New Era CEO Ejaz Shah

Benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant

Benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant

New Era CEO Ejaz Shah

By Ejaz Shah —  24/05/2022

One of the main benefits of hiring a virtual assistant (VA) is the cost-saving that it brings. If done correctly you can save more than 50%.

However, here at New Era OS, the cost is not the only benefit that comes with hiring a VA:

Maximise your productivity

Maximise your productivity

A VA can take care of certain major tasks or all your repetitive admin tasks while you concentrate on the core values of your business. You can hire multiple VAs’ and create your own virtual team, each VA dedicated to a certain task.

Reduced labour costs

Reduced labour costs

Virtual assistants are cheaper than in house staff. You don’t need to worry about overheads or sick pay etc, in most cases you pay for the productive time only. With New Era OS you have a fixed monthly fee, we take care of everything else.

The cost-effective alternative to a PA

By offshoring/outsourcing your VA you can have a VA for a fraction of what you would be paying a local Personal Assistant.

Weekly and monthly reporting

Weekly and monthly reporting

Reports are the best way to stay up to date with what work has been done, what tasks need to be done and where your business is heading. We always recommend initial weekly reports from your VA moving onto monthly reports once you have confidence in your VA (of course you can continue with weekly reports if you wish to do so).

Gives you flexibility as a business

Gives you flexibility as a business

If you outsource/offshore your VA you can have them work different hours to yourself, this way your business serves its customers around the clock.

Access the best talent

Access the best talent

You can hire a VA on a short-term basis, e.g. if you needed a top-end graphic designer, hiring one in-house would mean paying a market competitive salary as well as other benefits. With a short-term VA, you can get a top-notch designer on a fixed term for a fixed monthly fee. By outsourcing the cost is even less, allowing you access to a full-time designer on your team all year round.

Access different skillsets

With VAs, the world is your oyster, you can hire anyone from anywhere. Our recruitment drive is tailored to each client, keeping your budget in mind, we find you the best VA with the right skillset for your business.

Improve Your Online Presence

 

Improve Your Online PresenceEveryone and everything is online nowadays, so why not have a dedicated VA to grow your online presence?? It makes sense, as the majority of customers check online rather than/before going in-store. Your VA can assist customers with their queries efficiently online, allowing you to grow your online presence.

Improved work quality

 

Improved work quality

Dedicated VAs will work to the high standards you set them. You will be able to monitor their performance via the weekly reports which will detail all the tasks they completed.

Balance your personal life

Balance your personal lifeHaving a VA efficiently manage most of your business issues will allow you to spend more quality time with people that matter to you – your loved ones. New Era OS endorses and works for a healthy work-life balance.

Supporting your business growth

A VA dedicated to you will work on growing your company in the direction you want. Your job is only to create the vision. At New Era OS we work with you to grow your business. You can add more tasks to your VA or add more VA’s to your team, the choice is yours.Supporting your business growth

Reduced risk in scaling operations

Increasing an inhouse team requires a lot of overhead costs: desks, computers, stationary, electric, water, internet bills – the list is endless. With New Era OS, you can grow your team without having to worry about any of the above, we provide the space, the systems and the team members.  

What tasks can a virtual assistant do?

Tasks a VA can do

Below we have created a table and listed the most common tasks that are distributed to a VA. With New Era OS you are not restricted. For instance, you can hire a VA that specialises in Google Ads but can also oversee your social media as well as the SEO of your website. Same with a VA that specialises in developing, we can find a developer with designing skills, so not only do you have a VA who can design your website, they can create, update, and manage it and then help create social media graphics to improve your online presence.

New Era OS
Admin Duties Designing Services Marketing Services Social Media Services Development Services
Invoicing & Payment Tracking
Logo Design
Email Newsletter Template Design
Facebook Ads Management
Website creation
Scheduling Appointments
Social Media Graphics Creation
Blog Writing
Instagram Ads Management
Landing page creation
Customer Service Phone Calls
WordPress Website Design
Lead Generation
Twitter Ads Management
eCommerce store setup
Data Entry & Tracking
Presentation Design
SEO Strategy & Implementation
LinkedIn Ads Management
Workflow + Process Development
Landing Page Design
Google Ads Management
Facebook & Instagram Page Setup
Email Inbox Management
Video Editing
Google Ads Management
Facebook Group Engagement
Calendar Management
Photo Editing
Industry & Market Research
2d Animation
Bookkeeping
3d Animation
Travel Research & Booking
Typing Handwritten Notes
Website management

What is the process to getting a virtual assistant?

At NEOS we take out the stress in hiring virtual assistants, and, unlike other outsourcing companies, all of our staff work from our office, so when you grow, your team grows but remains together.

The whole process is as easy as 1,2,4:

                  • Step One; Initial Consultation
                  • Step Two; Recruitment Drive
                  • Step Three; Selection Process
                  • Step Four; Onboarding

All applicants are vetted and checked according to your requirements, our target is to find the best 3 applicants for you to interview and choose from. We recommend 20-minute interview slots for each candidate, therefore only taking up an hour of your time.

Social Media ManagementOf course, we can conduct the interview ourselves and introduce an applicant to you, but here at New Era OS, we think long term, we feel this decision should be taken by you, after all, they will be a part of your team!

Get started today, the only thing you have to lose is your overheads!

START NOW!!

The Importance of Good Customer Service

The Importance of Good Customer Service

By Ejaz Shah  —  2nd December 2020

Fresh out of secondary school I successfully applied for a part-time job to support myself whilst I went through college. As I walked into my first training session, the first thing I noticed was the large whiteboard across the room, with a phrase written across it in big red capital letters:

‘THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT’

This was the topic of discussion and although I can’t remember the name of the trainer, I have never forgotten his words.

Even when a customer is wrong, he is right. For he is in his right to tell you he feels wronged.

What is Good Customer Service?

Good customer service is not simply ensuring a customer’s query is answered, it is much more than that. It is ensuring that a customer feels valued. So how do you make your customers feel valued and ensure their loyalty? I share my top three points that I have picked over the years:

  • Smile

Believe it or not you can smile through the phone. Try it! A pleasant attitude is key to making a customer feel welcomed, part of the family and valued. It is a core necessity. This might seem like I am stating the bare basics, however, when you have taken your 25th call of the evening and Mr Smith on the other side of the call is not happy with the colour of the seats in the Taxi that came to pick him up earlier in the day (this is a plausible situation, Mr Smith might exist…somewhere…) it is very easy to fall into a robotic monotone and forget the pleasant attitude. 

‘I’m sorry Mr Smith that you didn’t like the light grey colour seats and would have preferred dark grey’…

I mean I get it; it is nothing to get excited about, but it is vital not to forget the aim and that is to make our customer feel valued (Mr Smith pays a lot for our taxis).

To ensure we do not fall into this robotic monotone, remember to smile each time you take on a new call. Just this simple act will ensure that you answer in a pleasant and uplifting tone, regardless of how many Mr Smiths you have spoken to already in your shift.

  •  Educate

Knowledge is key. I am sure I have stated this before somewhere in my blogs. Knowledge about your role, your product, your system is key to ensuring you carry out your job efficiently. When you are knowledgeable, you are in a position to educate your caller on what to expect, what the procedures are, how products work and what is most beneficial for them.

Do not underestimate your customer.

Customers will instantly be able to tell if you are lying to them, brushing them off or simply inept at doing your role. However, on the flip side, if you woo them with your knowledge (steady on, let’s not get too carried away), they will trust you, they will be confident in your abilities and thus be more understanding if things were to get delayed/go wrong. Educate your staff, yourself, gain knowledge and educate your customers, it’s the best way to build great rapport.

  •  Listen

Honestly my top three tips would be 1) Listen 2) Listen, 3) Listen and then the others would follow. I CANNOT stress the IMPORTANCE of LISTENING TO YOUR CUSTOMER.

Listen to their tone (what does it sound like?)

Listen to their silences (why are they silent? Are they making a point? Are they wanting an answer?)

Listen to their words – it’s obvious, but carefully and fully listen to what your customer is saying before you answer.

In the role of an operator, it is important to ensure we have the correct information, so great listening skills are so vital, but also make sure to follow that up by repeating and checking information to ensure you have understood the caller correctly. 

A Disgruntled Customer

This always comes up when I discuss customer service. ‘What if I get an unhappy customer? What if I get an abusive customer?’ Now firstly, I believe strongly that abuse should not be tolerated in any setting. In these instances, refer to your procedures and follow through, you still must carry out your role, however, follow the procedure in your business. However, as challenging as these customers can be and the ones that are disgruntled, they could well be handled by utilising the above points I made. 

During one of my training sessions with my last employer, I remember a call came through from one of the operators on the floor saying he had an abusive caller on the phone, who had been warned not to be abusive(which was the business procedure) however, was unwilling to cooperate now. I requested the call be transferred to me, whilst the call handler listened in on the call.

From the offset, I could barely get a word in, the customer was furious and was using abusive language to vent his anger and make his point.  

I listened.

Once he had finished, I let him know that I had listened, ‘I can hear your frustration and anger’.

 I apologised, ‘I am sorry that you feel this way/this has happened’.

I expressed my willingness to assist him, ‘I would like to rectify this for you’.

I referred to our policy/procedures, ‘however, I must advise you that we do not tolerate any abusive language, so can I please ask that you refrain from using that kind of language’.

I then ‘educated’ him on what I could do, step by step, to assist him and resolve this issue.

Honestly, the customer was taken aback, my tone was extremely pleasant and calm, I reassured him that I heard his frustration and anger and wanted to help him, alongside making it clear to him that any abuse would not be tolerated by me.

Now I am not saying this will work on any and every call, however, it is important to always stay in control of the phone call. Remember you are the professional, stay professional and handle the situation, keep yourself composed and do not let anyone rattle you.

New Era OS and Customer Services

At New Era we treat YOUR customers as OUR customers, we go the extra mile on every single call. Each customer is given the same amount of importance regardless of what the nature of the call is. Our training is tailored around each client and each agent is quality checked on a regular basis.

For our Taxi clients, we follow a very strict script where the agents must follow the 5 input & 7 output method. This is a tried and tested method and it ensures no mistakes are made. 

With no setup fee on your first agent, join us today and let us help you take your company to the next level!!

At New Era we treat YOUR customers as OUR customers, we go the extra mile on every single call. Each customer is given the same amount of importance regardless of what the nature of the call is. Our training is tailored around each client and each agent is quality checked on a regular basis.

For our Taxi clients, we follow a very strict script where the agents must follow the 5 input & 7 output method. This is a tried and tested method and it ensures no mistakes are made. 

With no setup fee on your first agent, join us today and let us help you take your company to the next level!!

Bakhtawar gillani

Reasons Why You Should Hire A Virtual Assistant

Reasons Why You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant

Bakhtawar gillani

By Bakhtawar Gillani  —  February 8th, 2022

Virtual assistants basically are an alternative to a full-time PA you hired for the support of your business who get paid only for the productive time which made it popular now-a-days because it really is cost effective as compared to hiring a full-time PA.

They tend to manage different clients at a time or on various projects, with particular skill set, providing different services to the businesses from a remote location. What could be better getting things done within deadlines because of their efficient virtual working?

We can say, hiring virtual assistants has many benefits over domestic employees. Because of its popularity in today’s world, there are also various virtual assistant companies that can help make the hiring process easier.

VAs can maximize the productivity level

Business growth depends on strategic partnerships and collaborations, these are considered power tools to make your business flourish and take it to the next level. 

If you’re thinking to expand your business, do hire some talented VAs, and having an extra hand always saves you time which can be utilized in other aspects of business more efficiently.

Virtual Assistant

Decreased operational costs

One of the main reasons you should be hiring Vas is to lower your overall cost. It has been estimated that by hiring a full time virtual assistant 78% of the operating cost can be saved.

Because, virtual assistants are self-employed and it cuts off rental, maintenance and other taxes. Moreover, VAs work remotely either part time or full time both ways it costs you lower than the regular employee. 

Cost Reduction

Reduced workload

Being the owner of your business there’s too much on your plate and often due to overly jam-packed most important business tasks get overshadowed. While, hiring a virtual assistant spares you enough time to focus on what needs to be focused more meanwhile VA can handle other crucial tasks. They can be useful in:

  • Market Research
  • Data Entry
  • Email Management
  • Online Marketing
  • Scheduling
  • Call Answering
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Web Development
  • Content Writing
  • Transcription

And many other things.

Reduced Workload

Improve your online presence

Now-a-days, business demands more online presence and social media engagement which requires a lot of time and consistency. VAs can manage this task efficiently and strengthening your business identity by persistently posting on social media. They can improve customer engagement meanwhile helping in:

  • Quick responses to consumer queries
  • Customer engaging content
  • Promotional posts and activities
Improve your online presence​

Access to best talent

While hiring virtual assistant there’s no geographical restrictions which makes it a best way to world-class talent. All you need to do is have clear communications with them, arrange virtual meetings, and make them understand the process and policies of your business and you will see that reflected in each and every task they perform. 
Access to best talent​

Let's go....Hire a Virtual Assistant for your business today

At NEOS we take out the stress in hiring virtual assistants, and, unlike other outsourcing companies, all of our staff work from our office, so when you grow, your team grows but remains together.

The whole process is as easy as 1,2,4:

                  • Step One; Initial Consultation
                  • Step Two; Recruitment Drive
                  • Step Three; Selection Process
                  • Step Four; Onboarding

All applicants are vetted and checked according to your requirements, our target is to find the best 3 applicants for you to interview and choose from. We recommend 20-minute interview slots for each candidate, therefore only taking up an hour of your time.

Social Media ManagementOf course, we can conduct the interview ourselves and introduce an applicant to you, but here at New Era OS, we think long term, we feel this decision should be taken by you, after all, they will be a part of your team!

Get started today, the only thing you have to lose is your overheads!

START NOW!!

The Passenger, The Driver, The Owner & The Call Centre

The Passenger, The Driver, The Owner & The Call Centre

By Ejaz Shah  — 18th December 2020

The Passenger

The Passenger

The Passenger

The wind blew the rain on my face as I stood waiting for my taxi, they had said 5 minutes so I saw no point looking for shelter. The minutes passed by, but no taxi came. I rang the taxi company to enquire why the driver was not here yet but before the operator could answer the phone, a Volkswagen Passat pulled up in front of me. I hung up and got in.

“Aright mate” the driver asked,

“yeah, I’m good, how you doing?” I replied

“all good, Stanley Road?”

“Yeah mate, thank you”

The rest of the journey passed by with no other words uttered aside from Capital FM playing in the background. When we pulled up outside my house, I handed the cash over, tipping the driver an extra few quid and then made a dart for the front door through the now, much heavier, rain.

Ten minutes later, as I finally sat down in some fresh clothes, I realised that I did not have my phone on me. It suddenly dawned on me that I had no recollection of getting out of the taxi with my phone. 

I grabbed the house phone and dialed my mobile number immediately. One ring…two rings…three rings…four rings…five rings and then my own voice asking me to leave a message. ‘Damn it!!!!’

I rang the taxi company office and explained my predicament, the operator put me on hold while he tried to contact the driver. After a short while, he came back to me apologetically saying the driver had finished the shift for the night and he couldn’t get hold of him.

‘Really?!?’ I could feel my temper rising.

“What do you mean you can’t get hold of him?” I demanded

“Please ring back tomorrow, if I manage to get hold of him today, I will ring you back on this number and get the driver to drop it off to you”

I hung up the phone frustrated.

Watching tv the evening slipped away and no phone call from the taxi office came. This is ridiculous, I thought, surely, they have the driver’s personal number?! Thoughts continued to build up in my head, he’s going to keep it, he is going to keep my phone and deny seeing it. It’s my word against his! Aaargh!

Impatiently and getting more and more frustrated, I rang back and explained to the operator once again what happened. Again, I was told to hold whilst they tried to get hold of the driver.

The operator returned having had no luck getting hold of the driver and then repeated to me what the previous operator had. With my patience running very thin and my frustration turning to anger, I demanded to speak to whoever was in charge. After another what seemed an eternity on hold, the manager came onto the line.

“Sir I believe you have left your phone in the back of one of our taxis?”

“Yes, I have” I replied

“Like my colleague explained, the driver has finished for the night and will be back tomorrow, we have tried to reach him but have had no luck. If your phone is still with him, you can pick it up from the office tomorrow or we can get someone to drop it off to you”

I knew it!! A voice in my head screeched. “What do you mean IF my phone is still in the back of the taxi?!”  I bellowed back.

“The driver had another pickup after your job sir, so someone could have picked the phone up, let’s wait until we get hold of the driver”

“This is a joke!? Come on!! I am a regular customer; I have paid so much for your taxis over the years and this is what I get?! This the best you can do?!”

The manager tried to get back into the conversation, but by now, I was completely seeing red.

‘I am disgusted by the way you are treating me. Let me make it very clear to you, IF I do not get my phone back, not only will I never use your taxi firm again, I will make sure everyone hears about this!!’

And with that, I disconnected.

I pulled out my laptop, went onto the companies Facebook page, and started typing away furiously. One negative review down, I turned my attention to google and continued venting my frustration.  

Overnight I had decided I was going to uber it to work the following morning. However, I soon realised Uber was on a surcharge, again. I had no choice. I didn’t mention my phone to the operator when I called in, I was going to wait until I met the driver.

As I hastily finished the last bite of my breakfast, the usual familiar sound of the taxi horn alerted me to its arrival.  

With a stoic look I jumped into the front seat, ready to start the conversation. But before I could say anything, the driver turned to me with my phone in his hand.

“Oh, thank you, thank you”, I gasped, the relief tangible in my voice. The rest of the journey consisted of a big grin across my face and my face in my phone. As I left the taxi, I made sure I tipped the driver a quid or two extra and thanked him once again.

Work was craaaaazy busy. I had lunch at my desk and just managed to meet my deadlines as the clock struck 5pm.  Exhausted at home, I was about to call it a night, when I remembered the bad reviews I had left the taxi company the night before. I quickly logged onto my laptop and then froze at the sight of what greeted me.

My Facebook review had gone viral!!

The Driver

The Driver

The Driver

2020 was to be my year, it’s certainly been a year to remember. The muscles in my neck ache every time I turn my head. My shoulder feels heavy, stiff and heavy. 

What an awful, awful year. I can’t remember the last time I had a day off, 14-hour days, 7 days a week and not a penny to show for it. If it carries on like this, I’ll be paying for the fuel out of my own pocket, fuel to just roam the streets looking for work! 

The virus has scared away all my regular customers. There’s barely anyone to see on the streets. More money, more problems they say, no money and so many problems for me.

Missus isn’t happy either, she barely gets to see me and when she does, I’m zoned out, no help at all with the kids. We’re living on basic rations, hand to mouth stuff. The bills are piling up and I am already behind on my mortgage payments. 

There has been no help from the government, not surprising, although thankfully the taxi company reduced the rent but at the same time, they reduced the fares too!!

It was getting late and I was exhausted. I had only five jobs to show for the whole day. When I spoke to the operator at the office, I asked him to find me something to take me home.

‘Stanley Road, ready for pick up now?’

It wasn’t quite near my home, but it was in the same direction and I wasn’t in a position to decline.

I headed straight for the pickup and as I turned the corner, I could see through the rain the passenger waiting by the side of the road. We exchanged greetings and I started on with the journey. The passenger seemed lost in his thoughts and as experience had taught me, if they don’t instigate the conversation, it means they want to be left alone. So, we continued in silence.  

I felt a pang of guilt as the passenger walked away, after tipping me for the ride. Maybe I should have struck a conversation with him??  Maybe I got the tip for the silence?!? Bless him, either way, it can’t be easy for him either in the current climate.

I was still thinking about it, when I heard the operator call in another job, the drop off was right next to my house. I took it and sped towards it as quick as I could.

A couple got into the car, they seemed friendly and we chatted along the way. As we pulled up near the drop off point, the husband leaned forward:

“Mate, just drop my wife here, we live in that cul-de-sac and can you drop me off around the corner”

“Yeah no worries” I replied, as I pulled over

As the woman went to leave, she whispered to her husband

“Don’t do it Pete, don’t.”

She then turned around to me and softly whispered ‘sorry’.

I smiled back at her, caught up in the situation I didn’t pay attention to what she had said. I drove around the block and pulled up to where I was instructed to. The male passenger got out of the car, reaching in his back pocket as he did, I started rolling my window down in anticipation. 

But as soon as he had shut the door he darted off, jumping over a fence and disappearing into a field. I got out of the car but there was no point, he was long gone. The wife’s ‘sorry’ echoed in my head, as I turned around and drove back to where I had dropped her off. I had been too distracted by the male passenger and hadn’t seen the house she had gone into. Completely downtrodden, I called the office and reported the ’runner’, as per office policy. 

They blacklisted the caller’s number and offered me another job close by, I refused. I was fed up, I switched the system off and drove home.

Just as I got home my phone started ringing, I couldn’t face talking to anyone, I was done for the day, the week, the year. I walked in, went straight to the shower, chomped down some dinner and hit the sack. I heard my wife whisper ‘good night’ as I drifted off, I was too exhausted to reply.  

My eyes awoke to a silent house, my wife nowhere to be seen. I had overslept. Why had my alarm not gone off?! I searched around for my phone and realised when I saw it that the battery had died – I’d forgotten to put it on charge. When I got out of the shower, I could hear my phone ringing, on charge in my bedroom, it was the office;

“Where have you been, we’ve been trying to ring you all night”

“Sorry my battery was dead, I’ll be logged on and ready in a short while, is it busy?”

“Can you come into the office; I need to see you. In the meantime, a driver is headed towards your house, someone left a phone in your car last night, can you give it to the driver, he will pass it on”

I went to look in my car and under the passenger seat there was a phone, it was locked and on silent but had a few missed calls on it. When the other driver turned up, I handed it to him and headed to the office myself, wondering why he wanted to see me. He rarely calls drivers in.

He was fuming. The guy who had left his phone in my car last night had left a bad review on Facebook. Unlucky for us the review had hit a chord with several people and was now doing the rounds on social media.  

“How many times have I said, check the car when you drop a passenger off before heading to your next job”

“I know, I know, I’m sorry. It was just such a long day yesterday man, I usually do but I don’t know, I got another job and it was near my house so I just kind of sped off for it. A waste of time, it was a bloody runner!”

“You’ll get compensated for your dead mileage on that don’t worry, part of the job, but why the hell was your phone turned off all night? We could have rectified this issue straight away if you answered your phone”

“Sorry man, my battery went dead, hence the late start today! Sorry.”

I left the office feeling crap. It wasn’t a telling-off really, the gaffers a good man, but I’d caused a big problem. What a start to the day!? I logged onto the system and was greeted with the news that I was at the back of a 55-car queue. Brilliant, another long day, another day to figure out how to get on top of those bills and keep a roof over my head.  

 

The Owner

The Owner

The Owner

I looked at the accounts, slowly turning the pages of the books, work had been cut by 70% and I had lost about 50% of my fleet. 15 years in the making and I was witnessing all of my hard work, blood, sweat, and tears going down the drain. If it wasn’t for the school runs, we’d have completely folded, however, I don’t know how long they alone could keep us ticking over. The drivers that still remained with us were on a pittance, earning below the bare minimum. 

My hands were tied, I had already offered them reduced rent rates, there was no more I could do. My thoughts were disturbed by the office phone ringing, I answered to the voice of my main dispatcher speaking over me:

We’ve got an irate customer on the line, wants to speak to a manager but he is on a call, can you deal with it?”

“Yeah, what’s the situation though?” I replied.

“He’s left his phone in one of our cabs and the driver has finished for the night, we can’t get hold of him”

“Ok no worries, put him through”

I tried explaining the situation to the customer, but he wasn’t having any of it, he very abruptly and rudely hung up on me, midway through my explanation. I called the dispatcher into my office and we pulled the customer’s records of the system. I valued all customers, but regular customers were a precious commodity nowadays, we couldn’t afford to upset them.

However, to my surprise and contrary to what the customer had said the cheeky bugger had only used us once before about 6 months ago and then earlier on tonight, so much for being a regular customer! I got the driver details and tried ringing the driver but it went straight to voicemail.

He’s probably sleeping” the dispatcher said, as I hung up.

“Minor issue”, I replied, “it’s only a phone, the customer should have been more responsible with his belongings, the driver is a good guy he will most likely hand it in tomorrow, he probably doesn’t even know…” the dispatcher interrupted me mid-sentence

“the driver had a runner on his next job, got a funny feeling the phone went with the runner”

“Great!” I sighed

I returned to looking through my accounts when I noticed a notification on one of the tabs. I had my company social accounts opened, it’s an old habit keeping an eye on all the business fronts.

Someone had left us a review, and to my horror, it wasn’t the positive review that I was hoping for

“Useless company made me wait an hour in the rain, rude driver barely uttered a word, ignored me throughout the journey and then drove off with my brand-new phone. To make matters worse when I called the office to report it, they CUT ME OFF!!! ***DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY – UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE TREATED LIKE SHIT AND TAKEN ADVANTAGE OFF***

Our calls are answered by an oversea call centre, we only have a main dispatcher in this office and a manager during office hours. Without thinking I typed an email to the call centre manager asking for an explanation as to why customers were given the wrong time and why they were being hung up on?

I went back to the review to leave a reply apologising and assuring the customer that I would be getting the matter looked into, when I noticed several people had jumped onto the post, the customer had tagged a number of people and had used some popular hashtags, which had led to the high traffic the poster was now getting. Aside from two people sticking up for my company, the rest were going all out tarnishing our name!

I stared at the screen, shocked at what was unfolding in front of my very eyes. The business was going viral but for all the wrong reasons.  I called the office manager in, who walked in red-faced, his laptop in his arms. He had already seen for himself what was happening and turned my attention to our business page on google. The customer had left the same negative review on it.  There was nothing we could do, but report both reviews and then wait and watch the business name being tarnished.

My computer beeped with a notification of a new email. I had been sent both the transcript and call recording of the original call the customer had made to us. As I expected, our operator had been polite, professional and respectful throughout the call, something that could not be said about the customer!

We put a statement out on our Facebook page, clarifying everything that had happened. There was nothing more we could do.

In the morning the office manager alerted me to the fact that the customer had booked another taxi with us, I quickly rang the driver from last night, luckily managing to get through to him. By the time the customer had taken his seat in our taxi he had had his phone returned to him.

I scrolled through our social media. The reviews were still up, both platforms had refused to delete them, I was in despair, I had tried everything, but we had no power. The post was still getting hits and it didn’t look like it would stop anytime soon.  

I was lost in my thoughts when the driver from last night walked through my office door, I looked up and wearily forced a smile on my face. Someone had to try and keep the mood lifted, if not me, who?

The Call Centre

The Call Centre

The Call Centre

Six months that’s all I needed. Six months of hard work, head down and I would pass the probation period. With that came a permanent contract and a pay rise and then, maybe then, I could finally enroll into university and complete my studies. That was me four months ago and I was struggling now. 

Redundancies had taken place, out of the ten of us that had started together, only four of us were left. The business was struggling, it was clear to see, the managers were stressed and the atmosphere was tense. I just tried to remain as focused as I could.

“Believe it or not you can smile through the phone”, that’s what my trainer had told the group on our first day.

That’s what I reminded myself, every time I took a call, smile…smile…smile.

The call last night had caught me off guard. The customer would not let me speak and was absolutely fuming. There was nothing I could say or do to calm him down. He had left his phone in one of our taxis and for the life of me I could not get through to the driver. The customer had hit the roof. I recorded everything as per company procedure and although I went home with an awful headache, I felt I had done everything I should have done.

This morning, the feeling was different. Overnight a negative post left by the customer had gone viral. It was the talk of the office and I had already been pulled into the office, ‘if the customer was so upset why had I not come to one of the managers?!’. I had tried to look for a manager, but everyone was busy, I tried telling them this, but fear stopped me, I could barely get a word out. I just sat and listened. 

They were going to listen to my call and speak to the CEO who was in the UK and then decide on what action needed to be taken. 

We were ahead of U.K time by several hours so it was a waiting game and time seemed to have frozen.

I couldn’t remember if I raised my voice at the customer – did I??

Did I ring the right number?

I don’t think I did, I should have rung his personal number, did I ring his personal number??

My head was filled with thoughts, thoughts of my failures. I pressed print on my letter.

‘Psst…’

I looked over, Asif from two rows down was trying to get my attention.

‘Umer’s gone. They let him go yesterday, something about poor quality’.

Umer had been here for three and a half years, me just over four months. My head throbbed. It had been so difficult to get this job. It was a highly sought-after position. There was no way I would be able to get another job like this if I was dismissed, I could not afford a bad reference. I just couldn’t.

I sealed the envelope and scribbled my manager’s name on top. They were looking to reduce the numbers, so they wouldn’t take my departure to heart. With my resignation letter in hand, I slowly walked over to the manager’s office.

New Era Outsourcing Specialists where every side of the story is understood. With our experience, we are able to handle any problems that arise, you can rest assured, New Era OS is working with you, for you, for your customers.

Get in touch today

The Importance of Good Customer Service

The Importance of Good Customer Service

By Ejaz Shah  —  2nd December 2020

Fresh out of secondary school I successfully applied for a part-time job to support myself whilst I went through college. As I walked into my first training session, the first thing I noticed was the large whiteboard across the room, with a phrase written across it in big red capital letters:

‘THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT’

This was the topic of discussion and although I can’t remember the name of the trainer, I have never forgotten his words.

Even when a customer is wrong, he is right. For he is in his right to tell you he feels wronged.

What is Good Customer Service?

Good customer service is not simply ensuring a customer’s query is answered, it is much more than that. It is ensuring that a customer feels valued. So how do you make your customers feel valued and ensure their loyalty? I share my top three points that I have picked over the years:

  • Smile

Believe it or not you can smile through the phone. Try it! A pleasant attitude is key to making a customer feel welcomed, part of the family and valued. It is a core necessity. This might seem like I am stating the bare basics, however, when you have taken your 25th call of the evening and Mr Smith on the other side of the call is not happy with the colour of the seats in the Taxi that came to pick him up earlier in the day (this is a plausible situation, Mr Smith might exist…somewhere…) it is very easy to fall into a robotic monotone and forget the pleasant attitude. 

‘I’m sorry Mr Smith that you didn’t like the light grey colour seats and would have preferred dark grey’…

I mean I get it; it is nothing to get excited about, but it is vital not to forget the aim and that is to make our customer feel valued (Mr Smith pays a lot for our taxis).

To ensure we do not fall into this robotic monotone, remember to smile each time you take on a new call. Just this simple act will ensure that you answer in a pleasant and uplifting tone, regardless of how many Mr Smiths you have spoken to already in your shift.

  •  Educate

Knowledge is key. I am sure I have stated this before somewhere in my blogs. Knowledge about your role, your product, your system is key to ensuring you carry out your job efficiently. When you are knowledgeable, you are in a position to educate your caller on what to expect, what the procedures are, how products work and what is most beneficial for them.

Do not underestimate your customer.

Customers will instantly be able to tell if you are lying to them, brushing them off or simply inept at doing your role. However, on the flip side, if you woo them with your knowledge (steady on, let’s not get too carried away), they will trust you, they will be confident in your abilities and thus be more understanding if things were to get delayed/go wrong. Educate your staff, yourself, gain knowledge and educate your customers, it’s the best way to build great rapport.

  •  Listen

Honestly my top three tips would be 1) Listen 2) Listen, 3) Listen and then the others would follow. I CANNOT stress the IMPORTANCE of LISTENING TO YOUR CUSTOMER.

Listen to their tone (what does it sound like?)

Listen to their silences (why are they silent? Are they making a point? Are they wanting an answer?)

Listen to their words – it’s obvious, but carefully and fully listen to what your customer is saying before you answer.

In the role of an operator, it is important to ensure we have the correct information, so great listening skills are so vital, but also make sure to follow that up by repeating and checking information to ensure you have understood the caller correctly. 

A Disgruntled Customer

This always comes up when I discuss customer service. ‘What if I get an unhappy customer? What if I get an abusive customer?’ Now firstly, I believe strongly that abuse should not be tolerated in any setting. In these instances, refer to your procedures and follow through, you still must carry out your role, however, follow the procedure in your business. However, as challenging as these customers can be and the ones that are disgruntled, they could well be handled by utilising the above points I made. 

During one of my training sessions with my last employer, I remember a call came through from one of the operators on the floor saying he had an abusive caller on the phone, who had been warned not to be abusive(which was the business procedure) however, was unwilling to cooperate now. I requested the call be transferred to me, whilst the call handler listened in on the call.

From the offset, I could barely get a word in, the customer was furious and was using abusive language to vent his anger and make his point.  

I listened.

Once he had finished, I let him know that I had listened, ‘I can hear your frustration and anger’.

 I apologised, ‘I am sorry that you feel this way/this has happened’.

I expressed my willingness to assist him, ‘I would like to rectify this for you’.

I referred to our policy/procedures, ‘however, I must advise you that we do not tolerate any abusive language, so can I please ask that you refrain from using that kind of language’.

I then ‘educated’ him on what I could do, step by step, to assist him and resolve this issue.

Honestly, the customer was taken aback, my tone was extremely pleasant and calm, I reassured him that I heard his frustration and anger and wanted to help him, alongside making it clear to him that any abuse would not be tolerated by me.

Now I am not saying this will work on any and every call, however, it is important to always stay in control of the phone call. Remember you are the professional, stay professional and handle the situation, keep yourself composed and do not let anyone rattle you.

New Era OS and Customer Services

At New Era we treat YOUR customers as OUR customers, we go the extra mile on every single call. Each customer is given the same amount of importance regardless of what the nature of the call is. Our training is tailored around each client and each agent is quality checked on a regular basis.

For our Taxi clients, we follow a very strict script where the agents must follow the 5 input & 7 output method. This is a tried and tested method and it ensures no mistakes are made. 

With no setup fee on your first agent, join us today and let us help you take your company to the next level!!

At New Era we treat YOUR customers as OUR customers, we go the extra mile on every single call. Each customer is given the same amount of importance regardless of what the nature of the call is. Our training is tailored around each client and each agent is quality checked on a regular basis.

For our Taxi clients, we follow a very strict script where the agents must follow the 5 input & 7 output method. This is a tried and tested method and it ensures no mistakes are made. 

With no setup fee on your first agent, join us today and let us help you take your company to the next level!!

Taxi, Technology & Outsourcing

Taxi, Technology & Outsourcing

By Ejaz Shah  —  25th November 2020

Reminiscing about the old taxi offices

“One second King, Sierra pick up from 254 VPR let me know the destination, King head towards CT”

I remember sitting in the taxi booking office, yellow walls and a cloud of cigarette smoke hovering above the desk, phone receiver resting on the shoulder as the main dispatcher spoke to the drivers on the old two-way radio system. Two operators were busy on the phones scribbling the jobs down on a sheet of paper, all 3 of them had a cigarette in their mouth and they were all stressed. I didn’t understand what the dispatcher meant when he spoke to the drivers in short code but he was managing a fleet of over 50 cars and I marvelled at how even though they were all stressed out, they still managed to have a laugh.

King and Sierra were both drivers and Sierra was told to head to 254 Victoria Park Road to pick up and King being directed toward the Clock Tower, I know all the shortcodes now but back then, putting in an 8/10-hour shift was like hard labour, you were mentally and physically drained.

Years later,  I found myself working as a taxi driver and studying in Stafford.  It was the best job you could do while studying as you could pick the hours you did working for the largest company there. Here the driver code names were changed into numbers to make it easier and I remember this one time a driver came through on the radio..

Driver: “Car 84 hat in bush”

Dispatcher: Car 84 come again

Driver: “Car 84 hat in bush”

Dispatcher: Car 84 I don’t understand

Driver: “Car 84, Hat in bush, head in hat”

I nearly choked on my tea as the office burst into roars of laughter

Dispatcher: “Car 84 are you ok bud”

Driver; “Car 84 on my way back to the office need a break, I am ok”

Dispatcher; “Roger bud”

Now a driver had been assaulted but the way he reported it back had us all in tears. Car 84 could look after himself but if you picture the incident, he had to drag himself back to the car and report it, there was no mobile phones back then.

Taxi and Technology

This has all changed now, you might find the odd small company still using the old two-way radio system but nearly everyone has moved to computerised dispatching systems. The taxi industry has come a long way from where it used to be and there was a massive surge of drivers joining the trade once outsourcing became the new way of business for many leading industries who chose to move their business overseas. Back then you would struggle to find a company with over 500 cars, which is now the norm, the standard as you will find a lot of small companies are now merged into one large company.

Back around 1995 I was introduced to a family friend Ali, a computer geek, who would go around taxi offices and sell them an Excel spreadsheet that he had made. The idea was to get rid of all the paperwork and make sure everything was categorically organised and while he was rejected by quite a few companies, he did manage to sell quite a few too.

This wasn’t an original idea of Ali’s, he had seen a proper dispatch system doing it’s rounds and had mimicked it, not as advanced as the proper dispatch system but the concept was the same and you had to marvel at Ali’s hustle.

That then was the tip of the iceberg, for the taxi companies that refused Ali back then are now using a dispatch system.

Bookings are now taken on a computer, stored on a computer, dispatched to the driver via the computer to the driver’s mobile and the driver’s job history is stored on the computer. This automation of the taxi booking office allows taxi companies to now take more bookings whereas, in the past, they would refuse them when the sheet was full.

I would be lying if I said the assaults on taxi drivers had now calmed down with the introduction of technology – it hasn’t, however, offices are now able to track the location of their drivers and all drivers have an emergency button on the screen, once pressed it alerts the office and every single driver on shift so help does get their quicker than it used to!

Life for the back office has become a lot easier with an easily accessible record of all the jobs done. Accounts at the end of the month or even week are a lot easier to arrange, whereas before you would have to go through the whole paperwork just to find who did what job on a certain day.

Taxi, Technology and Outsourcing

Even though taxi and technology have been working hand in hand since the 90’s, outsourcing did not come into the picture until after 2010. Allthough outsourcing has been in the market since around the 80’s the taxi trade was very late to jump onto the bandwagon.

Even while I type this blog there are quite a few taxi companies that still treat outsourcing as an alien concept and something they refuse to indulge in, it reminds me of the times I would go around with Ali trying to sell his Excel Spreadsheet to various offices.

Similar to how technology helped the taxi industry move onto the next stage of transportation, outsourcing is also just that, a helping hand.

Majority of the large taxi firms are outsourcing either just the overflow of calls or having outsourced staff handling every aspect of the booking. It is not only more convenient for taxi companies to outsource, it is also a big money saver. If you have recently seen a local taxi company rapidly growing and advertising heavily, chances are they are outsourcing!

All three do work hand in hand though, without the combination of taxi and technology, outsourcing would not be possible, because of technology it is now possible to have a remote worker on the other side of the world answering calls and booking in jobs as well as dispatching!!!

So, what can be outsourced?

Putting it simply, every repetitive task can be outsourced, below I will list a few for a basic taxi office;

  • Operator/Dispatcher
    • From answering the call and taking a simple booking to recovering a job, modifying it and re-dispatching it back to the same driver.
    • Taking account bookings
  • Online bookings
    • Bookings from your website to bookings done on social media
  • Customer Service
    • Customer complaints through emails
    • Customer complaints through social media channels
    • Customer complaints over the phone
  • Bookkeeping
    • Driver accounts including driver base rents and refunds, vehicle MOT’s and driver licensing
    • Weekly staff wages
    • Promotions, advertising and software fee’s
    • Account job’s

By outsourcing the above listed jobs, a taxi company could save around 70% on wages, this money can then be put back into and invested in the company and its future growth.

Me and New Era OS

Having gone through manual taxi dispatching to computerised dispatching systems with call centre experience from the UK not to mention first-hand taxi driving experience I created New Era OS to help taxi companies grow to their full potential and reach heights which they once thought impossible. At New Era OS we can easily handle all the above tasks in a professional manner that the customer would never guess they were speaking to someone some 4000 miles away.

If you have had a bad experience with an oversea call centre or outsourcing is something you have never tried before, get in touch today and take advantage of the no setup fee with your first agent. We are so confident in what we do we do not ask for anything upfront, you really do not have anything to lose!! 

Keep Your Head Up

Keep your head up

By Ejaz Shah  —  11th November 2020

“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”

Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

You got to keep your head up, it’s a sad affair across the world, we are really going through some testing times at the moment and certainly in some respects the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be switched off. I wanted to take some time out of business talk and write something that can – maybe – help us a little as we try and navigate through these troubling times.

As I write this, ‘back home’ in England, a national lockdown has been announced. As you know my family and friends all reside there and it’s a worrying time for them. England is just the latest country to go into another full-blown lockdown, other European countries have already placed their nations in lockdown again.

Surprisingly, and thankfully Pakistan it seems has not faired as badly as some thought it would, I appreciate people have differing views on why this is, I have been involved in many debates on this matter. But regardless of opinions, people here have suffered and are still struggling.

It is very easy and completely understandable during times like this to fall into a dark hole and lose all hope. I have struggled and I still worry. At times like this I turn to others that have been/are going through their own struggles. I try and take inspiration from them, try and understand how it is that they are managing/have managed to get through those tough times.

Below I have noted a few real-life stories I turn to for inspiration, if you have the time, do take the opportunity to find out more about them and be inspired:

Amar Latif

Amar

Latif

Amar is a British entrepreneur, television personality and professional traveller. Amar lost 95% of his sight by the age of 18, due to an incurable eye condition, however, he did not let this hold him back. A keen traveller Amar has travelled the world and when he realised that there wasn’t enough support out there for independent blind travellers, he set up his own travel company.

Traveleyes, works with visually impaired and sighted travellers wanting to explore the world, allowing them to experience the world with all five senses. Amar has made many documentaries and taken part in numerous television shows. When I came across him in one of his documentaries I was in complete awe. The sheer determination and the manner in which he overcome such an adversary, left me completely bowled over. I strongly recommend reading up on him or watching one of his many documentaries/motivational speeches, it really does make you feel like you can go out and conquer the world.

Amar is a British entrepreneur, television personality and professional traveller. Amar lost 95% of his sight by the age of 18, due to an incurable eye condition, however, he did not let this hold him back. A keen traveller Amar has travelled the world and when he realised that there wasn’t enough support out there for independent blind travellers, he set up his own travel company.

Traveleyes, works with visually impaired and sighted travellers wanting to explore the world, allowing them to experience the world with all five senses. Amar has made many documentaries and taken part in numerous television shows. When I came across him in one of his documentaries I was in complete awe. The sheer determination and the manner in which he overcome such an adversary, left me completely bowled over. I strongly recommend reading up on him or watching one of his many documentaries/motivational speeches, it really does make you feel like you can go out and conquer the world.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah

Winfrey

A household name, Oprah Winfrey is known around the globe. ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ was an iconic programme of its time. Oprah is often described as one of the most influential persons in the world and was for a period of time, the only black billionaire in the world.

However, maybe it was my sheer ignorance, I did not realise the challenges she had come through in her early life, until very recently. Oprah was born into poverty, to a single mother. At the age of nine she was raped; she became pregnant at the age of 14 and lost her child in infancy. I cannot imagine the pain, the dark times, the despair she would have gone through, however, she did make it through all that. For me, her story was shocking but also gave me strength, strength with the knowledge that there is a way through the darkest of times that we face.

A household name, Oprah Winfrey is known around the globe. ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ was an iconic programme of its time. Oprah is often described as one of the most influential persons in the world and was for a period of time, the only black billionaire in the world.

However, maybe it was my sheer ignorance, I did not realise the challenges she had come through in her early life, until very recently. Oprah was born into poverty, to a single mother. At the age of nine she was raped; she became pregnant at the age of 14 and lost her child in infancy. I cannot imagine the pain, the dark times, the despair she would have gone through, however, she did make it through all that. For me, her story was shocking but also gave me strength, strength with the knowledge that there is a way through the darkest of times that we face.

Stephen Hawking

A world-renowned British scientist, professor and author, Stephen Hawkings was also known for his appearance and his computer-generated voice. At the age of 21 whist studying at the University of Cambridge, Stephen was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a disease that causes the nerves that control the muscles to shut down.

At diagnoses, Stephen was given two and a half years to live, he outlived that diagnoses, going on to live until the age 76. Over the years Stephens condition deteriorated, he lost the ability of movement and speech. However, Stephen put all his focus and energy in his passion, completing 15 books in his lifetime on the workings of the Universe. There is a lot to read up on the internet about Stephen Hawkings, that will inspire you to get through the toughest of challenges and to remain focused, however, for me it is his own words that I find the most inspiring.

In one of his last statements, Hawking said, “I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet.”

At diagnoses, Stephen was given two and a half years to live, he outlived that diagnoses, going on to live until the age 76. Over the years Stephens condition deteriorated, he lost the ability of movement and speech. However, Stephen put all his focus and energy in his passion, completing 15 books in his lifetime on the workings of the Universe. There is a lot to read up on the internet about Stephen Hawkings, that will inspire you to get through the toughest of challenges and to remain focused, however, for me it is his own words that I find the most inspiring.

In one of his last statements, Hawking said, “I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet.”

A Few Last Words

As I mentioned above, I write this solely as a means of seeking inspiration from others that have got through tough times. I completely understand that we all face our own battles and it is okay to struggle and feel down. However, know that we are all in this together and together we can help each other get through our tough time, be it by inspiration, support or that chocolate cake we baked earlier.

Do what you need to do during these times to make yourselves and your loved one feel happy, secure and well. Remember this will end. There will be a time after this. Keep your head up!

If you need to reach out and talk to me, please feel free to do so. Feel free to share how you are feeling in the comments below, who inspires you and what you are doing to get through these difficult times. Together, we will get through this.

New Era CEO Ejaz Shah

What is Outsourcing?

What is Outsourcing?

By Ejaz Shah  —  21st October 2020

What is Outsourcing?

In simple terms outsourcing is when a company hires a third party to perform certain tasks. We have seen examples of this in the banking trade, where several large companies have transferred their Customer Services departments overseas to an outsourcing company.  These tasks which would have been conducted inhouse, would then be performed by the third party.

A company can decide to outsource any part of their business. The most common are the repetitive tasks such as call taking or admin work, however, you can have outsourcing companies that provide full HR departments, web development and lone worker support.

New Era OS is one of these companies, we can undertake almost any task, please take a look around our website for more details.

Why do companies Outsource?

Majority of the time companies outsource to save money, however there are many other reasons too. Outsourcing a repetitive task enables a company to concentrate on more important issues whilst ensuring their core values and high standards are maintained. Space saving is another reason, you can have a team of 20 plus agents answering your phones, but your office does not need to be extended to house them as it is all outsourced. Finally, sometimes it is better to let a company who specialises in that certain field to deal with that certain task, that way you know you have professionals and experts in that field handling your work.

How does Outsourcing work?

If done correctly and with the right outsourcing company, outsourcing can work very smoothly. Whole departments could be based overseas, however, the efficient communication can make it seem like the department is still inhouse. To get it up and running is very simple:

How does Outsourcing work?

If done correctly and with the right outsourcing company, outsourcing can work very smoothly. Whole departments could be based overseas, however, the efficient communication can make it seem like the department is still inhouse. To get it up and running is very simple:

  1. Both companies liaise to discuss what sections of the business need to be outsourced and what the requirements and specifications are.
  2. The outsourcing firm, equipped with the specifications and requirements, will then train their staff up to the required standard.
  3. At the arranged takeover date, the outsourcing company will take over their delegated tasks, and continue to carry them out for the agreed period.
  4. Most firms bill monthly with some having contracted terms stipulating payment-up-front terms.

At New Era OS we are perfectionists, we have a strict policy of only taking on a new client on either a Monday or a Tuesday at the latest, for our onboarding department needs a week to collate all the requirements from the new client and relay the information to our training department. The training package for the operator is then tailored around these requirements, ensuring the operator and New Era as a whole, are delivering everything that the client requires of them.

What’s the catch?

There isn’t one.

The benefits of outsourcing are endless. Cost-saving, timesaving, space-saving, are just a few of the key benefits of outsourcing. However, it is imperative to find the right outsourcing company, the best way to do this is to take the time to get to know the individuals behind the company. With the right company behind you, you can take your business from just surviving to expanding.

There isn’t one.

The benefits of outsourcing are endless. Cost-saving, timesaving, space-saving, are just a few of the key benefits of outsourcing. However, it is imperative to find the right outsourcing company, the best way to do this is to take the time to get to know the individuals behind the company. With the right company behind you, you can take your business from just surviving to expanding.

At New Era OS, I personally take time out to meet/discuss matters with any new company we are taking onboard. Building strong, longstanding, relationships is very important to me. If there are any further questions you have, or you just want to discuss Outsourcing further with me, get in touch and I will personally take the time out to go through matters with you.

New Era CEO Ejaz Shah

The Benefits of a Call Centre & Outsourcing

The Benefits of a Call Centre & Outsourcing

By Ejaz Shah  —  13th October 2020

Call centre n. an office in which a large number of people work using phones, for example arranging insurance for people, or taking customers’ orders and answering questions

(Oxford English Dictionary)

A Brief History

Less than 50 miles from my hometown of Leicester is the origins of the first known call/contact centre in the UK. Back in the 1960s Birmingham Press and Mail had PABX (Private Automated Business Exchanges) installed in order to have rows of agents/advisors handling customer contacts. In the 1970s the call centre technology expanded, with telephone banking and sales as more industries started to conduct their customer service over the phone. It was in 1983, the term ‘call centre’ was first published and recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary and the 1990s saw the international expansion of call centres, with call centres becoming the ‘front line’ of businesses across the world. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that we saw the trend of outsourcing, with big businesses seeking to cut costs by transferring their call centres overseas. Call centres now are an integral and vital part of a business and an equally important source of jobs.

Outsourcing

The difference today is that it is no longer just big businesses that outsource their call centres. Due to the expansion of technology and the need to save costs in order to remain/become successful, more and more smaller businesses are outsourcing. In todays ‘Covid’ climate, this need to save costs is not to remain/become successful but to simply stay afloat, making outsourcing one of the most vital decisions a business can make in its quest for survival.

For someone that has spent many years working in and with call centres, I have seen first-hand the importance of call centres both to the businesses and the employees. Below I state some of the benefits I feel the call centre has to provide to businesses looking to outsource and some advice to employees looking to succeed working in one:

Working in a Call Centre

In the UK the call centre provides jobs for people from all walks of life. Students find it an ideal job to fit around their studies, parents find it helps with work/life balance and new graduates see it as an opportunity to grow and move forward in their careers. I have personal experience of a friend who left school at 17 and went straight into working at a call centre, over the years he worked his way up to a ‘Multiple Area Manager’. The opportunities the call centre provides to its employees are unlimited and I believe the success is purely down to the individual.

 

For me it is disappointing to see that Pakistan call centres are not viewed as job opportunities where an operator/advisor has the option of growth or progression. Yes, I have encountered individuals that have been in the field for a long time and have succeeded in building their careers, however, such opportunities are few and far between.

My advice to anyone wanting to work and succeed in a call centre is simple:

  • Be wary of clauses in contracts – a contract is an agreement which is beneficial for both parties, call centre owners tend to use jargon and put in clauses where they can restrict you from earning a living. Be careful of what you sign and make sure you are receiving all the benefits outlined by the government.
  • Master your trade – to succeed in your role, you need to master it. Pay attention with the training, ask questions where you don’t understand and persevere. Use all the resources that are available to you to upskill yourself.
  • Expand your wings – only once you have mastered the role you are being paid to do, take on extra duties. Ask to ‘shadow’ other departments or take notes at a meeting. The more you can learn about the business the more opportunity you have to offer new skills and progress in the business.

At New Era we have a very simple straight forward contract, it is a piece of document that shows the date you started working with us, your job description and our code of ethics/conduct. We do not use jargon or have hidden clauses. We are building a business where we want staff to want to come and work for and with us. We employ staff with the aim to have them with us for many years to come, so if the motivation is there to grow with the business, we will fully support it.

Using a Call Centre as a Client

Cost saving is the biggest benefit of outsourcing, followed closely by time saving (which in itself is cost saving, for time = money).

On average you can get someone answering your calls for less than half of what you would pay in the west. You save the time in not having to recruit or train agents and if you do end up building a team of outsourced agents, you only have to deal with the one person, rather than all of them individually.

If you run a 24-hour office, then monitoring staff at all times, especially those on the graveyard shift is both difficult and time (cost) consuming. By outsourcing, you have staff working for you that are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you require a large team of agents/operators then you need to consider the office space to cater for them. By outsourcing you eliminate that extra cost completely, if your team grows, your overheads will remain the same.

With the money saved, if you are able to reinvest it back into your business, it gives you the opportunity to further grow your business. I always advice my clients to use that money for advertising, the more you advertise, the more work you get and so on.

However, to successfully outsource and save money, you need to ensure you select the right outsourcing company.

New Era Outsourcing Specialists

At New Era, we don’t make false promises, our talking is done on the call centre floor, where our promises are met. Our charges per hour might not be the cheapest, but the training and continuous monitoring that goes on behind the scene is something we simply do not compromise on. We pride ourselves on being the only call centre with training methods similar to ones used in major UK call centres and taxi offices combined.

  • No setup fee for your first agent – we are confident in our abilities; we know we can assist in making your business grow. We don’t charge a setup fee for the first agent, because we will prove ourselves. When your business grows, you will increase the number of agents you need, it is only a matter of time. However, if it’s just the one agent you need, that is fine, you get that with no additional charges.
  • Staff monitoring – we have dedicated members of staff whose sole purpose is to monitor the work of our agents. We reward our agents on carrying out their roles at the highest of levels. Agents scoring 90%+ in quality scores are rewarded with bonuses.
  • Monthly reports – three months down the line we provide our clients with monthly reports including quality, punctuality and attendance scores for each agent. Feedback from the shift manager and the agent him/herself is also shared. We feel this gives our clients a clearer picture and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Outsourcing can be one of the most beneficial decisions a business makes, especially in these current ‘Covid’ times. You can help keep your business afloat, save money and see your business grow, alongside eliminating the stress of unwell staff and providing social distancing office space.

 If you are interested in working with New Era OS, as either an employee or a client, leave your details on our contact us page and someone will be in touch. 

Also do comment below with your experiences of working in call centres and outsourcing, I would love to hear from you.

New Era ~ A New Approach

New Era

A New Approach

By Ejaz Shah  —   7th October 2020

For those of you that have read my previous blogs, I hope the one thing that you have picked up on, is my passion about my job. I am not simply passionate about making money or having my own business – I would be lying if I said these factors didn’t play a part, of course they do, however, I am passionate about everything to do with my job.

I write this blog knowing that some points might seem controversial, this is not my intention. It is important for me to be clear and open with everyone and that is exactly what I want to do here. I want to share with you my vision and the outlook for my business. The points I make here are purely based on my experiences and I am fully aware there are limitations to this, therefore these are not generalisations I make but purely statements on what I have experienced and what I hope to achieve in the future. 

The dream from day one was to start a business that was different to others. Different specifically in it’s approach.

Now see I have many years experience in this field, right from front end to back end duties. I have worked alongside many different characters from many different walks of life and from each and everyone I have taken something. Collectively these learnings are what I have implemented in my business.

When I first entered this industry in Pakistan it was a huge shock to my system and unfortunately not in a good way. I had been fortunate to have worked in businesses in the UK where I really relished going into work and giving my all, as did all those around me. I specifically recall fond memories from my time at a national company call centre in the UK, where majority of the staff had been employed for five plus years, they loved their jobs and were so dedicated to what they did. I know it sounds cheesy, but the company really had a family feel to it. Everyone was keen to play their part in the success of the business and were rewarded – rightly so – for their efforts.

New Era moto

My introduction to call centre life in Pakistan was somewhat different. Therefore, when the opportunity came, I knew I had the experience, the knowledge and the desire, to make a change, to build a business with a ‘feel good’ factor to it, similar to what I had experienced back in the UK. I envisioned a place where I could offer employees a place where they were valued, a place where they were appreciated and the opportunity to grow. At the same time, I wanted to be absolutely dedicated to my clients, working with them, for them and for their customers. That very idea is where the moto of New Era came about. New Era OS, working with you, for you, for your customer!

So how have I gone about this and what does New Era have to offer:

Employees

There is no single person that makes New Era. It is a collective effort by every single member of staff, irrelevant of your title or your salary and this includes me. I alone cannot make New Era a success, the success of New Era is in the hands of the entire team.

I recall one thing that I couldn’t get my head around when I first came to be working in Pakistan was how staff were treated depending on their ‘level’. Simply put if you were not one of the big bosses, the senior employees, the one with flashy job titles, you were not treated with respect. I fundamentally disagree with this notion.

I remember pulling in the cleaning team one day into my office and telling them that they were employees of this organisation, the same as everyone else and they had a designated – important – job role, no one had the ‘right’ to give them extra duties apart from their line manager. When I say the right I mean they were being used to run personal errands, heat food for staff ‘higher up’, wash their lunch dishes, they were treated as personal ‘butlers’, though the term butler comes with more respect then was ever bestowed upon them. Heartbreakingly, these individuals did not feel they could say no, so they did everything that was required of them by the business, doing their own jobs as well as running around doing personal chores for those that viewed themselves as more ‘important’.

This quite frankly ‘toxic’ mind frame filtered down the business and employee chain, with each member of staff looking down on those they considered to be more inferior to them. Now let me be clear, this wasn’t everyone, there were those that played no part in this. But this mentality was never challenged, it was deemed okay, I learnt this first-hand myself, as my intervention with the cleaning team did not go down well with the management team, apparently this is the way things are done here.

Well no, not in New Era. Right from the offset the approach we take is to ensure satisfaction and satisfaction goes hand in hand with success.

At New Era a waiting list is used to select candidates for interviews based on their capabilities. This is a new era of call centre work, so once part of the New Era family, employees have the chance to grow and advance in their career and be rewarded along the way. We got rid of the hourly pay that is common here in call centres and put our staff on fixed wages with paid holidays. Overtime is paid as overtime and wages are in the bank by the end of the month. We want our staff to want to come into work and feel valued. We know how important these benefits and bonuses are to our staff.

Clients

A thing I noticed very early on here in Pakistan was that the owners of a lot of the call centres here are overseas citizens with a business in the west and the setup here in Pakistan to purely support their venture in the west. This divided interest, or in some cases, lack of interest to the business in Pakistan, is reflected in the way businesses are ran.

With New Era there is no divided or lack of attention. I am 100% dedicated to New Era, my time is completely dedicated to our clients without having to worry about my own business in the UK.

Again, with clients too, we use a waiting list, and to those currently on the waiting list,we ask for patience. We are perfectionists, we have a strict policy of only taking on a new client on either a Monday or a Tuesday at the latest, for our onboarding department needs a week to collate all the requirements from the new client and relay the information to our training department. The training package for the operator is then tailored around these requirements, ensuring the operator and New Era as a whole, are delivering everything that the client requires of them. Each client has a dedicated member of staff to address any issues or queries and we only move onto onboarding the next client, once both the current client and the New Era team are completely satisfied that the onboarding process has been a success. We are our biggest critics. We believe everything should be done precisely from inception and then this very perfection should be maintained throughout. This is our only project, New Era. We are not side-tracked by any other investments; our focus is to build this into a brand that can be trusted by clients worldwide and give security to our work force. I know there are many of you out there that share my vision, I have had the privilege of meeting many of you in person. Let’s work together to build the infrastructure that provides equal and fair opportunities to all and enables the many to reap the success of their dedication and hard work. Once again, please comment below and share your thoughts and stories and pop over to our main page to learn more about New Era