(This article originally appeared on www.inc.com.)
The surprising lessons learned from a B2B Entrepreneur
A lot is written about the importance of your first clients in any business. There is a lot of opinion on working with friends and family too. Most business writing on the subject seems to mostly refer and apply predominantly to retail and creative businesses. It generally covers the ground on subjects such as working with people who expect stuff for free, or for fees to be heavily discounted, and not valuing your time and effort. Much of these writings tends to paint a picture of relationships that are devoid of professionalism when having your friends as business clients. Less is discussed about working in a B2B setting beyond the cliche of “there are no friends in business.”
By the end of March most, if not all, BPOs around the world had transitioned from what has been an almost exclusively office-based work regime to working from home. As global support providers to the world’s businesses, we too have been affected by the disruptions this pandemic has brought to our client’s businesses. We have faced either an increase of decrease in client work volume requirements – broadly speaking though, we have all adapted well to the changes.
This week has seen Enshored recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in the US. According to Inc Magazine, we rank at 607 of the 5000 companies who made it onto the annual Inc. 5000 list.
This is further validation for Enshored. We have carved out a unique niche in the outsourcing world in supporting disruptive businesses to grow and be successful. As a partner to them, we bring expertise in operational areas where they need help. They, in turn, can get back to focusing on the big ideas, and the more disruptive parts of their business.
In the final part of our series on customer service, we will bring everything together by looking at the process. Process – how you do things – is critical. You can have the right tools and the right people, but without a clear and consistent process to manage things, you will not be able to deliver great customer service.
If you have a business with customers, you need some sort of customer service. If you want to have a good business, you are probably thinking you need good customer service. And if you want a great business, you need great customer service. It is unavoidable if you are going to compete.
So what makes great customer service? We shall dig into that question and tackle some of the challenges we see at Enshored each day.
Enshored is an outsourcing partner to fast-growing startup and scale up companies. Enshored is growing quickly too. Like many outsourcing companies, operational centers are based in lower-cost countries, while leadership, sales, and marketing are managed closer to the clients. For Enshored, this means operations based in the Philippines and leadership in the US.
This creates a challenge as to how best communicate in such a dynamic environment, given the challenges of distance, and an ever-changing and expanding team of leaders. A failure to communicate well at a fast-growing company can seriously damage the culture you are trying to build, can lead to operational failures and misalignment and a lack of buy into the vision and direction of the firm. Since day one, Enshored has recognized the challenge and worked hard to ensure that communication is prioritized.
So how do you do YOUR customer care?
Enshored are actively involved with managing a large number of customer service campaigns for companies in different industries. What is interesting is the range of support methods and windows our clients have developed, and how these continue to evolve. Here are some insights into the different ways our clients view their customer care:
Content Moderation Services, particularly active moderation, are a large and growing segment in outsourcing. Content moderation has grown out of the proliferation of new websites and apps that are set up to allow free expression and sharing of ideas, artistic creation, and views. While the majority of people posting are doing so in the spirit of the application they are engaging with, some are nefarious, and need to be managed.
From bullying, thru trolling, to pedaling hate, some people believe that the anonymity of these great new channels creates an opportunity. And somewhere out there, the channels fight back through rigorous vetting of new content as it is uploaded (hence active moderation), using technology and good old-fashioned human judgment to clean it all up.
We all want to get an opportunity to share, vent and be creative, and we all benefit from the work being done by what experts estimate to be over 100,000 professional content moderators, predominantly in the Philippines.
(This article originally appeared on www.inc.com.)
A key concern for all businesses is how to cope with seasonality. By this, I mean the fluctuation in activity caused by external factors. This is most critical to high growth, smaller businesses. Slowdowns in sales can have drastic knock on effects to cash flows, and can cause a lot of headaches for business owners.
1. You’re the CEO and you spend more than half your day doing non-strategic work.
Many startups, especially those bootstrapped, expect their execs to help manage all the initial workflow. While the title CEO may adorn your business card, you may also find yourself being customer care agent #1, data specialist or software engineer during part of your day. It is just the nature of startups that when you need some functions for fractions of a day you’ll do this.
But when you are so tied up in the operations that you can’t get on with the vision and strategy, you may be ready to outsource.