In-house training programs and workshops have become a norm in large and successful organizations to develop employee skills. Skill development and capability building workshops help increase employee engagement and satisfaction. At the same time, it helps organizations achieve business objectives and goals by creating a skilled workforce to meet the ever evolving needs of the customers and business. While large organizations and MNCs have the resources and budget to plan and implement programs to develop employee skills, small businesses either ignore or struggle to follow suit. Most often SMEs do not understand the importance of investing in skill development programs, while some lack the resources and budget. However if carefully planned, small businesses can work around these constraints and implement skill development strategies for their employees. Continue reading Develop Employee Skills to Achieve Business Objectives
Small business data from one of SurePayroll’s small business scorecard reveals that 74% of small business websites do not have eCommerce features on their website. Only a quarter of small businesses use their website to conduct sales. Even with growing ease of online purchase and preference of customers to buy almost everything online, 42% of the small businesses surveyed said that “the Web really isn’t that important to their business”. And consider this – 28% of the small business owners said that they don’t even have a website. Continue reading Are you missing out on Sales?
We live and work in a connected world and global economy. The internet and easy access to communication channels, networking sites and lead generation tools help us connect with strangers to build our sales pipeline. While we may ensure we share emails and messages with all prospects as a sales strategy, the sheer volume of new leads makes us lose track of a few if not most prospects. On the last count, I had a list of more than 2500 relevant connections and almost 60% of those are prospective buyers.
The challenge – After the initial customary greeting and intro, I have not been writing to them quite often. I risk becoming irrelevant to my prospects. Does this sound familiar?
The solution: the 90 / 60 / 30 rule of communication. So how does this sales strategy work? Continue reading Sales Strategy – The 90 / 60 / 30 rule
A great product or service needs to be complemented with a dedicated sales team and innovative sales strategies. Usually, unlike large companies, most small businesses do not have the luxury of separate sales and marketing teams. The owners and the core team perform multiple roles. The basic sales rule for a small business is fairly simple – everyone has to SELL. Irrespective of the role or seniority, everyone in the organization needs to contribute to get new customers and increase the sales revenue.
A recent report by Jupiter Research forecasts that chatbots (Chat Robots) will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billon per annum by 2022 for the Banking and Healthcare sectors, up from $20 million last year. Chatbots are gaining popularity and many predict 2017 to be the year of chatbots.
The growing trend and need for companies to adopt chatbots for sales and customer support is in sync with what consumers are looking for. Here are some stats supporting the application of chatbots:
- In a recent survey by Ubisend, more than 50% of people surveyed said it is important for a business to be available, contactable and responding promptly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- 49% of the people surveyed said they would rather use a messaging application to communicate with a business than a phone call
- Website online chat is preferred over SMS. 80% consumers surveyed said they would utilize online chat over SMS
The outreach of smartphones and better internet connectivity along with the growing popularity of messaging apps will support the growth of chatbots. People now use 1:1 messaging apps more than they use social networks. eMarketer predicts that by 2019, 65% of the global population will use messaging apps.
How do chatbots work?
Not just large enterprises, chatbots would prove to be beneficial for small businesses as well. Chatbots will help small business owners as a tool for instant customer service, save time in handling repeat sales and customer queries, increased social media engagement and productivity. Are you interested in getting a customized chat for your business? Contact us for a need analysis and implementation support.
In the quest to acquire new business and clients, small & mid-sized BPO / IT companies look to explore all possible options: social networking, direct mails, cold calling, conferences and outsourcing consultants. However, most of them fail to utilize the existing client network and never check for recommendations and referrals.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a powerful tool not only for analyzing client satisfaction but also new business acquisition.
NPS is based on the fundamental perspective that every company’s customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors by asking one simple question: Continue reading Unlock the power of Referrals!
To stay competitive and achieve potential growth plans, every business needs to align its strategies with customer needs and demands. However, customer needs keep changing due to a combination of factors. So, how does a company analyze customer needs? What delights customers and what are their basic needs?
Professor Noriaki Kano developed a model which helps companies analyze and address customer needs.
The Kano model addresses three types of customer requirements:
- Satisfying basic needs: allows a company to get into the market
- Satisfying performance needs: allows a company to sustain and stay competitive
- Satisfying excitement needs: allows a company to excel and be world class
Kano model can be used for determining business strategies, competitive analysis, project selection or new product development initiatives. It is a structured process to identify and record the voice of the customer (VOC), translate VOC into critical to quality characteristics and formulate action plan and business strategies to meet customer needs.
A lot of has been written about employee attrition in call centers. Call Centers have a relatively high employee attrition rate compared to other industries. Companies invest a lot of efforts and resources to retain call center executives. While working on an employee engagement and development plan last week, one of the participants surprised us with this question:
“What is the SHELF LIFE for a Call Center Executive?”
When is it a good time to let go an employee irrespective of his performance? If and when that needs to be done, what choices do we have?
Before we could even think about the possible outcomes and choices, we had to answer the first question. We collected employee tenure and performance data for a technical support process.
|Tenure of the Employee||Number of days an employee had worked for the process after completing the new hire training|
|Average Handle Time (AHT)||Average time taken to complete one call (average of last 3 months)|
|First Call Resolution (FCR)||Percentage of customer queries resolved in the first interaction (average of last 3 months)|
There were 109 employees in the process:
0-6 months: 46, 6-12 months: 24, More than a year: 39
By looking at the graph below (Figure 1: Scatter Plot of ATTR vs. Tenure), it can be said that tenure does not guarantee optimum performance levels.
There is always a learning curve and performance improves as employees learn while in the job, however after a certain point, the learning curve either gets flat or starts going in the reverse direction. The employees in Quadrant 3 (Q3) in Figure 1 are the ones that have been with the process for more than 256 days (median for employee tenure) and yet have an ATTR of more than 626 seconds (median for ATTR). These employees have a higher cost per head for the company but their average revenue per head is comparatively low than other employee groups (Q1, Q2 and Q3).
The graph below (Figure 2: Boxplot of ATTR) displays the ATTR distribution for the three employee groups (0-6 months, 6-12 months and 1 Year+). There is no significant difference in performance when we compare the 2nd and the 3rd groups.
As the data reflects, tenure would not always have a strong positive correlation with performance and hence the cost. The curve either gets flat or in the worst cases which every manager would fear the most, it goes downhill.
So when do we decide if we should let go an employee and if we do, what are the possible options?
First we need to figure out the optimum performance level and the subsequent cost per transaction. Given below (Figure 3: Cost vs. Performance) is an illustration of employee performance against the cost per transaction. At any point, irrespective of the tenure, for a performance level “P”, the cost per transaction should be less than “C”. Rather than absolute points, there would be a range, so it would beCmin and Cmax for instance.
When we decide to let go an employee, what options do we provide him or her? This is the trickiest part. An employee with an at-par performance is being asked to leave because his or her salary and benefits exceed the acceptable levels. I have not yet come to an appropriate answer or solution, would love to have some insights on this. However, given below are some thoughts to consider:
- Determining the highest salary bracket for a particular job. Irrespective of how long the employee stays with the company, no annual raise beyond a certain limit. However, this would be applicable only if the employee manages to sustain the performance levels (Curve B in Figure 3)
- Career guidance and development programs for employees to prepare them for other key roles within the Organization (This happens in most of the Organizations however this could become an eliminator – an employee needs to get through the career plan with all the support or else he or she should be asked to leave)
- Assistance with Higher Studies and Placement: Once again, most organizations have in-house assistance programs that motivate employees to enrol for higher studies. Going one step further, companies should provide job and placement assistance for employees who clear the exams and cannot be absorbed within the organization