Monthly Archives: October 2012

6 Habits of Successful Outsourcing Companies

Categories: Outsourcing Articles, Popular on Twitter | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I have been talking on the phone to some of the most successful BPO outsourcing businesses in the market. I bet that you are very interested to know what I learned about their habits. There are those who beg for BPO “processes”, and those who get so much work, that it would make you dizzy. So, what is the difference?

(1) Knowledge at your fingertips
The larger and more successful BPO companies have someone knowledgeable answer the phone. The phone rarely goes to voice mail. The person you talk to on the other line can answer most of your preliminary questions, and make you feel confident that their BPO company can get the job done. The difference I see is that some companies have a very sophisticated and knowledgeable person who will talk to you, while others merely have someone “adequate”, who knows the basic answers. Some people at BPO offices I talked to sounded a bit bored, while others sounded like amazing people. I talked to one gentleman who had been a consultant who impressed me. I asked him how he learned to speak English so clearly. He told me how he did consulting all over the United States and London. He is a breed of his own, and guys like him would be too expensive for most of us to hire. But, if you want BPO business, hire someone really good to answer your phones.

(2) 24 hour phone answering?
I just talked to a company that does IT related BPO processes in Delhi the other day (my day — their night). The guy on the other end of the line sounded bored, but he spoke good English and answered all of my questions. His company had hundreds of workers, so they were doing many things right. I prefer to speak to exciting and fascinating people, but someone who gets the job done is much better than 95% of the OTHER outsourcing outfits do.

BPO Business these days is global. If you want to catch calls from other countries, it might matter WHERE your office is — however, it matters more WHEN your office is. If you have an office in Delhi and you answer your line all night long (which is daytime in America), then you can get American clients. You will need an American phone number so you don’t scare off the Yankies. Having an office for BPO in America with locals answering the phone will make you sound local, but to me, knowledge sells much more than having an uneducated blonde on the other end of the line. Have someone who can answer basic business questions who answers the phone. Don’t make prospects work to talk to a salesman. You wait on them, they shouldn’t have to wait for you.

(3) Having the staff to do the job
Big companies have large staffs. They have staffs of different levels of experience, and different specialties too. No matter what type of BPO job you throw at them, they have the availability to get the job done. If you want to get ahead in your outsourcing outfit, you had better have people who are ready to jump on new projects, otherwise you will not get the new projects. Think ahead.

(4) Being flexible
I have notice that many of the companies with 20-40 workers can be very rigid. They want tight contracts that protect THEM, but put their client in a very constricting position. I noticed that the larger BPO outfits are often more flexible about terms. Since they have such a huge staff at large companies, they don’t NEED to lock you into a constrictive contract. In any case, you should be in business to make life easy for your clients if you want to have enough clients to have 200 workers. Think like the big guys — do you think they don’t philosophize about how to please their clients better?

(5) Having higher level workers
Many companies that offer BPO in India have low-end staff, and perhaps a few senior workers who have four or five years experience. If you want to get serious clients, please consider having high-end staff available. Some projects require higher level skills, while some require a mixture of levels of skill. If you only have low-end people, you will scare off the serious clients. If you want to grow your business big, you need big clients, and big clients want smart workers. Think ahead! Big companies in India who do outsourcing have a higher percentage of high skilled people, and they are more accessible than in medium or smaller companies where those “experts” are likely to be tied up on some other project and too busy for your new clients. If you want to get clients like the big guys, give them some skilled workers. It makes all the difference.

(6) Good communication
Some companies in India have great workers, and write good emails, but have a horrible phone manner. Little BPO companies in India almost always are horrifying on the phone. No respectable client would hire them to even pour a cup of coffee with their bad communication skills. The bigger companies seem to have a much better command of phone etiquette and English. However, even many huge companies in India still are far from perfect on the phone — phone manners seem to be a problem across the board in India. But, I will say one thing: the larger BPO companies are MORE LIKELY to have staff with good English and good phone etiquette than the smaller companies.

Don’t interview the salesperson

Categories: Outsourcing Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Don’t interview the sales person.

If you do business with high tech companies, or other outsourcing companies, the salesperson is the worst person to talk to.  They only care about scoring a sale, and will answer yes to all of your questions.  If you talk to the technical manager, they might say no to all your questions, but at least that is honest.

In the long run, you will be dealing with project managers, staff members, and perhaps the boss himself. But, after the sale is made, the salesperson is out of the picture, so why deal with this person in the first place?

Sure, you are forced to deal with the salesperson, but you can ignore everything they say (recommended), and then have your second interview with a real person who gives real answers.  You need to interview all members involved in your work if you choose to hire an outsourced company.  If you can’t communicate with the programmers, or if the call center workers don’t communicate the way you like — you will be sorry — and the salesperson will not be in a position to help either.

Indians who succeed use their real name

Categories: India | Tagged | Leave a comment

Indians who succeed use their real name!

It seems to be the culture in North India that you have to be Americanized.  But, the Americanization is really fake.  I see people on TV wearing very American clothes and doing American activities, but their style of interaction is very uptight and completely opposite from how Americans interact.  To make it in America, you are better off being a traditional Indian who wears a sari and has good interaction skills.

People in North Indian call centers are brainwashed into thinking that they have to be white skinned, have a neutral accent, and be a fake American to succeed.  Unfortunately, the fake Americanization people go through seems to have no bearing on what the real American culture is, and is just a cheap imitation or what the Chinese might call a knock off.  It is like buying a fake Rolex in Hong Kong for $5… It might outwardly appear to be a Rolex at first glance, but it is an imitation, and it shows.

Even when I see North Indian girls (from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, etc.) socializing in America, they wouldn’t be caught dead wearing Indian clothes, yet they never seem to socialize with real Americans.  Hmmm.  If they REALLY were Americanized, they would feel completely at home with real Americans, right?  The truth seems to be that traditional South Indians — with their dark skin, saris, arranged marriages, and so on, are MORE compatible with Americans than bleached Aryan looking Indians who wear Denim and shorts and make a fake attempt at being a Westerner.  Why is this?  INTERACTION STYLE.  The way South Indians interact is more gentle and calming — Americans are more agreeable to this style of interaction than the spastic manner of their counterparts in Delhi.

The Indians who I know who are getting ahead — far ahead — are themselves. They are real.  They are good at what they do (really good in fact).  And they do NOT use a fake American name!

Can a techie be trained to be a people person?

Categories: Outsourcing Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

It is so common in companies that the customer service people have nice personalities, but are idiots when it comes to anything technical. They will get the answer wrong 90% of the time, making them nothing more than a pretty voice on the other end of a pretty phone.  Sure, it is nice to talk to someone nice, but how long will you be patient if they give  you wrong answers most of the  time.

On the other hand, there are people who are technically gifted. These folks tend to be very anti-social. Getting them to say hi audibly can be a challange.

So, my philosophical business question of the day is:  Is it easier to train a sociable person to be technically competent — or is it easier to train a technically savvy person to have a good personality — or ANY personality for that matter?

I think that people are not so neatly defined as I make them out to be, and everyone has a different configuration of traits and unique qualities.  I think the answer here could be on an individual basis, but I am learning more towards educating the sociable types.

My experience tells me that antisocial people can not learn to act like humans.  I tried for years to get programmers to have conversations and invited them to many dinners (that I would pay for), and they refused every time.  It didn’t matter if they were Americans, Indians, Chinese, or Martians, their personality traits were the same — anti-social. So, we have to take those who are considered to be “a people person”, and train them how to be a little less idiotic when someone asks them a technical quesiton.  My experience tells me that there are “people people” who are also very gifted technically, and many who can engage in deep thought and sophisticated problems.

I remember a guy named Josh who was the most pleasant person I think I have ever met. He gave very intelligent marketing advice, and gave great answers to questions that were completely outside of his training as well.

If you take ten people people, and train them how to really understand technical issues, you might find that three or four can really excel at answering technical questions.  They might need double the training that their technically experienced counterpart might need, but if they can retain the knowledge and use it for a few years, then the training pays off.