Customer satisfaction is the key to profitability. From low churn rates to high LTV (Customer Lifetime Value), a consumer's state of mind demands serious attention from customer service specialists. In the race to win over the customer, companies are focusing on improving the quality of their offer, tweaking retention strategies, and making themselves available across numerous channels. Including, contact centers.
GCS is honored to be a finalist for this year's BBB Torch Award for Business Ethics. Congratulations to IFB and Frank Myers Auto Maxx for taking top honors. We love a challenge to improve. The full BBB Press Release is reprinted below.
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A great BPO company can supercharge your business’ operational flexibility. The perks of working with an outsourcing company are getting skilled and experienced team members working on your projects.
All global economies have been impacted by a non-selective economic catalyst. COVID-19 has altered consumers' behaviors within global economies. And change has been inevitable, especially for customer service.
Your call center partner decision impacts your results. Let's face it. You have a lot to do. You need a trustworthy partner who does not require lots of intervention. You need an outsourcing center with a reliable business model and a demonstrated ability to manage the agents to achieve successful results. What’s the importance of a hybrid agent workforce model?
It’s true, the right tools make any job easier. It’s also true our tools must evolve to keep pace with a changing world. That’s especially true in the contact center as channel requirements and customer expectations become more plentiful – and demanding.
Businesses are always looking for the competitive edge. This requires businesses to stay top-of-mind with clients and potential customers. It’s also about businesses, and their partners, using the latest innovations in both product and service development. Success really is all about being agile. Processes often are repetitive for good reasons. But inefficient processes can wreak havoc on a call center. When a process isn’t working the way it should, we experience increased attrition of talent and customers. The dollar loss can be significant.
Each of our clients is unique, so it makes sense that we would have our own set of “uniquenesses.” We often hear our approach to People, Process and Technology is different from other BPOs.
Each year, we at GCS speak with many companies in the United States (and beyond) looking to improve their outsourced contact center results by switching from their current call center partner. And because most procurement professionals want to make sure they are doing their due diligence in speaking with the best of the crowded field of outsource call centers, they often ask us who are some of the other contractors and competitors we have in this space.
People often confuse goals & objectives. But both are needed in business and personal endeavors in order to grow and be successful. With call center agents as the point of impact with your customers, it is important to set goals and objectives to help your team reach the call center KPIs you are tracking. In order to achieve these KPIs and help your team be successful, you must: understand the difference between goals & objectives the best ways to use them and how to start setting S.M.A.R.T. goals
Businesses are always looking for the competitive edge. After all, in order to keep your customer base it is important to keep your product or service updated. As rapidly as technology can change, it’s imperative to also stay on top of industry trends, pushing your business to the forefront.
One of the most effective ways to determine how your call center’s performance stacks up against other providers in your industry is to track call center KPIs. Many enterprises are satisfied when their call center meets goals that are set internally, and that works to a point. But, the picture can get less than rosy when goals achieved in a vacuum are compared to companies who benchmark against call center industry standards.
So, you’ve completed the process of determining you need a new contact center and have the buy-in from upper management to proceed with the project. Now it is time to select a vendor to help you get there, but selecting the right one is an important decision not to be taken lightly since they are an extension of your brand. How do you find a capable partner who will keep your long-term goals in mind? After you do your initial vendor research, one of the first steps in the selection process is typically to issue a request for proposal or Contact Center RFP.
Thinking about outsourcing your contact center? Here’s everything you need to consider before you start the process. At GCS, we help companies like yours set up call center outsourcing every day. Sometimes, these businesses are growing too fast for them to scale their customer service needs to meet the demand. Other times, they have had a contact center provider in place, but they worried that they were not getting their money’s worth or they were unhappy with the level of customer care. Sometimes they are looking to control or reduce cost with better management and technology. Whatever the case may be, your first priority in contact center outsourcing is to find a vendor that can meet your parameters. Let’s look at these considerations in turn.
When you think of what makes a great customer service agent, what are the first traits that come to mind? It probably isn’t efficiency – that’s just a function of the work. Evaluating your call center representatives on whether they can answer the phone would be like rating doctors on whether they can treat you. Of course, they can. That’s their job. Like doctors, the way contact center people differ is in the WAY they do their jobs. The good ones have soft skills.
The reach of technology seemingly extends everywhere these days, and the customer service industry is no different. As communication evolves and adapts to new technologies, GCS Agents provides an unbeatable combination of timely customer contact, unparalleled customer support and technology that works. Our team’s commitment to ensuring that every client and business that we work with experiences optimal results has made us a force to be reckoned with in the business services world. We are pleased that our efforts have been confirmed by our recent inclusion in Clutch’s 2019 report on the top B2B firms in New York City. It is a credit to our people to be recognized as one of the best call center companies in the city.
Call coaching is one of the most powerful tools in your call center operations management toolkit. You can take all the performance measurements and analytics you want, but if you aren’t actively coaching your staff to be better, you can’t be surprised when they miss the mark. Your agents will be more engaged and more effective when you take the time to help them improve, instead of demanding results and not explaining how to get there.
Being a customer service agent can be hard work. While helping customers all day is not often a hard task, it does take a special person to do it well. While many customers your agents encounter in a given day are simply looking for information, others will have a problem or an issue that needs to be resolved. Your agents need to have the personality and training to be the customer advocate. They need to be able to remain calm in the face of conflict, empathetic in the face of anger, and friendly even when your customers aren’t making it easy. Choosing the right people to work on your behalf is essential – but it’s not the only challenge.
Deciding to outsource your call center activities is a smart way to keep your focus on what really matters – running your business! But, it only works if you choose the right vendor. If you aren’t careful, you could end up with more headaches than the outsourcing is worth. In this article, we will share the call center outsourcing best practices that lead to the most successful contact center projects. We will also go over a few red flags to look out for at the beginning of a project as well. Taken together, they can help keep your outsourcing project on the right path.
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Managing a customer call or service center is a lot about managing the numbers. Both the macro ones – how many calls, how many agents. And the micro ones - how many calls can one agent take on, how many calls can one agent take on happily.
"The easier it is to get fast, convenient customer service, the more consumers will engage with customer service. That higher level of engagement will remain essential to building the long-term loyalty that businesses depend on for stability and continued growth."
"A great outsourcer should deliver positive outcomes for your KPIs. But, our experience shows there’s much more to demonstrating proof of outcomes than simply meeting KPIs."
"We’ve picked 16 of the tougher questions and ROI-proven approaches that a worthy consultant should be able to tackle."
"When your vendor is interacting directly with your customers on behalf of your company, questions you ask before hiring them need to be deeper, more pointed and increasingly challenging."
"A strong vendor management program can properly locate & manage the right vendor partner in a crowded and chaotic competitive field."
How GCS Turned an Ailing Paratransit Call Center into a Platform for P3 Best Practices
"The best workforce optimization goes beyond the numbers & cultivates an understanding about how the numbers impact workforce management."
"9 Ways To Fix Your Call Center"
I will have the pleasure of attending the 2012 DMA (Direct Marketer’s Association) convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 15th and 16th. This is a huge event with over 10,000 marketers attending across all industries. The event also has hundreds of exhibitors as well spanning from ad agencies to email marketing agencies and fulfillment services.
The simple way to understand the difference between the two approaches is to know begin with the prefixes, “multi” means many, and “omni” means all. Multi channel environments utilize many different communication devices and platforms to allow for customer interaction. For instance, a company allowing consumers to call, email, write and chat is taking a multi channel approach. The focus is on the many ways the customer can communicate with the company.
About Call Centers Having an effective call center is essential for any business, charity, or government organization. Unfortunately, many of these organizations are slow to embrace the changes of the last 20 years, and confront their customers with long hold times, confusing and frustrating automated scripts, and impersonal communications. Because your call center is the front line of communication with your customers, it is important y agents be as effective and personable as possible.
Sometimes you need help to develop the right plan or process for reaching the goals of your Contact Center. Consider working with a contact center consulting services that will develop result-oriented solutions for the various challenges you face. A consulting team will focus on finding the root cause of your frustration and present the information, ideas and resources necessary to improve results. Consultants are an investment in the future. They provide insight and process changes that will save your center time, money and frustration on an ongoing basis. Many will not just explain what to do, but can be used to help with various phases of the implementation and make sure the ideas are transferred to the call center management team.
In today’s society, safety and effective communication in emergency situations is proving to be more and more important. Intercede Services, a software company owned by a father of a GCS employee, has recently launched a new emergency incident reporting technology called iAlert. The product was launched in response to growing concerns regarding the safety of school children, teachers, hospital employees, construction workers and many more individuals who are exposed to dangerous situations and elements due to the nature or location of their work. iAlert was designed to promote effective communication for 3 common types of safety incidents: crisis events, emergency events, and urgent events. iAlert allows users to instantly notify multiple responders of an emergency incident allowing for fast and efficient communication to mitigate critical situations and promote safety and compliance. Pre-determined responders are able to react immediately based on the unique geo-location technology used by iAlert.
The other day, I read an article that claimed “omni-channel” is just a buzzword word that means the same thing as “multi-channel.” I couldn’t disagree more. Omni-channel contact centers represent a major step in the evolution of customer service.
On April 27-30, Global Contact Services (GCS) attended the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP) 2014 Symposium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event featured keynote speakers, best practices discussions and workshops geared towards customer care professionals in the Consumer Packaged Goods, Retail and Direct Sale, Healthcare, Hospitality, Travel & Tourism and Automotive industries. As a first time exhibitor, GCS’ was able to meet and converse with many customer-driven organization made up of vice presidents, directors, managers and supervisors of customer care and customer affairs professionals. Their mission is to develop successful business strategies in the customer care arena through the use of various educational tools and networking opportunities the organization offers.
You’re not alone if your most recent audit shows that you are on the verge of not meeting your budget. Where do you start your analysis? Why are your costs over budget?
Expectations for social customer care are growing as more consumers are getting comfortable with online tools and technologies. It has been reported that number of social media customer service requests will increase by 37% this year.
The newest member of our sales team, Jason Sterns, recently attended the 2012 American Bankers and Insurance Association Annual Convention with President and CEO Greg Alcorn. Jason was kind enough to tell us his first impressions of GCS while attending this event and meeting some of our valued past and present clients.
We know customers.
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Building a Relationship to Spur Long-Term Success in Credit Card Sales Over the years, we have had the opportunity to service our clients and exceed their expectations, even beyond what they originally anticipated. One example comes from a large US bank, seeking assistance with credit card acquisition and fulfillment. Several years ago the client sought an outsource provider to help fulfill credit card acquisitions in a way both cost-effective and revenue-generating. The organization’s goal was to develop a substantial number of new client relationships using both inbound and outbound voice services.
I will have the pleasure of attending the 2012 DMA (Direct Marketer’s Association) convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 15th and 16th. This is a huge event with over 10,000 marketers attending across all industries. The event also has hundreds of exhibitors as well spanning from ad agencies to email marketing agencies and fulfillment services. Attendees include: American Express, Nissan, Coca Cola, DirecTV, Spring, Staples and HP.
If you search the term "right-sourcing" in Google, you get nearly 46 million results. Margaret Rouse from searchcio.com helps define right-sourcing as "a way to get the best results by using specialists to complete parts of a larger project." It reminds me of the Express. Our objective for this publication is to provide employees with useful and interesting content about our company, our people and our industry – along with a few fun things. Doing that requires content sourcing from many places.
The term “outsourcing” has become a scapegoat this political season. But beyond the political hype, it is important to understand the long term benefits of outsourcing. Just about every company outsources. From trash collection, to cleaning crews, to entire contact centers, no one does it all. In fact, outsourcing helps most companies remain competitive and in business. The U.S. is, for the most part, a service economy. We are a nation working for each other. So let’s understand what these “sourcing” terms mean:
That's the question everyone is asking.
Information from Openforum.com, originally posted on June 13, 2012
The tension and excitement in the air are palpable this morning after the supreme court's decision to uphold what many call "Obamacare". President Obama's landmark health care reform bill has a number of stipulations. Among the most discussed:
Long held sales advice was, "Know the FEATURES, but sell the BENEFIT." The thought was while good selling skills require strong product knowledge of features, what people buy is the benefit the product or service brings to them. That is a good start, but don't forget the ADVANTAGE provided by the benefit. The advantage is the emotional edge provided by ownership of the item being sold.
I like classic things. There is something comfortable and predictable about a classic. You can settle back and enjoy the experience because you know what you are getting. No need for extra energy or focus, just observe and enjoy the experience. Classics are normal, functional and serve their purpose well. What better way to spend a rainy day than watching a classic movie, listening to a classic song or reading a favorite book - again.
Increasing response rates are always a top focus of any channel used to reach customers. With so many channels available today, marketers often spend a lot of time trying to increase the channels of message delivery. While that is a smart path to pursue, also consider little things that can increase the response rate within each channel.
When it comes to customer outreach, compliance is a serious matter.
Did you ever wonder how a new program is implemented at GCS? What may seem simple on the surface does have some complexity to it. Here are a few things to know:
I recently began a seminar series over at the local community college talking about online marketing. I've been working on websites and in the online marketing industry since 2003 and I've been working at GCS since July 2009. There has been a monumental shift in marketing with the rise of both social media sites and mobile technologies. The ways in which people communicate with each other have increased at a drastic rate. Remember when the only option was a telephone call or snail mail letter? Now you can tweet your messages, post on someone's wall, chat online or send an email.
Spend 10 minutes each day over the next 6 days helping your company increase their leads. Why? Well everyone wants more business!
Successful businesses lean into their differentiator to dominate the market. This is the thing that you do better than anyone else; it’s your core strength and competitive advantage. However, you can’t just focus on your strengths: your business needs to be a master in each phase of the operation.
In the past several weeks, a number of events have occurred to make me think about the nature of innovation and creativity.
I recently read an article about Google and their roll out of contact center support of their AdWords service. The article is a reminder of how important solid customer service is and how, when done right, the experience can transform a perceived cost center into a real revenue opportunity.
Some of our employees speak about what it has meant to them to work for GCS for nearly 10 years! Tina Eskins, HR Director “To me the most special thing about this company is the many opportunities I have been given over the past 10 years. I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most amazing people I have ever known in my life. I have had the opportunity to watch people grow both personally and professionally. I have had the opportunity to see people who have never even met, come together and support one another in the fun times and the hard times. I have had the opportunity to have leaders who inspire and teach me each and every day. I have had the opportunity to build friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. GCS is special because of the people and I am very thankful and blessed to have been a part of this team for the past 10 years!” Jack Whitt, Northern Regional Director “I’m a very loyal person. When I started with GCS I didn’t even consider a future beyond my career at GCS. Ten years ago, I was a single guy moving from state to state trying to get back to West Virginia. GCS offered me that opportunity and as the company has grown, I have grown too. I now have a beautiful wife and two amazing kids. GCS has been loyal to me through the years on many fronts and I have been blessed to be a part of it from the time before we even had a name. God opens doors for us and it’s up to us to recognize them, appreciate them and take advantage of them. He blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of this company ten years ago and it continues to bless me and my family today.” Jeff Meredith, Southern Regional Director “Having had the pleasure of being here since about four months prior to us making our first call, sometimes you just feel you need to see something through to the end. From the beginning, ALL conversations were about how we were going to be able to take care of lots of people in Southern WV and beyond. The fact the core of the company was started where so many of us call ‘home’ means something a little more special I guess.” Rushie Shue, Benefits & Payroll Manager “I worked with Greg and Bryan for over six years prior to the beginning of GCS. When GCS began, I was given the opportunity to work with them again. At first, I worked out of my home office, making weekly trips to Bryan’s house for paperwork and communications. Once the office opened, I began commuting to the office three days a week. GCS is an honest and above-board company and I feel I have always been treated fairly. I love the work I do here and appreciate Greg and Bryan treating me, not only as an employee, but also as a friend. I know my opinion is respected and that is important to me.” Denise Smith, Office Manager “I remember the first meeting with Greg, Bryan and others who were hired at that time. It was in October 2001 and it was in the Housing Authority Conference room in Mount Hope, WV. As I came out from that meeting there were children outside as this was a housing complex for low income families. I remember how in my heart I knew some of the children’s lives would soon change because GCS was coming to make a difference in some of their families’ lives. I don’t know the numbers but many people became employed with GCS and many lives were changed. A new hope was given to a little town of people that longed for change - for something new. I am thankful to GCS for this and what GCS did for the community and surrounding communities. As a resident of Mount Hope and on behalf of the Mt. Hope citizens, schools, and businesses, we thank you. GCS has been good to me in many ways and I have been blessed for the past 10 years to be an associate of this company. Never in my wildest dreams did I know what the future held when a small group of six people met each day in one of my bedrooms. That make-shift office was where we started the journey that led to what GCS is today."
Some companies believe the contact center connection with the customer is too vital a function to outsource - period. At the other end of the spectrum, companies outsource their entire contact center function as a way to control costs and free their resources to focus on other core areas of the company. Regardless of where you might fall on the spectrum, outsourcing at least some of your contact center functions can improve your business and bottom line in many ways.
At the end of July, GCS is going to be celebrating it's 10 year anniversary. In honor of such an accomplishment, especially in an environment that is seeing many businesses fail, we're going to be providing some historical perspectives on our growth and changes in the industry over the next several weeks. Two years ago, Greg Alcorn talked to Smallbiz America about GCS. Listen to the brief interview here. Related articles Marketing & Communication Tips for Your Agency (gcsagents.com)
Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia
If you want to start a lively discussion within our industry, ask if a good customer service person can also sell. (Likewise ask if a sales person can handle customer service.) This question often comes up when helping clients who want to turn a customer care/service center into a profit maker, or at least off-set some of the cost, by selling more products or services through that channel. Fortunately, there are options that work regardless of your situation. If you choose to sell in-house, here are a few things to consider.
Have you noticed the trend? In America today, we are more connected to our phones than ever before, our mobile phones. In fact, for a growing number of people, it is the only phone they have. In 2000, 1 out of 10 people in the United States owned a mobile phone, by 2009, it was 6 in 10. Now, 90% of households in the United States have a mobile phone. For many companies, calling a client’s mobile phone was simply NOT something to do. To meet regulations, mobile phone dialing requires a different approach than landlines and until recently, there was usually a landline to call instead. Now, as more and more landlines disappear, companies are looking for the best way to reach out to customers. E-mail and texting can work, but so can a call to the mobile phone - when it is done correctly. GCS recently partnered with one of our customers to explore this communication channel. The results point to a real opportunity for businesses who recognize the trends and want to connect with, and monetize their mobile customer base. But to keep the customer happy, you need to consider three important things:
Are you prepared for the onslaught of holiday emails? My inbox the day before Thanksgiving was a small taste of what is to come the week before the Christmas holiday. That's when hundreds of my "favorite companies" will be thanking me for my business and wishing me well with a heartfelt email blast. I am sure a few will be creative enough to get my attention, but most will have minimal effect on the desensitized email receptors in my brain.
Coach Chip Hester
Americans have always had a big heart and despite a fall off in donation levels, there has been a upswing in volunteer hours. This article points out the fund raising facts and warns non-profits not to rely on just direct mail to keep donations flowing. It points out uses of social networking as well.