Happy New Year from Tacamor Call Centers!

Thanks for making 2010 great. We look forward to an even better year in 2011!

Thanks for making 2010 great. We look forward to an even better year in 2011!

We’re on the edge of 2011. Depending upon where and when you read this, you may even have already started next year! But for now, I’m still here in 2010, and I have to admit it’s been a big one for all of us here at Tacamor Call Centers. Among the memories we’ll have of this year…

Four customer service gifts that keep on giving

A good customer-service present can win your company lots of love and loyalty!

A good customer-service present just may help your company win lots of love and loyalty!

For many people across religious, cultural and geographic divides, December is a season of celebration and giving. The last month of each year sees lots of fun, food and countless lights as people mark Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and several other holidays. Despite the colder weather in many climates, the images that many of us have when we think of December are warm and wonderful.

So not wanting to be left out, we’ve put together four suggestions for giving your customers an extra-warm glow as we all wrap up the year and move into 2011. And hey, if these ideas work well for you, feel free to make a few changes and try them on an ongoing basis. Your customers will love the added touches, and you may love the added loyalty that these ideas can bring! [Read more...]

25 call center costs or worries to toss away by outsourcing!

It always feels good to clear out some trash, so you know tossing out call center costs and worries will feel great!

It always feels good to clear out some trash, so you know tossing out call center costs and worries will feel great!

Running any kind of operation can bring lots of costs and worries, but in-house call centers can be especially draining. If you’re debating whether an outsourced call center might make things easier, the good news is yes, it can make things a lot easier!

But just saying that is not much help by itself. Where exactly can you expect to save some money? What kinds of worries will you be able to clear away? If you’ve read our previous posts on the Total Cost of Ownership, you already know that some of those costs can be obvious and pretty high, while some others can be a lot harder to identify or calculate. Hopefully our list today will help you get started.

As you look through the list, you’ll probably find that you have already thought of several of those, and there will likely be a few more that you might feel are a bit trivial or overstated. But depending upon your location, the availability of space, easy access to new talent, and many other factors, the time or cost of any of these could vary from being negligible to extreme. And even a few “negligible” costs can add up, or escalate considerably if outside factors change.

So with all that said, here is our list of 25 call center costs or worries that you can toss away by outsourcing your call center: [Read more...]

Seven steps to make your company a customer magnet!

Building your customer service muscles takes some work, but the results are worth it!

Building your customer service muscles takes some work, but the results are worth it!

Many years ago, magazines and newspapers often carried ads that looked like a cartoon strip, telling the story of a 99 lb. weakling who would get sand kicked in his face by a musclebound bully. The victim would head home, kick a chair, pump up with Charles Atlas’ bodybuilding course, and then return later to win the girls. Atlas sold thousands and maybe even millions of these courses over the years to countless weaklings hoping to bulk up and become, as they would wishfully call themselves, “chick magnets.”

Today, in corporate washrooms around the world, skinny companies still stand hopefully before marbled vanities to gaze into chrome-edged mirrors, flexing their muscles and yearning for any hint of a new bump on their business biceps. It’s always disheartening at first, but knowing what to do and then repeating it regularly really can bring dramatic results. So if you’re tired of seeing the customer of your dreams walk off arm-in-arm with your strong-armed competitors, try these customer-service bodybuilding tips on for size… [Read more...]

A Customer Service Outsourcing Parable

In-house or outsourced call center? The wrong choice can have dire consequences...

In-house or outsourced call center? The wrong choice can have dire consequences...

Once upon a time there were two companies, Dave’s Do It All and Ashley’s Assistants. Both had hard-working owners who loved their businesses and did their best to deliver excellent customer service. Even though Dave and Ashley had never met or even heard of each other, they were similar in many ways. Both loved their jobs and worked hard to grow their companies into respected success stories. Both were delighted to care for their many customers, and over time, both continued to grow, until they eventually reached the point where they began having trouble caring for the customers they had worked so hard to get.

Choosing a Call Center

Both Dave and Ashley had each already optimized the Customer Support sections of their Websites to answer questions and provide support materials, and had gradually built up in-house call centers. But more people were calling and as the numbers grew, more and more of them were not getting answered quickly enough. Callers were getting frustrated, questions were going unanswered, staff were getting overworked and stressed. For the first time in their companies’ histories, customer satisfaction ratings were starting to drop. Dave and Ashley grew sad.

So it was late on a snowy December evening that these two entrepreneurs sat in their offices on opposite ends of Profit Town, each reviewing the latest financial reports and growth projections. They had already talked to their managers and accountants, chatted with friends who had always given good advice before, filled out Pro and Con columns, and thrown their Nerf basketballs into their little Nerf nets. After what seemed to be far too long, they both finally reached their decisions. Turning out the office lights, they headed down to their cars and drove past each other on the way home, each feeling confident that their companies were also being driven in a good direction. [Read more...]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Call Centers

you don't need to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn how to avoid having a deathly call center.

You don't need to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn how to avoid having a deathly call center.

Even though this blog can be read by anyone anywhere in the world, it’s hard to imagine that even one of you has never heard of Harry Potter. The young wizard and his friends are among the most loved people in literature and movies, as they work to save their world from Voldemort and his evil clutches.

One thing that has been so astounding about the success of these books and movies is the absolute die-hard dedication of their fans. Lines of people have camped out as each new volume or episode was released. Many were there in full costume, and would spend their time in line reading one of the huge books in the series. These weren’t fans; these were fanatics.

Spreading the Call Center Magic

Imagine how it must warm author J.K. Rowling‘s heart to see so many Muggles (non-magical humans) pulled into the world she created. These converts are thrilled to tell others about how much they love the stories, and all the reasons why everyone else should love them too. Can you imagine how it feels, to see that love spreading? Wouldn’t it be great to check into Twitter and Facebook, or be standing in line at the grocery store, and see or hear people raving about your work?

Far from being Rowling or even Harry, too many companies are seen as being Voldemort. When we as consumers run into something we love or hate about a product or service, we tell others, just as we Muggles have done throughout the ages. Now, with Facebook and Twitter being so popular, our compliments and complaints are amplified around the world. But things explode for better or worse when we reach a customer service call center that is either really good or really bad. The love does indeed get spread around on good day. We tell friends, and sometimes a lot of them. But on a bad day, already frustrated, we won’t need a lot to be pushed into a whole new dimension if we call and find inability to help, or even worse, indifference. We’re suddenly thrust into the big final battle scene. The ensuing uproar can bring a deathly pallor to your company’s reputation and profit margins.

More companies need to recognize that happy endings do exist in real life, and are quite attainable in most situations, especially those that now end very badly. A good or bad response by a call center can have a surprisingly big impact on how the caller thinks and shares with others. In fact, research has shown that customers who were angry or upset but then had their situation resolved to their satisfaction will be more loyal than people who never encountered any trouble in their dealings with you. So take these opportunities seriously. This is your chance to prove to yourself, your customers, your employers, your competitors, and the world that your lofty mission statement and promises of putting the customer first were genuine, heartfelt commitments. Show the world? Isn’t that an overstatement? Not at all, given any customer’s broadcast capabilities thanks to Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and other social media. Your customer service call center may no longer just talk one-to-one with your callers. You may be reaching millions.

Optimize your customer service

If you’re not already winning the battle, it’s time to turn things around and start creating more happy endings. On a regular basis:

  • Review your call center management and staff. Do you have good people there? Are your training programs all they should be? Are you keeping staff, or constantly churning through new hires?
  • Review your services. Are you meeting your callers’ needs? Would you win more fans if you offered multilingual service? 24-7 support?
  • Monitor your call center’s performance? Do you know the types of inquiries and responses that are generating the most frustrations and the most happy endings? Do you know which endings can be improved by better responses and training? Do you know which of your call center’s key performance indicators you should improve to achieve the best returns and most improved customer service ratings?
  • Ensure your call center stability and security are optimized. This is easy to ignore or let slide with no apparent downside… until all Azkaban breaks loose. Don’t go there.
  • Review your operating and other call center costs. Do you know the Total Cost of Ownership of your in-house or outsourced call center? While it may sound like a basic concept to grasp, the detailed costs are hard to pin down, and can be surprisingly higher than expected.

The good news is you don’t need to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn how to avoid having a deathly call center. Consistently addressing the points above will take you a long way toward many happy endings. However, should you find yourself seeking some wise counsel and a call center you can trust, Tacamor would love to hear from you. You won’t find call centers mentioned in any Harry Potter books, but you’ll feel like Harry and his friends are firmly on your side when your call center has been truly optimized to work its magic and win new converts to your fan base.

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