The first call center started its operations in the Philippines in 1992. For years, the industry significantly contributed to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
At present, 1.4 million Filipinos are currently employed in the industry (Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP)). No wonder the call center industry remains to be the ‘sunshine industry’ through the years.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are several other concerns that need to be addressed, and companies have now started focusing on enhancing the quality of service.
Every call center manager balances many things at the same time on a day-to-day basis.
So, managers need to find cost-effective ways to tackle challenges successfully. As a result they avoid long-term detrimental effects.
In this article, we identify and solve 10 challenges that every call center faces.
|Other companies||Magellan Solutions|
|1. Lack of Budget||Tight budgets have been a perennial problem for contact centers, thanks to the high costs associated with staffing them.
In cases, like the senior executives from Infinit-O, they don’t regard contact center efficiency savings as a “nice to have”.
Instead, they are demanding them as standard. This view of the contact center as a “cost center” is one that restricts contact centers from providing their best possible service.
|We believe that organizations faced with restricted budgets need to review their call center strategy.
If your resources are being squeezed, you will inevitably need to lose your headcount. And if you’re going to do that, you need to reduce call demand to counterbalance it.
The secret to this is to create a mechanism that identifies the reasons people ring the call center. By doing this, you can start fixing some of the problems at the source and reducing demand that way.
|2. IT Issues and Need New Technology||Call center outsourcing Philippines are drowned with software. Ranging from:
• Predictive diallers
• CRM databases and workforce management (WFM) tools
• Sales order processing platforms
• Credit card security applications
• Automated voice response systems
The problem is that contact centers such as Office Partners 360 struggle to keep up. They have difficulties identifying which channels they should focus on and which technology is best to implement. And when new technology is installed, it is often not linked to other systems.
|Our solution to this problem will lie in finding ways of attaining a bigger budget. We do this by putting together a good business case. There is also the question of choosing the right technology for your contact center.
In terms of implementing new technology to support new channels, we recommend first is to determine what you need in the short and long term. It is good to separate the “must-have” and the “nice to have” features.
Once this initial analysis has been done, we follow up with a new recommendation. Check that the new systems will integrate with the old. Or better, choose us as your vendor. We guarantee to consolidate its technology.
|3. Conflicting Business Priorities||It is the job of senior management to manage contact center performance with respect to business priorities. But often these priorities contradict each other for Outsource Access.
For example, one their priority is to increase customer satisfaction, while another is to cut costs.
However, improving satisfaction can be difficult when there is little financial support from elsewhere in the business.
|1.) The first we do is list your priorities in order of importance.
2.) Ask other parts of the organization for their main focuses and try to align your service with the values held in the highest regard amongst other departments. This will lead to a consistent experience.
3.) We then help eliminate those priorities that are poorly defined. We then contradict those of greatest importance and go against organizational culture.
4.) Lastly, create a plan for investments in time and money. Make sure each is linked to the most important of your business priorities.
|4. Absenteeism||According to a report by NICE, the average annual absence rate in contact center industry in the Philippines and across the globe could be as high as 10%.
This might not seem particularly high. But the stark reality is that a 100-seat contact center with 10% absenteeism will only have an average of 90 seats occupied at any one time.
Unsurprisingly, a shortfall of this magnitude has a huge impact on the quality of service.
This is due to fewer agents available to handle customer interactions, wait queues tend to increase and agents are put under pressure to spend less time on each call.
This situation holds true for some of the major teams of Filta.
Over extended periods of time, absenteeism can impact staff morale and may even foster similar behavior in those left to fill the gap.
|1.) The first step we mainly do is track absenteeism. We look for weekly, seasonal, and event-based trends.
2.) Once we gather this information, we talk to your team as a group. We guarantee to appeal to their better nature, explain the effect that absenteeism has on your business and ours.
3.) It is also important for us to implement and communicate a robust absence management policy. We are clear that employees will be contacted during their absence and will need to undertake a return-to-work interview. This helps our managers understand why they were absent and how a repeat situation can be avoided.
4.) To ensure real impact, staff should be made aware that repeated unsubstantiated absence will result in formal action such as a verbal or written warning.
|5. Advisor Attrition||High staff turnover negatively impacts contact center quality for Cloudstaff. Every time a trained advisor leaves, fewer are on hand to ensure an optimum level of service.
Moreso, there are heavy costs associated with recruiting, hiring, training, and developing new staff.
Additionally, the costs associated with the dip in productivity that is inevitable as new recruits battle to get up to speed.
|Anyone looking to tackle high staff turnover should think about prevention rather than cure.
For our Filipino customer service, this means being careful when it comes to recruitment. We aim for people who see call centers as a career option rather than a stop-gap.
For others, it’s all about empowerment. As a customer service company in Philippines, it’s all well and good developing people and giving them skills.
But if you don’t allow employees to maximize those skills in full, they are likely to get despondent and leave.
The key is to empower advisors. Even if it’s through small activities like giving them the freedom to authorize minor refunds.
Giving people this kind of ownership helps prevent them from feeling like a number. As a result, it makes them feel they are valued by the business, which is an incentive to stay.
|6. Lack of Time / Human Resources||This is really a workforce management (WFM) problem for MySource Solutions. If they still have these problems, you are likely to struggle along with them in one of the following three areas:
• Forecasting your requirements – Are you struggling to predict your contact volumes? Is your forecast accuracy way off? This can cause great understaffing and make scheduling a big challenge.
• Planning your work schedules – Can you successfully schedule the correct number of staff to meet your needs, while ensuring that you have the right skills available?
• Managing your employees’ time – Are you prioritizing tasks to make the best use of your time, as well as that of your advisors?
|For the first two issues, our solution is to train the WFM team. We help them be more confident using techniques like triple exponential smoothing for forecasting and tools like the Erlang Calculator for scheduling.
The more data, in terms of historical contact volumes, the WFM team has access to, the easier this will become for them.
In terms of managing the advisors’ time, this doesn’t mean targeting them against time-based metrics like Average Handling Time (AHT) that can lead to negative behaviors. Instead, we coach advisors to use techniques that improve the customer experience, while lowering AHT naturally.
Signposting is a great example of this. For instance, in the classic scenario when an advisor says: “I’m going to give you a reference number. Have you got a pen to write it down?”, people will go on a hunt to find a pen. Yet time can be shaved off this process.
If instead, the advisor was to say at the start of the call: “I’m going to give you a reference number. It might be handy to have a pen”, the customer can rummage around as you carry on the conversation.
This is a good example of how signposting can save advisors’ time.
|7. Lack of Skills||At some point or another, OutForce struggled to increase its performance levels. Often they reach a plateau or, worse, finding that their adherence to targets is starting to drop.
In an in-house environment like theirs, this can lead to frustration for both managers and front-line staff. And in the outsourcing arena, it can cause clients to question the third party’s capabilities.
A key problem in call center outsourcing Philippines is that we get stuck in routines of firefighting and fail to invest in upskilling advisors to handle the needs of modern customers.
|Traditional metrics such as “speed to answer” and AHT can be the reason why we fail to upskill advisors
We believe that such metrics make it much more difficult to improve key measures such as quality and adherence.
We focus instead on more relevant, customer-focused metrics.
• Net Promoter Scores (NPSs)
• Social networking comments
• Real-time customer feedback
• Balanced scorecards that all aim to match quantity with a qualitative performance aspect
|8. Advisor Buy-In / Engagement||At one extreme, contact center industry in the Philippines can be monotonous. This is due to the highly repetitive nature of the job. On the other hand, it can also be stressful, thanks to the seemingly impossible targets and strictures that Telework PH places upon their staff.
In both instances, Telework PH runs the risk of their agents losing enthusiasm and becoming demoralized. In turn, it can lead to absenteeism and ultimately attrition.
|There are numerous ways that we improve advisor engagement. This includes
• Offering a clear path of progression
• Favorable shift patterns and general recognition
In fact, just take a look at what our readers found to be the greatest keys to advisor engagement.
• Work-life balance
• Self-development / Career progression
• Fairness / Transparency
Offering incentives is another key to engagement according to a number of our employees.
We offer traditional incentive schemes. But we change these around regularly and are always coming up with new ways to recognize our staff’s hard work and achievements.”
Furthermore, technology can also play a role.
Systems such as intelligent call routing to direct a customer to the appropriate advisor or service and automating routine tasks free staff up to focus on more complex queries.
|9. Management Buy-In||Customer service can be a key business differentiator. Yet Genpact Services does not have this mentality. Customer service company in Philippines like them can really struggle to get buy-in from the wider business.
Without management buy-in, a number of the other problems in this list become harder to solve.
|• We improve management buy-in is to put effort to showcase the value of the call center outsourcing Philippines.
Contact centers serve as a “hub” for the Voice of the Customers (VoC).
This means that it holds great feedback that can be used for your organization’s creative, marketing and production teams. It is up to you to think of ways that you can drive the VoC into these departments for real change, to highlight your contact center’s value.
• Another way we achieve management’s support in improving your performance. We present them with cost figures for absenteeism and attrition each year instead of percentage figures.
While this may seem like a small change, management will be more likely to invest in improving contact center culture. This is because they see a cost-benefit as opposed to a mere percentage benefit.
However, remember to include hidden costs of HR time and so forth in your calculations.
|10. Flat Structures / Few Progression Opportunities||According to Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS), fewer and fewer of their employees are multi-skilling advisors. They may be good in terms of maintaining advisor focus but is not so good in equipping advisors with the skills they need for future job progression.
The problem is that HGS are inherently flat structures. Their career prospects are often limited, as there are many more advisor roles than leader or manager positions.
The impact is clear. Organizations like them risk losing their best people if they cannot provide adequate career opportunities. Talented staff might also become demotivated and stop working to the same high standards they achieved previously.
|We think that it is good to get your ‘future starts’ engaged in the organisation and their own development much earlier. Be clear about the opportunities that will exist and the timescales involved.
Be realistic. If you don’t see opportunities arising in the short term, you have to manage the person’s expectations.
However, do look at where else you can involve and engage in the business. for example, giving them responsibility for overseeing a new project where the skills they’ll gain will be useful for a future management position.
Magellan Solutions makes sure that your team will not be left idling.
The call center industry has been repeatedly written off by some critics, yet it has not only survived, but grew tremendously over the last decade despite several hurdles and provided jobs to billions of youth globally, and continues to do so.
Slowly, but surely, Magellan Solutions provides call center experience Philippines for 18 years. We know how to overcome the call center challenges by providing the best cost-effective solution.
We hire native multilingual call center agents to deliver the best services and build long-term relationships with customers. Additionally, we have set up multiple delivery centers across the globe which allows us to work in different time zones and even out any regional challenges, and ensure quick response time.
If you are looking for hassle-free call center services, feel free to get in touch with us by filling out our form below.
Contact us today for more information.
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