Tag Archives: Business

Campaign Director Overview

To put it in simple terms, Campaign Director is a dialing platform. It is a technology solution that allows us to do what our business model sells, to make customer contacts and help our clients manage business relationships.

Primarily we make outbound contact calls to customers for our clients and take inbound calls from customers for our clients. Different platforms have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are great at outbound predictive dialing while lacking robust inbound capabilities. Other platforms are great at receiving and handling inbound calls but lack good outbound predictive dialing capabilities.

Our choice of Campaign Director integrates the best of both.

Campaign Director excels at predictive outbound dialing, using the same predictive algorithm that a longtime, industry leading dialing platform has used for many years. In addition to predictive dialing that maximizes contacts while minimizing abandons, we have the capability to use full blast, progressive, and preview dialing modes for outbound dialing based on client needs and desires, for making those contacts. An additional feature is outbound skills base routing, which allows the right contact managers to connect to the right customers.

Campaign Director excels at inbound call answering with robust skills-based routing, allowing the right customers to connect to the right contact managers. The platform has the ability not only to connect to those incoming calls, but to also conference and transfer those calls on to third party partners (should the clients require that functionality). The incoming calls can be handled prior to a voice connection with an agent, by using the industry leading IVR and call handling software that Campaign Director supports. This includes doing customer looks ups, DTMF data capture, and setting skills and routing based on DNIS, ANI, CallerID, and a number of other possible methods. The inbound call platform is a true customer service platform allowing agents to see a customer’s call history and pull up customer’s existing records.

Both inbound and outbound calls can be fully recorded for quality and monitoring processes. Both inbound and outbound call scripting are web-based, allowing for a great user experience with all the functionality that web based users are familiar with. This facilitates training and helps agents to be productive quickly. But perhaps the best feature of the Campaign Director platform is the ability to do true call blending. A queue based platform allows agents to make outbound calls and at the same time, be available to receive inbound calls when they come. Because we can skills base route calls on both the inbound and outbound side, we can guarantee the customer will always be connected to the right agent. Not only can we blend our agents, but we have the ability for a client’s campaigns to be used simultaneously in both the inbound and outbound modes. We can take a primarily inbound program and make outbound return calls to customers at their convenience. We can also take a primarily outbound program and receive incoming
callbacks from the customers at their convenience. This dual functionality can create a great customer experience.
Some of the advantages the Campaign Director platforms brings to GCS include:

  • Better agent utilization
  • A great manager console interface for managing campaigns, parameters, and agents
  • System reports for analyzing call results
  • A recording interface for quality monitoring calls
  • Internal video monitoring of agent screens with the ability to “help” agents should they require it
  • Internal voice monitoring with the ability to monitor, coach, or conference with an agent real time during calling

Coming soon to the Campaign Director platform will be e-mail and chat campaign capabilities. Stay tuned! It just keeps getting better and better.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Domestic Help or Work Abroad? Deciding where to Outsource Your Business Services

Businesses wanting to outsource interaction center and BPO processes face a complex set of decisions as they design an approach to customer care and communication. Once a business has decided to outsource portions of their business, they must choose whether to use a domestic, near-shore or off-shore BPO provider. Each of these options has there own pros and cons and ultimately each business will require a unique solution suited to its industry, character, and clientele. Even political pressure and social opinions can influence the decision. While this choice may seem daunting, you can determine the optimal model for your business by working with outsource providers like GCS, who can provide guidance, options and expertise in finding the best solution for your situation.

Off-shore BPO and Interaction Centers, such as our operations in the Philippines, offer significant strategic and financial advantages. By off-shoring, your company could achieve unprecedented efficiency and attention to customer concerns. International contact centers abroad are typically available at a much lower cost, largely due to the strength of the U.S. dollar and differences in the labor laws. With GCS, in addition to financial viability, you can be assured that your client center abroad will be staffed with dedicated, well-informed, and educated individuals who will make customer satisfaction their top priority. By investing in the communities we work with, providing comprehensive benefits, opportunities for career development, and a positive work environment, our team of representatives will naturally reflect the positive values of your company. With all of these benefits available at such a reduced cost, off-shoring might very well be an investment that your company cannot afford to pass up.

However, the optimal location of your company’s contact center will depend not only on overhead cost. Even if the service at a foreign contact center is of the highest quality and the price is unbeatable, some sectors or businesses will benefit in the long run by investing in a domestic communications site. Many individuals and companies have had frustrating experiences in the past with foreign contact centers, primarily due to language barriers or cultural misunderstandings, and would prefer to communicate with a native English speaker at a domestic center. This preference differs from one industry to the next; while the high-tech sector has very successfully utilized international call centers to manage their customer relations, other industries and business that rely more heavily on cultural factors unique to their home countries might benefit more from expensive domestic call centers.

Many businesses have found the most success utilizing a combination of off-shoring and domestic call centers. This combination of diversified resources enables a company to refer their customers to an international call center after domestic business hours, a service that many clients will be grateful for when they need it most. A call center abroad also allows companies to handle higher volumes of communications during peak hours at a lower cost than a team of exclusively domestic agents could offer.

GCS and our team of experienced representatives can accommodate each of these possible business plans. For many years, we have worked with businesses to determine the optimal approach to maximize customer satisfaction at a refreshingly manageable cost. Your continued success is our primary concern, and for this reason, we consistently and faithfully place the concerns of your client as our foremost priority.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Principles for Leadership from Dr. Gerald Bell

Dr. Gerald Bell

Dr. Gerald Bell

About two years ago our company had Dr. Gerald Bell come to speak on leadership and management strategies.  I was unable to attend his event myself, but I am consistently reminded of some of his principles (which I find very useful!).

This morning, our Vice President of Human Resources, Bucky Cline, saw fit to remind us, of some of the strategies that can help us be the best leaders and employees we can be.  If you would like to learn more from Dr. Bell, check out one of his numerous books or sign up for a seminar!

One of the main principles I always gather from Dr. Bell’s reminders is the importance of listening.  Not just listening, but active listening.  You will be a more successful leader if you can improve your listening skills by even 50%. First, here are some truths about listening…

The 6 Laws of listening:

  1. You can’t listen and work at the same time.
  2. You can’t listen and think at the same time.
  3. There is no such thing as multitasking.
  4. Everyone knows exactly when you stopped listening.
  5. You can’t fake listening. You can’t pretend to listen. You can’t fool people.
  6. People only tell you the truth when they think you’re capable of hearing it.

However, if you want to prove to your employees and coworkers that you are listening (i.e. that what they have to say is important):

  • Take an active listening body position! Make eye contact, face the person you are speaking with.  Take your hands off your keyboard.
  • Realize that you are either listening or not listening.  There is no in-between.
  • Prove to your employee (and yourself) that you understand what they are saying by asking questions! Engage actively in the communication once your employee is finished.  Make sure you completely understand!
If you make these tips part of your daily routine you see a change!

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Decide What to Outsource. If anything.

Are you having trouble deciding what your company should outsource?  Here’s one really quick way to decide.

Decide What Functions Your Company Should Outsource

10 minutes will help you decide what business functions to outsource.

  1.  Make a list of your business functions.
  2. Reorder your list of business functions in order of “Most Critical“.  (i.e. Item number 1 is most critical to your company’s success, item number 10 or 20 is least critical to your success).
  3. Now make a second list, again reordering your business functions, but order them from Most Complex to Least Complex.  (How complex is it to complete this business function? More complex functions might not be suitable for outsourcing.)
  4. Now you can, theoretically, draw a line through your lists where the most Critical and most Complex items end.  Any business functions below those lines are good candidates for outsourcing.
Here’s a VERY simple example.
My business’s most critical core functions

  1. Client Account Management
  2. Customer Service
  3. Accounting
  4. Payroll
  5. Business Development
  6. Human Resources
  7. Staffing
My business’s most complex core functions

  1. Client Account Management
  2. Business Development
  3. Accounting
  4. Customer Service
  5. Payroll
  6. Human Resource
  7. Staffing

 Now I’ll draw line between the third and fourth items on each list.  Anything above that line is something I want to keep in house, while the items below that line (especially if they are below the line on both lists) may be functions more suited to outsourcing.
My business’s most critical core functions

  1. Client Account Management
  2. Customer Service
  3. Accounting
  4. Payroll
  5. Business Development
  6. Human Resources
  7. Staffing
My business’s most complex core functions

  1. Client Account Management
  2. Business Development
  3. Accounting
  4. Customer Service
  5. Payroll
  6. Human Resource
  7. Staffing

From these lists I might decide Payroll, HR and Staffing are business functions my company should try outsourcing.

If you’re still hazy on which core business functions to outsource, give GCS a call and we can help you figure out what function(s) might improve your bottom line.

Ge a Courtesy Consultation

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

9 Tips to Get Better at Selling Anything

 Information from Openforum.com, originally posted on June 13, 2012

According to American Express’ own blog, Open Forum, here are 9 tips on how you can get better at selling to the customer:

  1. Treat every call like an experiment. Doing this can help you visualize the results and execute the call more successfully. Disregard the skills that don’t work and utilize the ones that do.
  2. Increase self-awareness. Know how your personality influences others. Remember: This person has never met you. Adapt your style any way you need in order to make a positive connection with the customer.
  3. Introduce “change ups.” You don’t want your customers to tune you out. Always keep it interesting and mix it up by asking a question, changing your inflection, etc.
  4. Repeat, repeat, repeat. If the call guide allows, repeat the important components of the offer. The customers won’t remember everything you said.
  5. Update your sales approach. What worked ten years ago might not work today. Make sure you heed the advice of trainers and supervisors when they give you sales tips to use.
  6. Go beyond expectation. If you do this, you will leave the customer with an unbelievable impression. “It’s never too crowded on the extra mile.”
  7. Know how to be persuasive. You can know everything about your product but if you can’t persuade the customer to purchase then it does you no good.
  8. Understand people’s fears. In training, you learn a lot about developing empathy. You need to be empathetic towards customers’ concerns. If they ask you a question, make sure you are capable of providing the correct answer.
  9. Don’t be needy. Sure, you’d love to make a sale but don’t come across as desperate to the customer. This is something they will be able to sense immediately. If they say “yes” to your offer, that’s wonderful and you know you did a great job. If they say “no” after everything you presented, then end the call pleasantly and move on. Then treat the next call as if it were your first.

Read GCS’ 9 Tips for Selling Anything

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

Coaching Employees in the Contact Center 101

In the virtual conference this week, Greg Alcorn touched on many topics relating to the how’s and why’s of coaching and communication in the contact center.

Quality coaching and active monitoring greatly improves our performance and helps us see where we can grow our skills. It is easy to take someone’s advice as criticism and not as a critique, but in this business, it’s nothing personal and has everything to do with simply making our company better.

Whether you’re coaching an associate or you’re the person being coached, there are a few things you should know.

  • No one is out to get you. The first time you are monitored or someone coaches you on your performance, you might anticipate nothing but negative feedback. Callcentrehelper.com states “Monitoring that is collaborative rather than prescriptive, inclusive rather than authoritarian, is likely to lead to more acceptance and co-operation.”
  • It’s all about the little things. A small mistake here, a wrong word there-those tiny little things can add up and become habitual problems. When coaching, make sure you pay attention to detail to insure the associate is on the right path.
  • Quality sessions are key. It does not do any good to passively offer vague and minimal suggestions for improvement. In order for someone to truly benefit from coaching, they must be given detailed, quality feedback.
  • Allow for self-assessment. The best way to truly understand what you’re doing wrong is to hear it yourself. GCS associates have the ability to listen to their own calls to find out what areas they can improve on.
  • Coaching should be frequent. Associates should receive some type of monitoring and/or feedback everyday.
  • Know what’s expected of you. If you’re an associate, you should know what is expected of you in your role at GCS. If you’re coaching, make sure the associate understands what you’re looking for and what the goals are.
  • Be eye-to-eye. Nothing is more intimidating than having someone hover over you while you work. Whether you’re coaching or being coached, make sure both of you are at eye level of each other.
  • Make use of the information you gather. When calls are monitored, you can uncover precious gems of information-best practices, phrases to avoid, scripting changes, tips and tricks, etc. Share this information with others so learning can also be facilitated beyond the monitoring session.

Always make coaching count!

Check out the GCS Coaching with Style Tip Sheet:

Download

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Team Building in the Office ~ Expressed Interest

by guest writer Donna VanHorn

Team building in an office helps foster better and open communication between employees, themselves, and also, between employees and upper management. It goes a long way in improving professional relations, understanding and cooperation, and this is very much reflected in the quality of work done.

Team building in the workplace significantly contributes towards employee motivation and building trust among employees, thereby ensuring better productivity. Making the team a unit and improving coordination between its members is one of the important goals to be achieved on the way to success.

Activities aimed at team building can certainly play a part in the success of a project or even a long-term goal. Even simple team building activities would help employees get in a better mood. These are some of the common team building exercises for communication, success and improved team performance:

  • Employee Feedback Activities: Employee surveys and feedback activities are a great way of breaking the ice and encouraging employees to speak freely. It makes the employees feel wanted and gives them an assurance of the fact that their opinions are valued. Useful input for the success of a project can be obtained during feedback sessions.
  • Promote Informal Addressing: Step out of the traditional and formal way of employee-boss interaction and speak freely. This gives the employees a reassurance that you are one of them (just like a team member). This will work to your advantage as it encourages open workplace communication, sharing of ideas, and helps maintain healthy work relations. One cannot keep an open mind while listening or speaking when under pressure. An informal session can ease that pressure.
  • Celebrate Each Other’s Success: Learn to appreciate and acknowledge each other’s efforts. Also, celebrate the success of a job well-done or a project delivered well ahead of the deadline. There is no better way than appreciating each others’ success to instill a sense of team spirit. This helps in wiping out any kind of negativity and keeps the team united. Also, the team begins their work with a renewed vigor and greater focus.
  • Initiate Group Discussion Sessions: If you have a project-related activity you are not very sure about, try asking your employees for their views on the subject. Have a group discussion on the matter and seek their suggestions and opinions. In any case, it will be you who has the last word, but this particular gesture will promote teamwork, boost employee confidence and, once again, make them feel valued and wanted.

Team building projects and activities are seldom complete without the use of some inspirational team building slogans. Remember, words possess great power; this power can be used in drawing attention and inspiring people. Here are a few popular and inspirational quotes and slogans that you can use during team building activities for the workplace:

  • “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM.” ~ Anonymous
  • “A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle.” ~ Japanese proverb
  • “A boat doesn’t go forward if each one is rowing their own way.” ~ Swahili proverb
  • “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford
  • “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” ~ Kareem Abdul Jabbar
  • “A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skill of the others.” ~ Norman Shidle
  • “You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.” ~ Doug Floyd

Remember, team leadership and team building go hand in hand. Proper use of team building activities for the workplace often translates into success for everyone. It is not difficult and does not require you to go out-of-the-way or do anything extraordinary. As the popular saying goes, “Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tips & Activities for Team Building in the Workplace

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

-Henry Ford

You see a memo about a relay race taking place at the site at noon. You hear mention of a site cookout taking place next month. Your supervisor tells you about a community service event the team is getting involved with. Do you participate? The answer should always be “yes!”

Do you ever wonder why the management team proposes quirky little games and activities? Sure, it’s to have fun and boost morale but it also helps to build the team.

Team building activities have a purpose. They are created to help you figure out a solution to a unique problem or situation and help you facilitate participation among your fellow team members. They can strengthen the team in many ways by encouraging
members to think creatively, speak up and interact with one another.

But not just any activity or exercise will get the job done. Here are several tips for effective team building.

Team Building Activities Should Encourage Office-Wide Participation

Whenever you implement a team-building activity, everyone at the site should have the ability to participate. It will only be effective if everyone can be on-board.

Team Building Activities Should Emulate Important Values & Practices.

Incorporating an activity that involves those qualities important to our work is key. It re-establishes a connection to what it is we are trying to accomplish while also building team unity.

Team Building Should Be FUN!  Yes, this is important.

No one is going to buy into an activity if it’s laborious, boring or stale. Get creative. More people will be enthusiastic about it if it’s exciting and unique.

Team Building Activities Should Foster Communication, both Before & After.

Associates should be able to discuss the activity’s importance before, during and after. Allowing the free-flow of communication helps everyone see vantage points they may not have considered.

Team Building Should Be Productive

You should always create activities and events that make your team strive for more. If the activity does not involve a learning process or thinking skill, then you should think of a way that you can include those types of aspects.

The next time your site advertises an activity or event, get involved. It has a purpose and you’ll benefit from the experience.

And here are some suggestions for activities to try in your contact center

Unique Team Building Exercises

Organizing team building activities that promote important aspects of our work is ideal. Here are a few creative exercises:

  • Plan a “Lost Customer game: A lot of people have heard of murder mysteries. It’s sort of the same concept except you are trying to locate a lost customer that you just can’t seem to get a hold of. The organizer can drop clues as to why the customer went astray and the team has to try to guess who the customer was and what could have kept them from going to the wayside.
  • Create a list of situations that your associates may encounter and how they should react. Allow associates to determine if they are true or false and then discuss the differences.
  • Create a scavenger hunt using items in your site. To make it more interesting, you can’t allow the associates to talk. They have to figure out other ways to communicate. The first team to find them all (or most within the time limit) wins.
  • Organize yourselves by shoe size…have everyone line up in a straight line and blind fold them. Then, they must get in order based on shoe size but they cannot talk. They must find other ways to communicate.
  • Unplug for Lunch. Assimilate your team together at lunchtime in the break room. At each table, tell your team(s) they have to place or stack their phones face down for the duration of lunch. They are not allowed to check their phone. If someone can’t stand it and must check their phone, they have to purchase a snack, drink or even a lunch for the other folks at the table (this is great for any group meal!).
  • Have your team compete against another team by playing the Blanket Name Game. A representative from each team will stand face to face with a thick blanket held up between them. When the blanket drops, the first person to correctly shout out the name of the person on the other side of the blanket wins. Note: The teams can strike funny poses to distract the person playing.
  • Thirsty straws is a game that encourages drinking water and quick speed. Using groups of four, give each person a bottle of water with a straw. Each person must successfully drink the entire bottle of water before the next person can start. The first team to finish all their water wins!
  • Tell your team they must write a funny story. Each person must contribute one line as the story is written. Whichever team comes up with the best story wins.
  • You’ve all probably heard of the game “Telephone.” Well, this incorporates a twist. Have your team participants stand in a line and give them something to act out. The first person has to act it out for the second person. Then it moves to the second person acting out to the third person what they think it is the first person was telling them and so on. The final person must try to guess what the original person was acting out.

Try some of these at your site today!
Many of these tips came from Call Center Helper

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tips for Protecting Your Goldmine

via D'Arcy Norman on Flickr

Have you been considering an outreach program to your customers or prospects to tell them about your products or services but just aren’t sure about the customer experience? Good for you!

Your customer database is a goldmine when handled correctly.

In the wrong hands, that investment could disappear. What things should you consider before collaborating with an outsource contact center? What controls should they have in place to make you confident before you begin outsourcing your customer interactions with them?

Any contact service provider should make you feel secure that:

  • Your customers will enjoy the interaction ( leading to increased loyalty and profitability).
  • Your company will be represented professionally.
  • Your brand will be protected and enhanced.

In any industry, it only takes a few bad players to wreak havoc on public perception. Fortunately, many legitimate companies know the right way to do things and understand the long-term, inter-relationship impact, contact centers have for the client and the customer. We conduct each call with great respect for the customer experience, and we do it hundreds of thousands of times a day. In my role, I am responsible to our clients for delivering those services in a way that meets these same goals and objectives. I regularly discuss this very issue with prospective clients and here are a few tips I urge them to consider in the selection process.

  • It IS your call – Make sure you are in the “driver’s seat” when it comes to how your company is identified and represented. From the caller ID display to the final close, you should have access and input into the process so your brand and customer’s experience is a positive one. Make sure you are able to visit the facility and audit the customer interaction. Beware of practices that keep you out of the loop. 
  • Stay out of jail – Make sure the company has a legitimate compliance process and a clean track record. There are national and state compliance laws and regulations, as well as industry standards that should be followed. There are complex requirements that cover everything from the Do Not Call lists, to credit card security, to licensing and appointments of agents and representatives. Look for companies with a solid track record in your area of interest and for industry compliance certification like ATA-SRO and PCI-DSS. Ask about previous violations or fines and be wary of the few small operators who are here today and gone tomorrow (to open somewhere else).
  • Take a test drive – If you are unsure of the best approach and want to try different offers and messaging, make sure the company has a process to conduct a “trial” or “test” prior to full implementation. This lets you observe the customer experience and tweak the results to determine the most effective process before implementing on a full scale. An unwillingness to test, or to properly scale a program, may indicate a lack of confidence or inexperience with similar programs. Stick with a group having real experience to back up any ideas or adjustments your program might need to increase success.

This is just a start. If you want to hear more, contact us!

Enhanced by Zemanta

5 Benefits to Outsourcing Your Contact Center

For businesses spanning all ranges of products and services, outsourcing works. A major area in which it works quite effectively is the two-way communication between your business and your customer contacts. Although there are other reasons for this type of outsourcing, here are five major reasons why contact center outsourcing works so effectively:

1. Cost Reduction

This is one of the primary reasons for any outsourcing. You are trusting another entity to provide exceptional communication. Although some fail, most are able to provide quick and effective services in a friendly manner and leave the client well satisfied. Their records are kept impeccably so that you have immediate access to information when you need it without high, on-site expense.

2. Volume Flexibility

Because of their single focus, contact centers are able to react more quickly with human staffing when your contact volume increases or falls. Through their technology and manpower, they can scale up or down as needed with virtual overnight flexibility.

3. Brand Loyalty

An effective contact center reacting quickly to satisfy customer needs removes obstacles to your brand loyalty. Quick, effective and pleasant resolutions increase confidence in your business.

4. Privacy Compliance

Outsourced calling companies realize the need for meeting regulatory compliance when it comes to your contact base. From background checks to internal security measures, they probably are more aware than your own internal staff of the critical need for keeping your and your customer’s information discreet and guarded.

5. Enhanced Revenue

By quickly resolving issues, a commitment to quick one-call resolution of issues or providing information, customer retention is increased. Cross-selling is another area where outsourced call centers are effectively utilized. Rapid resolution and cross or add-on sales are increasing the bottom line for many businesses using this type of outsourcing.

Business success depends on keeping clients, suppliers and your customer contacts satisfied with the information they seek and the service they expect. Outsource centers focus on this aspect of your business to keep your business. When they deliver, you deliver. Outsourcing then builds a bridge of trust linking you, the center and your customer contacts which increases your reputation of excellence in this critical aspect of your company’s function.

Enhanced by Zemanta