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Business Sustainability

Why You Should Hire a Healthcare Call Center During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Why You Should Hire a Medical Call Center During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By | Administrative Support, Business Sustainability, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Healthcare Call Center Support, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Inbound Call Center Solution, Medical Virtual Assistant, Outbound Call Center Services, Remote Support Services, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Support | One Comment

Being a healthcare professional is one of the most stressful jobs to have during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if your healthcare center does not cater to COVID-19 testing or treatment, you likely have several patients whose health you need to monitor closely in radically different conditions than any of us were used to previously.

Most healthcare providers cannot in good conscience neglect their patients, urgent or otherwise, for extended periods of time. Physician groups, hospitals, and clinics around the country are shifting to telehealth or minimum-contact patient care. However, they are not fully equipped to deal with these drastic changes. With most patients preferring to call in or video-link to doctors, but not willing to wait for care, it is important to ensure that these processes run like a well-oiled machine.

You need experienced medical call center agents to handle this sudden influx of calls. The calls might range from appointment scheduling, to prescription refilling, to questions about invoices, and reliable after care. Relying on your employees to do both this work and their usual roster of tasks will almost certainly result in poor customer satisfaction.

Why You Should Have a Medical Call Center

Give Your Patients COVID-19 Information

Healthcare practices are the first point of contact for people when they have questions about the pandemic. This is especially true for especially those specializing in general medicine or internal medicine. Since new information about COVID-19 is coming forth constantly, patients reach out repeatedly, trying to quell their anxieties about potential symptoms. Many also keep calling to ask how to stay safe in these conditions. Doctor offices around the world, from India to the UK and the US, are reporting a deluge of calls with a dearth of patient visits. Mobilizing to cater to these calls with a minimum of disruption to all other essential work is necessary. Your one solution to this problem; which will likely stretch to the next year and possibly beyond, is hiring a healthcare call center.

Improve Customer Satisfaction and Keep Revenue Streams Ongoing

These days, patient footfall has fallen drastically on site; so quality measures should focus largely on call responses instead of on-site dealings for the time being. Training a staff that is used to face-to-face interactions to transition to communicating only over call is an uphill battle.

However, keeping customer satisfaction levels high is as imperative as ever. Bear in mind that any patient receiving comprehensive and compassionate guidance from you during this time is likely going to show customer loyalty towards you for a long time. You will reap dividends many times over in the long run by focusing on patient satisfaction through healthcare call center support.

Patients are asked to provide information about their healthcare experience via the annual Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. Unacceptable survey results can lead to hospitals losing some reimbursements from Medicare; an overall loss of over $1.7 billion in 2017. A healthcare call center influences and improves the patient experience, ensuring that a minimum of these reimbursements is lost. This is why two-thirds of US hospitals use healthcare call center support.

Healthcare Call Centers Can Save Money for Physician Groups

A healthcare call center brings with it a wealth of experience and guaranteed HIPAA compliance.

By sharing a healthcare call center across a physician group or a clinic shared by several providers, the cost of handling patients goes down considerably. Instead of hiring several people, one competent and trained healthcare call center representative can handle all calls made to the group. This brings down the immediate cost of labor for all physicians who are part of the group. The cost of training is reduced as well, while the cost of lost patient revenue due to irate clients becomes negligible.

If only one provider wants to hire a healthcare call center, that provider can hire a call center representative who works part-time but manages or returns all the calls made. Through IdeasUnlimited’s healthcare call center facilities, you can hire a call center representative to work for you for a pre-agreed number of hours per week. The healthcare call center’s focus leads to efficiency, with immediate results being apparent.

Lower Risk and Better Compliance

Having a HIPAA-certified agent handle your calls lowers compliance risk considerably. While initial HIPAA-training can take from 2 to 3 hours, the ongoing training and compliance is a struggle for each provider. HIPAA procedures need to be so ingrained in the staff that patient privacy and best processes take center stage. The best way to do this is by hiring a healthcare call center that has certified agents.

Identifying Where You Are Losing Money

Some healthcare call centers, such as those operated by IdeasUnlimited, offer a holistic package which includes cost audits. IdeasUnlimited’s healthcare call center service includes an audit of the business, which will identify where the healthcare provider is losing money. This service is imperative during the coronavirus crisis. Especially since healthcare providers and physician practices are being encouraged to operate at full capacity, yet income is slow with coming in. Reducing unnecessary costs and administrative bloating can improve the bottom-line manifold. Most healthcare providers who grow beyond an office of ten people don’t realize that their administrative costs are too high and can be reduced through consolidation. Having a third party objectively analyze your costs will identify where your business can improve cash flow in these trying times.

Access to Service Data and Quality Control

When you hire front desk representatives to take patient calls, you don’t have access to the kind of data you need for quality control. In such a situation, your options for keeping tabs on and improving customer service are very limited. On the other hand, healthcare call centers operate with strict quality measures in place, and content dashboards with access to service data. Having access to data regarding each patient contact grants you immediate feedback regarding services. Moreover, it helps you steer the direct and indirect messages going out to your patients.

IdeasUnlimited’s quality assurance team can take this task off your hands as well. The quality assurance team monitors calls and ensures that the standard operating procedures, as defined by the client, are observed. Quality assurance ensures excellence at each stage of contact with the patient.

By documenting each client contact in an easily searchable way, you ensure that your client contacts are up to par. You also have a detailed client contact history that enables you to have as complete a picture as possible when dealing with a client. Having detailed records also minimizes provider liability.

Why IdeasUnlimited is Your Best Choice for A Healthcare Call Center

Why IdeasUnlimited is Your Best Choice for A Healthcare Call Center

If you are not yet employing a healthcare call center, now is the time to take the leap and reap the dividends. Not shifting to a healthcare call center may actively be harming your business without your knowledge. IdeasUnlimited is the ideal partner to help you transition to a new way of handling your patients. Contact us at sales@ideasunlimitedonline.com to get a custom quote for your business today.

Sales Support Staff

Why is Your Sales Support Staff Crucial for Keeping Your Business Afloat?

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Customer Service, Marketing Virtual Assistant, Remote Support Services, Technical Support, Technical Support, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Why Do You Need Sales Support Staff?

Why is your sales team not achieving their desired quotas and is instead consistently underperforming? Is this a consistent problem that is harming your closing rate? Read on to see the biggest reason why in order to address it straight away.

Hire sales support

One of the most effective strategies of making headway in this department is to hire sales support. Sales support staff exist for the sales representatives to be able to close sales faster, smarter, and more efficiently.

Typically, less than 40% of a sales team’s time is spent generating financial returns. Why is that the case? Because 60% of an agent’s time is spent on time-intensive and painstaking secondary tasks. A lot of them are not directly related to acquiring new clients, but they are absolutely essential for keeping your clients happy. This then translates into keeping your business afloat. You need sales support staff to handle the bulk of these secondary tasks so your sales agents can focus on closing new leads.

However, there is a fine balance your company has to walk to hire just the correct number of sales support employees to enhance your sales team’s productivity but also justify the additional expense. Having 50-60% sales support workers in your sales team hits the sweet spot.

Ancillary tasks need to be assigned elsewhere to free up the frontline and pre-sales team’s time and energy. Administrative support tasks like handling accounts, scheduling meetings with customers, following up with them about their order(s), and other sundry tasks are some of the duties that should be performed by sales support staff.

Customer Relation management by Sales Support

Maintaining a Customer Relationship Management System is part of their job description as well. They update client accounts, new developments, and current statuses here for easy access by any relevant company employees. This is a farsighted approach which streamlines processes that weigh down those workers whose work directly translates into more revenue being generated. Spending hours and hours on monotonous routine tasks is tedious for someone who knows their time would be more productively spent elsewhere. A CRM system is also a convenient reference for the processes that your business incorporates. It allows for you to easily scale up when required and is also helpful for training new hires.

CRM systems also acts as a task management platform with reminders of meetings, things to do, and deadlines. They are connected to communication channels like email, telephone calls, and social media etc. for real time engagement with clients. They also record the history of each order and client interaction, which in turn allows for a better understanding of why some deals fall through while others are successful.

What Are the Responsibilities of Sales Support Staff?

The job of a sales support individual is to streamline processes and provide bilateral support and tertiary services to ensure the sales staff can perform at their maximum capability and efficiency. Your sales support staff will mainly be handling peripheral tasks related to client orders and inventory management. They will take care of administrative tasks like scheduling meetings, data processing, providing leads to the sales team and handling customer inquiries. These personnel need to be able to organize their tasks proficiently because they are crucial for the efficient running of the company.

Sales support increasing accountability

Their responsibilities will include the following:

  1. Administrative support

Sales support staff make sure processes run smoothly by providing administrative support. Their tasks include:

  • Processing orders and updating backlogs in the digital CRM system.
  • Scheduling meetings with clients and assigning them to sales representatives.
  • Forwarding all client complaints and inquiries to the respective departments for maximum productivity and client satisfaction.
  1. Acquiring and retaining clients

This staff will also act as your frontline appointment setters, cold calling and warm calling agents, and backend data entry operators to ensure that your sales team works as well as it can. They will take care of:

Sales Support as a client retainer
  • Handling client inquiries to their satisfaction.
  • Forwarding prospective client leads to the sales agents so they can follow up with them on their end.
  • Recording sales orders with their relevant details in the CRM system and handling rush orders.
  • Overseeing the status of pending orders by keeping in touch with the clients to reassure them and keep them up to date.
  1. Monitoring the sales team

Sales Support to monitor the sales team

The sales support staff also monitors the sales team’s internal processes on a day-to-day basis. This creates a tiered organizational structure so that the responsibility and supervision does not rest solely in the hands of one manager. On the other hand, the tasks are subdivided to be better achievable. This aspect covers:

  • Keeping a check on the sales team’s developments and progress.
  • Analyzing data from the CRM system to investigate the ratio of leads converted into sales, the factors behind a low or high conversion rate in different areas.

Sales support can study buying habits in different demographics according to their sales data for more targeted marketing. Any insights on sales trends across the industry would be helpful for the team to know which directions to pursue.

  • Organizing reports to chart the sales team’s performance as well as research and implement strategies to improve said performance for the optimum running of the team.

We often see companies laying off sales support staff in a purported effort to reduce costs while still keeping the essential workers to keep the business operational. But by reducing the percentage of sales support, the company sees a dramatic decrease in productivity and efficiency. Scaling up or scaling down, for each frontline sales agent, there needs to be a sales support agent. This will ensure that processes run smoothly and without easily avoidable glitches.

Delivery Services During COVID-19

10 Ways to Optimize Your Delivery Services for COVID-19

By | Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Customer Service, Employee Management, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

COVID-19 has shaken up the whole world and placed a strain on quite a few industries, especially delivery companies. You must be wondering how you can quickly adapt and capitalize on this opportunity.

Logistics and operations can be very well managed remotely. You just need good collaboration tools, an up-to-date database, and a skeletal staff on site who can take care of the actual packaging and dispatch. Let’s discuss this in more detail. What would you need?

We have listed 10 different ways you can keep supplying all your customers and maintain as much normalcy as possible.

1. Display Social Responsibility

Ensure that your in-house operations have preventative systems in place and all your employees have protective equipment. Your business runs because of your employees, so taking care of them will only help your own bottom line. An added bonus—your customers will have greater confidence that they will be receiving non-contaminated products. That will give you an immediate edge over your competition during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Minimum Contact Delivery

This must be one of the first things that you should take care of in light of this global pandemic. Your customers should not feel like they are putting themselves at risk while receiving packages. Introduce curbside delivery with a notification so the customer can pick it up before someone else does. Minimum contact delivery is the way to go, both for your customers and to keep your employees safe.

3. Adjust the Packaging

Something as simple as multi-layered packaging can boost customer trust in your business’ hygiene standards. Add an outer layer of packaging that can be easily discarded by your customers before taking the items inside their houses. Make your customers’ lives easier and reap the benefits in the form of greater sales despite COVID-19.

Optimizing Delivery Services During COVID-19

4. Easier Online Payment Methods

Expand your online, no-contact payment mechanism to include more methods, especially allowing for local preferences. If you only stick to bank transfers and credit card payments, you may lose out on a considerable chunk of your target market.

5. Good Collaboration Tools

Get better worker collaboration and communication tools so you can get in touch with your workers from anywhere, at any time during business hours. Audio and video conferencing tools like Zoom and UberConference, chat software like Slack and Skype, mobile collaboration tools like Telegram, and project management tools like Trello are all free for you to try out with your team and judge their utility yourself. You don’t even need to issue company headsets for business lines. Invest in a good-quality VoIP like RingCentral and get softphones that your employees can use from anywhere, just as long as they have a stable and good Internet connection.

6. Redirect Your Workforce

Move your in-store team towards managing online sales, taking orders through social media, and promoting your business to their personal networks. The faster and more efficiently you can handle online sales, the better it is for your bottom line.

7. Change Hiring Practices

Hire workers who are experienced at remotely handling tasks. That way they can handle your delivery operations from anywhere in the world. The most important point in favor of this approach is that these remote workers have experience in productively doing their jobs in a remote setting. Trying to permanently move an in-house employee towards remote work may not be as effective or accomplished as quickly.

8. Effective Logistics Team

Your business must have an effective logistics team that ensures your inventory records are up to date and your customer support and sales team get quick responses from the warehouses. You don’t need to keep this team on-site. Rather, pare down your on-site team to the bare minimum needed to package and deliver the products and move everyone else to remote work.

9. Faster Customer Support Response

The speed of your customer service team’s response is crucially important for retaining customers. Social distancing is allowing your customers more time to pick and choose which businesses they want to patronize. You are also competing with all other online businesses for your customers. Hence, you want to respond as fast as possible with order confirmation, tracking information, answers to customer questions, and troubleshooting advice.

Look into partnering with a 24 hour call center or after-hours call center to achieve this goal without going through the hassle of recruiting, managing, and monitoring the agents yourself.

10. Better Tracking Mechanism

With the majority of your customers stuck at home and most delivery services bogged down by extra orders and insufficient staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, customers are even more interested in real-time tracking of their orders. If you don’t have an efficient system in place already, remedy that oversight immediately. Track your delivery trucks and plan routes more efficiently, to be able to handle and deliver as many orders as quickly as possible.

Even if the delivery cannot be faster or is unavoidably delayed due to quarantine or lockdown rules, keeping customers informed keeps them satisfied.

Conclusion

These strategies will lower your overhead costs and make your business more competitive despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Switching some of your office jobs to remote roles will directly decrease business expenses, improving your bottom line. Your business will be able to survive and even flourish in tough economic times. Do not waste your time. Look into how these tips apply to your business and make the changes necessary before you are mired down by new problems created by deficiencies in your systems.

Why do you need honest customer service?

Why Should You Have Honest Customer Service?

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Employee Management, Entrepreneurship, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Receptionist Service, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant | No Comments

Why do most companies keep customers in the dark until the issue can be resolved?

They don’t want to have to tell the customer that there is anything wrong and to acknowledge their mistake. Often, the problem might not even be any mistake but an accident caused by uncontrollable events, but customer service representatives are hesitant to disclose the real issue behind the scenes for fear of being held liable for it later on.

Backed by our 9+ years of experience in operating a customer care center, we are here to tell you that honest customer service is the only way to go for operating a sustainable business.

Why Customers Dislike Being Left Out of the Loop

Customer dislike being kept in the dark for these two major reasons:

  1. 1. It makes the customers feel frustrated that they do not have the full picture of what is going on and it makes them feel that you as a company do not care about your clients.
  2. 2. Customers cannot manage their expectations because they literally have no idea what to expect.

Why You Should Tell Customers the Truth, Even When It’s Bad

It is a natural impulse to hide bad news for as long as possible but we’re here to tell you that being honest with your customers would be a better business decision. Here is why:

  1. 1. Being honest will generate trust between your company and your customer. Doing otherwise will not create long term value for your business. If you are straightforward and clear in your dealings as a company, it is only natural that honest and trustworthy people will in turn be attracted to your business. Like follows like.
  2. 2. Customers are intelligent. They understand that problems do arise. They can handle bad news and do not even mind if it is handled correctly. They’re more interested in what you’re doing to fix the issue. They just want some reassurance that something is being done to rectify the situation in an expected timeframe.
  3. 3. If clients are happy with the customer service they are receiving, they’ll return more and more. A successful business depends more on return customers than new ones.

Why Valuing Honest Customer Service is a Good Business Idea

Having a strong customer service center which becomes known for its honesty and integrity can be a huge asset that can catapult your popularity. Customers are more willing to try out a new company if they hear that they are willing to go above and beyond for their customers. They are likelier to reward a company who they hear are honest. It makes the customer realize there are actual human beings behind the screen who care about you as another human being and want to solve your issue.

Another advantage of this is the goodwill this develops between the customers and your employees. Your employees will be content in a place they know upholds good moral values and will be proud to be working there.

Honest customer service

How Can You Become a Company with Honest Customer Service?

How can you uphold these values without altruistically running your business into the ground?

What you need to do when defining your expertise/ services is to be as detailed as possible in favor of exactly defining what it is you are offering. This shows that you value time and clarity of thought. It will also make it easier for customers to be able to find you from amongst the hundreds of other companies.

If the customer has been inconvenienced, you should be transparent and ask them how to make it up to them. You can give options like giving refunds, gift cards or coupons and let them decide.

One major deterrent to opting for a dishonest approach to handling customers is that anything you do will always remain online for everyone to see. Be they reviews or internal communications with your employees, you should know anything done on the internet remains on the internet. An ethical company would have nothing to fear from a disgruntled employee or irritated customer.

Things to Avoid:

Using vague language which is extremely generic will give the impression that you are brushing off your customers by using popular jargon without putting much thought into what you are saying.

People will have pre-established notions of your company if they have already been exposed to negative reviews pertaining to your reputation as untrustworthy or fraudulent. They could have heard it from other people or read it online, it doesn’t matter. It shows a history of behavior and customers are less likely to give such a company a chance.

Lying has another negative drawback. It can always circle back, and the actual truth can be revealed. Even if you think you got away with it in the initial situation, if a customer later realizes they have been lied to, there is a chance that they get angry enough to take their business elsewhere.

At the end of the day, there will be no business if there are no customers, so it is simply good business sense to make their satisfaction your priority. So, what are you waiting for? Get expert customer service center support today in order to avoid these pitfalls and build a sustainable brand.

IU services in COVID-19

Is COVID-19 Harming Your Business? We Can Help

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Ecommerce Support Services, Healthcare Call Center Support, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Inbound Call Center Solution, Marketing Virtual Assistant, Medical Virtual Assistant, Multilingual Customer Service, Outbound Call Center Services, Remote Support Services, Technical Support, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

The coronavirus pandemic has rained trouble down on small businesses from every angle. The business landscape is uncertain, and every sector has had to adapt. Whether business is reduced, or it is temporarily booming, we can help you get through this time. Our secret is leveraging and managing a remote workforce.

Chat, Email, and Call Center Support

Just like most businesses today, your business may be spread thin; perhaps employees are staying at home, availing PTO. Or perhaps you could not afford their services, but cannot handle all the work they were taking care of. If so, it might be time to look into hiring and managing a remote workforce.

Hiring a remote workforce during this time to take care of customer emails, calls and chat requests is the best way to ensure that your customers or clients feel well taken care of. While clients will understand that you are working with a reduced staff, they will appreciate your company much more and will not put services on hold if you are proactive in getting their work done.

A remote workforce is often much less expensive than local services. Not only will that drive costs down when margins are thin, managing a remote workforce through IdeasUnlimited will ensure that you know exactly what it’s doing any time it is on the clock. As industries have shifted almost entirely to telework, employers have been worried about paying their employees for work that doesn’t get done due to all the distractions at home. IdeasUnlimited remote oversight services guarantee that your employees are working on their job duties wherever they are in the world.

Chat support, email support, and call support can be customized to any business. If your emails are piling up, or clients are concerned about never being able to reach you, you can hire IdeasUnlimited services on an hourly basis today.

Remote_Work

Boom in Business?

If you’re experiencing a boom in business during the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to capitalize on this and handle it correctly with your customers. Responding to clients promptly and making sure that they do not experience any hassle in getting their order or service requests through, is paramount. This will pay dividends in happy, returning customers. Hiring a customer care center that is experienced in support services will ensure that you hit the ground running and do not need to waste time interviewing contractors. With top remote teams providing 24/7/365 support, fast scalability and flexibility, omnichannel support, and cost-effective packages, IdeasUnlimited will be the ideal partner to help you during this crisis. IdeasUnlimited will take most of the work of managing a remote workforce off your hands.

Healthcare Call Center Support

Hiring a remote workforce for a call center during the coronavirus crisis will provide the ideal infrastructure for handling all your client calls and queries. A healthcare service inundated with calls and questions during COVID 19 will have to scale up quickly, without any degradation in customer service. With most doctors switching to telehealth appointments amidst the crisis, having a remote workforce ready to handle potential healthcare clients has become even more important. Through IdeasUnlimited’s healthcare call center staff, you can hire remote call center workers to take care of both frontend and backend services. Frontend agents can set up appointments, handle prescription refills, check eligibility and benefits etc. The backend agents, who are also certified in all major EMR platforms, can enter patient demographics, claim scrubbing and submission, billing, etc.

Health care support services IU

Operations Support

Business relief plans offered through governments the world over do not cover contractor pay. Thus, you should look into hiring overseas contractors who will ease the financial burden on your business, since you will get the same work done for much cheaper. IU services such as marketing support, virtual assistant support, and call center support can help you keep your business going, but at a lower cost than usual.

Outsourcing invoice generation and collection, bookkeeping, and payroll will not only cut your employee costs down, it will allow you to focus on core business responsibilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, your primary focus should be on adapting your core business model to the changing conditions and appealing to existing customers. Support services can be outsourced at a cheaper rate than in-house employees or contractors.

Marketing and Ecommerce Support

With most brick and mortar stores being forced to close their doors, or having to adhere to strict restrictions regarding footprints, online shopping and deliveries have boomed. Your business needs to set up or enhance its ecommerce platform as soon as possible, because that’s where the bulk of your customers will be contacting you. IdeasUnlimited can help you with website development and have your website up and running as soon as possible. However; you need to market the website once it is published.  Providing a good customer experience on the website is also imperative. IdeasUnlimited offers a full ecommerce support package, including technical support, logistics support, marketing support, backend support, product research, and brand management. We can also help you with managing a remote workforce for website development and maintenance.

Billing Support

During the COVID-19 pandemic, your business should give clients a larger window of time to fulfill invoices; however, you should not be giving work away for free. It is necessary for cash flow that you track client work and bill them on time and accurately. You should try to stay on top of this; however, if you can’t, hiring a remote worker to take care of this for you may be the best option. IdeasUnlimited can provide you billing support at flexible hours per week, to make sure that your business does not lose money it should not be missing out on during this pandemic.

Contact us today to get a custom quote for your business at sales@ideasunlimitedonline.com.

Tips to Manage Your Business Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

Tips to Manage Your Business Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

By | Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Customer Service, Entrepreneurship, The IU Way | No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in our healthcare systems, with governments around the world grappling with it to contain its spread. It has likewise shown how most businesses have poor emergency response measures while others innovate rapidly to keep up with new developments. Having said that, there is no need to panic. Black swan events like the COVID pandemic have the potential to bring a new wave of innovation, and your business can ride the same bandwagon to attain sustainable growth.

We’ve collated tips on how to manage and lead your business successfully through this crisis based on expert advice and what has worked in economies further along in the containment trajectory. Read on to find out more.

Adopt Flexible Remote Work Models

Keeping your employees safe and containing the spread of the virus through social distancing is paramount. To ensure business continuity, allow all your employees who can work remotely to do so and complete their daily tasks as usual. Train your managers so they conform to normal working hours and do not expect their workers to be available 24/7. This will considerably reduce the friction of the switch to remote work.

In case of employees who must work on-site, introduce shifts and reduce workdays in order to do your part in flattening the curve. This will ensure that work does not halt completely and exposure risk is reduced as much as possible.

If your operations have not closed down since you are in an area that is not severely impacted or you provide essential services, take all appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of your workers. Provide sanitizers, paid compulsory leaves for those exhibiting symptoms, face masks, first aid, and anything else that may be needed. Get frequently touched surfaces regularly disinfected. Supor, China’s largest kitchenware manufacturer, initiated health checks, procured preventative equipment, created guidelines for limiting exposure, and developed an emergency response plan. They were able to reopen some production lines by the second week of February as a result of taking these preventative measures.

In the long run, supplanting local employees with remote workers scattered all over the globe will reduce your risk exposure. A local crisis will then affect only a certain portion of your workforce and not bring everything to a grinding halt. A hybrid model has served many businesses—including IdeasUnlimited—well during this pandemic.

Adapt Employee Roles Instead of Laying Them Off

Think about switching the roles of employees instead of laying them off due to lower staff needs. Engineering supply firms have switched to helping the government acquire the machinery it needs to combat the virus and keep the hospitals from crumbling under the immense pressure of a large volume of patients. Carmakers Ford and General Motors, as well as home appliance manufacturer Dyson, have drawn the focus of their engineering teams to designing and manufacturing cost-effective ventilators for use by coronavirus patients. Their research and production are funded by their respective governments; and their engineering and production teams are working through the pandemic.

Assign those who have demonstrated strategic planning capabilities to response planning. Loan them to other businesses that are continuing operations in your locality. Restaurants in China lent their staff to O2O companies like Ele, Meituan, and 7Fresh as well as online businesses that witnessed a surge in online purchases. Online stores like Amazon, remote communication companies like Slack, grocery chains like Kroger, and delivery companies like UPS have seen such big surges in demand that they are hiring a large number of workers. By lending your staff in this manner, they will have paying jobs and you will be earning revenue as well.

In case your revenues and cashflow do not allow you to keep on all workers, consider reducing hours across the board rather than letting workers go. Focus on reducing the impact on workers with greater financial responsibilities. Your employees will understand that you are trying to support them in a bad situation.

Hire Overseas-Based Remote Workers

In the worst-case scenario, if you have to lay off most of your workforce since the payroll costs are bankrupting your business, hire remote workers based overseas. You will easily find cost-effective resources with the experience your business needs. Best of all, they are already acquainted with remote work collaboration methods and ways to ensure productivity. This will ensure your business survives these tough times instead of going under. Not only would you be able to hire workers at a fraction of the basic pay which you’d have to pay in your home country, you would also have to pay less in taxes for hiring them.

IdeasUnlimited's Tips to Manage Your Business Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

Utilize Better Collaboration Tools

The COVID-19 crisis has illustrated without a shadow of doubt the need to employ better digital collaboration resources. Not only do you need a robust and secure internal communication tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams, but your business needs to use a platform for tracking productivity as well. Depending on your business model, you can use a CRM like Salesforce, a project management tool like Trello, or a productivity tracking platform like TimeDoctor. Zoom Meetings can replace in-person meetings. Huazhu, a large hotel chain in China, successfully leveraged its internal communication app Huatong to ensure that timely information updates were cascaded to all employees and franchises.

Bolster your existing communication and information technology infrastructure to withstand the stress of remote work. Remote work, and in turn business continuity, is only possible if your employees have all the tools they need. Allow your senior employees to take their computer systems home and give the responsibility of remotely managing the network server to a manager in your IT department.

Create an internal communication channel in which all lower tiers of management get important updates right away. Allow them to then adapt new policies to their own localities in terms of local government laws and their nature of operations. Top management policies may not be granular enough to apply to each local scenario, so this step is crucial.

Maintain Transparency with Customers

Your customers need to see your business doing its part to keep its employees and customers safe since your COVID-19 response can make or break your brand image. A vast majority of customers are understanding of shipment delays and stores closing down to contain the epidemic. However, you have a role to play as well. If production or delivery is delayed, tell customers as soon as possible and give them an estimated timeline. Feel free to qualify the timeline with a disclaimer that this can change if the situation worsens.

Reassure your customers and keep them close. In this economic climate when income is so uncertain for most households, retaining current customers is key. Gaining new ones is an uphill battle unless your business provides one of the necessities required to combat this pandemic. Your loyal customers—if kept regularly apprised of new developments—will stick with you and pull your business through these challenging times.

Focus on Retaining Great Community Relations

This will indicate to your stakeholders your business’ knowledge and acceptance of the climate in which everyone is living. Your business must illustrate to all its stakeholders—particularly the local communities in which you operate—that you are doing responsible thing. Luxury product sellers cannot blithely continue selling to the wealthy. Instead, creating and maintaining goodwill is paramount. Luxury goods manufacturer LVMH used the perfume production lines for Givenchy, Dior, and Guerlain to manufacture and donate hand sanitizer to hospitals in France.

If you continue with business as normal, you may be irreversibly harming your company’s goodwill. On the other hand, doing your part in mitigating the social impact of the crisis is not only the ethical thing to do but has lasting positive reputational impacts as well. Show responsible leadership by informing your stakeholders about what you have done.

Microsoft has offered its Healthcare Bot service to organizations on the frontline of the COVID-19 response to help screen patients. This has greatly decreased the strain on our healthcare system so only those requiring immediate medical attention get treated by healthcare professionals.

Charity is an important response. The Alibaba Group established a $144 million medical supply fund for hospitals in Hubei Province. Yelp announced a $25 million relief fund that is focused on supporting independent local restaurants and nightlife businesses.

Do your part in helping non-profit organizations and community outreach programs in whatever capacity possible. It does not have to be a large donation. You can even create corporate volunteer programs for your employees to encourage them to assist as well.

Adjust Your Product and Service Portfolio

Try to add needs products to a wants portfolio or supplement your needs portfolio with other necessities. In China, gas stations started selling groceries. They introduced a no-contact system wherein you ordered the groceries ahead of time, parked near a gas meter, and an attendant filled up the gas and loaded up the groceries. Pakistan’s clothing stores have started creating and distributing cloth masks. In France, luxury manufacturers such as Dior etc. have created and distributed millions of free masks. IKEA is helping to kit-out hospitals in affected areas.

Think about the raw materials you have, the infrastructure in place, and the workforce you have at your disposal and strategize about using them in different ways not only to keep your business going but also assist the community at large.

Adapt Operations to the Changing Times

Your business can contribute to the local community while staying open if you adapt your operations according to the needs of the hour. In a time when stores have switched over from in-store purchases to drive-thru pickups, courier services have introduced curbside delivery, Yelp is teaming with GoFundMe to allow people to support local businesses they love, you cannot stick to your old business model and expect to come through this pandemic unscathed.

Can your app or website be modified to allow customers to purchase goods and pick them up from the store later? Do you need to invest in better online store management so your website can withstand the heavier traffic? Can you switch in-store employees to call handling so they can take orders online or provide the services virtually? How about offering an online-only discount to encourage customers to order online instead of visiting the store? That will reduce the exposure of your employees and keep them safe. A few of the leading businesses who have successfully done so are mentioned below:

The Leon fast food chain changed its restaurants to mini supermarkets and allows its customers to book delivery slots. This way they are ensuring business continuity and also doing their part in supporting their local communities.

Microsoft is working with Hong Kong schools to digitally deliver interactive lessons. Their #FutureReady Limitless Learning Program allows students and teachers to use Office 365 Education and Microsoft Teams on a complimentary basis. They are working with local schools to set up and use these tools.

Master Kong, an instant noodles and beverage producer in China, moved its focus away from offline to ecommerce, O2O (Online to Offline), and small stores that still stayed open during lockdowns. They also tracked reopening days for stores and adapted their supply chain accordingly. This allowed them to supply 60% of the stores that reopened a few weeks after the outbreak, so they were miles ahead of their competitors. Adapt similar approaches in your business so you are not forced into a multi-month hiatus from which recovery is not possible.

Change your sales channels. If you can no longer sell to customers directly in-store, move the same employees to provide impetus to online sales. Increase your telemarketing efforts. Encourage your employees to sell to their social networks and create new commission plans or sales rankings to motivate them. Lin Qingxuan, a cosmetics company, closed 40% of its physical stores but employed beauty advisors from those stores to engage with customers on WeChat and other online tools. Sales saw a 200% rise in the Wuhan region as a result of this new strategy.

Take some time and plan how your operations can be similarly adapted and quickly put the plan in place.

Treat This Time as a Thirty-Day Free Trial of Your Products or Service

A lot of businesses are taking the opportunity to generate goodwill and loyalty by allowing their paid services to be used for free for the next 30 days. This gesture is meant to give anxious people who are self-isolating something to calm their nerves and divert their attention. Authors Neil Gaiman and Sarah McLean, and online libraries Scribd and the New York Public Library, have allowed their books to be checked out for free for 30 days. The Berlin Philharmonic and Budapest Festival Orchestra have allowed their back catalogues of digital concerts to be available for free.

Actions like this build lasting loyalty in a customer, and a gratefulness towards a business that understands their state of mind during these times. Not to mention, allowing a 30-day free trial of services available for millions of people sitting at home, with the time available to explore these services, means that you will likely have many more paying customers once the pandemic is over. Small businesses can follow the same strategy locally; by focusing on loyalty and free trials right now, you will likely get customers who will stay loyal to you in the future.

Make Your Supply Chain More Robust

Focus on creating a more diversified and sustainable supply chain, with multiple vendors across geographic regions. This way you will not be dependent on one area alone and your production will not be impeded if that area is hit by COVID-19 and forced into a lockdown. Supply chain resilience also entails having alternate suppliers and even substitute raw materials planned out. COVID-19 has resulted in bans on freight via any means in certain areas of the world. You must prepare for delays in shipment of indeterminable duration. Your business must have enough buffer inventory of inputs and crucial parts to be able to carry out production in this case as well.

Maintain Sufficient Operational Funds

In these uncertain times, you must make sure that your business has sufficient operational funds. At least have enough cash on hand to last you up to 3 months so you can cover salary and debt payments. Furthermore, look into loan extension options today, to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Keep yourself apprised of government-sponsored relief programs and how you may benefit. Ask your accountant how the recently announced payroll tax cut in the US will help you pay your employees’ salaries. The newly approved stimulus package will also supplant the salaries that you are able to pay out while keeping your business afloat. See which employees qualify for it and factor in the expected delays in receiving checks to calculate how much cash you must have at hand to pay your employees till then.

Most importantly, run an analysis of how your customers and major stakeholders will be impacted and, in turn, how that would impact your business. Prepare for at least 3 months into the future so you can better adjust to any new developments. Since predictions of the economic impact of COVID-19 vary greatly, prepare for the worst but don’t expect it to unfold.

Stay Informed

Keep yourself apprised of the latest updates and always keep in mind the veracity of the source of information. Update employees regularly as changes are needed instead of assuming that they have access to the same information as you do.

Create Worst-Case Contingency Plans

The COVID-19 crisis has underlined the importance of creating contingency plans and strategies for handling crisis situations. We have seen unexpected events like sudden lockdowns, unanticipated quarantines due to travel history and contact with an infected individual, and much more in these last few weeks. Your business needs continuity plans that constantly look ahead and evolve quickly in response to changing circumstances.

Businesses on ground zero of the pandemic and those in the worst-affected countries have witnessed the merits of a cross-functional team managing scenario and contingency planning. Remove the bureaucratic hurdles and create a small trusted team of top management officials to quickly formulate and implement tactical decisions. This will circumvent all delays caused by internal coordination. Such a team must consider the pandemic’s impact on employees, manage finances, the supply chain, and marketing. Not only do you need this team to plan out your business’ response for the next few weeks but you also need this team to create scenarios for different trigger events in order to be better prepared for the future.

Most importantly, don’t be resistant to changing plans rapidly. During pandemics, changing plans do not indicate indecisiveness but rather a fast response to new developments. Time-stamped live documents are the best way to go. Don’t delay your business’ response so much that the underlying information becomes outdated.

Document any key learning points and scenario responses to ensure that the company is prepared for the future. This way you will not have to start from scratch if you ever face a similar situation in the future.

Conclusion

There is good news on the horizon. If people and goods have started moving again in China 6 weeks after the initial outbreak, we can expect improvement in other regions of the world as well. However, it is absolutely crucial to learn from the companies who have successfully weathered the storm and not make the same mistakes as others did before us.

Feel free to suggest any other tips that may help businesses cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in the comments down below. Stay safe!

Losing sales because of your website

Your Website Is the Reason Why You’re Losing Sales

By | Administrative Support, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Ecommerce Support Services, Entrepreneurship, Freelancing, Marketing Virtual Assistant, Social Media, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

7 stages of the purchase process where you’re driving customers away

These days, if you don’t have a website for your business, product, or service, you are losing out on 81% of your potential customer base; who research their purchase online before buying it. Having a website, however, can prove to be a double-edged sword if you are unfamiliar with website development. A business unconversant in the common assumptions customers derive from website design may inadvertently cause itself to look untrustworthy or obsolete.

There are a host of reasons why investing in ecommerce website development is a good idea for every business. The development, design and code of your website affects every stage of the customer purchase process.

1. The numbers make sense

A quick Google search will lead you to thousands of ecommerce website development agencies; large and small. There will always be someone willing to work within your budget, who can make the website according to your business’ needs. One thing is certain; professional website development always provides return on investment far beyond what you expect. An attractive website lands more leads onto your website, introduces them to your products or services, and converts them into customers.

Trying to set up your own website is like stabbing in the dark for most businesses (unless you’re a web developer yourself). You’re bound to make mistakes, redo things, or give up on having what you think will work best for your business. Hiring a web developer within your budget from the beginning will avoid potentially expensive mistakes and re-dos later.

2. You don’t stand out if you use a template

While there are tons of website templates available on the internet, using one without making any changes to it is not a good idea. Your website needs to mesh seamlessly into your business identity, and a developer will help you make the changes necessary to optimize the website for your business.

Using a template as-is also makes your website incredibly forgettable. Each template you see on the internet (especially one which seems attractive) has been used by hundreds, if not thousands of other businesses. Making your website seem exactly like theirs does not help you stand out in the customer’s mind. Using industry-specific templates compounds this problem by making you forgettable within your niche. Therefore, creating a website that makes your business stand out due to its design will require investment in ecommerce website development.

3. Visitors don’t make it to your website

You’d have heard the buzzword “search engine optimization” everywhere these days. People think it means utilizing keywords and paying for advertisements, but rarely realize that your website visibility on major search engines is inextricably linked with the design you choose for it. Clunky and obsolete design and coding pushes your website lower on the search rankings.

Google, for example, assesses the quality of your landing pages when determining your website’s search engine ranking. It is important to partner with an ecommerce website development agency familiar with search engine optimization; or potential customers will not be able to find your website through search engines.

Why is ecommerce website development necessary?

4. Your website’s first impression may be unappealing

When 66% of all potential customers prefer a beautiful design over a plain one, it is worth looking at making your website appear modern and appealing. Your website is often the first impression potential customers, who have myriad distractions online, receive about your business.

Your website needs to appear attractive on all devices. 88% of customers in an Adobe poll said they used multiple screens to access websites. A further 73% of people require the content to display well on whichever device they are using to visit websites. Professional ecommerce website development will ensure that your content is optimized for display on all devices; so that customers do not turn to your competitor’s websites instead.

5. Customers don’t engage with an unprofessional website

If your content is unattractive or your website is difficult to navigate, 38% of people will stop engaging, and 35% will click off, according to the same Adobe State of Content Report. However, if you think you can make content attractive by merely utilizing videos or inserting high-quality graphics, you would be cannibalizing your website’s position on search engine rankings. Website design needs to straddle the fine line of attractiveness and ease of loading– if your website is bogged down by content, it will load slowly, and Google will kick it right off the front page of search results. Partnering with an ecommerce website development agency that is right for your business will help you avoid these pitfalls.

6. It hurts your brand image

As customers keep navigating your website and use it to consider products or make purchases, they form an opinion of your business, your customer service, your trustworthiness, and whether or not they want a long-term relationship with your company– all without meeting any person representing your company.

Brand Message

Your website is the best way of reaching out to all your current and potential customers with an organized brand message, especially new offers and products. A website can be designed in such a way as to not only sell the product or services but also to receive feedback about its utility. This would make your website and business appear cohesive and reliable.

Trustworthiness

Small mistakes like using a simple template, or forgetting to put a “Contact Us” section in places a customer would expect it, can make your website look unplanned and untrustworthy without you realizing it. An ecommerce website development agency will help you with its wealth of experience in this regard.

Customer Service

Your website also signals how you will treat your customers. Leads who have come across your page might leave it and go to a competitor instead if you haven’t communicated purchase and return policies clearly, for example. If you pride yourself on your customer service but have not managed to portray that on your website, you may be losing out on a lot of potential customers.

Niche Branding

A good ecommerce website makes clear from the homepage whether the customer will find what they are looking for. This helps you avoid unwanted traffic, so that your traffic-to-conversion rate is higher. Niche design for your industry is possible only through investing in ecommerce website development.

7. Visitors don’t convert into sales

All the considerations mentioned earlier combine to create a website experience that will either convert leads into customers, or drive them away to your competitors. When it comes to ecommerce website development, search engine optimization, and conversions, nothing beats experience. A good ecommerce website lands on the front page for search results, draws the customers onto the homepage, directs them easily and quickly to what they want, keeps them there through attractive design, allows them to get help whenever they need it, and familiarizes them with brand enough so that whenever they are ready to purchase, they choose that website. You have to bear all this in mind when creating an effective website for your company.

A buyer-oriented website is also instrumental in retaining customers. Every ecommerce business knows that retaining customers so that they make multiple purchases is much less costly than creating new buyers from scratch each time. A good website will do all the work of retaining customers for you.

That’s why you need to choose the right partner when creating your website. IdeasUnlimited provides unparalleled ecommerce website development services, with customized packages for your business; depending on the services you need. Our multilingual team can create your website in any major language and industry, no matter how small or large your business is. If, after creating your website, you need a team to manage ecommerce support or ecommerce customer support, our experienced global team can take care of all of your support needs.

5 Must-Have Tools to Globalize Your Business in 2020

By | Administrative Support, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Call Center for Small Business, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Globalization, Technical Support, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

What is the tool most commonly used in today’s world by individuals and commercial organizations? Very simple, the Internet!

The Internet has made so many tasks convenient and so many processes irrelevant in the business world. Ecommerce support is only one click away—be it multilingual support for your stakeholders or technical support for your customer care center. If you have high-speed internet connectivity and a functional operative system, 80% of your business is already global. Therefore, it is important to investigate a futuristic version of your business considering the global context and available digital tools in order to truly globalize your business.

Globalization 2.0 brings the world to your doorstep and the Internet brings a huge potential market to your work desk. It is now easier than ever to create and promote an international brand image. There are many innovations in the tech world to help digital businesses grow. Here are 5 main tools that will be help you globalize your business:

  1. Research Tools

Research, Research, Research, ACTION! Make this your business mantra and make Google your best friend.

Use research tools to analyze the perceptions and behaviors of your new and existing markets. You can use Google Trends to gauge the demand of your offerings in a specific location, or consumer barometer to read into consumers’ ecommerce behavior.

Another free online tool is Quartz Atlas. It provides a vast database on world demographics and helps you search for information using your relevant keywords. Moreover, the data is presented in the form of tables and charts, which you can customize using your own variables.

Other ecommerce research tools are priced but come with convenient payment plans and free trials. For instance, you can use Jungle Scout—which is most popular for product research, or SemRush—which gives you an insight about your industry’s top keywords and performance of your competitors based on their website.

Similarly, if you are interested in hiring a virtual team, research can help you harness the best of the best by guiding you where to locate your next star worker.

You can find a plethora of other software applications to help you gain more information about your competitors, your niche, your campaign, and product performance.

  1. Resource Management Tools

There are plenty of software and tools available in the market that help in organizing and monitoring resources. They prove helpful in carrying out budget controls, time management, human resource management, as well as data and document management.

Do you also need a solution for conducting audio and video meetings with your remote team members located in different time zones?

Project management software and tools are a good way of managing a remote team, tracking time, efficient communication, and resource management. Popular project management software such as Wrike, Monday.com, or Basecamp include helpful features like real-time chat and messaging, task assignment and progress tracking, document sharing and analyses. Moreover, a comprehensive set of integrations across different in-demand, cloud-based tools makes these software applications a more compelling option. Read more about the best project management tools here.

  1. Marketing Tools

Time has brought enormous innovation in marketing as well. The arrival of Big Data and interactive technology have refined the way marketing is carried out and innovation has introduced new techniques for acquiring and retaining customers.

Marketing tools can handle everything from social media automation to customer-company relationships and affiliate marketing.

In a nutshell, marketing tools for ecommerce sales should ideally relieve you from social media, content creation, SEO, and email campaigning stress. You should also be able to find and segment consumer data for better customer service and targeted marketing campaigns. Some of the most popular marketing tools today are:

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools

This set of tools are usually a composite of marketing tools, analytical tools, and research tools. They allow your business to have a systematic approach to managing all the information and interactions of your business with your customers, suppliers, and other businesses. Some examples are Intercom and Pipedrive.

Your customers are your bread and butter. For your business’ survival, it is important to reach out to your customers and meet their requirements. As a global business, you must use multiple communication channels to communicate with your customers. A customer management application (CRM) can help you aggregate all communications in one place and effectively deal with all the purchase, engagement, and feedback information. Look into a CRM before you take any other steps to globalize your business.

This allows your customer care center to prioritize and attend to customers who need immediate response. It also becomes easier to track the website traffic, consumer movement, and preferences in order to optimize their purchase experience and enhance customer loyalty.

CRM tools help the customer care center agents to:

methodically identify and work on prospective clients

build and retain loyal customers

understand customers’ requirements and their response to marketing campaigns

segment customers based on demographics and preferences and create personalized follow-ups.

  1. Coordination and Translation Tools

Important: Communication is the key!

All interaction with your customers, suppliers, and teams has to be timely, efficient, and clear. In order to globalize your business, your brand needs to possess a multilingual and multi-ethnic outlook. Your website should cater to native languages and norms of your target market. Also, your customer care center should be equipped to provide multilingual support to equally cater to all your customers across the globe.

Communication tools can help avoid unnecessary delays and misunderstandings. This results in identifying issues and resolving them in a timely fashion. Bilingual customer service or multilingual support can be invaluable too.

Other than project management and CRM tools, translation services, and coordination tools such as Calendar, Hangouts, and Skype can help your company boost its ecommerce sales.

For expanding internationally, it is important for you to distinguish between ‘time zones’ and ‘time relationship’. While everything is 5 minutes earlier in Germany, there is a more relaxed relationship with time in the global south. This is where coordination comes in. An efficient multilingual support service can easily handle both for you.

Global expansion is exciting and risky, but it is the best way to increase ecommerce sales.

Some of the abovementioned tools’ features overlap. Hence, it is important to critically analyze your business and its requirements. There are many more tools that you can use to streamline your activities and globalize your business. Choose the right tools from the start or contract a business service provider to take away these worries while you focus on your core activities and strategizing for going global.

Which tools do you use in your business? Let us know by commenting below.

How Remote Work Saved Me! Conquering All Odds

How Remote Work Saved Me! Conquering All Odds

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Employee Management, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way | No Comments
Shahzad Yaqoob (Nick)

                                                  LinkedIn: shahzadyaqoob/    Facebook: shahzad.yaqoob.39948
 Upwork: shahzadyaqoob
Email: shahzad@osbprovider.com

Shahzad Yaqoob (aka Nick) is an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a family man, and a human being with a strong resolve. He is an avid reader, a keen sports fan, and loves to spend time with his kids.

He has travelled across the oceans and built a remote career for himself, which no one except his brother believed could work out. He has been successful in establishing an award-winning company that not only offers a professional and flexible work environment but is productive and rewarding for all those involved—the IdeasUnlimited Family.

He is the founder and CEO of IdeasUnlimited, a business support services providing firm that is headquartered in Houston.

Self-discipline and a strong drive can help you overcome any situation and Shahzad proved that in quite short time. He has become an inspiration for all those who know him in a professional capacity.

A chat with him revealed much more about his struggles and relentless efforts to gain a reputable position for himself and help others see the light at the tunnel’s end.

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Social Anxiety and Remote Work

Nick's Story of How Remote Work Saved Him

Like me, most of you must have heard of and may have met people dealing with some kind of psychological struggle. But it is hard to fathom the agony they must be going through in order to meet day to day expectations as a family member and a worker. Typically, our society does not consider them fit to be a part of normal life.

Social anxiety impacts a worker’s life as soon as the day starts. A worker starts worrying about commuting to work, meeting people, deadlines, and the office environment. These worries also have spillover effects in their personal life.

It is usually advised to work on your anxiety disorders and then re-enter the workplace. However, it is neither financially nor professionally feasible. There are many different types of anxiety conditions but the proven key to success despite anxiety issues is to find an outlet and not let anxiety control your life.

Remote work has been a blessing in disguise for many of us facing geographical, health, and social constraints.

Shahzad had been struggling with acute social anxiety since his teenage years but in 2010 it worsened as a never-ending turbulence for his social existence. He was so perturbed that he could not contemplate any other solution other than ending everything, including his life.

As he left his regular job, he got called in for a part time remote job as an outbound caller. Halfheartedly, he accepted it and soon realized the opportunities that remote work could offer.

It gave me hope and that was a big thing… remote work can give you time to settle. You can explore the possibility of making likeminded friends or exploring other avenues of tackling social anxiety, or any other psychological or physical limitation you might have.

IdeasUnlimited’s existence shows me the importance of a support system in your life. It might be just one person. But someone to support and understand you, someone to show trust in your strengths and help you overcome your weaknesses, can take you a long way in life. For our CEO, this constant support has been from his brother. Today Shahzad considers all his colleagues as his support system, but it is primarily his brother, Shahid Yaqoob, who recognized Shahzad’s potential and guided him well at every step.

My brother has been the most positive influence in my life and career, my strongest support…I must thank my brother who helped transition everything without a hassle. I still look up to him for business advice…

IdeasUnlimited Making Lives Better

I had a chance to talk with Shahzad recently and it made me realize that everyone has their own battles and you never get a level field to achieve your ambitions. It is important to fall and then learn to stand tall. I realized that every company was once just an individual struggle, and every CEO-ship was once just a start…

In 2010, Shahzad took his brother’s advice and registered his company in USA. He worked day and night and built his credibility in the remote work industry and continued to build his team. Despite all hurdles, he stayed consistent and expanded his business to hundreds of workers from Pakistan, Philippines, India, USA, South America, and Europe.

I have been running this business remotely for nine years now! I manage call center locations myself in Karachi (Pakistan) and in Houston (USA), and then have partners run several call center locations in the Philippines.

Shahzad initially faced the common issues of remote team members. However, after sporadic work and trials and errors, IdeasUnlimited developed a very effective recruitment and monitoring process that facilitates competent workers in achieving the results expected by the clients. There is no discrimination and IdeasUnlimited promotes an inclusive workplace for anyone who is willing to unleash their potential and achieve results.

Now we have highly professional and trained HR and Administration teams, along with precisely tested processes to assure top productivity and efficiency, and a workforce that possess the required skills, attitude, and intent to do well.

Over time Shahzad has trained himself to stay calm and not let anxious thoughts take over his decision-making ability. He did not let initial failures deter his perseverance to achieve his dream. Interestingly, his dream has never been to succeed alone, it has always been about allowing people suffering in any way find HOPE for their future. And quitting was never an option.

This [quitting] never crossed my mind even when we went down to only one major project in 2013 for three to four months. We had a major downfall for no discernable reason, but quitting was just not an option.

The beauty of a struggle is that it helps you relate to those who are in the same boat. But the beauty of success comes when you work to let others be a part of the new possibilities too. It is when you build collaboratively to help others benefit from it as well. Shahzad proves how honest struggle creates empathy and the desire to improve the lot of others like you.

Knowing and having gone through such feelings [anxiety] and then finding remote work, which helped me gain my confidence back in life, has convinced me to show this path to others as well.

IdeasUnlimited in the Future

Shahzad often talks about mutual growth and giving back to society. He frequently initiates discussions about global social and economic concerns on the company’s platforms and I find him very ambitious towards finding solutions to major world problems. He envisions an inclusive company that provides opportunities for those with talent and one that sponsors education for orphans and the less fortunate all over the world.

He sees the remote work industry expanding in terms of innovation, coverage, and workforce. But he is looking forward to this industry getting globally regulated and judicated to meet new challenges of fraud and digital deception.

IdeasUnlimited is one of the highest-ranking companies for remote contracts and has recently won recognition on Clutch Awards and The Manifest. Shahzad thinks it is because of his team that his vision is gradually becoming a reality.

Shahzad values his workers and strictly believes in mutual growth. He always mentions each one of the senior members of his team in connection to IdeasUnlimited’s consistent upward track record.

With the same regard and passion, he wants to take the company forward in a way that it is rewarding for all those involved.

IdeasUnlimited is aspiring to become a company that meets the expectations of its clients at competitive pricing while the workers grow professionally, without being restricted by any personal circumstances.

Nick's vision for IdeasUnlimited

IdeasUnlimited gives me hope for all the conditioned workers in the labor force today—they too can work with a vibrant, growing company and build their remote careers. I will always be proud to have worked in an organization that values and builds its success with people, without discriminating or benching someone for something beyond their control.

It is a company that is future forward. It has the potency to help millennials choose their lifestyle as well as workstyle.

Shahzad Yaqoob has been successful in creating an organization that has commendable work ethics and quality of service while focusing on agility and technical standards required by their fast-paced, modern clients.

Shahzad has learnt the art of balancing life and work and not taking anything for granted. He is helping others strive for this balance too by believing in their strengths and conquering the odds set against them.

If you are interested in Shahzad’s complete narrative, you will find here a detailed question and answer session I had with the CEO of IdeasUnlimited. It is a story of his perseverance and personal struggles that have led to the success of many.

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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About IdeasUnlimited
Sustainable Hacks to Create a Green Business

Sustainable Hacks to Create a Green Business

By | Business Improvement, Business Sustainability | One Comment

Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be hard for a business owner.

Sustainability is vital for us companies to move forward in the future. Because of fossil fuel depletion, carbon dioxide emissions and the increasing costs of energy and water, business owners are making smarter decisions to be eco-friendly. Want to get started with your company? Here are four hacks to create a green business.

Green Cleaning

First, many cleaning products are toxic to the environment. This is why it pays to replace cleaning supplies with eco-friendly brands. “Some of [the green brands] may seem pricey but many are concentrated and will save money in the end,” explained Marla Tabaka. “The benefits include improved health, increased clarity, a reduction in allergic reactions and a healthier planet. A small price to pay.”

Green Packaging

Second, consider how to mail and ship products for wholesale or retail. PlasticsToday reported that there has been a trend toward sustainable packaging for shipping. Clare Goldsberry wrote, “Recycled content packaging is projected to have a significant share in the green packaging market. This segment has gained popularity owing to its benefits associated with reduced energy consumption and reduced carbon footprint.”

Green Travel

Third, make smart choices about how you travel for your business. Search USGBC for LEED Certified hotels that use renewable energy. Leave a light carbon footprint by not getting your hotel bed sheets changed daily, taking short showers, and turning off lights. During downtime, apps like GreenConcierge have eco-friendly tours of London and Paris for seeing the sites, going shopping, and dining out.

Green Communication

Finally, this is one of our favorite hacks to create a green business. Communicating with teams online allows companies to work across the globe without having to meet face-to-face. Use email as much as possible instead of printed letters. Use a video call system like Skype for meetings instead of traveling. Want to create an entirely online team? The support services at IdeasUnlimited offer 24/7 call center support, multilingual support, backend support, operational support, and more!

These four recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hacks to create a green business. Which ones are YOUR favorites? Comment below with your suggestions!