Monthly Archives: May 2012

A meet you in person center

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A meet you in person center

It is my experience, that Indians are really good in person, especially when they are on break, and having cookies and tea.  I have had very unfavorable experiences with Indians over the phone as a rule.  I know a handful of very professional and personable individuals from India who are excellent on the phone, but the rest of the country lags behind it seems.

So my question in another blog was, how can a country that has awful phone skills be so successful in the call center industry? Since Indians are much better in person, I think they would be very pleasant to work with in a “Meet you in person center” rather than a call center.

For example, if I need tech support, no problem.  I’ll just book a flight to Hyderabad with my computer, and meet someone at a “Meet you in person center”.  Unfortunately to book an appointment, I might need a call center, and get hung up on by accident and then not get an apology when I call back.  But, for the sake of my blog article, we’ll say that no appointments are necessary at this “meet you in person center” and that you can go there day or night and meet happy, helpful people.

So, I could get off my flight, get a cab, pay triple even though I bargain hard because I am a foreigner, and then arrive at this “Meet you in person center”. Then, we could have samosas, and chai, and socialize for a while.  People are very pleasant in India when they can relax with no stress and enjoy a hot drink — or a cool drink. But, on the phone, they can be so emotionally distant. So, the ideal to engage with the call center workers socially without stressing anybody with work related issues.  After everyone has gotten to know each other, then you can start working on technical issues.  Perhaps an hour later we will be done, and I can catch a 30 hour flight back to California, and all will be well.

Maybe my idea lacks practicality, but it would be very popular as a video on the Jay Leno show.  He would love this idea for sure! He would love it even more if he could drive one of his classic cars right into the building.

Although this blog article is one big joke, business with Arabs is typically done this way. Arabs are similar to Indians in that they require face to face interaction, and they like to take business slow and enjoy a lot of socializing and eating nuts and seeds for a few hours before they begin to talk business.

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Handling Stress in a Call Center Office

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Handling stress in a call center office

It is really stressful to be on the phone all day going from call to call to call. I sometimes do 200 calls in a day and I am a wreck afterwords. Call center workers are routinely in a state of being frazzled, and have to recover from their demanding job. Many turn to alcohol, but too much hard alcohol damages your liver and arteries making you even more prone to stress. So, what is the solution? In my line of work / overworking, I have become somewhat of an expert on this subject. Here are some really effective techniques for relieving stress. Not all will be in your budget, or nearby you, but do your best.

(1) A glass of red wine per day
Scientists have learned that those who have a glass of red wine (red is better than white for your health), have lower stress, less heart attacks, and live considerably longer. Additionally, red wine has antioxidants that clean your arteries. Too much wine will damage your liver and make you groggy the next day. One glass or half a glass per day is like a magical medicine. Hard liquor and beer are horrible for your health. Avoid these no matter what your friends say!

(2) Visiting the beach
Many call center industries are near water. Manila and Mumbai are driving distance from the beach. Oceans have theraputic energies, and being near water for a few hours, taking a slow walk on the beach is one of the most effective ways to relax. Even some medical doctors tell their patients to take a drive down the coast sometimes!

(3) Spend relaxing time with friends and family
If your friends and family are annoying, then skip this tip. But, there needs to be a balance of work and leisure. Too much of one or the other creates an imbalance in life that can lead to emotional and even physical problems. Make sure you have a good relaxing day at least once a week.

(4) Forests and mountains are great!
Trees have mystical healing properties, and sleeping in a forest, or being around trees can do wonders for your psychological state. For one, there are no phones in forests which might make it appealing to a call center worker!

(5) Meditation
No!!! not medication… Meditation!!! Ohm… Ohm…. Meditation takes decades to master, but even a beginner can get immediate benefits. Scientests have learned that meditation changes your brain waves and can make you more peaceful. Try meditating a few minutes a day, or an hour per day. I try to do twice per day. Your life can gain a sense of balance when you integrate spirituality and peace into your life

(6) Acupuncture
The Philippines has many Chinese people, hence there will be good acupuncture practitioners. India has really awful acupuncturists practicing very careless and unprofessional acupuncture for the most part. I might skip acupuncture in India. But, REAL acupuncture is really good for your health, and can help you live in balance.

(7) Reading a good book?
Television is not a good way to relax, because it is too stimulating, and doesn’t engage your mind as much as a book. Reading a book can leave you feeling fulfilled and it can transport you to a different reality — one with no phones!

(8) Me time
Sometimes I do this — but generally I don’t have time. Even on my days off, I am in a hurry to get to my favorite hiking spot, or meet up with a friend. There is still stress. But, having a “me time day” is great. Plan your day with activities that you are going to do slowly. Have an ice cream — very slowly… but,eat it before it melts, so don’t go too slow. After that, perhaps have a slow meal, and intentionally eat slowly, and spend lots of time staring into space (I’m really good at that and so is my cat). Make idle conversation with strangers talking about relaxing things. Take a slow walk. Being in nature is perfect, but even in a dense city, you can find internal peace as you breathe in toxic fumes. Movies are good too, since they take you out of your reality.

(9) Walking and running.
Any type of physical exercise is wonderful for the body as long as you don’t injure yourself or over do it. Exercise helps the body balance itself chemically, and gets the blood flowing so that all of the cells in your body can detoxify and get the nutrients and oxygen they need from the blood. I suggest walking for an hour per day at a minimum. It is wonderful for your heart and your whole body.

Destressing is an art and a science. Part of it is to create mental balance. Another part is learning to remove your mind from “where” it normally is. But, physical health is a huge counterpart of being able to be relaxed. If you work all day at a call center and never take a long walk, and then drink too much like so many call center workers do — then, you will be a wreck and will probably die early. Fried chicken is the food of choice for Filipino Call Center workers. That is a suicide diet, especially when you combine it with hard alcohol. When people are under stress, they gravitate towards comfort foods like ice cream and fried chicken. I get the same cravings too when I am overworked. The only solution is to learn ways to relax, so that you can neutralize these tendencies.

(1) Drinking beer with a friend might not be good for your health, but if you put the glasses together you’ll get clicks which matters in my business!
(2) As for your plan to avoid alcohol — Put a cork in it! A daily glass of red wine will keep your arteries clean & has antioxidants.
(3) Resveratrol is found in the skins and seeds of grapes: found in red wine: good for your heart and raising good cholesterol.
(4) A polyphenol in red wine called Resveratrol is good for your heart and lowers stress levels.
(5) When was the last time you saw a stressed wino? Drink a glass of red wine a day!

(6) Stressed on the job? Try having some red wine with lunch. If you don’t get fired, your stress will be demoted!
(7) Drinking on the job? Switch to red wine! It will reduce your stress, clean arteries & help you live longer!
(8) Want to make waves in the #outsourcing #callcenter world? Reduce stress by visiting the beach!
(9) Is your #outsourcing #callcenter career just coasting along? Reduce stress by visiting the beach!
(10) Even God needed to rest after his creation. Reduce stress & Relax w/your family!

(11) Is your #outsourcing job so stressful that you can’t see the forest through the trees. Relax in the woods!
(12) What’s in YOUR mantra? Stressed out? Learn to meditate!
(13) Stop saying, “Um”, and start saying, “Ohm”. Reduce your #outsourcing stress — learn to meditate today!
(14) Read any good tweets lately? Don’t judge a tweet by its hash tags! Reduce stress by reading!

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Are your callers annoying?

Categories: Call Center, Semi-Popular | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Are Your Callers Annoying?

Sales is a difficult field, and so is marketing. Many try to succeed, but most fail. So, what is the secret? Understanding a few basic principles is the secret.  If you are calling prospects or existing clients, you are dead in the water if you are pushy or annoying.  There are exceptions to this rule, and I will elaborate on this.

Beginning a sales relationship
Imagine that you are enjoying a Monday afternoon at work and the phone rings.  Let’s say a very pushy salesman who you have never met before tries to push a sale on you while talking in a nasal mono-tone. Are you going to buy his product? No way! It doesn’t matter how good his product is, or how good his deal is, you will be offended by him and avoid his company’s future contacts as well.  So, when you begin a sales call, being gentle and charismatic is the key.

Remember — a cold sale is a hard thing to do, but a warm sale is much easier.  If you don’t know a prospect, either get introduced to them, or get to know them.  The act of getting to know a prospect is the biggest part of the sale and is much more important than your sales pitch.  Learning how to develop rapport is key here. Becoming liked and trusted is life or death in your profession!

During the call – try to feel out the prospect, and find out what they need, or what they like.  Try to gently appeal to their wants and needs, plus their comfort level.  A smooth salesperson can do all of this without a hard sell or any arm twisting.

Schmoozing? What does that mean?
Jewish business people love this Yiddish word.  They love to schmooze, and they love schmaltz, or anything with a “sch” at the beginning for that matter.  Nothing works better in business than schmoozing and adding a little schmaltz (grease normally from a chicken) to a business deal.  The schmaltz makes everything much smoother. Arabs are the only ones who like schmoozing more than Jews although Arabs have a different word for it.  Many people think that sales is about being pushy and meeting quotas, looking at graphs, and identifying salient features of your product verses the competition’s.  In some cases that could be the case. However, if you pay attention (and I always do), and look at the low paid sales people, you will notice that they look at the clock more, are very anal about quotas and numbers and annoying factors that cause stress.  These novices are poorly paid and under a lot of stress.

The gentlemen of the business
If you meet the gentlemen of the business — seasoned older professionals who are making $150,000 or more per year, you will see that they have a very different style.   Although some might be really cool, while others might be really busy, they will know how to make good conversation and are often masters of interpersonal skills.  The trick here with Schmoozing is to create a connection with others and to get comfortable with each other before talking about any deal.  Talking about the deal comes LATER.  In Arabia, they will talk for hours about Schmoozing type topics long before even beginning to talk about business — and this is after arriving three hours late to begin with.  The business talk doesn’t begin until 7pm if everyone is running early (7pm solar time — Arabs look at the sun to figure out when to go to their meetings). I know a man who speaks five different languages and can talk about any topic known to mankind.  He is very personable, interesting, and fun.  He makes millions of dollars in sales per year as well.

Study from the professionals
If you hire call center staff members, realize that they can make you or ruin your name altogether.  Training and proper selection is life and death. Your workers have to master the art of interaction before you even begin to think about sales.


Once you are done with small talk
Once everyone has gotten to know each other, and identified the other person’s needs, it is time to talk business.  Now that you have been gentle and personable, it is time to introduce the deal.  The key is NOT to explain why the deal is good. The key is to explain HOW the deal is perfect for solving the prospects particular problems and meeting their particular needs.  If you are not tuned in to their needs, and just ramble on using a script speaking in a nasal monotone, and don’t listen to the prospect, you are dead in the water.  Once the prospect is sold on how good the deal is for them, then you can put a little time pressure on them if your pricing offer has an expiration date, or if your availability might decrease later on.  High pressure techniques have their time and place, and if you use them in the wrong time or place, then you not only blow a deal, but you blow your whole company’s reputation with a prospect forever!

(1) Are your callers annoying? Clients won’t buy products if they don’t buy the callers personality!
(2) Becoming liked and trusted is life or death in the call center profession!
(3) During the call – try to feel out the prospect, and find out what they need, or what they like.
(4) A smooth salesperson gently appeals to the clients’ wants & needs w/o any arm twisting
(5) Many people think that sales is about being pushy & looking at graphs, but it’s really about schmoozing
(6) Higher level sales-people make small talk before making the “big-talk” and closing the sale.
(7) High pressure sales techniques have their time & place. Use it at the wrong time & lose the prospect!

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