Tag Archives: Outsourcing Companies

Marketing your BPO Outsourcing Firm from A to Z

Categories: BPO, Marketing, Outsource Marketing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Do you run a call center, BPO, software outsourcing company, or want to? If you are good at what you do, you just might be able to expand into a real business! You’ll need management experience and solid skills, some cash, and some understanding of marketing — but, you can do it! But, where do you start?

WebsitesOutsourcing companies need a website. Most people look for services online. So, making yourself easy to find with a website is paramount. However, having “a” website is just not enough. It needs to be well organized, have a services page where you have a long list of services you offer and notes about your expertise in those services. You need “About Us” information so people will get a sense of who you are. A good contact page is essential too with email addresses, a choice of phone numbers and an online form. Make sure your site is attractive, loads quickly, and does not have spelling mistakes, etc.

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Email — Many companies market by email, but do it wrong. Marketing by email should be personal. You should try to learn what the company’s needs are and cater to them. Additionally, emails that do not state the NAME of the recipient are impersonal and get ignored close to 100% of the time. Email marketing is powerful, but only when it is customized to the reader, and having a previous connection to the reader helps so they will know who you are. Otherwise, you are just another nuissance spammer. If you email decision makers in thousands of companies, find a way to ask them what their needs are, and get some dialogue going, you are in luck.

Phone — Phone calls from strangers are an annoyance. But, at least you can learn who the contact person is and gain their attention. Remember, step one is not to sell, but to learn people’s names, positions, and find out what types of services they use. Focus on getting information and find out what they need, what they like and dislike about their current service, and what improvements they would like to see in their service if they lived in a perfect world (which you will of course create for them.) Don’t call businesses unless they are very targetted otherwise you are wasting their time. Additionally, have someone considerate who has good English skills make the call instead of a bumbling nitwit who will lose your prospect’s interest the minute he opens his mouth.

Network — There are dozens of ways to network. You can go to networking meetings in your home country or the country where you are seeking clients. You can network with other companies in your industry to handle their OVERFLOW which is a serious problem. If you can be reliable about handling overflow, you might just become popular.

Freelancer Sites — Several years ago freelance sites were not that big a deal. Now, they are the standard way of getting anything done. Hiring BPO companies is a headache, but hiring a freelancer has never been easier. You can advertise your company as a freelancer, or freelance company on any site that will take you and watch the jobs come in. Yes, you will lose a percentage to the site, but you will also gain some long term clients who will refer you if you do a good job.

Linked In — We used to recommend Linked In more highly. But, since August of 2015 they made it hard to contact people using their medium without really paying. Linked In might change their rules in the future, but as of now, you can find people on Linked In, but you need to contact them using email or social media other than on Linked In. You can still try Linked In, but it is not as efficient or user-friendly as before which is a shame.

Advertise — There are sites like Craigslist where you can advertise. You can also advertise in industry specific publications. Track your sales that you got from your advertisements so you can keep the winning ads and get rid of the duds. You can advertise on 123outsource.net which specializes in promoting outsourcing companies on the web. We have a category for each type of outsourcing service as well, so your ad will be highly targetted.

Adwords PPC — PPC can be expensive, but you can geo-target where you want your ads to be shown and how much you want to pay. If you get a good return from adwords you can build a business fast. I built my Notary directory using adwords when it first started back in 2005 and got a bargain on it. I was paying 5 cents per click before others caught on. Boy was I at the right place at the right time. You can advertise specials that are displayed on your website using PPC .

Outsource Marketing — Who says that you should do your marketing yourself? Marketing is a specialty that might be better left to a specialist assuming they do a good job. But, many in marketing do not do a good job and don’t even care. So, be careful who you pick and offer results based compensation otherwise you won’t get any results!

Understand What the Client Wants — In India, business people are in a hurry to talk non-stop without listening. This is horrible. To do well in business you need to be gentle, smart, and listen. Your job is not to over-talk, but to be a detective and find out what the customer really wants. They might not tell you, so you have to figure it out. Understanding what clients want is similar to men understanding how women feel. If you hire a guy who has far too many girlfriends and keeps them all satisfied, he might be the right guy for the job (although he might come to work from a different direction each day.)

Be a Partner — The BPO outsourcing companies I have worked with have not tried to be a partner. Many have asked for formal partnerships, but this is not what I am talking about. Be a partner WITHOUT the formality. Be there for your clients. Offer suggestions without them asking. Alert them if they have done something dumb with their business. If you care about them more than they care about themselves, you will be rewarded with loyalty and referrals. People will swear by you. I have never seen anyone be this good all the time, but I do have one “partner” who is like this part of the time.

Correct English — Most Indians don’t feel this is important. However, Americans won’t hire you if you can’t communicate in proper English. You won’t get respect or jobs. We judge you based on how good your English is. If you make spelling and punctuation mistakes, we might not hire you. If you sound garbled over the phone or put us on hold without permission, we will assume you offer horrible service. In my experience, those who communicate poorly always do pathetic work — and I work with thousands of people. So, hire a tutor, and get your skills in order otherwise you will be unemployed.

Customer Retention — Outsourcing companies do not think about customer retention. They think of wooing new clients while they neglect existing clients who will therefor shortly dump them. It is easier to give good service to an existing client than get a new client. So, spend more energy making sure all of your clients are getting what they need. You could even ask them if there are any issues with the service and you might be surprised or appalled at what you hear. Some people won’t tell you unless you ask.

Blogging — Many companies understand the importance of community building. If you run a blog, forum, or community of some sort, you attract people who get to know your writing over time. These people can become clients or share your articles on the web on their networks. Blogging is a powerful way to make meaningful connections with thousands of people. I blog daily and swear by it. I spend an average of ninety minutes per day blogging which says a lot.

Chat Support — Many people will come to your site, but if you offer online chat to visitors, you might annoy them or you might develop a dialogue which could turn them into a client. Chat services on your site are something to consider although that is more of an advanced technique than a basic one.

Free Services — My best marketing secret is to offer free services in order to maintain and develop new connections with new people. A free client can turn into a paid client after they get to know you. Free services are by definition limited and not labor intensive for you to maintain. However, if you talk to your free members after a few months, you might find that they are more open to buying from you now that they have gotten to know you. My entire business model revolves around free services and I swear by its effectiveness as 25% of my paying clients started as free members. The question is, what type of free services could you offer? Samples of your work, or some other web-based application that they could have access to online. Think long and hard about this as it could change your future.

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Is your outsourcing job just a job?

Categories: Outsourcing Articles, Popular Posts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I must have called close to a thousand outsourcing companies over the last two months. I called call centers, medical billing companies, programming houses, data entry facilities and more. When I call them, I can tell whose job is just a job and whose job is a passion that really matters. I want to hire people who are devoted to their work.

One way to see how devoted people are is to call them after hours. If someone answers their phone at 7pm or after, they might be more devoted to their job than someone who leaves promptly at 5pm. See who works on the weekends. Many people are not willing to. Keep in mind that just because someone puts in that extra effort doesn’t guarantee they are the right fit for you, but it helps and is a plus!

Another thing to look for is managers who answer their own phone. Many managers who are serious have a phone line that they generally answer. Others have a secretary transfer calls to them. There are also managers who are completely impossible to reach who you have to schedule an appointment with. If you are doing a serious time sensitive project with someone, you need to be able to reach them.

As a parting thought, it would be so much nicer if more people would take their jobs more seriously. If you could get through to people on the first attempt rather than chasing them around town, life would be so much easier. If managers hired the right workers, you wouldn’t have to shop around so much and fire people so often. The world would be a much better place!

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What if your outsourcing company spent double on customer service?

Categories: Marketing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hey buddy, I’m trying to make more money, not spend more money! I want more customers and less customer service!

That is how much people in India think, and many people in America are on the same track. But, are you on the right track? In the world of business you make more by giving more. Do you like to go to a restaurant that wants to charge you double, yet give you shrimpy portions? If it is a sushi joint, then maybe, but for other types of restaurants no! People want to go to a restaurant that offer reasonable sized servings, with above average food, and great service. So, don’t give less, give more, and then people will want to use your service more.

Instead of asking, how can you make more money, ask how you can offer a better overall experience for your customers.

At outsourcing companies, customer service is almost always low on the priority list. I have never gotten good service from an outsourcing company. Although I run an outsourcing site, I don’t really like outsourcing to companies. I prefer to get my own individual who I know and trust to do tasks for me. Maybe I might like outsourcing to companies a whole lot more if it were easier to get good quality customer service?

Good customer service is not rocket science. It just means having more people to answer your phones at more hours of the day who speak English clearly and who are trained to answer basic questions. It also means having people get back to you and give progress reports. And don’t think of it as spending double on customer service — think of it as STOPPING spending half of what you should be spending on customer service and finally spending what you should be spending. You might be able to raise your rates if you were offering the best service in town — think about it!

(1) Instead of asking, how can you make more money, ask how you can offer a better overall experience for your customers.

Do you invest in the customer experience?

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There are certain companies out there that are “feel good” companies. Their employees happily work as a team. Their customers are enthusiastic about their product. Cliff Bar, Starbucks and Google seem to meet this description. Customers will want to come to you and refer their friends if you offer a good customer experience.

I have noticed that plumbers, electricians, and outsourcing companies tend to not invest much (understatement of the year) in the customer experience. What if you molded your BPO company so that your customer’s experience from the first email or phone call they made to you until their 143rd project with you was seamless and a wonderful, pleasant experience that they would fondly tell their grandchildren about. In my experience, I have never seen an outsourcing company do anything like this.

The reason that BPO companies don’t invest in customer experience is that they are not even aware that it matters and they don’t think about it. All actions start with thoughts. Remember the big bang 16.4 billion years ago. That started with a divine thought. An awakening of divine consciousness. You need to have your own big bang!

What are some things you can do to enhance the customer experience.
(1) Hire people who are nice and well trained to answer phone calls and emails. That way people will get pleasant and informative answers to their questions.
(2) Give prompt quotes when price queries are made
(3) Give regular feedback to clients whether they want it or not.
(4) Call them just to show your appreciation. Maybe a small gift if they are a valued client.
(5) Get your work done on time or early, every time. Nobody will complain about that.
(6) Give helpful suggestions with or without being asked that are in the best interest of your client, and not necessarily in the best interests of your sales quotas.

Good luck. If you can become the master of customer experience, you could conceivably become the biggest outsourcer in the world due to the fact that nobody else is even conscious of this very important concept!

(1) If you can master the art of customer experience, you’ll become the biggest outsourcer in the world
(2) Nobody else is even thinking of the customer experience, so if you do, you’ll clean up!

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The Indian companies who answer professionally are even worse?

Categories: Outsourcing Articles, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

In my September 2013 cleanup of 123outsource.net, I removed about 800 companies from our outsourcing directory. The companies that were removed were taken off because they either didn’t answer their phone, or refused to communicate in an audible or helpful way. If you are in business, you need to invest in a clear phone line otherwise you will be saying, “What, what, what?”, and your prospective clients will be saying, “I’m hiring someone else!”

In my frustration, I found that less than 1% of small outsourcing companies in India answered the phone professionally. They did not state their company name or personal name when answering the phone. They only said, “Hello?” I understand that there are very few good role models for business behavior in India, but you can learn from England, the US, or Singapore if you need role models.

I decided to call larger companies in India so that I could see how professional outsourcing companies handled their clients. These larger outsourcing companies in India answered the phone stating their company name, either in person, or with a recording. The problem is that is the only thing they did right. Yes, I am generalizing. I communicated with about twenty larger companies, and not one of them could answer even simple questions.

Company: Rajeev Outsourcing Company, may I help you:?
Me: Hi this is Jeremy from 123outsource.net, I wanted to know if you are still in Thane
Company: Let me transfer you
Me; I think that you are intelligent enough to know what city you are located in.
company: Please hold

Then I was put on hold and the phone disconnected in many cases.
In other cases I was connected to someone else who once again transferred me to a third, fourth or fifth person. I had to spend about five minutes being transferred just to reach a single person who could interact like a human being.

My suggestion to larger outsourcing companies in India is to hire people who have half a brain. That would be a huge improvement over what you have now. Teach them how to answer questions like: What is your name? What city are you in? What does your company specialize in? The smaller companies generally had highly intelligent owners or partners who could speak the queens English, answer all questions intelligently and make small talk. The large companies couldn’t even function.

Indians have a narrow-minded view of business that bigger is better. This is not true. Better is better, bigger is generally indicative of a thick skull.

(1) The few Indian companies that answer the phone stating their company names are actually the worst!
(2) Larger companies in India need to systematically put u on hold to answer complicated questions such as: what city r u in?
(3) Over 99% of small outsourcing companies in India answer phone, “hello”. Making them sound like a wrong number!
(4) There r better ways of spending time than being transferred 2someone who transfers u 2someone who transfers u again.
(5) Small co’s had more intelligent spokespeople. Big ones barely functioned. Like cars, “smaller” got better mileage.

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How to Make Sure Outsourcing Companies Follow Directions

Categories: Management | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Make Sure Outsourcing Companies Following Directions

Following directions is a problem in any company. But, if you work with offshore labor, or outsourcing companies, they always blame the customer if they didn’t follow directions. Remember — the customer is always wrong. Most companies just don’t value the work you are giving them in my experience which is where the problem starts.

But, the resolution to the problem is easy. Here are a few steps to ensure that your offshore company follows instructions well.

(1) Give them a test run before you give them any real work.
If a company is too sloppy to give a chance on something that might be time sensitive or critical, test a few companies out on your dime on a test project. I recommend TWO test projects. Companies tend to be “trying” more on the initial test project, and will slack off a lot more on the second one.

(2) Let the offshore company believe that the 2nd test project is real
Outsourcing companies will let you down a lot of the time if you are a small client. They just don’t care much about the little fish which doesn’t make good business sense. Little fishes are easier to catch, easier to keep, and lots of little fish add up to a big fish. Companies will be more careful in your assignment if they feel it is a test. If the second test project is a real project, then they go back to their regular habits of taking forever and making lots of mistakes in many cases. A second test is like a second interview. People are being “themselves” the second time around — and you need to know what the real “themselves” is before giving them anything critical!

(3) You need to keep clear instructions in writing, and then go over the instructions verbally after the fact. If you flood someone with emails, you will create a mess. So, only send needed emails and keep the information in them well organized. Anything that was assigned orally can be disregarded and YOU will be blamed. People can forget what you told them, or just blatantly disregard what you said. Or, if someone gets upset with you, then they might decide to not follow instructions.

(4) Have your offshore company check in with you periodically
It is impotant to have work get done in steps. You need to inspect each step. The first step should be the smallest. That way if your offshore company is on the wrong track, you can get them straightened out. But don’t assume that because you corrected the company, that they will follow directions from then on. Assume that they will continue making mistakes as they usually do. In real life they might make some of the same types of errors they made before and perhaps a few new ones too!

(5) Deadlines should be in writing
Give lots of smaller deadlines in writing that are reasonable. Use these to double check all of the work. The secret to having people follow directions is to screen out those that are beyond help, and to keep coaching the good ones! Deadlines assist in the checking process. They also provide a definitive line where you can fire someone. You could even have multiple deadlines for the same stage in the process. The first deadline gets you a bonus, the second keeps you going, and the third gets you fired for sure — no excuses! You can engineer so many business strategies with creative deadlines. Don’t overlook this opportunity.

Keep an eye on everyone, communicate all pertinent points in writing every time, and good luck!

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Are you dealing with a broker or an owner

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Sometimes when you deal with Indian companies, it is hard to tell if you are dealing with a broker or an owner. Dealing with brokers can have its pitfalls. A broker might deal with a dozen or more outsourcing companies and sell your contract to the one that bids the most, rather than the one who is the best match for you. If you deal with the owner of the company who provides services such as call center or data entry services, then you know who you are dealing with.

On the other hand, if you deal with a broker who you have known for a long time who is working on your behalf in your best interests, then that might be a great arrangement. The main point to remember is that no matter who you deal with, try to find people who are working in your best interests.

People always talk as if they care about your interests, and talk is very inexpensive. See what people do. Actions speak louder than words. Ask them to do little actions and see how long they take. Ask for little bids, quotes, quick questions in emails. See how quickly you get responses and how detailed or helpful those responses are. The quality of the response is not proof of anything, but it is an indication, and perhaps the only indication you get before you sign a constricting contract.

Should you annoy people on purpose to test them out?

Categories: Hiring & Firing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I have learned in business that if people hate you, they won’t do good work for you. Many will just stop work all together. People lose their tempers all the time. Americans are far less patient than people in India — just for your knowledge. When we screen outsourcing companies, we ask them a bunch of questions to learn how they think. But, maybe we should ask a few questions to test their patience as well. In real life, in a business relationship, there will be situations where you have to go over nit-picky details to straighten out an ugly situation. If they don’t have patience, learn this up front.

But, what questions could you ask people that will annoy them?
I asked an IT outsourcing company details about their corporate status. They became furious and said they didn’t want to work with me anymore. I asked a programming outsourcing firm about their birth data so I could do an astrological chart to prove compatibility. They flat rejected my question.

Honestly, if you want to have a happy family, you should find out BEFORE the wedding if you are compatible, and an astrological chart can help identify areas of incompatibility — although it still is rather wishy-washy at best. A chart is better than nothing.

I ask people how they would fit a giraffe in a refrigerator.
I ask people what they would do if they won a million dollars.
The point is that if you keep asking questions to the point where it is ridiculous, you can test their patience.

“Are you testing my patience?”
“Yes, that is exactly what I am doing — as a matter of policy. If I don’t know where you break, then it is not safe to enter a work relationship with you”

Err on the side of safety when hiring companies or individuals. A single bad choice can cost you thousands, while shopping around only costs hundreds! You need to shop around anyway, so shop smart in addition to shopping hard.

How to find great offshore companies to do your back-office work!

Categories: BPO, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to find great offshore companies to do your back-office work!

Many companies in the United States are just too busy to get their work done. They need help, but don’t know where to turn. Outsourcing your tasks can be a life saver if you find a good BPO company to help you. But, if you get stuck with a sloppy company, you might end up doing your tasks yourself and being really busy. You can’t just roll the dice and expect to find a great company in India who can anticipate your next need.

Call lots of companies you find on directories
The first step in finding your ideal outsourcing partner is to compare many companies. Some people think that comparing means to call three and pick the best one. That is missing the point. You might need to call up to 500 similar companies to find a handful that are good enough to consider. Once you find your lucky handful, then try them out — then compare.

You can’t compare until you try them
I remember being at a drum store. The guy at the counter said, “You have to buy-it to try-it”. Not a very friendly attitude. The fact is that many outsourcing companies are just plain sloppy and don’t care even a little bit about their clients. In my experience, the 80:20 rule doesn’t apply in outsourcing. I created my own rule called the “98:2 rule of outsourcing” which also applies to American companies. 2% of the companies who provide services might get an “A” or a “B” in my book. Another 10% get a C. The rest are horrifying companies who you should avoid like the plague. If you are stuck with someone mediocre — count your blessings, it could be much worst statistically.

Call 500 companies
If you call 500 companies, you will find 10 that get an A or a B. Don’t expect them to be perfect. But, if they are pretty good, and “care” to a certain extent, then you are ahead of the game! Don’t judge them by how well they talk, judge them based on whether or not they get your task done up to specifications and if they answer questions and emails.

Give a small test project
How small should your test project be? I would test out a dozen companies or so. I would give them a project that is a few hours long. I might give a project that doesn’t matter. You don’t know what they are going to do, or if they are going to do anything at all. You would be surprised at how lousy most companies are. If they are not in the top 2%, they are not that great according to my rule! Compare the work of all the companies tested. Do not compare until all companies have submitted their results or finished their work. Don’t expect anyone to be perfect. See which companies are faster and which do better work. Compare pricing as well.

Pick three winners
Once you found who you like, give them a second phase of screening work. Maybe a slightly longer project. If they do well on that one, then give them a third. I would not entrust a company with serious long term work until they have passed through three tiers of scrutiny.

Never trust salespeople
Don’t believe what the salesperson says. You won’t be dealing with them in the long run, and most of them lie and misrepresent their company. You need to get the salesperson off the phone and get the project manager and workers on the phone. You need to get to know who you will really be dealing with, not the salesperson. That is the entire point of the test project — it might be the only way you will get to know the real people who you need to know who are behind a veil of secrecy!

Use 123outsource.net
123outsource.net has thousands of outsourcing companies in all types of categories from Accounting to Web Design. We have hundreds of call centers, data entry companies, medical billing & medical transcription companies, custom software outfits, and more. 123outsource.net constantly keeps in touch with companies on board and sifts the results little by little every month. This sifting lowers the placement of companies who do not have good interaction skills, and raises the placement of companies (on the search results) who behave in a professional and intelligent way. In the future, we will even go to the extent of testing companies out with small test projects to see how reliable they are. 123outsource.net is a source of thousands of choices that can make your quest for offshore help faster and easier.

(1) To find a good BPO Outsourcing company to help you, you might have to call over 100 and compare!
(2) To find the right BPO company to assist you, give a test project to many & pick a few winners.
(3) Never trust the salespeople in a BPO. They not only lie, but don’t know the technical realities.

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Being LIKED is a huge factor in being an outsourcing manager

Categories: Management | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I was reading the Harvard Business Review blog the other day. They divided managers into four quadrants according to how well they were liked and then discussed how their associated teams did. The findings were devastating to managers who were not liked. Managers in the lowest quadrant for likeability had almost no teams who were in the most successful quadrant. However, those teams with the most likeable managers on average performed on a much higher level. The finding was, that the more likeable the manager was, the more successful the team will be on average.

So, how does this apply to managers of business process outsourcing companies? India is where the majority of outsourcing is done these days with the Philippines and China catching up fast. Due to the culture in India: having a management position gives you status in society. It is hard to get a decent marriage without a management position as a matter of fact! The problem is that Indians think too much of their status in society and how to make a show of superiority to their workers. Some outsourcing managers in India are very nice, but many are overburdened and very rough with their workers. According to the likeability study, this is a serious problem.

If a manager of an outsourcing company has 20+ workers under them (often the case in India), and they are unavailable most of the time, and threatening the other part of the time, how will the workers perform? The answer is that there will be many issues due to the lack of guidance and lack of nurturing. My personal experience is that workers need interaction with their managers to keep on track with their work. They need encouragement and praise on a regular basis in the form of feedback. They also need to know what they need to work on and some validation that you think they can really do it (especially when learning a new skill). If you are just unavailable, then you can not give any guidance, feedback, or double checking of work. If you are mean, then workers will have a bad taste in their mouth about work.

In my experience, the minute an outsourcing worker gets a bad taste in their mouth about whomever they work with — they turn off. I am not speaking of every human being in this world, but many people are like this. I have had numerous experiences where I started out with an average relationship with an outsourcing worker (often outsourced from a different company). Work went fine. The minute we had some disagreements, their work became really bad, and stayed bad for the rest of the relationship. They either quit or got fired after a few months.

Since you are almost forced to be likeable as a manager, what do you do when you can’t accept a worker’s work? Some people are just plain sloppy, or give horrible answers to questions. How can you praise such people? You need to give at least five compliments for each criticism to have a good long term relationship in work or friendship. It seems that you need to fire people who you can not be likeable around, otherwise the negative environment can poison your relationship with others!

Bait and switch practices at outsourcing companies

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It is common for companies to tell prospective clients pleasant things to get their to sign a contract. However, once you read the actual contract it might be a lot less pleasant than what the salesperson talked about.

I had one company tell me that I could purchase as many hours of programming as I liked in a month providing I prepayed. I thought this was reasonable. When I received the contract, they were asking for a 40 hour per month contract which turned out to be their minimum order. The hourly price was right, but the minimum was crazy. My project is a small one that needs about 5-12 hours per month on an ongoing basis.

I told the provider that if they did a good job on the “test” project, that I had other projects in the pipeline that I would give them. However, they wanted to do the test only if I would upgrade to 40 hours per month soon after that.

I wish they would have told me about the minimum up front so I could have spent my time talking to the other companies on my list.

In any case, the process of choosing an outsourcing service provider is hard. The deeper you dig, and more people at the company you talk to — you will find that the story keeps changing. You need to know what you are getting at an outsourcing company BEFORE you sign anything. Additionally, for smaller projects, I am not sure that signing a contract is in your favor. It binds you to a legal relationship with a company that you might not even like.

Phone etiquette for outsourcing companies

Categories: Outsourcing Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It was a long night, and my assistant and I called 55 outsourcing companies on our directory by hand. To our dismay, only one company out of 55 answered their phone professionally.

What does it mean to answer your phone professionally?
You need to announce who you are at a minimum, and also state your company name. Otherwise people will doubt you as a professional, and also not know if they dialed the correct number. Answering the phone professionally means that ALL of the people at your company need to be trained on how to answer the phone. If someone dials your cell number after hours, you never know who that is. It is safer to answer that professionally as well.

Why bother answering professionally?
If you are an outsourcing company in India or the Philippines, you are up against an enemy called “Doubt”. Americans, Australians, British, and other westerns are suspicious about giving work to companies overseas. The first question is — will they cheat me? The next question is — will they be reliable in their work? My personal experience is that outsourcing companies are more likely to give you trouble than an American company, however, American companies give a lot of trouble, and charge five times as much — which in most cases they are not worth! Putting experience aside, to eliminate all of the various types of DOUBT, you need to make a good impression.

How do outsourcing companies typically answer their phone?
Most companies we call answer with a dull “Hullo”. They sound like very low energy, low brainpower people to me. We have to ask one, twice, or thrice what company we called. Many of them act perplexed when we want to know what company they are with. If you are in a foreign country, do you want to hire a company who doesn’t know what their name is? How will they handle complicated outsourcing tasks if they don’t even know their own name?

Answering machines and phone systems?
Ideally you need a phone system that announces your company name, and perhaps has a menu with departments to select. If the person you want to reach is not there, there should be a personalized message box that clearly announces the person’s name who you are leaving a message for. Typically, when we make calls, we get standardized messages such as, “The person you called is not available, please call back later”. That is very unprofessional, and no foreigner will want to hire you with this type of non-answering machine.

Cell Phones?
Cell phones are a good back up number in case you are out of the office. But, your main number needs to be a reliable land line. In India it takes time and money to get a land line, and that proves how professional you are if you use one.

Changing numbers and web addresses is bad.
Most companies in India are constantly changing their mobile numbers and web addresses. They even change their companyname repeatedly. Companies gain trust based on LONGEVITY. So, if you change your company name every two years, you will come across as being a fly-by-night, and nobody overseas will trust you. We want to hire stable and reliable companies. Mobile phones in India are based on SIM cards which can be lost or rendered disfunctional. Therefor, your main number should be a landline which will not be disconnected.

Call me back on Skype?
If someone is calling about business, and you tell them you don’t want to talk, or you ask them to call you back on Skype so you can save a few rupees, you might miss out on a million dollar deal. Why should a big company who wants to use you have to call you again? If it were me — I would call again — but, not YOU — I would call ANOTHER company and deal with them. My effort for making the extra call will get more return calling someone else.

(1) If we know more about your company than the person who answers your phone: it’s time to learn phone etiquette.
(2) When you pick up the phone, are you so out of it that you sound like you are in your own time zone? #outsourcing #ust+24
(3) Unless your company name is “Hello”, don’t answer the phone with a dull “Hello”.
(4) Most overseas phone lines are so muddy, your chance for attracting prospects is over by the 3rd “What?”
(5) There is something to be said for continuity & changing your # every six months isn’t one of them!

(6) Professional US companies keep the same phone # for decades. How long have you had your #?
(7) Change is good, but not if it means changing your number every 6 months.
(8) How will former clients find you if you change your # every six months? Think about it!

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