5 Trends You Need To Know About Call Center Outsourcing

In the  world  of  call  center  outsourcing  many  factors  will  shape  future  trends  including  technology  and  economics.

Here we  take  a  look  at  5  trends  that  will  have  the  greatest  impact  on  how  businesses  like  yours  will  handle  your  call  center.

1. Call Centers Moving Toward Cloud Technologies

Over the last 20 years we’ve come a long way from locally hosted software applications to the vast world of cloud-based apps we have today. In fact, every area of business has been affected by the cloud. From the back-office to the front lines, the way you conduct your daily operations will increasingly rely on technologies you access over the internet. Web-based call-center apps that incorporate everything from your phone system to CRMs tracking customer engagement to order taking is gaining traction and becoming the new normal.

There are  many  advantages  to  this  including  increased  scalability,  ease  of  implementation  and  adoption  of  new  features  and  versions.    Also, costs are spread  out  over  months  and  years  instead  of  requiring  large,  upfront  capital  expenditures.    Most  cloud-based  systems  also  come  with  deep  support  in  the  forms  of  chat,  a  knowledge  base,  and  FAQs  integrated  into  the  system  itself.    For many companies, cloud solutions  are  the  way  to  go.

With  newly  adopted  technologies  come  new  challenges.    Being  connected  to  the  internet  can  create  potential  security  issues.    Keeping  hackers  and  cyber  criminals  from  your  customer  data  has  to  be  a  priority  for  you  and  your  vendors.    Be  sure  you  understand  the  measures  taken  by  your  partner  vendors  if  you  outsource  your  call  center.    It  may  be  a  good  idea  to  leverage  the  expertise  of  an  outside  cybersecurity  firm  to  ensure  the  safety  of  your  data.    Also,  if  internet  connection  is  cut  it  can  mean  your  operation  is  down.    Make  sure  that  there are always backups  for  when  such  problems  arise.

2.  Multi-Channel Customer communication As The New Norms

There was a time  not  too  long  ago  when  the  phone  reigned  supreme  as  the  main  technology  communication  tool.    Now there  are  a  myriad  of  choices  including  email,  text,  social  media,  and  various  mobile  apps.    Expecting everyone  to  communicate  in  the  same  way  is  naive,  and  eliminates  opportunities  for  you  to  engage  with  clients  and  prospects.

The solution is  to  have  an  integrated  system  that  allows  for  customer  engagement  on  their  terms.    If the preferred  method  of  requesting  support  is  text  then  your  system  should  allow  for,  track,  and  enable  SMS  messaging.    It’s  the  same  case  if  it’s  Facebook,  Twitter,  email,  and  even  good,  old  fashioned  phone  calls.    Your system must  accommodate  your clients  and  prospects  regardless  of  the  tools  used.    Call center operations  and  functions  must  now  take  place  across channels.    Over  time  this  will  be  expected  by  consumers  as  a  basic  way  of  engaging  with  any  company  they  conduct  business  with.

Providing  customer  service  and  call  center  functions  using  a  variety  of  tools  will  be  difficult  to  manage.    Be sure  to  address  responsibilities  in  terms  of  who  handles  the  different  types  of  communications  coming  in  and  going  out.    Decide  if  reps  will  specialize  in  an  area  or  particular  channel,  or  if  you  will  train  employees  across  some  or  all  channels.    Post  hours  of  operation  by  channel,  and  ensure  that  there’s  coverage  during  those  times.    Just  as  with  phone  calls  make  sure  that  you’ve  established  best  practices,  standard  scripting,  and  processes  for  responding  to  customer  service  issues.    If  you  outsource  your  call  center  your  vendor  partner  must  address  all  of  these  same  issues,  and  have  adequate  systems,  processes,  and  trained  staff  in  place.

3. Video Chat Usage To Improve Customer Engagement

One  channel  we  didn’t  mention  in  the  last  section,  but  would  like  to  focus  on  is  leveraging  video  chat  in  customer  communication. Consider these  stats.

  • As of September,  2016  Skype  had  74  million  worldwide  users.
  • Snapchat had 166  million  users  as  of  Q1  2017…and  it’s  growing.

Video  is  considered  the  best  way  to  interact  behind  face-to-face  and  in-person.    What this  means  for  your  business  and  call  center  is  that  there  is  a  tremendous  opportunity  to  engage  customers  on  these  and  other  video-based  tools.    Make  sure  that  this  is  addressed  and  that  top  tools  are  part  of  your  call  center  strategy.


4. Social Media Support on The Rise

We’ve all  heard  and  seen  the  stories  about  how  customer  complaints  have  gone  viral  because  they  weren’t  addressed  quickly  or  at  all.    Think “UPS  Drivers  Gone  Bad  On  Youtube”,  “Customer  Service  Meltdown  (unedited)”  and  some  of  the  more  unsavory  stories  you’ve  heard  from  popular  fast  food  chains.    A customer  problem  this  morning  can  turn  into  the  trending  hashtag  by  noon,  and  into  an  evening  story  on  national  news  at  6pm.    Social media  and  its  use  and  impact  are  here  to  stay.    That’s  why  it’s  critical  to  include  social  media  engagement  in  your  customer  service  and  communication  mix.    Define response  times,  staff  ownership,  and  processes  for  handling  brand  mentions,  hashtags,  and  direct  messages.    Keep the simple problems  innocuous,  and  if  a  crisis  does  arise  respond  swiftly  with  all  the  facts.    This can  keep  it  from  becoming  a  PR  nightmare.

5. Leveraging Big Data Even In Small  Call Centers

In  the  words  of  Peter  Drucker,  “What  gets  measured,  gets  managed”.    The  data  that  used  to  be  a  challenge  to  record  and  track  is  now  captured  by  the  systems  you  use.    To  improve  your  call  center  performance  it’s  imperative  to  record,  analyze,  and  optimize  your  operations  based  on  inputs  and  the  feedback  your  systems  provide.    You  must  do  this  in  key  areas  including  customer  surveys/feedback,  call  data,  and  pipelines  and  sales.    Define  call  center  goals  and  objectives.    Review  the  information  with  managers  and  team  members.    If  your  data  reflects  that  you’re  missing  the  mark  then  ask  why  and  analyze  further.    Use  these  insights  to  improve  performance  and  achieve  your  goals  and  objectives.

The  future  of  call  centers  is  full  of  challenges,  but  very  promising.    Various  forces  will  impact  the  decisions  you  make,  and  overall  direction  of  your  organization.    Despite  potential  issues,  technology  offers  ways  to  enhance  efficiency,  improve  effectiveness,  and  grow  your  profits.    All  of  this  can  be  achieved  whether  you  keep  your  operations  in  house  or  decide  to  outsource  to  a  trusted  vendor. Regardless,  make  sure  that  these  recommendations  and  guidelines  are  followed.


Top Four Reasons You Should Invest In Lead Generation

Top Four Reasons You Should Invest In Lead Generation If you’re a marketer, you know the rules of the game have completely changed: Today’s information overload has tossed out old-world scarcity of information, relegating outbound marketing to the backend of what drives lead generation. In fact, it’s almost suicidal for companies to ignore the power of inbound marketing to generate leads because this is the age of the post-digital consumer.

Post-digital consumers are no longer content with marketing messages being broadcasted to them; and, neither are they tolerant of cold callers who interrupt their social lives. Instead, they are actively choosing how they interact with the brands and businesses they want to patronize. That’s a quantum shift in the buying process.

In short, brands now revolve around their customers, taking into account their attitudes, behaviors and expectations which are in a constant flux. And, the biggest challenge for marketers today is to cut through the noise and enable people to really engage with their brands.


This  shift  in  power  means  marketers  now  need  to  focus  on  how  their  brands  and  businesses  can  be  found  by  their  customers.  And  once  found,  how  they  can  nurture  that  interest  into  a  long-standing  relationship.  So,  in  essence,  lead  generation  is  all  about  drawing  in  and  convincing  strangers  to  engage  deeper  and  deeper  with  your  brand.

To  do  that,  you  need  to  offer  your  prospects  a  variety  of  irresistible  goodies  and  offers  that  build  an  organic  interest  in  your  products  and  services.  Your  lead  generation  efforts  will  begin  showing  results  when  consumers  warm  up  to  your  brand  on  their  own  terms  and  wind  up  expecting  to  hear  from  you  again  and  again.

Why  Inbound  Trumps  Outbound

According  to  the  State  of  Inbound  2017  report  by  Hubspot,  63  percent  of  marketers  claim  that  generating  traffic  and  leads  is  their  biggest  challenge.  The  good  news  is  that  marketers  everywhere  are  rising  to  the  challenge  of  meeting  consumers  where  they  hang  out  –  be  it  be,  social  media  platforms,  video-sharing  websites,  instant  messaging  apps  or  their  smartphones.    Here  are  some  more  statistics  from  that  report:


  • 71 percent  of  marketers  said  inbound  marketing  is  their  primary  approach  to  marketing.
  • 59 percent  of  marketers  claimed  their  highest  quality  leads  came  from  inbound  marketing  initiatives.
  • over  60  percent  of  marketers  (on  an  average)  felt  growing  their  brand’s  organic  presence  was  their  top  inbound  lead  generation  project.
  • 46  percent  of  marketers  felt  inbound  marketing  created  higher  return  on  investment  while  only  12  percent  voted  for  outbound  marketing.

From these numbers, it’s quite  obvious  that  the  Internet  has  made  sure  that  leads  generated  through  inbound  marketing  efforts  supercede  all  other  approaches.  And, that  marketers  who  don’t  adapt  will  be  forgotten  in  a  flash.  So, here’s  the  question:  Is  your  business  or  brand  doing  enough  to  generate  leads  that  can  be  converted  into  sales?

Read on  to  discover  the  top  four  reasons  your  business  should  invest  in  inbound  lead  generation  efforts.


1. You Want  To  Generate  Organic  Interest

Gone  are  the  days  when  marketers  believed  they  could  hook  leads  by  simply  purchasing  them.  In  theory,  it  might  seem  like  a  great  idea:  You  pay  money  for  leads  sourced  from  online  shoppers  who’re  looking  for  exactly  what  you  sell.  However,  the  service  that  sold  you  those  leads  would  have  sold  them  to  other  marketers  as  well.  Then,  it  all  comes  down  to  who  gets  to  those  leads  first.  Or,  those  leads  may  be  people  who’ve  never  heard  of  your  brand  or  indicated  an  interest  in  learning  more  about  it.  So,  your  efforts  to  attract  them  become  nothing  more  than  annoying  interruptions  of  their  lives,  which  is  clearly  not  the  way  to  go.

Over  the  past  decade  or  so,  marketers  who  built  their  brand’s  visibility  organically,  had  a  deep  understanding  of  SEO  techniques;  created  websites  with  great  architecture;  content  that  had  quality  and  utility;  and  acquired  linkbacks  from  authority  sites.  It  all  comes  down  to  creating  products,  brands,  websites  and  content  with  the  potential  customer  in  mind.  When  you  do  this  the  traffic  will  automatically  start  to  show  up.  However,  your  efforts  at  creating  organic  interest  will  work  only  if  the  people  who  encounter  your  business  and  brand  find  quality  takeaways  immediately.

2. Your Company Is  Small  With  Limited  Resources

If  you’re  a  small  business,  it’s  likely  that  you  don’t  have  the  resources  to  lavish  on  fancy  marketing  campaigns  or  to  purchase  the  latest  marketing  automation  tools  out  there.  But  investing  in  lead  generation  is  crucial  to  your  survival  and  growth  and  you  know  it.  In  this  situation,  a  lot  of  what  you  can  do  ties  in  neatly  with  inbound  marketing  practices  that  position  your  business  as  an  authority.  You  can  do  this  by  consistently  producing  quality  content  that  showcases  your  knowledge,  expertise  and  credibility.  In  other  words,  step  away  from  the  stereotypical  hard-selling  tactics  and  become  a  trusted  advisor  with  your  blog  posts,  white  papers,  video  content  and  so  on.

Leads generated  through  inbound  marketing  cost  very  less  or,  almost  nothing  sometimes.  So,  small  businesses  can  build  awareness,  gain  traffic,  generate  leads  and  earn  as  much  as  their  bigger  competitors  without  spending  the  big  bucks.  And  the  best  aspect  of  using  inbound  marketing  to  generate  leads  is  its  sustainability.  The  top-quality  content  you  create  in  order  to  attract  and  convert  leads  can  be  transformed  into  content  upgrades  and  gated  content  like  PDFs,  ebooks,  white  papers,  and  webinars  that  drive  more  leads.  So,  regardless  of  the  size  of  your  company,  you’re  bound  to  see  a  higher  return  on  investment  with  inbound  marketing,  according  to  the  State  Of  Inbound  2017  report.

3. Your Website Isn’t  Optimized  For  Lead  Generation 

It’s  old  news  that  consumers  spend  a  lot  of  time  on  the  Internet,  flitting  from  smartphones  to  laptops  to  tablets.  But marketers  need  to  note  the  sense  of  entitlement  consumers  now  feel,  expecting  their  devices  to  assist  them  in  even  routine  tasks.  With the  number  of  people  accessing  the  Internet  from  their  smartphones  skyrocketing,  it’s  crucial  for  websites  to  be  optimized  across  all  devices.  The use of  personalized  calls  to  action  (CTAs)  that  target  each  user,  instead  of  generic  ones,  also  has  the  power  to  boost  your  website’s  lead  generating  capacity.

When  it  comes  to  user  experience,  seamlessness  should  be  your  mantra.  Make sure  your  website  supports  the  integration  of  all  the  lead  generating  channels  you  use  to  create  seamless  marketing  campaigns.  Integrations help  guide  the  consumer  along  a  buying  cycle  that’s  tailored  to  their  specific  needs.  And, while  it’s  important  to  highlight  the  features  of  your  product  or  service  through  your  content,  keep  the  focus  on  the  benefits  your  consumers  gain  through  your  offerings.  Finally, websites optimized  for  lead  generation  typically  have  a  professional  design,  with  colors,  fonts  and  images  used  tying-in  with  the  overall  brand.  In  other  words,  marketers  who  fail  to  cash-in  on  their  website’s  lead  generating  capacity,  risk  turning  away  leads  within  seconds.

4. Your Products or  Services  Have  A  Learning  Curve

Irrespective of  who  your  target  market  is,  it’s  important  to  cultivate  and  nurture  the  leads  you’ve  generated.  But, it’s  particularly  relevant  to  B2B  companies  because  their  products/  services  often  involve  a  learning  curve.  Prospective consumers  need  to  be  educated  and  guided  along  the  buying  cycle  before  the  sales  team  can  step  in.  But unlike  before,  the  lead  generation  process  kicks  off  as  soon  as  a  prospective  buyer  begins  searching  for  solutions  to  their  specific  pain  points.  And, it’s  the  role  of  the  modern  marketer  to  meet  these  prospects  at  the  very  places  they  may  be  looking  for  solutions  –  social  media  platforms,  search  engines,  webinars  and  so  on.

Once  a  person  begins  engaging  with  your  business,  the  process  of  nurturing  and  educating  the  lead  should  begin  with  a  steady  supply  of  useful  content  that  overtime  ensures  immediate  brand  association  as  well  as  a  distinctive  shift  towards  purchasing  intent.  At  this  point,  the  lead  is  super  hot  and  the  sales  team  can  step  in  and  close  the  deal,  thanks  to  all  the  lead  nurturing  efforts  that  went  in  earlier.


10 Signs You Should Invest in Accounting Outsourcing

Outsourcing is a common cost-effective method of getting more work done in your business. However, utilizing it correctly can be difficult. Most business owners will see outsourcing as an unnecessary expense because they feel like they should prioritize hiring employees instead of relying on a temporary employee. However, outsourcing can be one of the most effective ways to improve your business, especially when it comes to bookkeeping and valuation.

If you’re on the fence with accounting outsourcing or want to learn more about it, then here are 10 signs that you should invest in it.

1. Your business is growing too fast

If your business is growing incredibly fast then it’s a good idea to hire an online accounting and bookkeeping service to help you keep up with the demand. While it’s great to hire long-term employees to take care of the work, you need to understand that training and hiring an employee takes time, and that doesn’t include actually finding them in the first place. With a cost-effective accounting outsourcing service, it’s easy to accommodate your business growth without overspending your capital.

2. You’re focusing too much time on your accounting

Even if you think you can handle your financial obligations, it’s important to remember that dealing with it can take up valuable time that should otherwise be used on things such as making important decisions in your company or networking with new clients and industry figureheads. The less time you spend on accounting, the faster your business will grow. While it might seem like an expense you can’t afford, you’ll be surprised at how much more potential your business has to grow if you’re allowed to focus on its growth instead of managerial tasks.

3. Your accounting and finance software is slow, inefficient and outdated

If you’re vigilant about your financial obligations then you’ve probably already got some kind of finance or accounting software. However, there’s a good chance that it’s completely outdated and too inefficient to be worth the time spent on it. Online accounting and bookkeeping services are far more efficient and can provide you with up-to-date data visibility and reporting. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your accounting processes or if you’re still using old software due to outdated advice, then it’s a good idea to look at what options you have now in order to make the entire process more efficient.

4.  You’re not a mobile business

If you’re not a mobile business then it might be time to consider the advantages of moving your services to the cloud. It allows for better collaboration, it gives you more employee flexibility and will ultimately save you a lot of money. Hiring an accounting outsourcing service is a cost-effective way to go remote, but even if that doesn’t interest you, making your business more flexible comes with many compelling advantages if you’re willing to accommodate the change of pace.

5. You don’t have a way to keep track of your data

If you don’t have a simple and stress-free way to access your financial data, then it can be hard to make informed decisions regarding your company. An outsourced online accounting and bookkeeping service can help you keep track of that data, giving you access to it no matter where you are. If you’re finding it difficult to track the flow of financial data coming in and out of your business, then hiring someone to do it for you is perhaps the best option.

6. You have no way to visualize your data

Being able to digest your data is just as important as tracking it. After all, looking at a bunch of numbers is hardly going to help you if you don’t understand what it means. Accounting outsourcing can help you track and visualize your data to make decisions much easier to make and to keep you informed about how your business is doing.

7. You’re unsure how to analyze your data

But even if you can track and visualize your data, some business owners just aren’t sure how to actually make use of it. Outsourced accounting services can also provide you with insight and help you make informed decisions regarding the future of your business.

8. You’re overwhelmed with managing your employees

If you spend far too much time juggling your responsibilities and managing employees then you might find it beneficial to hire an outsourced accountant to help offload some of the work. It gives you more time to think about your other commitments in the company and is a cost-effective way to help you focus your attention on important business-defining tasks.

9. You find it difficult to make CFO-type decisions

Outsourcing your accounting can give you outsourced or fractional CFO can give you the insight and benefits of CFO-level service without the costs of hiring an employee to do it full-time. Outsourced accounting is usually very customizable, allowing your fractional CFO to meet the requirements of your company.

10. Your monthly or year-end reports aren’t being finished on time

If you’re struggling to complete financial reports on time, then it may be because you’re not getting them done efficiently enough. This could be because you simply don’t have time because you’re juggling other commitments, or it could be because you just don’t have the staff to do it. Outsourcing your accounting could help you resolve this and get all of your reports finished on time.

Hopefully, these 10 signs have given you some insight into how useful accounting outsourcing can be and how much assistance it offers you.


10 Ways Outsourcing Helps Your Business and the Economy

Outsourcing has become more and more important over time. As everything has slowly grown more digital, it has become easier than ever to using outsourcing services for a variety of purposes. From manufacturing to marketing, businesses can outsource anything that they can’t afford or can’t justify doing themselves. Outsourcing is good for businesses, and it can benefit the economy too.

1. Be More Competitive

One of the ways that outsourcing helps the economy is by allowing businesses to be more competitive. When a business can outsource to foreign markets, they benefit from both selling and hiring within these markets. Cheaper labor, manufacturing, and materials from emerging markets allow businesses to lower the cost of the products that they then ship back to the United States (or wherever they are based). This makes their products more affordable, keeping costs low for consumers so that they are able to spend their money. Restricting outsourcing could mean rising prices, as companies are forced to bring their labor and other resources back home.

2. Do Things You Otherwise Couldn’t Afford

Outsourcing allows companies to do things that otherwise might be too expensive. They don’t even need to look to foreign markets to make savings. Often, it’s more affordable to outsource a particular aspect of a business than to make permanent hires or even hire temporary staff. Things like short-term projects, fluctuating workloads or just growing areas of the business can all be carried out more affordably with outsourcing. Many businesses are looking for support in certain areas, such as information technology or marketing. Selecting an outsourcer gets them the expert help that they need but makes it much more affordable and lets them try something out before making a commitment.

3. Increase Productivity

Increased productivity often goes hand in hand with outsourcing. Businesses can be more efficient and use both their time and money better. Outsourcing helps to take some of the workload from permanent staff, allowing them to concentrate more on their main roles. It also means that more work can be done for less. When using an outsourcing service, a business might be able to make twice as many products or serve twice as many customers for only a fraction of the price. Whether manufacturing or customer service is outsourced, it grows a company’s workforce without the need for permanent new hires.

4. Connect with Specialist Resources and Services

Outsourcing allows businesses to connect with specialists and experts immediately. Using an outsourcing partner, a business can have access to people who know what they’re doing. You still need to vet any potential partners, but you don’t have to go through a complete hiring process or provide training to the people you work with. Some amount of onboarding could be required, but you can generally be confident that you’re working with experts in their field. You can easily check reviews and testimonials, which can be simpler and more transparent than checking references for new hires.

5. Reduce Risk

Every business has to face risk, but reducing it where possible (without being too safe) is useful. One of the good things about working with an outsourcing partner is that they can help you to manage risk. They know that their area of expertise carries risk with it, just like any other, and they’re also practiced in managing that risk. They know more about their field than you might, so they’re prepared to make better decisions to avoid and reduce risk, as well as manage any possible repercussions.

6. Control Hiring Costs

Taking on new employees is expensive. As well as paying their wages, there are various other expenses to pay, from recruitment to taxes and workspace. It can take a long time before small businesses are able to grow their number of employees. Outsourcing makes it simple to control costs for hiring and labor. Businesses can outsource to companies that hire their own employees or to contractors and self-employed individuals

7. Start Projects Faster

Short-term projects that will soon be over can still take a long time to plan. If you need to hire people just for the project, it can take months of planning and organizing. Outsourcing lets you get started much quicker. When you start a new project, you could find the people you need within a couple of days. And if you have worked with them before, you only need to get in touch and check their availability.

8. Make Your Business Look Bigger

Outsourcing can help to level the playing field, allowing small businesses to look bigger without having to be bigger. It means that small businesses can get access to experts in different fields and plenty of different resources and they don’t need to hire the right talent permanently. A small business can add a huge team of people to their workforce for a lot less money when they use outsourcing.

9. Have More Choice and Flexibility

Businesses have a lot more choice and flexibility when it comes to choosing outsourcing partners. If you hire permanent staff, replacing them is often difficult and expensive. But when a business outsources, it can benefit from a huge range of choice. It’s easy to compare different vendors and find the best one before discussing your requirements. You only need to pay for what you need, and it’s easy to end your working relationship too.

10. Concentrate on Your Core Business

Using outsourcing partners can reduce the number of distractions and the workload that a business faces. They can hand off some of the time-consuming tasks that they need to do to experts who can handle them better. This allows business owners to concentrate on managing the core of their business. Instead of trying to carry out activities like marketing, and trying to educate themselves on the topic at the same time, they can leave it up to the people with experience. Focusing on growing their core business is a more productive use of time.

Outsourcing helps your business and the economy. Start benefiting from outsourcing today.