CallCenter, Contact Centre, Human resources, News, Offshoring, Outsourcing, theOutsourcing-guide

Strong Employee Engagement = Exceptional Customer Experience

Creating exceptional experiences for customers requires having engaged employees who are enthusiastic about their workplace and their role within the organisation. According to a recent Gallup study however, employees are disengaged at work – worldwide only a tiny 13% of workers are engaged.

Considering how much time we all have to spend at work, it must be soul destroying to go to a place everyday that eats away at the very fabric of your being. Of course if you are paying off a ridiculous mortgage like people do in Sydney then you may not have a lot of choice. The rat race is a very stressful endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. It invokes the image of the fruitless efforts of a lab rat spending its existence running around and around on a spinning wheel or maze. And remember at the end of the rat race you are still a rat.

In a parallel to the modern urban environment, many rats in a single maze expend a lot of energy running around, but ultimately achieve nothing either collectively or individually. The rat race is often used in reference to modern work places, particularly repetitive, monotonous and dull work. This terminology contains inferences that many people see work as a seemingly sad endless pursuit with little reward or purpose other than a place to go everyday so that they can pay their bills.

The increased image of work as a “rat race” in modern times has led many people to question their own attitudes to work and seek a better alternative; a more pleasant-sounding ‘work –life balance’. Many people believe that long work hours, unpaid overtime, stressful jobs, commuting, less time for family life and/or friends life, has led to a general malaise in our communities, an unhappier workforce who do not have time to enjoy the benefits of increased economic prosperity and a supposed higher standard of living. The output of this way of living is manifested in divorce rates in first world countries of over 50%.

The Gallup report also says that the vast majority of people, some 63%, are “not engaged,” meaning they are unhappy but not drastically so. In short, they’re checked out. They sleepwalk through their days, putting little energy into their work.

A full 24% are what Gallup calls “actively disengaged,” meaning that one quarter pretty much really hate their jobs. Ouch! That cannot be a good thing for employee or employer. They act out and undermine what their coworkers accomplish.

Add the last two categories and you get 87% of workers worldwide who, as Gallup puts it, “are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive.” In other words, work is more often a source of frustration than one of fulfillment for nearly 90% of the world’s workers. That means that most workplaces are less productive and less safe than they could be and employers are less likely to create new jobs.

The major challenges with employee engagement starts with defining the term. Employee engagement is a workplace methodology designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, inspired to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well being.

Author of Employee Engagement 2.0 and Employee Engagement for Everyone, Kevin Kruse, states, “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company.”

The definition of employee engagement and how one measures it depends on which part of the organisation and how the organisation is structured. Charlene Li, from Altimeter highlights how HR will have a program to increase employee feedback, communications wants everyone to read the latest company newsletter and the Social Media team wants everyone to participate on the enterprise social network.

Research recently published by Altimeter revealed the following challenges when it comes to employee engagement[i]:

  • Most organisations don’t have a well thought out employee engagement strategy
  • Authentic employee engagement only happens when there is trust in the relationship — only 43% of survey respondents believe they have an organisational culture of trust and empowerment that supports employee engagement.
  • Part of the problem is that there is no owner of employee engagement. In 41% of organisations, HR leads employee engagement efforts, while 17% and 11% have Employee/Corporate Communications and Marketing leading efforts, respectively.
  • There remains significant untapped opportunity to use digital tools to enhance employee engagement. Only 36% and 25% of respondents have organizations where many employees use their internal collaboration platform and enterprise social network, respectively.

Mapping the Employee Journey

Creating exceptional customer experiences and engagement requires understanding and mapping the customer’s journey. Likewise employee engagement is dependent on creating exceptional experiences based on understanding and mapping the employee’s journey. The nature of the experiences an employee has will impact the level of engagement they have with your organisation’s goals.

It’s about understanding their role and the experiences they have of the organisation from their perspective. It’s going beyond the typical hire, train, and retain approach to HR and exploring how relationships can be deepened to drive business results and organisational change.

Employee engagement is not about establishing a specific state, but building relationships that can be developed.

There are differences between attitude, behavior and outcomes in terms of engagement. An employee might feel pride and loyalty (attitude); be a great advocate of their company to clients, or go the extra mile to finish a piece of work (behavior). Outcomes may include lower accident rates, higher productivity, fewer conflicts, more innovation, lower numbers leaving and reduced sickness rates and in the BPO world better NPS scores.  In reality all three – attitudes, behaviors and outcomes – are part of the engagement story. There is a virtuous circle when the pre-conditions of engagement are met when these three aspects of engagement trigger and reinforce one another.

Engaged organisations have strong and genuine values, with clear evidence of trust and fairness based on mutual respect, where two-way promises and commitments – between employers and staff – are understood, and are fulfilled.

Just like the customer journey. Company silos, overly strict and inflexible rules and poorly integrated systems and processes can impact the employee journey. The frustrations an employee can feel in trying to do their job can easily be passed on to the customer. In an outsourcing environment it’s the kiss of death.

Steve Rogers of Rusher Rogers HR Solutions, a leading HR practice in Melbourne Australia, offers this bit of sage advice, “If you have got your employee engagement model in place you still want new hires who are most likely to embrace your model, fit in with your culture and achieve the outcomes you need. You need to identify the behaviors that your star performers, who are most engaged, exhibit and the look for evidence of the same behaviors in the candidates that are applying for your roles. But remember look for “evidence” of behaviors. Not their opinion.”

In the BPO and outsourcing world where customer engagement has been outsourced to a third party , having disengaged employees / agents is bound to bring down measurements like NPS scores. Happy engaged employees really do equal happy customers.

Discuss.

[i] http://www.altimetergroup.com/2014/12/strengthening-employee-relationships-in-the-digital-era/

Originally Published in the Sauce eNewsletter – theOutsourcing-Guide.com

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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BPO, CallCenter, Contact Centre, News, Offshoring, Outsourcing, theOutsourcing-guide

Are you talking to me?

Despite being the channel customers love to hate IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is still growing and is predicted to be worth $2.78 billion by 2017, according to a 2012 report from Global Industry Analysts (GIA)[i]. The growth is being driven by outbound IVR to deliver important notifications and proactive customer service functions.

IVR has had a mixed history, on one hand reducing call wait times and improving overall efficiencies and service levels, on the other, driving customers to switch to competitors.

We’re all familiar with the experience of having to navigate through a complex and confusing IVR menu to finally be put through to the wrong department or service or for the call to drop out. The experience leaves you frustrated. Badly designed IVR systems may have contributed to bad customer experiences more than any other channel.

Key areas in IVR development in recent years, that are altering the previous negative perceptions of this self-service technology, have been in Outbound IVR and Visual IVR.

Outbound IVR

Outbound IVR allows organisations to proactively and automatically engage customers through a variety of channels such as automated voice calls, SMS messages, email or social media posts with personalised communications. Providing immediate, faster and real-time information and services to customers Calls can range from personalised, event-triggered notifications and two-way interactions to broadcast messages to hundreds or even thousands of customers.

It can be used in a variety of situations including:

  • Sending emergency notifications,
  • Personalised offers and promotions
  • Travel-related notifications
  • Problem reporting
  • Change notifications (account status, billing, rates)
  • Shipping notifications

Visual IVR

Steve Morrell, founder and principal analyst of ContactBabel, an analyst firm for the contact centre industry, highlights how smartphones and tablets can give companies the option of offering visual representations of their IVR menus[ii]. This can enhance the customer experience as most people find it easier to read and select options in text and visual format than to listen to it being spoken.

Visual IVR presents customers with a menu driven interface to the IVR system which is available from a website or mobile app.  Visual IVR can be used to send video or push other content. This content can be educational or for marketing purposes or to assist the customer’s self-service requirement in some way.

Visual IVR allows companies to connect their traditional contact centre channels to new mobile platforms, enhancing their ability to serve customers. Visual IVR can be implemented with existing DMTF technology and IVR systems, requiring few modifications.

Originally Published in the Sauce eNewsletter – theOutsourcing-Guide.com

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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BPO, CallCenter, Contact Centre, News, Offshoring, Outsourcing

The Balanced Shore approach

By Mark Atterby

Most leading BPO and outsourcing providers are offering clients flexible outsourcing location options. Datamark research highlights that these location options include at-home; on-site; off-site within the same city; off-site at a lower-cost-of-living city; nearshore; farshore; and blends of these arrangements [i].

It’s all about finding the right skills at the right price and how you manage and integrate them to deliver improved services based on economies of scope. Each scenario has its benefits and disadvantages. That’s why most providers, certainly the larger and more established providers try to use a blended approach.

Global Delivery Model – onshore, nearshore, farshore

A global delivery model allows a BPO provider to access the best talent at the best price in relation to the tasks and processes that need to be managed. The more complex activities that need greater involvement or collaboration with the client may need to be managed by operations situated locally to the client. Tasks that are fairly straight forward can be offshored or nearshored to a cheaper location.

Nearshore options, though not as cheap as an offshore location, may still be cheaper than local operations where strong cultural alignment is necessary. Travel to a nearshore or regional location may also be easier.

Peter Monk, Country Manager from Concentrix, believes that you need to have local operations if you want to be a provider who wants to deliver true innovation and collaboration. To build the teams that need to work together from the different organisations, they need to be in fairly close proximity to each other.

Homeshoring

The deployment of home based agents or homeshoring has become popular over the last decade. It often means reduced costs for the BPO provider as home based workers often provide their own telephone equipment and computer systems. The provider also saves on the associated costs of office space.

Using home based agents that are local to the client and its customer base can overcome the prejudice that is sometimes created from regional accents, mannerisms and rates of speech. Regional government departments and local government may tend to favour providers who employ people in their region.

Home shoring gives people with disabilities, who may not be able to travel to a workplace, the opportunity to work.   Research has highlighted that employees with disabilities often have a higher staff retention rate, which saves recruitment and training costs[ii].

By leveraging the right balance of locations, allows providers to build high quality, flexible and innovative solutions for their clients, yet keep costs down.

[i] https://www.datamark.net/blog/10-business-process-outsourcing-trends-2015

[ii] http://www.dwa.org.au/advantages.htm

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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BPO, CallCenter, Contact Centre, News, Offshoring, theOutsourcing-guide

Engaging the mobile customer

With the rise of mobile and social technologies, customers are now more powerful than ever. They’re always-connected status and ability to find information in seconds puts them in control of their own experience, and this trend has forced marketers to rethink how they engage and connect with their customers.

The 2015 State of Marketing report from Salesforce, involving the survey of 5000 marketers across the globe highlights the top five areas for increased marketing spend in 2015[i]:

  • Social media advertising (70% of marketers)
  • Social media marketing (70% of marketers)
  • Social media engagement (67% of marketers)
  • Location-based mobile tracking (67% of marketers)
  • Mobile applications (66% of marketers)

Globally, 38% of marketers plan to shift spend from traditional mass advertising to advertising on digital channels, where 84% of marketers will maintain or increase overall marketing spend in 2015. Social Media is the primary area of focus followed closely by mobility. But considering that 60% of social media time is spent on mobile devices rather desktops[ii], engaging the mobile customer becomes a number one priority.

As such marketing to consumers via mobility offers a level of intimacy and immediacy that can greatly enhance their experiences of your brand.

Mobility offers marketers a range of options and channels to choose from including SMS, mobile apps/website, location based tracking, in game ads, live chat, etc. To decide what mix of channels should be part of your strategy, you need to analyse how your customers use mobility. Are they transacting or using it to gather information? Do they play games or use their device for entertainment? Are they mostly on Android or iOS; smartphones or tablets?

[i] https://www.salesforce.com/form/marketingcloud/2015-state-of-marketing.jsp?nc=70130000000i5Ug&d=70130000000i5XL&ls=Blog&lssm=Corporate&lss=SFDCBlog.StateofMarketing2015&camp=701A0000000y214IAA&content=701A0000000y214IAA.

[ii] http://www.businessinsider.com.au/social-media-engagement-statistics-2013-12.

[iii] http://www.yankeegroup.com/about_us/press_releases/2014-02-06.html.

[iv] http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2013/08/19/what-is-mobile-marketing.

[v] http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2015/01/29/11-things-cmos-need-to-know-about-mobile-marketing-strategy-and-app-development/2/

theOutsourcing-guide.com is the ultimate reference guide for the BPO and outsourcing industries and it will become the most comprehensive resource for organisations looking to engage BPO and outsourcing providers. As well as providing a range of eBooks, articles and whitepapers explaining the various aspects of BPO, theOutsourcing-guide.com provides an online directory of providers segmented by category and location.

theOutsourcing-guide.com is a vehicle for vendors and service providers to showcase their organisations and the outsourcing services they provide. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com for more information.

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BPO, Contact Centre, Customer service, Offshoring, Outsourcing

Need a parking space? Divvy sets up in Melbourne

Divvy Parking allows people with spare parking spaces to hire those spaces out. Divvy handles the bookings, payments (taking a percentage for providing the service) and provides a money back guarantee on availability.

The concept behind Divvy Parking is that people lease out spare parking spaces at their homes or places of business.

Perhaps they live in a busy suburb where parking is restricted, and they are happy to let someone pay to park in their drive while they are at work. Or maybe their office space comes with an entitlement to four parking spots, and they and their employees only use three of them.

Divvy brings together people with spare parking spaces and those who need them, handles the payments (taking a slice of the action, naturally), and provides a money-back guarantee that the space will be available on the first day of the booking and matches its description.

To read more BPO news and updates visit http://www.theoutsourcing-guide.com/

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How Aussie ‘Virtual Assistants’ can stay relevant

By Derek Stewart

The world is changing at increasing speed. Some people are more affected by change, thus more alert to it. Mike O’Hagans article on September 20th about things western firms get wrong about offshoring, attracted comments from Australian ‘Virtual Assistants’ (VAs). VAs are one of most popular roles for people to try in the Philippines, so they’re more aware of the issue than other business owners.

Change is difficult. There is immense fear that Filipino VAs threaten the livelihood of Australians, being 20% of the price. Life is all about perspective. Change creates opportunity. The concept of a Virtual Assistant wasn’t even possible 15-20 years ago when a much smaller percentage of an Executive Assistant work was online, and everyday people didn’t have access to computers and the internet.

I encourage Australian VAs to embrace the same societal and technological change and opportunity that allowed them to create their job in the first place. Some feel confident that a Filipino VA cannot compete with them, that people prefer to ‘buy Australian’. However, this is not a one to one comparison. Many Aussie SMEs have a Filipino team on staff, and an Aussie expat manager. A single Australian VA is not competing with individual Filipino VAs, but with Australians who can do the client facing interaction, but keep their operating costs and pricing lower by having a team of Filipino VAs.

Aussie VAs have the perfect set of skills to embrace the changes in global sourcing to grow their business.Their attention to detail, process orientation, ability to determine specific client needs, and develop strong client rapport makes it an easy transition. Build a team of VAs that you manage to better leverage your time. Buy more hours in your day. Spend more time strengthening client relationships, being able to service more clients, offer new services and be more productive. This will significant improve the quality of your service and your bottom line. You can even charge your clients less, while offering them more value and being more profitable.

Read full story here 
http://www.theoutsourcing-guide.com/article/aussie-virtual-assistants-can-stay-relevant/

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BPO, Contact Centre, Customer service, Offshoring, Outsourcing

Why I offshored myself to the Philippines

By Derek Stewart

Offshoring” is a loaded word and controversial topic. To some it means corporate greed gone rampant, lost jobs, destroyed industries, wider economic and societal problems. To others it means embracing a globalised economy, uniquely benefitting developing nations by giving them a real chance to rise out of poverty, redistributing the wealth of the world and lower priced goods and services, for a win-win situation.

There is the often told story of someone losing their job because it was offshored or outsourced, but there’s the less publicised story of the new jobs created by offshoring. Every story has two sides, the rise of technology and automation has caused the loss of many jobs and ended long standing industries ever since the Industrial Revolution. However, it has also created jobs that never existed before, in researching, developing, implementing and improving that same technology and automation, creating industries that never existed until recently like mobile app development or SEO specialists.

This is why when I hear about jobs being lost in Australia to offshoring hubs such as the Philippines, I also look to the jobs that are being created by this change, and how this will affect Australian employees over the next 5-10 years. I see it as a reflection of the dynamic world we live in, where the only constant is change, and the shifts in the skills required in the marketplace are evolving in front of our eyes, faster than ever before. It also highlights to me the importance of being adaptable and forward looking, you can’t predict every change, you can only make yourself flexible and agile, knowing the changes will inevitably come, and handling them as they do.

Read full story about Offshoring. Visit theOutsourcing-guide.com

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