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Virtual Assistant Support

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.

5 Tips for Winning the B2B Sales Marathon

By | B2B Sales, Backend Support Services, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Marketing Virtual Assistant, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Sales is tricky and difficult; and when you throw in a whole board of stakeholders and a hefty analysis for ROI, it becomes a lot more complicated, expensive, and strategic on both ends. B2B sales are a marathon of researching, connecting, marketing and selling, and certainly not a sprint.

B2B sales involve selling the idea of your product/service up the line towards the CEO or across the line towards the manager, depending on the size of your prospective client’s business. Despite the direction, your pitch has to go across many individuals and has to be convincing for all of them to be closed successfully.

It is more difficult in the B2B sales environment to plan your pitch and offer value to your clients. Generally, a B2B sales pitch is presented to a group of 6-10 stakeholders. Here your sales agent does not face an individual but a board or committee of different individuals who have diverse personalities, perspectives, and stakes regarding your offer. As an individual consumer has changed over time, business as a buyer has also evolved. B2B interactions have become more refined and are not linear anymore.

There are some general techniques that are followed by almost all sales teams to pace the first miles of their B2B marathon. The following checklist can help you warm up and build your momentum:

 Shorten response time for the buyer query

 Undertake detailed research about the buyer

 Understand your buyer’s preferences and resources

 Research your competitors

 Prepare your sales team

 Take the marketing team onboard

As the marathon crosses to the last few laps, the competition gets tougher. That is when your prospective client has gathered the information they were looking for and has shortlisted the options for their purchase decision. It is this time when losers and winners will be distinguished on the basis of their agility and technique!

These are 5 very important basics that you must know for winning your B2B sales Marathon:

  1. Easy, High Quality Information

Key Lesson: Make sure you provide the right information in the right way and at the right time, to earn trust, leverage consensus, and win sales.

As a basic step, look thoroughly at all of your company’s media and mediums to ensure that they dispense high quality information about your products and services. This can also include information about your company, completed projects, and old or existing clients.

Moreover, this information should be easily accessible by your clients. Your potential client should not have to flip page upon page to find the information they require.

Research proves that the easy availability of high-quality information for the business buyers can help make their purchasing experience less complex and difficult. 77% of businesses report their purchasing process as tiresome and complicated. Also, each member of the buying group searches a few sources and then cumulates the information together to understand the pros and cons. 95% buying groups reported that they often need to reconsider their decisions because they chance upon some new information due to inconsistencies.

Therefore, it is not only important to have valuable information for your clients but also to detangle it and provide it to them in a consolidated, easy, and presentable form to save their time and efforts. This builds the supplier firm’s credibility as well.

  1. Buyer Enablement

Key Lesson: For winning more B2B sales deals, look into ways of providing prescriptive tools and immediate practical support for each critical buying step of their entire buying process.

The concept of Buyer Enablement refers to facilitating potential clients in undertaking buying tasks. It shifts the responsibility to the seller’s side to provide relevant and useful information to the clients and create processes that favor their client and not their salesmen.

This has become a competitive edge, a differentiating factor for B2B sales. With so many alternatives and options available, it is crucial for a vendor to quickly respond to the buyers and not let them suffer through a tedious and poor experience to get information about hows or whats.

Business buying is a complete process that is divided into several tasks and jobs. In order to win big in today’s B2B sales environment, supplier organizations should facilitate the clients in their buying processes. It goes beyond provision of consistent quality information.

This may include augmenting their research and information by providing on-site tools for:

  • Simple data analysis
  • Basic diagnostics for assessing performance
  • Basic diagnostics for analyzing alternatives
  • Connecting to other stakeholders
  • Data for comparisons
  • Simulation: how the solution will help the client’s specific needs

Look at it this way, as a supplier you study and anticipate the needs of your modern buyer groups. Resultantly, you are curating a set of interactive and analytical tools for your clients to use on the spot. This is in addition to easy-to-navigate and relevant information that is provided for them to be able to make appropriate decisions faster and without difficulty of moving back and forth.

  1. Trustworthy Digital Presence

Key Lesson: Tap into all the opportunities of B2B Ecommerce by partnering with an experienced ecommerce support services providing company.

Since you are aiming for many closed deals and increasing positive leads in the pipeline, give priority to your digital presence as well. Ensure the credibility, trust, and authenticity that is generated through your online channels.

This is a part of buyer enablement: you help them find the insights that will enable them to better understand the features and relevancy of your offer. Millennial buyers will not trust your sales representative as much as they will trust the reviews on

your social accounts. 15% of a buying process time is spent on gathering information and discerning the truth. Therefore, it is imperative that you work on generating authentic reviews and materials such as relatable case studies and case reviews for your clients to read.

Let a specialist take care of social media accounts and website creation and maintenance. It is never a one-time cost to keep your online presence relevant and updated. Therefore, to stay focused on clients’ preferences and to avoid the added burden of keeping up with the social media trends, it is better to consider contracting options. This will ensure continuous sales, digital and omnichannel support for your business.

  1. No one shoe fits all

Key Lesson: Let clients be the choosers. Offer them communication options and solutions and let them select.

Another important factor is how you communicate and build different channels of communication for your clients. Your organization as well as sales team should be able to offer several ways for communicating with the prospective buyer.

Rapport building is a must for sales, right? However, in order to facilitate the buyer and to keep the information crisp and precise, let your client have his own time for gathering and processing information. Let them choose their preferred way of communication, be it on call, email, or chat. Some people might prefer a one-on-one meeting each time to gain confidence in you.

Similarly, it should be only a click away to get a response, solution, or an explanation from your sales team. This means instead of leaving a form to be filled, which will receive a response in 3-5 days or may be even later, give them a direct link or call option that will be catered to right away by the right people at your organization. For example, giving choices, something like this, to the buyer to connect with your organization according to their needs and convenience puts them at ease and lets them choose what suits their buying job (and schedule) best.

The idea is to not try and fix every buyer group with same options. Customize your way of dealing and solutions as per the client’s requirements.

  1. Train the Sales Team to Listen and Help

Key Lesson: Never undermine the importance of a competent sales team in a B2B sales environment. Invest in continuous training or contracting a reliable service provider to build a talented and professional workforce.

Here comes the most important part. It is all-encompassing and all-inclusive. All the relevant and easily available information will be, in fact, counterproductive if your sales personnel are not able to demonstrate authentic customer success.

Your sales representatives should be able to anticipate the needs and navigate through the buyer’s purchase cycle. They must be able to communicate effectively and understand the demands of your clients and how they view themselves and their challenges. Listening to them will enable the sales team to work on the clients’ success and show them how your products or services can elevate their operations. 69% buyers say that the only way to convince them is by listening to them.

Working through a purchase cycle and listening to the clients may not actually lead to sales. But it is crucial when you consider long term growth of your company, positive word of mouth, and professionalism.

To meet the expectations of your contemporary clients, build or hire a team that is competent, able to multitask, can converse in multiple languages, shows curtesy and understanding, and professionally handles queries and clients.

Moreover, depending upon the size and type of your operations, your sales team needs to be equipped with a set of analytical and virtual tools to help them become more productive, collaborative and results oriented. For quality leads in the pipeline and to score more sales, investing in your teams’ skills is crucial. It requires training them to satisfy multiple concerns effectively and in a timely manner. It also involves focus on training and mentoring your sales operators and sales teams to create a pleasant experience for your potential clients, which may or may not convert into closed sales.

As B2B sales is becoming digital and more complex, work on the strengths of your organization and portray them in the best light to your prospective clients. Collaborating with a support services provider takes away the worries of specialized tasks that can be expensive and an added burden if handled in-house. Investing in your website and social media management, sales team support, multilingual support and data entry, and analytical backup can take you a long way in achieving growth and an enviable market standing.

Best Project Management Software and Tools for a Remote Team in 2019

By | Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Customer Service, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

A New Era and the Use of Project Management Software and Tools

Ever wondered how technology has encompassed every field of life today? For businesses, small or big, technology has enhanced the way teams are created and the way they work. Projects can now be delivered by a remote team spread across the globe, an in-house team, or a combination of both.

How is that convenient, you ask? Are you also wondering if such work arrangements will be productive?

The global remote workforce has been growing over the last few years because collaborative and interactive technologies have dissolved all geographical barriers to create efficient virtual workspaces. Reports on remote work show that 35% companies have currently employed a remote workforce, while 89% respondents are involved in fulltime or part time remote or virtual work. Moreover, a remote team shows 10-43% higher productivity as compared to an in-house team.

Benefits of Project Management Software and Tools for a Remote Workforce

Are project management tools effective for virtual teams?

Project management is difficult with an in-house team, and with virtual teams it becomes even more overwhelming. But technology provides the ideal solution. An ideal project management software helps a remote team in project planning, time management, resource allocation, and change management. As virtual workspaces are here to stay, effective project management is a must to build a remote workforce that is competitive, responsive, and successful. A good project management software serves to overcome the time-consuming communication issues and aids in efficiently streamlining processes and tasks.

Project management software and tools serve as a classic solution for keeping things organized and meeting deadlines—leading to greater profitability. Just like for an on-site team, the benefits of using project management software and tools for a remote workforce are innumerable:

 Better planning, execution, and monitoring

 Maintaining work schedules

 Better and clearer delegation of tasks

 Better collaboration

 Efficient problem solving

 Meeting deadlines

 Faster delivery of projects

 Better evaluation of performance

To give you a head start, we have compiled a list of the best project management software and tools for managing a team, especially a remote workforce. These have been handpicked based on ease of use, agility and advanced features, free trials, and quality of customer support.

Wrike is a cloud-based leading project management solution for team collaboration that serves well for both in-house and remote workers. It has won the Best Project Management Software award in 2018 and has 99% positive user reviews. It has a user-friendly, convenient interface, easy set up, and it works just as well on mobile devices. Wrike provides tutorials, documents, and live webinars for training.

It works well for prioritization, visualizing workflows, and analyzing results. Wrike’s features such as Gantt Charts, templates, built-in time tracking tool, scalability, and workload view are equally popular among project members and project managers.

It also offers cost-to-completion tracking for better budget management. Therefore, it has a dual functionality as a resource management cum project management tool. Wrike is a comprehensive software which comes with flexibility and customization to suit each team’s needs. Furthermore, it gives you the flexibility to easily integrate with various tools.

It is particularly beneficial for a virtual workspace because of its many data management and collaborative features. It helps in creating a remote team that is self-sufficient and productive.

Teams up to 5 members can reap its benefits for free. Bigger teams or enterprises can try it and then opt for a professional plan. However, reviews show it works best for marketing and design teams with 20+ members. It comes with a 24/7 support through a live customer service representative, which most definitely is a big plus!

Previously known as Dapulse, Monday.com has revived its image and has emerged as a fun, visually appealing, intuitively easy to use, and organized project management resource.

It offers collaboration and communication tools and provides integration with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack.

It is popular for remote workforce management because it is easily customizable, provides in-built tracking and monitoring, and can seamlessly become part of any established software system.

With a common dashboard, centralized communication and data management, the entire team stays in the loop. Different bright colors for each project stage, easy to add to-do lists, and member-designated tasks help the teams efficiently plan their timeline and use resources.

Its strongest feature is a URL mirrored Mobile Application. This is invaluable for those who are always on the move—as is the case for most remote workers. Monday.com offers the same interface on mobile as on PC/laptop, edging Monday.com over its competitors because of the easy integration and connectivity with the team.

It is most popular with creative agencies but is equally convenient for all other industries. It does offer a free trial and has different plans depending upon the features required and number of team members. Users find Monday.com intuitive but in case you have any difficulties, its robust customer service is always available to respond to queries.  This excellent and reachable customer service sets them apart from many other viable options.

This is one of the cloud-based software from Zoho with a focus of providing all basic features of project management. It has a simple pricing plan for both the web and mobile applications.

With clear user design, its best feature is its strong integration with other services from Zoho as well as Google and Microsoft. Moreover, the in-built chat option saves the user the hassle of opening external tools and keeps things simpler and timely.

It helps a remote team become organized through its time tracking, problem resolution, and document management tools. Progress tracking is also easy and quick due to easy-to-access Gantt charts, reports and analyses, and individual workflows.

It has a multiple view option and the members can choose their own style, depending on their preference for tasks lists. Impressively, Zoho Projects has shown continuous improvements, giving its users a better interface with many stable, customizable, and advanced features.

Along with tutorial videos and webinars, it also provides in-person trainings for the optimum use of the software. It has a free version for unlimited users, but the features remain restricted. For paid plans, you can enjoy a 10-day free trial to see if the plan suits your specifications or needs any revision. All their plans are flat rate and are very cost effective for larger teams.

Do you often find yourself scrambling at the last minute while trying to manage routine tasks and organizing work schedules for your remote team?

Asana might be a solution to your needs. It is another popular cloud-based project management suite that effectively helps you track the progress of your remote team and meet targets. It offers a simple layout, where all project and task details can be added for easy view.

The easy, flexible layout and mapped-out details for each task benefit the team in staying organized, identifying and rectifying any loopholes or errors, and adjusting schedules instantaneously. Thus, a remote team not only collaborates through Asana but efficiently completes a project by setting priorities, adjusting work structure, and assigning tasks—eliminating overlaps and delays. For routine tasks, a process timeline can be used and

shared as a template for all similar future tasks.

Asana can tie it all together for you with more than a hundred tools for integration, be it email, file sharing, data security, anything you can think of! It has gained popularity among small as well as large businesses and has 96% user satisfaction reports. It also acts as a resource management and collaboration software. Moreover, the mobile application helps with real-time updates and tracking.

It has a basic free version, while the premium and enterprise plans—with advanced and collaborative features—are billed yearly. For a larger team, the premium plan can come cheaply, and it offers exclusive projects, unlimited guests, unlimited dashboards, data export, central administration and other advanced features. Enterprise plans provide agile tools and customer support. Other than higher security and backup options, this plan also guarantees a dedicated customer success manager and instant customer support throughout the year.

Basecamp is most popular in creative agencies and it is very similar to a personal assistant who takes care of everything from assigning tasks and tracking the progress, marking them as done and then moving onto the next stage of the project. It is equally popular among entrepreneurs, contractors, small and medium businesses, and departments of larger organizations.

It has an easy, efficient system that helps in long-term planning and resource management as well. It gels conveniently for multi-customer and multiple projects firms.

It has all the features for collaborating on a project such as to-do lists, message boards, schedules, documents and file storage, and group chat. Since a decade Basecamp has been helping teams to organize, delegate, and monitor tasks.

It has a good file management system and integrative tools that helps virtual teams easily access what they require and finish tasks uninterruptedly. Team members can store, link, tag, share, and comment on project documents and files. The built-in real-time chat room is great for sharing ideas, proposals and discussions, and keeping the entire team on the same page. Therefore, Basecamp is your go-to tool when groups need to efficiently monitor their projects and achieve targets in a timely manner.

Basecamp gives you the freedom to set a date range, prioritize and rearrange tasks according to your needs. By the end of each operation, an automated report can be generated to analyze the progress and save time.

Use your google account to log in and you can enjoy a 60-day free trial of this software. The paid subscription is a fixed annual payment and depends upon the type of use.

For paid plans, the best part is that basecamp comes with all updates and IT issues are taken care of by 24/7 technical assistance. Users can also join a live Q&A base for instant solutions to their queries.

Here is another camp for you to join and enjoy some campfire with your team members!

Freedcamp is a cost effective, user-friendly software that has excellent features for seamless and convenient collaboration of remote teams. It is easily used through iOS and android applications too.

It is a project management solution that is not heavy on the pocket. It is used by a diverse clientele from many industries, ranging from retail, marketing, architecture, interior design to IT services, manufacturing, construction and many more.

Freedcamp features and tools facilitate project management through project scheduling, document and issue management, task management, reporting and time tracking. It has an in-built calendar for scheduling, reminders, tasks and monitoring events. It also has invoicing and billing and project templating tools.  Similarly, Wall is the interactive feature which allows instant communication between all parties. The settings can be used to adjust who sees what. This plethora of add-ons make up for the lack of a vibrant interface for Freedcamp.

It has a comprehensive and responsive customer service. Freedcamp has a general free plan for unlimited users and projects. Moreover, the company offers advance plans to non-profits, teachers and students without any costs.

Conclusion

Using the right set of tools is necessary to reap maximum benefits of a remote team and its potential talent. At IdeasUnlimited, we have honed our remote workforce optimization strategy over the last 8 years to ensure the best quality of work from a geographically dispersed team. Our workers have a wide range of experience of using the above project management tool in several industries—be it real estate, sales, IT etc.

We would love to hear from you! If you have tried any other tool for virtual collaboration that has worked wonders for you, then please share your experience in the comments below.

 

Tips for Ensuring Your Virtual Assistants Do Not Slack Off

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Marketing Virtual Assistant, Medical Virtual Assistant, Multilingual Support, Real Estate Virtual Assistant, Receptionist Service, Technical Support, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Originally posted as an answer on Quora for If you have multiple virtual assistants across multiple businesses, how can you be sure that they are not slacking off?

Answer by Shakira, Operations Manager – Project and Growth, IdeasUnlimited

shakira@osbprovider.com

Hiring a virtual assistant to provide administrative support, marketing support, technical support, or any other kind of support services required by your business requires a strong trust-based relationship, more so than hiring an in-house worker. Hiring multiple virtual assistants across multiple businesses compounds the need for a mechanism for building and maintaining this trust in the remote workforce.

The strategies and tools for ensuring they are not slacking off depend on the type of virtual assistant you have hired:

  1. Dedicated

Is the virtual assistant supposed to set aside designated hours for your project or business? Go for this type of virtual assistant if you need assistance with a high volume of meticulous work in certain hours of the day or if a project is time sensitive.

  1. Flexible

Do you want the virtual assistant to complete the set tasks by a certain deadline but work any hours that suit him/her? Most design and web development projects lend towards this type of virtual assistant as do multilingual transcription services and translation of audio files. For such a virtual assistant, your criterion for judging performance and, hence, whether he/she is slacking off will be the quality of work delivered.

  1. Shared

Does the virtual assistant work for you in set hours shared with other projects? Shared hours would be perfect for you if you need virtual PA services or other support services to cover certain hours.

Tips for ensuring your virtual assistants do not slack off

  • Communicate Objectives, Expectations, and Deadlines Clearly: A good virtual assistant needs clear communication of goals, responsibilities, and timelines to deliver results. Once you communicate all three at the beginning of the project, both of you will know how the work is supposed to be carried out. This ensures the virtual assistants do not slack off since they are aware of what results they need to deliver by a particular date.
  • Use a Time Tracker and Productivity Management Software:This creates a transparent process wherein you can see activity levels, app and URL usage, attendance, etc. It will also motivate the virtual assistant to give their 100% to the task since screenshots and the reports generated ensure productivity levels stay high.
  • Set Up a Project Management Mechanism:Take some time out of your schedule or hire a project manager to keep an eye on the project’s progress. This will keep you in the loop, ensure that objectives are being met, and proactively identify any problem areas that can be corrected before they derail the project. This will be the most important tool for managing flexible virtual assistants.
  • Hire Proficient Virtual Assistants from a Professional Support Services ProviderSince you would be hiring from a firm that professionally recruits and places virtual assistants, you’ll be assured of a wider range of highly qualified and reliable candidates who can assist you in a wide range of tasks and businesses. In addition, to build client loyalty, the firm will handle project management as well as the administrative aspect such as payroll processing, and will also monitor the remote team for you. You can simply focus on growing your business by assigning tasks to them. The firm will even take care of initial and ongoing training of the virtual assistants for you. This also reduces the risk of hiring a stranger to assist you in your business since the support services provider will be responsible for finding and retaining virtual assistants, freeing you from that hassle.
  • Give Incentives to Improve Productivity:Like any other workers, virtual assistants will also perform better when offered the correct incentives. Setting up a reward or bonus scheme for performance par excellence will encourage the virtual assistants to complete their tasks on time and to the best of their abilities. This will be most apt for a dedicated virtual assistant since you need to keep their motivation levels high for regular stretches of time and they provide the greatest range of support services.

Use these simple tips to ensure your virtual assistants do not slack off and you get quality work on time. Please comment down below if you have any questions or suggestions.

The Benefits of a Call Center for Small Business

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Ecommerce Support Services, Multilingual Support, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

“Why should I pay for call center services? How does this benefit me? I struggle as it is!” I’m sure these are all things you are mentioning in a cold sweat. But don’t be alarmed! I have some great news for you: a call center for small business can cut costs for you long term and ease your workload significantly. Do I have your attention now? Call center support experts all agree that “a call center opens up communication within departments by outlining what needs to be collected on their end, establishing a hand-off process, and ensures accountability”. It lets you do what you need to do—lead—while putting control in the very hands you have hired. Call centers can result in optimization in many different aspects.

Time and Cost Savings

One of the first resources you will find yourself gaining is time. For a lot of small business owners, it can be difficult to just jump right into work and prepare for the day, because there is always a cluster of after shift messages left on the phone and emails to get to. Hiring an expert support services provider will allow you not only to provide after-hours support to your clients and vendors but also offer 24/7/365 service at a fraction of the price of in-house employees.

24 hour call centers are also deal with all the ancillary tasks for your business:

Administrative Support
Sales Support
Marketing Support
Multilingual Support
Order Processing
Ecommerce Support
Technical Support
Community Moderation
Data Entry
Content Moderation

It can be extremely difficult to focus on basic work tasks while juggling customer and vendor requests. Especially on the days when everyone is on autopilot. Those are the days when documents and important information fall to the wayside. Hire a call center for small business to take care of the innumerable small tasks that take up most of your time but do not entail your core business operations. The daily din can be minimized so you can focus on getting it done, and getting it done right. So take that time away from the phones and start working with the best remote workforce that you can get!

Excellent Customer Service

Call center agents can also help your team as a whole get out closer to on time, or even early, by handling overflow calls and extra customers in the system. Those extra ‘hands’ so to speak get every customer through efficiently. This allows you to dedicate more time towards excellent customer service and away from tackling complaints. No one likes being put on hold. Such agents can help customers move onto the next life task without long hold times, and you can move towards solving your next office problem.

Inbound and outbound call center services can save your finite small business resources by maintaining good customer service. In case of most businesses, customers wait in long queues to talk to an impatient and overworked employee. This is not the case with a call center, since call centers maintain a consistent level of service that is easily scalable and flexible, with workers trained to flourish under pressure. So say goodbye to those bad Yelp reviews due to frequent dropped calls and work with a specialized call center for small business!

Hedging Your Bets

Nobody wants to have their business face an emergency, but preparedness can increase chance of continuity and time to go back to serve the public. A natural storm could take out your local business, but a multilingual call center service could still take orders and get products out or reschedule appointments.

Lower Fixed Costs

These call center operators don’t necessarily need to be full time, they can be part time holiday contractors as well. So in this respect, the fixed labor cost of your business becomes a variable cost—hire workers only when you need them and scale back when you don’t. Even in case of such short-term work, you can minimize the tangible cost of training, as skilled resources and training can be easily provided by the center itself. You will be free of the hassle of not only recruiting and training new workers but also monitoring and managing them.

Highly Skilled Resource Base

Using a call center for small business will give you access to a talented pool of multi-skilled individuals who can seamlessly switch between a range of different tasks and handle omnichannel support. Call center agents can switch between inbound and outbound calls so you do not need two separate teams for each—saving time and money. That kind of money can be put towards increasing current staffing wages or invested in the marketing of your business to continue its growth.

Conclusion

Talk to IdeasUnlimited today for a customized solution to your business requirements. Even small changes can catapult your small business into the global business arena.

How IU’s US Remote Workers Are Making a Difference in the Workplace

By | Administrative Support, Business Improvement, Call Center Support, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Remote Support Services, Virtual Assistant Support | 4 Comments
Hannah - IdeasUnlimited US Worker

Helpful. Valuable. Friendly. By the time you finish this article, when you see these adjectives, you will think of IU’s very own Hannah Sartin. She is a fantastic representation of the premier quality found in our US remote team. As the Account Manager/Head Admin (Finance), Hannah ‘adds up’ to what makes IdeasUnlimited such a wonderful place to work for and she really is what defines IU’s differences from the competition.

I was grateful to be able to interview Hannah, and get a refreshing take on just what makes IU’s US remote team such a transformative force: both for our clients and in our workers’ lives.

Just from our initial interaction, it was easy to see why there was a rush to hire her. In her words: “I found IU through Indeed.com and was almost immediately contacted for an interview!” Her friendly demeanor drew me in. I could tell that she was someone you would want on your team. I asked her what she believed truly makes her stand out, what she thinks makes her a continual asset in both the company, and as an example for why clients should reach for our US workers. She says: “I am very dependable and thorough. I make sure my work is top-quality.” Her resume must have delivered on her promise since every management and employee testimonial agreed with that assessment.

I asked Hannah to take the readers through her day. No two days are the exact same, but there is a thread of consistency with what her job description details, and how that manifests:

“Every day is a bit different for me, and several projects pass through my hands. On a typical day, I will check my emails first and create a checklist of tasks that need to be completed either throughout the day or during the week. I follow the list as closely as possible, but of course, several other tasks and mini projects will arise throughout the day. I will get as many tasks done as possible before logging out for the day. On occasion a task/project may be ongoing for several weeks or even months.”

Hannah is able meet our goals of providing business support services globally by keeping the machine oiled, so to speak. Her awareness of finance and project funding serves as a gatekeeper for how much progress can be forged ahead. Projects can be on the micro or macro level, but they all shape a client/company’s vision for the near future. Her strategic action for tackling her day as efficiently as possible is a prominent quality that I’ve seen through multiple IU workers, as it is an organizational priority and theme we hold in great esteem. Being a self-starter and an ability to gauge value are clearly a personal purpose for her, as she “focuses all her energy throughout the day on the tasks placed before me and prioritize urgent requests. I go out of my way daily by pushing personal events to the side to focus on only working. Many times, I work into the evening on pressing projects”. Hannah Sartin get things done: fast and right the first time!

Her quality contributions have certainly not gone unnoticed by our clients. At IU, we all work hard as a team to help each other get the most out of our respective positions and to minimize obstacles that could create stress. One of the ways we do this (that I love) is by practicing great communication. Our US financial maven agrees by sharing that: “I love that, no matter what, I am always able to get in contact with Nick or the company admin. Communication is important in any job and with IU communication is very easy and open!”

It can be very easy for remote programs to let communication fall to the wayside, and to have their workers become lonely islands unto themselves. But at IdeasUnlimited, our clients have a continual point of contact to get their needs met—our project management department. Our remote workforce optimization strategy entails three-tier management so not only will you be covered in terms of project management and administration, we take care of monitoring too.

We also want to highlight and commend our remote workers for their exceptional jobs. So again, thank you Hannah for your wonderful work as part of our team!

And to potential clients: what are you waiting for? Go ahead and hire your Hannah today!

Great Resources Served! How IU Services Can Be Used by Restaurants

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Multilingual Support, Receptionist Service, Remote Support Services, Technical Support, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Eggs? Over easy. Bread? Rye and toasted. Ready? Order up! We allow customers to curate their dining experience, so why shouldn’t you, the restaurant employer? If you want to look for candidates outside of your little pond, expand your outreach, or have someone deal with the paperwork while you are in the chaos of a busy restaurant, IdeasUnlimited is here to help you.

So how can IU assist you?

We specialize in empowering the “little guys”. IdeasUnlimited does this through ecommerce support, administrative support, and providing call center support for small business. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Aren’t those jobs done far away? How will they help plate the food?” While you are correct that they can’t put the food together, a remote team can have a tremendous beneficial effect on the day to day operations of the restaurant. Culinary work aside, most businesses function under the same skeleton: they all handle admin, manage payroll, handle customer complaints, train their employees, all the while promoting their businesses.

This is where we come in.

Brand Management

Get ready to have the branding and sales assistance you need to take those profit margins to the next level and to stay competitive. It’s not just enough to serve good food: you have to draw the customers in so they can try it in the first place. This means getting the word out and building a reputable local and online presence. Our team can create and post memorable social media posts after doing the research necessary to determine the demographic you want to reach or the niche you are looking to fill. Whether your target base is modernist hipster or upper class fine French diners, IdeasUnlimited is filled with qualified individuals who can conduct the customer survey for your target base and manage your brand by seamlessly blending with your brand image.

Sales Support

We can handle your digital marketing whether you want more in-house diners or a flourishing takeaway and delivery business. We excel at

  • Web and graphic design
  • Organic brand growth
  • Mass email marketing
  • Paid search engine advertising
  • Paid social media advertising

Confused about how a remote team will help you make sales? Find out more here. Our agents are experienced in converting leads to sales, retaining current customers, and designing marketing strategies to expand your customer base. Give us a chance and witness the improvement in your conversion rate.

Customer Support

Your customers can make or break your business, so you need to focus on enhancing customer relationships. The first step is figuring out whether you need an inbound call center solution. Our agents will field all your incoming calls, take orders, make reservations, delicately handle irate customers—improving customer satisfaction and increasing customer lifetime value. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful in your industry, and our agents will ensure that each one of your customers becomes a brand evangelist.

Multilingual Support

One of the premier resources at IU is multilingual support, ensuring that you reach the customers you need, in a way that fosters a trusting patronage. We can do this by providing a receptionist service to field all incoming calls and make reservations. Or even by taking complaints and forwarding them, ensuring seamless customer service in the customers’ native languages. All of this would be done via call center support.

Business Management

Building up a fantastic team is an often-unappreciated asset within the career world. Minimizing as much drama as possible keeps that heat in the kitchen, where it belongs. Let IU take the stress off of your proverbial plate with our premiere services.

Our administrative support gives you the time to focus on the passions of the palate. We can take care of everything from handling schedules to managing all communication channels and taking care of documentation.

IdeasUnlimited’s call center support takes you from managing pantry ingredients, to posting jobs, and training servers to get ready for opening day. While you are plating, we are oiling the machine with flawless oversight of cash flow. IdeasUnlimited also cooks up some creative juices with our much lauded customer-satisfying ecommerce support!

These are some of the day to day business management services we offer:

Administrative Support
Ecommerce Support
Inventory Management
Listing Management
Technical Support
Vendor Management
Payroll Processing
Job Listing Management
Resource Screening and Interviewing
Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation

Contact us and we will show you what we can do for your business. The results will definitely not lead to returned orders: the chef you hire at IU will keep your tastes in mind.

IdeasUnlimited Has Achieved Another Milestone: Top Customer Support Company Award by Clutch, 2019

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Call Center Support, Ecommerce Support Services, Multilingual Support, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Endeavoring to provide the highest quality of service, IdeasUnlimited has achieved commendable success in delivering support services to many companies across the globe. These services have recently been recognized by Clutch in its 2019 Leader Awards.

Clutch is a leading platform that provides data-driven analysis, reviews and ratings for B2B buying and hiring. It values the importance of efficient business services and human resources for a responsive and intuitive organization. Therefore, it uses market research, analytics, and verified user reviews to filter the best service providers in the industry to help clients easily identify the best options for themselves.

With an overall 4.5/5 rating, Clutch has chosen IdeasUnlimited amongst more than 470  competitive IT and business services firms as a Business Leader in several categories:

Medical Billing

Customer Support

Inbound Appointment Setting

HR Recruiting

Benefits Consulting

HR Outsourcing

We are proud to mention that we have achieved this Business Leader Award based on reviews from our esteemed clients, industry knowledge and experience, client satisfaction, and our ability to perform a range of support services par excellence. IdeasUnlimited has been a reliable partner to its clients for customized and focused support services across the clock.

Not only this, we received another positive manifestation on Clutch’s sister website, The Manifest. It has mentioned IdeasUnlimited as the best HR Outsourcing Company in Houston on the basis of our wide range of services, projects, and client reviews.

2019 has been a remarkable year so far and IdeasUnlimited’s team is grateful.

We cannot wait to work harder and serve global businesses in an even better manner!

Norwegian Customer Service by IdeasUnlimited

God morgen! A New Era of Norwegian Customer Service

By | Call Center Support, Customer Service, Multilingual Customer Service, Multilingual Support, Receptionist Service, Transcription, Translation, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

When you say the word ‘Norway’ what comes to mind? Is it the fjords? Skiing? Or maybe the glorious Vikings? Whatever stereotype you choose, good customer service is likely not in the top ten. IdeasUnlimited is here to help change that. We can help take your companies’ online web presence and sales and elevate them so that you are creating connections while upselling. This allows you the freedom to focus on improving your value offering while we provide exceptional Norwegian customer service.

Apparently, there is national recognition of passivity or inaction in retail. ScienceNordic details a study conducted recently which concluded that “companies are once again paying attention to the importance of how their employees treat customers”.

This research campaign brought to light a tendency to forget upselling and a decrease in securing final sales from 18 to 14 percent. Norwegian salespeople are now much better at greeting customers with that sunny smile and Nordic disposition, but there just has not been that follow through to secure the sales. IdeasUnlimited’s Norwegian customer service representatives can manage phone sales and even online orders to increase your company’s conversion rate. As a company, we have a large pool of native Norwegian speakers. Hence, you will have that cultural continuity while being assured that your hires will be trained to fit your standards. This allows your efforts to be spent best on optimizing your core business competencies.

IdeasUnlimited can also provide you workers to oversee quality assurance or customer satisfaction research for you. This can be vital, as “asking customers how satisfied they are does not always give a true picture of how well employees do their work”, especially when asked directly. Responses are often much more honest when done behind a barrier, so to speak, or anonymously to an individual who can hold accountability. You can only then receive honest feedback as to the tone of the interaction, how empathetic the customer support agent was, and whether customers were offered incentives to stay with your brand. You can know exactly where changes need to be made. It isn’t enough to just meet your sales goals, you need a team who believes an understanding of what it is that drives people is more important to continue progressing to the next level. By visualizing your customers perceptions, you can carve out solutions.

One of the examples that Norway is learning from is Tesla. They are a story of what exactly not to do then taking the time to make corrections. As of 2018, Norwegian Tesla owners reported “ridiculously long wait times and un-returned phone calls as Tesla’s service centers in Norway are overworked and low on parts”. Many customers had to make trips to customer care centers specifically just to find someone to communicate with who could direct them to help. Others were given surprise notifications for repair dates that they had not made. At one point, the lack of communication within their customer service department was so pervasive, that messages were actually being sent to the founder, Elon Musk. Luckily, 2019 has seen several changes in procedures.

Several initiatives like seeing service team sizes doubling by the end of the year were introduced. But what were the actual results? Well, Tesla grew its service team in Norway by 30% this year and added more shifts. Greater coverage meant more claims could be taken in. Customers could finally speak to a human being within a reasonable time.

But IdeasUnlimited knows you can do better than that. That you WANT better than that. This is why we want to set you up with a team that will make this a reality. When you have the right product or service, a perfect ratio of customer service and a unified management, you can do just about anything. So, let us find the right local customer service representatives for you while you strengthen your retail strategies.