4 Ways Effective Communication Boosts Call Center Success

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February 15th, 2022

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How a company communicates internally has far-reaching effects and contributes directly to its long-term success. It plays a critical role in how well a call center performs. The following are several ways effective communication improves a call center’s performance, the quality of customer service employees provide, and the company’s bottom line:

  1. Better productivity. Call center employees won’t perform well if they don’t understand their role or what their employer expects of them. Confusion often leads to frustration, which restricts productivity. Employees perform with much greater efficiency when they have clear guidelines and understand their responsibilities.
  2. Improves engagement. Managers communicate with call center employees regularly to ensure they understand the company’s goals and service expectations. However, companies need to ensure that line of communication goes both ways. Employees can’t engage as well with their work if they can’t seek input from management for clarification or feedback. Having open dialogue also shows employees that their managers appreciate their input and care about their workplace concerns.
  3. Better quality of service. Good internal communication often translates to improved external communication with customers. Effective communication helps call center employees feel confident in their role, which enhances the quality of service they can provide. Customers appreciate direct and transparent communication, and providing that improves their loyalty.
  4. Solves internal issues. Workplace tensions will simmer and explode without effective communication. Teams can resolve internal issues by employing active listening and formulating respectful and professional responses. These effective communication strategies can transform destructive arguments into constructive conversations.

Effective communication is a critical element of any successful call center. Communication strategies affect internal and external workplace relationships. Actec understands the importance of having an effective call center that delivers consistently high-quality service. Contact us to learn more about our nearshore contact center services.

4 Traits Call Centers Need for Effective Crisis Communication

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December 21st, 2021

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Insurance providers need a call center that can handle all their incoming calls, particularly when it comes to emergencies. When insureds initiate first notice of loss (FNOL), they’ve often experienced a high-stress incident. From house fires to car accidents, insurance call centers need to have the skillset to navigate customer crises. Here are several characteristics of call centers that communicate effectively during a crisis:

  1. High call volume preparedness. Some crises affect a significant number of customers. For example, hurricanes can damage property and vehicles. Insureds may find themselves homeless while waiting on repairs. Call centers need to have the capacity to handle a sudden influx of calls, particularly for imminent covered perils.
  2. Crisis management experience. Not every industry needs call centers with experience handling emergencies. Insurance companies need a call center staffed with agents that understand how to perform FNOL intake during a crisis and how to respond appropriately to frantic customers. Similarly, agents need to be able to identify a true emergency. What seems critical to a customer may not require immediate action. In those instances, agents need to know how to diffuse the situation and help customers navigate the next steps of their claim.
  3. Strong emotional intelligence. During a crisis, call center agents need to be able to identify how the customer is feeling and respond with empathy. Customers will likely be upset or angry during a crisis, and call center agents need to know how to contain the situation without allowing their emotions to affect the level of service they provide.
  4. Insurance providers need a call center that can adapt to meet their needs. Increased call volumes during a crisis often require additional agents to field all the calls in a timely manner. Some call centers achieve this by having agents on-call or tapping into a work-from-home network.

Accidents happen, and it’s not always possible to predict when disaster will strike. Insurance companies need a call center that can handle critical situations whenever they arise. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about our nearshore contact center services.

4 Ways Nearshore Call Centers Avoid Cross-Cultural Miscommunication

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December 7th, 2021

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Call centers are a boon to growing businesses. A dedicated call center can handle all incoming calls, answer common customer questions, and allow employees to focus on their primary tasks instead of working the phones. However, many offshore call centers struggle to bridge cultural divides, which makes it difficult to provide high-quality customer service.

Nearshore call center agents have enough geographic proximity to understand the customer’s needs, frustrations, and expectations. The following are several ways nearshore call centers improve communication and the customer experience:

  1. Language. Customers expect agents to speak their language fluently. However, call center agents need a nuanced understanding of the language as well. Agents that don’t comprehend common idioms or struggle to understand local accents will run into repeated frustrations.
  2. Culture. Greetings vary between cultures. Some cultures prefer friendly exchanges, while others expect direct and professional communication. Nearshore call center agents understand the customer’s culture, which facilitates better communication.
  3. Time zones. Many companies turn to offshore call centers because they can provide coverage outside of regular business hours. Nearshore call centers can provide extended coverage too, and their closer proximity makes it much easier to communicate business concerns. If a company wants to discuss changes to the call center or review KPIs, nearshore call centers are better equipped to meet during regular business hours.
  4. Communication channel. Customers have several options for communicating with a business. Some prefer to speak to a live person, while others may prefer to send a text or a message. Cultural divides can make it difficult for offshore call center agents to pivot from the phone to a chatbox. What sounds friendly with verbal inflection can seem cold over text.

Customer loyalty is hard-won and easily lost. One poor support experience is enough to make a customer consider finding a new service provider. Customers are also much more likely to leave reviews after a negative experience, which can harm the company’s reputation. Companies need call centers that can resolve their customers’ needs and exceed their expectations without stumbling over cultural miscommunications. Contact Actec to learn more about the benefits of nearshore call centers.

4 Proven Ways to Deliver an Excellent Customer Experience

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October 13th, 2021

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Positive customer experiences drive the success of all insurance companies. A recent survey from Microsoft found that the overwhelming majority (95%) of customers base their loyalty on the quality of service they receive. Other surveys report similar statistics across all industries, which underscore the importance of providing an excellent experience during every customer interaction.

With the pandemic keeping many people at home, customers are shopping online and reaching out to customer support more than ever. Whether they need help deciding on which product to purchase or need clarification on their policy, customer service representatives need to deliver the best service possible. Here are several methods customer service representatives can use to provide consistent, high-quality service:

  1. Know the products. Customers don’t often understand their policies or their coverage needs as well as they should. They need a knowledgeable agent to guide their purchasing decisions and clarify any questions they may have. Agents that recommend supplemental policies to prevent coverage gaps, bundles to help save the customer money, and tips that lower the customer’s insurance costs will be far more effective than agents that can only regurgitate a memorized script.
  2. Embrace creative problem-solving. Creative problem-solving is a much sought-after soft skill, and it requires looking beyond a quick fix. Customer service agents that thrive on finding solutions will advance customer loyalty much more than agents that focus on the customer’s policy limitations.
  3. Strive for positive communication. Customers often call their insurance providers after they experience a loss, and their emotions are running high. Agents that remain calm, friendly, and empathetic can help the customer deescalate to navigate the claim process. If a customer initiates communication through chat or text, customer service agents must remain aware that tone doesn’t always convey through these channels. Using friendly punctuation, humor, or emojis can imbue their words with warmth and compassion.
  4. Respond quickly, resolve thoroughly. Customers value their time, and they do not appreciate waiting on hold or navigating a convoluted phone tree before even broaching their problem. Agents need to respond as soon as a customer reaches out on all platforms, including calls, messages, and texts. However, customers don’t want agents to rush while resolving their problems. Respond promptly and investigate carefully to secure ongoing customer loyalty.

Customer service representatives are the first responders to customer inquiries. Insurance companies need a top-tier call center to deliver the quality of service the modern customer expects. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how our nearshore call center solutions can improve the customer experience.

How to Improve Your Call Center’s Internal Communication

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September 21st, 2021

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Quality customer service is the core goal of any call center, and it relies on call center agents’ communication skills. However, a call center will struggle to perform if internal communications are problematic. Contradictions from management, misunderstandings, and unclear directives can wreak havoc within a call center and reduce agents’ abilities to reach their target key performance indicators (KPIs).

Improving internal communication provides several benefits, including increased productivity, heightened employee morale, and a boost in profits. Companies can implement the following to improve their call centers’ internal communication:

  • Provide clear communication expectations. Employees use a variety of channels to communicate, such as emails, texts, phone calls, or in person. Outlining expectations for tone and usage of these channels can eliminate confusion and frustration.
  • Define each employee’s role. When employees don’t understand how their job contributes toward a team or company-wide goal, they’re likely to struggle or disengage. When employees know each other’s roles, it also empowers them to seek the right individual when handling a problem.
  • Incorporate transparency into training. Onboarding and ongoing training are critical to honing employees’ skills, but that may not be clear to everyone on the team. Explaining the why behind the training demonstrates honesty and respect for employees’ time.
  • Avoid spam-like communication. Employees aren’t machines, and they’re likely to glaze over when they open a long-winded or not-relevant-to-them email. Embedding pleasantries like “We appreciate your time and effort!” at the end of an email with little value comes across as empty and false. Emails should be easy to scan and truncated to the most salient points.

Ineffective communication within a call center can lead to information silos, process breakdowns, and unsatisfactory customer service. Excellent communication, both internal and external, is the backbone of a successful call center. Actec can provide your company with the high-quality call center you need. Contact us to learn more about our nearshore call center solutions.

5 Signs Your Business Needs a Call Center

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August 24th, 2021

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Small- to mid-sized businesses may think call centers aren’t something they need to concern themselves with. However, as business begins to flourish, lagging customer service can bring growth to a halt while eroding income potential. Companies that notice the following signs need a call center if they want their company to flourish:

  1. The phone never stops ringing. An uptick in customer calls is great for business unless the company doesn’t have the staff to handle all the calls. If employees are constantly fielding incoming calls, they’re going to struggle to complete their other tasks. A call center lightens employees’ workloads so they can focus on their primary jobs.
  2. Too many voicemails to sift through. Companies without call center support will start each workday listening to voicemails left overnight. Most of these voicemails won’t be emergencies, but companies can’t afford to keep an urgent request waiting as they work their way through the queue. A call center can field these calls and identify which requests need immediate attention.
  3. Delays in replying to business prospects. The world of sales is fast-paced, and companies can’t afford to leave potential clients waiting. Customers aren’t content to wait for an answer and will look elsewhere to find a solution. If another company provides an immediate answer, they will earn that customer’s business. If customer calls reach levels that the company can’t manage promptly, it may be time for a call center to meet customer needs and expectations.
  4. Current customers display increasing levels of frustration. Keeping the current customer base happy is just as important as securing new leads. If existing customers have to leave a voicemail and wait until the next day for a reply, their satisfaction and loyalty will drop accordingly. If a company sees a sustained uptick in frustration from its customer base, it may need a call center to handle the calls.
  5. The expense of more customer service employees limits growth potential. In-house customer service representatives are valuable, but they’re hard to maintain as a company grows. Expansion is exciting, but the company needs to be able to increase its customer service along with its business prospects. Call centers provide a much more cost-effective solution than hiring a slew of in-house employees.

If your business is experiencing any of the above, it’s time to consider a call center. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how our nearshore call center solutions can help your company.

How to Gain Customer Loyalty through Empathy

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August 17th, 2021

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It’s easy to get wrapped up in chasing new leads and securing more sales. However, closing sales and meeting KPIs aren’t enough to secure long-term customer loyalty. Customers need to feel heard and validated when they contact customer service. Companies that cultivate empathetic relationships with their customers will achieve sustainable success.

How to Lead with Empathy

Customer expectations shift often, and the pandemic put a spotlight on virtual communication. More customers are shopping online from a variety of devices, and they expect companies to meet them on their preferred platform. Text doesn’t convey tone, so businesses need to take additional steps to provide the empathetic communication customers expect.

  1. Talk like a regular person. Whether a customer contacts support via the phone, email, or messaging, the responding agent needs to reply like a human. Using canned greetings and replies comes across as robotic and cold. It also makes the customer feel like another box to check. For example, companies can take a more relaxed approach to email communications. Instead of signing emails with Regards or Sincerely, opt for a more empathetic approach such as We’ll talk soon! or Looking forward to hearing more.
  2. Engage in more small talk. Repeat customers or long-term clients appreciate it when a company remembers details about them. Asking about their recent vacation or how an ailing family member is doing shows that the customer isn’t just another file among many. For new clients, companies can include additional fields on intake forms. Some examples include the customer’s favorite novel or a text box for a fun fact about the customer. These fields provide opportunities to learn more about the customer. They provide talking points for customer service agents.
  3. Restate the problem. Customers usually contact support because they’re experiencing an issue with a product or service. They’re likely already frustrated, and feeling misunderstood will only increase their irritation. Begin with a statement such as “Thank you for explaining the situation to me. I want to make sure I’m understanding you correctly before we continue.” Then provide a summary of the customer’s problem and their feelings about it. Restating the customer’s problem shows the agent is actively listening and cares about the customer’s needs.
  4. Ask how the company can do better. Establishing trust and loyalty requires more than listening. Companies need to find out what their customer’s pain points are to provide exceptional service. Asking customers about their experiences with the company can provide insight into areas that need improvement and where the company excels. It also shows the customer that the company cares about their experience and wants to make it as stress-free as possible.

Empathy requires authenticity when communicating with customers. Whether the customer calls, texts, or emails, empathetic responses build trust and customer loyalty. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about expanding and improving your communication channels.

4 Ways Nearshore Call Centers Outperform Offshore Outsourcing

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July 20th, 2021

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near shore fnolCall centers are an effective means to deliver timely customer service for a growing company. Many businesses turn to offshore call centers because they’re often less expensive. However, offshore call centers have several hidden issues that many companies don’t discover until they start losing customers. Here are some of the top ways offshore call centers fall short:

  1. Unforeseen costs. The appeal of an offshore call center is almost always the lower cost of labor. However, hidden expenses often undercut most of those savings. For example, any protocol or software modification a company requests comes with a hefty price tag. Offshore call centers can create legal headaches for the company too, as they are often aggressive about reaching key performance indicators (KPI). If the call center breaches Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protocols, companies can find themselves at the center of an expensive lawsuit.
  2. Lack of familiarity with the company. Offshore call center agents aren’t likely to know the culture of the company. Their goal to reach their KPIs can cause them to overlook the company’s end state. While they may be securing more sales, their approach can result in an inferior experience for the customer. Over enough time, customers will seek a new provider that delivers the service they expect.
  3. Culture barriers. Offshore call center agents often struggle to relate with American culture, which can result in unsatisfactory customer support. Language barriers are also a significant problem. Even if agents are fluent in English, they are often unfamiliar with slang terminology or regional accents. If the agent and customer struggle to understand each other, the agent isn’t likely to resolve the customer’s issue.
  4. Limited oversight. Companies place a lot of trust in offshore call centers, but it’s almost impossible to observe how agents interact with customers. If a call center misunderstands or fails to adhere to company protocols, the substandard service they provide will hurt the company’s reputation.

Nearshore call centers eliminate the above concerns for several reasons. Chief among them is their cultural familiarity. Nearshore call centers understand American laws and culture due to their proximity. It’s also easier to communicate with nearshore call centers as the time zone difference isn’t as significant. Contact the experts at Actec to discover how nearshore call centers can benefit your business.

ESF, Catastrophe, and After-Hours Reporting in FNOL

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June 1st, 2021

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catastrophic fnolHandling events that are challenging to anticipate lives at the heart of first notice of loss. Our philosophy is that any and all customer requirements take absolute precedence. In this vein, a variety of services are pertinent when it comes to covering FNOL and Absence Management needs. Through our proprietary intake solution, we have fewer constraints than a software/ASP vendor, and can implement customizations quickly.

In addition to the various essential first notice services, we cover electronic state filing as well as call center support for catastrophic events and after-hours developments. Our custom solutions leverage a variety of features including:

  • Customer set-up profiles provide flexibility in customizing workflows, including personalized greetings, lines of business, custom questions and report types, policy, carrier and claim office assignments, distributions, etc.
  • FROI and state specific questions maintenance system
  • Catastrophic escalation identification and tracking
  • Robust distribution module
  • To learn more about what services best suit your organization and discuss implementation strategies, contact us.

    4 Impactful Electronic Customer Service Strategies

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    April 27th, 2021

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    Consumers have made their preference for online transactions clear, and COVID-19 cemented the need for online services. Even if a business isn’t selling traditional products, customers prefer to conduct some interactions online. For example, customers expect to be able to request an estimate or schedule an appointment via the business’ website.

    Customer expectations and competition between companies are high. Remaining a top contender depends on several factors, with customer service in the lead. The following are several customer service strategies for an increasingly electronic world:

    1. Foster loyalty with consistent results. Businesses that provide consistent, high-quality customer service will outperform those with fluctuating service. Businesses that want to secure their customers’ loyalty need to provide reliable, hassle-free, and prompt answers to customers’ questions.
    2. Provide accurate answers across all channels. Customers use multiple channels to find the answers to their questions. They may send an email, place a call, or reach out over social media. Regardless of how they engage with the company, customers expect the same quality of service. Customer service representatives need to be knowledgeable and able to provide the correct answer to customers’ questions on all channels. This helps to ensure customer satisfaction across all communication channels.
    3. Improve response time. Customers expect rapid responses to their questions and inquiries. Businesses with slow response times risk losing their customers to competitors that provide faster service. Implementing a live chat or text messaging program can reduce wait times and prevent customer frustration.
    4. Invest in a high-quality nearshore call center. Having a well-trained call center can help businesses achieve all the preceding suggestions. Knowledgeable call center employees can field questions across multiple channels. By receiving the same training, call centers can deliver consistent and accurate customer service. They can provide prompt service as well, as customers aren’t left waiting on hold.

    Nearshore call centers provide the superior service businesses need and customers expect. Whether your business is 100% ecommerce or is in the process of digitizing services, a high-quality call center is a must. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about our nearshore call center solutions.