Monthly Archives - February 2015

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Three ways to ensure your contact center delivers great customer service every time

When it comes to dealing with customers, one of the most important ports of call is your contact centre. Perhaps more than anything else, the contact centre is the point where you have the opportunity to create a great first impression, or completely put off a prospective client. For this reason, it’s vital to ensure that your contact centre is working effectively to deliver great service to both customers and prospective clients.

Whether your contact centre is in Costa Rica or beyond, there are several key points to bear in mind when looking to improve customer service. Here at FusionHit, we’ve thought of a few ideas you can use in your business:

Provide frequent training opportunities for staff

One crucial aspect of contact centres is that staff must be well-informed about the subject they’re discussing. Any sign of being ill-informed can instantly put off a prospective client, and for this reason, it’s vital to keep staff up-to-date on the latest news, services, and changes within the company. Not only will this reduce the amount of time spent looking for answers, but it’ll also increase the confidence of your staff.

Prioritise the customer experience

One trap which contact centres often fall into is rewarding staff based on the number of customers served. This can result in rushed telephone calls, where the customer is left wanting more information, and the member of staff doesn’t provide the best service. For this reason, it’s often better to reward staff based on customer satisfaction, and on whether or not they’ve resolved the issue at hand (‘first call resolution’).

Improve the workspace environment

Fitting comfortable chairs and improving the office surroundings may seem inconsequential, but doing so is a great way to ensure that your staff are comfortable and at ease when dealing with clients. After all, a relaxed member of staff is far more likely to provide great, comprehensive customer service than one who is stressed, uncomfortable, and placed in unpleasant surroundings.

Are you looking to setup a dedicated Contact Center in Costa Rica, we would be happy to help! Contact Us Now!

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How to successfully manage a nearshore dedicated development team

With rising labour costs and a relative scarcity of high quality .Net developers in the US, nearshore software outsourcing is becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses throughout the country. Combining the economic advantages of outsourcing whilst being situated within a short journey from your base in the US, nearshore development provides the happy medium between the ability to stay in regular communication with a development team and a cost-effective, efficient workforce. Provided you are able to set up a nearshore team that runs smoothly and efficiently, your company can experience substantial gains, both in the cost and performance of running a .Net development team.

But the reason many are unwilling to consider this option stems from often unfounded fears regarding their ability to manage it from a distance and the ability to communicate business needs across cultural and linguistic barriers. None of this, however, should be a barrier to your business entering this area, provided you stick to the following general guidelines when forming and managing your nearshore dedicated development team. After all, the .Net coding language was designed to be a universal language transcending all linguistic and national barriers.

Become acquainted with your team leader 

It is vital to know your team leader as he or she will be your mediator with the rest of the team. If you know that you can trust your team leader to understand and carry out your instructions, as well as to act in an ethical and responsible manner, you can be reasonably certain that they will ensure the entire .Net development team works efficiently as well.

Become aware of any linguistic or cultural barriers that might exist

This might be as simple as understanding which language or languages are spoken in the region and the level of English comprehension, or making a conscious effort to communicate clearly and repeating yourself when necessary. But it is also important to understand any cultural differences that might affect business practices; observing correct etiquette will ensure a better relationship with your team.

Combine written and verbal forms of communication

In order to ensure that misunderstanding and confusion is kept to a minimum, it is highly advisable to combine both written and verbal forms of communication when interfacing with your team. In this way, any misunderstanding that might arise from one form of communication is likely to be cleared up by reference to the other and your team is likely to advance more smoothly and rapidly towards their goals

Visit your team

Finally, one of the big advantages of nearshore outsourcing as opposed to traditional offshore practices is that your .Net development team will be located within a relatively short journey from your place of business. Make sure to take advantage of this and to regularly visit your .Net coders in their home country. This allows you to clear up any communication problems that might persist on the spot, as well as to observe how your developers function as a team. You can also liaise with your team leaders and your visit will ensure your team feels connected to your business as a whole.

Looking to build a nearshore dedicated development team, we would welcome the opportunity to help, contact us now!

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Key Problems of Distributed Agile Development and How You Can Solve Them

It’s no secret that Agile software is fast becoming the dominant force in the software development community, with more companies adopting the Agile philosophy every day. If, however, you are a company that outsources development duties to programmers overseas, Agile’s core tenets (face-to-face communication, understanding, trust) can be tricky to enforce. As a result, many companies who rely on outsourcing may believe Agile software development is something that they can’t take advantage of.

Approached with a little forethought and careful planning, however, Agile software development can transcend different time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences, and bring your teams together.

Below we’ve outlined some of the difficulties you may face, as well as advice on how to overcome them.

Differences in Distance and Time Can Sabotage Your Communications

One of the key benefits of Agile is the flexibility it grants developers, giving them the resources to complete their work faster and with more efficiency. Normal development is often hampered by bureaucracy; messaging becomes confused, and costly mistakes are made. Agile software, on the other hand, skips all that red-tape and places a focus on face-to-face interactions. Regular meetings are important, especially to ensure all team members are working from the same page, and are aware of any changes or updates. This also gives team members a chance to air their concerns, seek clarification or find the answers to important questions.

Keeping all your teams working in harmony can be difficult. This is especially true if you have multiple offices working from different locations around the globe. In most cases, communication is handled exclusively via email or chat, with little to no face-to-face interaction; something that can quickly cause problems. This is particularly true if you have offices in different parts of the globe, as the teams’ working hours will rarely sync with one another.

How Can You Solve This Problem?

To solve this issue, ensure each of your teams is outfitted with a suite of video conferencing tools, as well as the capabilities to share Sprint plans and other information over the internet. Email and chat may be useful in a pinch, but they lack that personal touch a video conference, or face-to-face meeting confers. What is more, video meetings feel easier, more natural, and help foster a sense of trust. They also help avoid costly misunderstandings.

Cultural Differences May Stall Discussion

One of the key benefits of internet communications is that they give businesses the power to interact with people and companies from all over the globe. Sometimes, however, this can lead to misunderstandings. Organisations in the Far East, for example, conduct their business in a very formal, structured fashion, and don’t appreciate criticism or feedback during a discussion, unlike their Western counterparts who are encouraged to be vociferous and give voice to their concerns. Agile development thrives on the free exchange of opinions, though, so cultural obstacles are something you have to overcome.

How Can You Solve This Problem?

Actively encourage their participation, ask them for ideas and feedback, explaining to your various coding teams how important their suggestions are. Take the time and effort to address their concerns, carefully responding to each question and criticism.

Lack of Trust Between Teams In-House and Offshore

If you have teams on opposite ends of the globe who have never met, getting them to place their trust in one another is going to be difficult. This can be a stumbling block for Agile development, which thrives on trust between teams. As a result of this lack of communication, teams often feel isolated and left out of the bigger picture.

How Can You Solve This Problem?

In order to build trust and a sense of camaraderie between far flung teams, concentrate on bringing them together. Institute an exchange program, so that team members can spend time in their colleague’s shoes, getting to know their remote partners and discovering how their offices operate. Foster a sense of belonging and community by encouraging them to socialise, explore each others’ interests and cultural differences outside of normal hours.

Do you need help in Agile Development or Scrum, Contact Us.

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How to implement scrum in 5 easy steps

Let the Scrum team revolutionize your development management.

Scrum is an agile software solution that provides a flexible, holistic framework that leverages teamwork in order to reach common development goals, whilst offering the ability to make changes and respond to customer needs at any point in the process. But how do you implement Scrum into your work flow? Here are five easy steps to show you how:

1. Backlogs

This is perhaps the most important step in the process, so read carefully!

Before any project begins, you need to create a product backlog. This is essentially a list of the goals that need to be achieved in order to create a finished or near-finished product. List them in order of priority.

The Scrum Master (the person in charge of implementing Scrum and creating the Scrum team – you!) should nominate one person to be the head of the product, also known as the product owner, who will oversee the product backlog as their first action.

Include anything and everything: bug fixes, patches, risks. Just make sure they are focused on the finished product.

2. Plan your Sprint

The Sprint is the time period in which tasks have to be completed and all goals achieved, and is the essence of Scrum. Select some or all of your important product backlog goals and discuss them with the entire team; everyone in the Scrum team should know the overall goals of the project and what you hope to achieve.

Duration is important; 2 week is recommended, but you will need to tailor the Sprint to suit each individual product. This will also affect your budget, so it needs to be considered early on in the process.

When first implementing a Sprint, it’s best to overestimate how much time you will need; you can’t run before you can walk!

3. Delegate tasks

So, you’ve decided what you want to achieve and in what time frame you want to achieve it; how do you split up the tasks?

The beauty of agile software like Scrum is that the linear approach to development is no longer necessary, and changes in one area of development need not affect all the others.

It will take some time to organise the Sprint, so schedule a few workshops so that the whole Scrum team can contribute to the discussion. An open-plan, collaborative work space will aid the process; bring in some big whiteboards and hold regular meetings to lay the foundation for a smooth running Sprint.

Now it’s time to break down the product backlog. How far you break each component down is really up to you, but smaller tasks increase the efficiency of the Sprint by keeping individual tasks manageable. Then, once you’re ready…

4. SPRINT!

The duration of your Sprint is fixed – changing it will compromise the project. The essence of Sprint relies in the control and autonomy of individual groups, intervening will compromise the project. Individual groups still need to be able to collaborate, so ensure they can do this.

Hold daily meetings to make sure everyone is informed of the latest developments. If all the planning ahead of this stage has been done correctly, the Sprint shouldn’t actually be that taxing for the Scrum Master. The only time for heavy-handedness is when making sure the Sprint duration is honored!

5. Review

At the end of the Sprint, hold a Sprint review. Again, everyone should be involved. This gives the Scrum Master the chance to present the product as a finished or near-finished article. It will allow for feedback and the planning of any changes that need to be made.

As important is a review of the Scrum team and Sprint itself; make sure to point out positives, but also ensure that you take on board any feedback or comments that could help improve your Sprint.

The implementation of Scrum provides fantastic results; look into optimizing your development now! Contact Us!