Catching Up

It’s just January 8 so I guess it’s yet not too late to share my experience last year or just last month. Well, I was baptized and raised as a Roman Catholic and before the 25th we have these 9 days Novena Masses. During the 3rd day, the Priest was talking about not giving up, not giving up on the government, not giving up on being nice even to those who aren’t nice, not giving up on faith, and not giving up on life. It hit me big time since I have doubts and my faith is quite shaking. I don’t know if anyone can relate, but I have a lot of questions like, if there’s a gracious and loving God, then why has He allowed bad things to happen to good people, or why has He ignored all those brutalities happening around the world where the government suppresses its own peoples’ rights and kills them like cattle’s in a slaughter house. And if they say God is gracious and merciful like He is, is He gonna punish me for having thoughts like these. Don’t get me wrong, I want to believe that there is something out there. Something bigger than what we can understand, something who’s power is bigger than what we can fathom, whose infinity is so much bigger than ours. I think believing in the Supreme Being looking over us is a comfort to this cruel world, but is He really looking over us, I’m not so sure. I also despise the idea of heaven and hell where the heaven is a reward for those who did good things and hell is a punishment for those who didn’t do so much. When I give food to the hungry, I don’t look up and say to the heavens “You owe me one,” and when I do bad things, I don’t look down and say “I’m getting near!” Basically, I wanna own up the things I do in this mortal world. I do whatever I think is right and when things turned out to be wrong, no regrets. At least at that moment, I did what I think was right.

I may not be a faithful member of the church (or however you wanna label me) but I believed what the priest said, about not giving up. It kind of relates to my blogging too. I haven’t written anything for like ages. So sharing these thoughts I kept for myself is my way of not giving up.

Note:

This is the first time I said these thoughts out loud or at least typed it in words.

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How to Train Agents for Chat Support

Chat Support

Multi-tasking agents are one of the advantages of using chat as a support channel. A well trained phone agent can also be a chat support agent and can often manage several sessions simultaneously. But most importantly, chat support channel is another way to provide assistance for customers who might be multi-tasking themselves or just don’t like to use other channels. The upside can be huge if chat is implemented correctly. So how do you train agents for chat support? Here are some simple but important tips.

Make sure your agents are good written communicators.

Chat adds a whole new element to communication. The verbal cues are no longer there to read. It is very important for an agent to always maintain a neutral or happy tone in their writing. It is very easy to come across as rude or annoyed through chat. There have even been companies that have employed the use of emoticons just to convey emotion and keep it light.

Typos need to be limited, it is okay to have a few, but they need to be kept to minimum. You want to instill confidence in the customer that they are dealing with a professional. Avoid using slang and abbreviations. They need to be very clear and descriptive without taking up too much time.

Train your agents to be empathetic. Even it’s only on chat, it is important that you humanize your approach with your customers. Ask your customers on how they’re doing and empathize if you have to. You can template your responses so it’s easier, just copy and paste. Having multiple response options to choose from will make for a more engaging experience for customers and let them know that they are talking to a real person on the other end.

Train your agents how to effectively navigate the tools.

Using chat support will unavoidable result in idle time. This may occur while waiting for a response from a customer or when dealing with technical accounts. While waiting for the customer to finish the troubleshooting steps, agents can use this time to reply to emails or check customer data. It will be helpful for your agents to be familiar with the tools to help them save time by not second guessing what to do next.

You will also want to make sure they have a library of content and links at their fingertips to offer to the customer. The quicker they can provide these, the happier the customer will be. This can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or as advanced as a marketing platform software like Marketo. Whatever the method, it is vital to be organized and have a system to quickly retrieve it.

Trainyour Agents how to be multi-taskers with chat.

Train your agents to be proactive. Train them to use the idle time waiting for the customers’ response to check customers’ records (notations on previous chat sessions or previous call). This way, you’ll have more information about your customers, information that might help you resolve customer concern, especially if the issue is same as before.

Carrying on two to three chats can really lower ATH with each customer. This is a great way to triple the bang for your buck.

Note: Companies should make the customer data readily available across channels (whether it’s through phone, chat, social media, or self-service channels). Customers don’t like repeating themselves even if they are using a different medium than what they’ve already used before.

Things to consider…

If you still doubt the productivity and profitability of having a chat support channel for your business, consider this: your chat support agents can deal with several customers at a time, something they can’t do on a voice support channel. With a small amount of training, the benefits can be huge. It is critical that companies adapt the latest trends, and history has shown that chat isn’t going anywhere soon.

Success

If you have suggestions on how to train agents to be effective chat support representatives to improve customer experience, feel free to comment below. We welcome all suggestions.

How To Cope With Bullies at Work

It’s been a while since I last written something. As promised, here’s my new article.

And please follow my new blog site, “Living My Best Life Today” 🙂

Living My Best Life Today!

I know it took too long before I could write a follow up with my previous article “The Professional Bullies.” I’ve been really busy and preoccupied these past few days. Well as promised, I will lay down ways on how to remove or at least cope with these agonizing, pain-in-the-ass professional bullies.  These tips actually are just my personal ways of standing firm on my ground at work. I mentioned before that I’m not really bullied but it doesn’t mean no one dared. Well I work in a contact center where a lot of different personalities from almost all walks of life, what do you expect?

So, here are some ways that I find useful based from my own experience:

Be professional!

Some people at work will always find a way to intimidate you. Just keep your temper and don’t ever go down to their level. Don’t let your emotions…

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The Writer in Me

I was trying to write a new blog about customer service or contact centers like I used to but I’m really not into it. It just sucks! Forgive my language. So on my third cup of coffee, I thought I’ll just write something, like whatever comes into mind. I’m not really a professional when it comes to stuffs like this. I used to really like writing when I was young though. I remember, I tried using a type writer even if computers were already available because it makes me feel like an authentic writer. Then I grew up! I also outgrew all those passions and imagination of a lost world inside my own thoughts. I used to say this as a joke, “my biggest mistake in life was when I decided to grow up. I wish I was forever a kid!”The world was a lot colorful when I was a kid.

When I went to college, I majored in BS Psychology. Psychology was really fun for me, but the decision why I took up the course was a decision not really clear to me either. Maybe it was because of my interest to learn about people, their motives, and what drives a human person to do what he did. However, it was also the stage where I struggled different emotional breakdowns. I mastered the art of pushing feelings away and it made me stiffer than I expected. I focused myself to knowledge based on facts and evidence. I only saw the black and the white and refuses to see the gray in the middle. I hated and argued people who’s logic for me is distorted or different. But the writer inside me still tries to break free. My thesis professor used to say to me that my research was written in a little bit dramatic fashion. Well, let me tell you a secret, I included drama on it to make it a little longer. I was always drunk that time so I used to start writing my research a night before the deadline, still under the influence of alcohol.

Then I started to work for a living. Now I’m working as a SEO specialist and a social media expert for a contact center and it’s software company. My position requires me to bring out the writer in me again. At first I was thrilled because it felt like I’ll be doing something once so familiar to me. Later on, I started flailing. It’s so difficult to work on something related to your job when your head is somewhere else. I always had these moments when I just stare blankly to my computer screen not understanding whatever I’m looking at. Right now I’m addicted to the band “Of Monsters and Men” and their lyrics are so deep and I think to myself, why can they be so artistic incorporating rhythm to words and here I am, couldn’t figure out how to finish a paragraph on a topic I’m so familiar with?! And I have no idea how to finish this article either!

Ironic, isn’t it? Maybe I just need to talk to someone, or maybe I’ll try drinking before coming to work (Of course, I can’t do that because I’ll loose my job). But just a thought, maybe alcohol can again bring out the drama and the writer in me. I remembered a line from a show I am watching, the main character said, “Truth is a battle of perception. We are only willing to believe what we are ready to confront. Sometimes, it’s not what we look at that matters, it’s how we see it.” But what if what you’re looking at doesn’t make sense to you or what you are seeing is beyond your own understanding?

I would like to apologize to people who would stumble into this article. I know, this article seems to be just my way of venting out my frustrations. But I think I have always love writing like how I love music, books, and the artistic way of life so I choose to write and be artistic even in the deepest moments of my melancholia.

And forgive the contrast of the image. This was taken a long, long time ago. It just brought back a lot of memories…

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Leadership Through Mentorship

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I’ve been wanting to write another article for quite sometime now. I’ve just been busy about so much and maybe I forgot my talent on observing. Today, as I passed by the calling floor, I noticed one supervisor coaching the agent with another person observing. This is what we call “packets.” The main purpose of this is to develop the agent’s skills on coaching and monitoring other agent’s. This is done so to prepare the agent’s, so that if ever they’ll be promoted and become call floor leaders themselves, they’ll know what to do. I’d like to call this process “Leadership through Mentorship.” Basically mentorship refers to the personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. This kind of leadership has been widely practiced throughout our contact center for quite some time.

I remember when I was an agent myself, I am usually chosen to be the agent to be coached for these scenarios. Maybe because of my bubbly and out-going personality, or at least I used to think that way. However, later on I realized that these packets are done to build my confidence, which is very helpful as I reached my current position. The packets allows the agents take the supervisors’ role, where they put themselves in the shoes of their supervisor, help in identifying the AOI’s (Areas of Improvement) and help their fellow agents overcome these AOI’s. These packets does not only promote employee engagement, it also builds the agents character. Assures them that they can be leaders someday and prepares them to the task.

There is another agenda though why these packets are done. It is also to build and strengthen the leadership of the supervisor or whoever the supposed mentor in these packets. So you see, it builds not just the leadership skills but the relationship between the supervisor and the agent. The supervisor is given sometime to build rapport, where he/she is allowed to ask some personal questions to the agent, like how’s the agent’s day so far, or some random questions like their favorite pets name and how’s their relationship with their pets. This way, a personal connection or relationship is build between the supervisor and the agent.

Why do I like the personal touch in leadership so much? Because you see, when you are the leader, those under you are most likely to pick up your trail. And they are most likely to pick it up from the relationship you shared with them. Before they’ll come to see you as a leader, they are to see you first as a person that relates to the values and beliefs they have in them. Because leadership is not about sitting down and yelling how your people should reach their numbers, leadership is about being in action. A never ending testing of your skills and sharing what you know best to your people. 

Focus Direct Inc. – Philippines Joined Masskara Festival

Masks

Bacolod City, Philippines is know for Masskara festival which takes place for 20 days from Oct. 1-20. It gives the people of Bacolod as well as the tourist a time to enjoy 20 days of merry making, beer drinking, and street partying. The term Masskara is coined from 2 words: mass meaning crowd and spanish word kara for face. It was coined by Ely Santiago, a painter, cartoonist, and cultural artist who devoted his show in his art of many faces of Negrenses overwhelmed with various crises. Today, Masskara Festival uses the symbol of smiling masks to depict the Happy Spirit of Negrenses despite of the difficulties.

Focus Direct Inc. an outsourced contact center of Focus Services, is located at 22nd street, Lacson which is where the street party is exactly located. During the hype of the festival, Focus Direct Inc. and it’s employees participated in the festivities. The management has it’s own Masskara Bay Making contest.

Masskara Bay Design Contest 004

Masskara Bay Design Contest 012

Masskara Bay Design Contest 006

Camera 360

Camera 360

Camera 360

Friday night, Oct. 18, 2013, the employees wear masks and colorful costumes to join the street party outside with the beat of electro-dance music being played by different DJ’s on the big stage set up in the middle of the street. On the second day, a caravan of the different establishments on the City of Bacolod, Focus Direct Inc. also participated with it’s colorful float and it’s employees marching on the street, giving candies and other perks to the spectators. But the most fascinating event was the paint party held just outside the office of Focus. In these pictures, you will see how amazing the festival and how the employees joined the fun activities.

Day 1:

Outside Focus Direct Inc.

Coffee Break during Masskara

Day 1

Day 1- kae

Day 2:

Parade

Giving candies to kids2

Cody

Paint party with Cody and Landon

Focus Paint Party

And the Masskara continued till dawn. I think you can now guess what happened next morning after whole day of partying.

This just proves that engagement doesn’t just in the form of monetary payment or perks and incentives. Engagement in this particular event is when the management involves themselves with the employees activities. It’s nice to see that the Director down to its employees celebrates together.

Hope you enjoy the pictures.