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Generation Z and Their Expectations from your Customer Service Representative

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

It is important to understand the product needs of your customer. It is equally important to learn about their spending behaviors and expectations from the customer services.

There exists no business today which can get a referral and customers’ trust without providing them a good experience at the hands of the customer service representative. An era has begun where the customer care center is as important as the good/service itself, sometimes even more. Every business now requires new stratagem from its customer service center to pave the path to success.

The key to better customer support is to identify the customer type and customer need as early as possible. Therefore, a customer service representative must undergo rigorous training to assess and satisfy customer needs and requirements without fatiguing the customer.

In today’s market, generation Z (people born from 1995 to 2012) is the most powerful consumer group. They have not known a world without the internet, they have experienced 2008’s recession, and they are used to receiving information quickly. There are many terms used to describe Generation Z as consumers, such as

  • Independent
  • Focused and determined
  • Competitive
  • Prefer self-service, personalization and accessibility
  • Fiscally prudent

Generation Z will represent 40 percent of American consumers by 2020, while their purchasing power is predicted to reach USD600 billion. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that your company’s support staff is trained and skilled to handle this influential set.

By keeping in mind the common characteristics in Generation Z consumers, your customer care center can serve them better. Setting up some rules to be followed by every customer service center representative can also be very helpful, such as:

1. Be honest, transparent, and loyal to your consumer

Generation Z does not prefer hierarchy and power structures. They are concerned with results and need solutions from you quickly when they cannot find them for themselves. Also, Generation Z is aware of marketing. They have shifted the focus from consumer to producer for brand loyalty. It is the consumer who has to be treated as gold to make repeated sales and give positive reviews on social media.

To serve Generation Z, the customer service representative has to be proficient in delivering the relevant information without taking much time. Additionally, the customer service representative should follow-up till the customer is fully satisfied and his/her requirement has been met.

2. Offer immediate and perfect solutions

Most people from the iGeneration look for self-help options and FAQs. They contact a customer service representative as a last resort, when they have reached a dead end. They expect personalized customer care and immediate solutions. They do not care about the company’s operations and procedures; they are only concerned with the solutions the customer service center can provide them.

You must serve them correctly and timely, otherwise they will move on to someone else!

3. Be available—24/7 and through all channels

This generation has not known the world before technology took over. They are always with their mobile phones and look towards tech-savvy options.

Customer care center leaders or managers need to focus and deliver through different means of communication. Thus, it has become crucial to adopt omnichannel support to deliver uninterrupted services at your customer care center.

4. Bad experiences will last forever!

This rule is the most important to remember. Studies have shown that more than 40% consumers do not forget bad experiences even after two or more years. And negative experiences are more likely to be shared on social media platforms. This implies a very long-lasting negative impact on a brand’s image.

From the receptionist service to the customer care center, every employee involved in customer interactions should be trained to build and uphold a positive image of the company.

Generation Z expects every customer service representative to treat them as their priority and offer quick results. This includes engaging them through channels they feel comfortable with, in languages they prefer and with the information that serves their purposes. They are well-versed in navigating and filtering through options. They are intelligent and make product comparisons often before finalizing purchase(s). They are also well-informed so they choose a more convenient yet economically safe product/service. Once they have selected your brand, they expect the customer service to be extraordinary and well-integrated to give a positive review and to keep them coming back.

To stay ahead of the curve and earn the loyalty of this crucial segment of your target market, invest in improving your customer service center right away!

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.

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 softwares have additional features like communication, task management, and time reporting. Here is our rundown of some effective softwares:

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.

Finding New Clients

5 Ways to Find New Clients

By | Become an Affiliate, Business Improvement, Customer Service, Entrepreneurship, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

1. Word of Mouth

First, use the technique as old as time. Regardless of new technology, word of mouth is still valuable. According to Yotpo, 74% of consumers say word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. Ask your customers to recommend you to a friend. In fact, try offering them an affiliate partnership so that they get a percentage of the payment as a finder’s fee. (We have an affiliate program…check it out!)

2. Advertising

Second, look into the many, many forms of advertising that are available. Don’t spread yourself too thin…limit yourself to two or three methods of advertising that are most likely to reach your customers. For example, if your customers are young and tech-savvy, put ads online. If they’re older and more traditional, buy ad space in the newspaper or magazines.

3. Networking Events

Third, get face-to-face with potential clients. This will give you the chance to tell a personalized story that reaches an individual on a personal level. While the local chamber of commerce is an obvious choice, there are many other options available for networking. Consider joining an organization like Rotary, Kiwanis, or Optimist. You can also look on Meetup.com to find networking groups in your area.

4. Social Media

Fourth, consider using a social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many other networks are an excellent way to have ongoing conversations with potential customers. And it’s not just good for B2C companies, but for B2B as well. Entrepreneur reported that social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than average lead conversion rates. (Need a social media manager? Hire one of our virtual assistants to do it for you!)

5. Partnerships and Alliances

Finally, consider making an arrangement with another business with the same target audience. Brad Sugars explains, “They might attach a gift voucher or other discount offer for your products at the end of a newsletter or mailing.” He goes on to say you can build an alliance: “For instance, a Web designer and an ad agency might send each other referrals for clients who need added services.”

What are YOUR ideas for finding new clients? What techniques have worked for you?

Real Estate Virtual Assistant: Do You Need One?

Real Estate Virtual Assistant: Do You Need One?

By | Business Improvement, Entrepreneurship, Real Estate Virtual Assistant, Remote Support Services, Virtual Assistant Support | One Comment

Real estate is a demanding industry. This makes it extremely valuable for realtors like you to stay ahead of the curve. It also explains why running a real estate practice or agency is time-consuming. The introduction of new technologies that support virtual assistants has made it easier for realtors to focus their efforts on enhancing the core competencies that come with running a real estate agency. Support services ancillary to core business activities such as paperwork have been delegated to real estate virtual assistants. These assistants provide the tools needed to fuel your success, whether you are a solo agent or own your own real estate or brokerage firm. The following are some reasons to consider the services of a virtual assistant:

Cost-Effective

Real estate agents live a fast-paced, busy life. They spend many hours going through emails and phone messages. They then need to organize the day’s events and transactions. You could avoid all this by getting an assistant. This will help but it is not a cost-efficient solution. Get yourself a real estate virtual assistant who will handle all these tasks at a cheaper price than what you would spend to maintain an in-house employee. You also save on expenses such as getting insurance and pension plans for in-house assistants.

Increase the Level of Productivity

A real estate virtual assistant’s primary function is to handle your day-to-day schedule and organize your emails and messages. When you hire an in-house assistant you will have to give them vacation days or sick leave. Rather than lose all this valuable time and resources, get yourself a virtual assistant who is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Increase Sales Conversion

When it comes to the real estate industry, lead generation is as important as making a sale. When you get yourself an experienced real estate virtual assistant, they can help you make calls and follow-ups with prospective clients through both online and traditional methods.

Omnichannel Support

All client engagement touchpoints you require—inbound and outbound calls, email, live chat, mobile SMS/text, and social media—will be covered by the real estate virtual assistant to improve the client experience and ensure there are no missed opportunities. A virtual assistant can cover your busy hours or take up the slack of your office staff. A remote workforce also allows you to choose from a much larger, more talented pool of applicants than candidates available for in-house work.

Multilingual Support

Firms and agents in the real estate industry face language barriers in dealing with tenants, owners, vendors, and clients. Get an edge over competitors by hiring a multilingual virtual assistant as the need arises and communicate with your client base and vendors in their native languages. The virtual assistant can also provide administrative and backend support for those particular projects.

These reasons clearly highlight why you should get yourself a real estate virtual assistant…click here to hire yours today!