Category

Employee Management

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.

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 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.

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.

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

                                                  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.

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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The Future of Omnichannel Customer Support is NOW!

By | Backend Support Services, Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Employee Management, Entrepreneurship, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant | No Comments

Not very long ago, customer services were predicted to get revolutionized leaps and bounds by the end of next decade. The future is already here! A future-oriented customer service center focuses on all key aspects of modern consumer preferences delivered jointly, through groundbreaking interactive technology and optimally skilled call center support teams.

Plenty of new trends have infiltrated into customer services and support services over the time.  Many predictions were called and some of them have stood the test of time well. Digital innovation has transformed a customer service center in terms of communication channels, modes, services, time zones, and digital and human interactions.

Today, customer service is rapidly weaving into the core and unified systems of a business setup. Thanks to cloud-based technology, a customer service center is now a successful integration of skilled humans, innovative processes, and cutting-edge technology.

Creative disruption is playing a critical role in this integration. Work centers are decentralized, and innovation is elevating and sharing operations across desks and boundaries. In such an environment, a reliable firm can play a vital role in creating such synergy for you, and that too cost effectively. It can help you set a truly omnichannel customer experience by knitting marketing, PR, helpdesks, and social media together.

Why do you need a specialized customer service center if digitization is taking over? Let’s answer this question after we consider some features of a future-oriented customer service center that are proving to be absolutely necessary and seem to be bringing in the revolution at a faster pace:

  1. Personalized Omnichannel Support

Customer experience has been bombarded with several buzzwords, new concepts, and practices since last two decades. Creating value for customers has taken the forefront in service delivery and communication has become the key. This ‘communication’ is multifaceted and multichannel-ed; therefore, it is polarized into automation and live person-person talking.

Companies are using customer demographics extensively to sieve customers through their communication network. They have social media, telephone, and email to connect to its customers. With social media customer services as a first priority for Gen Z, Millennials preferring live chats and video calls, and Gen X reaching out to a live customer service representative, the newest ways of integrating social media, voice infrastructure, and CRM systems have to be worked on. However, telephonic conversations are a priority for they bring the most personalization, better Customer Effort Scores, and ease of shifting between mediums to resolve complex issues in a timely manner.

  1. Voiceprint Identification

There has been an exponential increase in the use of smart devices since 2000s and this will further increase by 2025. This takes us to the next aspect of personalization and customized customer support.

A future-oriented customer service center is now working towards ‘Token-ising’ the identity of a caller through voice recognition. This information is passed through the data channels and information is sorted and displayed for the customer service representative accordingly. This will help in end to end encryption, identification, and verification of data through core contact centers and CRM applications. Moreover, this helps the agents deliver exceptional level of personalized services without wasting time on gathering primary information each time. Long wait time for retrieving customer history puts off the modern consumer. Nor do they like repeating themselves at each interaction.

  1. Shopping the Customer Experience

Another complementary feature is the growing trend of letting the customers ‘shop customer service experience’ for themselves. This means customers can see a list of agents available, their characteristics, experiences, lingual skills, technical skills, location, and reviews. Depending upon their preferences, they can select an agent and a communication channel.

Customers can further decide if they want to share their profile with these agents for all future interactions and solutions. This signifies the worth and impact of quality human-to-human interaction. This also emphasizes the fact that consumers are not ready to compromise on time or quality of their interactions. They are comfortable in share their profiles if they expect credible value in return.

  1. Video Sessions

The key is to avoid any communication break, which might lead to customer churn. This has led to a movement between different communication mediums at a given time. Resultantly, there is a growing need to manage the shift from interactive channels to interactive sessions in customer dealings.

Nothing works in isolation in this new customer service center model. Therefore, these customer engagement sessions can start from an interactive self-help library search and move to real time

chat, then to voice and video chat in one complete session.  A smart contact customer service center needs to incorporate video support calls, which will be the main differentiator of premium services.

Video calling will be augmented through rich data, content, and tools. Just like telephonic conversation with a customer service representative, looking at an agent on your mobile screens will help develop a better and more emotionally stronger bond of understanding and credibility for the customers. It will help meet the quintessential need to employ technology but keep the human contact intact.

Future of Customer Service Center - IdeasUnlimited
  1. Data Enrichment and Advanced Analytical Tools

Data Enrichment and Big Data are proving to be game changers. Tools for capturing data, analysis, and transforming insights into valuable actions for customer experiences will continue to gain importance. Detailed analysis is required for understanding customer journeys, identifying bottlenecks, improving customer touch points, and reducing customer effort in order to increase brand loyalty.

Customer feedback and survey analysis, social media traffic analysis, and text and speech analytics can help in highlighting issues as well as in bringing continuous improvements in the future. Smart workers in smart contact centers will be able to generate and handle data analytics in a sophisticated manner to yield maximum benefits for the company. A well-rounded team in a customer service center can not only record data but also gather individual and specific feedbacks and use advanced tools for results.

  1. Proactive Sales and Marketing

The customer service center is also becoming a part of proactive sales and marketing operations. It helps businesses monitor and track service or product usage to offer resubscriptions, updates, or repairs. These marketing offers target customer engagement and customer loyalty by making it easier for customers to decide, purchase, and use.

This task is informed through data analytics but captured by humans sitting in a customer service center. Your future-oriented customer service center requires a unified system of information exchange and strategy to provide value to their customers in order to build brand value.

All the above-mentioned features are the uncontested need of the hour and requirement to be part of the future. It is very evident that human factor has not been and cannot be discounted when it comes to the future of customer services.

To step into the future you require a technically adaptive customer service center, where a multitasking agent can competently resolve complex issues by escalating between channels and take a customer interaction from start to finish without breaks. As you cannot drop communication to change channels, you can also not drop communication to change agents.

A 24/7 diverse and dedicated multilingual customer service center is not just an add-on to reap the benefits of globalized business environment, it has become the necessity and a basic need for globalized business operations. You do not have to wait any further to shift to a more sophisticated, and digitally advanced customer support that is inclusive of the winning human factor. Contact a specialized call center support provider and get a customized solution right away!

Partnerships That Build Value in Healthcare Transformation

By | Administrative Support, Call Center for Small Business, Customer Service, Employee Management, Healthcare Call Center Support, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Medical Virtual Assistant, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Time Management, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

The healthcare industry is busy responding to the growing expectations of their patients. Like other evolving industries, this industry is also facing demands of personalized care, convenience, value add-ons and options. Patients now are actively involved in informed decision-making, owing to the influx of online reviews and ratings and self-payments.

Current healthcare consumers research and look for a provider that can consistently provide them a good experience. The significant decrease in funding, rising self-payments, copayments and deductibles, have resulted in a greater demand for finding healthcare options at competitive rates.

Resultantly, healthcare providers are working to create better relations with the patients based on trust and reliability. Studies have shown that long-term patient relations uplift revenue and are directly affected by improved and coordinated care delivered by engaged workers.

Patient Experience

From the point that an individual starts looking for a healthcare service to the time care is delivered, everything constitutes the patient experience. On the basis of this patients decide whether they have been satisfied with the facility or physician’s practice or not.

Positive patient experience is an important goal in itself. Every interaction with the healthcare system adds to the patient experience. This includes their health plans, insurance policy, treatment from doctors, nurses and general hospital staff, laboratories and other healthcare facilities.

Healthcare processes and outcomes such as clinical diagnosis and outcomes, medical advice, and safety practices are the obvious factors that structure a patient’s experience with any health provider. However, another very important set of factors is often neglected during medical services delivery: Communication and Administrative Support Services. Patients expect a service that is not only available but also respectful, convenient, and compliant with their preferences and special needs.

IU Healthcare Call Center Support - Important Stats

Many CAHPS studies have shown significant results that link

  • good communication
  • timely appointments and follow ups
  • easy access to information, and
  • immediate response from the providers

to positive patient experience. Therefore, it is mandatory to look at each aspect of delivery and association between patients and healthcare providers. In order to improve and deliver overall care services to engender positive patient experiences, non-medical staff also has to be trained and motivated to deliver effective support services to the healthcare seeker.

Employee Engagement and Quality of Patient Experience

Quality patient experience and employee engagement are two positive forces that reinforce each other. Among other macro benefits, this cycle also benefits the facility with lower employee turnover, greater patient and employee satisfaction, improved medical processes and systems, and certainly, an improved bottom-line.

Research has shown that employee engagement motivates and develops the current workforce to perform better. All healthcare staff, be it administrative support, general support services, nurses or physicians, needs to be empathetic, professional and efficient. Engagement of employees—at all tiers—influences them to do their best and provide medical care in the most personal and effective manner. In short, employee engagement is an important goal that leads to the achievement of another goal: Quality Patient Experience.

If a patient rates your facility 5 stars for the great care experience they received, then it’s a win-win for all. Researches have shown that organizations with engaged employees report a lower mortality rate around the world. Similarly, the incidence of medical errors also reduces, which is the third largest reason of deaths in US today, after cancer and heart diseases.

Evaluation of a complete healthcare quality picture shows substantial proof that many aspects of non-medical tasks and services are also key determinants of a quality patient experience. When a care seeker reaches out to any healthcare facility, they expect immediate response and effective solutions. Quality interaction with the administrative support team and hospital reception, as first contact points, are as significant as the medical procedures for a positive patient and family experience.

Stress-Free Work Environment

It is not only doctors and nurses who work under pressure in a medical facility, non-medical staff that renders support services is equally taking the physical and mental toll of the work pressure.

Here it is important to understand that employee engagement is a long-term process that can yield customer-focused, profit-generating benefits in the longer run. Thus, it is not a human resources initiative that can be implemented every year or so. In fact, it is a cultural change—strategically embedded motivators that influence the employee’s performance, patient-focus, safety measures, accomplishments, and continuous improvement throughout the year.

One of the main determinants of employee engagement is a stress-free work environment that helps the employee work hard, in an efficient and timely fashion. Such an environment filters unnecessary delays and miscommunications. It fosters cordial coworker relations, teamwork, employee development, and quality patient care. Resultantly, a healthcare facility needs to invest in tools, resources, and trainings that would generate such a conducive environment.

Support staff like receptionists and other administrative support workers, accounts service providers, customer service staff, and technical support staff knit the work pattern and culture in a healthcare organization. Their duties are as vital as those of the medical staff. Their support and coordination for carrying out medical processes and delivering positive patient and family experiences is invaluable.

Patients and families are not very satisfied or cooperative when:

  • they are not immediately connected to the right medical staff,
  • when their inquiries are not answered satisfactorily, or
  • they face problems in clearing payments.

Online and telephone inquiries, data entry and coordination, insurance claims, appointment scheduling, follow ups and feedback, are some of the repetitive, routine tasks that take up a major chunk of your support services employees’ energy and time. These tasks seem very basic but are most crucial in improving patient satisfaction. During busy hours it becomes difficult for administrative support teams to catch up and coordinate with medical staff and patients simultaneously. Similarly, insurance claims, ERM and feedback calls exact a considerable toll on hospital resources and manpower.  With multiple insurance plans, multilingual and multiethnic patient groups, it is not easy to multitask and deliver care process timely. Running on tight budgets with several safety and coordination concerns, support services at a healthcare provider need to be most organized, relaxed, and efficient.

You must free up the time and resources for your healthcare administrative support workforce so that they don’t feel trapped or overwhelmed. It is more important to let them focus on core care activities and their specializations. A support services employee who is not overburdened or burned-out will feel more engaged and will endeavor to give personalized advice, directions, and full attention to each case.

What are you waiting for? Make the changes to your set up today so that you are not left behind as the healthcare industry evolves. Overwhelmed? Contact an expert healthcare call center support provider to get a customized solution for your business.

Careers on the Spectrum: All Abilities Welcome at IdeasUnlimited

By | Employee Management, Inclusive Workforce, The IU Way | No Comments

For as long as I can remember, I was ‘different’: from my family, my friend group, from even my small Christian college campus. ‘Different’ was not always bad though. My mom called me unique, but I grew up with the belief that unique just meant to be funny or a great writer. I had a small group of close friends and I put my brains to good use on the Speech Team as a debater. But with all of those strengths, I found myself frustrated at my inability to succeed at math, the difficulty I faced in learning how to drive, or how initiating friendships was a struggle. I came into adulthood accepting these flaws, yet I still wanted answers. After a visit with a health

professional, what were stereotypical behaviors that girls are raised to believe they are not going to excel in turned out to be something else: Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, a spectrum disorder.

I am an individual with high functioning autism.

It took time to accept the label, but it didn’t change who I was. It just led to an awareness of my deficits and how to work on them, which has become a gift. Many non-diagnosed individuals struggle with their own setbacks but lack the impetus to fix them. That peek into who I am deep down has saved me from personal pain but has also been an asset in the workplace since it objectively sets boundaries and highlights the areas where I really shine. Marcie Ciampri, an autism expert, has argued that companies “should look into bringing on an autistic as a community manager (or similar job title), to serve as an autism expert during company-wide meetings, managerial sessions, and/or monthly newsletters” (ERE Media, 2018).

IdeasUnlimited has empowered me to take my experiences and develop full-fledged company-wide projects aimed at recruiting individuals with other mental and developmental health concerns. I have been able to lend immediate diversity within my work environment and dramatically alter the conversation since “hiring a neurodiverse workforce involves not just understanding commonly known aspects about autism but knowing the possible reasons behind the facts” (ERE Media). My methods may be misunderstood, but they are also innovative. Within IdeasUnlimited, I have developed a sense of purpose without having to sacrifice who I am.

IdeasUnlimited is a progressive company that is not only having a conversation on mental health, but we are living it through actions. By educating our staff on disabilities and placing a priority on recruiting individuals with disabilities, we are following HR Management best practices and investing in the global community. I have personally seen an investment in my own life as I have been tasked with the responsibility to lead over numerous projects. Many autistic individuals get pigeonholed as the ‘techie’ in the workplace, but “they are as unique in their skills and aptitudes as any other human being” (ERE Media). I love administrative-type duties, and to utilize my creative writing skills and I get to do that every day. I get paid to play, and not everyone is blessed to say that. We work hard every day at IdeasUnlimited to create an inclusive, adaptive environment where our expectations/values are clear so that any candidate could jump right in.

Preparing for Employees Going on Annual Leave

9 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Employees Going on Holiday Leave

By | Business Improvement, Call Center Support, Employee Management, Time Management, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Last year’s holiday season retail sales in the US alone topped $161 billion and 43% shoppers supported small businesses on Small Business Saturday. With the holiday season coming up, now is the time to plan out a company strategy to ensure you have backup staff handling essential business activities at all times.

Figures for Holiday Season Retail Sales

You don’t have to dread the holiday season when your employees go on leave, when the company’s manpower is down and productivity seems to nosedive. Simply follow our tips that we’ve practiced and improved upon through trial and error over 8 years of operations and you will be well prepared. You can easily handle holiday leave while maintaining a healthy culture and employer brand.

  1. Use a Workforce Management Software

Using a scheduling and staffing software or even a shared Google calendar can make your life infinitely easier. This way you won’t have clashes in scheduling vacations and can plan accurately in advance for holidays. Most workforce management software applications have additional features like communication, task management, and time reporting. Here is our rundown of some effective software applications:

Deputy

With unlimited users, shift swapping, forecasting and QuickBooks integration, Deputy is a mobile platform that can cut your time spent scheduling considerably. It is perfect for small to medium businesses employing shift workers.

When I Work

Offering templates and shortcuts with its mobile and desktop adaptive platform, When I Work is also integrated with some POS and Payroll systems and has a very intuitive user interface (UI).

Quinyx

It allows you to schedule work keeping in mind employee contracts and working time directives. You can also set up an optimal schedule matching the best employee to the most appropriate task and set up a staffing schedule taking expected sales into account.

 

TrackSmart

Their online time and attendance management software allows for scheduling based on employee availability and job skills. You can even set up recurring schedules. All these are accessible from all devices 24/7. These smarter schedules will ensure you are never understaffed, even for the holiday season.

 

  1. Be Transparent

Make sure you communicate your holiday leave policy and vacation policy to your employees as soon as they are hired. Is it first come first served? Are there any vacation blackout periods when no vacation requests would be entertained due to an expected rise in traffic or a special project? Will you be encouraging them to take their vacation in the slower periods? Communicating all this in advance will be fairer and more acceptable to your employees. Make sure any vacations are granted judiciously—with employees fully cognizant of the decision-making criteria—after due deliberation and without any favoritism.

  1.  Set a Deadline

Set a deadline by which employees can request holiday leave. Depending on your needs, this can be anywhere from a few days to several weeks before the staff wants to use leave time. This deadline should be far enough in advance for you to ensure that it does not affect a project’s productivity or deadline and you are not understaffed. Also cap the number of employees of each specialization who can take off at the same time.

  1. Get Pertinent Information

When an employee puts in a leave request, request a report on current projects. Ask them how they plan to meet deadlines before they head out the door. Nicolas Gremion told SmallBizTrends that this process “gives me piece of mind that their absence won’t be problematic and they can leave knowing that they’ve tied up any loose ends.”

Get a detailed breakdown of projects they are currently working on, tasks to be performed, access details for pertinent files and accounts, deadlines for current projects, important contact information, and any other information needed by the employees covering the vacationers’ jobs. Create a checklist of these that each vacationing employee can tally against before leaving.

Project NameDeadlineTasks to be PerformedContact PersonContact InformationAccess Details
AccountPassword
Project 1
Project 2
Project 3
  1. Delegate Tasks

Then make sure that someone is covering for the missing employee. Sometimes, that requires handing off tasks and projects to a few different people in the office instead of asking one person to do the work of two. Crosstrain employees in preparation for the upcoming holiday season, ensuring that the backup employee is fully conversant with the appropriate project training manual.

  1. Trade-off

Trade-off between your employees. Some employees may have important commitments at other times of the year that they can take time off for and then work during the holiday season. Allow employees with similar job descriptions to trade off their vacations with each other, one picking up the slack when the other is on leave. Stagger your employee vacations so you always have coverage; allow some to work the morning shift, some the afternoon shift, or schedule one set of employees for the first few days of the week and the other for the rest of the weekdays during the holiday season.

  1. Offer Incentives for Working Employees

Give cash bonuses, extra paid leaves redeemable after the holiday season, and other incentives for those willing to work during the most popular vacation periods. This will ensure that you have a productive skeleton staff even during the heart of the holiday season. It will also boost the morale of those who have to work over the holidays when the other employees are on leave and enjoying themselves.

  1. Hire Temporary Support

In some cases, you can even hire a temporary virtual assistant to pick up the slack in an employee’s absence. Especially in the retail industry, business booms in the holiday season and having employees on holiday leave can cause a stress on operations. Hire a qualified virtual assistant to take care of ecommerce sales, provide administrative and operational support, or even act as a virtual receptionist service during the holidays.

You can even hire a temporary call center operator or a customer service center to handle customer service, field incoming calls, generate leads, and make telemarketing calls to take advantage of the boost in sales in the holiday season.

Having part-time staff as backup all year round is always a sound decision, so they can come in if you have any shortages and during the holiday season when most employees are on leave.

  1. Prep for the Manager’s Leave

What if the manager is the one going on leave? We suggest that you let your employees know far enough in advance so they can prepare. Make the manager’s calendar public so that the staff will know when he or she will be back. Ask the manager to train the second-in-command to pick up the slack. The administrative support staff must also be familiarized with how to handle certain tasks while the manager is out of the office, such as where to direct calls and how to respond to requests. Then, consider having a protocol for an emergency, so employees can determine when to call the manager while he or she is on leave.

With these tactics, you can ensure that handling the holiday season won’t be such a hassle. Let us know down below what some best practices are that you have seen or used for handling employee leave during the holiday season.