Tag Archives: Outsourcing Company

What does your company’s click stat mean on 123outsource?

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123outsource.net keeps stats on BPO companies. After all, we need information that can help us decide who should be high in the search results and who should be removed completely from the list. At first we saw who answered their phone. Then, we tried to see how easy it was to talk to a manager. After that, we assessed the quality of the conversation with the manager.

Phone Stats
I found that these stats were helpful, however, it is unpredictable whether you will call on a holiday as I don’t know when Indian holidays are. It seems every other day is a holiday. No wonder nothing gets done. It is also unpredictable if the manager will be in. Usually the BPO workers don’t communicate well, so if you can’t speak to a manager, the conversation will be horrible. Another thing I noticed is that some companies had horrible phone lines, so that they can’t even hear you properly unless you repeat everything several times. So, phone stats were helpful, but I found even better analytics which were easy to get.

Email Stats
A month ago, I emailed most of the people on our outsourcing directory asking them for basic rates. Some ignored my email altogether and got kicked off the directory. While others, answered the email, but didn’t give me rates. A few asked for more information instead of answering my question which really was a headache. But, a few answered my questions within minutes and I was very happy about that. Those that mean business rise to the top of the search results and will get more business as a result!

Click Stats
However, click stats were very much more interesting. Since BPO companies are placed at different levels on our search results, their click stats will really vary. I wanted to even the score and create an AB testing environment. So, I moved a few listings from the middle of the list to near the top of the list and compared their clicks to others near the top of the list. The result was that those who were originally near the middle of the list performed horribly on the top of the list. I learned that the public didn’t like these listings enough to click on them which meant that the companies were horrible.

One of the reason I like click stats is that I don’t have to do any work to test companies out. I just put them in a placement, take notes, and get a result that is very accurate. Click stats can really vary too. A good company will perform six times as well on click stats than a bad company. We had companies getting six clicks a day while others got less than one click — talk about unpopular.

The problem is that it is time consuming to get click stats on every single company on my site. So, I’ll just stick to the popular categories like call center, bpo, and data entry. Wish me luck. But, the bottom line is that click stats are the most cut and dry method of analyzing the quality of a company. Call stats are unreliable since you don’t know who will answer. Email stats are good, but only distinguish the speed of the result. Click stats tell me if the public likes an outsourcing company enough to click on them which is much better than me deciding how I feel about a BPO company.

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.

You might also like:
How to get more clients for your BPO (compilation)
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/08/20/how-to-get-more-clients-for-your-bpo-or-call-center-compilation/

Good Sign Bad Sign: What to look for in newly hired workers
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2014/01/13/outsource-blog-good-sign-bad-sign-what-to-look-for-in-newly-hired-workers/

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.

You might also like:

Best Marketing Resources (compilation)
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2016/02/24/compilation-of-best-marketing-resources/

Why email sales promotions don’t work as well as cold calling
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/10/25/why-email-sales-promotions-dont-work-as-well-as-cold-calling/

Who are your best business connections? They are not who you think!
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/09/08/who-are-your-best-business-connections-they-are-not-who-you-think/

Create stories in your blog about the experience of your clients
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2014/07/18/create-stories-in-your-blog-about-the-experience-of-your-clients/

Outsourcing Contracts: What do you need to consider when creating one.

Categories: Call Center | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There are thousands of companies all around the world doing outsourcing. In India, they are a little more nitpicky about defining exact requirements to the point that you can’t have a conversation with them about anything without them asking, “So, what are the requirements?” I like to chat and feel people out before I talk about exact requirements. But, if you are in the business of drafting contracts, you need to have a very point by point system of identifying requirements.

If you are outsourcing call center services or software, it might be difficult to define quality in contractual terms. Contracts typically act on the behalf of the call centers providing the service. As a buyer, you need to have a contract that protects you too. Here are some contractual issues that I will elaborate upon below.

COMPENSATION

Payment for outsourcing services involving call centers is normally on an hourly rate with a fixed number hours per month or a fixed rate for a project. Contracts typically specify when payment is to be made and with some basic terms. However, there are some issues with these basic contracts.

Hourly Wages — Contracts with hourly wages ensure that the company will get paid. However, the buyer has no way to know if the number of hours the company claimed to have done really got done. Additionally, there is no way to know which worker completed the hours, or if the work completed was efficient or quality work. With software work, the code might be sloppy or have bugs which is another huge issue. If the buyer doesn’t make sure the contract specifies quality control in some way, shape or form, the seller is solely getting the benefit of the contract.

Fixed Rates — Fixed rate contracts are risky for both parties. If you are an outsourcing company and bug fixing is part of the contract, five months after you finish, you might still be getting requests to fix bugs. Additionally, what if your client wants add-ons to the programming. If you are the buyer, fixed rate compensation protects you from people who pad hours. However, you still do not know if a quality job will be done. As a buyer of programming services, if the programmer doesn’t deliver functional, clean code on time, you are in big trouble. Unfortunately most firms do not do good work, nor is their work on time, nor do they care even slightly. Knowing what you are paying doesn’t guarantee the work will be done on time or protect you from “spaghetti code” which is messy code.

Specifying Workers — it might be difficult to get an outsourcing house to do this, but specifying which worker will complete the job or the parts of the job at least guarantees that someone you like or know will be doing the work regardless of quality or efficiency of work.

Deadlines — If you have a clause in your contract that specifies deadlines for when parts of the project get done, you as a buyer are safer. However, if you are paying a deposit, you could still lose your deposit. I have never seen a programming company deliver on time, so your deposit money is generally money down the drain which will put you in the economic position of a hostage. Think very carefully before giving a deposit to a stranger unless they have very good reviews from reputable sources. If you divide your project into bite sized parts and pay upon completion, you will find out very quickly if the company you hired misses the first deadline — and it will be their problem.

Specifying Particular Workers — A contract could specify which employee is going to do the job. If you like Ramesh and feel he does good work, you could specify that Ramesh will complete the project singlehandedly. Ramesh would have to have an investment in the contract because in India people quit their jobs every four months on schedule usually for frivolous reasons. The boss of the outsourcing company will not be comfortable with this because he knows his turnover is unpredictable, plus other clients might need Ramesh since Ramesh is a star employee. You might have to pay extra, but it might be worth the protection. Playing musical chairs with employees is something Indians are used to, but is suicide in American business. You need someone good who won’t quit, so if you can negotiate that into the contract, you will be a lot better off as a buyer.

Emergencies — Some companies have clauses in their contracts about what happens if there is a natural disaster, war or other uncontrollable circumstance. Holding yourself not liable in such a situation is reasonable.

Penalty Contracts — If you can get the outsourcing company to agree to pay a penalty for finishing late, you have more leverage to get them to finish your project on time which in outsourcing is almost unheard of at least for the smaller players. No outsourcing company will agree to such a term without being paid a lot more. But, it might be worth it to you otherwise you will get hung up to dry for sure.

Quality of Code Contracts — If you are the buyer of programming services, you need to be very sensitive to the quality of code, especially if you are dealing with Indian companies. You need to first of all have an expert who you can hire in America to assess the cleanliness of the code. Ask your expert how you can write specifications in the contract that will protect you from the infamous spaghetti code which is a nightmare that will haunt you as long as you own the code which could be as long as a decade. If you put restrictions on the quantity of lines of code used, that might be a primitive way to safeguard yourself. Additionally, if you give a test project to see how efficiently they write code, that will give you an indication how good the individual is who did the test project who might not be the same guy who does the real project. Tricky— hmmm.

Another way to ensure concise code is to stipulate that if your expert can write any part of the code in 25% or less lines and make it work correctly, that the vendor is penalized. This is easy to enforce if you can get your expert off his rear end to actually do the work at $150 per hour instead of the $18 per hour you’re paying for an average guy in India.

CALL CENTER CONTRACTS

Call Center Result Oriented Contracts — Most call centers do not want results based contracts otherwise their income very unreliable. It makes more sense to pay a base rate and then extra if sales quotas are met. It also makes sense to quickly fire a company who doesn’t get you enough sales. I recommend comparing about twenty companies and see which one gets you more sales in the long run. Keep in mind that if Company #1 has Filipe you might get good results until Filipe quits and Scott takes over. So, make sure each company puts at least three employees on your job so you can get a sense of the average output that the company gives rather than how things are when you get their star employee.

Call Center Monthly Contracts — It is risky for a new client to just trust your company with a one year contract, especially if they have never visited your office. If the client is in Manchester, NH and you are in Manila, Philippines, it might be hard for them to come and visit although I recommend that they do. Many call centers try to get people to invest in long contracts when they are just starting out. It makes sense to give new clients the right to have smaller contracts with easy terms and not too many minimums so you can at least get them on board. Once they like your service, then you can be a little more demanding. Additionally, explain your countries employment laws, minimum wages, minimum hours per week or month so that your American client doesn’t act surprised when he/she finds out at the last minute.

IF YOU ARE THE VENDOR

If you are an outsourcing company, it makes sense to have contracts that get you paid by the hour. That way you are not reliable for quality, timeliness or anything else. You might get fired, but you will still get paid if the quality of your work is horrible. Make sure you get paid a lot more if the client has unique specifications. However, I would not necessarily say no to unusual requests. The reason is that other companies will say no, so this is an easy way to get a client who will be loyal to you assuming you don’t screw up too badly. In general, to attract new clients, I would be flexible in your contracts so you can attract a higher percentage of your leads to try you out.

IF YOU ARE THE BUYER

As a buyer, you need a contract that protects you from:

(a) Poor Workmanship (sloppy coding, bugs, or general bad service)
(b) Goal Achievement — in the call center work this means retaining clients & making sales.
(c) Missed Deadlines
(d) Disappearing Staff Members
(e) Inefficient Hourly Based Work (or hour padding which amounts ot the same problem)

A contract that doesn’t incorporate quality standards is a contract that makes sure you pay without guaranteeing value. If you can get to know the company and work with them for a few months before signing a bigger contract, that would make your situation somewhat safer. No contract will protect you 100% and few vendors will sign a contract that protects anyone except themselves. So, at least try to have contractual control over being able to choose your workforce, have control over deadlines, have an incentive plan which motivates the vendor, and have some stipulations for quality. If you are signing a big contract, you should consult an Attorney and really think deeply about what the issues are. If you are not experienced, you will overlook some very serious issues — so be careful.

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How to start an outsourcing company (2016)

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

I wrote an earlier version of how to start an outsourcing company several years ago. I wanted to spruce it up a bit, so here is the new version.

1. Have Extensive Experience
I get emails daily from people who want to start a BPO, or who just got one but lack clients. There is a lot of competition out there and a lot that can go wrong. You need many years of experience in your industry to have a chance at doing well. Additionally, you need to be better at what you do than anyone else, otherwise, why should anyone hire you? I’ve read many articles about entrepreneurships and startups. The point that hit home is that people in their 20’s that want to start businesses have a high failure rate because they lack maturity and experience. A startup might be a new business, but the experience that goes behind it should be old. People tend to do a lot better at entrepreneurship in their 50’s as they are well seasoned, mature, have contacts, and have a ton of experience. I’m not discouraging young people from starting businesses. I started my first business when I was six, and another when I was fourteen. I did okay too and I learned a lot from it. However, I was very immature how I ran many aspects of my business. My businesses had small investments like a lawnmower and a rake. If you are investing in a 20 seat office and salaries, you had better know what you are doing.

2. Get Management Experience
Okay, so you know how to do your job and you worked for the best. There is a lot more to running a business than being a worker. Being a good worker is only one aspect to the endeavor. If you were a good worker, that shows you have the skills and patience to survive in the industry. But, you need to know how to manage expenses, do marketing, hire, fire, train, and assess workers. That requires many years in management to be any good. I recommend that you have at least seven years in management before attempting to create your own BPO.

3. Master your Marketing
As a BPO owner, you won’t survive at all if you don’t have clients. You need to be an expert at marketing. You need to be able to find decision makers at companies around the world to get clients. Some use LinkedIn, others go to networking meetings, while many have agents to help them find clients. You can also subcontract work from other people’s outsourcing operations. Having a great website and promoting it is often the solution while excelling at social media and blogging is a great boone to your business presence.

4. Excel at Customer Retention
If you start an outsourcing company, you will have customers. The difference between a good outsourcing company and a great one is how long you keep your clients. Do you do a good job? Do you keep in touch with clients? Do you help them find new reps quickly if they don’t like the old ones? Are you there for your clients, or do you just use them for money? To do well at outsourcing you need to focus on pleasing clients no matter what. You can’t grow your company if you are always losing your clients.

5. Give Free Samples
I grew my businesses by offering free samples or discounted trials. If you want to attract outsourcing clients, give them a chance to try your work with no contracts and low prices. They will be seven times as likely to give you a chance if you give them something for free or half price. If you do a good job, you might win them over for life. So you get by giving.

6. Offer Liberal Terms
Most outsourcing companies want people to sign rigid contracts that enslave them to stringent terms. Personally, I don’t want to sign a contract with a stranger. The contract ensures that I will pay a certain quantity of dollars each month. However, the contracts never ensure the quality of the service that I am getting. If I get poor service, can I pay with low quality dollars? Dollars are dollars, but no two services are the same. My suggestion is to have easy contracts in the beginning going week to week or month to month with very small deposits. Let the client get comfortable with you before you get demanding.

7. Have Clearly Defined Specialties
There is nothing worse than a call center that is not clear about what they do. Some do telemarketing, others do chat support, while a few do appointment setting. You never really know how good they are at any of their specialties. It is easier when there is a list of specialties in the “services” page of their website. That way you can be sure they do chat support — unless they stopped doing it three years ago and removed it from their site. If you claim to specialize in something, make sure you have multiple workers trained in it so a client can always get someone.

8. Flexible Office Space
Some call centers start with a huge office and then try to get clients. Many of them end up with huge losses from miscalculating how much space they need. It is better to have a flexible system for getting office space. Start small, and don’t get a big office until you have stable clients who are not going to end their relationships with you on a whim. If your workers are divided between two buildings, that is not the best, but it is temporary and you will have to deal with that as your company grows. Some offices offer shared spaces where you can rent space by the day, week, or month. Those would be excellent resources for a startup that doesn’t know how much space it will need.

9. Offer Training To Your Workers
Most BPO companies do not invest enough in training their workers. If you care about success, be like some of the top rate call centers and monitor your workers daily. Train them constantly. Make sure your workers are the best. I am tired of calling outsourcing companies only to hear them say, “hullo” when they answer. This is very unprofessional. If that is how the managers answer the phone, their workers are almost guaranteed to be horrible. If you aren’t professional yourself, how can you possibly train your workers to be?

10. Have Marketing Managers & Floor Managers
To grow your company, you can’t be two places at the same time. You need someone to manage the workers as well as someone to handle marketing and sales. If you hire people who aren’t loyal to you, you might be left high and dry. So, you might have primary managers and a few backups who you are constantly training.

11. Reward Worker Loyalty
You can’t build a good business with disloyal employees. Businesses that do well have a core of people who have been with them for ten or twenty years. You need to make sure you treat your star employees like stars. They deserve more money, better conditions, and appreciation. If you take them for granted you’ll lose them. Mediocre workers are dime a dozen — they are replaceable. But, you can’t build a business with them. Stars are the framework of your future success. Find them and find a way to keep loyal and talented people, otherwise your business will be tiny forever — or worse — it might be a collection of 50 dysfunctional nitwits!

Summary
I wish you good luck in business. But, the worst thing you can do in business is to go too fast. Get your foundation in order before creating a business. If you are not already a marketing genius, you’ll never survive. If you have to ask me how to get clients, you’re in the wrong field altogether. Additionally, I would like to add that the call center business is one that many Indians want to start. This type of business is almost exclusively being done outside of India. Even Indian companies are hiring Filipinos to do their call center work since the manners in India are very unpolished. Try to focus on an outsourcing specialty that caters to the talents of the workforce where you are. Indians are better at accounting and technical support than call center work. Keep that fact in mind as it can make you or ruin you! Good luck!

You might also like:

Six problems that only someone working in a BPO company would understand
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/06/15/six-problems-that-only-individuals-working-in-a-bpo-industry-would-understand/

Marketing your BPO firm from A to Z
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2016/05/22/marketing-your-bpo-outsourcing-firm-from-a-to-z/

If you invested in training your BPO workers, what types of skills would you teach them?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/03/28/if-you-invested-in-training-your-bpo-employees-what-types-of-skills-would-you-teach-them/

See our 2011 version of how to start an outsourcing company!
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2011/04/24/how-to-start-an-outsourcing-company/

The most important factor for creating leads for your outsourcing company.

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

Companies that do B2B have a very different attitude than those who do B2C. Unfortunately, this attitude is not a good one. When I personally call outsourcing companies, they rarely answer their phone. If they do answer, it is usually a lower level employee who doesn’t communicate well, or who doesn’t know anything. Most companies out there only want large customers and don’t want to bother with small companies like mine. The general attitude of outsourcing companies out there is — we want more money, but we don’t even want our existing customers. In the real world, you can’t make money without having customers.

“We chase projects — not dollars”
One company told me that they chased projects, not dollars. Unfortunately later on I realized that they enjoy projects, but hate customers. I think I need a company that chases customers, not dollars, but finishes projects on time. Hmm.

A seamless experience
What gets B2C companies business should be considered in the B2B world. B2C companies thrive when they offer a seamless, glitch-free, teflon, no friction customer experience. Amazon‘s 1 click ordering is an example of how the most thoughtful professionals handle this concept. Most outsourcing companies out there offer maximum friction and dysfunction at every step of the process not to mention talking to (or being brushed off by) anti-social people who may or may not be responsible enough to complete your work to your satisfaction.

How to create that experience
The process of finding qualified leads is up to a good marketing department. You need to find people who are in high positions in companies who hire programmers, data entry clerks, call center agents, etc. Once you have found them, the key is to not ruin what comes next. Is your website informative? Does it make it easy to know what you do, and all of your specialties such as chat support, SMS messaging, and technical support for HP products? Or does your site just ramble on about how you offer the highest quality of BPO services, and refuse to let people know what those mystical BPO services are? Many companies out there just ramble on for paragraphs about how they adhere to the highest of standards, but don’t mention anything specific that would make me want to hire their company. Your site needs to have a very elaborate services page, FAQ page, contact us page with all applicable contact numbers, contact forms, email address(es), phone numbers that go to people who actually answer their phones, as well as photos of your staff, building, and perhaps a map of your location so people can mentally place you.

The next step is being personal
These days, people normally visit your web site or social media sites to size you up. If you pay special attention to both, then you will have made a good impression on your leads. The next step is to actually talk to people. If you make it easy to talk to an informative human being, and make it easy for people to get their work done with you, you will be on the right track.

That’s all for now. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

Outsourcing makes the world go round!

Categories: Of Interest | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Some people think that outsourcing is good because it allows you to cut costs. Others think that outsourcing is bad because it takes jobs that rightfully belong to Americans and gives it to undeserving poor people in foreign countries who have names that we can’t pronounce (and don’t want to learn to pronounce.) In California, some people think that there are too many Mexican immigrants coming in while others like the affordable source of labor. The truth is that without Mexican labor, nothing in California would get built, harvested, or done. The state would grind to a stop. You wouldn’t be able to get help at your restaurant and you would be able to run most types of businesses that rely on labor. We don’t realize this, but outsourcing is the same. Without outsourcing, America, Germany, and the UK would grind to a stop.

There is an acute labor shortage in industrialized countries. There are not enough people to do many of the tasks we need to have done. Those who are hard working already have jobs. Those who are lazy don’t deserve jobs. Whatever can’t be done here, needs to be shipped to wherever some willing and capable hands (fingers) can do it.

We take this for granted, but much of America’s medical transcriptions are done in the Philippines or India while we sleep. There would be horrible delays and triple the cost if those offshore agencies were not able to handle our medical transcription outsourcing needs. Something like 80% of UK’s programming is handled offshore. Without people in India and Eastern Europe helping out, how would the UK function? They would only be able to do 20% of the work.

I am struggling to find quality help in the United States for basic tasks such as programming, phone help, and other work. It is like pulling teeth to find someone willing to work who actually cooperates. It is not funny, and not pleasant. It is so nice to have the option to hire overseas to people who have a work ethic.

Also, there is a new outsourcing company in India that claims that they can enhance planetary movement through intermolecular technology (never heard of that.) I guess that proves that outsourcing really does make the earth go round — literally.

Do you invest in the customer experience?

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

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!

Tweets:
(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!

You might also like:

Outsourcing: Why everyone is doing it!
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2014/03/25/outsourcing-why-everyone-is-doing-it-one-bizarre-example/

Is it better to have a woman do your phone calls?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2014/01/04/is-it-better-to-have-a-woman-do-your-phone-calls/

Is finding an outsourcing partner like an arranged marriage?

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

Finding the perfect outsourcing partner is like finding a mate: you need to find someone who absolutely gels with you in so many ways. Americans dream of finding the perfect mate, and I’ll bet some actually expect to find the perfect outsourcing partner right away, too. Good luck!

A good relationship (although maybe not the perfect one) can be developed if you take the time to get to know each other. Just because the company has a few good references does not mean they will be good for you. Unless you have taken the time to get to know your outsourcing partner and really have common standards and goals, the relationship will be little more than an arranged marriage. Whoever your point of contact is–your project manager?–will be The One.

Here are 5 tips to evaluate and develop your relationship:

1) Since you are thousands of miles away, you need to have communication by phone, skype, and email. Talk about a variety of topics to determine how that person thinks and whether he or she really wants to do business with you at all. Be sure to talk for at least 15-20 minutes because it will take at least that long to find out what that person really thinks. Then, ask that person three to five ‘test questions’ and have the person answer these on the phone or skype— on the spot. These could be situational questions that you feel strongly about—how you handle a difference of opinion, how do you tell if you can trust someone…even how you choose a girlfriend or a mate. Be sure the person can give examples. You should not feel hesitant to ask questions. These questions will help you see if you have values in common or if that person has a point of view you feel comfortable with. Listen to the person’s answers and see if they appeal to you. If you have any doubts at the beginning…proceed with caution!

2) Based on what you have heard so far, do you have similar cultural and personal values? Cultural values can be discussed or referred to in initial conversations (above), but personal values are probably more important. For example, do you believe that you have to lie sometimes in business? What lies are acceptable? If you have to complete an important job and you become ill, how do you handle it? If you are late on a deadline and have a phone conference with the client, how do you deal with this/ what will you say? Are results more important than how the job gets done–and does that gel with your own way of working? Answers to questions like this may actually tell you something revealing about the other person and his or her policies. Listen carefully. Your future depends on it.

3) What is quality? What constitutes a quality product in your industry? Have the person tell you. If it is a call center—how will you know the callers do a great job? What specific things do they do that demonstrate “quality”? If your contact has a vague idea of quality or cannot speak well, this will tell you something about how profitable it will be to work with this company. Does the person just refer you to a link on the company website? The more details and examples the person can give you, the better chance he or she really has a good team and will be a great outsourcing partner. If the person is obviously reading from a script or says “I will need to think about this and call you back,” that is not a good sign.

4) No contract will test out your relationship as well as an actual test assignment. It will answer questions like “Do you follow directions?” and “How much do you get done in a certain amount of time?” If you are in sync with your partner, you will both get through the test assignment and will learn enough about each other to move on to the next stage–or to back off. A small, well-designed, paid test assignment—before you even sign a contract—before the “marriage”—will tell you how this company functions in a relationship. This will also test what they said in the answers to the other questions (above). You will find out whether the person / company knows how to do what they say and how cooperative they are. If they make a mistake, will they offer to correct it for free? If they did not understand the directions and did not ask—will they take responsibility or will they say “The directions weren’t that clear…” Shouldn’t they have asked?

5) Finally, to find a good outsourcing partner (outsourcing company), you may be better off finding a ‘matchmaker’, a friend or family member who can introduce you to qualified candidates and help you screen them—rather than trying to find that perfect match on your own. Talk to people you know who have outsourced or who know you well, and rely on their advice. When marriages are arranged, they are arranged by family or even a professional matchmaker. Ask your matchmaker friend a lot of questions and he or she will help you define what you are looking for. Do not just grab an outsourcing company from the internet—or you may end up in a relationship you do not want, and this may make you hesitant to seek the right outsourcing partner in the future.

You might also like:

How does culture determine what is public or private information?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/05/05/how-does-culture-determine-what-is-private-or-public-information/

India — a culture of begging
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/01/16/india-a-culture-of-begging/

What type of salesperson to avoid in outsourcing

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

I have learned that there is only one reason to talk to a salesperson when hiring an outsourcing company. That is to ask them 10 questions, so you can compare their answers to the technical manager to check for consistency. Most companies are dishonest, while others are just uncoordinated. I check for both when hiring. I just got off the phone with a salesperson who refused to answer most of my questions. He referred me immediately to the technical manager — he didn’t get any point deductions for integrity or accuracy reasons! Smart!

So, talk to salespeople as little as possible as a rule. But…

There is a rule of thumb when talking to salespeople. In my experience, the salespeople who were too slick, and too good at sales had teams who did NOT deliver the best results. On the other hand, those who had clunky sales people who had trouble giving answers to easy questions, also didn’t deliver well. Those who gave nonsense sounding answers turned out to be a nightmare. I also didn’t have good luck with very solid sounding corporate types who worked for a very reputable company. I talked to one guy who sounded smart, but who spoke in a sloppy way who delivered poorly as well. So, now we know who to avoid — so who do we NOT avoid?

Look for a point of contact who is a salesman who is not “salesman-ny” or “salesman-ish”. Basically, they should not come across as being too much of a salesperson. They should be more of a technical person who gives intelligent answers to your questions without using any psychological techniques to woo you into a contract. Find someone who is straight who is not too slick. A salesperson who is 70% technically oriented and 30% sales oriented is your guy (or gal).

Once you get more experience talking to people who do outsourcing, and seeing what type of results they deliver, this will become natural. Unfortunately, less than 10% of outsourcing companies out there are worth dealing with. You really need to find ways to learn how they deliver. If their website isn’t that nice, they probably don’t do nice work. A website is proof of a company’s finished work. If they don’t do good work for themselves, they will not do good work for you. If a company can not afford a good salesperson, they probably can not afford good service providers either. Learn to be shrewd. Your success in business depends on it!

You might also like:

Small software companies lose clients as fast as they get them!
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/10/22/small-software-copanies-who-lose-a-client-as-fast-as-they-get-one/

6 strategies to grow your outsourcing business fast
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/10/16/6-strategies-for-growing-your-outsourcing-business-fast/

A 20 minute office visit reveals the character of a company!

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

A 20 minute office visit can reveal the character of an outsourcing company in a lot of detail!

I love to learn what great business people do. Maybe if I follow in their foot steps, I will achieve greatness myself. Being successful is hard. There are so many things you need to do, and reading books about what Donald Trump does will only give you a small (but valuable) piece of the puzzle.

Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger subscribe to the idea of visiting people’s offices or manufacturing plants to get a feeling of what the company is like. You look around; You see if the place is neatly maintained; You see how the workers look; Do they look happy and hard working or do they look downtrodden and resentful? Do they look intelligent? Do they have a healthy vibration? Do they look like they do drugs? You can learn a lot from a two minute walk-around. You can even ask quick questions to random people to see if they are communicative or smart!

Another very important fact that I have learned recently is that outsourcing companies worldwide tend to be deceitful about the actual size of their company. They will claim to have more employees than they really have. If you visit someone’s office, you see who is actually there. Many times when I want to visit someone’s office, they meet me in a shared office in a conference room. Then, they tell me that that is their second office, and that they are in their normal office on some other days of the week. This type of nonsense reveals that they lied to you and do not have a real office. I noticed that one “business owner’s” name was not even on the list of companies in suite 300 where his alleged office was.

During interviews, it is important to ask questions that do NOT lead to the interviewee telling you what you want to hear. You want to know what they are like, not what they think you want to hear. Ask questions where they can not “hide” their true nature. An office visit is yet another way to find out how people really are. In my experience, I have seen all types of office environments from all ends of the spectrum.

I visited one social media company where everyone was filled with energy and spark. They were very intelligent and fun to visit. I visited another company where people seemed very dull and unkept. I saw one environment where everyone was busy, but when you ask staff members simple questions, they are unable to answer. It took one girl three weeks to email me and tell me that she had no answer to my question. Other office visits revealed that the outsourcing business owner had no office, and that they were leasing a shared office by the hour, and that they had no actual staff. Their staff was subcontracted and picked and chose which jobs they would accept. My worst office visit revealed an employee who was clearly a DRUG ADDICT. I never would have found out if I hadn’t visited their office.

Another fact to remember is that even if you don’t visit a person’s office, you can tell them that you are going to. Their answers will get a lot more honest about what their office is like if they think you are actually going to come. Office visits reveal reality. You see through everyone’s lies when you are actually there in person. Forget about all of this working remotely nonsense. Yes, work remotely, but visit someone’s office BEFORE you work remotely. It is common sense.

You might also like:

5 reasons why you should have your company under one roof
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/10/04/5-reasons-why-you-should-have-your-company-under-one-roof/

The 2% rule, only 2% of companies are worth hiring
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/10/21/the-2-rule-only-2-of-companies-are-worth-hiring/

The outsourcing equivalent of fast food?

Categories: Of Interest, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Have you ever hired a BPO outsourcing company to do anything for you? You are always kept waiting and waiting. You never get any feedback unless you pester them to just let you know — “What is going on?” This is not friendly behavior, and certainly doesn’t help their business grow. Larger companies are rarely interested in providing outsourcing services to smaller companies, and larger companies are the only ones who have a chance to figure out how to be efficient.

But, what if there were a company that could deliver convenient outsourced services like web design, custom programming, call center, and other tasks — without all of the headache. I would pay a lot more for the convenience, wouldn’t you? Imagine a company that has no service contract. You just tell them what you want — and they do it. What if you wanted a website, you talked to the rep, you went over specifications, they sent you an email, you okayed it, and 20 minutes later, you got a layout. In the real world this is not possible, but in the world of “drive-through” outsourcing, it is! Let’s keep an open mind. Let’s be creative. If someone wants an idea to happen, it happens. The only reason it doesn’t happen is because people don’t care enough about it.

Let’s say you need an assistant to help you when you need it. Let’s say you send specifications over for 20 hours of call center work. You send the script, and instructions. Imagine that the next day it was done. Imagine that you get a confirmation email explaining who the project manager is, who the callers are, and when they will be doing the call. Three ladies were assigned the work and got it done in less than one day. Unbelievable. If a company wants to have streamlined outsourcing services, it is possible. It is all about having the dream!

Having a very well organized outsourcing company structure and a very flexible labor force would make it possible to attain this type of fast results. You might have to charge a bit more too, since there would be down time when there weren’t any last minute projects. Or perhaps there could be some non-time-sensitive projects mixed in with the last minute work being billed at different rates! Create your own billing structure — be creative.

I like living a dream. My lifestyle is something I created. I work from home (and work too much). I travel on a whim. I provide fast service to my clients (usually), and work with cool writers and psychics. Pretty cool, huh? This lifestyle is possible because I:
(1) Thought it was possible
(2) Worked to attain my goal
(3) Was creative and innovative, plus flexible
(4) Work far too much.

Time to go to sleep!

You might also like:

Back logs, slack and availability in your labor force’s schedule!
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/10/01/back-logs-slack-and-availability-in-your-labor-forces-schedule/

To micromanage, or not to micromanage, is there a question?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/09/13/to-micromanage-or-not-to-micromanage-is-there-a-question/

How many of your workers speak clear English?

Categories: India | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Are you outsourcing to the UK, Australia, America, Canada, and other English speaking countries? How many staff members does your company have who speak good English? The boss? I thought so. Anyone else? No? You are in trouble. What do you do when you have an inquiry and the boss is not around.

Company 1’s performance (F)

Austalian client: Ring ring….

Employee: Hullo (in a dull and muffled tone)

Australian: Good day mate… How are things going?

Employee: Hmmm? Going? No, I am at work. Manager not here. Call back later.

Australian: Gee, that was very unprofessional and unhelpful how this employee dealt with me. Why am I outsourcing to this company? Probably because the others ones are just as bad!

But, what if your outsourcing company was the one company that had a few workers who could answer the phone and do translations when your clients want to talk to a staff member, or have a question answered? You might gain market share. Imagine the following conversation.

Company 2’s performance (A)

Australian client: ring ring.

Employee: Krishna’s outsourcing service, this is Surya here, may I help you?

Australian: Good day mate… How are things going?

Employee: Things are great mate. How are things down under?

Australian: Wow, you know our slang… Nobody else in India knows this. I’m impressed. I had a question about my SQL server mate. Were you able to assess the server speed?

Employee: Could you tell me which person was responsible for that project?
Australian: Yes, I believe it was Rikesh

Employee: One moment… he is sitting to the right of me… I’ll ask….

(30 seconds later)

Employee: He said that the speed today averaged 10 megabites per nanosecond.

Australian: Wow, that was the quickest answer I have ever gotten. Normally I have to send ten emails, and make five phone calls, be put on hold, disconnected, repeat the process, and then three weeks later after pulling teeth get an answer. With you, all I had to do is make one phone call, ask and in 45 seconds get an answer. Amazing! I’m hiring YOUR company for all of my SQL needs for the rest of my life!

See the difference?

Is your company more like outsourcing company 1 or company 2 — be honest — I can tell if you are stretching the truth!

You might also like:

If you do outsourcing, your programmers need English
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/10/11/if-you-do-outsourcing-your-programmers-need-english/

Customer Service, What Americans Want
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/09/12/customer-service-what-americans-want/