First Call Revolution: The one surefire way to increase your first call resolution metric

First Call Revolution:The one surefire way to increase your first call resolution metric

Knowledgeable customer service reps have always been the cornerstone of the first call resolution call center metric. If your reps can answer questions quickly and accurately without leaving a customer dangling or having to call back, you’re golden. A lot of call centers excel at this but the world is changing, you’ve got to go a step further.

Your Customers Don’t Always Speak English

The two major types of call centers are sales centers and customer service centers (usually with a soft sell component). First call resolution is critical in both centers. Because of immigration and adherence to language laws, call centers are typically serving customers that speak a variety of languages. In order to achieve an amazing first call resolution rate, you’ll need an interpreting service backing your call center. I’ll explain how this would work in two styles of call centers.

Sales Centers and First Call Resolutions

The objective in a sales call center is, quite obviously, to make sales. In this context, a first call resolution is making a sale on first contact with the consumer.
You have customers (I assume) that want to speak in their own language. They must, if they think that is more important than price. In order to resolve the call on the first instance, you’re going to have to speak their language, explain things in terms they understand, and reply to all of their objections…and you have to do this before they can rationalize not using your service.

In “sales” call centers that deal primarily with Anglophone populations (if there are any left), you would only need to employ English speaking customer service representatives. Since we know that it is unlikely you serve only English speaking consumers and I also know you want a stellar first call resolution rate (why else would you be reading this article?), you would need to deploy a telephone interpreting backend to your call center.

Here is how this would go:

John, a customer service representative at your call center, places his call to the phone number that has been pulled out of the customer database for him. He dials the phone cautiously while trying several different pronunciations of his potential customer’s last name. A man picks up the phone. John stumbles through the customer’s last name only to find out his pronunciation was way off. After a few exchanges, John realizes that unless he gets an interpreter on the phone, this sale will be lost.

John asks the customer to hold for a moment so he can dial in an interpreter. After dialing the 1-800 number, he is connected to an operator who helps him diagnosis which language he needs. He is then transferred to an interpreter.

The exchange goes much smoother from herein out. John makes the sale on first contact, becomes top sales person in the company and is sent on a Hawaiian vacation (note: I added this last part for effect. Vacation destinations may vary from company to company).

Service Centers and First Call Resolutions

Service call centers are a bit different than sales call centers (think over-the-phone banking, CAA or AAA). They are usually inbound, people that call are usually already customers, and a first call resolution isn’t a sale but a solved issue.

I’ll tell yeah, easy issues become major problems when the lines of communication are blurred by an inability to overcome a language barrier. Your customer service rep’s responses may not be exactly what the customer was asking for which will likely result in that customer calling back again to have the same issue resolved (hopefully once and for all).

Of course, this could be avoided if your call center has an interpreting company on the backend. For a first call resolution, as soon as the customer service rep finds that communication is hampered by a language barrier, an interpreter can be brought on to clarify the customer issue and respond with the best possible advice (as dictated by the customer service rep). That’s how you get a first call resolution.

Telephone Interpreting Company

To summarize:

-Both sales and service call centers should deploy an interpreting company on their backend
-This will help raise your first call resolution rate as well as sky-rocket customer satisfaction scores
-Using the interpreting backend is as simple as conference calling your language service provider at a dedicated 1-800 number, requesting the language you need, and then speak to your customer through the interpreter.

Able Translations’ telephone interpretation service can be your call center’s multilingual backend. We will set up your account, hook you with the 1-800 and aid you in training your staff to use the system. We do this for free. No set up fees, no monthly minimums, and low rates. Sign up by calling us at 1-800-840-2253.

For more information Check out:

Interpreting Services in Hospitals

The Difference Between Simultaneous Interpreting and Consecutive Interpreting

How To Choose a Language Services Provider

For More Information on This subject visit Able Translations atTranslations Toronto

7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce: a series of workplace diversity articles (part 2)

7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce: a series of workplace diversity articles

In 7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce part 1, we learned about forming a diversity committee and starting a mentorship program. Part 2 of this series focuses on community outreach programs as a teambuilding exercise as well as way to shift your corporate culture toward engaging with community groups that foster an ideology of inclusion. We will also take a quick look at flexible holiday schedules which in recent years has become a popular way to manage your diverse workforce. Finally, we will discuss the “open door” policy. This policy is really the cornerstone of managing a diverse workforce.

Step 3 – Community Outreach

Community outreach or partnerships is a great way for your company to show commitment to managing a diverse workforce. It is also a teambuilding exercise that can unite colleagues in an effort to make the community a better place.

In order to integrate a community outreach strategy into your diversity planning, there are four questions that you should be asking:

Does the organization foster the same inclusive values as your company?

It is important to find a community partner that has mandated and implemented a strategy for inclusiveness and diversity. In their strategy, are their end goals similar to yours? For example, if an organizations goal was to provide skills training to community members to help them access hiring paying jobs and one of your diversity goals is to provide extra training to those that would like to take on a larger role in your organization, I would say that the match is quite good.
Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule but it gives your organization and your community partner a common thread and a deeper understanding of each other’s mission.

Is your community partner a religious affiliate?

When choosing a community partner, choose a secular organization. This way, all of your colleagues can get involved without feeling like they have to subscribe to a particular religion.
Is the community partner representative of the diversity of your company?
When choosing a community partner, you should make sure that its structure and the community it serves closely resembles the demographics of your company. Lean towards community partners that employ and serve men and women as well as people from all cultures.

Has Anyone Objected to the Partnership?

After you have chosen a community partner, be sure to reinforce that you have an “open door” policy. That is, any employee should feel welcome to speak freely about any concern they may have with the community organization partnership. Should a diversity-related issue arise out of this partnership, it should be reevaluated to ensure that your team members feel included and represented.
Answering these questions will allow you to commit to a community partner that allows everyone to participate equally. Doing this will help increase company unity and a deeper understanding of each other.

Step 4 –Flexible Holidays

Holiday observances can vary from culture to culture. To ensure that every employee can observe the holidays that they wish, flexible holidays could be offered. For example, employees could swap December holidays with the holidays that are more in line with their culture. If this is not possible, due to business cycles, your holiday policies could be reviewed and revised to allow some flexibility during times of religious celebration.

The take home message here is that employees should be allowed some choice in their availability during religious holiday observances. This shows the company is in-tune with cultural diversity and the needs of their employees. Additionally, it can serve as a way to celebrate the diversity of your company through recognition that not everyone celebrates the same holidays.
Here is an example of a policy addition that can be used when implementing accommodations for religious

holidays:

Religious Accommodation (flexible schedule)
[Your Company Name] offers floating holidays to accommodate various religious observances. Should you require time off during a specific time period due to religious observances, you may do so in lieu of the standard holidays as listed in this document.

Some companies offer additional personal days for those that celebrate various religious holidays. The difficulty with this is that it is not an “inclusive” solution. Those that choose not to take time off or who are not affiliated with any religion may feel that they are being excluded from additional time off. Flexible holiday schedules give every employee the opportunity to organize their holidays according to their preferences.

Step 5 – Open Door Policy

The open door policy has been used successfully by many of the biggest companies in the world. Originally stemming from the idea that managers keep their doors open to encourage other staff members to come in, it is now a wide-spread communication strategy that can be used to enhance your diversity strategy.
The implementation of the open door policy is fairly simple in new companies but can be difficult in established ones. It takes a shift in company culture to successfully implement this policy. In companies where “doors” have been shut for a long time, encouraging senior and non-senior staff to open up lines of communication will take a great deal of time and trust.

In order for the open door policy to be successful, all employees should feel like they can approach senior staff with new ideas, solutions to old problems, and questions and concerns they may have. They need to feel like they can communicate openly without reproach. The most successful open door policies have some general guidelines. For example, communicating a problem should be accompanied with a suggested solution. The solution can be as simple as “I think [employee name] might have some good insight into this problem, we should ask him what he thinks”.

Here is an example policy directive that could be added to your policy manual:

[Your Company Name] recognizes that in any company, issues and improvement opportunities will arise. [Your Company Name] is always open to suggestions and encourages employees to communicate these opportunities with management.

[Your Company Name] will make every effort to make sure that:

1. Every employee has the opportunity to speak openly with their supervisor or to anyone else in authority, when an issue arises, with the assurance that it will not be held against them by their supervisor or anyone else in authority.

2. To provide an open door at all times for all employees to discuss with upper management any decision they feel affects them.

One of the main goals of the open door policy is to let every employee know their input is important and to make sure they have a way to be included in the “conversation”.

In Managing a Diverse Workforce part 3, we’ll wrap up by talking about translations and the assessment of your programs.

For More Information on This subject visit Able Translations atTranslations Toronto

7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce: A series of diversity in the workplace articles

Thank you for reading

Toronto Translators’ 7 Steps toward managing a diverse workforce.

In this series of workplace diversity articles, you will find 7 steps that can be taken in any organization in order to foster an environment of inclusiveness and diversity. We all want to feel safe, secure, and welcome at work. So, we should all learn how to manage diversity in the workplace.

Generally, diversity planning falls on the shoulders of upper-management but in actual fact the responsibility of being inclusive is everyone’s. Inclusion starts with our own attitudes. We show our attitude toward inclusion in the things we say (and don’t say) and our actions in the office or break room. We need to be mindful and sensitive to the feelings of others at all times.

This series of diversity in the workplace articles is not only for the management team of your organization. It is for anyone that would like to take steps toward improving the workplace environment for the betterment of all employees, as well as themselves. Ultimately, some of the steps in this book should be implemented by management level employees but this series will give anyone that background information as well as some insights in order to make sure that everyone can be part of the conversation so you can take steps toward better managing a diverse workforce.

In this article: Our first article in our series of workplace diversity articles focuses on starting a diversity committee and implementing a mentorship program. Let’s get started, shall we?

Step 1 – Start a Diversity Committee

Implementation

A diversity committee is a great way to gain insight into the diversity issues faced by you and your co-workers and is the first step toward better managing a diverse workforce. Everyone should feel welcome to attend the first diversity committee meeting. After the initial meeting, short interviews should take place to determine interest and dedication to the goals of the committee. The committee members will be chosen according to these factors, along with company demographics to make sure every group is represented.

Electing a chair should be the first job of the committee. For the first committee meeting, usually referred to as the “ad hoc” meeting, a neutral chair should be used. It should be someone everyone will feel comfortable with. After the ad hoc meeting, when the committee is fully formed, members can volunteer to be the chair and from those volunteers, the committee can democratically select one to chair all future meetings. Additionally, a member should be designated to take meeting minutes, that is, notes about what has been discussed and decided on by the committee.
Setting Goals

During the committee’s early stages, short-term and long-term goals should be decided on. These goals should be specific, realistic, and measurable. It is the only way you’ll be able to really measure your improvements in managing a diverse workforce. Here are two examples:

Example 1:

We should make sure that all employees feel represented in all management decisions

Example 2:

By this time next year, we will have all employee manuals translated into French, Spanish, and Tamil.
Which example best represents a “specific, realistic, and measurable” goal? You’re correct, example 2 does. Let’s talk about why.

In example 1, vague statements are made about employees feeling represented, no timeline is given, and it is unrealistic to expect the management team to consult all employees every time a decision needs to be made. Beyond all of that, how do we know when we have successfully completed this goal?

Example 2 takes a far different approach. First, there is a timeline; one year. Second, it specifically mentions that employee manuals need to be translated. Finally, it states three languages, presumably the ones voted as most needed, into which these manuals should be translated. You know you have reached your goal if by next year you have every employee manual translated into French, Spanish, and Tamil.

Creating Action Plans

After establishing the main goals of the diversity committee, you can create subcommittees to focus on different goals and their completion. Using the example above, you could create a subcommittee in-charge of the translation of company materials. That subcommittee would than create an action plan.
The action plan would consist of smaller milestones which eventually lead to the completion of the subcommittee’s task. For instance, the subcommittee in-charge of translations might first review all company manuals to make sure they are up-to-date and consistent with the changes that have been made in the company since they were first published. That would be the first step in their action plan. From there, they would have to make the necessary updates, find a language service provider, have the manuals translated, review the translations, and put the new manuals into production. These steps would all be part of the action plan. Of course, action plans need to be revised along the way to make sure they are compatible with new information that arises.

Along the way

As the committee forges ahead with its goals, you will undoubtedly face setbacks, including the loss and replacement of members, disruptions and postponements due to work fluctuations, and the like. These are all to be expected. What is important is that you keep your long-term goals in mind and find ways to achieve them.

Step 2: Mentoring

Mentoring is about helping empower all employees. It builds self-confidence, a solid support system, and encourages all employees to make use of their abilities. Although it can be time consuming, it is an amazing investment in you and your coworkers. From an employee standpoint, it can help traditionally underrepresented groups move up in the company by giving them an opportunity to learn from more senior members, build the confidence to go after promotions, and help them become part of the conversation about diversity issues. From an organizational standpoint, it helps make sure every employee is able to use their talents to help fulfill the missions of the organization.

Integrating a mentoring program takes planning, especially in established organizations. The most difficult aspect is the “buy-in” from senior staff. The senior staff members have to see this as a worthwhile initiative and must be willing to give their time to help mentor and develop employees. These mentors should apply to the program, be screened, and then trained using a professional mentor training program. The remaining staff members also have to “buy-in”. The easiest way to maneuver with current employees is to offer mentorship as an “opt-in” initiative. Never force anyone to join the mentorship program. The value of this type of program only reveals itself when both the mentor and the mentee are fully committed.

Measuring the success of your mentorship program is critical. One of the simplest ways to do this is to track internal movement within the company. If you find that those enrolled in the mentorship program are more likely to apply for promotions or take on extra responsibilities, I’d say your program is successful. You can also track dropout rates from the program as well as survey for participant’s attitudes toward the initiative. Any of the above methods will work, just make sure that you do take the time to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and make changes where necessary.

In 7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce (Part 2), We will discuss community outreach and Flexible Holidays. Follow our blog to make sure you don’t miss it.

Have any tips for managing a diverse workforce? Share them with us.

If you require cultural consulting, you can return to Toronto Translators to grab our contact details or visit www.abletranslations.com for more information

Translate Tweets to Explode in the Twitterverse (and make more cash online)

Translate Tweets to reach other markets

First, if you aren’t on Twitter, get on it! The beauty of Twitter is your ability to have open conversations. You don’t need to wait for friend requests or “likes”. You just tweet and the world can hear you. Ok, I’ll wait while you finish your twitter registration.

Now that you’re all done registering for Twitter, we can talk what you need to do to translate tweets and auto-tweet them. Auto-tweeting is a way for you to automate tweets. You can upload a batch of 140 character messages and they will be released on a schedule. I recommend using TweetDeck. To reach target markets that speak a different language, you should write 6 -12 months worth of Twitter messages and have them translated. You would than slowly release them to the public during hours that you know your target market is online.

I’ll explain why you should do this. Firstly, 72.1 percent of the consumers spend most or all of their time on sites in their own language. When you translate tweets, you’ll start to engage the population that prefers to browse in their own language. Secondly, 56.2 percent of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. What does this tell you about consumers? What I hear is that people feel more engaged and willing to do business in their first language.

Basically, here’s the deal. The old marketing adage is this: people buy emotionally and justify with facts. You could totally machine translate facts but the emotional component will get lost without someone personally translating your tweets. Beyond that, twitter is built on human interaction. Using machine translation to translate tweets defeats the purpose.

I’ll break this process down into steps.

  1. Write several months worth of tweets.
  2. Send them to Able Translations to professionally translate tweets for you.
  3. Upload the translated tweets into TweetDeck.
  4. Schedule the release of your translated tweets.
  5. Get a bigger wallet to hold all the cash you’ll make.

Pro-Tip: Open a Facebook business page for several different languages and link your twitter and facebook accounts. Your translated tweets will populate on your Facebook page as they are released.

For more information on multilingual internet marketing, check out these posts:

Search Engine Optimization for International Companies

Brand Internationalization Strategy for Small and Mid-sized Companies

Man Vs Machine…Translation

or head back to Toronto Translators