Seventhman Blog

  1. Magnetic Outsourcing: Attracting & Retaining Top Talents to Your Brand

    "magnetic outsourcing"Building a magnetic brand that attracts top talent may come easy to some, but retaining these gems is still a work-in-progress for many.  For those who are into outsourcing, the toughest challenge of them all is how to foster innovation given a diverse team to work with.  Recent studies have found that diversity is a key driver to innovating your workforce, where people from various backgrounds are encouraged to share and develop new ideas.  Money alone is not the greatest motivator in attracting top talents when competition is fierce in today’s global market.  If you want significant changes to happen, you simply have to keep these top talents from leaving to where the grass looks greener.  Is it even achievable where outsourcing is concerned?

    What Does It Mean to Be ‘Diverse’?

    Businesses have to compete on a global scale this time and diversity means working with people from different cultures, education and languages.  Think of it as creating a melting pot of the East and the West, helping you gain better productivity and business growth.  By working with a diverse workforce, they help you define your product for certain demographics – which is great for targeting your market.  It also helps your customer service perform better because they are more culture-sensitive.  Overall, if you’re wanting to expand your business overseas, you have to open your doors to change.  It’s crucial for your business strategy to hire, develop and retain these talents.

    How Do You Attract Top Talents and Keep Them for Good

    The outsourcing market can be volatile and attrition rate is high, especially when you’re working with creatives who are always on the search for something stimulating.  You may not hire a person for life, but you can extend his/her stay, starting with:

    1. Hiring the Right Person

    Don’t just look at a person’s CV and see if s/he fits skill-wise.  Consider personality-wise.  Those whose values are not aligned with yours will be saying goodbye soon.  Try initiating small talk and you’ll learn a lot in less than 60 seconds.

    2. Build a Tribe

    People work well if they feel that they’re part of a community, of something bigger than their current job titles.  Just because you’re working in a virtual office doesn’t mean you can’t achieve this.  There are plenty of social enterprise tools out there to keep communication lines open.

    3. Make Work Fun

    You don’t have to spend on expensive rewards to keep your team motivated.  Trust them to do their job well and you’ll be surprised just how far they’ll go with their skills.  Be flexible enough to have an open workflow, allowing your team to work from anywhere, anytime.

    4. Polish Those Diamonds

    And I meant, those diamonds in the rough.  In a down economy, it is easier to find highly skilled folks who, with a bit of your help, can develop core skills that will be beneficial to your business.  These can be people who got laid off from jobs they’ve had for years or those with great experience but lack the formal credentials to go with it.

    5. Be Found

    Word spreads faster than the speed of type these days if you simply do your best.  Show people what it’s like to work with you – for example, you can have a fun video interview of those who work for you.  Having a solid brand message also helps attract superstar talents out there… and next time, you don’t even have to post an ad; they’ll be knocking on your doors.

    Like what they say, ‘It’s not all about the Benjamins…’

    **and if you need help in finding the right talent for your team, simply ASK

  2. There’s No Such Thing as Multitasking!

    "multitasking myth"Each time my day ends, I would often ask myself if I’m getting more things done with all the tasks I have to juggle around.  Time management is a major issue among entrepreneurs and staying productive is something of a hit or miss deal for many.  The solution is simple: Multitasking.  But, are those who multitask effective at their jobs?  I might as well borrow Douglas’ words and say that doing so is like ‘reading this blog while cooking dinner, watching the news on TV, and riding a stationary bicycle…’ and I can’t blame him if he made a case out of it and brought the myth to the limelight.  I will have to agree though, that multitasking doesn’t work.

    Breaking Through Multitasking Perceptions

    There’s a new study that shows that those who think they have awesome multitasking skills are really bad at it.  So, the next time you see someone looking confident, talking on their cell phones while driving, I’d stay far away and be very cautious.  Also, it has been proven in previous research that those who multitask often produce sub-par quality where work is concerned.  On top of that, there’s the extra stress for trying to do many things at once.  You might be wondering why I’m writing about this topic.  It was inspired by this post from Kenneth on this Multitasking Myth, where my response got me intriguing reactions to start with.  Job seekers often flaunt being able to multitask like it’s some kind of a special skill.. when it’s actually not.  It spells poor quality, easily distracted and missing deadlines to me.  But, what’s really a cause for concern is that those who believe they are good multitaskers think they are better than everyone else.

    The Anatomy of Multiple Distractions

    Another mystery of the human brain is how it processes data and sends out decisions, one step at a time.  Those who multitask may have some chemical imbalance that makes them addicted to doing lots of things at once because they somehow feel justified being so busy.. and unfortunately, distracted.  Technology may be a contributing factor, especially when we can do so many things on our screens with just a touch.  If you have felt like you’ve reached a tipping point and you can’t wait to get away from your gadget, you know what I mean.  All these information clutter, interruptions may simply be too much.  Is it then right to say that multitasking is born out of boredom from the daily work routine?  You may feel like you’re doing a great balancing act, but doing so can impair your cognitive ability, not to mention.. your creativity.

    Learning the Art of Delegation

    When you’re just starting a business, you can put a lot on your plate.  While you want to be hands-on during the initial phase, wearing many hats may wear you down real fast.  Here’s where you have to consider getting extra help to lessen the load.  This is where outsourcing comes in, where you outsource tasks that you hate doing, those you’re not good at doing and those that you can delegate easily.  Then, it leaves you more room in brainstorming strategies for growing your business.  You have to use your time wisely and just the same, you need to learn to trust people to add value.  Sit down and take time to make a list of tasks you want to outsource and assign priority levels to each.  Outsourcing is not an easy way out, but an extra cushion for your feet as you walk this rocky path towards success.

    And if you need help growing your business with global outsource consulting, all you need to do is ASK.

  3. Outsourcing Customer Service in the Digital Age

    "outsourcing customer service"Everyone in business knows that good customer service is not an option; it is a MUST.  When customers are the very blood that’s keeping your organization alive, will it be a smarter option to outsource service to vendors so you can save on cost?  For the past few years, support functions have been a major contributor in globalization as companies outsource their workforce to call center hub spots like India and the Philippines.  Still, the very question these days is how you can find balance in the human and technical side of things when providing service to your customers.

    Customer Service in the 21st Century

    No matter how technology allows for instant connection, there are people who still feel assurance speaking to a live person.  For this reason, contact centers have fully integrated online, mobile, social and landline communications.  This means monitoring customer queries and conversations online and offline, 24×7 – from phone queries, call routing, live chat, fax, website queries, emails, SMS, mobile touch points, interactive voice response (IVR) and social networks like Facebook, Twitter..  Whether you choose to outsource to vendors here or abroad, or hire the services of a home-based agent is not the focus these days.  Those who provide an awesome customer service knows that empowering your team to personalize each call for help will win your business more loyalty.  Your front-liners must reflect your genuine interest to help and add value to your customers.

    Motivating your team to go beyond the usual service metrics and customer satisfaction scores can be tough if you’re working with a hundred or more.  Are you ready to encourage them to take chances in making your customers happy?  Read This First:  To Create Innovation, You Must Inspire Loyalty First

    The Rise of Unsourcing

    You probably haven’t heard of this word yet and many are speculating it to be the next gen of customer support.  Instead of outsourcing support to a third party, the company sets up an online community that enables peer-to-peer support among its users.  Not only will customers get help from those with the same experience, but they get to interact with someone who’s local.  This way, advocates of unsourcing can lessen instances of irate customers and minimize the cost of customer service via outsourcing.  This knowledge-sharing is further encouraged through gamification, like awarding badges to top contributors and giving out perks.  Still, there are limits to this where confidential data is concerned, like billing.  Will this mark the end of outsourcing services as we know it?  Too soon to tell, I’d say.

    Should You Still Outsource Customer Service?

    The answer is YES – if only you understand how to do it right.  You have to carefully analyze the risks and benefits, the skills and resources you will need.  It’s not an easy path or a band aid fix to your business problems.  It’s stepping away from the usual cost saving notion and thinking about ways on how to manage customer relationships for real.  Just in case, you need to have that realistic approach before you even sign that contract with your vendor.  The key to a successful customer service lies not in training your team to deal with irate calls or tough questions; it’s all about teaching them how to listen to your customers’ wants and needs.

    It’s an evolving process.

  4. Top 3 Qualities of a Great Customer Service Team Revealed

    "winning customer service team"Trust is the keystone where everything else comes into place when it comes to business.  You hired your team because you trust them to do their job.  But with trust, comes expectations that need to be met and most often, risks were overlooked.  The truth is that trust alone can’t guarantee your safety from cyber liability – from social media blunders, password mismanagement and data loss on unsecured mobile networks.  But the greatest burden of them all is how you can trust your employees to solve your customers’ problems.  Do you even measure what really matters most to your customers?

    Balancing Quality and Quantity

    In my participation on this #custserv weekly chat, most often, the brand name Zappos is mentioned, all in the name of customer service.  My curiosity got the best of me so I took on my sleuthing hat to examine further.  I have discovered that unlike your regular contact centers, Zappos don’t focus much on cost, but the opportunity to market.  This is why they don’t follow the usual call metrics where time per call is measured.  Instead of getting customers off the phone quickly, they take the customer experience to the next level by creating that ‘intimate’ level in building a relationship that speaks loyalty.  Isn’t that how business should be done?  Now, I understand why folks hoist their glasses in salutation.

    What Should You Expect from Your Customer Service Department?

    Whether you have an in-house team or an outsourced contact center handling customer service queries, you have to make sure that:

    1. They Have Total Commitment to Quality

    Because no two customers are alike, your customer service team should be able to assist in the best way they can and exceed customers’ needs, even after sales.  This can be achieved through proactive listening and taking responsibility in assuring the customers of finding a solution to their problems.

    2.  They are NOT afraid to talk to Unhappy Customers

    It’s every contact center representative’s nightmare to attend to an irate caller.  Take note that your most important source of improvement comes from those who are not satisfied with your product or service – their feedback can be an invaluable tool for business growth.  Your team shouldn’t just listen, but seek for a permanent fix.  It doesn’t have to mean giving away freebies all the time just to appease frustrated customers.

    3.  They are Passionate in Bringing Customers In

    It’s tough to get a hundred or thousands to be motivated about what they do.  Great customer service goes beyond training and call scripts.  While having a standard response may save on time, it does hurt employee morale in the long term.  Trust your agents to come up with small ways of bringing that ‘wow’ factor that goes a long way.  And when they do bring in more sales and retain subscribers from closing their accounts, it’s high time that you reward your people for these wow moments.

    Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to step in your customers’ shoes to get a clear picture of the service they’re getting.  The next time you plan a revamp of how your customer service team works, just stick to one goal in mind:  Solve problems, for real.

    It doesn’t have to be complicated…

  5. How to Find Top Talents for Your Business

    "top talents"If finding loyal talents in the virtual world isn’t enough pain that makes every HR manager cringe, searching for top performers is.  Whether you’re looking for a superstar technical crew or a creative maverick to join your team, the challenge often lies when you’re just starting up… because most likely, these top guns aren’t actively seeking for a job. In this age of BYOD workers, hiring the right people for your team can take months of frustrating trial and error – without positive results.  There’s just trouble attracting quality candidates that costs you time, money and lost productivity.  Is there a permanent fix to this dilemma?

    How to Recruit Top Talents Fast, Easy and Painless

    I’m not saying that there’s a quick way to remedy this hit-or-miss scenario in the hiring world.  Most often, odds are stacked against you because you’re the very cause of the problem.  If you want to have a stellar team to help move your business forward, you have to stop the shopper’s mentality hoping for a better worker to come along.. and start:

    Revamping Your Corporate Culture

    This may be a hard pill to swallow, but it all ends up with trust and respect.  The greatest investment is your people.  How you value them makes a huge impact, regardless of how big or small your business is.

    Getting Involved

    There’s always the excuse that you’re too busy to handle the hiring process, so you leave the decision to someone who’s not equipped to make the right choice.  Try as much as you can to be engaged in the process because you might not know what you’ll pick up, something that’s not within the applicant’s resume.  You have to know if that person fits your company, skill-wise and personality-wise.

    Being Quick, Short and To the Point

    The best talents may not have all the time in the world to read through your job description and they may skip on to the next post.  You have to eliminate any unnecessary steps, stop overthinking the interview process, and give a short feedback on time.

    Thinking of Benefits

    Just because you think your business is ‘cool’ doesn’t mean that you can attract the right people to work for you.  If you feel like you can tempt these quality experts with money alone, don’t count on it!  Everyone else is offering them the same thing ( or better ).  Instead, try to think of interesting benefits that will make them bite the bait.

    Leading by Example

    They say that you’ll only know a great leader when you’re working for one.  But, there are telltale signs too.  Great leaders are not only people with a real sense of character; they are great listeners too.  They are agile to change and communicate without delay.  Great leaders don’t only say, ‘We want to hire you now!’ – they act now and hire without delay.

    The second time you feel like taking your game to the next level, think quality over quantity.

    **and if you’re having tough time making informed choices, please feel free to contact me for help.  Thanks!

  6. Building Loyalty in the Age of Virtual Teams

    "building loyalty"Creating loyal workers in the outsourcing world may seem like some fairy tale in the digital world.  But, is it really possible to create an atmosphere of trust, respect and honesty in a niche where attrition rate is on a record high? Last time, I have shared my five tips on how you can successfully manage your virtual team and this time, I’ll give you an insider’s approach on how your business can grow one seed at a time – through harnessing the power of dedicated and motivated teams, wherever they are located in the world.

    Flexibility at work

    Outsourcing, telecommuting, freelancing, remote work, virtual assistance and and so on.. What do they have in common?  Value – that they bring to your business.  Just take a look at this infographic and you’ll see how working from home is fast becoming the norm, embraced even by a few Fortune 500 companies.  The temporary is now the new ordinary in an age where independent contractors and on-call workers are competing with sourcing vendors and agencies.  More brick and mortar businesses are seeing amazing results from those who work remotely than those in the office.  Does it mean that virtual teams are better than your traditional team?

    The Invisible Tie that Binds

    For many years, I have managed people in various locations that making them all work together for a common goal seemed like a climb to Mt. Everest.  I’ve worked with managers and teams in the same office and I come to realize that when people work closer, they often take things for granted.  Soon, your office becomes a breeding ground for complacency.  There were instances when team leaders would go through all the trouble of sending unnecessary emails when their teams are just a few feet away.  It could have been faster if they cross that physical distance and announce the news themselves.  It’s just that with virtual teams, people are making the extra effort to make collaboration work – helping them maximize the best tools around.  It is the absence of face time that helped, I’d say.

    Building Engagement in Dynamic Teams

    Those who offer remote work as an option has already taken one step forward in motivating a person to be at his/her best.  It’s a win-win for both.  Now, the question is: Can you build the same loyalty in the world of outsourcing?  Whether you source locally or offshore, it is 100% possible if you put in mind that it’s not technology that makes your business – it’s your people.  Trust is the very foundation of it all.  You will always reap what you sow, so start to genuinely care and give your team the chance to shine.  Be fair.  Treat everyone with due respect.  Encourage them to ask questions and be open to dialogue. You may never know that the next big idea is just waiting to unfold.

    Listen…

  7. Keeping Agile in the World of Offshore Outsourcing

    "agile outsourcing"Gone were the days of labor arbitrage as we enter a new era where finding qualified talent for your team is as quick as a mouse click.  While it is true that many businesses are looking offshore to cut down on cost, there is much more benefit to be had than meets the eye.  Those who were first to take a bite have now harbored mature offshore outsourcing relationships that resulted to an overall increase in service quality, as well as maximum flexibility when it comes to the organization’s enterprise strategy process.  Many of those who have been practicing offshore outsourcing see more improvement in their organizational agility as an effect of sending work over to global sourcing hubs.  But, innovation in this area is not without a multitude of challenges.

    The Immigrant-Driven Economy

    As I’ve been following the hot debate between Obama and Romney when it comes to immigration, I can’t help but wonder just how have these people born outside the U.S. helped in growing the economy.  In this infographic from Entrepreneur online mag, it will surprise you that more foreign-born workers and entrepreneurs are driving economic growth.. and the number is rising.  What’s more amazing is that they dominate service-based industries, regardless of the language and culture barriers.  There must be a stigma right now on local businesses taking jobs abroad, but I’m hoping that whoever wins the presidential race will not forget about the efforts of these migrants who are helping reshape the economy in such uncertain times.

    How Do You Play the Sourcing Game?

    While there’s news of GM bringing back 10,000 IT jobs on-shore, many other early adopters of offshore outsourcing may just follow suit.  Manufacturing is one of those areas where we’ll surely hear more news where sourcing is concerned.  But in this age of globalization where the fast beats the big, to survive the game, you have to multi-source… or simply, take the best of both worlds, of what insourcing and outsourcing can bring to your business so you can maximize productivity and increase your ROI.  As the adage goes, fortune favors the brave.  Many may still be reluctant to go local because they may not be able to scale their operations like what they currently do now overseas, like in India.  Investing in domestic resources may just not be a viable option for some.  Are you willing to take the risk?

    Offshore Outsourcing and Agility

    Some say that you can’t outsource agile for the simple fact that distance works against close collaboration among your team.  Can you really adopt an agile work process when it comes to outsourcing?  Though it comes with challenges, especially in the matter of managing people and technology, the good news is that it is manageable.  The core value of organizational agility comes with the right preparation, of taking baby steps, starting things slowly but surely, investing in on-site training, choosing the right partner, and having project managers who lead by example.  It’s all about taking advantage of the best available resources, onshore and offshore, that works for many successful teams.  In this case, we’re more likely to see hybrid sourcing models bloom just to make ends meet, as they call it.

    The decision is yours to make.  Experiment and Learn.