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Remote Team Archives - IdeasUnlimited

IU services in COVID-19

Is COVID-19 Harming Your Business? We Can Help

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

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

Chat, Email, and Call Center Support

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

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

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

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

Remote_Work

Boom in Business?

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

Healthcare Call Center Support

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

Health care support services IU

Operations Support

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

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

Marketing and Ecommerce Support

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

Billing Support

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

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

Optimize Your Delivery Service - IU Inbound Customer Service Center

8 Tips to Optimize Your Delivery Services

By | Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support Services, Inbound Call Center Solution, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | One Comment

The quality and efficiency of your delivery operations are a significant contributor to your business’ overall value proposition. You should be able to supply customers as quickly as possible, using an efficient inbound customer service center, without driving up your delivery cost or compromising on the product or packaging.

Learn How to Optimize Your Delivery Services to Deal with COVID-19

Better Communication Tools & Efficient Project Management

Better Communication 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. An efficient communication system that allows all your workers to get in touch with each other, from the warehouse workers to delivery workers, factory workers, managers, etc. would make decision-making faster and more accurate. This is crucial all across the business but more so on the delivery side, since fast and reliable communication is especially important there.

Efficient Project Management Tools

Even if all your employees work from one central location and meet each other every day, using a project management tool to manage operations is the best strategy. This will give you a better understanding of deadlines, a visualization of current progress, tasks remaining, and achievement of milestones with a bird’s eye view so things do not get overwhelming or overlooked. You can assign tasks with deadlines to different team members and each person can do their part to complete the task. We have vetted some of the most popular project management tools for you here. Most of them have free trials, so use them with your team and see which interface and features suit your business best.

Simplify Internal Processes & Effective Inventory Management

Simplify Internal Processes

Simply your internal processes for a fast and smooth transition of a task from one employee to another. Different team members and departments should not use several software applications to complete one task since you would be losing too much time in the transfer of tasks alone. For instance, your warehouse and delivery teams should be on the same wavelength and use the same software.

Effective Inventory Management

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. Your whole operations hinge on good inventory management since you can only make sales when you know how much product you have available to sell.

Flexibility and Easy Scalability & New Business Models

Flexibility and Easy Scalability

Your business will survive and even bloom through economic booms and recessions if your business model lends itself to easy scalability and quick adjustments. In times of excess demand, if you can easily expand operations, you would be in a better position to capitalize quickly. If your business can swiftly adjust to match supply to demand, you will surpass your competitors.

Introduce New Business Models

Focus more on your website and mobile app since the typical customer is moving away from in-store purchases. Create a secure online payment system and ensure good website traffic management, so your online store is capable of handling traffic surges. Your online payment system should not be limited to only bank transfers and credit cards, rather any money transfer and online payment methods should be compatible.

Introduce different delivery options, ranging from same-day or next-day delivery to slower but cheaper options. You will have to rework your delivery operations a bit, but this will attract all those customers willing to pay a bit more for convenience. It can be a valuable USP as well.

Stronger Customer Relations and Geographic Dispersion of Supply Chain

Stronger Customer Relations

Providing a unique product or service is not sufficient in itself for building a loyal, expanding customer base. You need an excellent  inbound customer service center to foster better relations, highlight customers’ pain points before they become issues, and resolve them in a timely manner. The most crucial part of delivery services is providing a robust tracking mechanism to customers, so they know where their package is at all times. Customers are understanding of delays in delivery, provided they are apprised of the reasons for these delays as soon as possible.

You also need fast responsiveness to customer inquiries as well as top-quality troubleshooting of any order and delivery problems they are facing. The human touch is invaluable, and you don’t even need to set up an inbound customer service center in-house to achieve this goal. Get call center support that seamlessly meshes with your business practices and acts as an extension of your business. Chat bots can only do so much, and they can definitely not calm down irate customers, so you need the human touch.

Your inbound customer service center can easily be virtually managed. Similarly, partnering with a good 24 hour call center or after-hours call center to provide technical support for your website, app, or product itself would garner manifold rewards over time. This center can also handle public relations and manage your online brand image.

Geographic Dispersion of Supply Chain

Collaboration and project management tools would be especially necessary if you disperse your vendors across the world to make your supply chain more robust and sustainable. Diversification of your supply chain would mean that any disruptions due to atypical or natural causes in one geographic region would not cripple your entire operations. You can easily switch over that segment of your operations to a substitute raw material, another factory, warehouse, or distribution center. This would not only optimize your delivery services but make them sustainable.

Conclusion

Creating a good product is not enough, you must be able to deliver it in a timely manner to the right customers to give them an excellent overall experience. Don’t wait any longer! See which of these 8 tips you can implement this quarter to swiftly improve the quality and efficiency of your delivery services.

How Remote Work Saved Me! Conquering All Odds

How Remote Work Saved Me! Conquering All Odds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Social Anxiety and Remote Work

Nick's Story of How Remote Work Saved Him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IdeasUnlimited Making Lives Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IdeasUnlimited in the Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick's vision for IdeasUnlimited

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

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

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

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

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

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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About IdeasUnlimited

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.

Disruption and Reinvention in the Telecommunications Industry

By | Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Technical Support, Uncategorized | No Comments

Here is an important question for you: Why do firms run businesses?
The most common answer is: To generate profits and achieve a sustainable position in the market.

The telecommunication industry has been trying to replicate this capital-intensive industry synergy, but without moving beyond the orthodox consumer models. Therefore, with partial redundancy of voice and texting plans, telecom companies have been trying hard to balance their ROI and declining cashflows. Currently, Western European and North American Telecom is also selling broadband, TV, media services, and data services to manage profitability and capital returns. It is, however, more important to note that the landscape has been greatly transformed because Facebook, Google, Netflix, and other data-driven companies have taken it very far from the typical telecom market by creating new forms of communication, technical support, and viewer choices.

Now let me ask you my question again: Why do firms run businesses?

               This time a Million Dollar Answer should be: To maintain their competitive edge, evolve with time, and create positive customer experiences for profitability and sustainability.

Digital innovation can help telecommunication companies streamline operational processes, satisfy customers, reduce costs, and increase sales.

As the telecommunication companies have waited too long to understand and respond to this digital disruption, digital companies like Facebook and Netflix have jumped in and established themselves as the fiercest competitors to the telecommunication industry. These data-driven giants have grabbed a major share of the customer satisfaction pie—the main ingredient of success in today’s world. And to catch up, the telecommunication industry has to free up resources and employ trained, tech-savvy teams to support their customer care center and technical customer support units.

Customer focus is the main target. Telecommunications companies differentiate themselves and achieve success through customer-centric models. This requires drastic changes in operational, technological, and organizational processes.

E-Care

It is time for the telecommunication industry to step up their technical customer support to win big on customer experience and satisfaction. Providing technical customer support through digital channels is reported to increase customer satisfaction significantly.

Deloitte reviews how technical customer support teams can create differentiation and give businesses a competitive edge to retain and acquire customers. Giffgaff, a UK virtual network operator, has set a precedent in E-care or digital technical customer support. With just 33 employees, Giffgaff has a record of clearing customer queries/issues within three minutes. It has succeeded in building a community of users who help each other digitally and even developed Nokia and iOS applications through discussions and mutual help.

This demonstrates an excellent example of E-care, which also results in high levels of customer engagement and satisfaction. Digitization makes support services leaner, quicker, and effective. This reduces costs and capital commitment for the company.

The telecommunication industry hardly fares well when customer service metrics are compared. It has failed to fully appreciate the potential of developing digital technical customer support for tier one and two. As the market moves faster towards more sophisticated technologies and cloud-based systems and products and services, it is necessary to avoid communication delays and ineffective solutions.

Generation Y and Generation Z are tech savvy, have lesser time, and prefer online communication. Therefore, systems like E-care can accommodate and elevate their overall customer experience with a telecom operator.

Reports by McKinsey have shown that E-care also reduces customer care center costs by 25-30% while online technical customer support improves customer experience by 76%.  Another mobile operator reduced the number of support service calls by 90% by introducing sophisticated systems for E-care. This shows the significance of building and facilitating digital-only journeys for modern telecom users. A three-tiered system of technical support with advanced systems can easily navigate and anticipate problems and issue resources to the customers as required.

Omnichannel Experience

When digital services become extensive, they necessitate the introduction of a cohesive online/offline operations model for your business to deliver a consistent experience across all channels of communication and customer contact points. Your customer care center should be able to keep up with the evolving demands and preferences of your customers. Each touchpoint, whether operated digitally or through a customer representative, needs to deliver an expected level of service.

More than 60% of customers digitally interact with brands and request their services  through different mediums. They expect consistent and quality customer service across all time zones, mediums, and devices. Unified cross-channel services will bring loyalty and repeated sales for the company.

A well-managed omnichannel customer experience means a well-integrated and seamless experience for the consumers through which they can resolve service issues and communicate with the company. Different customers can have different communication preferences and the omnichannel support model enables them to choose different channels alternatively, simultaneously, and in combination, to build their own digital journeys.

Developing the omnichannel experience for your customers will also result in a wealth of customer data, which can further help to elevate customer service at multiple touch points by better personalization and service access. Big data and predictive analyses give a unified view of customers that is required for the omnichannel experience.

IdeasUnlimited has been assisting a number of companies in the telecommunication industry meet these contemporary challenges. If you are interested in knowing more about our services for telephone companies, internet service providers, wireless telecommunication carriers, network service providers, and media service providers, click here -> Read More

Swedish customer support from home at IdeasUnlimited

Swedish Customer Service Can Be “Sweet” (Swede!)

By | Call Center Support, Customer Service, Multilingual Customer Service, Multilingual Support, Remote Support Services, Swedish Customer Service | No Comments

Ikea. Delicious meatballs. ABBA. Sweden has provided the world with some legendary gifts. So maybe it is time for the world to give back. We could do this by helping expand business presence in Sweden. IdeasUnlimited wants to take that sunny Swedish disposition and put it on display with our Swedish customer service par excellence. With friendliness and multilingual support skills, our Swedish customer support from home can take your customer services to the next level. And IdeasUnlimited is the vehicle to connect the Swedish talent to the world, with our superior support services and remote workforce management.

How easy is it to expand into Sweden to do business?

Simple enough “that it now ranks number one on the Forbes’ annual list of the Best Countries for Business. Compare that to economic powerhouse the US, which is in 23rd place”.  Sweden also boasts a high employment rate as well as having relative gender equality in its workforce. The labor market is not suffering from decline or chaos, so it is stable footing for any new business to increase its global presence. New satellite sites or franchises can be established, or an expat could potentially move to Sweden and open an entirely unique business model. There is a lot of room for flexibility here. And best of all, you don’t need to do everything on your own. You can work with experienced support services providers to get assistance with everything from operational support to Swedish customer service and other multilingual support.

So what makes the Swedes an exceptional group of people?

They are highly skilled and educated. Sweden publicly invests in its education, so there is no reason to not go and become as highly trained (academically or practically) as possible. The Nordic European lifestyle is highly supportive of literary advancement, which has built some of the greatest graduate programs in the world.

The close proximity of the Nordic/Baltic countries creates an atmosphere where individuals are introduced to a variety of languages at a young age. Many members of the workforce travel between multiple countries during the course of their projects or engage with representatives from other countries. The service industry in Sweden only highlights this diversity. ContactCenterWorld, a call center focused website, states: “Sweden is the largest labor pool in Scandinavia with multilingual Nordic capacity – Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Danish. In the service agencies, 45 percent use the Scandinavian languages daily”. So not only are the Swedish a large portion of the service industry as a whole, but they also have the language skills to cover a variety of markets. They can switch between languages to reach multiple countries as opposed to being capable of only fulfilling one country’s needs. At IdeasUnlimited, our Swedish customer support from home is provided by agents well-versed in several Nordic languages who can provide multilingual support for sales, customer relationship management, vendor management, administrative work, and much more. So start with Swedish customer service and with the same agents, expand to nearby markets with no additional overhead costs.

Even with its growth, Sweden is a small nation that does require outside companies to bolster its revenue and support economic structuring. Trying to find native Swedish customer support from home for your local business? Contact IdeasUnlimited for handpicked candidates, relieving you of the hassle of advertising, shortlisting, and running background checks on your Swedish workers.

 

With the latest call center programs, virtual assistance, and 8-year experience, the options at IdeasUnlimited are endless! Contact us today to see how our Swedish customer support from home service and multilingual call center services can benefit 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.

5 Easy Tips for Creating a Better Brand Image as a Receptionist

By | Administrative Support, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Receptionist Service, Remote Work, Technical Support | No Comments

A good receptionist service constitutes performing a number of administrative support tasks. Administrative support services are the backbone of a successful business; hence, they require a combination of skills for efficient delivery, namely technical, interpersonal, and communication skills. A receptionist typically handles all telecommunication, receives and guides office visitors, manages itineraries and prepares for meeting and training schedules.

All administrative support workers who are responsible for customer support are brand ambassadors since professional receptionist service provides the first contact point in most interactions. Therefore, a receptionist holds greater responsibility of conveying the company image correctly and professionally. Use these 5 easy to implement yet very powerful training tips for a receptionist to define the company image in a better manner:

Positive Language and Tone

Your enthusiasm and warm tone can help you bring in meaningful connections for your office. It is important that you avoid a negative tone and phrases. Avoid phrases that are cold and demanding. Instead, use friendlier, warmer phrases to deliver the same message.

Phrases to AvoidPhrases to Use
You need to…I’ll be happy to find a solution for you
…can’t be doneGladly! / My pleasure!
I don’t know!Happy to take your message
No problem!May I put you on hold?
Hold, Please!Will have the call returned
… not availableI’ll be happy to follow-up with you
Just a sec.One moment please
Who is this?May I ask who is calling?
What?Will you please repeat that?

Usage of correct tone and phrases goes a long way in establishing a positive image of your company and products/services in the minds of your potential connections. Your welcoming language will show that you are concerned and demonstrate your sincerity and ability to help.

Gatekeeping Skills as a Brand Ambassador

Receptionist service training constitutes discerning between clients, potential clients, and mere inquiries. A trained receptionist shields the people in-charge from interruptions to help them focus on their tasks. This is when a receptionist performs the role of a gatekeeper. Like for b2b sales, receptionists take the calls and set appointments. They are rarely involved in final decision-making but they are the ones who decide who gets through to make a pitch and who does not.

Here, a receptionist gets a chance to act as a gatekeeper as well as a brand ambassador. While screening for unwanted calls, keep your questions simple and your tone friendly. Invest your time to identify a potential, new business opportunity and deal accordingly. This showcases the professionalism of your company with which it handles clients and customers.

Connect to the Relevant Person

As you have trained yourself to assess caller/visitor agenda, make sure you refer them to the appropriate department or person without delay. This saves time for all the parties. It also shows that your company is resourceful and organized along with creating an image of specialized and cooperative staff.

A Quick Recap and Follow-Up Message Before the Call Ends

Setting up clear expectations and definite timeframes create a professional environment for carrying out business activities. A receptionist can make callers comfortable by helping them get things done. For quality customer experiences, the receptionist service should include a quick recap of the information gathered and a follow-up time for the caller. This makes things easier and clearer for the one who has approached your company, resulting in higher chances of positive reviews.

Share Informational Material About Your Products and Services

In addition to showing your dedication by reiterating the information received from potential clients and providing them a follow-up schedule, a little marketing could also help create a better brand image.

You can take permission from upper management and then share relevant authorized material with your clients through any channel they may prefer such as emails, fax, post, text messages, etc.

This can provide supplementary information to the clients about your company and its goods and services. Additionally, it can show them how things are carried out in your organization and what range of solutions are offered to clients. This might also lead to further opportunities with the client and a recommendation for potential collaborations.

Planet Call Center

Planet Call Center

By | Call Center Support, Inbound Call Center Solution, Outbound Call Center Services, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Ask you walk through the hubbub of a call center, you will find agents engaged in a variety of activities, working hard in an upbeat atmosphere. There will be agents making and receiving calls, a customer service representative leaning back to consult a colleague on a unique case, and a small group huddled around the coffeemaker discussing hot leads they’ll be chasing this week.

Working in the same environment, with the same KPIs and the same shifts that are diametrically different from typical 9 to 5 office hours, call center agents develop a unique culture—the Planet Call Center.

Camaraderie

Late night shifts in the dead of winter, seeing the same agents day in and day out, having similar job descriptions, and relying on each other’s knowledge and experience builds camaraderiethat usually translates into lasting friendships. Sharing amusing anecdotes about customer interactions during lunch breaks and comparing notes on how to deal with certain cases builds a culture unique to a call center. This is as opposed to any other office environment where every person specializes in his or her area of expertise, with a faint idea of what the others do.

Call Center Culture Builds Camaraderie

Shared Jargon

Call centers have industry-specific terminologies that are widely acceptable and used extensively in everyday interactions. Usage of ubiquitous call center terms like AHOD creates a language of their own, solidifying the feeling of a bubble surrounding the call center. This call center jargon becomes so innate to agents, after using it in a range of circumstances with different customers, that it spills over into their everyday lives. Even when meeting outside, discussions of handling times, newest campaigns, and FCR rates create a coterie of agents quite distinctive from other office colleagues.

Hard Work and Positive Atmosphere

With an upbeat atmosphere, call center agents work hard for rewards, benefits and bonuses. Depending on the direction of call center traffic, their motivation may be different. A call center operator providing outbound call center services may be primarily driven by competition for greater sales while an agent handling the brand’s inbound call center solution would be focused on solving problems.

Diverse Interactions

Not only is the call center workforce typically very diverse—with people of all genders, ages, educational and financial backgrounds and religions—each customer service representative deals with a range of customers over his or her career. This cultural diversity becomes so familiar and each call center operator has such widened horizons that the outside world seems slightly alien, with a relatively homogenous populace and informal interactions.

Cultural Diversity epitomizes call center communications

Using Second Language

Talking in a professional manner throughout the shift creates the call center bubble. The call center is even more of an isolated planet in areas where customer interactions take place in a second language that is not that predominantly spoken outside the walls of the center. Once agents walk out of the center, readjustment into the outside life takes a minute but then due to their training, they are more equipped to deal with the daily pressures they encounter in life.

Interpersonal Interactions

The comprehensive interpersonal communication training given to a customer service representative changes his or her daily interactions with everyone for the better, engendering empathy and a helpful attitude.

The IdeasUnlimited Experience

At IdeasUnlimited, wehave both physical call centers in the Philippines—where agents come in to the center to work—and remote teams handling call center support for other projects. It does not take long for the planet call center effect to come into play in both situations, where agents work hard and support each other, the jargon becomes generic usage, diversity becomes acceptable, and a positive culture is promulgated.

We are proud of promoting a positive, hardworking culture where excellent performance is rewarded, communication skills honed, and the planet call center values upheld, broadening the personal and professional horizons of our agents.

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.