How to Start and Operate a
Successful Call Center in Pakistan
("A ship in port is safe, but
that is not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things." --Grace
Hopper, Computer Pioneer)
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 What is a call center?
Chapter 2 Hardware and software needed
Chapter 3 Permissions
Chapter 4 What can you sell?
Chapter 5 Who can you sell to?
Chapter 6 Anyone can start now with CJ.COM
Chapter 7 Successful selling practices
Chapter 8 Selling to American culture for maximum ROI
Chapter 9 What kind of call center representative are USA
companies looking for?
Chapter 10 What are the advantages for Pakistan?
Chapter 11 Important
Chapter 12 About the author
the year 2000, major research firms predicted that by 2003 approximately US$60
billion would be spent on call center services worldwide. It’s a reality, and
how much of that action does Pakistan have? How much does it deserve to have?
“India Call Center” key words in google.com and get over 200 meaningful
results. Enter “Pakistan Call Center” and get seven meaningful results.
was already employing 16,000 personnel for USA companies two years ago with the
claim that Indian call center agents are more reliable and skilled and can
operate at a much lower cost per transaction than USA call centers.
Arroyo of the Philippines signed three major agreements with USA companies the
same year. She is quoted, “To be successful, the ICT sector must be driven by
the private sector, with minimal government intervention and regulation.”
Today, the Philippines is a major player in the outsourced call center world.
nations, with the same potentially well-qualified personnel for these “back
offices,” are saying “thousands of jobs will be available in call center
applications in next few years.” Meanwhile, the competition around those
countries who are just simply waiting… are doing what it takes right now. Not
right now, they began yesterday and before that. It is not thousands of jobs; it
main objective is to clear questions you may have in your mind about call
centers in Pakistan. Second, I hope to encourage every single one of you to
create a plan today to take advantage of the huge and wonderful opportunities
just waiting for you in the call center, back office, and remote sales to USA
is an excellent example of a nation of many extremely fluent English-speaking
and Internet literate people who have the future-thinking entrepreneurial
attitude needed by USA companies looking for outsourcing their customer support,
technical support, telemarketing, accounting and more. So, what is wrong?
Internet must be more affordable, and bandwidth needs to be subsidized more.
Such encouragement will bring these companies to the “Land of the Pure”
instead of elsewhere in the world.
is the definition of a call center anyway? A call center can take many forms. A
mother and wife can work from the privacy of her home as a medical secretary,
never leaving her children. She will be able to practice her religious beliefs
and still help her family financially. Pizza delivery, medical insurance claims,
book orders, travel itineraries… there is no limit to the number of jobs that
are now available. Young, elderly, men, women, handicapped, and those with
families or without will now have new opportunities in Pakistan to improve their
economic status and use their often self-taught English, Internet, and people
skills. Anyone can be a call center with these three skills. Manned by one or
more than a thousand, it doesn’t matter.
what has India accomplished in comparison to Pakistan in the Call Center Choice
race? Bangalore is known worldwide as IndoPak area’s Silicon Valley. They were
first and quickest in capitalizing on the software market. Now, Bangalore and
the rest of India are moving to the hottest market, Call Centers. This is just a
“dust in the wind” phenomenon. It is here to stay for several decades. Take
a look at “Dialing for Dollars” India Call Center article and video show at http://www.pakistancallcenters.com/.
On 30 December 2002, there were listed at http://www.people-one.com/searchjob/hotjobs.asp
250 call center positions in India and zero in Pakistan.
supports call center operations in a huge way. See the following example.
INDIA ADVANTAGE (http://www.delhicall.com/why-india.html)
India has the second-largest English- speaking population in the world.
» English is the principal language for the transaction of business
India has the second largest and the fastest growing pool of technical manpower
» High availability of English speaking & educated customer care
» Has the lowest manpower cost
» High availability of computer literate graduate manpower and technical
work force is highly reliable and can deliver world-class quality and ensure
rapid delivery of service. Indian companies are also increasingly adapting to
international quality and security standards.
Well-connected telecommunication systems on a world-class scale . · High
availability of infrastructure resources.
India's satellite-based telecommunication network enables almost instantaneous
high-speed transfer of voice and data across the globe
Highly liberal Government policies on Call- center operations
Maintains High cost competitiveness in service sectors
Proactive Government - 10yr. Tax holiday · Duty free import of capital
machinery and software.
companies can provide call center services to clients based in the U.S. or the
U.K. at one-sixth to one-fourth of what it costs in the U.S., U.K. or Australia.
virtual 12-hour time zone difference with the USA and other markets for Call
Center services is in India's favor.
department of telecommunications, Government of India has given a special thrust
to the industry by reducing the prices of high-speed international private
leased circuits. The recent IT boom has prompted the Government of India to
announce exemptions from income tax and customs for the exports of IT enabled
services. Central and the State governments have put emphasis to set up
state-of-the art infrastructure for the projected boom for IT enabled services.
Private Internet gateways and 100 foreign direct investments have been given
approvals. "Potentially 50-80 percent of total process costs in most IT
enabled services can be out sourced offshore. As much as 70 - 80 percent costs
can be reduced primarily because of wage differentials. However, in order to
manage operations in remote locations, expatriate management may initially be
required to support the remote locations. This together with higher telecom
costs could result in additional costs of 10-20 percent. Hence there could be
50-60 percent saving on out located processes." (VCare Technologies, Market
Perception Memo III, July 2000)”
is Pakistan not one of the choice call center locations in the world?
Priorities? The infrastructure needs assistance. The opportunities must be
publicized to the people. Call centers can have a location as small as a corner
of one’s home. Again bandwidth must be subsidized, Internet access must be
affordable, and VOIP must be viewed as a friend, not the enemy. Look at these
hard facts. About 2 MB of bandwidth will host about 68 phone lines at 30 Kbps
per phone line. This costs US$6000/month in Pakistan and only US$1000/month in
why would a nation want to block VOIP when it should be the answer to economic
Why block VOIP and not Playboy? Playboy uses 50% more bandwidth than VOIP, and
it does nothing to improve the Pakistan citizenry. In fact, we all know it does
a world of harm to one’s emotional, social, family, and spiritual life and
sometimes even causes a person to lose everything he has. On the other hand,
VOIP, something that is still being blocked by a few governments of the world,
is a necessity for any type of call center. Let us see that Pakistan is the
smart example and choice call center location of the world with all the tools of
success and encouragement ready to get in on the action.
1 What is a call center? A successful one?
call center in the year 2003 is different from the call centers of the past.
Because of Voice over IP, it is now any location in any time zone where Internet
is available. It is located physically at any place where incoming and outgoing
phone calls are made between call center representatives and customers. Just
during the month of Ramadan, over 3 million seconds passed and billions of
customers were served by these global call centers.
popular terms are used to refer to the call centers that are opened in locations
that are geographically away from the parent company’s location, “back
office” and “outsourced center.” We will refer to them often.)
customer does not care what a call center is nor where a call center is located.
What truly matters is how well the call center representative treats the
customer. The call center can be manned by one to an infinite number of
representatives, depending upon the situation. It can be located in a corner of
a residence, in the back room of a restaurant or other business, in the library
of a school or university or again, on the top floor of the spice market, or
anywhere that Internet is available. The call center of today and the future has
no limits to the imagination. The limits are only those imposed by
bureaucracy’s “red tape.”
is clear now what a call center is. A huge number of those 3 million seconds of
incoming and outgoing calls during Ramadan could have been placed to and from
call centers in Pakistan. Why wait? What makes a successful call center in
Pakistan? Certain types of manpower, Internet, VoIP long distance calling
solution, and encouragement by the government are essential.
successful call center will employ persons with a minimum of good English
speaking ability and good English listening comprehension; basic skills in
computers and Internet such as e-mail, chat programs, and web browsing; and a
polite and confident attitude toward customers. The ideal back office
representative will have all of the above capabilities, but he is also motivated
by something inside of himself to succeed. Other terms for this concept are
motivation or self-initiative. He will pursue a good command of English written
and reading comprehension, an understanding of English idioms and different
types of American slang, and have a will to be persistent, caring, flexible,
observant, and assumptive with each unique customer he deals with. He will know
that he is serving often well-informed customers who expect respect. He will be
able to adjust to changes in technology as well as the products and services he
reasonably priced Internet service is vital to take advantage of low-cost VoIP
Government and private industry should work together to encourage DSL and other
fast Internet access to be a common standard; this allows the representative to
use a computer on the Internet and still make outgoing and receive incoming
phone calls at the same time. At the least, a mere minimum bandwidth of 30 kbps
per phone line is required. The people of Pakistan must be empowered with the
same tools of success as citizens of other countries.
the year 2000, India ended its monopolies on long distance and Internet
It is not a mistake to say that this has helped India to be in the top four
choices for outsourced call centers along with the Philippines, Canada, and
advantages does Pakistan have over other countries to be the successful call
center choice of the world?
Will it be possible that in less than one year’s time, someone asks, “What
is a call center?” Can we hope for the following reply to that question?
“Let’s answer that by showcasing the thousands of such prosperous call
centers in Pakistan.”
not? It is a land of citizens who are proactive, future-thinking,
entrepreneurial, self-starting, creative, tough people. It is a people who have
undergone many challenges in life, who have learned how to meet their basic
needs in innovative ways.
can remember meeting a gentleman on Super Highway at a truck stop who made me
realize some of the innate qualities of Pakistanis. He was sitting in a small
cubicle carved into the side of a store, not even big enough to stand up in. He
had one light bulb above his head. It was midnight, and he was mending work
jeans for truckers on a manually operated sewing machine. On top of this, he was
smiling. This may not seem incredible to other Pakistanis, but this is exactly
the incredible resourcefulness and attitude for success in this world. It is
also what is needed by USA companies from Pakistani call center representatives.
large number of Pakistanis comprehend and speak English as their second or third
language, and not just from local English lessons. It is because of the
Internet, where English is the main language used. The same Pakistani citizens
who cannot afford many luxuries of life have found ways to use the Internet. It
may clearly surprise many to know the number of Pakistanis whose second language
English is quite fluent, in fact. This Internet we are speaking of has allowed
the sharing of Pakistani culture and English language among people all over the
world. It has provided good opportunities for Pakistanis that were, before the
Internet, unheard of. It is the same Internet that can empower the country to be
among the top call center choices of the world. We are referring, again, here to
VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), not a mystery but a standard around the
world. The future of long distance calling is here now, and it is through the
Internet. Why block that? Why block the tool that will help make Pakistan be the
call center choice of the world and improve standards of living?
Pakistan offers a substantial savings in labor costs of different types of call
center service representation for USA companies, it also offers more and better
jobs to Pakistani citizens. It offers the same citizens a chance to build their
employment resumes with excellent experience and references. The potential
results even include some surprise advantages to both countries. The USA company
who reduces its labor costs will be able to pass on some of that savings to its
customer base. The Pakistani citizen improves his standard of living that
improves the local economy and even decreases crime.
from an entry at http://www.callcentrevoice.com, Faisal Javed says, “For a
country of its size, Pakistan is unique in that a significant percentage of its
educated workforce is technology-savvy, English-speaking and highly motivated.
When you look at that combination, you realize that Pakistan presents a great
opportunity for worldwide companies to service their clients with highly skilled
people, while offering a cost-effective solution.”
will make Pakistan the call center choice or even one of the typical call center
choice locations of the world? It is the fantastic potential of well-educated,
English-speaking, people-friendly citizens of Pakistan, the huge pool of those
who have taken advantage of the opportunities of the Internet against many odds.
The people, the Internet, VoIP long distance calling solution, and encouragement
by the government can make Pakistan the call center choice, a reality.
2 Hardware and software needed
LAN-based switches, internet-based transaction processing, client/server
software systems, and open phone systems, any call center or back office can
have a highly sophisticated call handling and customer management system, even
down to ten agents or less. Even so, an acceptable setup for as little as one
call center seat would include one PC set up with the necessary live chat,
database, spreadsheet, word processor, web editor, and other software (depending
upon the purpose of the back office); and a VOIP solution such as Virtual Phone
) that interconnects the telephone with high-speed Internet.
are generally set up with workstations that include a computer, a telephone set
(or headset) hooked into a large telecom switch and one or more supervisor
stations. The center may stand by itself, or could be linked with other centers.
It is possibly linked to a corporate data network, including mainframes,
computers and LANs. Often, the voice and data pathways into the center are
linked through a set of new technologies called CTI, or computer-telephony
integration with predictive dialers.
center can be located in a remote office at any location, a manufacturing site,
a place as huge as a warehouse, even one’s home, or on the road with wireless
Internet. But again, the center may need some hardware and software. For
outbound calls, one can use predictive or auto dialers. A predictive dialer uses
up to three lines per person. It works best with 8-16 people with 16 predictive
dialers. The cost per predictive dealer is $1000. Give the predictive dialer the
phone list to call. It makes 3 simultaneous phone calls at the same time. As
soon as one call is answered by an agent, the predictive dialer drops the other
and Auto Dialers
dialers sense answering machines and busy signals. They use pacing algorithms so
that call center representatives are talking right away when customers answer
their phones. Since predictive dialing lets you make a considerable number of
calls in a short time- as many as 100 calls in, for example, a 90-minute period
- dialers help call centers improve their ROI (return on investment) by cutting
down on the time and overall cost it takes to reach customers for any calling
campaign whether for customer service, sales, technical support or other reason.
auto dialer dials a few numbers and plays a pre-recorded message. If a customer
is interested in buying, he presses a certain key on the telephone keypad and
the call is switched to a live sales agent at your call center. "I'm
calling on behalf of Future Technologies with hologram wake up call service. You
get to choose the character, tone of voice, the wake up message and music in the
background. Please press 3 on your telephone keypad if you would like to talk to
one of our representatives.” No time is wasted. The cost is approximately
$1000 for 4 lines with an auto-dialer.
will feel more confident about incoming calls via the auto dialer calls, knowing
the customer has pressed a button with interest in his company's solutions. At
the same, there is nothing like seeing your call center representative overcome
the objections of the customer in a professional and understanding and close the
sale on her own.
up “Automated Call Distributor.” ACD reads your 800 number when dialed and
displays your company name to the MSR, allowing him or her to greet the caller
with a customized response. This added touch helps your customers feel as if
they are calling your company directly.
the ACD identifies specific 800 numbers, it is of great assistance to your
marketing efforts. You can use unique 800 numbers for different media sources:
one for your magazine ad, another one for your newspaper ad, one for your
television ad. Then you can record the number of calls that come in for each 800
number, providing you with accurate media tracking data. This lets you know
which media source gives you the best return for your advertising dollar.
addition to predictive or auto dialers, the call center can buy recording
machines to record conversations between agent and customer for quality
assurance, training with demonstration of best practices, and coaching and
counseling sessions. All kinds of software are available from $500 to $5
million. Look at what other call centers are doing. Who are their clients? Who
are they selling to? How are they doing it? How do I want to start?
a great investment
call center or back office or even you as an individual businessman or woman
need a DSL line. Think of it as an investment. Why do people go to CEBIT in
Germany and Comdex in Dubai? Why do they spend the money for hotel, airline, car
rental, exhibition fees and time away from their business? As an investment in
their future! Get DSL for your business and also for your home. Our company does
not sell DSL. We can be thankful to Allah the He has allowed you have some
excellent providers who offer this service in Pakistan. DSL is available in
Pakistan at 7000 rupees/month equivalent to $120 per month. Multi.net.pk sells
DSL in Karachi. Dsl.net.pk in Islamabad, and you have a Cable provider World
Telmeca in Lahore.
can also get a wireless Internet from Brain Net or PTCL. Brain Net charges
12,000 rupees for a CIR 64 K interface. This is a dedicated 64 connection to
have 2-3 phone lines simultaneously. Or if you don't have that available,
get an ISDN connection.
matter how good of a dialup connection, get a fast Internet access and a Virtual
Phone Line. I know personally there is a big difference between dialup and DSL.
I can surf several web sites at the same time; have MSN, ICQ and Yahoo messenger
open with my video cam open for a business conference; have 3 different email
programs open; and make phone calls at the same time, all with my DSL
get started, there is one given. One thing you have to realize. You have to be
"virtually" in the USA. Get a Virtual Phone Line on the web at
mysuperphone.com. Sign up before you go home. Without it, you are at zero. It's
just the way it is. No questions. Simple obvious truth.
PTCL states that the call center business “has enormous growth potential due
to unprecedented growth in service industries of the developed countries.” The
site also states, “PTCL is not only interested in revenue generation but also
interested in generating new employment opportunities.” Discover the
government of Pakistan’s position on call centers and special permissions that
are required at http://www.ptcl.com.pk/call_center.html.
me compliment Pakistan government in its effort to publicize its policies for
call centers on the web. I tried entering the key words “Sri Lanka Call Center
Policy” and “India Call Center Policy,” and my returned responses were not
meaningful at all. I entered “Pakistan Call Center Policy.” The return
response included the following on the date of 28, December 2002 at 10:45 AM
center business is not illegal.
The government of Pakistan encourages it, gives incentives, and gives cheaper
bandwidth and lower taxes. What is holding Pakistan back perhaps?
a look at the web sites of the Pakistan government. The Minister of Information
and Media Development has designed and maintained the government of Pakistan's
web site. Visit it, and you will have a feel for the future-thinking
mentality of this country that you can be proud of, and it is because of people
like you and the respected people who run the country. So, at least start
with what is available. This book, this seminar and the web site are all meant
for your benefit.
will summarize some of the details of the permissions required in Pakistan. PTCL
has an interconnect agreement for call center operators. The applicant will meet
certain requirements and present a business plan and company profile. In
addition, registration with the Company Registrar Office is necessary. The
applicant must adhere to the legalities involved with the Pakistan
Telecommunication (reorganization) Act 1996. Other requirements deal with
interconnectivity, bandwidth termination, details of customer service partner
contracts, foreign exchange laws, leased line network requirements, etc. Forms,
directions and requirements are on the web site of PTCL.
4 What can you sell? Who can get started and how?
products, services and solutions that are needed by anyone anywhere in the
world. The current hot market to sell to is USA. Sell what is in demand. Sell
what you know will be in demand soon. Sell what will improve the Return on
Investment (ROI) of the host company or individual. Remember, it is not possible
to solve today’s issues with yesterday’s solutions. Think out of the box.
Read. Surf the net. Research eBay completed items. Chat with people online.
Learn. Soak it up. Be a sponge for knowledge. Be a star with your imagination
are the obvious organizations you can sell for: hotels, banks, travel agencies,
airlines, pharmacies, insurance companies, counseling centers, newspaper home
delivery, charity drives and more. The services that call centers typically
provide are customer service, technical support, telemarketing, and
do you get new ideas? Let’s consider a few things. If a man is sitting on a
donkey facing the rear, why do we automatically think that it is the man who is
backwards? Isn’t the donkey backwards? How about this? Is the best way to hear
something is with your eyes? Because you have heard the sound of tinkling
bracelets, when you see them, don’t sometimes imagine hearing them?
will look at an old bicycle and see either possible parts to repair other
bicycles or mere trash. Pablo Picasso, a great Spanish artist, took the seat and
handle bars of one, and welded them together into the head of a bull. He saw
something that was not there in the eyes of other people.
African American female inventor Grace Murray Hopper, was "Amazing
Grace" to those who knew and loved her. Her mission was to make computers
accessible to everyone. Without her vision that computers could be programmed in
plain English and her invention of the first computer compiler, it is unlikely
that many of us would be on the web today.
is the point here? There is an infinite number of possibilities in opening call
centers in Pakistan and making Pakistan THE CHOICE, but maybe we cannot see them
right now. One out of every twenty readers of or listeners to this seminar
clearly understand the possibilities available to the nation, the economy, the
labor and even the individual entrepreneur.
Ramos of Houston, Texas has been buying refurbished computers at $50 each and
reselling them on eBay.com and Half.com from $300 to $500 a piece. She also
holds down a part time job in small business consulting. Her resale business has
gotten so big that she had to analyze the situation and hire someone else to
assist. Maria found Suchitra of Chennai, India who had skills that complimented
her own. Suchitra could graphic-edit, web-edit, answer sales inquiries by email,
chat or even phone, and relate to potential buyers in a very friendly,
professional manner. Maria shipped one of those refurbished PC’s (ready to use
with FrontPage, MSN chat, FTP, spreadsheets, and other software) a $99 router,
and an Internet phone device for unlimited USA outgoing and incoming calling
($299 purchase with $99 per month flat rate) to Suchitra. Maria pays for
Suchitra’s DSL service, approximately $40 US dollars/month (common range of
DSL price is $20-$50USD/month).
Maria has a “back office” in Chennai. She buys wholesale still, takes the
pictures, and ships the product when auctions and buys close. Customers get
immediate attention. Maria’s ROI and number of closed sales have increased
tremendously. She has more time for other ventures.
is in it for Suchitra? She has always been a night owl. She is most creative in
the late evening, perfect timing for USA eBay customers. Her DSL service is paid
for by Maria. Her new career provides new job experiences and the opportunity to
improve her English language skills. The extensive research required on what is
selling and what is not on eBay and how best to sell is supplying her with
material for her Master’s thesis. She never has to leave her home for work.
Plus she is making $75 more per month than she would have locally. It’s a
win-win situation for all.
large multinational cell Phone Company needs billing, MIS and customer care
support. Its headquarters are in the USA where the local labor force cannot
fulfill these positions lucratively. The employment must be flexible,
multi-lingual, and savvy to technology and market change. The local cost of
living puts wages at $15 per hour. High turnover in employment results in high
costs for the company. They turn to third world countries for help. The cell
phone company saw the value of the "discarded bicycle." In addition,
now there are 50 agents improving their way of life intellectually and
economically. They value their new jobs at the call center, where they are
treated with more respect than they have experienced before, and they will not
quit because of trivial reasons such as their USA counterparts would. Overhead
for the host company is much lower. There are surprise issues that arise, but
the positive aspects of the call center solution outweigh the problems.
travel agency sees more and more of its clients needing service between 10 PM
and 7 AM EST. They cannot find a qualified employment force willing to work
overnight hours at an affordable pay rate. Half a world away lays waiting in its
day time hours with the right skills and the desire to fulfill the travel
agency’s customers’ needs. Just a PC, fast Internet access, the right
software, an affordable VOIP solution for incoming/outgoing calls between the
customers in Europe and the Americas and the beckoning call center on the other
side of the world will get the show on the road.
fashion outlet in a rural area of Alabama serves a diverse clientele that want
unique ladies’ wear. Something different! In addition, this same clientele has
been surveyed to find that they are increasingly now shopping online for shalwar
kameez and saris. These clients are African, Anglo, Latin and Asian-American
women with a taste for Persian and Indo-Pak styles. They are so bi-lingual
Americans. Should the outlet continue simply offering discount blue jeans and
t-shirts, or do they venture out of the box and try to meet these needs? How can
they meet them? The outlet has the collateral and USA point of presence. Just a
few Karachi families can complete made-to-order items sold through a web site
and shipped directly to the customer. Bulk items can be shipped to the store. A
call center can be set up in a spare area of one of the Karachi homes for
customer service, billing, and sales. Internet access, a PC, and VOIP affordable
long distance solution is put in place and bingo! The fashion outlet is the most
popular ladies’ shop around. The Karachi residents have never been so busy in
their lives. Profits sore for all involved. The clients are enthralled.
Study 5 OBJECTIVE:
A large retail
toy company began to sell merchandise through catalogs. They had developed both
a multi-ethnic small-scale catalog and a science-technology for kids’ small
catalog, but the company wanted to start marketing this new merchandise
year-round, worldwide, not just during the holiday seasons. They needed
a call center to handle what was predicted to be a huge increase in sales by
phone volume from both the retail and wholesale catalogs.
company was referred to Super Technologies from one of their current clients.
They needed Super Technologies to help set up the call center’s
telecommunications facet in the Middle East. Basically, one was needed that
would balance cost reduction with customer satisfaction. This was a brave
decision, to open a call center in an area where English was a second language;
they were starting from ground zero in a country that was very new to call
Study 5 SUPER TECHNOLOGIES’ RESPONSE:
Super Phone long distance solutions since 1999, Super Technologies assigned a
special marketing team to the company’s project. A customized long distance
calling solution of Super Phone Unlimited (http://www.superphoneunlimited.com/
) was chosen. Why? Unlimited incoming calls from anywhere in the world and
unlimited outgoing calls to any USA phone number for a flat monthly rate,
perfect! The center was set up with the local DSL service and DHCP-enabled
router technology. The center started with five Virtual Phone Lines using the
Super Phone Unlimited service. Area codes chosen were Miami, Atlanta, Chicago,
New York City, and Detroit. Each had a 1800 number forwarded to them from our
partners at http://www.kall7.com/. Incoming
calls would be placed to the domestic USA number or the toll-free number by the
managers hired in the Middle Eastern country implemented quality customer
service, customized training (such as accent training) and monitoring to fulfill
the company’s call center mission statement.
Case Study 5 RESULTS
Before this solution, the company would never
have dreamed of opening a call center in the Middle East, no matter how much was
saved through reduced labor costs. Now, the unlimited incoming and outgoing
calls on each phone line coupled with the reduced labor costs made this a
realistic solution. Since the project began, the average revenue for each order
has increased by approximately $40 per order (retail). The toy company has
enjoyed a cost decrease of 15% and at the same time a revenue increase of 35%.
The toy company has started with inbound sales at the call center. Within just a
few months’ training of call representatives and a few additional purchases of
equipment and software, they will add outbound cold sales.
great ideas for selling
are just a few scenarios ranging from very simple to more extensive operations.
Back offices and call centers in Pakistan can do all the following and more for
host companies in the USA. Take pizza delivery orders. Remotely complete
accounts payable for any size of business, printing checks and settling bank
accounts. Create made-to-order greeting cards or any other product. Solicit
donations for charities. Edit or translate books and other documents. Make
wake-up calls in innovative ways to meet each customer’s needs. Take
classified ads. Interview multi-lingual job applicants for the host company.
Schedule appointments. Handle emails and calls for new and continued water and
coffee delivery services to businesses. Tutor students. Assist graduate students
and colleges with research. Sell home delivery of the New York Times or any
virtual secretary services, part-time or full-time, like Palm Pilots that have a
personality. Home-based businesses are a hit! Start big or start small, but
start smart. Make sure you have the basics for your call center, fast Internet
access and a Virtual Phone Line. Start with from a one person to a 1000 person
call center. A woman can sit at home and work. A young person age 16 and up can
work at home. Many of these young people are sitting home already in Pakistan
doing their homework and making friends online at the same time. I have
personally met several young Pakistanis this way. They are extremely English and
computer literate and love to talk and share cultures. So much can be achieved
with the technology that is available to you and me. Most of us are late, but we
are not too late. That is the reason for this seminar. It’s not too late.
digital cellular communication service as example
how does this work? Let’s say that NexTel, a digital cellular communication
service, has 1000 call center representatives in the United States, just for
customer service (and many more for technical support and telemarketing sales).
They are right now paying on average $2500 per month to each representative,
many of whom will quit within six months and/or who do not really have the
skills and desires needed of their job title. At $2500 per month per
representative, that comes to approximately $3 million per year just on base
salary. This does not include other usual benefits like medical and dental
is there anywhere out there in the world an educated force of people who will
appreciate their job as customer service representative and stay with the
company at least a year, who have the necessary computer, people and
communication skills? I think Pakistan has the answer. The going rate for a
quality staff in Pakistan is minimum $150 per month per agent. Next, calculate
the costs for equipment and other needs.
companies already started to look outside of the big USA cities five or six
years ago for its labor force to lower employment costs. Z-Tel Communications
opened a center in Atmore, Alabama, a town of about 5000 people where $8 per
hour is excellent pay. Remember, if the center were opened in Miami or New York
City, the host company would pay at least $15 per hour to each representative
because of the higher cost of living there. In addition, there is a huge
difference between real estate rates for call center buildings in the big cities
as compared to that in smaller USA cities and even much higher difference
between the big cities and outsourcing to Pakistan call centers.
must remember, again, that Pakistan is competing with Sri Lanka, Philippines,
India and other countries.
Many in these countries are fluent in English, use the Internet regularly, and
have a government that highly encourages call centers. Sri Lankans would take a
lower salary also. Both India and Philippines have a huge educated force with
even a large female work base. India practically eliminates taxes in the first
few years of operation even.
make the mistakes of these Pakistan call centers
look at a couple of examples of call centers in which I know attempts were made
to open here in Pakistan, and where did they go wrong? One started with 16
ports. He bought the most expensive hardware and bandwidth circuit. His mistakes
were that he wasted money he did not need to and did very little research. He
should have started smaller.
person opened one in a beautiful area like Clifton. He hired eight people and
bought the best hardware and top-notch equipment. He wanted to provide $25/hour
type of service to the USA. He could have done this with a much lower overhead
and a much better return on investment (ROI). They closed within six months.
you or your company or someone you know or their company already has existing
business with the USA such as garment factories, buying houses, or anyone
already exporting to USA, you need Virtual Phone Line. Anyone with any kind of
link to the USA needs to have at least 1 or 2 Virtual Phone Lines with them.
This will begin to familiarize those in your office with the call center concept
and save your company $30 - $50,000 in less than a year.
a Virtual Office
do I mean by this? I was talking to a gentleman in MSN who has a business base
in a country similar to Pakistan. In the past 12 months, he has spent at least
$30,000 by now for an office in Manhattan. To start, minimum wage even for
employment is $5.15 per hour in the USA. He was paying $1000 per month office
rent. His phone bill each month is at least $100. Manhattan, USA, one of the
most prestigious spots for locating a business, even charges extra for local
calls unlike most other cities in the USA. Is this you?
wait? We can empower you with a $99 per month Manhattan office 212 number. This
will give you unlimited outgoing calls to any USA phone number. In addition, it
will give you unlimited incoming calls for anyone anywhere in the world to call
your Manhattan 212 number. Your phone where you are will ring even though you
are not physically in Manhattan. Imagine this anyway. When customers dial the
Manhattan 212 number, they don't expect it to ring in Pakistan. They just simply
assume it is ringing in Manhattan. Believe it or not, it is a tough job to even
get a 212 number in Manhattan. The big Bell companies have simply run out of
these numbers. This is very common. Even so, you can get a 212, 718 and hundreds
more Virtual Phone Line numbers from Super Technologies, Inc. Visit
else will you save by opening a virtual office, back office or call center?
Again, look at the guy who opened an office in the geographical area of
Manhattan. The worst apartment in Manhattan is $1400 per month or even in Bronx at
$700 per month. It takes at least an hour one way to go from residence in Bronx
to the office in Manhattan by train. Train is expensive. You cannot drive a car,
or if you do, it costs $22 per hour to park a car in downtown Manhattan. It
costs $1.50 by train. That’s $3 per day round trip, $60 days per month, and
$720 in a year, and look at the wasted hours of your valuable time. So what
hire MBA or a road scholar
next? To sell what you want to sell in a professional manner, you will probably
want to hire an MBA with top English language, sales, computer, and people
abilities, but if you find someone with all those skills who does not have an
MBA, hire them. Some of the smartest people I know have no education past high
school or a couple years of college.
father has an A.A. in Theological Studies and yet, he has written several
published religious books, is a retired officer of the United States Navy and
operates a very successful resale business of expensive antiques at a local
store and on eBay.com. Again, whom should you hire? Check these facts out. In
1963, Bill Gates a computer hacker. Yes, he was, and also, he dropped out of
Harvard University. The best sources of personnel may be found in some of the
most interesting places.
call center can hire premium representatives at $400 to $500 per month. In the
USA, a call center would pay someone of equivalent abilities and experience
$3000 per month. It costs from $30,000 - $50,000 but as low as $4000/year in
than only hiring those who own a piece of paper that says they are Masters’
graduates, it is more important that they can effectively use the Internet and
technology and who have either already communicated with or are eager to
communicate with Americans. They should be people-friendly, able to handle
failure with a positive attitude, be ambitious and more.
needs of even the smallest call center or back office
a virtual Manhattan office or any major USA city virtual office. It is a given.
It is a must to survive in the back office and call center world. Your agents
should have a Yahoo Ticker telling them the weather in Manhattan. Set the clocks
on computers to Manhattan time. Keep in mind that the customer expects you to
know such things as the weather and the time in Manhattan since he is dialing a
212 Manhattan number. You and your agents must know the culture of the city of
your virtual office. Use ICQ with Manhattan residents.
you convinced at what you can achieve by having a virtual Manhattan office? Pick
any major USA city, and http://www.mysuperphone.com
will get you started. Imagine now… the host company or individual is looking
for outsourcing for its customer service, technical support, telemarketing or
other service. They discover you, or you make them discover you. They will say,
“Oh, they have a USA office. We can do business with them. They are in
Manhattan. They are in Detroit.”
a USA business remotely from Pakistan
can even incorporate your business in the USA. Go to mycorporation.com or
incorporate.com to incorporate. You do not even need a social security number to
incorporate a business in the USA. Apply for a W-9, a tax ID number TIN.
Download the forms from irs.gov. Fill it in. Mail it to the IRS office. You will
get a TIN. Then you can fill out a W-7 form (again available at irs.gov) and get
an EIN. As soon as you incorporate in NY within a month's time, they send you a
temporary EIN. This allows you get a bank account, phone line, and other
your mail forwarded to your office in the Pakistan by a virtual office provider.
Don’t forget to explore the USA market online. Look at http://www.cj.com,
http://dir.yahoo.com/News_and_Media/Business/, and more. You don't have to sell
what we say to sell. We are here to encourage you to make your dreams come true.
For example, if you are selling large truck scales, you can sell them to the
USA. Or say, you have a computer shop, sell them on eBay at http://www.ebay.com,
and make a lot more than trying to sell them locally in Pakistan.
eBay.com to find what is hot to sell
fact, together we found a wonderful source of information about what are popular
buys by Americans at http://www.ebay.com/.
Click on search. Then click on the “Advanced Search” tab. Type in a key word
like “Dell laptop” and choose “Completed Items.” (These directions may
change periodically. See eBay.com). A list will display all auctions that have
completed recently, what sold and how much they sold for, what did not sell, and
so on. Research this carefully. The items that did not sell… for example, why
did they not sell? Was it the time of the day the seller had scheduled for the
auction to close was at 3 AM when not too many are buying? Was it an
unattractive layout or a dishonest looking description? Or was their contact
voice mail numbers, fax numbers and email address source for anyone in Pakistan
contact information, you need a USA voice mail and fax phone number right now.
Go to http://www.j2.com/
and get your own. http://www.k7.net
is another source for the same type service available to you. You will start
getting faxes and voice mails from your customers to your USA phone number in
your email. Don’t have a USA address. Ask one of your family, old friends or
new friends you make on ICQ or other chat program if you can use their address.
Tell them why. American people like to help. You can always do favors for them
when you get a chance.
have a USA email? Go to http://mail.yahoo.com
and get an email address. Make your email address relate as well as possible to
who you are and what you offer.
do you receive payments?
The simplest method is to have your customers send you a bank wire transfer to
your bank in Pakistan. A second method, as mentioned elsewhere in this seminar,
is to find a friend or family member or partner in the United States who can
take checks or money orders at a USA post office box. This should be in the same
city as your JFAX number or Virtual Phone Line number if possible. Next, make
arrangements for the USA partner to get the payments to you. With your TIN and
EIN, you can even open a USA bank account.
Get listed on Pakistancallcenters.com. Get listed on other call center web
sites. The owner of the call center and at least one or more of the call center
staff should take online courses at such available web sites as http://www.incoming.com/.
The site offers the prestigious Incoming Calls Management Institute.
“ICMI offers the most comprehensive educational resources available for call
center (contact center, interaction center, help desk) management professionals.
ICMI’s focus is helping individuals and organizations understand the dynamics
of today’s customer contact environment in order to improve performance and
achieve superior business results…”
can you sell and how can you sell in a call center located in Pakistan?
Anything! The biggest obstacle to discovering the answer is if you limit your
imagination. The second is something called “red tape.” Red tape is any
requirement that stands in the way of progress, therefore, wasting valuable
time. Pakistan has a history of people famous for “thinking out the
box” and seeing what other people do not see, and that is opportunity. How
can you sell in a call center located in Pakistan? Be virtually in the United
States of America with a USA Virtual Phone Line number (your choice of USA
city/area code). http://www.mysuperphone.com/
Don’t let a limited imagination of “red tape” keep you from you from
living your dreams.
5 Who can you sell to?
we see that it is an obvious need to have a virtual USA office in Pakistan and
begin your own call center as soon as possible in Pakistan. Who can you sell to?
do you find the call lists once you have your Virtual Phone Line? What are the
do not call lists and where are they? How do you want to start?
are two great sources of call lists. (Remember some people may have moved, and
you may be calling someone who has their new number. No problem. Keep talking
and be confident, and always be courteous. You have something worthwhile to
sell.) Other sources are http://www.questdex.com/,
and even http://www.jewishyellowpages.com/. You can visit us
and we will provide you with specialized calling lists.
for do not call lists. There are certain states in the United States in which
certain actions should take place when telemarketing. For example, when calling
Illinois, you must introduce yourself and your product or solution and then ask,
“May I have a moment of your time?” or “May I continue?”
6 Anyone can start now with CJ.COM
a look at http://www.cj.com/
where there are an unlimited number of opportunities to be your own “back
office” or “call center” for USA businesses. Dollar Rent a Car car rental
services, Kmart retail web orders, USA Today newspaper delivery subscriptions,
Warner Brothers shop, O2 mobile services, mortgage and auto
loans for E-Loan, employment ads for hotjobs.com with $50 per signup and $1 per
lead, todofut.com soccer sales at 10% per order placed, and more. Go to CJ’s
web site and surf the 1000’s of opportunities for making profit right away
with your own call center.
the market that matches the products you are selling. Sell cell phones? AT&
T gives them away for free to their customers, and they give you $100 per
customer that you sign up. Customer needs quality A credit to get this. You need
to know how to check people's credit. Trans Union, Experion, and Equifax.com has
this. You pay $1 per name for those with excellent credit.
empowers you to partner with their advertisers, to essentially be one of their
back offices. How does it work? An advertiser joins CJ and places an ad.
Publishers like you apply to join the advertiser's programs of your choice. If
you are accepted, you include the advertiser's offers on your web site. When a
visitor to your web site makes an actual purchase online or sometimes just fills
out a form, that transaction is tracked and recorded by CJ. Commission Junction
handles all of the collection and processing required for ensuring fair and
timely commission payment for you, and all of the administration and
verification necessary to ensure qualified sales and leads for the advertiser.
are the benefits to you of being an outsourced sales center for CJ's
advertisers? This back office setup includes having your account monitored by an
independent third-party, single interface to manage multiple advertisers on
your web site, single ID and password to access all your accounts, one
consolidated monthly payment via direct deposit to you, payment available in 16
currencies, real-time tracking and reporting online, hundreds of quality
advertisers (host companies), multiple link types and offers to choose from,
online productivity tools, free service and support, online knowledge base, and
free sign-up. See their FAQ at http://www.cj.com/faq/publishers.asp.
of the most frequently asked questions I get about CJ is… "Can I
participate if I live outside the country?”
Commission Junction is actively making all of their services more user-friendly
for publishers and advertisers who reside outside the United States. Publisher
commissions are paid in multiple currencies, and publishers can set their
currency preference when they sign up or in their Account Information online.
Commission Junction services clients in the UK and Ireland from their London
offices, and all other clients are supported through our US headquarters in
Santa Barbara, CA." Even CJ realizes the importance of making outsourcing
user-friendly and available to those outside of the USA.
term for, you the publisher, who is using cj.com for product and services to
sell in your call center are also called an affiliate. This does not just mean
having web links to these CJ advertisers’ products and services. Selling in
that manner requires a high traffic web site. The second method is to have call
center reps make cold calls to USA customers and sell the products and services.
Next, the reps sign up the customer by clicking on the web links and filling in
the order form for the customer.
a CJ account today.
Start with yourself as the call center agent and then add more agents as your
business grows. Then, in no time, you are the manager of others doing this for
is one of the easiest ways to get started on selling.
You don't have to beg for call center contracts. They come to you. CJ allows you
to choose from 1500 merchandisers.
the opportunities seem unlimited. Sell USA Today or New York Times right here in
Pakistan. Remember, you must research the products and services you plan to
sell. For example, read the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/.
You can sign up in 5 minutes as affiliate right now. Think of this. If you
called New York Times 5 years ago, asking to sell for them, it would not have
been possible. Cj.com makes this and more possible. Use CJ to start selling
flowers, cell phones, DSL lines, newspapers, shoes... it's up to you! It’s the
simplest way to get started to utilize your call center. Sell one subscription
for the New York Times. Take the order. Press “submit.” You get $25 per
order. Process one customer for a DSL line, and make $75 per line. Be an
affiliate for AOL at $50 per customer signup. http://www.cj.com.
7 Successful selling practices
a mission statement for your call group:
so much in what you are doing that you can put it into just a few statements of
mission that will inspire you, your group and potential companies that will
outsource you and eventual potential customers. Often these mission statements
will be posted in plain view on one’s web site. The mission statement should
be very easy to understand and very precise and to the point. Here is a good
the bridge between old and new economies, we provide high-end CRM solutions
through integrated multimedia contact services. We are equipped to provide high
tech marketing and communication services to our business and corporate clients.
We are a dedicated, highly trained, and motivated staff that will provide you
with a cost efficient means of communication for telemarketing.
every customer matters, we strive for a firm relation on every call. We firmly
believe that quality is never an accident. It is always result of carefully
planned but creative effort. Our systems are evaluated and continuously
streamlined by our experienced team of advisers.”
for mission statements, business plans and more can be found at http://officeupdate.microsoft.com/templategallery/.
Take a look. Business cards, labels, brochures, newsletters, training manuals,
corporate forms, project management, cover letters, and more are in the scores
of materials available.)
the best of cold calls:
assume you are interrupting a customer’s time. Ask for a few moments of their
time or simply thank them at the beginning for giving you a few moments of their
time. Show a position of confidence and strength and belief in your product or
service. Never just introduce yourself and just tell the product you sell. Paint
a picture of how you can meet their needs. They may not even realize these
needs. It is your opportunity to help them see that need and how you can meet
it. Ask the customer a question that moves from what you offer to what they
need. Get them to talk about themselves. The customer will not hang up when they
are doing the talking.
example is “Hello sir. I am Tariq Ali calling from Future Technologies in New
York City. May I have just a moment to share with you? We help anyone anywhere
in the world have a USA phone number with 5 cents per minute unlimited calling
to any USA phone number… Which location in the world do you need to call the
most? I really want to listen.”
Icarus to fly:
is a famous Greek myth of the tale of Daedalus, the father and Icarus, his son.
King Minos imprisons Daedalus and his son Icarus in the labyrinth that Daedalus
himself made. It is so complex that even its builder cannot escape. Daedalus
finds feathers (from fowl the Minotaur had previously dined upon) and attaches
them to his and Icarus' arms with glue. They fly out of the labyrinth over the
sea. Daedalus warns Icarus about flying too close to the sun lest the glue melt,
but as a youth Icarus flies higher and higher. Finally, he gets too close to the
sun. He believed he could do it, but only needed a little more guidance to
channel his positive thinking in the right direction.
good call center will encourage its agents to fly, to try new things. The
management will guide them to achieve and excel but will not clip their wings.
Encourage positive thinking with positive management. Fear of rejection stifles
success. Always, as long as the customer is on the phone or on chat, there is
lurking sale. Always, the next is a sale. The call center’s peak performers
will quell any negative thoughts, words or actions. He will listen tentatively
to each customer and elicit more from the customer in a positive manner. He will
not be constantly reminded of yesterday’s “failures.” In fact,
yesterday’s failures will only spur him on to new plans of action.
agent will be empowered to believe that he is in control of his success. What is
the very worse thing that can happen? He will always be thinking about helping
his prospects have a better life because of the service or product. He will plan
ahead for success and constantly learn from the past to make changes.
Lincoln taught himself to read by firelight and ran for political office so many
times and lost, and then he finally became President of the United States, one
of the most memorable. Benito Juarez was an Indian shepherd and become one of
the most respected Presidents of Mexico.
reporter once asked Thomas Edison how he felt about having “failed” so many
times. Edison replied, “I didn’t have any failures. I just learned almost
2,000 things that would not work.” They each had some kind of support, whether
from within themselves, their religion, their family or a few friends or mentors
along the way who encouraged them.
the most important aspect of selling:
most effective way of getting what you want is to help the other person get what
they want. The customer wants someone to listen to her! Use the person’s name
in a respectful, friendly manner. Take notes on the call to refer to as needed.
Restate the customer’s concerns and needs. Summarize critical points and show
the customer you are in “his boat” with him ready to assist in any way.
self-worth and confidence in your call center agents:
and privately recognize the best practices of each agent. Talking to them,
writing good reports on them, telling other agents what they are doing, and
posting these successes in writing are very important. A “Good Practices”
bulletin board is an effective source of recognition. Never publicly reprimand
an agent. Do it in private and finish by allowing the agent to restate the
situation, his goal to improve and how.
assumptive, caring close of the sale:
you actually close the sale, it is not a sale. KISS. Keep it short and simple to
begin and end with a trial close that is very likely to result in a sale. I.E.,
“I’m David Gerlach with the Friday Times. Thanks for giving me a few moments
of your time. We are going to deliver you the Friday Times in your neighborhood
guaranteed before 6 AM. Your zip code is _______?”
not be afraid to ask for the sale. It is in the agent’s job description to
steer his client in the correct direction, the right decision, to purchase the
service or product you offer that she needs. If the customer is listening to
you, why not ask for the sale or even assume it?
for the customer’s buying cues. She may ask what forms of payment are
accepted. Do you deliver? How do you deliver? How will take for me to get it?
Answer the question and make a closing statement. I.E., “since you want this
shipped to Pakistan, we can guarantee shipment within 2-3 weeks. To get the
solution there where you need it, I’ll start your order. I have your name as
______________. What is your billing address?”
effective form of closing is “Ayesha, that is all there is to it. Do you have
any questions?” If they have a question, answer it and ask again, “Do you
have another question?” If not, then begin filling out their order. If they
stop you, ask, “Is there still something you need to know?” Many people will
say, “No,” and you will be able to continue filling in the form for their
new order. Another great close is a question about quantity or form of delivery.
“Do you want five or ten shipped?”
objections, better known as hesitations:
a list of the five or more most common customer objections to purchasing the
items you are selling. Too expensive, uses another brand, already has one, too
busy, bad experiences in the past, or why do I need it? One worksheet per item
you are selling with these common hesitations should be created.
at each objection. Remember that while each objection may have some merit, the
objection is nothing in comparison to all the great benefits and features of the
product or service. In addition, it will solve problems and enrich the life of
the customer in many ways. Your response to customer objections should have an
understanding and professional tone, with a friendly and confident edge to it.
It must be clear to the customer how what you have can benefit him or her. Get
him or her to talk, and be sure to listen to every word.
with the customer. Put yourself in their boat. If she says, she is busy, respond
with, “I understand how difficult is must be to juggle everything you do.
Career, home, and more… what is it like?” Listen. Then respond with a
statement that shows you understand. Follow up with the plusses, the advantages
of having your product or solution in her life.
if the customer says he wants to wait to make a decision? Find out why he wants
to wait. Again, show you understand. Maybe it is because he wants to compare
your product to others. Here is a cue that should already have researched your
competition and know exactly how your offer excels over the others. Be specific
and match the benefits and features to this particular customer’s life. If he
needs to discuss with others before making a purchase, find out when you can
talk to that person.
the objection is price, ask questions about what he would like to do with such
an item or service that you provide if it met his needs. Let him talk. Then
assure him what you offer meets his needs, that he deserves the quality you will
provide. If the item or service will be used for his business, help him to see
how it will help him meet his business goals. Always close. Make a closing
statement such as, “We can have this in your hands to enjoy as early as next
week. I just need to get your correct shipping address.”
away from negative statements like, “Why not?” “Yes, but…” “You mean
you wouldn’t want to save 60% by purchasing now?”
say for example, “If you had a medical insurance that would assure you 50% off
all regular and follow-up doctor visits and on top of that, even pharmaceutical
purchases, you can start going to the doctor every time you need to, right?”
you can say, “I understand how much you must be doing in your busy life. We
can deliver you the newspaper daily or just on Sunday. Which do you prefer?”
images in your customer’s mind. “It is like brain candy, a pleasurable
combination of information and entertainment.” “The ads are so wonderful
they would even make great posters for your nephew’s walls.” “These
perfumes take you places from a walk in a fresh forest to the warmth of cinnamon
apple pie.” “Such a cell service is one you deserve to keep you up and
confident with your successful lifestyle.”
not emphasize so much about the customer buying your product or service.
Instead, share with her how she can easily use it, how it will change her daily
routines to the better, how it will look on her, how it will improve company ROI,
and what other people will think of them after using it.
a record of your successful rebuttals to common customer objections. Make a list
of new ones to try. Memorize the best of them, so that you can truly listen to
each customer and easily pull from your repertoire of ideas “in a
heartbeat.” (“In a heart beat” means right away.)
the situations with supervisors, trainers, coaches, other agents, friends and
family. Record yourself. If you are the manager of the call center or sales
group, you record your agents. Dub on to another tape or CD the best rebuttals,
the best sales pitches, and methods of overcoming objections for a library of
successful practices for all to listen to. What a great training and retraining
strategy! It is also a great way to recognize when agents are doing a good job.
8 Selling to American culture for maximum ROI (Return on Investment)
a teacher for sixteen years in the American school system, I noted how very
important it was for even every high school student to have a certain core
knowledge of American culture in order to survive with success in life. The same
is true for call center, back office and any sales situation in Pakistan where
American customers are the market.
everyone in the USA speaks English. It's a salad bowl or a melting pot. If you
and/or your call center agents can speak a language other than English even, you
can meet the needs of the English speaking community as well as the many ethnic
communities in America. Americans are used to hearing foreign accents. Be
confident enough that your accent is quite common in the USA. Get over the fear
of speaking English. It's a common thing in America that people's neighbors are
from all over the world, even Pakistan. You have McDonald's and Pizza Hut in
Pakistan. Many Americans have seen a sitar, tasted biryani, and seen a mosque.
(You still need to get them familiar with the tasty nihari and chicken karahi
used to calling USA
you know anyone in the USA? Speak to them at least 15 minutes per day on the
phone. Start talking now even in Urdu. Even if you use PTCL phone lines, there
will be a delay that you have to get used to that you do not hear on a local
phone call. I am thinking of a gentleman in Pakistan who called me once. He had
a strong command of the English language but he had no experience with a phone
call between USA and Pakistan. He was talking so fast that he was way ahead of
the lag. I never got a word in. He kept saying, “Hello! Hello! Can you hear
magic and practicality of Internet chat
to know people. You watch people in the mall or the marketplace, right? Observe
them in chat rooms. It's fun to people-watch either. It is a great way to become
more culturally literate. You can do this in ICQ, MSN or Yahoo chat... and also
on phone for experience in how to interact with people who are in the USA. If
your call center agents are not comfortable with having a USA phone line with
him, it is useless. Train them by speaking on the phone.
and 1900 numbers
is an 1800 or 1900 #? 1800 is a toll free phone number that can be called free
of long distance charge in the USA. If you have a Virtual Phone Line, they will
be free also or at most 5 cents per minute. A 1900 number is a service usually
of a suggestive and erotic nature, but not always. One example is a psychic line
where people call to hear their future and get possible solutions to personal
and financial problems. A 1900 number is a phone number that provides a
commercial purpose. Many USA children accidentally call these numbers and ring
up a huge long distance 1900 bill for their parents. These are just a few bits
of USA culture you may not know. There is so much out there.
USA wait time for customer service calls
long do people wait in the USA to finally speak to someone in USA customer
service? I personally know it can be 15 minutes and longer. Make the call... you
are passed around with automated directions. It is much faster to reach customer
service in Pakistan. You don't hear, "Please hold. Our agents are busy with
other customers right now." Try it. See what the USA customer is
experiencing. Call USAIR or American Express. You will be transferred all over
the place. Your customer will be so happy that someone is picking up on the 1st
or 2nd ring and immediately settling his problem from your call center in
layout of USA; effect on traveling
common it is to drive a long ways in the USA? Between two cities it can be a six
hour drive? Americans would often prefer to drive, not fly; whereas, in Europe,
you can go from Germany to UK in six hours. In the USA, a person can hardly
commute from Houston to Pensacola comfortably in one day. Many commute at least
one hour one way for their job, every day. I am an example. I drove 20 miles
every day to drive from my home to my job and 78 miles a day from my home to a
university where I was studying for my MA. I did this for a whole year. This is
life in the USA. Everything you learn about USA culture will help your call
center or back office be more successful.
music is popular to many in the USA, not just the TOP 40 pop songs by Christina
Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. Dixie Chicks and Kid Rock are a favorite, too.
Make sure to know about Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Billie Holliday, Louis
Armstrong, the Jackson Five, and Hank Williams Sr., as well as any new and
history and politics
about some key events and people in American history and politics? Who is the
president and the vice president? What is Homeland Security? What is the IRS?
The Internet is the best tool around for finding up-to-date answers. Second,
talk to the people who live in the USA to find out more.
was Susan B. Anthony, and what did she have to do with women’s right to vote?
In the 1840’s, she helped woman and children who were abused by alcoholic
husbands. She is most remembered for trying to vote in the March 1873 city
elections. When she was refused, she pushed the voter’s booth over and was
tried and convicted of violating voting laws. At that time, women could not vote
in USA elections. Who was Jackie Robinson, and what did he have to do with
integration of African-Americans into Major League Baseball? He broke the
“color line” and became the first African-American to play baseball in Major
was Martin Luther King, Jr., and what was his dream? “I have a dream that one
day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state sweltering with the heat of
injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and
justice.” The complete famous dream speech is at http://www.usemb.se/Holidays/celebrate/mlk.html.
What was the American civil war, and how did it change the United States? It
took place in 1861-1865, and if the South had one, USA would be two nations, not
do children like? What toys do they play with? Which video games are favorites?
What are some typical children’s bedtime stories? The most famous is
“Goldilocks, and the Three Little Bears.” The complete text is at http://www.hiyah.com/library/goldilocks.html.
does any of this have to do with selling? One of the most creative telemarketing
agents I have ever met used “Goldilocks and the Three Little Bears” to
actually close a sale. The lady that Fiesta was presenting a new life insurance
policy on the phone was trying to get her four-year-old to go to sleep. Fiesta
offered to the lady that she put the phone on the little girl’s ear and let
Fiesta tell her the story. She did, and the little girl was mesmerized. The
mother took the phone back and graciously listened to the rest of Fiesta’s
pitch and signed up for a policy within the next week after talking to her
what different regions, states, and cities are famous for in the United States.
What are the people proud of? Sheboygan, Wisconsin residents are proud of their
bratwurst sandwiches. They call them “brats.” Boise, Idaho, the capital of
Idaho, sports the Egyptian Theatre. It is a movie theatre decorated Egyptian
style, very beautiful. The center of Brunswick, Maine has a park that is the ice
skating rink, very popular entertainment spot in the winter when it snows.
is a great topic to be well-versed on. In the southeastern part of the United
States, people eat grits with butter or cheese. It is a fine-ground corn that is
usually white in color. It has a bland flavor by itself and is usually served
for breakfast. In the northeastern part of the United States, brown bread and
baked beans are very popular as a combination. Brown bread is made with whole
wheat flour, molasses, raisins and other ingredients.
a look at the term “ham.” Ham is not just pork or pig meat. It is cut from
the leg of the animal such as pig, turkey or other meat. It is cured and smoked.
Polish sausage is a popular carnival and fair food, along with cotton candy,
fried blooming onions, and candied apples.
is famous for its Cajun foods such as jambalaya, almost as good as Nihari, but
not quite. Cajuns love peppers and spicy foods. Beignet’s Café in New
Orleans, Louisiana is a hot spot for tourists where the Beignet’s doughnuts
are the specialty. In fact, Americans love to eat out. Be familiar with some
restaurants like Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. Pakistan has its own of each of
these. Red Lobster is a popular seafood restaurant across the USA. Starbuck’s
Cafes are everywhere, even in the small city of 100,000 people in Pensacola,
idioms, dialects, and colloquialisms
is another great topic to be “bone up on.” (“Bone up on” is an idiom
that means to become an expert at or to become familiar with.) There are
colloquialisms (terms only used in certain areas of the USA), slang (very
non-standard English but used in every day language), idioms, and Ebonics.
“No-see-ums” are the tiny biting bugs that are so small a person cannot see
them with the naked eye. People in the South say, “Y’all.” This term means
“you all.” This is not accepted in standard English but is spoken in every
other sentence by southerners especially in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and
Georgia. Ebonics is Black English, and it is in very popular use by many
Americans. “Homies” are your best friends. A “Boo” is your boyfriend.
“I’m down witcha” means “I understand exactly what you are going
through.” “Let’s go down to de sto,” means “Let us go to the store.”
whether to say “How are you?” and how to do that
sales agent will often ask, “How are you doing today?” to the customer when
introducing herself. The customer may say, “Busy,” or “Pretty good,” or
“Fine.” What can the sales agent say in return that sounds familiar and
normal to the customer? Listen and read how different respond to “How are
you?” Some typical responses include the following. “Sounds good.”
“I’m glad to hear that.” “Having a challenging day, sir?” “I’m
doing fine too.” Or even “Gotcha.” (“Gotcha” here means “I totally
understand” or “I’m with you.”) There are times to be very respectful
and times to be friendly. Listen to the customer and relate to them.
news, music and weather web sites
agents can become familiar with the news at http://www.nytimes.com/,
with the music at http://www.launchcast.com/,
with the weather at http://weather.yahoo.com,
and in fact, Yahoo is a great source for many topics.
9 What kind of call center and back office representative are USA companies and
even entrepreneurs looking for? What does Pakistan have to offer?
has a rich history of a diversity of people who mirror the same qualities of its
present day people: determination, courage, integrity, inventiveness and ability
to adapt to change. These are some of
the same qualities that USA companies are looking for in making their choice for
outsourcing. “I don’t allow people to kick me out. … Win or lose, I
fight.” Find this quote from Bhutto, in an interview with The Associated Press
after her second ouster, in November 1996. Quaid -e- Azam Mohammad Ali
Jinah was a man of principles. He is said to have been probably the only person
among all the big leaders of the subcontinent, who never went to jail. His motto
was: Unity, Faith and Discipline. India never took risk of invading Hyderabad or
Junagarh during his life time.
Pervez Musharraf received his education from Saint Patrick’s High School,
Karachi and Forman Christian College, Lahore. He fought in the Indo-Pakistan war
of 1965 as a young officer, and was awarded Imtiazi Sanad for gallantry.
May 26, 1993, Moin Qureshi, an unknown to the Pakistan public, was appointed the
caretaker Prime Minister. Despite the fact that Moin Qureshi was new, he quickly
exposed the misdeeds of the previous governments by publishing the lists of
defaulters of bank loans and taxpayers. These lists exposed a number of affluent
persons who were involved in abusing the banking system and dodging the tax
collectors. Moin Qureshi made the State Bank of Pakistan an autonomous body with
an effort to keep out political interference in the working of the bank.
not forget the gentleman repairing trucker’s work pants in a tiny cubicle at
center representative qualities
call centers are now recognized as extremely critical to a host company’s
overall success, agents and representatives hired for these centers need certain
key component is product knowledge or even more important, the desire and effort
to acquire product or service knowledge as well as the regularly expected
changes in a product. What does this mean?
creativity teacher invited one of his students over to his house for afternoon
tea. They talked for a bit, and then came time for tea. The teacher poured some
into the student's cup. Even after the cup was full, he continued to pour. The
cup overflowed and tea spilled out onto the floor.
the student said: 'Master, you must stop pouring;the tea is overflowing --- it's
not going into the cup.'
teacher replied, 'That's very observant. The same is true with you. If you are
to receive any of my teachings, you must first empty out what you have in your
mental cup.' “(von Oech. p. 12.)
Sometimes we need the ability to unlearn what we know, so we can be all that
Allah has given us the ability to be. Just because mom did it that way and
grandma did it that way, does not mean that we have to do it that way. I do not
insist that my mail be delivered on horseback just because that is how my
grandmother did it.
is a good list to start with of good salesperson attributes that will reflect a
more creative attitude:
Quick, helpful, pleasant, show grace under pressure, reliable
Basic customer service, problem-solving, and literacy skills
Empathy: ability to walk in someone else’s shoes, to see the other person’s
point of view,
No habits of thinking, feeling or acting of a negative nature
Not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them
Good at listening
Team player, ability to encourage those around them
Effective use of time
Ability to multi-task
Ability to at least speak and comprehend, but also read and write the English
language with a desire to research and use dialects and idioms correctly
Ability to develop rapport with customers, to try to understand and solve their
Ability to handle rejection and complaints in a professional and understanding
Assumptive and confident nature
on quality assurance and allowing creativity at the same time
center agents and representatives do not need to be clones of each other. It is
more important for them to be fast learners, open to change and new ideas and
even better… self-starters, who will take it upon themselves to do research in
some of the most unheard-of manners just to improve.
me give you an example of this. Steve Jobs, computer entrepreneur, once said,
“Innovation is usually the result of connections of past experience. But if
you have the same experiences as everybody else, you’re unlikely to look in a
different direction. For example, I went to Reed College in Portland. At Reed,
most of the men took modern dance classes from a woman named Judy Massey. We did
it to meet the women. I didn’t realize how much I learned about movement and
perception form that class until a few years later when I worked for Nolan
Bushnell at Atari. I was able to relate how much resolution of movement you need
in terms of perceiving things for video games.”
learn how to laugh at things anew from children. We learn to sing a new tune
from a bird. I learned from the gentleman sewing jeans at midnight for truckers
in Karachi… that it’s just plain wonderful to breathe air and be alive.
do USA companies want from the call center representatives? Well-rounded,
flexible, open-minded, friendly agents who are eager and quick to learn… these
are a few of the most wonderful qualities that will make your agents the right
10 What are the advantages for Pakistan?
a look at an excerpt from a Pakistani boy’s essay and a wise tale to see the
advantages for Pakistan.
young Pakistani boy named Saad Shakeel won an essay contest this past year. In
his essay, he makes a statement that is so wise and much-needed. “We dream of
a Pakistan that starts firmly on the path of development… We dream to see
social justice and equitability prevalent in our country… This will create
employment opportunities for the youth.”
men had an argument. To settle the matter, they went to a Sufi judge for
arbitration. The plaintiff made his case. He was very eloquent and persuasive in
his reasoning. When he finished, the judge nodded in aproval and said, 'That's
right, that's right.'
hearing this, the defendant jumped up and said, 'Wait a second, judge, you
haven't even heard my side of the case yet.' So the judge told the defnedant to
state his case. He, too, was very persuasive and eloquent. When he fnished, the
judge said, 'That's right, that's right.'
the clerk of court heard this, he jumped up and said, 'Judge, they both can't be
right.' The judge looked at the clerk and said, 'That's right, that's
Truth is all around you; what matters is where you place your focus.
can either continue to complain about how good things used to be and how life
used to be easy, or we can use our imagination and even common sense find new
ways to get things done smarter.
call center idea needs to be shared with all sectors of people in Pakistan. Call
centers and back offices will give the citizenry new possibilities for career
experience and advancement, improved resumes, practice in using the most used
language in business and on the Internet - - English.
Pakistan, even every day people in Pakistan “think out of the box.” Look at
a line waiting for service at a business. If it takes too long, it breaks
into 2, 3, 4 and more lines. Look at the traffic. Karachi traffickers make their
own paths, and it works somehow. In America, there are rules, even understood
rules, such as walking only on the right side of the mall. If an American
doesn't get his drivers' license the first time, he may not try again for a
while. If a Pakistani doesn't get his drivers' license the first time, he will
keep trying and trying. This shows you that Pakistanis are brave and are ready
for rejection, knowing and believing that success is around the corner.
people have the mentality to make the country the call center choice of the
world. The economic and educational opportunities are the biggest advantages for
Pakistan. Pakistan is ripe and ready to be number one!
11 Important web links
for dollars. A look at international source of telemarketing calls.
cost articles on every topic imaginable for sales success.
services, and strategies for contact centers. Everything you need and more for
smell of predictive dialing success.
position on call centers.
centers: catalysts for corporate change.
ideas on call center operations and engineering in this forum.
Call center operations.
Call Centre Voice discussion forums.
Call center careers.
World time zones.
Universal currency converter.
Innovative and cutting-edge VOIP solutions for call centers and back offices.
a USA voice mail and fax number.
1000 self-study quizzes for ESL students. Free!
Become an eBay seller with online auctions.
Famous USA places for more cultural literacy.
of Incoming Calls Management Institute seminars and workshops.
for business documents.
articles and tools for success.
Call Center School.
Roger von Oech. Copyright 1983. Creative Think, Menlo Park, California.
(Excellent source of ways to think “out of the box.”)
12 About the author
Lombard Slay has a wide variety of experiences and careers. She graduated from
Pensacola Junior College, Pensacola, Florida with a Liberal Arts A.A. From
there, she completed her English Education B.A. major at the University of West
Florida, Pensacola, Florida. She completed graduate studies in Instructional
Technology at the University of West Florida and Media Education at the
University of South Alabama.
Renaissance Fitness Center, she managed the sales and instructor staff for six
years. She taught English, Computers and Gifted Studies at Carver Middle School,
Century, Florida, for sixteen years. In addition, she was the Intranet Sales
Library editor and Sales Trainer at Z-Tel Communications (local and long
distance CLEC). New York Times sub-contracts out to Publishers Circulation
Fulfillment where she is sales coach. She has been integral to the marketing
department of Super Technologies, Inc. four years.
received many awards throughout life including Middle School English Teacher of
the Year and Emmit Smith Charities, Inc. Writing Award. She wrote and was
granted over $500,000 worth of educational grants including Foundation of
Excellence, Core Knowledge, and Gifted Studies Technology. She was named Most
Valuable Player at PCF. In addition, she assisted Super Technologies, Inc. in
winning Best of Show Client Device Award at Spring Internet World 2001 and
Internet Telephony Magazine Editor’s Choice Award I n 2000. She has traveled
extensively throughout Pakistan, India, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Germany
with a mission to improve education and to share VOIP opportunities.
thanks to the most creative future-thinkers Elizabeth Carden (technical
researcher), Rehan Ahmed (inventor, entrepreneur, philosopher and
philanthropist), Call Center magazine (exhaustive source for call centers) for
the ideas and support in helping to spread the Call Center phenomenon and
reality to new areas of the world such as the “Land of the Pure.” I
absolutely do want to remember here many kind people in Pakistan and around the
world who have been a great influence on me to “think more out of the box”
like Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, Ernest and Evelyn Lombard
(my parents), and even people I have only met in the last few years such as
Ahmer, Arslaan, Asim, Amir, Nayyar, Faisal, Fahad, Adnan, Zakeer, Shayan, Qanber,
Lubna, Saima, Shakeel, Jamal, Zain, Asad, Arshi, Hassan, Ali, Syed, Derick, and
so many more. Be the future now.