News & Insight

For Payers and PBMs, Being Consumer-Centric Isn’t Enough

While the entire healthcare ecosystem continues to wrangle with market and regulatory uncertainty, one thing is certain: consumers want and need more control over healthcare decisions. And they’re coming to healthcare interactions with high expectations.

Today’s healthcare consumer expects personalized, easy and convenient experiences based on what they are getting from disruptive brands in retail, travel and other industries. Apple, Amazon, Hilton and others have raised the bar for consumer experiences.

To succeed in the new consumer-driven world of healthcare, payers and pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) have taken a consumer-centric approach. However, the result has often been less than stellar, with frustrating and disjointed experiences at nearly every touchpoint within the member journey. Member satisfaction for many organizations remains lower than goal, impacting renewals and lifetime customer value.

“Consumers want to be heard, understood, and given clear directions through a personalized health care experience.”

Source: Deloitte, “2016 Health Care Consumer Experience Survey.”

But healthcare isn’t like retail

While consumers have high expectations, the reality is that healthcare is far more complex than a retail transaction. And the stakes are obviously much higher than they are in purchasing a small appliance on Amazon or booking a hotel for a vacation.

No wonder 88 percent of healthcare consumers in a 2017 customer engagement survey by STARTEK preferred to interact with a human instead of a chatbot, artificial intelligence software, or interactive voice response (IVR) for customer service. So while digital channels are convenient and preferred by many consumers—especially in retail and other industries—humans are still needed and preferred to handle personal, complex issues often found in healthcare interactions.

You need a human-centric strategy

As payers and PBMs have discovered, a consumer-centric strategy isn’t enough to meet the expectations and needs of today’s healthcare consumer, especially given the current uncertainty in the market.

What it takes is something STARTEK calls a human-centric strategy. You need human engagement specialists to interact with members—in all channels—to effectively handle the complex, higher-stakes, and more emotional interactions. Your engagement specialists need to create personalized, professional and spontaneous interactions that reduce member anxiety, anticipate their needs and build rapport.

To support the human needs of consumers in healthcare, you need to be more human than ever before. It’s time to reset your strategy with that in mind.

Rethinking your member service strategy for payers and PBMs Read the new STARTEK white paper, “Course correction on the direct-to-consumer healthcare journey.” You’ll learn about the barriers to delivering the kind of experiences that drive member engagement, satisfaction and loyalty and how to use a two-pronged human-centric approach to overcome them.

Get it now

Social Media Out of Control

The responsibility for social media falls squarely in the marketing department, right? Not anymore. You’ve surely heard pundits use the phrase “customer service is the new marketing” over the past five years or so. Well today, with customers flocking to social channels for customer service, the catch phrase is now: “social custom service is the new marketing.”

Read the Full Article

Travel Company Takes Customer Satisfaction to New Heights

Today’s travelers have high-flying expectations for customer service. STARTEK’s client, a leader in the travel industry, is all too aware that pleasing its customers is just as important as meeting the safety, convenience, and comfort that its customers have come to expect. That’s why the travel company engaged STARTEK to help it take customer service and satisfaction to new heights.

Get the Case Study

Ramping Up for Retail Peak Season? Focus on These 2 Things First

It’s that season again: time to ramp up your contact center to be ready for this year’s peak retail time of the year. The challenges you think are important to address are probably similar to last year’s:

  • How many additional people will I need?
  • How do I find them?
  • How do I train them quickly and efficiently?
  • How do I scale back down again after the rush?

But these are not the only challenges, nor are they the top challenges you should be focusing on to ensure a successful peak season. No, we believe that you need to address two critical things first before you work on addressing the other challenges.

#1: Protect your company from fraud

Imagine this scenario: you ramp up your contact center to support the upcoming holiday season. After a successful season, you’re patting yourself on the back when the company discovers that one of the new employees stole and sold confidential customer data. The background check turned up nothing unusual; it was a first-time offender. Could you have prevented the fraud?

Does ramping up from 100 people to 250 mean that your company is exposed to additional fraud risk? You bet it does. Fraud is a very real and growing problem. It takes more than conducting background checks to detect and prevent fraud. You need a real-time fraud detection solution in your contact center.

The right fraud detection solution monitors all your front-line engagement specialist (agent) activity and looks for anomalies in that activity in real time. This lets you act immediately to stop fraud in its tracks.

Suspicious pattern leads to uncovering fraud

An example from a STARTEK client highlights the power of a real-time fraud detection solution in the contact center. The system noticed that an engagement specialist was spending more time than usual in the orders window of the customer relationship management system without applying payment information. When the client investigated, it discovered that the engagement specialist was signing up friends and family for free products and services. The client intercepted the fraud within the same day and stopped it.

#2: Drive more revenue using authentic dialogue

STARTEK research shows that 83 percent of customers in retail prefer to speak with a human— and not just any human, but an empathetic one. To drive sales during the peak season (and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty over the longer term), you need to deliver an ideal, omnichannel customer interaction.

How do you make that happen? By hiring, training and coaching engagement specialists to be conversation experts. Using proven communication skills, conversation experts can create an engaging and effortless experience that anticipates your customers’ needs and builds rapport using your brand’s unique voice.

What are those proven communication skills? At STARTEK, we call them the Essential Habits (based on 50 years of human communication science research) and we use them to increase omnichannel sales, promote your brand, and improve the outcome of customer interactions. That’s how we’re bringing true human dialogue back to the contact center, for meeting peak staffing and year-round customer communications needs.

Learn more about designing the ideal conversation in our white paper

Keeping Your Receivables and Cash Flow Healthy While Complying with Regulations

Medical debt is the top reason consumers hear from collection agencies. A study by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 59 percent of people who reported they had been contacted by a debt collector said it was for medical services.

It’s no wonder. Because even though more people are insured under the Affordable Care Act than before, many are choosing high-deductible health plans despite not having the savings to cover unplanned and higher-than-expected medical bills.

If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, estimates from the Congressional Budget Office predict that at least 18 million people would become uninsured in the first year. With more uninsured people who are exposed to the full cost of their health care, it’s likely that the number of people with medical debt will increase. No doubt the number of patients that become delinquent in paying their debt to your organization will continue to increase as well.

The compliance challenge

While healthcare organizations are scrambling to find ways to keep patient payment delinquency from wreaking havoc with their cash management, they also have the challenge of ensuring compliance with consumer finance and protection laws.

And the oversight is increasing for healthcare organizations when it comes to consumer debt collection. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission both hold healthcare providers accountable for not only their own actions regarding the collection of consumer medical debt, but the actions and behaviors of their collection agencies.

CCI now licensed in every state

STARTEK’s Collection Center, Inc. (CCI), a wholly owned healthcare receivables management firm is now licensed for collections services in all 50 states. CCI is highly regarded as an informed resource on regulatory and compliance issues for receivables management.

Finding the right partner

All these trends put together means that healthcare organizations need a patient financial management strategy that is effective and compliant while maintaining healthy relationships with patients.

Handling everything in house is usually not the answer. Most healthcare organizations don’t have the expertise and experience to build an in-house patient collection strategy and function. Not only that, but staying on top of the latest federal and state level regulations around healthcare consumer finance and collections, and then determining what it takes to remain in compliance adds another layer of complexity and effort to an already over-taxed organization.

The better option is to find a partner with the experience, expertise and commitment to deliver on your financial management strategy. This means finding a partner that excels in efficiency, empathy and compliance in healthcare receivables management. By leading the way, the right partner can help your organization collect patient debt while protecting your organization’s reputation as well as community and patient relationships.

Healthcare industry experts

Collection Center, Inc. is a member of ACA International, the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), and is a Member Company of the BBB with an A+ rating.

STARTEK provides healthcare client solutions for receivables management, nurse triage, enrollment, pharma, medical device management and patient customer service/scheduling. 

Did you know STARTEK helped an automotive company increase its revenue by $10M?

To become a leader in the automotive industry, it takes expertise, innovation, quality, and leadership. This STARTEK client, a major manufacturer of auto and truck parts, has it all, with many decades of success to prove it. Yet, its new chief marketing officer (CMO) knew the company could further improve its performance, particularly when it came to customer service and engagement.

LEARN MORE

Will Chatbots Replace Humans?

Chatbot seems to be the new buzzword in customer experience, but will the rise of chatbots mean the end of human engagement specialists (agents)?

Don’t bet on it. While artificial intelligence and machine learning have made significant progress in understanding human language and enabling chatbots to hold a human-like conversation, there’s something still missing for most customers: the human touch.

Despite the digital age—or maybe because of it—what customers desire most from their interaction with brands is to know that someone cares about them and will help them resolve their issues. In fact, STARTEK will soon be publishing research results that clearly show this preference for human connection regardless of channel.

More than 30,000 branded chatbots that have been released for Facebook Messenger in just over a year.

Source: Josh Constine and Sarah Perez, “Facebook Messenger Now Allows Payments in Its 30,000 Chatbots,” TechCrunch, September 12, 2016.

Should you use chatbots?

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t deploy chatbots for low-value/low-complexity customer interactions. Chatbots can be a cost-effective self-service tool that increases customer satisfaction while it reduces your cost to serve. When designed correctly, chatbots can effectively free up your human engagement specialists for higher value (both to the customer and to your business) interactions.

Digital ≠ no human interaction

The trouble with the chatbot craze is that companies make the mistake of thinking that all digital channels require less human interaction and conversation. In fact, digital channels require even more human communication skills than ever. When a chatbot fails to enable a customer to self-serve, it takes a human engagement specialist to step in and engage with that customer in a meaningful way.

And that engagement is critical to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime customer value. Customer engagement is an emotional connection with your brand, but you only get an emotional response when there are people communicating in an authentic way. True customer engagement requires human dialogue that builds and strengthens the emotional connection. Chatbots—at least in their current and near-future forms—cannot create an emotional connection.

Wanted: conversation specialists

It doesn’t mean that just any human will do. Now more than ever, your company needs to hire and train engagement specialists to be conversation professionals who can frame adverse situations thoughtfully, educate customers, and anticipate customer needs. While chatbots have their place in self-service, authentic conversation based on scientifically proven dialogue habits is the best approach to drive a significant and lasting impact on customer satisfaction.

10% NPS improvement

Human engagement helped a communications service provider increase Net Promoter Score and unsolicited compliments while decreasing escalations. Find out how in this case study.

Frost & Sullivan Commends STARTEK'S Vision in Introducing Customer Engagement Solutions Based on Scientific Communication Research

The STARTEK Advantage System offers a unique approach to Omnichannel, customer service, training, innovation, and analytics produces complete customer lifecycle care solutions

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on its recent analysis of the contact center outsourcing industry, Frost & Sullivan recognizes STARTEK (NYSE: SRT) with the 2017 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership. STARTEK has responded to the rapid changes in the business process outsourcing (BPO) market by delivering highly customized tools, processes, and training services—powered by the science of dialogue. STARTEK has earned this recognition in the North American outsourced contact center services industry based on the company's focus on high-quality customer care services, technology expertise, and communication technologies.

As a customer engagement BPO service provider, STARTEK's Advantage System leverages the principles of dialogue across all aspects of the customer experience and delivers:

  • Omnichannel engagement through voice, chat, email, social media, and IVR
  • Consulting services
  • Performance optimization services
  • Customer intelligence analytics
  • Scientific research solutions

Its product suite can be deployed in either client sites or in STARTEK's own Centers of Excellence located in the United States, Canada, Honduras, Jamaica, and the Philippines.

STARTEK is the only BPO company of its size that employs the science of human communication to improve customer satisfaction scores and other customer-facing performance metrics," said Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst, Michael DeSalles. "This approach best addresses communication complexity because STARTEK views customers as unique individuals with distinct circumstances and specific communication needs."

STARTEK supports a wide variety of industries including cable and media, telecom, high tech, financial services, healthcare, education, retail, and utilities. The company's experience and understanding of a rapidly changing consumer base allows it to deliver customer-centric solutions and tangible results for clients. DeSalles adds, "Frost & Sullivan firmly believes that STARTEK has developed innovative tools, processes, and training powered by the science of dialogue; thus, enabling it to provide highly customized and effective solutions for its clients." He says, "The company's focus on high-quality customer care services— backed by technology expertise and the science of communication—places the company at the apex of service providers in North America."

"We are extremely honored to be recognized by Frost & Sullivan for our ground-breaking efforts to bring true human dialogue back to the contact center," commented Chad Carlson, STARTEK president and CEO. "By enabling and empowering our Brand Warriors and adopting scientifically-proven conversational habits across all channels, our clients are building strong, emotional connections with their customers and experiencing positive gains in customer-facing metrics such as customer satisfaction, retention, sales, and Net Promoter scores."

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has leveraged competitive intelligence to successfully execute a competitive strategy — resulting in larger market share, better competitive brand positioning, and improved customer satisfaction.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

About STARTEK

STARTEK specializes in orchestrating the ideal customer experience at the point of conversation between brands and their customers. Utilizing the STARTEK Advantage System and powered by the science of dialogue, our customer engagement specialists and communication scientists understand the human component of the contact center better than anyone. Our omnichannel engagement solutions have helped countless brands, including JD Power award-winning companies, connect emotionally, solve issues, and improve net promoter scores. Whether engaging on the phone, online, in person, in your contact center or in ours, STARTEK can help you turn your strong customer relationships into unbreakable ones. Because the outcome of every customer engagement matters. For more information, visit http://www.startek.com/.

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Contact us: Start the discussion.

Contact:

Estefany Ariza
P: 210.477.8469
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Kelly Hilton
P: 502.435.7040
STARTEK
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

STARTEK’s Collection Center, Inc. is Now Licensed for Collection Services in All 50 States

Leading BPO provides global healthcare client solutions to provider and payer clients

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--STARTEK (NYSE:SRT), a leader in business process outsourcing services, announced today that Collection Center, Inc. (CCI), its wholly owned healthcare receivables management firm, is now licensed for collections services in all 50 states. The national reach and presence of CCI provides an increased level of service for its current clients and allows for continued expansion of its footprint for new clients.

“Compliance with all federal, state and local regulations related to collections services and credit reporting is a daily priority for STARTEK’s CCI,” says Randy Fischer, vice president of revenue management for STARTEK. “Our clients depend on us to stay ahead of the constant change in the receivables industry. With our footprint now in all 50 states, we will continue to see our healthcare client solutions services expand.”

CCI is highly regarded as an informed resource on regulatory and compliance issues for receivables management. In addition to its core services in the telecommunications, retail and technology verticals, STARTEK is a leading healthcare BPO, serving a wide variety of provider and payer clients in the healthcare industry.

STARTEK provides healthcare client solutions for receivables management, nurse triage, enrollment, pharma, medical device management and patient customer service/scheduling. Collection Center, Inc. is a member of ACA International, the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), and is a Member Company of the BBB with an A+ rating. For more information regarding CCI’s capabilities, please visit www.collectioncenterinc.com.

About STARTEK

World class customer engagement starts with world class conversations – and that’s where we come in. We’re STARTEK, and we specialize in orchestrating the ideal customer experience at the point of conversation between you and your customers. Powered by the science of dialogue, our customer engagement specialists and communication scientists understand the human component of the contact center better than anyone. Our omnichannel engagement solutions have helped countless brands, including JD Power award-winning companies, connect emotionally, solve issues, and improve net promoter scores. Whether engaging on the phone, online, in person, in your contact center or in ours, STARTEK can help you turn your strong customer relationships into unbreakable ones. Because the outcome of every customer engagement matters. For more information, visit http://www.startek.com/.

Contacts

STARTEK
Kelly Hilton, 502-435-7040
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Learn How STARTEK Helped a Media Company Increase Its Net Promoter Score

Every company would do well to view customer interactions as normal human dialogue, and treat customers as they would friends. A STARTEK client, then the tenth largest multichannel video service provider and sixth largest cable Internet provider in the U.S., wanted to deliver exceptional customer service to beat new competitors entering the market. The media company turned to STARTEK to help it reconnect with its customers and create a single, friendly voice across the company.

Download the Full Case Study

STARTEK Celebrates Its 30-year Anniversary in True Brand Warrior Fashion

Thirty years ago, STARTEK was founded in Greeley, Colorado, on a simple belief that with hard work and passion for what we do, we could create the maximum value for our stakeholders. Our focus has always been on delivering high-quality solutions to meet our clients’ needs. Though our focus hasn’t changed much since 1987, our company sure has. Today, we have more than 15,000 employees and 21 locations present in five countries.  We have also continued to grow financially and in our service offerings—all while fostering a corporate culture that brings measurable value and thought leadership to the clients we serve. 

Every day, our employees are on the front lines promoting and protecting our clients’ brands with every conversation. These Brand Warriors are loyal and responsive to our clients, and STARTEK values the contributions of each and every one of our employees. That’s why In 2014, we created the Warriors in Need (WIN) Foundation, a 501c3 organization with the sole purpose of providing assistance to our employees in their time of need. The program is 100% funded through employee payroll deductions and is administered without any overhead to the program itself.

In honor of our 30-year anniversary, we wanted to celebrate our company’s great milestone, while also creating greater awareness for the WIN Foundation by challenging the organization to raise $30,000 in 30 days. In every country and community where STARTEK operates, the 30 for 30 campaign raised money for our employees facing extraordinary life events that can suddenly turn their lives upside down. To date, total donations to the WIN Foundation as part of the 30 for 30 campaign have topped $34,300.

Warriors in Need: Pie for the #WIN

“It is the right thing to do to help our fellow Brand Warriors in their time of need.  Over the last several years, the WIN Foundation has assisted numerous employees across the globe in their time of crisis. We want to make sure that when our employees face an extraordinary life event that turns their world completely upside down, it is just a bit more manageable thanks to their fellow Brand Warriors. It is in our corporate DNA to help those around us, and we won't ever stop doing the right thing for our employees."

Chad Carlson, STARTEK CEO

We thank each of our employees for their hard work and commitment to promoting and protecting our clients’ brands. Our Brand Warriors continue to “bring it” every day for our clients and for their coworkers across the globe. To all Brand Warriors who have generously supported the WIN Foundation during the 30 for 30 campaign, we give a heartfelt THANK YOU.

To learn more about becoming a Brand Warrior, or the WIN Foundation, visit www.startek.com/careers/.

STARTEK Announces Partnership With TriageLogic

Leading BPO expands medical triage solutions and provider medical support services

Greenwood Village, Colo. -- (July 19, 2017) – STARTEK, a leader in business process outsourcing services today announced a partnership with URAC accredited TriageLogic® to expand its medical triage solutions and provider medical support services. The partnership allows STARTEK to provide healthcare clients with an enhanced solution to evaluate and treat patients utilizing 24/7 medical triage based on the gold standard Schmitt-Thompson protocols by registered nurses.

TriageLogic’s secure, hosted solution is a repository for nursing protocols, physician/practice profiles and encounter documentation. The HIPAA-compliant software also provides clinics and hospitals with access to live patient logs and real-time patient updates with minimal integration.

“Our new partnership is just the beginning for STARTEK and TriageLogic as we seek to provide best-in-class solutions for our healthcare clients,” says Steve Heeg, vice president of healthcare operations for STARTEK. “This initial software implementation sets the stage for integration of TriageLogic’s suite of technology options within telemedicine as we expand supporting markets into 25 states through 2018.”

“We are excited to provide the TriageLogic platform and telehealth expertise to assist STARTEK in achieving their goals in providing outstanding patient care and innovative products for their healthcare clients,” says TriageLogic Medical Director and COO Ravi Raheja, MD.

STARTEK currently provides healthcare solutions to over 65 practices and 350 doctors. At any one time, patients and providers are assisted by STARTEK’s Triage Services staff, which includes registered nurses and patient coordinators led by a clinical nurse manager and operations manager. Other healthcare services include receivables management, nurse triage, enrollment, pharma, medical device management and patient customer service/scheduling. Please visit www.startekhealth.com for more information. 

About TriageLogic®

Founded in 2006, TriageLogic is a URAC accredited, physician-led provider of high-quality services and software for Telehealth. We integrate a unique blend of innovative communication solutions with medical expertise based on practical experience and a thorough understanding of the field. TriageLogic is a leading provider of top-quality triage technology, mobile applications, and call center solutions. The TriageLogic group serves over 9,000 physicians and covers over 18 million lives nationwide. With over 10 years of experience and six customizable products, TriageLogic continues to partner with private practices, hospitals, and corporations throughout the U.S. Visit www.TriageLogic.com for more information.

About STARTEK, Inc.

World class customer engagement starts with world class conversations – and that’s where we come in.  We’re STARTEK, and we specialize in orchestrating the ideal customer experience at the point of conversation between you and your customers.  Powered by the science of dialogue, our customer engagement specialists and communication scientists understand the human component of the contact center better than anyone.  Our omnichannel engagement solutions have helped countless brands, including JD Power award-winning companies, connect emotionally, solve issues, and improve net promoter scores.  Whether engaging on the phone, online, in person, in your contact center or in ours, STARTEK can help you turn your strong customer relationships into unbreakable ones.  Because the outcome of every customer engagement matters.  For more information, visit http://www.startek.com/.

Everest Group Names Startek as a Major Contender in the 2017 Contact Center Outsourcing Peak Matrix™ Assessment

Greenwood Village, Colo. -- (July 11, 2017) – STARTEK [NYSE: SRT], a leader in business process outsourcing services, today announces being named a Major Contender in Everest Group’s 2017 Contact Center Outsourcing Peak Matrix™ Assessment. PEAK Matrix assessments provide comparative assessments of providers, locations, products and solutions within various market segments. The key objective of this research was to evaluate and map CCO service providers’ capabilities to provide strategic decision support for service providers and buyers.

“STARTEK has shown solid capabilities across people, process and technology to support clients in their evolving customer experience journeys. The US market continues to offer growth opportunities for players like STARTEK that have dedicated focus to key verticals and client segments,” stated Katrina Menzigian, vice president, Customer Experience Service (CXS) research.

STARTEK has elevated the contact center industry’s decade-long omnichannel focus by integrating the science of human dialogue. The company’s science lab has analyzed hundreds of thousands of engagement center conversations, creating proprietary research that demonstrates the increased need for genuine human engagement as chat, AI and bot technologies evolve in the contact center.

“Through the STARTEK Advantage System, we specialize in creating unique and memorable experiences at the point of engagement between brands and customers,” said Chief Executive Officer, Chad Carlson.  “As STARTEK celebrates its 30th year of operations, we’re in a unique position to focus on dialogue integration across all channels so that clients’ brands thrive.” 

About STARTEK

World class customer engagement starts with world class conversations – and that’s where we come in.  We’re STARTEK, and we specialize in orchestrating the ideal customer experience at the point of conversation between you and your customers.  Powered by the science of dialogue, our customer engagement specialists and communication scientists understand the human component of the contact center better than anyone.  Our omnichannel engagement solutions have helped countless brands, including JD Power award-winning companies, connect emotionally, solve issues, and improve net promoter scores.  Whether engaging on the phone, online, in person, in your contact center or in ours, STARTEK can help you turn your strong customer relationships into unbreakable ones.  Because the outcome of every customer engagement matters.  For more information, please visit http://www.startek.com/

Omnichannel Thought Leadership: A Q & A with STARTEK Experts

In our last blog, we talked about the difference between multichannel and omnichannel and how not understanding the difference can truly hurt your brand. Today we’re taking a question-and-answer approach to further explore the concept of a customer-centric omnichannel strategy.

We talked to Ted Nardin, STARTEK’s dialogue expert and president of the STARTEK Science Lab, and Dwain Kent, STARTEK’s Director of Customer Experience and Engagement, to get their insights on the topic.

Question: Why is omnichannel so important?
Ted’s answer: People prefer certain channels based on the issue they are having, the time of day when they engage with your brand, and where they happen to be. So you can’t say that one customer prefers to chat and another prefers email. An omnichannel strategy accepts that customers use the channel that is the most convenient and preferable at that particular point in time. If you’re missing a channel, you’re missing opportunities to engage with all of your customers and create a seamless, low effort experience.
Question: What issues do you see in how companies are implementing omnichannel today?
Ted’s answer: Let me give you an example. I was meeting someone and when she arrived in the taxi, I saw that she was frantically texting. It turns out she was having a problem with her internet service the night before. She called in and used the IVR to reset the router. Then she went online and tried to find an answer. While online, she chatted with an agent but the problem still wasn’t resolved. The next morning, she called in from the airport and spoke with a specialist. She was told that a field service technician would come to the house with new equipment. The company texted her to set a time for her to be there. She used 5 channels within 10 hours to try to resolve her issue and was extremely frustrated. Each channel delivered a disjointed, unsatisfactory experience.

The number of channels keep growing

A recent survey showed that compared to 2013, customers used 11 different channels in 2016 to resolve a query, including: phone, email, in store, live chat, online self-service, social media, click to call, messaging platform, a brand’s social media channel, and SMS.

Source: "The Multi-Channel Customer Care Report,” Zendesk, 2017.

Question: How can companies improve the omnichannel experience?
Dwain’s answer: It all starts with the customer journey because an omnichannel strategy is a customer-centric strategy. So first, companies have to identify each touchpoint in each channel throughout the end-to-end customer experience journey. Then they should examine the roadblocks in each channel and how those impediments trigger customers to jump from one channel to another. Finally, they should develop a strategy to streamline and personalize the omnichannel customer experience.
Question: What’s the biggest hurdle that companies have to adopting an omnichannel strategy?
Dwain’s answer: Organizational silos. While a siloed channel strategy leads to a disconnected customer experience, organizational silos are equally responsible for creating roadblocks for companies trying to implement a true omnichannel strategy. To overcome this, you need a customer experience leader or executive to bring together all the aspects of the business that touch the customer during the omnichannel journey—from marketing to retail to field service to customer support. Once you have organizational alignment, then you can focus on the end-to-end experience.

To learn more about improving your customer journey please contact Kristen Kuyatt .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Omnichannel and Multichannel: Your Brand Will Suffer if You Don’t Know the Difference

Still doing multichannel? No wonder your customer-facing metrics are suffering. Check out this blog on how to succeed using digital.

For nearly a decade, the contact center industry has touted omnichannel as the solution to satisfy the needs of today’s demanding customers. But in truth, many companies and their customer service providers have implemented a multichannel strategy instead, and in so doing, have hurt their brand instead of helped it.

How did this happen? It all comes down to understanding the essential differences between multichannel and omnichannel. Despite common thinking, the two are not interchangeable terms. That’s the crux of the problem and the source of the disappointment many companies have suffered.

Multichannel represents channel-centric thinking

Multichannel is simply about delivering customer care in various channels, including digital ones. Often companies implemented the channels one at a time in a mostly siloed way, with each channel getting with a separate strategy.

Now companies are starting to realize that adding multiple channels and disjointed technologies to the customer experience does not improve customer satisfaction. In fact, the opposite occurs. For customers starting in one channel, there’s no continuity of customer experience, or message, as they progress through their journey across touchpoints and channels. The result is heightened customer frustration and impatience.

Omnichannel is customer-centric

Compare that to omnichannel, where you have a holistic, integrated strategy for delivering an ideal customer experience across any and all channels you use to serve customers. An omnichannel strategy takes a customer-centric approach to engage with customers and build relationships regardless of channel.

“Omnichannel customers are more active, spend more, and are less expensive to support than single-channel customers.”

Source: Kate Leggett, “Top Trends for CRM in 2017: It’s All About Differentiated (Digital) Experiences,” Forrester, February 7, 2017.

Why it matters

When you orchestrate the omnichannel customer journey, you remove the roadblocks for effortless customer interactions. Add meaningful dialog with customers to that approach and you get an ideal customer experience.

When you deliver an end-to-end omnichannel strategy, you can maximize customer satisfaction, sales, retention and Net Promoter Scores, regardless of the channel the customer uses.

To learn more please contact Kristen Kuyatt at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

STARTEK Joins Russell 2000 Index

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--StarTek, Inc. (“STARTEK”) (NYSE: SRT), a provider of business process outsourcing services, was added to the Russell 2000® Index at the conclusion of the Russell Indexes’ annual reconstitution. The Russell 2000 is a subset of the broad-market Russell 3000® Index.

Russell indexes are widely used by investment managers and institutional investors for index funds and as benchmarks for active investment strategies. Approximately $8.4 trillion in assets are benchmarked against the Russell U.S. indexes. Russell indexes are part of FTSE Russell, a leading global index provider.

“Joining the Russell 2000 Index represents another considerable step forward for our company this year, one which we expect will increase the overall awareness of our organization and accomplishments,” said Chad Carlson, president and CEO of STARTEK. “The listing is a reflection of the continued demand for our services, notably evidenced by our strong Q1 2017 results, winning approximately $30 million in new business and reaching our sixth consecutive quarter of gross margin expansion. This truly is a milestone that is indicative of our continued focus on attaining new customer accounts and improving operating efficiencies to drive greater profitability.”

For more information on the Russell 2000 Index and the Russell indexes reconstitution, go to the Russell Reconstitution section on the FTSE Russell website.

About StarTek, Inc.

STARTEK strives to be the most trusted business process outsource service provider delivering comprehensive contact center and customer engagement solutions. Our employees, whom we call Brand Warriors, are enabled and empowered to promote and protect our clients’ brands. For over 25 years, these Brand Warriors have been committed to making a positive impact for our clients’ business results, enhancing the customer experience while reducing costs for our clients. With the latest technology in the business process outsourcing industry and our STARTEK Advantage System, our Brand Warriors instill customer loyalty through a variety of multi-channel customer interactions, including voice, chat, email and IVR. Our service offerings include sales support, order processing, customer care and receivables management and customer analytics. For more information, please visit www.STARTEK.com.

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The Social Customer Journey: How to Understand and Optimize the Social Customer Care Experience

The social customer journey is all over the map. Here’s how to make sense of it.

A new report from industry research firm Aberdeen Group titled “Social Customer Care: Three Steps to Best-in-Class Results,” states that companies delivering best-in-class social customer care improve customer satisfaction rates by more than 26% year-over-year compared to a 1.3% change in all other companies.

And that’s not the only area where companies that prioritize and optimize social customer care outperform those that don’t. According to Aberdeen, best-in-class companies also have more than double the increase in customer lifetime value, nearly double the revenue from referrals, as well as far higher profit margins per customer and a substantially increased return on marketing investments.

What does it take to deliver a best-in-class social customer care experience? You have to understand and then re-architect the customer journey.

The benefits of social customer care

Responding to customer-service related tweets, boosts willingness to spend by as much as 20% and increases likelihood to recommend by 30%.

Source: Wayne Huang, “Study: Twitter customer care increases willingness to pay across industries,” Twitter, October 5, 2016.

For social, the journey is all over the map

One of the things that makes social customer care so challenging is that it’s no longer simply a matter of monitoring Facebook and Twitter. These days, social customer care requires a comprehensive strategy and the resources to support it that encompass a far broader range of social channels:

  • Twitter and Facebook, of course, as well as Google+
  • atings and review sites such as Yelp, Google My Business, Amazon, and ConsumerAffairs
  • ative website review management such as Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews
  • ndustry-specific review sites such as TripAdvisor and Trustpilot
  • nstagram and Pinterest
  • logs and forums such as Reddit and PissedConsumer
  • uman resources review sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed

Understand and optimize the customer journey for social

The insider secret to delivering superior social customer care is to get insight into the entire, end-to-end customer engagement journey—including all the touchpoints in all channels, not just social media—by creating a customer journey map. The customer journey map should also encompass not only the marketing perspective, but the operational processes involved in each customer touchpoint. This way, you get the entire picture of the customer relationship.

Once you understand the customer paths, perceptions, and behavior across your touchpoints and channels, then you can identify gaps and opportunities to achieve measureable improvement in the customer experience. You can understand why and when customers reach out to you on social media and what it will take to deliver the ideal customer experience on social as well as your other customer care channels.

Learn more about how to deliver social customer care in our free white paper, “Social Media Out of Control: Why You Need a Social-Savvy Customer Service Strategy.”

The Digital Disconnect: Why Your ROI on Digital Customer Service is Disappointing

Is your brand a winner or a loser in digital customer service? Find out what you might be doing wrong.

Maybe you added a mobile application for customer service, and while customers seem to like it, you aren’t getting the payback you thought you would. Or maybe you’ve expanded your chat channel, but costs are up, not down. And social media? The more marketing keeps requesting your organization’s help with customer service in social media channels, the more your costs go up.

If your company is missing the big results and return on investment that digital transformation is supposed to bring, you aren’t alone. For nearly a decade, the contact center industry has touted omnichannel as the digital transformation solution to satisfy the needs of today’s demanding customers as well as reduce costs and drive incremental revenue. So why isn’t it working for your business?

The missing piece of the omnichannel puzzle

Today many companies are realizing that adding multiple channels and disjointed technologies to the customer experience doesn’t deliver big returns, in fact, it results in lost opportunities, frustrated customers, and higher costs. That’s because for customers there’s no continuity of customer experience, or message, as they progress through their journey.

The missing piece of the digital puzzle is a holistic, customer-centric strategy for omnichannel customer service. Such a strategy looks across the entire customer journey in all channels to finally get the ROI you’ve been waiting for.

Omnichannel success

A multi-national auto and truck parts manufacturer:

  • Consolidated and optimized omnichannel support across phone, email, social media, chat and IVR
  • Reduced cost per engagement by 72% while improving customer satisfaction
  • Delivered $10 million in engagement-influenced revenue for a nearly 200% ROI

The customer journey is your guide

If you currently have a channel-centric strategy, you need to shift to a customer-centric one. The goal is to first deeply understand your customers’ experience—including needs, perceptions, and pain points—across the complete customer lifecycle, across all channels, and at each moment of truth. By gathering and analyzing data from the end-to-end customer journey, you can identify gaps and opportunities to improve the customer experience.

Next, you need to design the ideal omnichannel experience—including all channels: phone, retail, IVR, chat, social, email, and SMS—so that customers receive high quality customer care in their channel of choice at that moment.

By orchestrating the customer journey, you remove the roadblocks for an effortless interaction while maximizing customer satisfaction, sales, retention and Net Promoter scores. In short, you start reaping those fabled rewards for digital transformation.

Learn more about omnichannel and the implications of social customer care in our free white paper, “Social Media Out of Control: Why You Need a Social-Savvy Customer Service Strategy.”

Social Customer Service is the New Marketing: Are You Getting it Right?

Marketing owns social media, right? Well, not anymore. Now that customers are flocking to social media for customer service, it’s become an extremely powerful customer care channel. Are you ready?

Social Customer Service is the New Marketing: Are You Getting it Right?

You’ve surely heard the phrase “customer service is the new marketing” over the past five years or so. Well today, with customers flocking to social channels for customer service, the touch phrase is now: “social customer service is the new marketing.”

What does this mean? At its simplest, it means that social media has become an extremely powerful customer service channel. However, the volume, complexity, and urgency of customer service-related posts make delivering responsive and high quality care extremely challenging to do.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, to master social customer care you need to look at the entire customer journey (not just the part that happens in social channels). This requires a major shift from channel-centric thinking to customer-centric thinking.

Once you’ve done that, then you can design the ideal customer experience, which of course, includes social media in addition to the phone, IVR, chat, email, and SMS. Your goal is to deliver high quality customer care in any channel the customer desires.

Then you need to be prepared to truly engage with customers in an authentic dialogue. Authentic conversation based on scientifically proven dialogue habits is the best approach across all channels to drive a significant and lasting impact on customer satisfaction.

While social customer care is complex, when done well, it benefits both your business and your customers. Customers like it because it’s more convenient and less frustrating than using other channels. Your brand gains more satisfied customers, greater loyalty and advocacy, and improved revenue potential.

Learn more about the shift to social customer care and best practices for delivering a seamless, omnichannel customer service experience in our free white paper, “Social Media Out of Control: Why You Need a Social-Savvy Customer Service Strategy.”

STARTEK, Inc. Hiring for 100 New Jobs in Greeley by July 2017

Onsite job fairs for new chat and text positions being held through July

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., June 8, 2017 – STARTEK (NYSE: SRT), a leader in business process outsourcing services, is immediately hiring full-time and part-time employees at its Greeley engagement center to support, a phone, television, internet and home security services company, and a home warranty services company. STARTEK is seeking to fill a total of 100 Engagement Specialists (Agents) and Claims Management positions by July 2017. The new positions offer flexible scheduling, both full- and part-time, and include newly-created shifts for chat and text specialists. The scheduling flexibility in the chat and text positions are particularly suited for college students and recent high school graduates.

“The contact center landscape is technologically evolving,” says Mindy Cubrich, engagement center director for the STARTEK engagement center in Greeley. “Many customers prefer to communicate through channels other than voice. In this rapidly-evolving environment, we are training our specialists in contact center technology beyond telephone interactions. Our new clients’ customers will be able to reach our engagement specialists via their preferred method of communication, including voice, email, chat or text.”

To fulfill the 100 jobs needed by July, the Greeley Engagement Center will host three job fairs in June and July. Onsite interviews will be conducted at their center, and at the Greeley Workforce center, on the following dates:

  • Where: STARTEK Greeley Engagement Center, 1250 H Street, Greeley
  • When: Monday, June 19th, Wednesday, July 5th and Monday, July 17th
  • Time: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • Where: Greeley Workforce Center, 315 North 11th Ave., Building B, Greeley
  • When: June 14 and June 28
  • Time: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Applications will also be accepted online through the company’s website at www.startek.com/careers

The company offers paid, full-time training and career advancement. “More than 70 percent of STARTEK’s customer engagement leaders across the enterprise are promoted from within,” Cubrich continues. “This is a great opportunity for applicants with exceptional customer service skills to develop and grow with us in a fun, fast-paced culture.”

Candidates must be age 18 or over, possess a High School diploma or GED, and successfully pass a background and drug check along with pre-employment assessments focused on technology skills and customer service behaviors. Candidates proficient in a second language, in addition to English, are encouraged to apply. STARTEK offers comprehensive paid training, competitive wages, and benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, 401(k), and paid and unpaid time off.

About STARTEK

World class customer engagement starts with world class conversations – and that’s where we come in. We’re STARTEK, and we specialize in orchestrating the ideal customer experience at the point of conversation between you and your customers. Powered by the science of dialogue, our customer engagement specialists and communication scientists understand the human component of the contact center better than anyone. Our omnichannel engagement solutions have helped countless brands, including JD Power award-winning companies, connect emotionally, solve issues, and improve net promoter scores. Whether engaging on the phone, online, in person, in your contact center or in ours, STARTEK can help you turn your strong customer relationships into unbreakable ones. Because the outcome of every customer engagement matters. For more information, please visit http://www.startek.com/

Media Contact:
Kelly M. Hilton
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502.435.7040

Media Contact:
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Ad Hoc Communication Resources
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415-994-1097

The Science of Dialogue: STARTEK’s Dialogue Expert, Ted Nardin, discusses the future of contact centers

Human dialogue science is the future of contact centers. Genuine human dialogue has a more powerful influence over customer experience outcomes than all other factors combined. This powerful human element can make or break your customer brands. Effective human dialogue is not bound by global geography, culture or language.

More powerful than machine learning in the contact center

As brands jump to AI, chat bots and machine learning in the contact center, their most valuable resource is sitting right there – their frontline engagement specialists.

STARTEK’s Dialogue Expert, Ted Nardin, has analyzed thousands of contact center engagements in STARTEKs’ Dialogue Lab. Working with renowned communication expert, Dr. James Keaten, they’ve discovered what no machine could ever successfully replicate – genuine human dialogue.

Ted Nardin
“We knew we had to drill down and find out what factors were influencing the outcomes of the specialist getting the high CSAT scores. We realized that it did not matter what the issue was coming into the contact center; if the customer’s interaction ended on a high note, the customer would give them a higher CSAT score … the engagement specialist had the ability to change the customer’s mood by the end of the call.”

– Ted Nardin

Regardless of what country the conversation was in, or what language was being spoken, the ability of the engagement specialist to engage in genuine human dialogue drove higher CSAT or NPS scores across the board.

Click here for the rest of this fascinating conversation.

Q&A With Ted Nardin, STARTEK Ideal Dialogue Expert

The Science of Dialogue: STARTEK’s Dialogue Expert, Ted Nardin, discusses the future of contact centers

Ted NardinHuman dialogue science is the future of contact centers. Genuine human dialogue has a more powerful influence over customer experience outcomes than all other factors combined. This powerful human element can make or break your customer brands. Effective human dialogue is not bound by global geography, culture or language.

Q1. Ted, can you provide a little background on yourself as well as STARTEK’s Ideal Dialogue?
A1. I’ve been working in customer care senior leadership roles for 25 years. That includes implementing performance management systems, QA and leadership development. I began in restaurant and retail and had great mentors; I’ve seen the transformation of the customer support industry over the last thirty years which led me to pursue my own processes and the creation of our Ideal Dialogue programs.
Q2: You have a Chief Research Officer, Dr. Keaten. Tell us a bit about him.
A2: One of the first things I did was to bring in Jim (Dr. James Keaten) who’s served globally as an international consultant to contact centers in India, Central America and the Philippines. He’s a professor of communication studies, whose research includes the relationship between communicative disposition, computer mediated communication, and intercultural communication. He also has a Ph.D. in communication and statistics as well as post-doctoral work at Harvard University in intercultural studies.
Q3: It sounds like Dr. Keaten would be excited to apply communication research to this industry. What are some “aha” moments early in your research work together?
A3. After consulting with hundreds of companies around the world and analyzing thousands of conversations, we found something astonishing. It didn’t matter what country the agent was in, nor what language was being spoken, because the patterns of CSAT scores were the same. There were always agents who were consistently scoring high in CSAT while others were not able to, on the exact same call type.
This was found across not only different countries, but different industries using similar customer service training methods. We knew that there had to be something else going on with these engagement specialists who consistently secured the higher CSAT scores.
Q4. That’s astonishing. What did the company do with this surprising research insight?
A4. We knew we had to drill down and find out what factors were influencing the outcomes of the specialist getting the high CSAT scores. We realized that it did not matter what the issue was coming into the contact center; if the customer’s interaction ended on a high note, the customer would give them a higher CSAT score.
The engagement specialist was somehow able to influence the disposition of the customer that left them feeling positive. They left the interaction feeling satisfied due to how the specialist engaged with them. In other words, the engagement specialist had the ability to change the customer’s mood by the end of the call. Overnight, we went from a research firm to a training firm.
“It did not matter what country the client was in, nor what language was being spoken – one engagement specialists was getting low CSAT scores, the other getting perfect scores across the board. The one’s getting higher results were able to influence the disposition of the customer that somehow left them feeling positive.”
Q5: Ideal Dialogue was a training firm for contact centers, not just a research arm? The training in contact centers has been fairly consistent over the last 30 years: identifying situations, learning technology resolutions, mirroring the customer, empathizing with the customer, reading scripted responses. What does STARTEK’s Ideal Dialogue do that’s transformative?
A5: Once we controlled for several variables (ex. call type) we determined that a critical difference between the specialist getting the low scores, and the ones getting perfect scores, was the ability to connect with the customer and engage in genuine dialogue, regardless of what the issue was or why the customer initiated a conversation with the contact center.
We knew when onboarding a company that we had to start with, “We are going to teach you how to be great communicators.” And selling that to contact centers – some whose margins are in the tenths of a cent in offshore locations – that was going to be a real challenge.
Q6: Let’s say you have a telco or retail customer; how is Ideal Dialogue implemented?
A6: We usually identify the company’s goals and objectives, and not just improving the customer experience. This includes multichannel and omnichannel, AI and bots in the contact center and social. Whatever the objectives are the companies we engage with must be willing to put complete trust in their frontline. If they don’t allow this, we won’t be able to transform their organizations.
“Companies who are willing to embrace cultural change don’t stop at their frontline. They allow us to train the executives, managers and supervisors as well, creating a culture of communication. In fact, we suggest starting with them.”
Q7: That certainly makes sense for these industries. What’s the first milestone in gaining your client’s trust and what happens after the first baby steps?
A7: Once their specialists are trained in the art of Ideal Dialogue, we’re able to provide a proof-of-concept early in the game with our ability to analyze their calls in our science lab, in complete isolation. We can demonstrate to the client that dialogue conversations garnered higher CSAT scores versus those that were scripted. Once they see that, they are more willing to embrace further cultural change.
Q8: What does further cultural change look like and how does it impact hiring practices and training protocols?
A8: We often get asked this question. Yes, you can hire to the skills, but then what do you do if you have hundreds or thousands of existing agents? Especially what does a client do if they have agents who have been with them for many years? We in fact start with transforming the skills and culture of the organization that is then ready to accept the new breed of candidates who come through via dialogue assessments.

About STARTEK’s Ideal Dialogue

Want to learn more about how STARTEK’s Ideal Dialogue can transform your organization? Contact Kristen Kuyatt at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Move the Needle on Satisfaction Scores: 3 Things Every Call Center Needs to Do Now

Reports and research are telling contact centers that their customers crave the human touch – especially in that last mile. But, you’ve invested a lot in technology; how are you going to see ROI on your investments if you need to increase the level of engagement with your frontline?

The Empathy Factor

The last mile is a battlefield. Your frontline needs to be trusted to handle these incoming calls without scripted responses. They need to be free to speak to the customer like a real human being. Research by STARTEK has found that the “empathy factor” is not enough, and in some cases, may not matter at all.

The Dialogue Factor

In STARTEK’s research, thousands of calls from various global call centers were analyzed whose engagement specialists received the same training. They found that it did not matter what issue was coming into the contact center; if the customer’s interaction ended on a high note, the customer would give them a higher CSAT score.

“It did not matter what country the client was in, nor what language was being spoken – you could even have two engagement specialists sitting next to each other; one was getting CSAT scores in the threes and fours, the other getting NPS scores in the tens across the board.
The engagement specialist getting the tens were able to influence the disposition of the customer that left them feeling positive.”

– Ted Nardin, STARTEK Dialogue Expert

These engagement specialists were somehow able to influence the disposition of the customer, leaving them feeling positive about the brand. Customers left the interaction feeling satisfied due to how the specialist engaged with them using genuine dialogue – something a technology platform just can’t do.

  1. Contact centers must identify real communicators at the hiring process
  2. Contact centers must make a commitment to communication training
  3. Contact centers must create a culture of dialogue and genuine communication

Three things you need to do now to move the needle on CSAT and NPS score

#1 Contact centers must begin at the hiring process, using psychometric testing for factors other than empathy – ones that identify true communicators: those with an innate ability to connect to people.

#2 Contact centers need to make a commitment to communication training before a specialist is released onto the contact center floor. Remember, it’s a battlefield, and you don’t want to lose one soldier in the fight for higher CSAT and NPS scores

#3 Create a culture of dialogue and genuine communication across your corporate environment. Create mentorships that last over the course of your engagement specialists’ tenure. Ensure management and the C-suite embrace this culture, and you’ll improve retention while moving the needle on CSAT and NPS scores across your organization.

Want to learn more about how you can transform your organization to a culture of dialogue and communication? Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at STARTEK.

Bad Actors: Ditch the script to Win the No-Win Conversation

Your contact center’s engagement specialists are armed with scenarios and appropriate responses. They’ve practiced and role-played these empathetic scripts to a tee. Given all of this, you’ve been unable to move the needle on NPS and CSAT scores. You may have a contact center full of bad actors. Are you willing to ditch the script?

Bad actors in the contact center

You’ve been careful in selecting engagement specialists who scored high for empathy. You’ve engaged the best consultants who’ve created incredible responses to over 20 needs a customer may have when calling into the contact center. You’ve allocated more budget to train your specialists to recognize a customer’s needs and select the appropriate response ­– and your specialists are great in the role-playing sessions.

Yet somehow, your NPS and CSAT scores remain flat. And, they sink even lower with those situations when the problem – and its resolution – are completely out of your control. Unfortunately, your contact center may be filled with bad actors.

The Frustrated Customer has typically tried to handle their own problem for an average of 18 minutes. The last thing that customer needs is to hear a canned, scripted greeting when they finally surrender and call for help.

Your customers don’t want your canned script

Advances in self-help technologies have been a boon to the bottom line of contact centers, but with it brought the Frustrated Customer – who has typically tried to handle their own problem for an average of 18 minutes. The last thing that customer needs is to hear a canned, scripted greeting when they finally surrender and call for help.

With good intentions, you’ve unwittingly set a trap by training your engagement specialists to rely on a list of scenarios with scripted responses. And, if this is not fixed in our industry on a wide scale, scores will remain flat, or worse, begin to dive.

Research from STARTEK’s Science Lab has shown that allowing your specialists to engage in unscripted dialogue, and engage on a personal level with your customers, can lift NPS scores by two points – even in the no-win situation. Click here to download our free white paper, Winning the No-Win Customer Care Solution.

Ditch the Script: Free your frontline from the constrains of canned dialogue

You have a contact center full of verified empathizers – most with a genuine desire to help others. Ditch the script and allow them to engage in genuine, unscripted dialogue with the Frustrated Customer.

Research from STARTEK’s Science Lab has shown that allowing your specialists to engage in unscripted dialogue, and engage on a personal level with your customers, can lift NPS scores by two points – even in the no-win situation. Shifting your training budget to dialogue training and hiring practices that seek to hire not just for empathy, but for the innate ability to engage in genuine, unscripted dialogue – will pay off with lower attrition and higher NPS and CSAT scores.

Want to learn more about how STARTEK’s Ideal Dialogue training can help your contact center move the needle on satisfaction scores? Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Safe Harbor in the Storm of No-Win Calls: Self-help technology meets human communication science in the contact center

Self-help service has reduced resolution costs for contact centers; most customers simply want to solve technical problems on their own. But if they can’t, your engagement specialists are met with fury by those ‘no-win’ calls entering the contact center. These calls require human contact, mixed with a little communication science.

The customer really, really wants to solve technical issues on their own

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) reported in their January-February 2017 issue that 81 percent of customers – across all industries – attempt to resolve issues before reaching out to a contact center. Self-help customer service, including online FAQs, community forums and self-help videos have favorably impacted the bottom line with cost reductions, while reducing the number of calls coming into the contact center.

But, what happens to the 19 percent – the customer who has diligently tried to resolve the issue on their own, without success? They pick up a phone and call. As one VP of service for a large cable company was quoted in HBR, “As soon as we ask how we can help them, they jump down our throats.”

Research from STARTEK has shown that identifying the ideal candidate for dialogue and other characteristics at the time of hiring will produce specialists who secure higher CSAT and NPS scores – even in the no-win situation.

How do contact centers continue to cut costs with self-help technology while keeping live-call costs from rising?

It’s all about making an investment in, and trusting your frontline to engage in genuine human dialogue. Primary research from STARTEK has shown that identifying the ideal candidate for the ability to engage in dialogue, the innate desire to help others, and other characteristics at the time of hiring, will produce specialists who secure higher CSAT and NPS scores – even in the no-win situation.

While it may sound risky, or too good to be true, companies who have invested in this human communication science focusing on dialogue, reap the rewards of higher CSAT and NPS scores for their client’s brands.

Want to learn more about how STARTEK can help your contact center’s bottom line?

Contact Kristen Kuyatt @ .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Rose Cruz & Andy Rangel Celebrate Their 20th Anniversary With STARTEK

STARTEK has a commitment to our customer brands; this commitment could not be fulfilled day after day, in each of our contact centers, without you – our Brand Warriors. When hearing about Rose and Andy’s 20th celebrations, our CEO, Chad Carlson said, “Now that is a BAM!!!!!”

Today, we want to recognize two of our Brand Warriors as they celebrate 20 years with STARTEK: Rose Cruz, from our Greeley, Colorado site center and Andy Rangel, from our Philippines site center.

Rose Cruz, Greeley Engagement Manager

Rose started her career with STARTEK as a Technical Support Specialist for the HP Desk Jet Printers. Within a year in her role as Engagement Specialist she was quickly promoted to an Engagement Supervisor.

She served 16 years as an Engagement Coach prior to being promoted. Rose plays a vital role for our operations team serving as one of the Greeley Engagement Managers. We’d like to share some of her thoughts with you on her journey with STARTEK:

“There are so many reasons I am happy to work at STARTEK, but I think the most important one is that I came here with very little experience and STARTEK gave me the opportunity to succeed through the time others took to develop my skills, over time.”

Rose adds to that, “The second most important reason I’m so glad to be here, is the ability to “pay it forward,” my opportunity to now help others identify where they best fit in with the company, and then help them develop and reach their goals.” Rose continues to learn and develop new skills that she hopes may lead to additional roles at STARTEK, in the future.

Rose’s favorite memory over her last 20 years with STARTEK is the time spent each month at the community food bank with her STARTEK “family,” putting together backpack meals for kids in need.

We asked Rose, “What advice would you give to new STARTEK Brand Warriors?”

“My advice to everyone working in our contact centers is to have an open mind, a positive attitude and a desire for growth. STARTEK will give you a chance to grow with them!”

She ends with, “The people and friendships I have built at STARTEK over the last 20 years mean a lot to me. They really are my STARTEK family!”

Andy Rangel, VP of Operations, Philippines

Andy began as an engagement center director 20 years ago at our Philippines location. Since that time, he has been key to onboarding new clients in the Philippines, and has been instrumental by serving as a key leader within the organization.

Andy did not begin as an engagement specialist, or other entry-level role with STARTEK. He’d worked with other companies and came to us with the expertise and knowledge to begin as an engagement center director.

After beginning his journey with STARTEK as Engagement Center Director, he was promoted to Senior Director of Operations, then again promoted to Senior Director of Site Operations. He then moved to the client side as Director of Account Management, and was promoted to Senior Director of Account Management.

Building on his own success, serving in manager and director roles, Andy was finally promoted to Vice President level. He served as VP of Operations, VP of Sales, and now serves as VP of Operations for the Philippines.

Andy has developed a loyal team in the Philippines which continues to be an important part of our global success and growth in the industry.

Our CEO personally thanked Andy in a letter that stated:

“Andy, I and the team cannot Thank You enough for your loyalty and being a key leader. It is a true pleasure and honor to have you on our team.”

Without all of you – from dialoguing directly with customers to our VP’s – STARTEK would not be here. Our frontline is the voice of our customer brands, and our success cannot continue without your loyalty and daily commitment to being a Brand Warrior.

Congratulations, Rose and Andy. We hope to celebrate many anniversaries in the years to come.

The Top 7 Drivers of NPS: Why they matter in today’s rapidly evolving contact center environment

Inbound customer issues in today’s contact centers are complex. With rapidly evolving customer self-help technology, engagement specialists (agents) rarely respond to simple or routine inquiries. Brands are scrambling to keep their specialists (agents) technically savvy for customer issue resolution while keeping NPS scores high. What drivers contribute to higher NPS scores and how do you provide your frontline with the skills to differentiate?

The easy NPS score train has left the station

No industry is immune from the current barrage of seemingly impossible customer resolutions. In the past, contact centers and their engagement specialists (agents) secured high NPS scores with ease due to a predictable mix of complex, exceptional customer service issues and simpler customer service issues typically resolved on first contact.

Today’s frontline engagement specialists (agents) are constantly dealing with ever-complex customer issues as brands struggle to keep NPS scores from falling.

Today’s frontline engagement specialists (agents) are constantly dealing with ever-complex customer issues – often involving escalation. Many brands deal with employee turnover issues and scramble to keep NPS scores from falling. Many struggle just to keep their NPS scores consistent.

The top 7 drivers of NPS that create brand champions

In today’s social media environment, customer service horror stories are a daily viral event. How do you transform your frontline specialists (agents) into brand champions to avoid being a social media sensation?

Scientific research into thousands of contact center calls1 identified seven distinct communication skillsets that influenced the customer perception of a brand: friendliness, helpfulness, effectiveness, impact on the brand, issue resolution, satisfaction with the product or service and (most importantly), willingness to recommend the brand.

In today’s social media environment, customer service horror stories are a daily viral event. How do you transform your specialists (agents) into brand champions to avoid being a social media sensation?

Commit to training your specialists on the 7 drivers of NPS

Post-call surveys consistently demonstrated that a customer’s likelihood to recommend a brand were directly related to their perception of the engagement specialists’ ability to convey one or more of the seven communication skillsets listed above.

As brands scramble for higher and higher NPS scores while their frontline deals with complex customer issues, the ability to build brand champion is critical. With more attention devoted to hiring specialists with innate communication skills and a commitment to dialogue training and the ability to go ‘off-script,’ your engagement specialists (agents) will become the champions that differentiate you and your clients’ brands.


  1. STARTEK primary research
The Dialogue Model: Turn breakdowns into brand building while doubling NPS

Your client’s billing platform has a glitch impacting thousands of customers. Calls are flooding into the contact center and you’ve just learned that the glitch won’t be fixed for 48 hours. You’re thinking to yourself, It will take weeks to bring our NPS scores back to normal. But, what if nightmare scenarios like this are actually opportunities to turn breakdowns into brand building?

Your specialists hold the key to turn breakdowns into brand building

Your engagement specialists hold the key to turn adverse situations into brand building by connecting emotionally with the customer – even when the issue cannot be resolved.

A technical glitch – one that a contact center has no control over – usually leads to irate customers on the receiving end of disingenuous, scripted responses by engagement specialists. However, breakdowns like this are a perfect opportunity to raise NPS and satisfaction scores with the dialogue model – using spontaneous dialogue and genuine conversation.

In situations where complications arise – financial glitches, product delays, even service failures – the opportunity to impact NPS scores and satisfaction is highest.

Recent research1 from STARTEK’s science lab has shown that in situations where complications arise – financial glitches, product delays, even service failures – the opportunity to impact NPS scores and satisfaction is highest when using the dialogue model.

The communication skills that impact NPS and satisfaction

The communication skills of your engagement specialists are directly related to higher NPS and satisfaction scores. They are linked by their ability to convey multiple positive perceptions to the customer including, friendliness, helpfulness, effectiveness and issue resolution.

A customer’s perception of the engagement specialists’ communication skills (above) was directly related to the customer’s willingness to recommend the brand.

By using the science of communication to connect emotionally with customers, contact centers report increased NPS, increases in unsolicited compliments, decreases in escalation and a willingness to recommend the brand.2

The impact of the dialogue model in the contact center

Engagement specialists are the front line in building your brand. Companies that invest in dialogue training are reaping the rewards with higher NPS and satisfaction scores – even in the ‘no-win’ situation. By using the science of communication and the dialogue model to connect emotionally with customers, solve issues and improve brand perception, you will see increased NPS, an increase in unsolicited compliments and decreases in escalation.


  1. STARTEK primary research
  2. STARTEK primary research
Engaging for disaster: Ditch metrics-driven engagement for higher NPS scores

Since its creation in 2003, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) has asserted itself as a better predictor of brand performance than customer satisfaction. Most contact centers view NPS as a key indicator of performance, creating metrics-driven engagement in the center. But, are metrics-driven contact centers, striving for high NPS scores, really engaging for disaster?

Your engagement specialist drives the perception of your brand with customers

One of the most influential impacts on NPS is the communication skill of engagement specialists (agents). As self-help technology has improved, customers often enter the contact center with a perceptible degree of both stress and frustration, giving the engagement specialist (agent) a pivotal opportunity to influence NPS.

Engagement specialists who engage with the customer using genuine, spontaneous dialogue have a positive impact on NPS scores – even if the issue was not resolved.

Contact centers who allow their engagement specialists to engage in spontaneous dialogue have higher NPS scores following an issue resolution. Even if the issue was not resolved, the engagement specialist’s ability to connect with the customer through genuine, spontaneous dialogue has a positive impact on NPS scores.

The impact of ditching metrics-driven engagement for a large healthcare brand

After adopting dialogue-driven engagement in the contact center, a large healthcare brand assessed the impact of their engagement specialists’ (agents’) behavior on willingness to recommend their brand. Customers of the company responded to a survey measuring multiple perceptions of the engagement specialist including friendliness, helpfulness, impact on brand and willingness to recommend the brand.

The results revealed that a customer’s perception of the engagement specialists’ (agents’) communication skill (conveying friendliness, helpfulness, effectiveness and impact) was directly related to the customer’s willingness to recommend the brand.1

After allowing genuine, spontaneous dialogue in the contact center, a healthcare company’s customers gave higher scores when rating the perception of the engagement specialists’ communication skills, and their willingness to recommend the brand.

  • engagement specialist (agent) friendliness
  • engagement specialist (agent) helpfulness
  • engagement specialist (agent) effectiveness
  • engagement specialist (agent) impact on brand
  • issue resolution
  • satisfaction with the product/service
  • willingness to recommend the brand

Build your brand with dialogue-driven engagement in the contact center

Your engagement specialists have a unique opportunity to turn issue-driven calls into brand-building opportunities. By ditching metrics-driven engagement and allowing genuine, spontaneous dialogue in the contact center, customers will be more willing to recommend your brand, and higher NPS scores will follow.

Read the white paper “Special Report: Testing the impact of engagement specialist communication skill on net promoter scores”


  1. STARTEK primary research
The Dos and Don'ts of Reaching Millennials via Social Media

Opinion: Although social media marketing may seem like an easy strategy to leverage when targeting millennials, it is not without its challenges

Today's marketers have countless options when it comes to social media. Some platforms peak in popularity and then quickly disappear. This makes it difficult to determine which channels to invest time and budget in.

For digital marketers specifically targeting millennials, this adds an extra challenge. Millennials are always looking for the “next big thing.” By the time marketers decipher which platform millennials are currently using, they've moved on.

Do videos, not text

Video is one of the most effective marketing mediums. 85 percent of millennials currently use video in their marketing strategies, and almost one-half (45 percent) dedicate more than one-quarter of their budget to it, according to recent research from Magisto.

Video is an extremely powerful medium. It can be effortlessly incorporated into social media platforms. It can help showcase brands' personalities. It can increase brand engagement and awareness.

Consumers no longer want to read about a brand–they want to see it. They want to watch the brand story unfold. They want to see the newest product being used. They want to watch a designer sketch a new piece of clothing.

Text prohibits how far a consumer can be brought into a brand's world. Video invites the consumer in and allows them to be a part of it.

Do Snapchat, not Facebook

In the beginning, Facebook was exclusive to college students. Soon after launching, the platform opened its doors to high school students and beyond. However, the primary users were still young adults–no parents, no grandparents.

Now, it has become a popular social media platform for parents and a handful of digital-savvy grandparents. News Feeds are cluttered with posts from older generations, and millennials are not interested. They are looking for a new platform–probably to avoid those embarrassing comments from mom and dad.

And many moved on to Snapchat. According to a Nielsen study commissioned by the company, Snapchat reaches 41 percent of all 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. daily. Big brands such as Taco Bell and Nike have been testing opportunities with Snapchat since last year. Digital marketers, especially those targeting millennials, should follow suit and take a break from Facebook.

Snapchat offers a variety of opportunities for marketers. Video ads can be placed within Snapchat's Live Stories, which are collections of curated Snaps taken by users at events, or Discover, which is where media companies have dedicated channels.

Another option is sponsored geofilters, which allow brands to target users based on their location. The targeted users can then choose to overlay the brand's filter on top of their own image or video. Taco Bell's Cinco de Mayo geofilter made headlines last year. The filter transformed people's heads into a giant taco drizzled with sauce. It shattered Snapchat records.

Do Instagram, not Twitter

Today's consumers are visual. Most prefer to look at images or watch videos rather than reading articles. This is demonstrated through the influx of listicle articles and online videos, but it is also apparent within social media platforms.

Instagram entered the market in 2010 and continues to see exceptional growth. Users can't get enough of its visual-only feed. One quick glance at an image and they know if they want to like it or not, and it's on to the next image. Twitter, on the other hand, involves reading text–only 140 characters, but text nonetheless.

Marketers need to focus on Instagram, especially if millennials are the target. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, nearly 60 percent of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 29, and around one-half of Instagram users visit the platform at least once per day. In contrast, only 36 percent of Twitter's users are between the ages of 18 and 29, and 42 percent of its users visit the site at least once per day.

Instagram offers marketers the opportunity to connect with current fans of the brand, but also to reach those outside of their networks through sponsored ads. This platform can boost brand relevance and engagement, and increase revenues, without large budgets.

The lingering social channels: Google+ and Pinterest

We would be amiss if we didn't discuss two social media channels that linger in the background behind the major players.

Google+, often deemed a failed social network, still boasts a large following. It is a popular destination for certain online communities, including photographers. The platform recently announced a redesign, and changes include zoom functionality for photos and bringing back an events feature to allow users to create and invite others to events.

Pinterest boasts 70 million U.S. users. However, according to Pew, only 36 percent of them are between 18 and 29 years old, and only one quarter of its users check the platform daily.

Similar to other social channels, Pinterest offers the opportunity to create Promoted Pins.

That said, neither of these social media platforms is being flocked to by millennials. If millennials are your target, these are not the social platforms to utilize.

Do paid, not organic

Leveraging social media is often presented as a way to increase brand awareness and engagement for free. But you won't see the needle move much if you don't invest. Yes, you can set up social media platforms for free. Yes, you can post as much as you want. Yes, you can incorporate hashtags to help users find your content. This won't yield strong results.

The good news? Social media advertising can be executed with virtually any budget. Social media allows you to have an immense reach at a low cost. By utilizing paid social media advertising, you can reach an audience beyond your followers. You can get very specific with targeting, which allows you to reach consumers that will have a genuine interest in your brand.

Allocating budget to social media advertising is a necessity, but this does not mean you should ignore organic posts. After all, your current followers will want to hear from you through more than sponsored posts. It is important for brands to find a balance between paid and organic–but plan on spending some extra time on your paid strategy. It will be worth it.

Although social media marketing may seem like an easy strategy to leverage when targeting millennials, it is not without its challenges. Marketers need to think about which platforms to use, which to invest in and the type of content they are sharing.

Millennials are attuned with what they like to see and not see on their social feeds, so monitoring what type of content performs well is imperative. Digital marketers need to keep an eye on trends and the demographics of social media platforms to ensure they are on the right platform for their target audience.

Originally published in AdWeek.

Designing your contact center for greatness: How communication design increases performance impact

Great design lives in infamy and in our imaginations. Take for example the Barcelona Chair (1929), the Sydney Opera House (1973) and the iconic iPhone (2007), which has changed the way we communicate and manage our lives. Great design has impact. So why can’t contact centers be designed for impact and greatness? Does a great customer experience have to exist only in our imaginations?

Designing a contact center for communication mastery

Great contact centers aren’t just designed for transactional efficiency. Great contact centers are designed to create mutual value creation with the customer and your engagement specialists (agents). Great contact centers also view the customer as a unique individual and place value on creating communication masters. By researching the course of communication between the specialist (agent) and customer, brands can connect on an emotional level through the use of dialogue.

Today, contact centers design their engagement specialists’ communication in one of three ways: transactional, interactive and dialogue. A transaction design is driven by compliance and metrics, usually an exchange of information; the interaction design is more complex, using synchronized dialogues and a demonstration of key behaviors. Dialogue-designed conversation approaches the customer as an individual with the goal being mutual value creation between customer and specialist.

Contact centers design engagement specialist and customer communication in one of three ways: (1) transaction, (2) interaction, and (3) dialogue.

Communication Design Communication Approaches as… Customer Viewed as… QA Objective Typical Results
Transaction An Exchange of Information An Identification Number Compliance Positive Impact on Efficiency Metrics
Interaction Synchronized Monologues A Typical Person Demonstration of Key Behaviors Inconsistent Impact on NPS and CSAT
Dialogue Mutual Value Creation A Unique Individual Communication Mastery Consistent, Positive Impact on NPS/CSAT

The dialogue-designed contact center

Transaction designed conversations have a positive impact on efficiency metrics but are often seen by the customer as rehearsed, while interaction designed conversations result in inconsistent NPS and CSAT scores.

Dialogue is a communication design that approaches a conversation with each customer as a unique individual, with the goal being mutual value creation between the specialist and the customer.

Only the dialogue-designed conversation results in clear efficiency metrics with consistent positive impact on NPS and CSAT scores. Like the now-iconic iPhone – which has changed the way we live and manage our lives – dialogue-driven conversation can change the way contact centers communicate with customers and how they manage their engagement specialists.

Don’t settle for simply transacting with your customer as a number, or using well-rehearsed responses. Design a great contact center focusing on dialogue-driven conversation and valuing the customer as an individual, and your brand will live in infamy and in your customer’s imaginations.

Read the white paper

Startek Brings 200 Jobs to Greeley by June 2017

Interested candidates apply online at www.startek.com/careers

DENVER. (March 28, 2017) – STARTEK (NYSE: SRT), a leader in business process outsourcing services, is now hiring full-time and part-time employees at its Greeley engagement center to support one of its clients currently expanding its customer engagement efforts. The company is seeking to fill a total of 200 positions by June 2017, including customer service representatives, supervisors, managers, and support staff.

Interested candidates are invited to apply in person at STARTEK’s engagement center located at 1250 H Street in Greeley. Applications will also be accepted online at any time through the company’s website at www.startek.com/careers.

“At STARTEK, we value employees who are passionate about providing a great customer experience while promoting and protecting our clients’ brands,” said Mindy Cubrich, site director for the STARTEK engagement center in Greeley. “In return, we offer competitive pay, a fun and fast-paced culture, and the opportunity to learn invaluable skills that can be used throughout one’s career. If you are looking for a career with a lot of potential, we encourage you to apply.” Cubrick adds, “More than 70 percent of STARTEK’s customer engagement leaders are promoted from within, so this is a great opportunity to develop and grow with us.”

The company is seeking employees with exceptional customer service skills, as well as the drive to proactively delight customers while helping resolve issues. Candidates must be able to successfully pass a background check along with pre-employment assessments focused on technology skills and customer service behaviors such as empathy and problem solving.

STARTEK offers comprehensive paid training, competitive wages, and benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, 401(k), and paid and unpaid time off. Additionally, employees have access to discounts from national businesses and can earn incentives based on performance.

  • Who: Greenwood Village-based STARTEK
  • What: Hiring for 200 positions at STARTEK’s Greeley Engagement Center, including customer service representatives, supervisors, managers, and support staff.
  • Where: 1250 H Street, Greeley, CO 80634 or online: http://www.startek.com/careers
  • When: March 28, 2017 through June 30, 2017

About STARTEK

World class customer engagement starts with world class conversations – and that’s where we come in.  We’re STARTEK, and we specialize in orchestrating the ideal customer experience at the point of conversation between you and your customers.  Powered by the science of dialogue, our customer engagement specialists and communication scientists understand the human component of the contact center better than anyone.  Our omnichannel engagement solutions have helped countless brands, including JD Power award-winning companies, connect emotionally, solve issues, and improve net promoter scores.  Whether engaging on the phone, online, in person, in your contact center or in ours, STARTEK can help you turn your strong customer relationships into unbreakable ones.  Because the outcome of every customer engagement matters.  For more information, please visit http://www.startek.com/.

It Pays to Connect with Dialogue

Your engagement specialists must be able to connect uniquely as a human to your customers. Tasked with improving overall customer experience (CX) metrics, you know there’s something different that your engagement specialists should be doing when it comes to customer interaction, but what exactly is that? How can you increase dialogue without sacrificing customer-facing metrics?

Connecting with dialogue isn’t rocket science – it’s much harder.

Creating a unique and authentic experience that is professional, personalized, and punctuated by moments of spontaneity isn’t rocket science. It’s much harder.

Current programs, processes and technologies focus on standardizing the human interaction between customers and engagement specialists. The theory is that by focusing on solving problems quickly and effectively using uniform, scripted communication, customer experience will improve and satisfaction will increase accordingly.

Performance and satisfaction: Not always equals

Research shows that customer satisfaction and willingness to recommend the brand are directly related to the customer’s perception of the engagement specialist’s skills. Surprisingly, data shows1 that while meeting average handle time and first call resolution goals, customer satisfaction scores may actually suffer.

It pays to connect with dialogue

A study of 140 recorded conversations2 that were tied to a subsequently completed satisfaction survey determined 53 of the conversations to be “no-win” situations, where no immediate solution could be provided.

Analysis of the survey question, “How likely are you to continue your service?” showed that even though these 53 calls were not “winnable,” there was a distribution of results spanning “Definitely Not Continue” to “Definitely Continue.”

Closer examination showed that customers were 1.6 times more likely to indicate that they were not likely to continue the service when engagement specialists were using a Transaction Model (following a script and focused on keeping the conversation short) rather than attempting to connect with dialogue.

Master dialogue experts raise retention rates and satisfaction scores

Research has shown that even in situations where there is no resolution, customers were over 1.5 times more likely to continue the service when a specialist used unique dialogue. Once your engagement specialists master the art of connecting with dialogue, your investment in human capital and dialogue training will see higher retention and overall satisfaction scores on the rise.

Get the “Winning the no-win” white paper


  1. STARTEK Primary Research
  2. STARTEK Primary Research
STARTEK Recruiting to Fill 330 Jobs in Myrtle Beach

Apply in-person and online now at www.startek.com/careers

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., March 20, 2017 – STARTEK (NYSE: SRT), a leader in business process outsourcing services, is immediately hiring full time employees at its Myrtle Beach engagement center to support a telecommunications client. The company is seeking to fill 115 positions this month and a total of 330 positions by the end of the summer.

Interested candidates are invited to apply in person from 9 AM to 5 PM daily and receive on-the- spot interviews at STARTEK’s engagement center located at 310 Hinson Drive. Applications will also be accepted online at any time through the company’s website at www.startek.com/careers.

“STARTEK is looking for passionate candidates who are able to work in a fun and fast-paced environment,” said Fran Feldman, site director for the STARTEK engagement center in Myrtle Beach. “We are looking for exceptional employees who will provide a great customer experience while promoting our clients’ brands.” Feldman noted that more than 70 percent of STARTEK’s customer engagement leaders across the enterprise are promoted from within. She continued, “Our engagement specialists will learn invaluable skills that can be used throughout their career, it’s a great opportunity to develop and grow with us.”

Candidates must be able to successfully pass a background check along with pre-employment assessments focused on technology skills and customer service behaviors such as empathy and problem solving.

STARTEK offers comprehensive paid training, competitive wages and incentive programs, and benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, 401(k), and paid and unpaid time off. Additionally, employees have access to discounts from local and national businesses and can earn incentives based on performance.

About STARTEK

World class customer engagement starts with world class conversations – and that’s where we come in. We’re STARTEK, and we specialize in orchestrating the ideal customer experience at the point of conversation between you and your customers. Powered by the science of dialogue, our customer engagement specialists and communication scientists understand the human component of the contact center better than anyone. Our omnichannel engagement solutions have helped countless brands, including JD Power award-winning companies, connect emotionally, solve issues, and improve net promoter scores. Whether engaging on the phone, online, in person, in your contact center or in ours, STARTEK can help you turn your strong customer relationships into unbreakable ones. Because the outcome of every customer engagement matters. For more information, please visit http://www.startek.com/

Was it good for you? How ditching metrics-driven engagement can transform your reference specialists into communication masters

Leaders in the customer experience (CX) industry know that they need to make pivotal choices about the ideal customer engagement in the contact center. You may have great specialists with high efficiency metrics, but those metrics may not mirror customer satisfaction scores. And, if it's not good for your customer, it certainly isn't good for your brand.

You know about the benefits of spontaneous dialogue and want your customers to go away with a positive brand experience, but are you unclear on identifying and creating communication masters in your call center?

Remove the shackles of the script

Most exchanges with high efficiency scores and low satisfaction scores probably fall within the transaction design: conversations based on resolving business needs and garnering issue resolution metrics; or the interaction design: adding scripted social components to the script.

Both transaction and interaction designed conversations may seem rehearsed and disingenuous to the customer, even if the issues were resolved on the first call. To retain high resolution metrics while leaving the customer feeling satisfied, engagement specialists must have the shackles of scripted dialogue removed.

Communication masters are both born and made. You probably have numerous hidden communication treasures in your call center, just waiting to be discovered and transformed into masters.

Creating master communicators: Where do you begin?

  • Identify the born masters: Allow your supervisors to identify and mentor natural communicators in your call center; embrace the concept of trusting your engagement specialists to be the customer face of your brand.
  • Make an investment in human capital: Dedicate training time to develop specialists able to engage in spontaneous dialogue without sacrificing resolution metrics. Teach rapport building and techniques to remain present in the conversation. Launch peer mentoring programs as your training program is established.
  • Trust your front line: Allow spontaneous dialogue, and devote resources to on-going coaching and mentoring, it will grow your customer satisfaction scores and fill your call center with communication masters and brand-builders.
Are you killing your call center with compliance-driven metrics?

Creating a unique customer experience that enhances your brand requires juggling compliance while embracing dialogue. If your business requires strict compliance protocols in the contact center, it may seem impossible to integrate spontaneous dialogue without sacrificing efficiency metrics. But, if your focus remains solely on compliance-driven metrics, you may be killing your call center.

Increase satisfaction scores without compliance metrics taking a dive

Contact centers are embracing the need for dialogue, but satisfying compliance while including genuine dialogue may seem irredeemably at odds.

Compliance-driven engagement requires satisfying various levels of security and often emphasizes efficiency metrics such as Average Handle Time (AHT) and Issue Resolution metrics such as First Call Resolution. It may seem impossible to engage in spontaneous dialogue without sacrificing compliance metrics, but once a call center embraces compliance – driven by dialogue – they will see an increase in satisfaction scores without metrics taking a dive.

Although engagement specialists often get a lift in customer satisfaction scores because issues are resolved quickly, these transactions are often rated less satisfying by the customer because they feel mechanical or distant.1

You had me at hello

To ensure that compliance-driven engagement isn’t killing your call center, engagement specialists must anticipate customer needs and convey emotional understanding within those first hello seconds. They must continue to engage the customer with spontaneous dialogue throughout the contact session while satisfying compliance-driven questions.

Whether your industry is compliance-driven or not, companies must recognize that there are millions2 of potential contact situations and allow their agents to engage on an emotional level with their customers.

If your engagement specialists are authentic and connect emotionally on hello, efficiency metrics will remain high and CX (Customer Experience) scores will climb as your customer feels more satisfied, and connected, with your brand.

After factoring in personality, gender, reasons for contact, selected channel for contact and adding culturally-based values such as emotional expressiveness, you have 754,974,720 potential situations before your specialist even says hello. Read the whitepaper: Designing the Ideal...Customer/Engagement Specialist Conversation.


  1. STARTEK primary research
  2. STARTEK primary research
STARTEK Science Lab experts presented keynote at J.D. Power ROC

2017 Roundtable of Champions (ROC) keynote addressed omnichannel advancements with dialogue

DENVER — (March 6, 2017) – STARTEK, a leader in business process outsourcing services, announced today that its team of dialogue experts presented keynote sessions at the J.D. Power 2017 Roundtable of Champions (ROC) event held February 27-March 1, at the Grand Hyatt DFW International Airport, Dallas, Texas. During these sessions, the team presented customer engagement research from STARTEK’s Science Lab to help leaders advance omnichannel strategies through human communication dialogue.

“For nearly a decade the contact center industry has touted omnichannel as the solution to satisfy the needs of today’s demanding customer,” said Chad Carlson, CEO, STARTEK. “But now the industry realizes that adding multiple channels and disjointed technologies to the customer experience results in lost opportunity. Through the science of dialogue, businesses can now maximize customer satisfaction, sales, retention and Net Promoter scores regardless of how or why a customer chooses to interact with their brand.”

The tenth annual J.D. Power Roundtable of Champions invitation-only event gathered contact center and customer experience executives responsible for delivering extraordinary insights and perspectives. The theme of the conference: “Omnichannel and the omnipotent customer—strategies, best practices, and the future,” attracted key decision makers from around the globe.

About J.D. Power

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. Those capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices serving North/South America, Asia Pacific and Europe. 

About STARTEK

World class customer engagement starts with world class conversations – and that’s where we come in.  We’re STARTEK, and we specialize in orchestrating the ideal customer experience at the point of conversation between you and your customers.  Powered by the science of dialogue, our customer engagement specialists and communication scientists understand the human component of the contact center better than anyone.  Our omnichannel engagement solutions have helped countless brands, including JD Power award-winning companies, connect emotionally, solve issues, and improve net promoter scores.  Whether engaging on the phone, online, in person, in your contact center or in ours, STARTEK can help you turn your strong customer relationships into unbreakable ones.  Because the outcome of every customer engagement matters.  For more information, please visit http://www.startek.com/.

Nailing tech support calls? You may be having only partial-brain conversations with your customers

Nailing first-contact resolution calls? FCT scores in the stratosphere? Before you give your team a high five, look closer. Your engagement specialists may be having only partial-brain conversations with your customers, resulting in missed opportunities for building brand allegiance and customer loyalty by simply having a ‘whole-brain’ conversation.

Left brain versus right brain

The left brain rules the logical, rational part of all of us; the right brain rules the emotional, creative side. As call center technologies have evolved, almost 80 percent of technical issues are being resolved by the customer, or more accurately, the customer’s left brain.

While it’s exciting that most issues are being resolved by customers, the flipside of this is that 20 percent of customers now entering the call center are typically in various states of frustration, even anger – both involving the emotional right brain.

Nailing the 20 percent

If your customer just spent 18 minutes trying to resolve an issue, they’re operating from that emotional right brain, they won’t hear politeness or empathy, no matter how carefully you’ve woven in empathetic, apologetic phrases to your script. In fact, these statements may increase frustration levels. They need to connect emotionally, and immediately.

The whole-brain conversation

First contact calls now coming into the call center require ‘whole-brain’ conversations with your customers. Specialists have an opportunity to go off-script and talk to the customer’s right brain, which also drives human connection and trust.

Research has shown that customer satisfaction and willingness to recommend the brand are directly related to the customer’s perception of the engagement specialist’s communication skills.

Spontaneous dialogue creates loyal customers

Technology has overwhelmingly eliminated almost 80 percent of inbound issues to the call center, but has dramatically increased the level of frustrated first contact calls.

Your brand will be cemented by emotional bonds, by having whole-brain conversations with your customers and allowing your specialists to engage in spontaneous dialogue. Higher CX scores and increased sales will follow as the industry embraces this model of trust and genuine conversation.

It Takes a Village: The secret behind why CX metrics remain flat

The old African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child, leveraging the cultural context of community. The same is true in the call center to improve customer experience metrics. Why have customer experience metrics remained flat despite contact center technology becoming more sophisticated and widespread?

Because call center technologies only assist with linear processes, simply resolving the issue on first contact and minimizing customer effort isn’t a great conversation, and if companies continue to be satisfied with this, CX metrics will remain flat.

The importance of dialogue and conversation

A recent survey reported that almost 80 percent1 of in-bound customers had already tried to resolve technical issues themselves, using more than one source. While first-contact level is important, it’s more important to engage with them on a dialogue level, because at this point they’re emotional and just need help from a real human being.

Within a culture of communication, both the customer and the engagement specialists’ needs are met, specialists are free to engage in dialogue with the customer and have a conversation.

How can you monitor and coach something that is unique and spontaneous? How do you foster creativity without producing utter chaos?

Call centers need to see their engagement specialists as communication professionals and commit to engage and develop their skill sets over time. Allowing spontaneous, unscripted dialogue has shown to raise CSAT scores and increase sales.

Too often a company might do one quick training and doesn’t continue to develop real communication skills with their specialists. Allow your contact center to become the proverbial ‘village.’ Implement ongoing workshops and training in conversation, not just policy and technical procedures, offer ongoing communication and dialogue coaching to your engagement specialists.

Business is personal

Companies should not be afraid to allow people to interact and connect personally. If a company can achieve this level of dialogue in the call center, it becomes a win-win for both the customer and the company, and creates engagement specialists who want to stay.

To learn more on creating dialogue and tapping the potential of your engagement specialists, listen to the Podcast with Ted Nardin, Director, Communication Science Lab, STARTEK.

Creating a culture of conversation in your call center

  • Ditch the script: Don’t be afraid to let your engagement specialists connect personally and have spontaneous conversations with their customers while resolving issues.
  • Create a culture of engagement: Implement ongoing workshops and training in conversation, not just policy and technical procedures, offer ongoing communication and dialogue coaching to your engagement specialists.
  • Take a chance: Create a culture of conversation from the beginning by hiring specialists whose communication skills might outweigh their technical knowledge, technical skills can be taught, innate communication skills typically cannot.
  • By hiring and growing communicators, your CX metrics will soar and you will grow a loyal team of specialists who want to stay with the company.

  1. STARTEK primary research
The Evolving Patient Experience

Consumers have never had more choices when it comes to interacting with organizations. They demand service when they want it, how they want it and where they want it. While industries like retail, banking and hospitality have already embraced the new laws of customer experience, the healthcare system isn’t quite there yet. But that is about to change as younger, more “connected” generations put pressure on healthcare organizations to adopt new forms of engagement.

Here are three trends happening in the healthcare sector as the rise of the patient follows the rise of the consumer:

Integrated Data

Patient information has been scattered across a number of different management systems in the past. Modern data management technology now helps organizations consolidate health records from caregivers, physicians and insurance companies to create a more holistic view of patient care. Merging healthcare data into one centralized system helps providers deliver consistent care and share accurate information across channels.

Personalized Care

Integrating data across systems provides the foundation for delivering more personalized patient care. Understanding unique preferences in conjunction with past medical history helps healthcare organizations and providers meet diverse patient needs and personalize care to each individual.

Omnichannel Engagement

Technology has become second nature, especially for younger patients. As a result, their behavior has evolved from using traditional methods – like the phone – to digital ones including email, chat and social media channels. Healthcare organizations are evolving as well, developing digital engagement strategies to interact with patients. Soon both patients and members of healthcare organizations will be able to access products and services when they want, where they want using their channel of their choice.

For more information on STARTEK’s healthcare offerings, please contact​ ​Kristen Kuyatt at ​k​risten.kuyatt@startek.com​.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Rise of Retail Subscription Services

Subscription-based retail delivery companies like Stitch Fix, Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox have exploded and are changing the way consumers shop. A recent study shows subscription box sites have grown nearly 3,000% in the past three years.

But why?

The overall satisfaction level is high and minimal customer effort is required. Value and convenience drive customer loyalty and revenue, and subscription-based consumer groups are one of the fastest growing online retailer segments in the marketplace.

This new subscription model owes its success to the balance of value it provides to both the company and the customer.

For the customer, convenience and the element of surprise are attracting differentiators. Some consumers become overwhelmed by too many product choices available online and in-stores. They would much rather leave the selection process to the experts and avoid spending time on research.

For business, the value lies in the ability to predict revenue through recurring sales and insights into customer preferences. Subscription models are as much a source of data as they are a retail platform. Information collected from repeat orders help build strong customer profiles and create more opportunities for personalization. Brands can use the historic data to provide personalized orders based on unique preferences and customer data. Ultimately, fostering long-term relationships built on trust and brand loyalty. With consumers driving their own shopping experiences, the subscription model gives retailers both the flexibility and data needed to give customers what they really want.

Subscription box services can be powerful, brands must offer a combination of compelling products and strong customer service to support it. Sephora, Starbucks, Lancôme, Walmart and Adidas recently launched subscription box services. This not only validates the demand, but also shows signs that competition is on the rise. Either way, subscription boxes fulfill a consumer desire and they don’t seem to be going away.

5 Travel Trend Predictions to Watch in 2017

Increased mobile connectivity and the rise of digital devices will continue to drive emerging travel tech trends in the year ahead.

Thanks to new technology and 24/7 connectivity, travel brands, airlines and hotels must integrate new customer engagement strategies to maintain critical aspects of human interaction and ensure positive, personalized traveler experiences.

Here are five tech trends shaping the travel industry in 2017:

1. Humans will continue driving positive customer experiences

When “smart tech” fails, the concierge downstairs must step in to create a better, more personalized experience. Booking.com analyzed user data, travel reviews and other unique insights and found that 42 percent of travelers would not choose an accommodation that lacked friendly and helpful staff. Happy travelers are more likely to write reviews or tell their friends about the cool and easy hotel check-in process, and how helpful the agent on the phone was when they called for some extra help.

Although the age of smartphones and wearables allows 24/7 access to the web, that doesn’t mean human interaction will fall by the wayside, especially in the travel industry where experiences are at the center of everything. Authentic experiences are again becoming an important aspect of travel as technology continues to be integrated with booking, planning, creating and capturing great trips.

2.  User device data will help travel brands create more personalized experiences

Today’s approach to connected travel also allows hotels, airlines and booking companies to collect insights from user devices to improve the overall experience. With technology quickly integrating into business, luxury and leisure travel, the importance of quality human interaction will be even more important.

3.  Hotels, airlines and travel companies will invest in more powerful mobile apps

People can go anywhere in 24 hours with the tap of a finger, and today’s connected traveler wants instant gratification. According to Booking.com’s survey, 44 percent of travelers expect to be able to plan a trip with a few taps on their mobile phone, while 52 percent expect to increase their usage of travel apps in 2017.

Today’s traveler – millennials especially – want the ability to personalize their experience with one tap on their smartphone. This means airlines and hotels will continue building and improving powerful mobile apps to simplify booking and check-in, allowing guests to customize their experience during their trip or stay, and even providing destination information and reviews on local attractions.

4.  AI and virtual assistants will become integrated in hotel travel

New developments in artificial intelligence, along with Google’s entrance into the travel apps market, means that “smart butlers” may be able to predict traveler needs and deliver services and amenities. Think: "OK Google" and "Hey Alexa" could soon be greeting you and sharing weather updates in your next hotel room.

5.  Virtual reality will take travelers to a whole new world

Virtual reality has the power to truly change the travel industry by transporting people to another world. Emerging capabilities like virtual and augmented reality are on the brink of permeating nearly every aspect of daily life – including travel.

One rising tech startup has already introduced its robot butler to several leading hotel brands, including Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The robot is used to deliver small items such as toiletries and snacks to guest rooms. Hilton has also developed its own robot concierge, powered by artificial intelligence technology from IBM’s Watson.

The bottom line: Customer experience is ripe for the travel industry

According to a 2016 Tempkin report, customer experience ratings are declining across the board as the percentage of “good” and “excellent” companies across all industries dropped from 37 percent in 2015 to 18 percent in 2016. During the same time, companies with “poor” and “very poor” ratings grew from 28 percent to 46 percent.

While the drop in customer experience rating might be concerning for some organizations, a notable number of hotels, airlines and rental car companies actually outperformed their industries by 10 or more points. This means there is a promising future for the travel industry to continue creating positive, engaging customer experiences in 2017.

For more information on STARTEK’s travel offerings, please contact Kristen Kuyatt at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

How Mobile User Device Data is Driving Marketing

According to a recent survey, mobile represents 65 percent of digital media time with mobile apps dominating that usage, while the desktop is becoming more of a "secondary touch point" for an increasing number of users.

Increased mobile use provides marketers with a wealth of data from apps including insight on user behavior, habits, preferences and location. With an influx of new information about target audiences accessible via mobile, brands must determine how to process that user information to personalize content and create opportunities for positive customer engagement.

Here are a few ways mobile data is driving marketing by collecting user information to better understand target audiences and inform marketing strategies.

Location Targeting

Mobile apps have the capability to collect valuable user information about when, where and how they are using mobile devices. This includes location-based geo-targeting that allows devices to track real time information when a user is active in an app.

Take Pokemon Go, for example. The app uses real-time location data to keep users engaged in the game, while simultaneously feeding that information back to app developers and marketers who can then use that data to target individuals with similar interests and geographic locations with personalized content. Even small, local businesses need to have a mobile strategy in place to capitalize on real-time location data.

Content Personalization

A Nielson study shows that 89 percent of consumers’ media time on smartphones is spent engaging with apps, which means the need to understand and identify mobile consumer behaviors is essential for effective personalized marketing campaigns. Individual mobile engagement is unique and varies over time, so the more information available to marketers through mobile usage, the easier it is for marketers to build more comprehensive, personalized profiles for target audiences.

Cross-Channel Engagement

Mobile apps are rich with personal data because mobile users download the apps and usually provide personal information with login details, allowing much greater opportunities for marketers to track and target them outside the app on social media or on a web browser. The more companies know about their users, the more they’re able to serve them with more relevant and timely messages on the device and medium of their preference.

As mobile apps continue growing as one of the main ways people navigate the digital ecosystem, the opportunities for marketers to target specific audiences across different devices and platforms will only increase. Is your mobile strategy ready to capitalize on the wealth of user data available through mobile usage?

4 Customer Engagement Predictions for 2017

Advancements in digital communication and intelligent engagement will continue to drive customer interactions in the year ahead, using insights and data from the expanding network of connectivity to better understand customer behavior, habits and preferences. 2017 will focus on harnessing big data to help brands improve and personalize customer experience. Here are four customer engagement predictions for 2017.

The Rise of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality headsets are a hot commodity on holiday wish lists as major technology brands including Samsung, HTC, Google, Sony and Apple launched VR platforms. The recent introduction of consumer VR headsets is a pretty good indication that virtual reality will not only become a popular gift this holiday season, it could also be the next big engagement channel, following in the footsteps of other major game changers like social media.

Data from our recent survey points to VR as the next frontier for customer engagement; one in three consumers say they’re excited to communicate with a company via virtual reality.

Humanizing Big Data

As more devices and systems become connected to the Internet of Things, the volume of data transmitted and created by these networks also increases. While this exchange of information provides valuable user behavior insight that can help personalize experiences, it also presents a challenge of analyzing and processing it. It’s simply impossible to review and understand all of this data, creating the need for our next customer engagement prediction…                                   

Integrated Machine Learning

Machine learning is a powerful tool for brands and a necessary aspect of contextualizing data created through the Internet of Things. It has the ability to access massive amounts of data from the cloud and provide insight and predictive analysis on customers, ultimately creating a more personalized experience. As consumers’ level of connectivity increases, companies will become more dependent on machine learning to decipher the patterns and opportunities to improve the overall customer experience.

Communication at the Heart of Interaction

Although systematic automation is on the rise with chatbots and machine learning, the value of direct human interaction and authentic communication will not fall by the wayside. According to recent reports, contact centers currently employ millions of people globally and are set to grow by 10% annually until 2019. Why? Because machines will never completely replace humans when it comes to customer engagement.

When automated technology fails, it’s the quality of 1:1 human interactions that ultimately keeps customers engaged with a brand. The importance of connecting emotionally with customers, solving issues, and improving brand perceptions as a result of every conversation is critical to successful customer engagement strategies even as companies incrementally move toward automation in 2017.

 

STARTEK Brand Warriors Give Back This Holiday Season

STARTEK local centers around the country are doing their part to give back to their local communities this holiday season. From collecting cans for food drives to donating clothing, toys and other essentials, Community Matters for STARTEK Brand Warriors, especially during the holidays. Here is what some of our local centers did for the Thanksgiving holiday:

Giving Thanks & Giving Back

STARTEK Lynchburg Brand Warrior team contributed to the HumanKind Project by decorating 25 boxes filled with non-perishable food items to ensure families in the area had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.

Brand Warriors in Mansfield, Ohio hosted a Thanksgiving food drive to make a difference for local families. Their original goal was to collect 800 cans and the team ended up with nearly double that, donating a total of 1,535 cans.

The Myrtle Beach team dropped off 242 pounds of non-perishable food items to the Helping Hand Foundation, a crisis intervention and referral agency whose mission is to provide assistance to those in need in the local community.

STARTEK Brand Warriors in Grand Junction held a Community Closet Donation Drive where they brought in food, clothing and toiletry items. Each team filled up a box with essentials including coats, jackets, baby clothes, pet food, toys, toilet paper, diapers and soap.

Brand Warriors in Greeley, Colorado donated 784 pounds of clothing to local non-profit organizations, including Gift from the Heart and Greeley Interfaith Association Clothing Bank, to provide comfort for less fortunate families in the community.

Thanksgiving may have come and gone, but Christmas is just around the corner. Here is what local centers have planned for the next few weeks:  

Tidings of Comfort & Joy

As noted by the Richland Source, STARTEK Mansfield launched its “12 Days of Kindness” campaign last week. For the first 12 days of December, members of the leadership team will be out and about in the local community to make a positive impact by spreading kindness and good fortune. They will be buying groceries, paying for meals or footing the bill for holiday gifts as a way to give back to the community and make an impact in people’s lives during one of the most joyful times of the year. 

STARTEK Brand Warriors in Greeley, Colorado and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina are collecting unwrapped new toys for the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to help the organization provide a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children at Christmas. 

 

4 Customer Engagement Tips for the Holidays

‘Tis the season for holiday steals, deals, sales and promotions. The holiday shopping season brings retail brands the opportunity to drive sales, maximize revenue, and strengthen their customer engagement. Every customer interaction offers the opportunity to create a positive brand experience and drive brand loyalty.

Here are four customer service tips to boost satisfaction during the holiday season.

Maintain consistent messaging across channels. Ensure that your brand is sharing the same sales content and promotional messages across various engagement channels. This boosts reach and impressions while attracting a variety of customers from different digital touchpoints. Share consistent holiday promotions and special offers on social media channels in addition to and sending promotional emails.

Staff-up to meet increased demand. This is especially important during the holidays because there are significant spikes immediately following the gift-giving season. Use this knowledge to staff accordingly to ensure people don’t get frustrated waiting on hold or in line for too long. Adequate staffing can help increase brand loyalty past the holiday season. Offering self-service options is another solution to keep up with the increased demand and engage with customers. Self-checkout and click-collect are both great alternatives to help save time for the customer while improving the overall experience during the busy season.

Don’t be a Grinch. A positive attitude goes a long way during the holidays. A simple gesture like a helpful hand and a smile can truly make a difference. A positive experience in-store or on the phone can ultimately translate into more sales.

Plan for damage control. If your website goes down or there is a glitch in the ecommerce system, the first places customers turn for answers is the company's Facebook and Twitter pages. Plan ahead and ensure customer service teams are prepared with the necessary tools  to keep customers happy.

Celebrate the business of the holiday season and focus on your consumers, a successful customer engagement strategy will take your company well into the New Year.

 

STARTEK Brand Warriors ‘Bring It’

Beliefs have the capacity to serve as a company compass, providing clear direction when faced with important decisions, dilemmas and everyday interactions. Values align with beliefs within thriving organizations which is why STARTEK emphasizes key core values to foster a greater sense of community among our employees.  

We asked STARTEK Brand Warriors to share their personal perspectives on what it means to ‘Bring It’ as part of our ongoing conversation around the company’s key core values. From passion and promise to actions and results, here are a few of those inspiring definitions: 

“‘Bring It’ means just that… You get up every day and give it your best to tackle problems, speak up and take ownership even if you aren't directly responsible for the problem at hand. At the end of the day, you look back and see the difference you made.”
– Rod L. 

“For me, ‘Bring It’ is all about giving 100% every single day. It's about putting our people first, it’s about having that sheer passion and dedication in wanting to make a difference.”
– Sarah R. 

“‘Bring It’ means to step up and be active in your role and site. It requires a strong focus on how best to meet the needs of the customers, the client and our partners within the business. ‘Bring It’ is the essence of being a Brand Warrior!”
– Robert M. 

“Bring innovation, creativity and your "A-Game" 100% of the time.”
– Ryan F.

“It means you never stop looking for improvements!”
– Kara D. 

“‘Bring It’ means working as a team to bring value, solutions and winning actions that drive financial & customer success for our company, shareholders, Brand Warrior team, and our clients.”
– Kathryn A. 

“Strive to do your best in all areas. Play to your strengths. Don't be satisfied with just achieving expectations, but exceed them; and help others do the same.”
– Kevin A. 

STARTEK Brand Warriors ‘Do Right’

At STARTEK, we place tremendous focus on building trusted relationships that are established on a foundation of mutual respect, cooperation and investment in each other’s success.  An important part of establishing and keeping trust is to ‘Do Right’ at all times on behalf of our clients, their customers, our employees, and our stakeholders.   

We recently asked STARTEK Brand Warriors across the company to define what our ‘Do Right’ core value means to them.  Here are just a few of those unique, insightful definitions: 

“‘Do Right’ means having the integrity to do the right thing for our company, our employees and our clients.”
– Audra Garrison, Operations Manager

“I think the ‘Do Right’ value means to do things the right way, ethically, morally and in the best interests of the company and the customer. It also means you should take ownership of everything you are working on and ‘Do Right’ by competing tasks professionally and in the best way possible.”
– Steve Brelsford, Capacity Planning Manager

“Do what is right, not what is easy.” 
– Julie Weingardt, SVP Operations

“It means to ‘Do Right’ by your customers, clients, specialists, and yourself.”
– Sean Burns, Sr. Engagement Coach

“Do what is right or expected of you even if no one is looking. Own the situation and do what is needed even if it is not your responsibility. Surface opportunities and present solutions.”
– Denise Lorenz, Sr. Account Manager

“Follow through on your best instincts. Be the person your dog thinks you are.”
– Wayne White, SVP IT

“‘Do Right’ means having kind and respectful interactions with everyone around us, just as we hope they do with us. It means demonstrating respect for all, all the time.”
– Tomesha Hart, Engagement Coach

STARTEK, Inc. Recruiting to Fill 490 Jobs in Hamilton, Ohio

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. – October 21, 2016 – STARTEK, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE: SRT), a global leader in business process outsourcing services is immediately hiring full time employees at its customer engagement center in Hamilton, Ohio to support its telecommunications and global information services clients.  

The company is immediately hiring 100 Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) by the end of January and an additional 360 customer service positions now through October 2017.  Positions start at $10.25 per hour with opportunities to earn up to $13 per hour depending on line of business supported.  STARTEK is also offering comprehensive benefits and career advancement opportunities.  

Interested candidates are invited to apply in person at STARTEK’s engagement center located at 150 High Street. Applications will also be accepted online at any time through the company’s website at www.startek.com/careers. Candidates should have exceptional customer service skills and some technical understanding. Previous call center experience is preferred. 

“We’re looking for employees who can provide a white glove level of customer engagement along with the drive to delight customers, solve problems and exceed expectations,” said Vincent Jackson, site director for the STARTEK engagement center in Hamilton. “In return, we offer competitive pay, commission incentives, and bonuses with opportunities for career growth and promotions.  More than 70 percent of STARTEK’s customer engagement leaders across the organization are promoted from within so this is a great time to join the team to develop professionally and grow with the company.”  

STARTEK offers comprehensive paid training, competitive wages and incentive programs, and benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, 401(k), and paid and unpaid time off.  Additionally, employees have access to discounts from local and national businesses.

STARTEK, Inc. Recruiting to Fill 150 Jobs in Grand Junction

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., October 17, 2016 – STARTEK, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE: SRT), a global leader in business process outsourcing services, is immediately hiring temporary and full time employees at its customer engagement center in Grand Junction, Colorado, to support a new line of business for the site as well as several Gourmet Food clients. The company is seeking to fill a total of 150 fulltime and part-time positions by the end of the year, including customer service representatives, supervisors, managers and support staff.  

Interested candidates are invited attend a job fair on Wednesday, November 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at STARTEK’s Grand Junction engagement center located at 2830 North Avenue. Applications will also be accepted online at any time through the company’s website at www.startek.com/careers.

“At STARTEK, we value employees who are passionate about providing a great customer experience while promoting and protecting our clients’ brands,” said Chris Higgins, site director for the STARTEK engagement center in Grand Junction.  “In return, we offer competitive pay, a fun and fast paced culture, and the opportunity to learn invaluable skills that can be used throughout one’s career.  More than 70 percent of STARTEK’s customer engagement leaders across the enterprise are promoted from within so this is a great opportunity to develop and grow with us.”  

The company is seeking employees with exceptional customer service skills as well as the drive to proactively delight customers while helping resolve issues. Candidates must be able to successfully pass a background check along with pre-employment assessments focused on technical skills and customer service behaviors such as empathy and problem solving.  Previous sales experience is preferred but not required. 

STARTEK offers comprehensive paid training as well as competitive wages and benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, 401(k), and paid and unpaid time off. Additionally, employees have access to discounts from national businesses and can earn incentives based on performance.

STARTEK Spotlight: Colorado Springs Customer Engagement Center

The STARTEK customer engagement center in Colorado Springs has some exciting new updates to share – from announcing internal employee promotions to introducing a new and improved employee lounge with free cereal all day! The best part is that they’re also hiring!

The center is immediately hiring temporary, part time and full time employees to support its retail, telecommunications, ecommerce and healthcare clients.  We’re seeking to fill a total of 420 positions by the end of the year, including 250 customer service representatives, 150 certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and 20 licensed practical nurses (LPNs).  For immediate consideration, apply online at www.startek.com/careers

The customer engagement center in Colorado Springs is also hosting a job fair next week where interested candidates will have the opportunity to meet with STARTEK leaders and learn more about the open positions.

What: Colorado Springs Engagement Center Job Fair
When: Monday, October 17 – Friday, October 21 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Where: 4455 Arrowswest Drive, Colorado Springs

Here’s what newly promoted Engagement Coach Cody has to say about his experience working at STARTEK. If you're interested in joining Cody and his awesome team, click here to apply.

STARTEK, Inc. Recruiting to Fill 420 Jobs in Colorado Springs

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., October 13, 2016 – STARTEK, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE: SRT), a global leader in business process outsourcing services, is immediately hiring temporary, part time and full time employees at its customer engagement center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to support retail, telecommunications, ecommerce and healthcare clients.  The company is seeking to fill a total of 420 positions by the end of the year, including 250 customer service representatives, 150 certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and 20 licensed practical nurses (LPNs).  

Interested candidates are invited attend a job fair Monday, October 17 through Friday, October 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at STARTEK’s Colorado Springs engagement center located at 4455 Arrowswest Drive. Applications will also be accepted online at any time through the company’s website at www.startek.com/careers.

“At STARTEK, we value employees who are passionate about providing a great customer experience while promoting and protecting our clients’ brands,” said Sean Brennan, site director for the STARTEK engagement center in Colorado Springs.  “In return, we offer competitive pay, a fun and fast paced culture, and the opportunity to learn invaluable skills that can be used throughout one’s career.  More than 70 percent of STARTEK’s customer engagement leaders across the enterprise are promoted from within so this is a great opportunity to develop and grow with us.”  

The company is seeking employees with exceptional customer service skills as well as the drive to proactively delight customers while helping resolve issues. Candidates must be able to successfully pass a background check along with pre-employment assessments focused on technical skills and customer service behaviors such as empathy and problem solving.  Previous customer service experience is preferred but not required. 

STARTEK offers comprehensive paid training as well as competitive wages and benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, 401(k), and paid and unpaid time off. Additionally, employees have access to discounts from national businesses and can earn incentives based on performance.

STARTEK, Inc. Recruiting to Fill 70 Full Time Jobs in Jeffersonville

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., October 12, 2016 – STARTEK, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE: SRT), a global leader in business process outsourcing services, is immediately hiring full time employees at its customer engagement center in Jeffersonville, Indiana.  The company is seeking to fill a total of 70 positions over the next six weeks to support several retail, manufacturing, and financial services clients.

Interested candidates are invited attend a job fair on Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at STARTEK’s Jeffersonville engagement center located at 4550 Town Center Blvd behind Menard’s. Applications will also be accepted online at any time through the company’s website at www.startek.com/careers

“At STARTEK, we value employees who are passionate about providing a great customer experience while promoting and protecting our clients’ brands,” said Rebecca Bridget, site director for the STARTEK engagement center in Jeffersonville.  “In return, we offer competitive pay, a fun and fast paced culture, and the opportunity to learn invaluable skills that can be used throughout one’s career.  More than 70 percent of STARTEK’s customer engagement leaders across the enterprise are promoted from within so this is a great opportunity to develop and grow with us.”  

The company is seeking employees with exceptional customer service skills as well as the drive to proactively delight customers while helping resolve issues. Candidates must be able to successfully pass a background check along with pre-employment assessments focused on technology skills and customer service behaviors such as empathy and problem solving.  

STARTEK offers comprehensive paid training, competitive wages and incentive programs, and benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, 401(k), and paid and unpaid time off.  Additionally, employees have access to discounts from national businesses and can earn incentives based on performance.

STARTEK, Inc. Recruiting to Fill 200 Jobs in Greeley, Colorado

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., October 12, 2016 – STARTEK, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE: SRT), a global leader in business process outsourcing services, is immediately hiring full time and part time employees at its Greeley engagement center to support several Gourmet Food clients. The company is seeking to fill a total of 200 positions by the end of the year, including customer service representatives, supervisors, managers and support staff.  

Interested candidates are invited to apply in person at STARTEK’s engagement center located at 1250 H Street in Greeley. Applications will also be accepted online at any time through the company’s website at www.startek.com/careers.

“At STARTEK, we value employees who are passionate about providing a great customer experience while promoting and protecting our clients’ brands,” said Mindy Cubrich, site director for the STARTEK engagement center in Greeley.  “In return, we offer competitive pay, a fun and fast paced culture, and the opportunity to learn invaluable skills that can be used throughout one’s career. More than 70 percent of STARTEK’s customer engagement leaders across the enterprise are promoted from within so this is a great opportunity to develop and grow with us.”  

The company is seeking employees with exceptional customer service skills as well as the drive to proactively delight customers while helping resolve issues. Candidates must be able to successfully pass a background check along with pre-employment assessments focused on technology skills and customer service behaviors such as empathy and problem solving.  

STARTEK offers comprehensive paid training as well as competitive wages and benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, 401(k), and paid and unpaid time off.  Additionally, employees have access to discounts from national businesses and can earn incentives based on performance.

STARTEK in the News: Survey Spotlight

It’s no secret that the world of customer engagement is changing in response to emerging digital communication channels and social media networks. But we wanted to dig deeper to understand how today’s consumer uses social media and connected devices to interact with brands, as well as their unique preferences, experiences and expectations for communicating across different channels. 

Recently, STARTEK surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers to collect those valuable insights, and what we uncovered was incredibly interesting. As it turns out, the media tends to agree. 

Findings from the survey report, Digital Communication Dominates Customer Engagement, have been featured in a variety of top-tier marketing publications and vertical trades with insightful editorial commentary supporting the idea that digital and social media do, in fact, dominate customer engagement. 

Here are just a few notable mentions in recent articles: 

80% of Consumers Use Digital Devices to Contact Customer Service (Report), Adweek Social Times
“Social media has changed our sense of identity, as well as how we communicate. As people become more dependent on social media, they demand more, including customer service and ecommerce. A report from business process outsourcing provider STARTEK examines how social and mobile are affecting consumer engagement.” 

Why IT Departments Need Social, Digital Communication Strategies, InformationWeek
“The key to a successful customer engagement strategy is understanding how consumers want to interact with a brand and why. For IT, the survey results show that a digital and social media communications strategy needs to be prioritized.”

Study: Engagement happening in digital, Biz Report
“Forget the mall or a brick-and-mortar superstore. The place more consumers are engaging with brands is digital. According to STARTEK consumers are increasingly turning to the online space to contact brands, although younger consumers are leading this charge.”

Mobile Ends Marketing Channel Fragmentation, Target Marketing Magazine
“It’s official. Consumers are overwhelmingly using mobile devices to contact companies. That’s great news for marketers who’ve been vexed by channel fragmentation.”

Digital communication is leading channel for customer engagement, Biz Community
“From social media to virtual reality and email to chat, digital communication is the leading channel for customer engagement, lead by the millennial generation.”

Digital and social media now dominate customer engagement, which makes it imperative for brands to understand how customers prefer interacting on different channels. Understanding how, when and why customers connect with companies digitally helps brands identify the best channels, messages and engagement strategies to deepen customer relationships through positive interactions and experiences. 

STARTEK Brand Warriors Improve

It’s no secret that within thriving organizations, values align with beliefs. Those ideas and practices create the building blocks of organizational culture and lay the foundation for success. 

At STARTEK, our Brand Warriors are absolutely the key to our success as a business. For this reason, we regularly share collective ideas around our company’s core values as a way to keep the conversation relevant and inspire each other to achieve greatness in our work. 

We recently asked our Brand Warriors to define what the “Improve” core value means to them –whether that is going above and beyond for customers, working more efficiently with their team, or simply striving to get better every day. 

“Improve” can mean many things to our team of Brand Warriors. Here are just a few of those personal definitions: 

“Improve is standing out from the crowd. We are not here to check a box or just meet the basic expectations but to constantly challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zone and make amazing things happen.”
– Robert M.

 “To me, improve means increasing value that our clients have with us as a company and increase our own internal efficiency.”
– Erik P.

Local STARTEK Communities Prepare for Back-to-School

STARTEK teams across the country helped their local communities get ready for another exciting school year ahead.

The STARTEK Hamilton Center partnered with The Fitton Center as well as other local businesses and organizations to give away free school supplies and haircuts to Hamilton City Schools students. Children and their parents flocked to the event after seeing updates on social media, forming a massive line for the free school supplies including notebooks, pens and book bags.

This was the first back-to-school community initiative event for the STARTEK Hamilton Center but plans are already in the works for next year, according to this article from the Journal-News. Local students and parents can expect more food, fun activities and especially more school supplies to prepare for such a big crowd. 

STARTEK Brand Warriors in Mansfield, Ohio also gave a boost to the community by holding the second annual Back2School event earlier this month. This event was designed to help families lacking the necessary funds collect much-needed school supplies.

The team held an indoor carnival with lots of games, prizes and activities for kids, along with food and school supply giveaways as a way of giving back to the community and making sure children get off to the right start this school year. As an added bonus, local hair stylists were on-site offering free haircuts to students at no cost.

"We're always trying to come up with new, creative ways to impact the community," explains STARTEK Recruiting Manager, Don Kaufman in an article from the Richland Source

A few states away, Brand Warriors in Grand Junction, Colorado “stuffed the bus” to raise more than $400 for employees and the local community to prepare for the school year ahead. 

From collecting school supplies to raising funds, STARTEK Brand Warriors believe in giving back to the communities where we live and work. Community involvement is a huge part of our company culture, and we’re already looking forward to holiday initiatives in the months ahead. 

Roll Call: Trends and Challenges for Online Education

Emerging technology is paving the way for digital learning and online education. According to a recent survey, one in four students are taking at least one distance education course, and over 2.8 million students are taking courses exclusively online. In response, educational institutions are faced with the challenge of providing ongoing quality student care while simultaneously cutting costs and increasing operational efficiency. 

Here are some major trends and challenges facing the online education industry today:

Diverse Engagement Preferences

It is becoming increasingly difficult to describe the “typical” online student because needs and preferences vary greatly when it comes to online virtual education. Customized customer engagement experiences help education providers connect with students on their preferred communication channel to share information in a way that is personalized to the student. 

Operational Challenges

Online education companies have many distinct operational challenges to meet stringent quality and service level requirements in a highly charged regulatory environment. Failure to comply with federal, state and local regulations can be detrimental to the bottom line when it comes to loss of funding or harm to reputation because of poor performance. Education companies need to implement operational efficiencies to address declining enrollment, provide quality service and ensure students’ potential for success.

Seasonal Enrollment Spikes

Digital and online learning providers face the same seasonal engagement spikes as traditional education institutions, making optimum performance essential to meeting quality service standards. Inexperienced staff and poor customer service can often result in unrecoverable lost revenue during peak seasonal enrollment seasons. Consistently staffing for the annual enrollment period helps improve resource utilization and operational efficiencies, ensuring students are compatible with certain online education programs.

For more information on STARTEK’s education offerings, please contact Kristen Kuyatt at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Survey Says: Digital Communication Dominates Customer Engagement

The way consumers interact with brands is changing quickly as new mobile devices, wearable technology and social media platforms continue to enter the market. Digital and social media now dominate customer engagement, which makes it imperative for brands to understand how customers prefer interacting on different channels. Understanding more about how, when and why customers connect with companies digitally helps brands identify the best channels, messages and engagement strategies to deepen customer relationships, build brand advocates and reach new audiences.

In July 2016, STARTEK surveyed over 1,000 males and females in the United States to gain insight on key consumer preferences for using social media and connected devices to interact with brands, as well as their experiences and expectations across various communication channels.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • 84% contact a company through social media, email or live chat
  • 77% think it’s easy to communicate with a brand digitally
  • 80% receive good customer service using social media
  • 59% think it’s helpful to post on a company’s social media page for other customers to respond
  • 82% use a digital device via mobile, tablet, computer, or wearable tech to connect with a brand
  • 36% are excited to use virtual reality to communicate with a company in the future

The new survey report, Digital Communication Dominates Customer Engagement explores consumer behavior and evolving expectations for interacting digitally to provide brands with insights needed to create a strategy for delivering the best customer engagement experience.

Download the full report to learn more.

STARTEK to Present at the 2016 CCNG Executive Summit

Julie Weingardt to Discuss Digital Care

GREELEY, CO —  STARTEK, Inc. (“STARTEK”) (NYSE: SRT), a global customer engagement business process outsourcer, announces today that Julie Weingardt, Senior Vice President of Operations at STARTEK will be presenting at the 2016 CCNG Executive Summit in Fort Worth, Texas taking place August 8-9, 2016. 

During the Digital Care session, Weingardt will discuss the importance of meeting your customers in their channel of choice. Customers expect a personalized engagement that is seamless and consistent across all touchpoints, and they expect to engage whenever and however they want with brands. In response, companies must embrace an omnichannel approach to customer engagement to drive loyalty, maximize revenue, and create competitive differentiation.

A CCNG Magnet Program member with more than 20 years of BPO experience, Weingardt is particularly skilled at developing and executing omnichannel operational solutions across a wide variety of verticals. 

“I’m a proud member of the CCNG Magnet Program and excited to have the opportunity to participate in this year’s Executive Summit,” said Julie Weingardt, Senior Vice President of Operations for STARTEK. “I’m looking forward to discussing how creating an omnichannel experience throughout the customer journey drives loyalty, maximizes revenue and creates competitive differentiation with participants."

STARTEK Brand Warriors Empathize

Our Brand Warriors are made up of many core values including their ability to empathize, not only externally, but internally as well. Possessing and practicing this ability builds strong relationships between employees, customers and clients. Understanding what another employee might be going through represents the core value of being able to empathize. 

To find out whether or not our Brand Warriors are implementing the core values of our company, we regularly engage employees in a survey to understand what the core values mean to them. Recently we asked our employees what empathy means to them. 

To empathize means a variety things to our Brand Warriors, here are what some of them had to say about this core value:

“Whether it’s the customer on the other line or the employee sitting across from you, we should treat everyone with the same understanding.” – Alexis N.

“Empathy means listening to other perspectives on an issue with an open-mind and sharing feedback as needed.” – Saeed J.

“From shareholders and investors to employees and customers, when everyone at our company understands the needs of our clients, business is stronger.” – Courtney C.

“Empathy is the ability to put myself in the customer’s shoes.” – Jamie B.

“We need to find connections with our clients to better understand them and respond to their needs.” – Erwin E.

“Empathy is important because it brings you closer to the person you’re communicating with.” – Rose M.

“Effective empathy is the mindset that leadership is not about rank, power and privilege, but the willingness to place others’ needs above your own. Empathetic leadership means prioritizing the well-being of our team members and, in return, our team members will give everything they’ve got to protect and advance our organization.” – Fe J.

Our President & CEO Rings the Closing Bell at NY Stock Exchange

Earlier this week, our very own President and CEO, Chad Carlson, joined the prestigious list of celebrities and executives to stand behind the New York Stock Exchange podium to close the bell.

Background on New York Stock Exchange Opening & Closing Bell

The New York Stock Exchange’s (NYSE) opening and closing bells mark the start and end of each trading day. The opening bell is rung at 9:30 a.m. ET to mark the start of the day's trading session; and at 4:00 p.m. ET the closing bell is rung and trading for the day stops. 

Interesting Facts on the NYSE Bell:

  • A bell has been used to mark the start and end of each trading day for over 100 years, and the gavel has always been used in conjunction with the closing bell.
  • Each of the four trading areas of the NYSE has its own bell.
  • The first guest to ring the opening bell was Leonard Ross, in 1956. The 10-year-old had won a television quiz show answering questions about the stock market.
Financial Industry Trends To Watch

Advancements in digital experiences, mobile accessibility, data analytics, innovation and customer experiences are significantly changing the way consumers manage their finances. Here are a three major trends shaping the future of the finance industry:

Business Analytics & Data Insights

Rather than relying solely on mergers and acquisitions to drive growth, financial institutions are putting more emphasis on data analytics and business insights to better understand, navigate and predict risk and improve the customer experience. Exceptional customer service is critical to retaining loyal customers and expanding relationships to drive business growth. 

Personalization

Customer needs and expectations are constantly changing as a result of increased connectivity and more engagement channels. In response, financial institutions are working to connect digital interactions with live agent assistance to better integrate experiences across channels and provide personalized customer engagement. 

Mobile Banking & Payment 

Astonishing growth in mobile banking over the past few years shows no sign of slowing down, especially since today’s hyper-connected customer expects 24/7 access to their financial institution through multiple channels and devices. Additionally, mobile payment apps like Apple Pay and Android Pay were slow to catch on at first, but now that major retailers and large merchants are successfully completing transactions via smartphones, smaller companies are sure to follow. 

Mobile and online banking will only continue to grow, but won’t replace the need for branch locations and in-person interactions, especially since user privacy and information security are still major concerns for customers. One size does not fit all and financial service providers must focus on customizing engagement solutions and developing integrated strategies to keep up with the changing FinTech ecosystem. 

For more information on STARTEK financial service offerings, please contact Blayne Shell at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

STARTEK Employees Trade in Headsets for Running Shoes to Raise Funds for the American Cancer Society

GREELEY, CO — STARTEK, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE: SRT), a global customer engagement business process outsourcer, today announced a donation of $5,166 to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  Employees participated in company-sponsored fund raising events as well as the relay weekend held on Saturday, June 4 at University High School in Greeley, Colorado. 

Over the past three months, STARTEK employees made donations for “dress down” days, prime parking space raffles, bake sales and chair massages along with holding a Zumbathon and competitive dime drive.  Additionally, they took turns walking and running the track over a 12-hour period starting Saturday afternoon.  Fifty-six teams in total participated this year in the Weld County Relay For Life event and raised over $162,000.  STARTEK achieved second place under the team size category of 16 or more participants and reached the gold fundraising level.

“STARTEK Brand Warriors have participated in this amazing event for the past ten years and are proud to be on the front lines in the fight against cancer,” said Mindy Cubrich, STARTEK’s Greeley Engagement Center Director.  “We’ve literally poured our hearts and ‘soles’ into supporting this important cause, which has touched so many families locally and around the world.”

Money raised during Relay For Life helps fund the American Cancer Society’s mission of eliminating cancer by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. 

The Society is the largest nonprofit supporter of new cancer research and the largest voluntary health organization fighting cancer in our country and around the world.

STARTEK Received AT&T 2015 Supplier Diversity Crystal Award

GREELEY, CO — STARTEK, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE: SRT), a global customer engagement business process outsourcer, received the AT&T 2015 Supplier Diversity Crystal Award on June 8, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. 

“We’re honored to have won AT&T’s Crystal Award for 2014 & 2015 and to support AT&T’s commitment to promoting, increasing and improving the participation of diverse suppliers,” stated Emily Millar, Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts for STARTEK. 

The 2015 Supplier Diversity Crystal Award recognizes select Prime Suppliers’ performance that contributed to AT&T exceeding its diversity spend target for its Prime Supplier program. STARTEK was part of a select group who attained and/or exceeded 21.5 percent diversity utilization in 2015.

2015 Supplier Diversity Crystal Award winners include ABBCO Service Corporation, ABM, Accord Creditor Services, ACG; AFL, Altec Industries, Inc, Anixter Inc., Blackberry Corporation, Capgemini U.S. LLC, CBRE Global Workplace Solutions, Ciena Communications, AFNI, Inc., Cisco, CommScope, Communications Test Design, Inc., Computer Sciences Corporation, Corning Optical Communications, Dell Technologies, Duffey Southeast, Inc., Ericsson, Inc., IXIA, Nabholz Construction, Extrameasures

Genco, a Fedex Company, Gilbane Building Company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Juniper Networks, Inc., LG Electronics Mobilecomm USA, Inc, Microsoft, Nokia, OneTouch Direct, RCS Systems Inc., Ryder System, Inc., Raycap, Samsung, Skyler Electric Co. Inc., STARTEK, Sykes Enterprises, Inc., Telecom Expertise Industries, Inc., Teleperformance, Teletech, The Beck Group, Tollgrade Communications, Inc. and WEX, Inc.

 

STARTEK Brand Warriors Take Ownership

At STARTEK, our employees have the passion, dedication, responsibility and enthusiasm that embody the Brand Warrior spirit. This means providing great customer service to solve problems, answer questions and provide guidance in an era of relentless omnichannel communication because brand loyalty depends on happy, engaged customers. 

Core values at STARTEK provide the foundation for driving deeper relationships and interactions with customers to protect and promote our clients’ brands. For this reason, we discuss company values regularly to engage employees and ensure the Brand Warrior culture is aligned with the STARTEK vision. 

We asked our team of Brand Warriors to share their perspective on ownership — one of our core values — and couldn’t be more thrilled with the responses. Here are just a few of our employees’ comments:

“Being accountable for your actions and how you perform your job. You need to understand your personal strengths and weaknesses and be enthusiastic about both. You need to have the desire and motivation to learn more in order to grow professionally.”
— Steve B. 

“Assuming responsibility and handling situations from start to finish to ensure successful resolution.”
— Kristen D.

“Doing what it takes to get the job done and holding yourself and your team accountable for meeting deadlines, achieving goals and delivering results that are both on time and on target." 
— Jay M.

“Taking pride in your work, building relationships and consistently positioning yourself, your team and your client for success.”
— Isaiah W.

“Having the courage to step forward when it might be easier to just step aside.”
— Lee E. 

STARTEK centers across the globe are dedicated to improving and supporting the local communities through direct involvement and volunteerism because at STARTEK, Community Matters.

Community Matters is a corporate social responsibility program aimed at engaging employees in charitable local initiatives including health and wellness, hunger and basic needs relief and education advocacy. Each STARTEK location is active in the Community Matters program, which includes volunteering and raising funds for local and national charity organizations. From donating toys, clothes and food to building homes, serving meals and raising funds, the program provides a platform to give back to the communities where our employees live and work.

Community involvement is a big part of working at STARTEK and our reputation for community involvement has been an effective aspect of recruiting and retention. We believe in giving back to the communities where we live and work and our employees spend countless hours volunteering and fundraising as part of the team culture. While paying it forward is personally rewarding, it also benefits business by fostering a sense of belonging and teamwork, lowering employee turnover and boosting overall productivity. 

Here is a snapshot of Community Matters program success in the past six months:

Q4 2015

Q1 2016

The ROI of Employee Engagement

STARTEK company culture is fed by the passion, dedication, responsibility and enthusiasm of our Brand Warriors who provide the best possible experience to everyone they reach. The value of relationships is a fundamental core value that permeates every aspect of our culture. Whether it’s with our clients or employees, STARTEK places tremendous focus on building trusted relationships established on mutual respect, cooperation and investment in collaborative success.

Our philosophy is that if you treat employees well, listen to them and give them room to grow, they will personally invest to achieve company goals.

Employee engagement is the solution to internal innovation, organizational growth and more satisfied, loyal customers. According to recent data from the Gallup Organization, engaging employees and customers generates up to two-and-a-half times the financial gains than companies lacking an employee engagement strategy.

Here’s a few ways that STARTEK invests in our employees:

  1. By offering great benefits
  2. Creating growth for career opportunities
  3. Community involvement opportunities

STARTEK is committed to connecting our employees to something larger. We deliver the right people, trained and guided by the right leadership, and enabled by the right technology, to make a meaningful impact on our clients’ businesses. 

STARTEK PCI-DSS 3.1 Certification

STARTEK is proud to announce our global PCI-DSS 3.1 certification.  Our annual certification is not only critical for our continued operations, but our consistent demonstrated compliance with increasingly stringent PCI standards.  At STARTEK, we value our clients and want to ensure we help eliminate risks to their customers. Staying compliant allows STARTEK to be part of the overall solution.  Year over year, we demonstrate our commitment to security and compliance by meeting and adhering to the certification changes.  At a summary level, STARTEK, as a Business Associate is required to:

  • Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability by building and maintaining a secure network
  • Protect against threats by maintaining vulnerability management programs like up to date Anti-Virus software
  • Implement strong access control measures by monitoring and testing networks
  • Uphold and follow our Information Security Policy

This year specifically involved a significant amount of effort from our IT team to align with a new version of more stringent audited PCI standards versus the prior year.  Please join us in thanking our entire IT Network and Systems teams for their time substantial time and diligence. 

We’re very proud of the hard work by our Operations Management, IT, and Compliance teams for implementing IT security policies and procedures at site-level and ensuring ongoing compliance in our applications.

STARTEK will continue working with our clients and auditors to be transparent about our regulations for information security. Our auditor’s official PCI-DSS conclusion is available upon request.

5 Ways Retailers Can Engage Customers on Social Media

Increased mobile connectivity and the growth of social media has created a variety of touch points across all phases of the customer lifecycle from product research to customer support. But are retail brands effectively utilizing social media networks to increase brand visibility and boost sales?

Here are five ways retail brands can better engage with customers on social media.

Post regularly

Customers are consistently browsing, sharing and posting on social media, even if a retail brand is not. To maintain ongoing engagement with customers, retail brands should post a steady stream of social media content including product updates, company news and relevant industry trends. Check integrated platform analytics to determine the best times to reach and engage with the target audience and maintain consistency by scheduling posts in advance.  

Get visual

Strong visuals are especially important for retail brands on social media because they are more likely to be shared and require less time and effort to process than plain text. Visual content also conveys emotion better than text alone, which is the foundation for establishing trust between brands and customers.

Include call to action

Tell social media fans what to do next by including a clear call to action that matches the goal of the post. Promote engagement by asking a question at the end of a post or requesting feedback in the comments, drive traffic to other sources by inviting fans to “sign up” or “click to learn more,” and even boost conversions with purchase features on some social networks.

Monitor and optimize

Regularly monitor social media analytics and audience insights data to better understand which types of posts are performing best. Regular reporting and ongoing performance monitoring allows retailers to make adjustments that optimize content for better engagement.

Join the conversation

Use discovery hashtags to join ongoing social media conversations as a way to reach new customers organically as well as engage with key influencers online. Ongoing social monitoring also helps retailers estimate the volume of conversation about various brands, products and trends at any given time.

From guiding purchase decisions with inspiring visual content to providing omnichannel customer support, social media offers an easy, non-intrusive way for brands to engage with customers.

For more information about STARTEK social media customer care programs, please visit STARTEK Solutions.

STARTEK Spotlight: Jeffersonville Center Employee, Janet Gore Celebrates 20 Years

STARTEK provides incredible customer engagement to some of the world’s most recognizable brands.  Each day, our brand Warriors help our clients’ customers get answers to their questions and quickly solve their problems, ensuring those companies are well represented and their brands are protected and promoted. There is a Brand Warrior behind every customer interaction here at STARTEK, and we value our employees’ dedication to providing the best experience to everyone they reach.

Recently, we sat down with Brand Warrior, Janet Gore, to understand what makes STARTEK such a great company to work for. Janet is celebrating her 20-year anniversary this month, so she is certainly the expert when it comes to superb customer engagement.

What is the best part about working at STARTEK?

The best part of working here is the people! My co-workers are like an extended family, and I really enjoy coming to work with them every day.

What advice would you give to a new Brand Warrior?

If you work hard, you will be rewarded. Be on time, give 110% and encourage your team members to do the same. The collaborative work environment is one of the best parts about this job, so as long as you’re a team player, you too will be successful.

What is the most memorable customer engagement experience you’ve had during your tenure?

A customer once called because her washing machine was broken, and she was very distressed because she had no way of doing laundry for her family. Being able to console her during that time of chaos was very rewarding because I could tell how truly appreciative she was that I was able to help get her broken washing machine fixed quickly.

What are your goals for your bright future here at STARTEK? 

I would like to step into a greater leadership role as a trainer so I can share my knowledge with others on my team.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your 20 years with the company?

I think my experience with different STARTEK programs has made me a better employee, and I really love how much I’ve been able to help people based on my knowledge of different industries. I learn new things all the time. 

LYNCHBURG, Va. - A call center in the Lynchburg area is expanding and offering higher salaries to attract more highly skilled workers.

Startek is adding 250 positions at its facility in Campbell County.

The newly hired workers will handle calls for Startek's clients in the broadband and wireless phone industries.  Those jobs need more training and they offer a larger paycheck.

Certain positions will now pay as much as $11.00 per-hour.

Here is a breakdown of the salary changes:

Level 1 Customer Care Representatives:

- Currently earning $9 will receive a base rate increase to $10.50

- Those earning $9.50 per hour will receive a 12 percent increase


Level 2 Customer Care Representatives:

- Currently earning less than $11 will receive a base rate increase to $11

"We always say that we hire for attitude and train for skill, so we are definitely looking for those who are genuinely interested in engaging with our clients and can demonstrate and give them that 'wow' effect," said Mireille De Bruycker, engagement center director for Startek's Lynchburg facility.

The new wages went into effect March 21.  Anyone interested in the new positions can apply online atwww.startek.com/careers or in person at their call center on Waterlick Road.

Copyright © 2016, WDBJ7

http://www.wdbj7.com/news/local/campbell-county-call-center-offers-higher-wages-amid-job-expansion/38815188

Self-Service Technology and the Future of Customer Engagement

Why Self-Service Technology?

Brands are using self-service technology in an effort to give consumers more convenience and a personalized experience, while also reducing human error. As consumers’ buying power continues to evolve, brands are on the hunt for new avenues to maintain open communication with digitally savvy consumers. As new support systems are integrated into customer engagement experiences, innovative DIY tools are attracting a new generation of consumers who want a more tailored brand experience.

Allied Market Research predicts that the self-service tech market will exceed $31 billion by 2020 thanks to retail chains, banking and healthcare industries integrating self-service kiosks as a part of their customer engagement strategy.

Understand the Audience

To expand a customer engagement strategy to include self-service technology, it is most important to know your customer and how they prefer interacting with you brand or company. If you don’t know your audience, how are you supposed to connect with them in a way that appeals to them?

Put the Customer in Control

In a constantly changing digital environment, people want to communicate with companies in a way that makes them feel comfortable. They want total control over their own support experience and self-service technology allows them to determine how and when they interact with brands. This creates a sense of instant gratification and provides an easy option for self-service.

Be the Best Resource

As technology is integrated into existing customer engagement strategies, brands must position themselves as a go-to resource and trusted advisor for answering questions and making recommendations. Continue to provide a stellar customer engagement experience by maintaining personal interactions online, use consistent messaging and feature up-to-date information on deals and promotions.

Do you think self-service technology will change the way consumers engage with brands?

STARTEK Warriors in Need Program

At STARTEK, we place a tremendous amount of focus on building trusted relationships that are established on a foundation of mutual respect, cooperation, and investment in one another’s success.  It’s at the very heart of our Brand Warrior calling – to stand behind every team member so that you can stand behind every client brand.  This is especially important during times when our employees face hardship.

In 2014, STARTEK launched Warriors In Need, a non-profit foundation designed to provide basic necessities and temporary financial relief for STARTEK employees who are in need as a result of a disaster or extraordinary life event. The program was developed by employees, for employees, and is primarily funded by STARTEK employee contributions to help one another during times of struggle. 

STARTEK brand warriors hold fundraising events and donate through payroll deductions, even as little as one dollar from each paycheck, which goes into a fund to help other STARTEK employees who have experienced a catastrophe such as an unexpected illness, fire, flood or other unexpected event that causes them to need financial help.

Employees can apply to Warriors in Need for disaster assistance and an anonymous group of STARTEK employees reviews all applications and decides on which ones to fund based upon the merits of the request against a specific set of criteria.

Warriors in Need operates as a separate 501(c)(3) with its own committees and advisory board. As a Community Foundation, employee contributions are tax deductible and assistance grants are tax-free to recipients in the United States. Unlike a private foundation, Warriors in Need can accept contributions from many sources including employees, vendors, and clients.

The WIN program has already proven to be an essential resource for more than one Brand Warrior facing a critical crisis. In the past year alone, STARTEK employees have contributed thousands of dollars in personal donations and volunteered their time to help support their fellow Warriors in Need.

Here is the 2015 breakdown:

For more information about Warriors in Need, please visit: http://www.Warriors-In-Need.org ;

5 Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2016

Emerging technology and recent healthcare reform policies have propelled the industry to a point where consumers and providers alike are adopting ways to make patient care more convenient, accessible and cost-effective for everyone. Considering 2016 is an election year, now is the time to evaluate the current state of the healthcare industry and examine key trends that are expected to drive political campaigns and election ballots this November.

Here are five major healthcare trends to watch in 2016:

Proactive Health & Wellness

Consumers are redefining health by taking a proactive – even progressive – approach to maintaining their wellness. Growth rates in the wellness sector will continue as more patients and providers proactively shift dollars toward preventative care, changing the way they eat, exercise and manage stress.

Retail Health Care

Instead of making an appointment with a primary care physician, many consumers are now opting for quick visits to walk-in clinics located in a pharmacy, retail chain or supermarket to save time and money. The retail health industry is surging to accommodate the growing demand, with the number of clinics expected to grow 12 percent by the end of 2016.                                 

Connected Care

Mobile health app adoption has doubled in the last two years putting health and personal care in the palm of your hand though smartphones and connected systems and devices. The shift to digital patient care helps lower costs for providers and increases access to patient monitoring, diagnosis and treatment. Connected care services like remote patient monitoring also lowers readmission rates for in-office visits.

Telemedicine

As the health system moves away from fee-for-service, providers are turning to virtual medicine to expand services in areas like behavioral and mental health. Video chat consultation and live digital care provides a quicker, easier way for patients to connect with clinicians and decreases the volume and frequency of office visits. More insurers are covering telemedicine services in 2016, allowing consumers access health care 24/7 and at a fraction of the price. Telemedicine is especially beneficial for reducing volume in overcrowded facilities like urgent care, emergency rooms, after-hours clinics or in situations where patients are homebound and restricted in mobility.

House Calls

In the 1930s, physician house calls accounted for 40 percent of medical visits, according to a 2011 article in the journal American Academy of Family Physicians. Several start-ups around the country are implementing home-based patient care programs that bringing care directly to the patient with the simple push of a button through a mobile app.

For more information on STARTEK’s health care offerings, please contact Donna Martin at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Lynn Poulos at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

2016 STARTEK Summit: Ready to Soar!

What do Olympic athletes and STARTEK’s team members have in common? Both are determined, focused, committed and have a very strong work ethic – they are great team players and love what they do.

The annual STARTEK Leadership Summit brought leaders from across the company to Denver to discuss STARTEK’s strategic objectives and measurements of success; each department’s vision and goals; and how to empower each individual’s role in the organization.

A few key discussions focused on ways to disrupt the traditional BPO model and how our current offerings led to being the most “Trusted Customer Engagement BPO”. From networking to team building exercises and bowling to an Awards Ceremony, the weeklong event united the company and produced many great ideas for growth and built stronger internal relationships.

Chard Carlson, CEO Kicking off the Summit

Above: Chad Carlson, CEO, kicking off the Summit

Highlights That Stood Out:

STARTEK invited a special guest to the Summit, 1998 Olympic Gold Medalist freestyle skier, Nikki Stone. Not only did she bring her Gold Medal for photo opportunities, she spoke about leadership and the importance of never giving up, specifically citing her Olympic story.

Above: Nikki Stone discusses leadership

Nikki discussed her motto, the “Turtle Effect”, that in order to be successful, you must be soft on the inside, have a hard shell, and be willing to stick your neck out. Her presentation was highly interactive, dynamic and was enjoyed by all.

Additionally, the team building exercises were one of the favorite activities of the Summit. This year’s challenge was to build bike. Each team came from different functional areas  across the company and earned pieces of the bike by completing challenges that focused on STARTEK’s vision, values, capabilities and background. Teams competed in word search, Q&A, a word puzzle, and each team created name along with a performance – think skit, song, dance, etc. – that incorporated the team name.

Above: Team Blue, comprised of Randy Fischer, John Hoholik, Marsha Bogart, Tess Tijidor, and Eric Concepcion.

The Summit wrapped up with an Awards Ceremony on Thursday evening with Jennifer Newton receiving the prestigious 2015 President’s Award for her positive, significant, measurable and sustained impact on STARTEK and its clients’ business. Jennifer’s extensive company knowledge, responsiveness and professionalism has made one of the single biggest impacts to the company. Congrats Jennifer, it’s truly a pleasure to work with you!

Additional 2015 STARTEK Impact Players include;

  • Mario Baddour – Corporate Vice President, Operations

  • Chris Black – Myrtle Beach Site Director

  • Chris Bondoc – Makati Operations Manager

  • David Bullock – Corporate Director, Account Management

  • Linda Chambliss – Corporate Vice President, Operations

  • Erin Contreras – Corporate Sr. Director of Compensation, Benefits, and HRIS

  • Sol Cruz – Makati Senior Operations Manager

  • Mindy Cubrich – Greeley Site Director

  • David Deluna – Tegucigalpa Director, Operations

  • Aves Fermo – Makati Senior Project Manager

  • Josh Harris – Corporate Director, Real Estate

  • Roland Hessen – Mansfield Senior Operations Manager

  • Jane (Frances) Hidalgo – Iloilo Senior Operations Manager

  • Paul Higdon – Corporate Director, IT PMO & TAM

  • Chris Higgins – Grand Junction Site Director

  • Arika Isaacson – Colorado Springs Operations Manager

  • Saeed Jamshidinezhad – Corporate IT Support Services

  • Becky Johnson – Corporate HR Generalist

  • Dwain Kent – Corporate Director, Professional Services

  • Shelley Kwik Mitchell – Frontera Verde Director, Training and Quality

  • Jason Lamacki – Corporate Director, Account Management

  • Gerald Lucas – Mansfield Operations Manager

  • Tom Luther – Mansfield Site Director

  • Jay Mathewson – Corporate Director, PMI

  • Thangie McDermott – Jamaica Senior Operations Manager

  • Mark Munsayac – Iloilo Director, Operations

  • Jennifer Newton – Corporate Director, Financial Planning and Analysis

  • Joy (Christine) Rivera – Angeles Senior Operations Manager

Information Technology Team – Corporate

  • Wayne White

  • Marsha Bogart

  • Jamie Vernon

  • Miguel Bonilla

  • Alan Castaneda

  • Don Davis

  • Mike Ely

  • Mark Schneider

The annual STARTEK Leadership Summit was a huge success and brought a greater sense of collaboration that provided a jumpstart on several cross-functional initiatives for 2016!

 

 

5 Ways Brands Can Successfully Reach Customers Through Social Media

A strong social media presence is a crucial component of businesses large and small across all types of industries from retail to telecom. STARTEK understands that great social media can improve brand messaging, influence online sentiment and provide a valuable resource for customer service. 

Today, STARTEK supports social care programs across leading retail, manufacturing, consumer electronics, automotive, technology and ecommerce brands. Through social best practices the team maximizes every interaction. 

“In order to have a comprehensive brand strategy for social, a brand must embrace social care along with social marketing and social community management. A great social care strategy can increase customer loyalty, help improve brand perception and set your brand apart from your competitors. In addition, looking beyond Facebook and Twitter to areas other social areas like Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, Yelp and even Reddit will make sure that no customer, or potential customer goes unheard,” explains Roger Huff, director of social media & digital engagement for STARTEK. 

To understand the benefits, here are five ways brands can successfully reach customers through social media. 

Responsive Customer Service

If customers know that they can reach out to a brand through social media and are encouraged to do so, this presents an opportunity to provide great customer service in front of a large online audience. Quick, responsive customer service through social media ensures visible accountability for a brand and demonstrates the importance of quality customer care across a variety of mediums.  

Authentic Engagement

Rather than just focusing on the company and its products or services, utilize social media to educate and engage your customers in addition to providing the expected level of customer support. Be creative with social media content to establish your brand as a credible source. Share interesting industry news that aligns with your brand, ask engaging open-ended questions to promote social conversation and encourage existing followers to share with their own personal networks. 

Organic Community Growth

Social networks offer brands the unique ability to expand its share of voice and boost online sentiment within key audiences through social sharing and authentic engagement. Creating a sense of community among existing followers is a great way to gain new followers that share the same values while also establishing and maintaining trust with the brand. People are more likely to trust organic content shared by someone in their social network over sponsored content served to them through audience targeting. Brands have the opportunity to reach new audiences through existing follower networks in an organic, non-intrusive way. 

Understand Your Audience

With a myriad of existing social media platforms available to brands and more emerging by the day, it can be slightly overwhelming to determine which ones are most valuable in reaching company goals. The key to reaching customers on social media is understanding where they are spending their time consuming online content and how they are using social media to communicate with brands. By understanding customer habits and behaviors, brands can properly allocate resources and focus on the channels with the most opportunity for engaging customers and providing the best support. 

Be Flexible

Social media is always changing, so it is important to stay nimble and adjust your brand’s social strategy as the landscape continues to evolve. Evaluate social media efforts on a regular basis to ensure the existing strategy is meeting company goals and effectively reaching and engaging your customers. 

Whether your brand is just getting started on social media or already has an established social presence, the opportunity to reach and engage audiences online will only continue to grow as the emerging generation of connected customers turn to social media for education, entertainment and ongoing support from their favorite brands. 

For more information about STARTEK social media customer care programs, please visit STARTEK Solutions.

Five Questions with STARTEK’s New SVP, CFO and Treasurer, Don Norsworthy

We recently sat down with Don Norsworthy, STARTEK’s new Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer to get his thoughts on a CFOs’ role in today’s digital world, his excitement about joining STARTEK and a fun fact about him. Here’s what he had to say:

 

How does the CFO position contribute to STARTEK's role to be the most trusted BPO service provider? 

Today’s CFO is responsible for deploying resources to all functional areas and putting them in a position to succeed. There is a finite level of deployed staffing, hard dollar expenses and capital expenditures; the decision to deploy resources needs to encompass both the strategic direction of the company along with the need for both short term and long term profitability. Ultimately, STARTEK needs to be a successful partner for our clients through operational excellence.

 

How do non-financial issues affect your role as CFO?

I deal with non-financial issues every day; today’s business climate is impacted beyond financial issues such as politics and the resulting regulatory environment. Even weather has a significant impact on global based businesses.

 

What is the ultimate role for CFOs in 2016?

To stay in front of the curve! You can’t take your eye off of the ball in a global economy. From the challenge of continued escalating healthcare costs to the emerging hosted IT solution environment in our industry, we operate in a very dynamic world. A CFO has to be immersed in their business, but also in the global business environment. 

 

Why are you excited about joining STARTEK?

The people and the leadership team. STARTEK has an incredible platform for growth, and I am 100% committed to giving the team the correct resources to be successful - it’s really that simple.

 

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I have a twin brother; he graduated from Georgia Tech and I graduated from the University of Georgia - of course they are pretty intense rivals in college sports. If he called you on the phone you would swear it is me; as we have gotten older, it is a little easier to tell our voices apart. But when we were young, we looked so much alike that even my Dad could not tell us apart. We have never been tested to see if we are identical. 

STARTEK Spotlight: Mansfield Center

The brand warriors at the Mansfield Center have a great thing going -- they’re driven, motivated, just competitive enough, and most importantly value one another for the qualities they each bring to the team. The Mansfield site has grown a lot over the past few years and the team has evolved right along with the business while still maintaining their humble and hungry philosophy. 

Mansfield is a very diverse contact center in terms of the industries it serves. The team provides inbound customer support, back office assistance, outbound sales and social media support for popular retailers, as well as advanced technical support and activation services for telecom and financial clients.  

Here’s an inside look at what makes the Mansfield Center shine:

  • Our People: The foundation of greatness. The family-first atmosphere and supportive team environment is undoubtedly the best part about the Mansfield Center. They help each other to grow as people and professionals.
  • Our Values: The Mansfield Center Brand Warriors “Bring It” to stay on top. Healthy competition among team members inspires a creative, driven culture that works together to be the best. 
  • Our Facilities: Several on-site rooms provide fun, brand-inspired work spaces for the team.
  • Our Community: Mansfield was the top site for STARTEK fundraising in Q3 2015, contributing more than $4,000 to support the local community.
Incorporating New Channels To Your Customer Engagement Strategy

Today’s marketers have a variety of distribution channels - from marketing applications to social media networks - available to utilize in their marketing strategy. Empowered consumers pay attention to how brands engage with them across all channels, whether it is through social media, mobile or wearable technology devices. 

For businesses looking to create a sense of community and retain customers, it's important to create a cohesive journey across multiple touch points both on and offline. The challenge for marketers is determining which combination of outlets is the best fit for the brand, and how to incorporate the message in its existing outreach strategy. 

A new engagement channel

Determining the right approach for a brand to engage consumers can be challenging, especially since new channels like wearable technology continue to emerge in the digital space. Most channels marketers use to engage with their customers are determined by trends driven by Millennials and Gen Z. 

For example, in a recent survey by STARTEK, 70 percent of consumers are ready to begin engaging with brands through wearable technology. Similarly, three out of four Millennials believe wearable technology is a unique approach for brands to connect and engage with customers. 

When creating marketing strategies, ask how each channel will contribute to growing the brand’s network of customer advocates. How do these consumers want to interact with brands? 

For Millennials, social media and wearable technology devices are obvious touch points. For Baby Boomers, a more traditional approaches like email marketing may be a better fit. 

Brands have to understand where and how their audiences are consuming content in order to create a strategic approach to authentic customer engagement. In return, brands are able to collect real-time insights and behavioral data to have a deeper understanding of their customers’ patterns.

A personal relationship

Today’s marketers must choose the right channel to reach their audience and take advantage of consumer preference data in the process. 

STARTEK’s consumer research found that half of those surveyed would buy wearable technology just so that brands can send alerts and have insights to their lifestyle, including information on purchase habits, likes and dislikes. 

These audience insights create opportunities for brands to connect on a deeper level and provide more personalized messages to different segments of their consumer base. Consumers are more likely to build and maintain relationships with brands that understand them and how they like to engage. 

For example, a user interaction occurs when a customer praises a company through a tweet, or “checks in” at a location through their mobile device. Brands can then use the information collected at these intersections of customer engagement to create tailored messages unique to audience interests. It’s this level of personal connection that can turn first-time buyers into lifetime brand advocates, and keeps marketers connected to its consumers.

Is your brand voice consistent?

Today’s consumers are constantly feed digital messages, and brands are forced to compete for their attention to emotionally connect with their consumers. Consistent messaging remains a key factor in creating effective cross-channel engagement strategies, and marketers need to examine the value of a new channel before adding it to the mix. 

Three questions to consider are: Who is your audience? How are they consuming content? And most importantly, how can they be reached and impacted by the message? 

From wearable tech to mobile to email, the brand voice must remain consistent across all channels and communicate consistent messaging specific to the platform’s audience. More than a spokesperson, tagline or logo, a consistent brand voice is a distinctive experience that establishes valuable connections to the brand. 

The key factor behind successful cross-channel marketing is measuring audience engagement across all platforms to identify the intersection of consumer behavior and personal connections with the brand. With the consumer in control of the content they’re served, marketers are able to cater message strategies specific to their audience and continue building personal relationships with new and existing customers.

View the Wearable Tech Survey findings here.

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO — StarTek, Inc. (“STARTEK”) (SRT), a provider of business process outsourcing services, has appointed Don Norsworthy as senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, effective November 16, 2015. Norsworthy succeeds Lisa Weaver, who has left the company to pursue career opportunities closer to her family in Tennessee.

Norsworthy joins STARTEK after serving as CFO and executive vice president of ACCENT Marketing Services, which was acquired by STARTEK in May 2015. Prior to the acquisition, Norsworthy led a successful restructure of the company, significantly reducing operating expenses while maintaining service levels and returning the company to positive cash flow.

Prior to ACCENT, Norsworthy held several CFO positions across a range of industries, including CFO of CKS Packaging, Integrity Solution Services and Portrait Corporation of America. Norsworthy also served as president and CEO of Protocal Global Solutions, a contact center company with eight facilities across the globe. Norsworthy received a BA in Economics from the University of Georgia and MBA from Georgia State University.

“Don brings over twenty years of executive financial experience to STARTEK,” said Chad Carlson, president and CEO of STARTEK. “His expertise in leading and restructuring organizations will bode well as we look to reduce operating costs and increase capacity utilization across our sites. Don’s specific experience in the BPO/contact center arena will also enable him to immediately contribute and lead our finance organization as we seek profitability and a return to free cash flow.”

“Lisa served as an exceptional finance executive for STARTEK and was instrumental to several strategic objectives over the last four years,” added Carlson. “We appreciate her assistance during this transition and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

In connection with Norsworthy’s appointment, STARTEK will grant him an option to purchase 75,000 shares of the company’s common stock, which will be described in more detail in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The stock option will be issued according to the “employment inducement awards” exception to the New York Stock Exchange rule requiring stockholder approval of equity-based incentive plans.

About STARTEK

STARTEK strives to be the most trusted BPO service provider delivering comprehensive contact center and customer engagement solutions. Our employees, whom we call Brand Warriors, are enabled and empowered to promote and protect our client’s brand. For over 25 years, these Brand Warriors have been committed to making a positive impact for our clients’ business results, enhancing the customer experience while reducing costs for our clients. With the latest technology in the BPO industry and our STARTEK Advantage System, our Brand Warriors instill customer loyalty through a variety of multi-channel customer interactions, including voice, chat, email and IVR. Our service offerings include sales support, order processing, customer care and receivables management and customer analytics. For more information, please visit http://www.STARTEK.com.

Read More:

STARTEK Appoints Don Norsworthy as Chief Financial Officer

 

Jeffersonville Center Celebrates 2015 Customer Engagement Week

Over 20 years ago Customer Service Week became a nationally recognized event that is celebrated during the first full week of each October. During this special week, organizations celebrate the hard work of their customer-focused employees. 

Last month the Jeffersonville engagement center, with a STARTEK-spin, celebrated “Customer Engagement Week” October 5-9. From dressing up to as a favorite rock star to participating in the “Overcoming Barriers” obstacle course to a Pie-in-the-Face fundraiser, the week was filled with laughter and teambuilding. 

2015 Customer Engagement Week wrapped up with Food Truck Friday that featured local fare and good conversation among the entire Jeffersonville engagement center. We were truly thrilled with all the participation throughout the week, and we’re looking forward to celebrating our engagement specialists next year!

Greater Cincinnati Firm to Add 130 Workers After Landing New Contract

A Greater Cincinnati firm that could eventually employ nearly 700 people is starting a new hiring surge.

Startek USA Inc. (NYSE: SRT) is looking for 130 new employees, including 50 to 75 to service a new client that will have customer support based in its new Hamilton call center.

There are available positions at both an entry level and the management level, including quality analysts, supervisors, trainers and front line associates. New applicants would be asked to start on Nov. 9 and would work 12-9 p.m. with Tuesdays and Wednesdays off. Base pay is $10.25 per hour, and there is potential to earn additional incentives. Interested applicants can apply at Startek’s Hamilton engagement center at 150 High St. or online.

The company announced plans at the beginning of October to hire 150 new employees, and its Hamilton site now has about 200 total employees. Vice president of operations Lenny Padron told me there is space for about 500 employees right now in Startek’s Hamilton facility and 150 to 180 additional workspaces could be added.

Padron expects Startek’s current space to be filled by the end of 2016.

“We’re in the midst of a pretty aggressive ramp,” he said. “We’re hoping to have a really successful launch there and fill the seats we need to for our clients.”

The Hamilton call center services a variety of clients, including cable providers, telecommunications firms, a retailer and a wireless services provider, which allows the facility to hire a variety of employees and maximize its resources in Hamilton, Padron told me.

Employees who join Startek’s team now will have a lot of potential for promotion, Padron said, because quick decisions will have to be made to fill clients’ needs.

“We end up promoting a lot of individuals from within,” he said. “Getting in early is a really good opportunity for career growth.”

Startek received approval for a 65 percent, seven-year tax credit from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority in February that requires it to stay at its new site for at least 10 years. Those tax credits could be worth up to $1.3 million.

Read More:

Greater Cincinnati Firm to Add 130 Workers After Landing New Contract

State of the City Gives Snapshots of the Past, Present, Future

HAMILTON — Hamilton is going to be bold, beautiful and a magnet for jobs and job seekers, according to the blueprint laid out for the city in the next five years by City Manager Joshua Smith and Mayor Patrick Moeller at the sold-out 2015 State of the City Address held at the Courtyard By Marriott Hamilton Thursday afternoon.

Kenny Craig, president/CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, hosts of the event along with the Rotary Club and Kiwanis, said that the sell-out crowd, estimated at over 280 people, was record setting.

“I can honestly say that this is the largest crowd we’ve ever had at our Red Carpet Luncheon,” Craig said. “People must be really excited about they are going to hear today.”

Before Moeller delivered his speech, he asked the crowded room to take a moment of silence for Hamilton police Sgt. Gerald Butler, who lost his life Tuesday night in a car accident. The mayor called him a great officer and family man, then preceded to talk about a boxer, whose career was analogous to what Hamilton is about.

Read More:

State of the City Gives Snapshots of the Past, Present, Future

Are You Ready To Engage With Consumers On Wearable Tech?

Wearable technology – a natural extension of online and mobile channels–is quickly emerging as the latest consumer engagement channel presenting new opportunities for brands to deliver more personalized and informed service, faster checkout, greater access to discounts and deals, and real-time input into consumer purchasing decisions.

By 2018, wearable technology is projected to grow to a $19 billion market. Nearly 70% of consumers are reporting they are ready to engage with brands through wearable tech devices, according to our recentWearable Technology Survey.

By developing a deeper understanding on how consumers want to engage with brands through their preferred channel, brands are able to establish a more personal connection and share more personalized content with their customers. CMOs and marketing professionals need to be ready to engage via wearable technology in order to improve their customer journey engagement strategies.

Consumers Are Ready For Wearables
After surveying more than 1,000 consumers who own or plan to buy wearable tech this year, we’ve confirmed that consumers are excited about adopting this new technology and ultimately want seamless customer engagement from mobile and social to wearables.

With three out of four Millennials believing wearable tech is a new way brands can engage with customers, marketers need to understand how each consumer prefers to interact with brands through wearable devices.

For example, seven out of 10 women do not want access to social media sites via wearable technology, yet more than a third of men (38%) as well as Baby Boomers (34%) want quicker and easier access to social media through wearable tech.

Wearables Provide Customer Insights
Perhaps one of the most valuable advantages of wearable technology is a brand’s ability to collect real-time data insights in order to fully understand their consumers on a more intimate level. It is this type of personal connection that helps marketers develop and share content that is tailored to unique customer engagement. Brands must understand consumer behavior patterns to interact with their fans in a private, yet meaningful way.

By creating personalized and relevant interactions, brands can turn their customers into lifetime brand advocates instead of one-time buyers. Brands looking to engage with wearable consumers have to realize that the engagement story is shifting from brand to product. Through this product, brands have a direct line of communication with their customers–putting customers at the center of the personalized and relevant interaction.

Gone are the days of pushed communication announcements. Today, it’s about immediate alerts that are relevant to your customers’ goals and personal choices. A staggering 50% of all consumers surveyed indicated they would buy wearable tech so that brands can send alerts and have more insights to their lifestyle and behavior patterns. If that’s not enough to convince marketers to investigate the potential wearable tech can have on customer engagement, then I don’t know what is.

Technology is only getting more sophisticated and so is the customer’s desire for personalized engagement with a brand. Today’s consumer is interested in immediate engagement that is relevant to their lifestyles, goals, and personal choices. CMOs must understand how their customers prefer to engage with their brands and create a personalized omnichannel engagement strategy to continue to build that relationship and maintain a connection with their target audiences.

Read More:

http://www.cmo.com/articles/2015/9/24/brands-are-you-ready-to-engage-on-wearable-tech.html

STARTEK In The News:  Call Center's Among Largest Job Creators In Ohio

MANSFIELD – Call center companies are one of the largest job creators in Ohio, according to state records.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 82,000 customer service representatives working in Ohio in May 2014 compared with nearly 78,000 in 2013. According to jobs4america, a business coalition that advocates for moving call center jobs to the U.S., Ohio is ranked as one of the top 10 states for call center employment in the country.

With Startek and Infocision being the largest call centers in the area, the call center job market is employing many people in Richland County.

Tom Luther, site director at Startek, said the company’s West Fourth Street location employs 625 people and serves seven clients. He said Startek has 22 locations across six countries.

Luther said Startek is a workplace for everyone that’s not seasonal.

Read More:

http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/local/2015/08/21/call-centers-among-largest-job-creators-ohio/32132697/

'Tis the Season for Customer Engagement

STARTEK's Original Survey that takes a look at the Holiday shopping season.  

Retailers know the holidays are an important opportunity to build new customer relationships and strengthen customer loyalty,  but are retailers meeting customer expectations?  

tis the season for customer engagement SRT.pdf

Is Going to the Mall During the Holidays Your Worst Nightmare?

Is Going to the Mall During the Holidays Your Worst Nightmare? NearlyTwo-thirds of Consumers Agree

Research Shows Savvy Consumers Want Integrated Omni-channel Customer Engagement That Combines In-store, Online and Mobile Shopping Seamlessly

According to research from ACCENT now STARTEK, the key to a successful customer engagement strategy is a consistent omni-channel experience. Retailers know the holidays are an important opportunity to build new customer relationships and strengthen customer loyalty, but research shows they face challenges delivering experiences and promotions across multiple channels.

The findings from the company’s 2014 Survey "'Tis the Season for Customer Engagement" provides insights on customer expectations and retailers' plans for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Retailers engagement strategies are put to the test during this busy shopping season – from delivering the same messages and promotions across all channels to impact of sale holidays, i.e. Black Friday and Cyber Monday on consumer spending.

"Our research found that Black Friday and Cyber Monday is less meaningful to consumers than in the past, and it's imperative that retailers have an omni-channel strategy to capture customers across devices and throughout the entire holiday season," said John Hoholik, chief marketing officer of STARTEK. "With today's empowered consumers, retailers need to understand and work to meet consumer needs. For retailers during the holiday season, it's not just about making sure the doors are open for Black Friday, but it requires understanding when customers like to shop, how they like to shop, and how they evaluate products."

Key findings in the report include:

Nearly two-thirds of consumers (65 percent) say going to the mall during the holidays is their worst nightmare

  • 88 percent of consumers say free shipping makes them more likely to shop online, while 30 percent shop online to find the best deal possible, 20 percent to avoid holiday crowds
  • 51 percent shop in stores to physically evaluate products
  • 70 percent of consumers say product quality drives loyalty, but 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more when the brand delivers a positive customer experience
  • 87 percent of retailers feel like their brand gives all the information consumers need about sales, inventory, backorders, etc. to respond to customers during the holidays; yet 54 percent of consumers say store employees have a hard time answering these questions

"Accurately measured customer engagement is critical for retailers looking to win customers during the holidays and retain those customers in the months and years following," continued Hoholik.  "To do so, CMOs need to prepare for the holiday shopping rush and ensure that they are providing the best possible omni-channel engagement for customers, pre and post purchase."

To better understand the habits of today's changing and empowered consumers, ACCENT surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and 300 retailers throughout the United States. The company looked at consumer and retailer plans, attitudes and preferences around holiday promotions and customer engagement expectations.

 

Men Tweet and Women Pin; Everyone engages via Facebook

Today's Consumer Social Media Gender Scorecard: Men Tweet and Women Pin; Everyone engages via Facebook

According to research from ACCENT Marketing now STARTEK, the key to a successful customer engagement strategy on social media is to understand how Facebook, Twitter and other social channels are used by consumers.

Findings from its 2014 Survey "Customer Engagement and Today's Consumer" show brands need to understand how the roles of customer engagement are evolving from a toll-free number and emails to multiple social media channels.

"Our goal was to connect with consumers to discover their preferences for engaging with a brand," stated Roger Huff Director, Social Media & Digital Strategy for STARTEK. "The survey findings prove that brands need to pay attention, anticipate consumers’ needs, and create natural conversations across all channels, especially social media."

Key findings in the report also include:

  • 72 percent of consumers only want to interact with the brand when they comment on social media channels.
  • 82 percent use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative.
  • Two thirds of consumers use Facebook to find good deals and promotions, including 80 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • More men (34 percent) than women (25 percent) use Twitter to speak to a brand they have purchased a product from.
  • 75 percent of Millennials find it helpful when other customers/followers respond to a question or comment posted on a brand's social media channel, compared to 55 percent of Baby Boomers.

"Consumers behave differently across channels and if brands are going to create engagement that drives customer loyalty and builds brand advocates, it's increasingly important for CMOs to understand their customers' behavior on varying channels," continued Huff. "To be a part of the conversation, CMOs need to have a social strategy in place to build a trusted relationship with their consumers and within their social community, ultimately creating a lifetime of engagement on social channels and in person."

To better understand the habits of today's changing and empowered consumers, the company surveyed more than 1,000 consumers throughout the United States. The company looked at how consumers seek information from brands across social media channels, in addition to engaging with a brand, which channels are believed to be the best way of communicating with a brand, and the power of being a part of an online community. The full research report can be found in this news section.

Wearable Technology: A New Channel for Customer Engagement

Wearable Technology: A New Channel for Customer Engagement

Research Reveals Nearly 70 Percent of Consumers Say They Are Ready to Engage with Brands via Wearable Tech Devices

According to research conducted by ACCENT now STARTEK, the key to a successful customer engagement strategy via wearable technology is to first understand how consumers use wearable technology. From fitness monitors to smart watches to clothing, wearable tech is the new frontier in customer engagement. This new channel can help brands deepen their customer relationships, build brand advocates, and reach new audiences through wearable technologies, giving them access to be with the consumer as they move throughout their day

The findings from the survey entitled, "Brands, Are You Ready to Engage with Consumers through Wearable Tech?" were conducted in the spring of 2015. The research revealed consumer behaviors and perceptions on wearable tech, and provides insight on ways that CMOs can improve their customer engagement strategy across all channels.

"Wearable technology is a natural extension of online and mobile channels and quickly emerging as the latest channel of consumer engagement," stated Roger Huff, director of social media & digital strategy for STARTEK. "Our research found that through wearable technology devices, brands have a direct line of communication to their customers – putting them at the center of the conversation and truly creating a personalized experience."

Key findings in the report include:

  • Over one-third (38%) of men are most excited about smart watches; yet four out of five consumers surveyed do not plan to buy the Apple Watch
  • 68 percent of women say they are most excited about fitness wearable technology, so are 56 percent of Baby Boomers
  • Three out of four Millennials believe wearable tech is a new way consumer brands can engage with customers
  • Half of all consumers surveyed say they would buy wearable tech so brands can send alerts and have more insights into their lifestyle

"Customer engagement leads to customer retention and more value from the customer," stated John Hoholik, chief marketing officer at STARTEK. "With today's empowered consumers behaving differently across channels, it's up to CMOs to listen to the customer and develop a personalized engagement strategy across all touch points, including wearable tech devices."

To better understand the habits of today's consumers, the company surveyed over 1,000 consumers who own or plan to buy wearable tech this year in February 2015 through an online survey. Responses were collected from both male and female respondents, ages 18-60 in the United States.

For more information on the survey findings of "Brands, Are You Ready to Engage with Consumers through Wearable Tech?" download the document below.

 

By Roger Huff

People love to talk. They love to share the good, the bad and everything in between with their networks, in-person and digitally on websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp. People crave attention. When a consumer reaches out to a brand through a social media channel, what’s the best way for the company to respond to their consumers? Here’s a primer with 5 tips to successfully engage with your customers through social media.

1. Make it Easy

Make it easy for consumers to find and follow your brand by adding visible social media icons in all of your digital communications including e-newsletters, advertisements, and websites.

Create a branded hashtag to increase brand engagement and buzz around your company’s products, campaigns, announcements and overall brand. Brands can search their hashtag to discover others who have used it and can measure the success and reach of that campaign. Having your social media channels and hashtags visual on your marketing collateral will make it easy for your customers to “like” or follow your brand, and reach out to engage with questions and comments.

2. Be a Human

The average consumer prefers to speak to a “real human” so be personable when engaging with customers over all social media channels. Nearly one-third of consumers use Facebook to speak with a customer service representative, according to a Startek survey. Use each engagement as an opportunity to promptly answer a question, resolve an issue, or simply share a comment in the conversation. Your authenticity will be rewarded and canned responses will quickly label your brand as robotic and unoriginal.

3. Have a Conversation

Social media has opened up a new channel for consumers and brands to engage with each other. Keep in mind it’s a two-way conversation, and great way to start the conversation is with a question. Asking a question to your social media audience will spark the conversation and begin the engagement. Likewise, answering questions can begin the conversation. Listening to your fans, followers, customers and potential customers is equally important as is responding to questions or concerns. Above all, be honest when engaging with your company’s social media community.

4. Consistent Messages

Once the conversation is rolling on social channels, keep interactions consistent across all platforms including website, email campaigns, social media channels, phone, and chat. Companies tend to give “greater” power to social teams when engaging with customers on public social channels, but it should be important for all channels including the traditional ones like phone and email. Consumers have a variety of options when engaging with a brand, and it’s up to the company to stay on brand when offering special promotions/deals and event details. Two-thirds of consumers used Facebook to find deals and promotions, 80% of which are Baby Boomers, the survey found.

5. Create a Community

Because consumers have a choice about how to engage with brands, companies need to have a strategy in place to take part in the conversations wherever their consumers are having them. Brands must think beyond popular social media channels like Facebook or Twitter and look at blogs and forums, as well as ratings and reviews of products, too. Consumers are researching whether others have the same issue or question as them and are going directly to the brand’s social community for support. While brands have the ability to monitor social channels, they also need to interact with the entire community to resolve the issue. Once the engagement occurs, the community will evolve into brand advocates.

A successful social media strategy takes time to develop and refine; the best way to begin is to be a part of the conversation and listen to what your customers are saying—they are your best brand advocates.
Roger Huff is director of social media & digital engagement for STARTEK.

STARTEK Completes Acquisition of ACCENT Marketing Services

 

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO - June 1, 2015 - StarTek, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE: SRT), a provider of business process outsourcing services, has completed the acquisition of Accent Marketing Services, L.L.C. (“ACCENT”) from MDC Partners.

Under the terms of the purchase agreement, STARTEK acquired ACCENT for a total consideration valued at $16.0 million, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. STARTEK financed the transaction through its new $50.0 million secured revolving credit facility with BMO Harris Bank. Combined with ACCENT, STARTEK will have more than 50 clients and 14,000 employees, with operations in five countries.

“ACCENT significantly adds to our client diversification with 18 clients operating across different industries,” said Chad Carlson, president and CEO of STARTEK. “ACCENT’s Customer Engagement Agency model and platform complements our Ideal Dialogue practice, significantly enhancing our solution set and commitment to results-driven analytics and insights for our clients. We are promptly integrating ACCENT to bring added solutions for current and new client relationships and to deliver value to our shareholders.”

ACCENT expects to generate approximately $67.0 million of revenue for the full year 2015. STARTEK management expects that post integration, the acquired business will be accretive to earnings and reflect a purchase price of approximately 3.5x EBITDA.

ACCENT is a business process outsourcing company providing contact center services and customer engagement solutions across six locations in the U.S. and Jamaica. ACCENT’s data-driven approach helps brands maximize their engagement with consumers and enables brands to influence behavior, all while generating a better return on investment across all customer touch points, including phone, online and social media channels.

For more information about ACCENT, please visit the company’s website at www.accentonline.com.

About STARTEK

STARTEK strives to be the most trusted BPO service provider delivering comprehensive contact center and customer engagement solutions. Our employees, whom we call Brand Warriors, are enabled and empowered to promote and protect our clients’ brands. For over 25 years, these Brand Warriors have been committed to making a positive impact for our clients’ business results, enhancing the customer experience while reducing costs for our clients. With the latest technology in the BPO industry and our STARTEK Advantage System, our Brand Warriors instill customer loyalty through a variety of multi-channel customer interactions, including voice, chat, email and IVR. Our service offerings include sales support, order processing, customer care and receivables management and customer analytics. For more information, please visit http://www.STARTEK.com.

 

Forward-Looking Statements

The matters regarding the future discussed in this news release include forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are intended to be identified in this document by the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “objective,” “outlook,” “plan,” “project,” “possible,” “potential,” “should” and similar expressions. As described below, such statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause STARTEK's actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by any such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, risks relating to our reliance on a limited number of significant customers, lack of minimum purchase requirements in our contracts, the concentration of our business in the communications industry, lack of wide geographic diversity, maximization of capacity utilization, foreign currency exchange risk, risks inherent in the operation of business outside of the United States, ability to hire and retain qualified employees, increases in labor costs, management turnover and retention of key personnel, trends affecting companies’ decisions to outsource non-core services, reliance on technology and computer systems, including investment in and development of new and enhanced technology, increases in the cost of telephone and data services, unauthorized disclosure of confidential client or client customer information or personally identifiable information, compliance with regulations governing protected health information, our ability to acquire and integrate complementary businesses, compliance with our debt covenants, ability of our largest stockholder to affect decisions and stock price volatility. In addition, factors related to our acquisition of ACCENT that may cause actual results to differ include our ability to integrate the organizations to recognize expected financial benefits and synergies and our ability to retain employees and customers of the acquired business. Readers are encouraged to review Item 1A. - Risk Factors and all other disclosures appearing in the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 and the Company’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, for further information on risks and uncertainties that could affect STARTEK's business, financial condition and results of operation.

 

Company Contact

Rosemary Hanratty
Vice President of Marketing
303-262-4144
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 

Investor Relations

Liolios Group, Inc.
Cody Slach or Sean Mansouri
949-574-3860
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 

 

STARTEK to Acquire ACCENT Marketing Services for $16.0 Million

Transaction Provides Client Diversification and Enhances Customer Engagement Services

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO - May 11, 2015 - StarTek, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE: SRT), a provider of business process outsourcing services, has entered into a definitive agreement with MDC Partners to acquire Accent Marketing Services, L.L.C. ("ACCENT").

ACCENT is a business process outsourcing company providing contact center services and customer engagement solutions across six locations in the U.S. and Jamaica.  ACCENT’s data-driven approach helps brands maximize their engagement with consumers and enables brands to influence behavior, all while generating a better return on investment across all customer touch points, including phone, online and social media channels. ACCENT has 18 clients from several industries, including telecom, technology, retail, financial services and consumer products.  Combined with ACCENT’s 2,300 employees, STARTEK will have more than 50 clients and over 14,000 employees operating in five countries.

"The purchase of ACCENT builds upon our strategic plan to diversify our client base and enhance our customer engagement solutions," said Chad Carlson, President and CEO of STARTEK. "In addition to a strong list of marquee clients, this transaction provides us with talented personnel that can bring value to a client’s customer lifecycle via omni-channel offerings. ACCENT’s Customer Engagement Agency model complements and further enhances the analytic capabilities we gained through our acquisition of Ideal Dialogue in 2013. We will use the foundation of the STARTEK Advantage System, including our newly completed IT Platform, to quickly integrate ACCENT and build value for our clients and shareholders."

ACCENT's current annual revenue run rate is approximately $67.0 million. STARTEK management expects the majority of the integration to be completed prior to year end 2015, and that post-integration the company will be accretive to earnings and reflect a purchase price of approximately 3.5x EBITDA.

The transaction is expected to close on or before May 31, 2015.  STARTEK plans to finance the transaction through its new $50.0 million secured revolving credit facility with BMO Harris Bank.

For more information about ACCENT, please visit the company’s website at www.accentonline.com.

About STARTEK

STARTEK strives to be the most trusted BPO service provider delivering comprehensive contact center and customer engagement solutions. Our employees, whom we call Brand Warriors, are enabled and empowered to promote and protect our client’s brand. For over 25 years, these Brand Warriors have been committed to making a positive impact for our clients’ business results, enhancing the customer experience while reducing costs for our clients. With the latest technology in the BPO industry and our STARTEK Advantage System, our Brand Warriors instill customer loyalty through a variety of multi-channel customer interactions, including voice, chat, email and IVR. Our service offerings include sales support, order processing, customer care and receivables management and customer analytics. For more information, please visit http://www.STARTEK.com.

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO - May 11, 2015 - StarTek, Inc. ("STARTEK") (NYSE:SRT), a provider of business process outsourcing services, has reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015.

Recent Highlights

• Signed five new clients and added additional programs with four existing clients for a combined annual contract value of $10.5 million.

• Revenue from verticals excluding telecommunications/cable and media increased 197% to $16.1 million compared to the year-ago quarter.

• Completed the final phase of the company’s IT transformation project.

• Entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Accent Marketing Services, L.L.C. (“ACCENT”) for $16.0 million, providing further revenue diversification and Customer Engagement Agency ("CEA") solution capabilities.

 First Quarter 2015 Financial Results

Total revenue in the first quarter of 2015 was $63.6 million compared to $63.2 million in the first quarter of 2014. New clients and programs signed during 2014 and 2015 resulted in $15.0 million of incremental revenue in the quarter. This growth was offset by a decrease in volume due to reduced contact rates, vendor consolidation and reshoring also resulted in a 30% revenue reduction from a large telecommunications client compared to the first quarter of 2014. The closure of Costa Rica resulted in improved profitability; however, the negative revenue impact was $2.2 million versus the first quarter of 2014. Additionally, revenue in the first quarter of 2014 benefited from a temporary program with an existing client.

Gross margin in the first quarter of 2015 was 9.6% compared to 13.0% in the year-ago quarter. The decrease was largely driven by lower utilization resulting from newly added seat capacity, as well as the aforementioned lower volumes. This was partially offset by the positive impact of closing the company’s Costa Rica facility, as well as new client wins in the higher-margin healthcare vertical.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were $8.0 million in the first quarter of 2015 compared to $8.2 million in the year-ago quarter. As a percentage of revenue, SG&A was 12.7% compared to 13.1% in the year-ago quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter was $1.7 million compared to $2.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

At March 31, 2015, the company’s cash position was $6.5 million compared to $5.3 million at December 31, 2014, with a balance outstanding of $9.3 million on our credit facility at March 31, 2015.

On May 11, 2015, STARTEK entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ACCENT, a business process outsourcing company providing multi-channel customer engagement solutions across six contact centers in the U.S. and Jamaica. ACCENT has 18 clients from a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, retail, consumer products, technology and financial services. The purchase price is approximately $16.0 million in cash. STARTEK plans to finance the transaction through its new $50.0 million secured revolving credit facility with BMO Harris Bank.

ACCENT's current annual revenue run rate is approximately $67.0 million. STARTEK management expects the majority of the integration to be completed prior to year end 2015, and that post-integration the company will be accretive to earnings and reflect a purchase price of approximately 3.5x EBITDA. The transaction is expected to close on or before May 31, 2015.

Management Commentary

"During the first quarter, we continued to diversify our client base by continued expansion in newer verticals," said Chad Carlson, President and CEO of STARTEK. "This progress was offset mostly by lower volumes from a large client and the closure of Costa Rica last year. Earlier this month, we completed our data center transition, which will serve as a key part of our ability to scale the business reliably and efficiently going forward."

“ACCENT adds to our client diversification making our largest client now approximately 25% of revenue.   ACCENT also provides a robust customer engagement service capability. Combined with ACCENT, STARTEK will have over 50 clients and nearly 14,000 employees operating in five countries. ACCENT’s CEA service offering complements the acquisition of Ideal Dialogue in 2013 and creates a very capable CEA solution platform with added customer analytics capabilities. This step is in line with our strategy to engage in a different and more meaningful way with clients while adding higher value service offerings.”

 "We remain focused on executing for our clients, converting our strong pipeline to fill existing and new capacity, and quickly integrating ACCENT to allow us to get back to generating cash and paying down debt. We will use the process foundation of the STARTEK Advantage System including our newly completed IT Platform to quickly integrate ACCENT and maximize the benefits to our clients and shareholders.”

Conference Call and Webcast Details

STARTEK will hold a conference call today at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time to discuss its first quarter 2015 results. Management will host the conference call, followed by a question and answer period.

Date: Monday, May 11, 2015

Time: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (3:00 p.m. Mountain time)

Toll-free dial-in number: 1-866-700-0133

International dial-in number: 1-617-213-8831

Conference ID: 34680565

 

Please call the conference telephone number 5-10 minutes prior to the start time. An operator will register your name and organization. If you have any difficulty connecting with the conference call, please contact Liolios Group at 1-949-574-3860.

The conference call will be broadcast live and available for replay via the investor relations section of the STARTEK website.  A replay of the conference call will be available after 10:00 p.m. Eastern time on the same day through May 18, 2015.

Toll-free replay number: 1-888-286-8010

International replay number: 1-617-801-6888

Replay ID: 38933180

To view the Operations Scorecard please go to the investor section of site.

About STARTEK

STARTEK strives to be the most trusted BPO service provider delivering comprehensive contact center and customer engagement solutions. Our employees, whom we call Brand Warriors, are enabled and empowered to promote and protect our client’s brand. For over 25 years, these Brand Warriors have been committed to making a positive impact for our clients’ business results, enhancing the customer experience while reducing costs for our clients. With the latest technology in the BPO industry and our STARTEK Advantage System, our Brand Warriors instill customer loyalty through a variety of multi-channel customer interactions, including voice, chat, email and IVR. Our service offerings include sales support, order processing, customer care and receivables management and customer analytics. For more information, please visit http://www.STARTEK.com.

 

STARTEK Sets First Quarter Conference Call for Monday, May 11, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. ET

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado – May 5, 2015  – StarTek, Inc. (NYSE: SRT) (STARTEK), a provider of business process outsourcing services, will hold a conference call on Monday, May 11, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time to discuss its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015. The company will report its financial results in a press release prior to the conference call.

STARTEK management will host the conference call, followed by a question and answer period.

Date: Monday, May 11, 2015

Time: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (3:00 p.m. Mountain time)

Toll-free dial-in number: 1-866-700-0133

International dial-in number: 1-617-213-8831

Conference ID: 34680565

StarTek, Inc. (“STARTEK”) (SRT), a leading provider of omnichannel customer engagement solutions, celebrates the 10-year anniversary of strategic partnership and key successes in customer engagement with BJ’s Wholesale Club, a leading operator of warehouse clubs in the Eastern United States. Through the partnership, BJ’s delivers exceptional omnichannel customer engagement.

“BJ’s Wholesale Club has experienced many successes over the years in our strategic partnership with STARTEK,” said Ledia Dilo, assistant vice president of Member Care Services at BJ’s Wholesale Club. “We credit those successes to communication and trust. We rely on STARTEK’s expertise in customer engagement to help us grow our membership and to build long-term relationships. When our customers invest in a membership, they expect a higher level of service and STARTEK delivers.”

Over the last decade STARTEK has assisted BJ’s in the transition from offering member support via a traditional call center to an omnichannel customer engagement center. By partnering with STARTEK, BJ’s has been able to expand their member engagement solutions to include customer satisfaction surveys, loyalty programs, e-commerce, warranty, inbound/outbound sales and co-brand credit card support.

“We are thrilled to be partners with BJ’s Wholesale Club as our successful relationship has significantly evolved over the years,” stated John Hoholik, general manager for customer engagement group (CEG) and senior vice president of global marketing for STARTEK. “Throughout our partnership, we have learned new ways to engage members with the BJ’s brand, specifically through chat. Based on a customer satisfaction survey, BJ’s members preferred chat over phone; we grew chat by 300% and reduced the phone channel to 55% of overall contacts.”

For more information about STARTEK, please visit http://www.startek.com.

STARTEK to Present at the 27th Annual ROTH Conference on March 10, 2015

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO - February 27, 2015 - StarTek, Inc. (STARTEK) (NYSE: SRT), a provider of high-value business process outsourcing services, has been invited to present at the 27th Annual ROTH Capital Partners Conference being held March 9-11, 2015 at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California.

STARTEK management is scheduled to present on Tuesday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time, with one-on-one meetings held throughout the day.

For more information about the conference or to schedule a one-on-one meeting with STARTEK management, please contact your ROTH representative.

About STARTEK

STARTEK is a trusted BPO service provider with comprehensive contact centers around the world. Our employees, whom we call Brand Warriors, are at the forefront of customer care and represent our greatest asset. For over 25 years, these Brand Warriors have been committed to making a positive impact for our clients’ business results, enhancing the customer experience while reducing costs for our clients. With the latest technology in the BPO industry and our STARTEK Advantage System, our Brand Warriors instill customer loyalty through a variety of multi-channel customer interactions, including voice, chat, email, social media, IVR and back-office support. Our service offerings include sales support, order processing, customer care and receivables management. For more information, please visit http://www.STARTEK.com.

Company Contact

Rosemary Hanratty

Vice President of Marketing

303-262-4144

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Investor Relations

Liolios Group, Inc.

Cody Slach or Sean Mansouri

Tel 1-949-574-3860

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)