them.

Look around, and see how people waste their time on gossip and other meaningless things, that time is lost but you can spend that precious time on the latest challenge on your to-do list. Never let time slip by worthlessly, you can’t afford it.

The time of the day matters more than you think

Different strokes for different folks.

If there was a ‘Problem-Solving 101’ class its first semester would be devoted to in-depth analysis of how it’s better to tackle different tasks during different times of the day.

For example, fairly small but immediate problems are best to be dealt with first thing in the morning, proverbially ‘knocking them out of the park’ as the day begins providing with the necessary warm-up as well as ‘space’ to handle the more complex issues uninterrupted.

In order to find out what works for you, test a bit. Try tackling different types of challenges during different times of the day and see what works for you.

Re-think your approach before sleep

According to a plethora of studies on the impact of sleep on the brain, sleep is used to make sense of what’s going on in our lives, as well as natural cataloguing and prioritising system for thoughts and memories.

With the above in mind  it’s only natural to implement re-thinking before going to sleep, as an effective problem-solving tactic. But don’t fall into the trap of mulling over something just before ‘hitting the sack’ as it’ll only increase the doubt and will be the cause for many sleepless nights.

Simply, re-think your approach and get some well deserved sleep, you will wake up knowing which course of action to take.

Give yourself the necessary space

The hardest decision are the momentous ones.

The most important thing to do in these particular cases is to give yourself enough space (since time is of the essence and you can’t afford it) to consider all the available options and their respective outcomes.

Avoid interruptions at all cost and don’t let anyone rush you, with such an approach you’re bound to make the right choice.

Amp-up your work-space

Human beings are heavily dependent on their environment, this goes for their work environment as well. There’s no doubt that adding a personal touch to your surroundings can heavily impact your inspiration and creative thinking.

Your work-space may not inspire lateral thinking.

Sometimes if you need to analyse a problem thoroughly you might need to go out for a bit to stimulate your brain and help you think creatively and positively.

The ‘under-pressure’ conundrum

If faced with a difficult problem we need time and space to make a well educated choice.

The ‘time and space’ concept gets flipped over when you introduce pressure from peers into the equation.  We require the solitude the space provides and the luxury of time necessary for research, but what if we can’t simply afford neither of these?

The only proper course of action is to make the best out the worst case scenario, start by gathering information from the people you trust. Second step is to find  a quiet place and set a time-limit for yourself. All that’s left is to think things through and act.

Nearshoring: The ‘go-to’ Solution

The last few years have been pretty rough for the outsourcing industry as it suffered at an international level: economic, social and security changes are responsible and if that wasn’t enough, nearshoring is on the rise.

Delivery Preferences

The biggest challenge in outsourcing governance has shifted towards downstream risk mitigation by choosing the best delivery location. The outsourcing world became fully aware of potential safety risks offshoring brought upon themselves.

The cost savings gap between India and other popular locations such as Central Europe and Latin America decreased to less than ten percent. Central and Easter Europe are also viewed as a safer location site to host your BPO and ITO services.

The close proximity to the main facilities made it possible for a shift in delivery preferences towards nearshore and sameshore options alike.

Having contact centres nearshore and sameshore is the current trend and there are no signs of any changes in the upcoming years.

The Growing Trend

The shift in delivery opens up new possibilities for all the countries gathered under the so-called nearshore umbrella. The number of nearshore sites themselves has grown significantly.

Managers need to be aware, everyone is gunning for that nearshore multi-billion dollar pie – you’re bound to encounter some really “exotic” places thanks to advertisement and marketing. Proven nearshoring locations include Canada, Latin America, Central Europe and Poland.

The Nearshore Zone

But what defines a nearshore location? There are two rules mostly used in the outsourcing industry. The first one is that you don’t need to cross the ocean to get your nearshore site. The second one is quite similar, up to 5 hours of flight.

We believe that nearshoring locations should be aligned along a spectrum of potential outsourcing sites. On one end of that spectrum are locations such as China and India, on the other Poland and other Central European countries that specialise in BPO and ITO services.

Geolocation should never be the determining factor when looking for a potential nearshore location. Linguistic and cultural ties are also a key factor, even education similarities and directness of communication can be a deal-breaker.

Take the above factors into consideration before you choose a nearshore location or a partner since they tend to play a far more important role than they are given credit for.

B2B Lead Generation: Quality, Quantity or Both?

Ah yes, the good ole marketing vs sales clash; quantity vs quality – where should we start to in order to solve this conundrum?

To be frank, sales reps need fewer leads, to be precise, fewer unfiltered, unrefined leads.

If a lead is properly and consistently nurtured and developed its chances of “flourishing” into a completed sale increase.

The main problem within companies is that the marketing teams are rewarded for quantity, and not lead quality. Technology also helps with generating those leads at an astounding pace at a relatively low cost. Also, the fact that more than a third of sales reps are missing the quota, doesn’t help either.

To simplify, the usual report from marketing looks like this “Great quarter in lead generation. We generated more than 1564 leads from all sources – that’s a 20% gain over last year. Despite higher PPC cost, we managed to keep our leads under the standard price.”

So when sales executives take a closer look at these not-so-awesome leads, their response is quite harsh:

  • No defined budget info? Begone!
  • Not a senior enough lead? Bye, bye!
  • Planned for next year? Toodles!

The whole mess goes back and forth, without a proper resolution. It’s quite insane, marketing teams think they are keeping their end of the bargain, and they are if you consider things from the volume only standpoint, while sales are dismissing leads, rightfully so, since they are not nurtured.

Companies are also to blame, gambling with leads is a common practice. Why pay twice the average price for a well nurtured, quality lead when you can, pay half of that and gamble a bit, while receiving double the amount of leads with a conversion rate ranging from 20% to 60%.

Lead vendors that dabble in such practices are equivalents of “sweat shops”, pumping out leads “en masse” without consideration for quality. In return, companies waste millions on low quality, poorly qualified leads. There’s also a metric to justify this sort of behaviour, ROMI (return on marketing investment) – sometimes, as little as 20% close rate is considered good. Although, the actual return is, in fact, close to zero.

Since quantity over quality, simply doesn’t cut it, what steps should companies undertake?

  • Measure the quality and cost per ACTUAL lead.
  • An “overseer” (c-level executive) that keeps sales and marketing in check, evaluating their work and making sure both departments have the companies best interest in mind, and not their own.
  • A special group whose focus is nurturing leads till they are sales ready if a particular lead can’t gain momentum this special team will “look under the hood” and diagnose.

Tech Plays a Key Role in Training Reinforcement

Train­ing is an invest­ment, a long-term behav­ioral change, and will not be suc­cess­ful with­out proper rein­force­ment;  follow-up sessions conducted by contact centre super­vi­sors and man­agers.

Thanks to new solutions provided by technology: video, email and social media, these reinforcement sessions become easy to conduct and are cost effective.

Every type of training is suited for technology based reinforcement, whether you’re reinforcing a strategic skill change or improving soft skills, technology will help. It proves to be a valuable “ally” during training as well as post-training activities as is after ensures the change in behaviour sticks.

These are the top techniques we at OpsTalent use:

 E-mail; bi-weekly emails with rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion which can be applied to daily tasks.

  1. A consistent and descriptive title is crucial, reference the training session the follow-up relates to so that the participants open the email ASAP.
  2. If the email contains video content make sure that the text part of the message is clear and to the point, don’t waste the contact centre agents time on reading, point them to the video straight away.
  3. Avoid graphics, emails containing these are often blocked by email client app’s, thus mistaken as spam and deleted straight away. Also, graphic content is not mobile friendly so keep that in mind.
  4. Plan no more than one training email per training hour, schedule these to be sent out over a course of 4 weeks. This is crucial since it will not overwhelm agents and at the same time will be more than enough to bring permanent change in behaviour.
  5. Send the e-mails to managers, don’t leave them out of the loop, the content can be easily reused during team meetings.

Video; create engaging videos that will aid employee knowledge retention.

  1. Create videos that last up to 3 minutes, that will keep agents engaged and interested until the very end.
  2. Be detailed regarding the most valued tip from the training session, expand on it and end the video with an easy to follow call-to-action.
  3. Follow-up videos don’t need to be made by professionals, but they need to look professional. Dress code, the tone of voice and a steady camera are vital when it comes to creating engaging content.
  4. Post videos in-house or on a private channel on YouTube or Vimeo. Streamed video is the safest and best option.

Other; pri­vate social media groups are ideal for sharing content and reinforcing training.

  1. Brainshark is great when resources are limited or creating video content is simply not an option. Creating PowerPoint presentations with audio is an amazing substitute for video content, but it has potential to be much more than just a substitute.
  2. Create private groups in LinkedIn where contact centre staff can share successes stories or ask relevant questions.

Technology can play a key role in reinforcing employee training and in long-term behav­ioral change, especially in crucial business areas such as;  intro­duc­ing new pro­ce­dures, improv­ing exist­ing skills sets, or engag­ing new employ­ees. It’s up to you to incorporate it!

Four Essential Qualities of a Customer Care Centre

The rise of the multi-channel approach shook the customer care landscape to its core and new channels demand a different approach – customer centricity.

Multilingual contact centres need to engage and retain every customer to be successful.

We at OpsTalent believe that these four traits are the keystones to establishing a customer centric contact centre:

Measure quality from both perspectives.

Like many of its customer oriented counterparts around the globe, OpsTalent has invested in quality monitoring tools that record and view customer experiences during each query, also post-contact surveying tools that can determine how the customer felt about each individual interaction.

This way the contact centre gathers essential information about its customer base, feedback that later can be used during coaching sessions or incorporated into each contact centre agents monitoring scores.

But that’s not all, data can be used to improve operation processes work-flows or even actual products and services.

Continuously enhance services, sales and loyalty.

Thanks to all the monitoring tools, today’s contact centres gather an overwhelming amount of data on a daily basis – this would imply that the contact centre is “The Ear” of the organisation, and while true this statement is somewhat wrong.

Customer centric contact centres are not just ear, but the brain of the organisation. They gather and process the information, and later on use it to from strategies and plans.

Thus continuously improving and enhancing the customer experience, by the means of CRM tools, dedicated analytics teams, and evaluation of post-contact surveys.

OpsTalent provides fast, personalised, proactive customer service and support.

Metrics focused on the customer, not just on efficiency.

The best customer centric contact centres, focus less on Average Handle Time, Calls per Hour and focus more on metrics such as Contact Quality, First Contact Resolution and Customer Satisfaction.

Productivity based metrics have its place, but most of the time contact centre managers over-emphasise the importance of AHT. Which only leads the agents to develop bad habits, such as rushing the customer through the call, which in the end only leads to increased number of call volumes, and a decrease in customer satisfaction.

When it comes to agent productivity, focus on things like schedule adherence, thus ensuring that agents are ready for and on time for any potential challenge.

Embrace social customer care.

Providing customer support though social media is no longer a nice bonus, it’s a necessity. Facebook and Twitter are the go-to channel for the Y-generation, and the general public also tries social customer support if they need a fast response to their request or comment.

This is why all leading contact centres have developed and implemented a comprehensive social customer care strategy, with trained agents and powerful monitoring tools they are more than ready to provide proactive customer service and engage the customers in brand new ways.

Keep in mind, that in order to be a customer centric contact centre you also need to be employee centric as well, happy staff + happy customers = exceptional customer experience!

Customer Centricity: Gather, Rate, Engage & Measure

What each and every customer-centric business strives to achieve, is to create the perfect customer experience and making it last.

Focus your strategy on making the whole experience as convenient and approachable as you possibly can for the customer – if you manage to create such an environment, other aspects follow suit.

Create a great starting point for your business by following these simple steps:


The power of feedback

To be customer-centric you need to keep customer relationships up to date, engaging in proper conversations and gathering feedback through multiple channels is crucial.

One way to do this is through conducting ongoing customer surveys on a weekly basis, especially to newly acquired customers

Conduct customer surveys on a weekly basis, but don’t limit those to product or service information. Gather opinions on the ease of use your website, web-chat performance, load times etc.

Simply ask your customers what could be improved and what additional features would they like to use.

Separate the data into key groups, gather the most frequent requests from each and implement them over the course of three to six months – don’t forget to notify the customers about new features and interface or usability changes.

Constant feedback, gives you the insight to create a smooth customer experience.


Rate your “stuff”

Rating your own products is in your best interest, it shows you value your customers time and money as well instills confidence in your expertise.

The most commonly used practise when rating products, is to base them according to customer purchase and return history.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for consumables and various merchandise which can change its quality over a period of time. You need to notify the customer, that a particular product is ranked as a four out of five condition.

This gives your customer the option of choosing the best product quality there is, or going with the “Most bang for your buck” approach.

Quality of your products or services matters the most – nurture it with extreme care.


Measure customer engagement

The more data you can gather the better. Create a profile for each and every customer, remember to include their purchase and return history, log what products they were browsing, what is on their wish list etc. – be creative.

Also, take a closer look and see if the particular user is mostly going for high-end products, or goes for the budget option, examine brands – does he favour one?

You can always improve the way information and product rating are displayed, the possibilities of creating an engaging environment for your customers are endless – get to it!

Personalise the experience for each individual, and engage them each time they visit your web-page.


Pay attention to shifts in trends and pricing

The current economic “climate” has effected most industries, but for every negative try to find a small positive.

Selling less high end products is not a bad thing, most customers will shift their focus to brands which deliver similar quality for less cost. If you notice these trends fast enough, you will exceed at selling more budget products than your potential competitors.

This is why measuring online engagement and customer feedback is crucial when creating an adaptable business strategy.

The above steps are all you need in order to create a great and lasting customer experience – get to it!

Achieve Excellence Through Active Listening

Turn your representatives into virtual guides for your customers; provide tips and insights and capitalise on delivering customer experience excellence.

Often times we focus too much on the task, while completely ignoring the human aspect of it, and thus fail to actively listen to the customer.

Unfortunately, this is a surefire way to ruin customer experience as the act of not listening or even worse, not comprehending is perceived a cardinal sin in customer centric landscape the contact centre industry has become.

Become customer-centric

Contact centre managers and agents need to understand that in order to provide excellent customer service your business needs to become customer-centric. Giving customers your undivided attention is the first step in achieving this goal.

Customer service training should include visualisation methods which enforce eye contact and role play – as if customers were sitting just across from your staff. This will encourage them to actively listen to what is being said and agents will pay more attention to fine details such as: tone, vocabulary and voice volume.

Pinpoint key information

When it comes to delivering great customer care the ability to identify key information quickly is essential and active listening techniques are what your agents need to easily pinpoint customer needs, desires and problems, thus reducing the AHT (Average Handle Time) and bumping customer satisfaction up a notch.

The ability to pinpoint problems faster will lead to an increase in first-contact resolution as well as enable your agents to handle more customer queries per day.

Show empathy

Paying attention to customer feelings provides valuable information on how to handle each query, which leads to successful problem resolution and happy customers.

A customer who’s obviously in a hurry? Provide him with an approximate time to complete the task or order.

Another common example: if the customer is clearly upset, show empathy and use it as an edge during the communication process.

Personalised customer service is a small, but often well appreciated touch.

Paraphrase to clarify

The final step of successful active listening is clarification of understanding. In order pinpoint customer needs or to be able to diagnose what problems he experiences we need to reassure him by paraphrasing his own explanation back to him and ask for confirmation. This method will reassure the customer that they have been heard and their query will be taken care of.

Active listening teaches your representatives to focus on the customer by showing empathy, while simultaneously filtering and paraphrasing key information conveyed during the conversation in order to clarify their understanding of the topic, therefore reassuring them that everything is going to be alright.

Delivering customer care excellence has never been easier, and it’s all thanks to active listening.