News & Insight

We’re Not Mind Readers – Why Communication Matters

You’ve tried everything, but nothing you’ve implemented seems to have a significant or lasting impact on your customer satisfaction metrics. While standard approaches may help you meet certain goals like average handle time (AHT), they don’t significantly improve CSAT or NPS. What if a different approach existed that used human communication science to help your brand? Good news! It does.

Utilizing Dialogue

In today’s digital world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has found a place in most homes in the United States. Given the increasing adoption of AI and its potential use in the engagement (contact) center, many leaders are reconsidering the role of humans in the customer experience. At STARTEK, we too believe there is a place for AI in the contact center. But we also believe there is a place for real dialogue. After all, the last mile of every customer journey often starts at a human intersection. When the conversational need of the customer is social, and the complexity of the situation is high, AI needs to power down while humans talk. And that’s where dialogue comes in. We define dialogue as a structured yet spontaneous process of exchanging information. This is achieved through elements like managing ones’ emotions, sharing experiences, and negotiating identity – all of which result in mutual value creation and reciprocal advocacy.

Get to Know Your Customers

If you think about it, our identity is mostly constructed and managed during conversations with others. We manage our self-image during conversation, and we all experience moments of vulnerability during which a carefully crafted comment can make an impactful difference. This is also true with your customers in the engagement center who often have conversational needs such as assurance, guidance, education or relating. For example, a customer may call in about a technical issue pertaining to their phone. Vulnerability dictates that the person may be feeling unintelligent because they need to ask a specialist for help. Another customer may be feeling embarrassed and irresponsible if calling in about a billing issue caused by a financial struggle. By utilizing the concepts of dialogue, engagement specialists are equipped with the communication knowledge and skills to quickly get to know your customers and help people in need by developing trust, rapport, and credibility. Whether an engagement specialist (agent) is interacting via email, text, or over the phone, how well they are able to create a real human connection will make or break the customer experience. After all, customers need:

  • A sense of trust
  • A feeling of respect and importance
  • To feel like their concerns are being heard
  • To communicate in their preferred channel of choice
  • Prompt service and resolution

Engaged Communication Professionals

At STARTEK, we train not only our engagement specialists but also our clients’ front-line employees, managers, and executives to become expert interpersonal communicators who view customers as fellow human beings in genuine need of assistance. Engagement specialists are also encouraged to develop and use their own unique style when assisting customers – applying their own set of communication talents and expertise to every customer interaction. By teaching engagement specialists to engage in “whole brain” conversations, we see meaningful connections with customers, highly satisfying work for engagement specialists, and strong customer loyalty to the brand. In fact, when enacted, dialogue allows for the most communication complexity and produces the highest gains in customer-facing metrics such as customer satisfaction, retention, and sales. Remember, communication is the heart of every organization, so don’t forget the glue that holds it all together.

If your communication style is teetering in the transaction or interaction design phase and you want to move to authentic dialogue, contact us today. To get started, visit our website at www.startek.com and fill out our contact us form to learn how we can take your customer conversations to the next level.

Building Rapport – Is it an Art Form?

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. While the average first impression is typically created within half a minute, in the engagement (contact) center, that timeframe is dwindled to mere seconds. Something as seemingly trivial as the pitch, volume and rate of the engagement specialist’s (agent’s) voice, collectively referred to as “vocal prosody”, can impact the customer’s mood and determine whether or not they are likely to engage in the conversation. Regardless of how or why a customer chooses to interact with your brand, the only thing that stands between a positive or negative experience is making a human connection. So how can you create a unique and memorable customer experience? Start by building rapport.

Small Talk – It’s Not Just Chit Chat.

Building rapport is defined as offering appropriate, gradual, and personal disclosures that create a sense of spontaneity, personalization, and connectedness. One of the most important ways we build rapport with people and get to know them in a safe, easy, and non-threatening manner is through small talk. Despite its diminutive name, small talk serves a big purpose when interacting with others. Moreover, small talk is an effective way to fill those awkward moments of silence that often occur during conversations. And contrary to popular belief – it’s not idle chit chat and doesn’t increase handle time in the contact center. As with any other communication process, small talk is a complex practice that requires the mastery of key skills, including knowing when to initiate small talk, identifying topics that are safe yet interesting to both you and the other person, and guiding the conversation in competent ways so it remains appropriate for the situation. Finally, small talk requires one to listen carefully to the reactions of others so you know when to make the transition away from small talk and back to the task at hand. Follow these three key tips to start building rapport the right way:

  • Engage in the conversation by responding to disclosures made by the other person.
  • Build rapport by engaging in or initiating skillful small-talk.
  • Communicate a positive image of the other person and, when a vulnerability is voiced, protect face.

Obstacles to Building Rapport

While building rapport may sound easy, in the engagement center, there are many variables that can make it very difficult. For starters, rapport building is always the choice of the customer – not the engagement specialist. Lack of interest, time, and external distractions on the customer’s side can all interfere when attempting to build rapport. For an engagement specialist to overcome these obstacles, he or she needs to pay close attention to the needs of the customer and have a genuine interest in the person and what they are saying and doing.

At STARTEK, we coach our engagement specialists to build rapport by noticing the little things in the conversation. For example, the customer may have disclosed that they are preparing to take a trip or that they have a new grandchild on the way. Responding to such disclosures in a genuine and authentic manner is one step to connecting with the customer. We also coach our engagement specialists to notice external factors such as children playing or a dog barking in the background. While some may view these as distractions, they can serve as the foundation for building rapport, which ultimately results in a positive brand experience.

To learn more about how to build rapport with your customers, visit our website at www.startek.com and fill out the Contact Us form.

Optimism is Contagious Especially in Customer Service

Are you a ‘glass-half-full’ person or a ‘glass-half-empty’ person? Your answer may determine whether you are perpetually an optimist – someone who always thinks that good things will happen – or a pessimist – someone who always thinks that bad things will happen. Perhaps Winston Churchill said it best when he stated, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” When it comes to the interactions your customers have with your brand, you can’t afford to have a pessimistic mindset. You must look for the opportunity in every customer engagement to improve customer facing metrics such as satisfaction, retention, sales conversion, and net promoter scores. How? Start by communicating optimism.

Eliminate the Negative

When consumers experience an unexpected expense on their wireless bill, issues with a new product they just purchased, or delays in receiving an online order, they understandably react in ways that demonstrate their frustration. These stressful situations are often charged with negative emotion, and more often than not, it’s your engagement specialists (agents) who must try to defuse the tension. One effective method is to communicate optimism by describing and explaining events, especially unfavorable occurences, in ways that diminish their ability to negatively impact emotions. Consumers who express their concerns pessimistically are often looking for reassurance that the situation or problem is neither permanent nor pervasive. How your engagement specialists handle the situation will determine the customer’s perception of your brand. Make sure your engagement specialists create a positive and lasting impression by following these three key tips:

  • Take direct responsibility for handling identified needs.
  • Make language choices that serve to frame the situation optimistically.
  • Discuss what can be done rather than what isn’t possible.

Accentuate the Positive

By now, you may be thinking that communicating optimism is a lot like looking through rose-colored glasses. However, optimism is not about glossing over difficulties and pretending that everything is perfect. Instead, optimism requires one to take control over a situation and fix the problem rather than avoid it. By using an optimistic frame and explaining problems as temporary and fixable, it’s possible to reduce the stress your customers feel, which increases their overall engagement in conversations with your brand.

Under the direction of our chief science officer, STARTEK helps clients leverage the principles of human communication to orchestrate the ideal customer engagement. This includes coaching engagement specialists to use meaningful phrases that are likely to evoke positive customer interactions while discouraging the use of phrases that are likely to confuse customers or cause negative repsonses.

In fact, STARTEK recently assisted a regional cable provider by deploying a solution that helped engagement specialists learn and adopt conversational habits that built emotional connection. By the end of the first year, the company had increased its Net Promoter score by 10% and decreased escalations by 26%.1 STARTEK can help your brand deliver similar results and bridge the gap between science and communication.

While no-win customer care situations are the new norm, they are also opportunities to deepen your engagement with customers and finally improve customer satisfaction and loyalty scores.

Source: STARTEK “Winning the No-win Situation Customer Care Situation” Jan. 2017

Learn how STARTEK helped a regional cable provider increase its net promoter score by responding to concerns optimistically and with emotional understanding. Or, visit our website at www.startek.com to learn more.

Being Present in a World of Distraction.

Let’s face it. In today’s digital world, we are dominated by gadgets and technology that are supposed to make us more connected. But if you’ve ever found yourself struggling to stay present in a conversation, you’re not alone. According to a recent study from Microsoft, the age of the smartphone has actually left us with shorter attention spans than that of a goldfish. When it comes to engaging with your customers, you can’t afford to be distracted. So how do you stay present?

Past, Present, and Future

Being present means you provide complete attention to the other person by minimizing the physical and mental distractions that characterize the typical business environment. This can be incredibly difficult though because most of us spend our time dreaming about the future or rehashing the past moments of what previously occurred. In the engagement center (contact center), this is even more difficult because engagement specialists (agents) are fielding one call after another with little time in between to put aside thoughts about the previous conversation that may distract them during the next call. When engagement specialists are not present, it causes frustration and annoyance – thus creating a bad customer experience from the start. Here are a few tips to help you stay present and demonstrate you care enough to listen:

  • Respond immediately to statements and questions.
  • Statements and questions demonstrate an accurate and detailed understanding of the situation and need.
  • Provide personalized responses, promoting the perception of uniqueness.

Power Off – Staying Present in the Digital Age

With so much competing for our attention these days, many have fallen into a trap, unfortunately, of thinking that parsing our attention is an effective way to manage the turbulent stream of messages coming at us. Research into multitasking, however, indicates that dividing our attention, at best, results in superficial thinking. In fact, while we all think we’re experts at multitasking, we’re actually only capable of handling a certain number of serial tasks in rapid sequence or a mix of automatic tasks with not so automatic tasks.

Technology provides us with a lot of power but being able to control it – instead of letting it control you – is not easy. Putting your mobile phone away and turning your email off during meetings are just two simple ways to help avoid distractions. Being present in both our personal and professional lives takes discipline and practice. However, by making a pledge to be present, you will realize optimal outcomes at work and at home. As you become more present, you’ll become deeply aware of the way your thoughts disrupt your attention. When you notice your focus drift, bring it back to the conversation.

Whether it’s the power of now, engaging in meditation, living in the moment, cultivating focus, or practicing mindfulness, the Habit of Being Present in our conversations provides a proven method for more productive and rewarding communication.

  – Dr. James Keaten, Chief Science Officer, STARTEK

If your struggling to be present in your daily conversations, download our whitepaper "Designing Conversations"and learn more about how STARTEK can help you by visiting our website www.startek.com

Let’s Get Rid of the Hassle Factor – Make it Easy

Growing up, most of us remember a certain green frog who vocalized frequently “It’s not easy being green.” Anyone who has aimlessly looked for a customer service number on a website, been stuck in IVR hell, or had to call a brand repeatedly to get an issue resolved has likely echoed a similar sentiment – “It’s not easy being a customer.” So why does an interaction between a customer and a brand have to be so painful? The truth is – it doesn’t. Brands should look for ways to decrease the amount of effort on the part of their customers. Simply put, make it easy.

Make Things Easy – What is It?

When brands interact with customers, they have an opportunity to create and strengthen brand loyalty by helping them solve their issues quickly and easily. Framing a problem in terms of making it easy for the customer can be highly illuminating, even liberating, especially for brands currently struggling with customer satisfaction. Making things easy for the customer also reduces needless effort by guiding the customer verbally, providing specifics as to their role in the conversation, and reducing uncertainty that may result in confusion. Consumers have evolved and are sharing their experiences with family, friends, and followers, which ultimately can help or hurt your brand. Remove unnecessary obstacles today by following these key tips to making each customer interaction easier than the one before:

  • Adapt vocal delivery to maximize understanding.
  • Manage the conversation in a way that minimizes effort.
  • Explain how to minimize future effort.

How to Make Things Easy

Brands are increasingly using self-service channels to streamline the customer journey. But self-service only handles easy interactions and questions. The more complex, higher-stakes interactions are the ones flooding into contact centers now. And it’s a brand’s handling of these types of interactions that will decide customer satisfaction. One way to make things easy is by using verbal guiding – “I can help you, and it’ll take 5 simple steps and 10 minutes.” Another way to make things easy is to forward-resolve by anticipating the consumer’s future needs. Instead of just resolving the original problem or reason for the call, brands should attempt to stave off future customer effort by anticipating additional issues that can be resolved in the current interaction.

When self-service technologies can’t help resolve your customers’ issues, make things easy by listening to them, connecting with them on an emotional level, and anticipating their needs. After all, the last mile of every customer journey often starts at a human intersection. In fact, in a recent study conducted by STARTEK, 85% of consumers prefer to interact with humans for their customer service needs1. By using authentic dialogue, supported by the science of human communication, you can satisfy customers and gain their trust and loyalty – all while reducing effort along the way.

“Consumers want to interact with someone who cares about them personally and respond to their unique needs as a customer.”

Cory White, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, STARTEK

Check out how STARTEK partnered with a leading aviation company to make things easy for their customers.

Press Pause on Conversational Backtracking – Maybe?? Why Reducing Conversational Backtracking is Important

Do you remember the first time you used the rewind function on your tv remote? The ability to pause, rewind, and play live tv on demand gave you a level of control you’d never had before. No longer were you missing important moments due to household interruptions or being out of the room when your favorite program came back on. While the rewind function is great in our daily lives, when it comes to customer conversations, backtracking isn’t such a good thing. When customers are forced to repeat portions of their conversation with your engagement specialists (agents), they become frustrated and disengaged. So how do you press pause on this bad customer service habit? Ask insightful questions.

The Key Elements of Insightful Questions

When speaking with your customers, it’s imperative that engagement specialists ask insightful questions to help understand their pain points, diagnose the problem, and craft an appropriate resolution. For example, asking clarifying questions can help you uncover the real intent behind what the customer initially said while exploratory questions help identify root wants or needs. Different types of questions will lead to different outcomes, but asking insightful questions will ultimately help the engagement specialist gather high quality information about both the customer’s situation and the context (want, need, or issue) behind the interaction. Taking time to ask the right questions also helps engagement specialists gain a broader understanding of the situation by challenging assumptions and identifying connections between individual issues. From there, engagement specialists can narrow their focus to solve the real problem at hand.

Of course, none of this is really possible without first establishing trust, which we discussed in our previous blog. If customers don’t trust the engagement specialist they are interacting with, they are less likely to disclose important details about the real motivations behind their reasons for contacting you. As you can see, the communication skills of the specialist are critically important. Their ability to quickly establish credibility, the questions they ask, and how they frame the conversation will have a substantial impact on the customer’s perception of your brand. To help your company elevate dialogue and ask the questions that really matter, follow these three simple tips:

  • Ask insightful questions to identify root wants or needs.
  • Use persuasive statements to increase buy-in and communicate expertise.
  • Engage in verbal matching by offering a solution that matches wants or needs.

Does Asking Insightful Questions Increase Talk Time?

A concern we often hear when talking about dialogue is its impact on Average Handle Time (AHT), with the mistaken assumption that a transactional conversation is efficient while dialogue is costly. The concern stems from a misunderstanding that dialogue is just transaction conversation with chit chat peppered throughout rather than viewing dialogue as an adaptation to conversational needs. Throughout our decades of scientific research, we’ve found that conversational techniques such as asking insightful questions actually reduce the likelihood of conversational backtracking, which reduces handle time. Asking insightful questions also helps engagement specialists get to the root cause of the issue faster, which also reduces handle time. And not only does it decrease handle time, asking insightful questions will also help reduce repeat calls because you’re diagnosing and treating the problem instead of the symptoms, which is truly a win win for everyone.

STARTEK recently completed a study involving 17,000 calls and found the engagement specialist’s ability to engage in the habits of dialogue had no negative impact on AHT.

If your engagement specialists are treating symptoms instead of problems, trying to end calls too quickly, or using pre-scripted and rehearsed statements, it could be time to take back control of your contact center. To learn more about STARTEK’s principles of dialogue, visit our website at www.startek.com and ask us some insightful questions about our solutions through the contact us form.

Credibility – Can I Trust You?

Regardless of how or why a customer chooses to interact with your brand, the only thing that stands between a positive or negative experience is a human connection. But creating a unique and memorable customer experience isn’t rocket science. It’s much more difficult. That’s because human communication is incredibly complex—especially in the contact center. In fact, before an engagement specialist says or types “hello,” there are more than 750 million situations that can frame the conversation. Acknowledging this incredible complexity, leaders in the customer experience industry are faced with a pivotal question: How do I manage engagement specialist and customer communication to create a unique and authentic experience that improves customer satisfaction, retention, and sales? The first step is to establish credibility.

The Key Elements of Credibility

Establishing credibility is an important first step to building trust and creating openness. If customers do not feel valued by engagement specialists (agents), they will not necessarily trust what the agent says. This is one of the reasons why customers across all verticals re-contact brands on the same issue. In the healthcare industry, trust is a key ingredient to increasing patient compliance regarding follow-through with important medical instructions. And in the retail and financial services sectors, trust drives repeat purchases when there is a clear link between the customer’s needs and the provided solution.

At STARTEK, we partner with multiple brands to help them learn and master the concepts of using the science of human communication to create good dialogue, which builds trust. This is accomplished through STARTEK’s Essential Habits proven communication principles. Part of those habits include these three key elements to establish credibility:

  • Listen to the needs and situation of the other person.
  • Demonstrate common courtesy and etiquette.
  • Choose language to optimize comprehension.

What’s the Payoff?

Good dialogue is about using proven communication principles to adapt to the implicit needs of the customer, and by doing so, gaining credibility, rapport, and trust. Once trust is established, your customers will feel comfortable enough to divulge important details about the real motivations behind their reasons for contacting you. Once you have achieved disclosure, the engagement specialist can then make an accurate assessment of each customer’s true needs.

When you use dialogue techniques to talk, text, chat and email with your customers in a meaningful, authentic way, you can not only improve first call resolution, but measurably drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value. STARTEK can help you use the power of human communication science to establish credibility and trust and drive real results in ways traditional, scripted approaches can’t.

“When someone picks up the phone and calls, there is an expectation that you know who they are, and you respond to their unique needs as a customer”

– Cory White, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, STARTEK

Customer Experience Analytics - Do You Trust the Process or Change It?

The Value of Customer Experience Analytics

Every day, millions of vital service interactions take place between your company and your customers, and there is a lot at stake in your ability to manage and optimize this complex, fast-paced environment, including your brand’s reputation and your economic survival. Faced with an increasing competitive marketplace, the ongoing challenge of any company’s engagement (contact) center is how to extract the insights hidden within these voluminous, unstructured multichannel interactions and provide decision makers with the information they need to acquire, support, retain, and grow their customers.

But how do you know if you are collecting the right data? Are you leveraging the right technology? Who in your organization is leading the charge for your analytics strategy, and are they asking the right questions? Your answers will determine if you should trust the current process or change it. Disjointed systems, lack of communication, organizational silos, and inefficient processes are all reasons to take another look at your analytics process.

Analytical Insights Alone Aren’t Enough

Even with access to a wide variety of tools and information, companies still struggle to find ways to improve customer-facing key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, and revenue. While big data and analytics can help identify that something is wrong in the customer conversations taking place in the engagement center, analytical insights alone don’t usually provide the level of nuanced diagnostics needed to uncover the root causes of the problems. Companies don’t have an easy way to identify, isolate, and prioritize the variables that impact their customer-facing metrics, nor can they easily test hypotheses while controlling for other variables in their production environment. So how can you uncover hidden insights? Put your lab coat on because we’re headed to the science lab.

Unlocking Insights from the Lab

STARTEK’s Communication Science Lab picks up where data analysis leaves off by applying scientific rigor and methodology to uncover micro-issues at the conversation level that are important drivers for your critical metrics. We utilize these experiments to test solutions prior to implementing them in our clients’ production environments. After testing these solutions, we analyze the data and form conclusions to determine the best customer engagement strategy.

In a recent pilot conducted in the lab, STARTEK showed through the use of universal specialists an 8% reduction in handle time and 3% improvement in customer satisfaction.

Customer needs and behaviors change frequently thus requiring continual learning and new strategies. If you want to improve the dialogue with your customers, check out STARTEK’s communication science lab and put your customer experience issues under the virtual microscope.

What’s behind the personalization hype? Haven’t we been here before?

Dialogue – Creating Moments of Spontaneity

We’ve all heard the saying “It’s not personal. It’s business”. But in the age of the customer, business has become deeply personal. Through the use of technology, it’s easier than ever to tailor digital experiences to the customer journey, serve up offers based on previous purchase behaviors, and deliver relevant content and messages at the right time in the right channel. Yet when it comes to the contact center, companies still struggle to create truly personal experiences.

What Does Personalization Really Mean?

In the contact center, personalization is all about the engagement specialist’s (agent’s) ability to read the customer’s needs at any given time and craft a conversation, regardless of channel, to meet those needs. For example, some customers need reassurance that they are making the right purchase decision. Others are looking for an advocate to help resolve an issue. Too often, companies try to force a false sense of personalization by using hollow techniques such as repeating the customer’s name at multiple points during the script. At best, the engagement specialist comes off as an actor delivering a synchronized monologue. At worst, it’s a manufactured exchange of information. True personalization creates an authentic engagement with value creation in which the customer is seen as a unique individual – not an identification number.

How Can You Be More Authentic? Flip the Script

One size does not fit all – in real life or in the contact center. Neither does one script. Instead, companies should leverage the principles of dialogue to authentically connect with customers. According to a recent STARTEK survey, 57% of consumers1 want to engage with a person who cares about them personally. This goes up exponentially depending on vertical with some verticals such as healthcare as high as 65%. By exchanging in dialogue, the specialist gains an understanding of the customer’s wants and needs and then can tailor the conversation to meet those needs.

Here are a few dialogue techniques that you can apply to talk, text, chat and email with your customers. Make your conversations more meaningful and flip the script.

  • Make it Easy for the Consumer – Provide clear direction on next steps and anticipate future concerns. Eliminate the need to drag on unnecessary conversation for the customer.
  • Communicate Clearly – Communication is a two-way interaction. Use adapting vocal delivery through vocal emphasis, perception checking, and engaging in active listening practices.
  • Ask Insightful Questions – Only asking clarifying questions provides limited information. Asking insightful questions addresses any unspoken assumptions that could lead to the consumer calling back.
Is Robotic Process Automation the Missing Piece of the Customer Experience Puzzle?

First-contact resolution, customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS). Ever get the feeling that as you’re working to move the needle on customer-facing performance metrics that something is missing?

That something could be robots, specifically robots in the back office. That’s because even though back-office processes and personnel aren’t on the customer-experience front lines, they are often an important step in the customer journey. And frequently that step is fraught with manual and/or redundant steps, extensive data entry across multiple systems, and inefficient management of resources and work queues. The result can be delays for customers on everything from order processing to installation scheduling to returns processing.

Robotic process automation (RPA) is changing the back office to make it far more productive, effective and accurate than ever before, shortening wait times and reducing frustration for customers—and that all adds up to a better customer experience.

Improving cycle time and productivity

Recently STARTEK helped a large telecommunications firm demonstrate the benefits of automating a resource-intensive back-office process: SIM activations. Using an RPA platform, STARTEK quickly mapped the process and built the robotic model to automate the work queue and steps within the process. The resulting solution uses guided workflow and automated task processing to help back-office specialists perform SIM activations faster and with fewer errors.

What is RPA?

Robotic process automation (RPA) allows companies to configure software or a “robot” to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.

Source: Institute for Robotic Process Automation & Artificial Intelligence

Processing orders faster and with greater accuracy

The SIM activation proof of concept quickly showed just how significant the impact of RPA can be on back-office processes. The initial results were impressive:

  • 45 percent improvement in the number of SIMs processed per hour
  • 28 percent improvement in average processing time
  • 40 percent reduction in errors

This was just a first step in showing that automating high-volume, back-office processes can have a dramatic impact on improving throughput, reducing errors, and ultimately making customers happier and more likely to stay with the brand.

Learn more about the benefits of RPA for this large telecommunications company in the detailed case study.

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Wholesale Club Expands Member Care Without Growing the Budget or Impacting Quality

While loading up the shopping cart with deals is probably the most visible part of the wholesale club experience, out-of-store interactions with the brand are equally important to overall member satisfaction. STARTEK’s client has a long history of delivering outstanding customer care across multiple channels, but when the volume of interactions increased, the wholesale club needed a way to continue delivering the same high quality of service without increasing the budget. STARTEK delivered the goods.

Download the Full Case Study

Customer Satisfaction Soars with Authentic Dialogue

Today’s travelers have high-flying expectations for customer service across the various companies and brands with which they interact before, during, and after their trip. For one company, a leader in the travel industry, meeting those expectations was becoming increasingly difficult to do—until the entire company learned how it should be communicating.

Delivering easy, fast customer service—even in challenging situations

Travelers expect that customer service will be easy, fast, and convenient to use. The team at this travel company has to not only deliver excellent customer service that meets those expectations, but do so under very demanding and sometimes stressful situations, such as major weather events, which are outside of the direct control of the company.

With help from STARTEK, the travel company launched an initiative to return the business to having a true dialogue with its customers—freeing employees to connect emotionally with customers, resolve their issues and improve perception of the travel leader’s brand.

“We’re not only well trained on how to do our job, but now we know how to communicate well with each individual customer.”

A tenured travel company employee of 20 years

Improving customer satisfaction with dialogue

STARTEK deployed its Performance Optimization solutions at the travel company to help everyone in the organization learn how to talk, text, chat, and email with customers using scientifically grounded, dialogue communication skills.

From the moment the company began using the STARTEK solutions, it started to see improvement in customer satisfaction. After implementing the first half of the program, the company experienced a five percent increase in customer satisfaction scores.

Employees are more satisfied, too

Another benefit is that the travel company’s employees report greater job satisfaction as they now have the autonomy and the skills to support the customer no matter what issue the customer brings to them on the phone, via email or chat, or in person. Employee confidence has increased as well.

Learn more about how this leading travel company uses STARTEK’s solutions to improve the outcomes of customer interactions using the science of human communication.

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Dialogue Drives the Outcomes that Matter

“Your call is important to us …” Consumers today routinely doubt whether that’s really true. And it’s more likely than not that your engagement (contact) center metrics like customer satisfaction (CSAT) might not reflect that belief either.

So what’s going on? Why is it so hard to satisfy today’s consumer? Increasing technological complexity, a growing dependence on technology and devices, and greater access to information are converging to create situations where engagement specialists (agents) are left to handle complex problems that often have no easy answers. Customers are increasingly frustrated, angry and poised to switch to a competitor.

Scripts just don’t cut it

For years now, engagement centers have focused 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.

While these approaches may help you meet your average handle time and first call resolution goals, they don’t help significantly improve customer satisfaction. If anything, they increase the frustration for customers and confirm that you don’t view them as individual people.

“The fact that understanding and influencing emotion is a vital ingredient for business success is not surprising — it has been the heart and soul of brand efforts.”

Source: “Forrester 2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer”

Human dialogue is the answer

It takes authentic human dialogue, supported by the science of human communication, to satisfy customers and gain their trust and loyalty, regardless of the situation. In fact, STARTEK research shows that communication skills actually mitigate the relationship between whether the issue was resolved on the call and the customer’s willingness to recommend the brand.

Hitting all the metrics

Good dialogue is about using proven communication principles to adapt to the implicit needs of the customer and by doing so, gaining credibility, rapport, and trust. The result is that customers feel that someone is listening to them, they are being treated as unique individuals, and they are understood and can trust the people they are speaking with.

That’s why, when your engagement specialists get dialogue right, your company can:

  • Increase CSAT and Net Promoter Score
  • Shrink handle time by asking insightful questions rather than following scripts
  • Increase first-call resolution because you’ll get to the root of the issue
Gogo Partners with Startek to Deliver Customer Care at 35,000 Feet

As the leader in inflight Internet services, Gogo keeps passengers connected and entertained on thousands of aircraft operated by leading global commercial airlines such as United, Delta, Alaska, Virgin America, and Japan Airlines as well as on thousands of private aircraft, including those of the largest fractional ownership operators. Because enhancing the experience for both passengers and crew strikes at the core of Gogo’s mission, company leaders knew early on that fast and effective customer service would be crucial to success.

Download the full case study

Chit-Chat is Nice, But Good Dialogue Drives Customer Satisfaction

The mandate to the engagement (contact) center is to improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) or Net Promotor Score (NPS) or first-call resolution (FCR)—or better yet, all three. But clearly traditional approaches to improving the customer experience—and the metrics that measure it—haven’t been working. Delivering scripted monologues or pre-written text in a chat window just doesn’t build the credibility, rapport, and trust that are needed to really move the needle on customer-facing metrics.

Instead, your engagement center needs to use the science of dialogue to deliver a true human conversation. That’s because only good dialogue (not chit chat) meets the needs and expectations of today’s consumer. Here’s why.

It’s all about the humans in the conversation

While some industry experts give lip service to personalized conversation between an engagement specialist (agent) and a customer, authentic dialogue that improves engagement and outcomes is much more than saying the customer’s name at certain points in the conversation or chit-chatting about the weather.

Instead, good dialogue is about using proven communication principles to adapt to the implicit needs of the customer and by doing so, gaining credibility, rapport, and trust. The result is that customers feel that someone is listening to them, they are being treated as unique individuals, they are understood, and can trust the people they are speaking with.

When asked about potential customer service contacts either online or by phone, 85% of survey respondents said they prefer a customer service representative versus a chatbot/AI or IVR (interactive voice recognition) experience.

Source: STARTEK U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, 2017

The hallmarks of good dialogue

What makes for good dialogue that improves the outcomes of customer interactions? There are three hallmarks to look for:

  • Professional
  • Personalized
  • Marked with moments of spontaneity

Here’s a test: if the conversation could have been with any customer at any point in time, it’s not personalized or spontaneous. It’s simply a series of canned responses used at appropriate points.

On the other hand, if the conversation could only have happened at that time and with that particular customer, then it’s truly personalized and spontaneous. If it’s also professional, then you have the makings of good dialogue.

Once your engagement specialists learn and master the concepts of using the science of human communication to create good dialogue, you’ll see the marked difference in CSAT, NPS, and FCR. And that’s not idle chit-chat.

Busting the Conversation Myths: How Dialogue Can Impact Your Business

When you use conversation to talk, text, chat and email with your customers in a meaningful way, you can drive real results like improving customer satisfaction scores, increasing Net Promoter Score, and growing revenue. Here at STARTEK, we use the science of human communication to help engagement specialists respond to customer concerns with emotional understanding, educate customers in ways that reduce their anxiety, and anticipate their needs.

But because this approach flies in the face of popular thinking in the customer care industry, we often hear myths about human dialogue in the engagement (contact) center that continue to be perpetuated.

Myth #1: Conversation doesn’t help Net Promoter Scores and CSAT

Neuroscience findings show that communication has a profound physiological impact on us. It affects certain hormones involved in stress, trust, and other emotional states. Why is this important in the engagement center? Because Net Promoter Score (NPS) is not based on whether an engagement specialist solved a problem for a customer, it’s actually reflecting an emotional measurement of loyalty.

Likewise, most customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys measure the afterglow of an experience, not the nuts and bolts of what happened. Delivering the kind of afterglow that makes customers respond positively when asked about satisfaction or loyalty takes engagement specialists who are conversation specialists.

Reducing your customer’s cortisol level

If a customer is feeling stress, he or she will find a reason to not like what your agent is saying. That’s cortisol at work. Known as the stress hormone, Cortisol can influence customer perception of the outcome of your interaction. That’s why stress-reducing conversational habits are critical for engagement specialists to master.

Myth #2: Conversation won’t work with my business objectives

Is one of your objectives to increase revenue? The principles of dialogue can help engagement specialists build rapport, which establishes trust and drives sales. Is an objective to reduce churn? With insightful questions, engagement specialists can identify the root causes of why a customer might be considering switching to a competitor. The list goes on, but the essence is that conversation not only helps you meet your business objectives, but it’s also the only way to really move the needle on those metrics you’re responsible for: first-call resolution, CSAT, customer retention, revenue, and more.

Myth #3: Turning agents into conversation specialists will break the bank

On the contrary, training engagement specialists in the principles of dialogue will get you measurable and sustainable return on investment. You’ll:

  • Shrink handle time (not increase it) by asking insightful questions rather than following scripts
  • Increase first-call resolution because you’ll get to the root of the issue
  • Cut repeat calls with the right questions to deflect issues that would come up later
  • Increase customer satisfaction and NPS

And finally, you’ll reduce employee attrition because now you’ve given them the tools and the empowerment to truly help others who need it.

Leading Home Medical Equipment Provider Drives Healthier Patient Experiences on Their Road to Recovery

For many patients on the road to recovery, navigating the journey from hospitalization to at-home care can be a bumpy ride. It’s especially challenging for patients who must maneuver through the complexities of ordering and using medical devices at home. STARTEK’s client, a leading home medical equipment provider, is all too aware that this process can evoke fear and anxiety in patients at a time when they are most vulnerable. That’s why the healthcare company engaged STARTEK to help improve the quality of life for its patients by redesigning its hiring, training, and customer care strategies and processes to align with the patient journey.

Read the Full Case Study

Telecommunications Leader Showcases Benefits of “Robots” for Back Office Processes

For mobile operators, activating and managing subscriber identity modules (SIMs) require back-office specialists to complete a long series of tasks, often with redundant steps and data entry. For one large telecommunications client, STARTEK saw the opportunity to use automation and analytics to improve productivity, cycle time, and accuracy for this complex process.

Download the Full Case Study

The Last Thing a Technology Consumer Wants is to Deal With More Technology

As technology becomes more complex, consumers are struggling to keep up. Whether it’s a wearable for tracking sleep, fitness, chronic disease or some other aspect of our health … or a smart thermostat in the home … or the router for the home WiFi … or any of the other myriad devices we own, it can be a struggle to keep them working correctly.

And often the last thing that a consumer with a technology issue wants is to be confronted with more technology that may or may not help resolve the issue. In fact, in the STARTEK 2017 U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, only 8 percent of technology consumers would prefer to interact with a chatbot for customer service. Only 3 percent would choose to interact with interactive voice response.

A whopping 83 percent of technology consumers prefer human interaction for customer service. When asked to choose what their ideal customer service interaction would look like, 49 percent of technology consumers want to speak with “an individual who cares about me personally and both answers my questions as well as offers insights.”

Technology consumers are digital channel users

Technology consumers report the highest rate of email (39 percent), online chat (30 percent), and social media (22 percent) usage for customer service compared to other industries.

Source: STARTEK U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, 2017

A time and place for chatbots

While the survey shows that human engagement continues to be critical to customer satisfaction, there is a right time and place to use technology. Use a chatbot, for instance, to handle simple interactions such as password changes, shipment tracking, or version information. You can use interactive voice response (IVR) to likewise automate simple interactions for those that choose voice channels.

Once you automate the simple issues, what are left are the more complex interactions such as diagnosing problems, billing questions, and account upgrades. That’s where your engagement specialists (agents) become invaluable. By training and coaching them to use proven communication skills, they can build trust and rapport with customers to grow loyalty and retention, promote your brand and increase revenue.

Find out more in our ebook

Read the new STARTEK ebook, “Will Customer Service Centers in the Technology Industry Soon be Staffed by Chatbots.

You’ll learn about more technology industry highlights from the 2017 STARTEK U.S. Customer Engagement Survey.

Get It Now

It’s That Time of Year: Is Your Engagement Center Ready?

It’ll soon be the biggest day of the year for eating and more eating (and napping, no doubt). More pumpkin pie, anyone?

But for some people, it’s the day after Thanksgiving that’s the bigger deal, in multiple senses of the word. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year—and this year promises to be bigger than ever.

A RetailMeNot survey predicts a robust holiday shopping season for 2017, with consumer spending over the Black Holiday weekend expected to increase by a whopping 47 percent compared to 2016.

Cyber Monday is growing, too. More than 56 percent of consumers in the RetailMeNot survey say they plan to make a purchase on Cyber Monday this year, compared with 39 percent last year.

The $743 Shopping List

Americans will spend an average of $743 on holiday shopping across Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, up from the $505 spent in 2016.

Almost 7 in 10 consumers (68 percent) will spend money between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Source: “’Tis the Season for Sales,” RetailMeNot, 2017

What does this mean for your engagement center?

Retailers that have ramped up accordingly for the expected surge in volume might have the human engagement specialists (agents) in place, but are they ready to deliver what customers truly want?

Savvy retailers know that to drive sales during this or any other peak season, they need to deliver a personalized, omnichannel customer interaction that features human communication.

STARTEK research shows that 83 percent of customers in retail prefer to speak with a human— and not just any human, but one that cares about them and personalizes the interaction to meet their needs.

So the question for retailers becomes not only do you have enough trained staff to handle Black Friday and the other prime shopping days that come afterwards, but how well is your staff trained to deliver what customers expect? Can your engagement specialists consistently create an engaging and effortless experience that anticipates your customers’ needs and builds rapport using your brand’s unique voice?

If not, it could be more of a Bleak Friday instead of the successful Black Friday that your competitors might enjoy.

It takes humans to meet customer expectations

Find out why your strategy shouldn’t neglect the importance of human interaction—at any time of the year.

Read the ebook, “Will Retail Customer Service Centers be Staffed By Chatbots in the Near Future?”

3 Big Trends for Customer Service in 2018

It’s that time of year, where we dust off the old crystal ball and peer into it to see what’s coming in the near future. Are you ready for what’s headed our way in 2018 in the world of customer care?

We’re seeing three major trends taking shape.

Trend #1: Re-humanization of the customer experience and the engagement center

In 2018, we’re headed back to the future. That is, we’re seeing a return to a more personalized, humanized approach to customer care. While over the past decade, the pendulum swung in the direction of new technology that improved productivity, efficiency, and convenience, it’s now swinging back to the human side of the equation. Supported and improved by the technology gains we’ve made, in 2018, authentic human conversation will once again be valued as an essential component of customer relationships.

This goes for the engagement (contact) center as well. It’s time to re-humanize what we’ve de-humanized in the engagement center. At a time when the attrition problem is more intractable than ever, we need to translate the nature of engagement center work into something intrinsically valuable to the engagement specialist (agent). We see this happening by focusing on the human conversation—empowering engagement specialists to create spontaneous interactions that build rapport, trust, and job satisfaction.

Consumers want human interaction

When asked about potential customer service contacts either online or by phone, 85 percent of survey respondents say they prefer a customer service representative versus a chatbot/AI or IVR (interactive voice recognition) experience.

Source: STARTEK U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, 2017

Trend #2: Artificial intelligence that determines when humans are needed

So far we’ve seen artificial intelligence (AI), primarily in the form of chatbots, start to make in-roads for self-service, delivering convenient assistance to customers for simple transactions. However, while AI-driven software may be “smart” enough to take over more challenging interactions, the greater opportunity in 2018 is to use AI to determine when a human is needed for an interaction. Instead of investing significant dollars in trying to solve everything without a human, savvy companies in 2018 will use AI to better understand when to use authentic human conversation to greatest effect to engage with customers.

Trend #3: Data that helps businesses understand their human customers

Engagement centers collect massive amounts of data every day about customers, but companies haven’t done a great job of taking advantage of it. In 2018, we see that changing as more companies begin to deeply analyze the treasure trove of engagement center data to better understand what their customers are thinking, the experiences they are having, and the way they want to interact with brands. They can then use this insight to improve both self-service and human interactions.

Will Chatbots Take Over Healthcare Customer Service?

Chatbots are seemingly everywhere and with the continued hype about their cost savings, it’s only logical to wonder whether the healthcare engagement center (contact center) will need humans in the future?

The answer is no, not if you want customers (that is, members and patients) to be satisfied with their interactions and with your organization. In the STARTEK 2017 U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, a whopping 88 percent of healthcare consumers told us that they prefer human interaction to interacting with a chatbot, artificial intelligence software, or IVR for healthcare customer service.

Chart: healthcare custom contact preference

Healthcare consumers used the phone for customer service more often (87 percent) than any other industry in the survey, compared to using email (14 percent), online chat (13 percent), in person (16 percent), and social media (8 percent) channels.

Source: STARTEK U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, 2017

Wanted: a personalized, human interaction

When asked to choose what their ideal customer service interaction would look like, 65 percent of healthcare consumers want to speak with “an individual who cares about me personally and both answers my questions as well as offers insights.”

This is not surprising, given the increasing complexity of the healthcare ecosystem. According to a report by Instamed, only seven percent of consumers could successfully define terms such as plan premium, deductible, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximum. And 74 percent of consumers are confused by explanation of benefits (EOBs) statements.

Should healthcare organizations use chatbots?

While the survey shows that human engagement continues to be critical to member and patient satisfaction, technology can play an important role as well. Use chatbots, for instance, to handle simple interactions on public and member portals. You can use interactive voice response (IVR) to likewise automate simple interactions for those that choose voice channels, providing claim status, refill reminders, and other straightforward responses and information.

Once you automate the simple issues, what are left are the more complex, higher-stakes interactions. Your engagement specialists (agents) must be prepared to handle these complex and emotional issues in a way that shows they care.

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

Machine or Human? Do Consumers Like Using Chatbots?

Chatbots seem to be all the rage right now. Need to order flowers for your mom? Chances are there’s a chatbot for that. Want to know the weather in the city you’re flying to? Ask a chatbot.

For enterprises, chatbots can help lower customer-service costs when deployed in the right way for the right type of self-service interactions. If straightforward answers to typical questions—such as your shipping policy—are what your customers need, then a chatbot can be created that responds with the correct answers.

Beyond simple self-service, however, consumers want to interact with humans. While artificial intelligence and machine learning have made significant progress in understanding human language and enabling chatbots to hold a human-like conversation, at the end of the day, humans are still preferred.

According to the STARTEK U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, 85 percent of consumers prefer to interact with a human customer service representative, while only a small percentage of consumers (5 percent) want to interact with chatbots or AI software.

Chart about consumer service contract preference comparing humans to chatbots

“Basic transactions are always more of a candidate for automated response systems. In fact, by replacing transactional conversations with automation, we are increasing the complexity of the remaining human-to-human conversations.”

—Ted Nardin, President, STARTEK Science Lab

For the very few interacting with chatbots, satisfaction is high

Of the consumers who have interacted with a chatbot for their most recent customer service experience (13 percent), 85 percent of them were either somewhat or very satisfied with the interaction.

Survey results about satisfaction with using chatbots/ai

Also, of those consumers who had interacted with a chatbot in their most recent customer service experience, 85 percent were somewhat or very likely to want to use them again in the future.

Survey results about one's likelihood to interact with chatbot/ai in the future

For a very small percentage of consumers, chatbots and AI software deliver the self-service experience that they are looking for, particularly when the issue is simple and straightforward. For low-value/low-complexity customer interactions, chatbots can be a cost-effective self-service tool that increases customer satisfaction while reducing your cost to serve.

The takeaway: Don’t bet it all on chatbots

Despite the advantages of using chatbots to automate simple, repetitive interactions, humans are more important than ever. Why? Because as self-service automates the easy interactions, the complex issues must be handled effectively by human customer service. An earlier study of customer satisfaction conducted by STARTEK shows that 78 percent of customers have diligently tried to solve issues on their own before contacting an engagement specialist (agent).

When self-service fails, it takes a human engagement specialist to step in and frame a customer’s situation in ways that positively impact the customer’s perception of the brand. Humans remain an essential component in customer service because only humans can do what chatbots can’t: show emotional understanding, reduce customer anxiety, and build rapport.

See more findings from the STARTEK Customer Engagement Survey

Get quick insight into more findings from our survey in this infographic.

Despite Digital Preferences, Millennials Want to Interact with Humans

Millennials are famously digital savvy. But it doesn’t mean they don’t want humans delivering their customer service.

Encompassing people born between 1980 and 2000, millennials have now overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest consumer demographic. With more millennials starting to reach their prime working and spending years, companies of all types are viewing them as the top target audience as this group’s buying power (estimated at US$200 billion) grows to exceed that of other generations.

There’s been a lot written about millennials and their technology habits. They’re not just digital-savvy, they’re digital-first in how they approach everything from reaching out to friends, to ordering dinner for delivery, to resolving questions and customer service issues.

But just because millennials love their digital channels, doesn’t mean they don’t want or need to interact with humans. In fact, humans are just as important as ever in the customer service experience across all age groups.

Consumers prefer interacting with humans

With the rise of digital channels and self-service technologies, such as chatbots and other artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology, STARTEK set out to measure consumer sentiment about using this technology for customer service. In mid-2017, we surveyed more than 500 U.S. consumers about their recent experiences, preferences, and expectations for customer service and technical support.

When asked about potential customer service contacts either online or by phone, 85 percent of survey respondents said they prefer a customer service representative versus a chatbot/AI or IVR (interactive voice recognition) experience. The preference to interact with a human was consistent across all industry sectors, age groups, and types of customer experiences, with the exception of answering a simple inquiry such as an account balance or payment status.

Three-quarters of millennials want to communicate with a human instead of a machine

Perhaps contrary to conventional thinking, in the millennial age group (18 to 34 years), an astounding 76 percent preferred to speak with a human. A slightly higher preference was shown by the 35 to 54 year old group at 82 percent, while 91 percent of the 55 and over consumers in the survey preferred human interaction.

Thinking about potential customer service contact experiences, if you contacted a company by telephone or online, which of the following would you prefer? Base: 18-34 years n=90, 35-54 years n=171, 55+ years n=166, refused to provide age=75

“While millennials might prefer different modes of communication, they certainly are no different than other humans in their desire to interact humanly, particular in times of need.”

—Ted Nardin, President, STARTEK Science Lab

The takeaway: You need human engagement specialists more than ever

Even though millennials and other age groups increasingly turn to digital self-service for straightforward help and interactions, they can’t always resolve the issue on their own. At that point, they want to engage with a human to help them handle it.

Not only does your engagement center (contact center) need humans more than ever, but you also need engagement specialists (agents) who are better prepared to handle complex issues. This requires the right training and coaching around proven communication skills. With the right skills, your engagement specialists can respond to millennials with emotional understanding to build rapport and create an engaging and effortless experience.

Get the report: STARTEK Customer Engagement Survey

Find out more about the key findings in the STARTEK survey in our white paper, “Will Chatbots Replace Humans Any Time Soon?”

Don’t Chatbot Me: Consumers Want a Human on the Other End of the Conversation

With the focus on digital transformation and the adoption of digital channels—everything from chat to social media to mobile app—you’d think that, in the near future, we won’t need humans at all for customer service. It turns out that nothing could be further from the truth. Despite all things digital, consumers overwhelmingly want to interact with a human—no matter what the channel.

Digital channel usage continues to rise

Surveys and anecdotal reports have shown that consumers are increasingly turning to digital channels for customer service. When STARTEK surveyed more than 500 U.S. consumers about their recent experiences, preferences, and expectations for customer service and technical support, it was no surprise that significant portions of customer service communications take place in digital channels:

  • 24 percent use email
  • 22 percent use online chat
  • 11 percent use social media
“If a highly efficient machine could care or connect with a human, a machine might be preferred. However, until that day, humans fulfill human needs more effectively than a machine.”

–Ted Nardin, President, STARTEK Science Lab

But digital doesn’t mean fewer humans

The adoption of digital channels doesn’t mean that consumers don’t care whether or not there is a human on the other end of the interaction. They are simply choosing the channel that best suits their needs in the moment, for that particular issue.

Overwhelmingly, consumers want human interaction, whether it’s in a digital (online) channel or traditional voice. In the STARTEK survey, when asked about potential customer service contacts either online or by phone, 85 percent of survey respondents said they prefer a customer service representative versus a chatbot/AI or IVR (interactive voice recognition) experience.

What this should mean for your customer service strategy

While digital transformation is valuable for delivering seamless, convenient customer experiences, your overall strategy shouldn’t neglect the importance of human interaction or you risk alienating the vast majority of your customers.

It’s time to make humans the center of your customer service strategy once again. For instance, your engagement specialists (agents) must excel at delivering authentic human dialogue that frames the customer’s situation in ways that impact the customer’s perception of your brand. This requires the right training and coaching around proven communication skills so that engagement specialists can:

  • Respond to concerns optimistically and with emotional understanding
  • Educate consumers in ways that reduce their anxiety
  • Anticipate consumer needs and build rapport
  • Create an engaging and effortless experience

See more findings from the STARTEK Customer Engagement Survey

STARTEK Survey Confirms Chatbots, AI Not the End of Call Center Human Interactions

Research shows digital-first lifestyle Millennials want to interact with humans too

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.—(BUSINESS WIRE) — The trend to solely employ digital or automated tools may backfire as consumers are drawn to companies who offer customer service representatives – particularly when resolving a product or service dispute, according to a new survey sponsored by STARTEK (NYSE: SRT), the Colorado-based business process services firm. [Download the survey report]

Although the findings show a high degree of satisfaction for digital channels such as chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) associated with routine inquiries such as an account balance, research clearly indicates that consumers are willing to invest more of their time to talk to an agent who cares about them and who can offer insight into resolving their issue.

Dr. James Keaten, chief science officer at STARTEK, said consumers prefer customer service representatives because conversations are much more than the simple exchange of information, serving a broader need, including:

  • Serving as our advocates by anticipating our needs and acting on our behalf;
  • Reassuring us about our choices, such as our role in resolving a technology problem, the merits of a purchase, or the implications of a common mistake; and
  • Allowing two individuals to make sense of a recent experience by choosing to tell their stories and engage in rapport building.

“The survey results validate that humans continue to be the essential component of customer service,” said Dr. Keaten. “To meet consumer expectations, it takes a trained human. In fact, the more digital channels there are, the more humans are needed to manage the process.”

Customers Prefer Interacting with Humans Regardless of Channel

A majority of respondents (85%) said they prefer a customer service representative versus a chatbot/AI or IVR experience. While the results were consistent across all age groups and demographics, the survey does not dispel the allure of digital channels altogether, however. The STARTEK survey confirms that consumers are comfortable with digital channels for customer service and in using more than one channel at a time. For instance, when asked what method or methods of communication consumers used most recently to initiate customer service contact with a company, email was used by 24% of respondents, online chat was used by 22%, and social media communications (Twitter and Facebook) were used by 11% of respondents – not necessarily as their first choice but because brands could be making online options the only alternative.

Only a Human Can Care

When asked to choose what their ideal customer service interaction would look like, 57 percent of respondents want to speak with “an individual who cares about me personally and both answers my questions as well as offers insights.”

Keaten said that companies offering customer care have to ask, “What does human connection provide that technology lacks?

“When consumers interact with self-service technologies, no connection happens. Software can’t express true human empathy. These results show that when there’s an issue, consumers prefer to interact with a human who cares about them and cares about resolving the issue, even if it takes longer. Sixty-six percent said they would rather speak with a human to resolve their issue even if it would take a little longer.”

Millennials Want to Interact with Humans, Too

Much has been reported about Millennials and their digital-first lifestyles and preferences. So one might assume that interacting with a human might not be as important to Millennials as other age groups. The survey found that they actually prefer interacting with a human who cares. In the millennial age group (18 to 34 years), an astounding 76 percent preferred to speak with a human. A slightly higher percentage was reported by the 35 to 54 year old group at 82 percent, while 91 percent of the 55 and over consumers in the survey preferred human interaction.

About the Survey

In April and May of 2017, STARTEK engaged a third-party research firm to conduct a survey of 500 U.S. consumers 18 years of age or older who had contacted either customer service or technical support at one or more companies within the previous 12 months. Survey respondents reported interactions with companies in retail, healthcare, cable and media, financial services, technology, telecommunications, and energy and utilities.

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/.

Contacts

For STARTEK
Kevin Lightfoot, 214-695-1169
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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
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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.

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

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:
Kimberly Hathaway
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 ;