FAQs About Telecom's Contact Center Solutions

How long have you been in business?

Telecom, Inc. has been in business since 1993.

How is Telecom, Inc. different from other contact centers?

There are certainly many contact centers to choose from. Part of our charm is that we operate as a mid-size boutique offering our partners the personal attention their programs deserve while offering the capacity to grow with them as your programs require more resources. We never set out to be the biggest, only the best.

Unlike many other centers, 100% of our workforce is based in the USA. We believe the very best representatives are found here and we are proud to employ them. Ultimately, our representatives are a direct reflection of our partners’ brands with every interaction they have.

We listen to our partners, thoroughly understanding their needs and objectives, and then custom design solutions to surpass their goals. We do not try to fit our partners into “off the shelf” solutions designed for another partner. We do not cut corners and our partners have complete control over how we service their customers.

We have a robust portfolio of clients, representing brands of various sizes (from start-up businesses to Fortune 100 businesses) and within several verticals. The transferable skillset our team offers lends itself to many audiences and business types.

As a mid-size business, we don’t have layers of management whose approval is needed when change is required. We have all of the redundancies in place that the “big guys” have, and we offer the latest technology. Often a smaller contact center is quicker to employ emerging technologies as the investment needed to do so is a small fragment of what a larger center would require to update their many licenses.

We have different service models, offering dedicated, shared and hybrid solutions. Volume and scope of services drive the conversation related to the most effective model for your program. We even offer a “pay for performance” billing option on vetted programs where we absorb the risk many call centers aren’t willing to commit to.

Our commitment to a mutually beneficial partnership is second to none. Our results outweigh our competitors and these two statements spoken by our partners are amongst the things we are most proud of as a company.

Where are your locations/staff found?

Telecom, Inc. maintains both premise-based personnel at our headquarters in Oakland, California, and a work from home component, offering staff from within the states of California, Michigan, Georgia, Texas and Florida.

How good are the representatives who would service my customers?

This is a critical question – the quality of the front-line staff interfacing with your customers cannot be overstated. These individuals are truly where “the rubber meets the road,” serving as the voice, eyes and ears of your brand.

Telecom, Inc. is selective when choosing staff to represent our partners. When we begin the selection process for your program, we start by working with you to determine the type of representatives who will be successful on your program. We then look within our existing staff to see who is available that matches that profile. Sometimes we don’t have to look any farther than that.

When additional staff is needed, we employ a multi-layered recruiting, interviewing and hiring process that has continued to evolve. We specifically recruit experienced representatives who are typically mature (unless your program is best serviced by younger professionals) and educated. We combine our general approach with the profile you’ve provided representing your most productive internal staff. In general terms, the staff we hire have an average age of 35, four years of experience, and have a high school degree at a minimum (over half of our hires have a higher education).

Are background checks conducted on your potential staff?

Yes, we do this for most employees. As part of the implementation process, we define the requirements for your program related to background checks and any other considerations before staffing.

Can your staff/company be trusted with our customer’s data?

Yes, without question! Data security is a top priority of Telecom, Inc. We frequently capture sensitive data such as credit card information and personal information (mailing address, social security number, etc.) and comply with the strictest guidelines for a telecommunications company, in addition to best practices.

Are you PCI and HIPAA compliant? Are you current with federal and state laws and regulations?

We are PCI and HIPAA compliant. We take data security very seriously, maintaining strict internal policies developed to satisfy compliance standards and fulfilled by our IT and Operations teams.

We constantly monitor developments at state and federal levels by way of numerous leading industry sources, such as organizations including PACE and the DMA, as a basis for our research. We also rely on compliance experts to assist with list scrubbing and ensure that calls are only made to customers and prospects where and when it is legal for us to do so.

Do you provide service from off-shore or near-shore facilities? Do you sub-contract to off-shore or near-shore centers?

We do not. We believe that the best representatives to be found anywhere in the world reside right here in the United States. As a result, we exclusively provide domestic services within the United States. We do not subcontract our work.

Is your company a Telephone Answering Service (TAS)?

Telecom, Inc. is not a Telephone Answering Service (TAS). We operate as a resolution center, tasked with helping a customer with their needs until we have provided a full resolution to their inquiry.

A TAS is usually hired when the end goal is to take a message and pass it through to the client for them to deal with. A representative at a TAS is not trained extensively on the company they are representing, does not answer FAQs, and typically follows the call script that appears on their screen verbatim. These representatives can also be trained on hundreds of other programs simultaneously where they are expected to provide the same service across them all.

Telecom, Inc. operates in an entirely different manner. We are hired to serve as a seamless extension of our partner’s team to represent their brand. Our responsibility is to assist customers until a resolution is achieved, regardless of the nature of their inquiry.

Our representatives often work exclusively on a partner’s program or service a few partners in a shared setting. We offer a more professional, higher-quality experience for our partners’ customers than what is offered by a TAS. We bill for service time at the end of the month, after providing services and do not assess a surcharge for the additional minutes – you pay the same rate for the additional minutes and in fact, might qualify for a volume-based lower rate.

The entire process is much more involved and evolved than a TAS setting. We are happy to handle simple nature inquiries but have the capability to do so much more.

Are your representatives capable of selling my products/services? What about upselling and cross-selling?

Absolutely! Sales skills are essential at all levels of our company. We have been selling on behalf of our partners since our company was incorporated. It is a core competency that has allowed us to serve as a successful partner and grow. We invest time, money, and effort every day into our people and their ability to sell successfully.

Maximizing AOS (average order size) is an assignment we gladly accept on programs. We focus on converting interested parties into paying customers. We also energetically present up and cross-sale options on every order our partners request we do, positively impacting that AOS.

Sales skills are taught to our representatives beginning with indoctrination training and continue throughout their employment with us. We closely monitor how successful each representative is in their sales duties through our quality assurance efforts and KPI analysis, monitoring our results every day. We fully appreciate the fact that conversion rates, AOS, and ROI will all be evaluated by every client and are fundamental measuring sticks reflecting our efforts.

What type of training do Telecom, Inc. representatives receive?

Having the right people, technology, and processes mean little without proper training of our representatives. That’s why we designed the following layered training program to prepare them for success.

  • Industry Orientation: Includes an overview of general industry topics such as governing regulations, client confidentiality requirements, and company policies.
  • Customer Care Skills: Enhances communication etiquette, conflict resolution, and time management skills.
  • Sales Technique: Our sales technique training focuses on identifying and overcoming objections, maximizing listening skills, and perfecting closing techniques. There is also an emphasis on up and cross-selling techniques as well.
  • Project Training: Educates employees on the requirements and goals specific to your program. This includes the use of CRMs, OMSs, website navigation, email development, distribution, and more.

In addition to the initial training courses, each employee participates in ongoing proficiency training designed to reinforce and update techniques and ensure maximum ROI for your investment in us.

Our focus on comprehensive training allows each representative to communicate complex ideas and capture the detailed information necessary for a successful program – clearly and effectively. We provide every tool possible to prepare our staff for success, making certain they are completely prepared for their role. This approach has been time-tested, resulting in successful programs and a workforce that feels appreciated, resulting in greater employee retention and job satisfaction.

How do I go about training Telecom, Inc.’s staff for my specific program?

The most common approach is referred to as: “Train the Trainer”. Your Trainer trains the Telecom Trainer designated for your program. Our Trainer then trains our staff, transferring the knowledge received from your Trainer.

Another approach is when you conduct the initial training of our representatives, in person or virtually. We would have our Trainer present in your training session(s), providing support, and absorbing the content so that they would be capable of training other representatives in subsequent training sessions.

We have decades of experience in administering successful training programs, both ways, and are confident we would conduct a successful training on your program as well.

What information do I need to provide for the Inbound training session(s)?

At the minimum, we would look to you for the following:

  • Dialogue plan – This plan helps manage the dialogue with your prospect/customer, covering how we greet them, what questions we ask, what value proposition we present and how we set the stage for the next step in the sales process and is often referred to as a “script.”
  • FAQs/answers
  • Knowledge-based support materials
  • Product samples (as appropriate)
  • Content related to navigation of systems we will be using specific to your program (CRM, etc.)
  • Sample call recordings (ideal, less than ideal, etc.)
  • Email/chat support templates (if applicable)
What information do I need to provide for the Outbound training session(s)?

At the minimum, we would look to you for the following:

  • Dialogue plan – This plan helps manage the dialogue with your prospect/customer, covering how we greet them, what questions we ask, what value proposition we present and how we set the stage for the next step in the sales process and is often referred to as a “script.”
  • FAQs/answers
  • Knowledge-based support materials
  • Product samples (as appropriate)
  • Content related to navigation of systems we would be using specific to your program (CRM, etc.)
  • Sample call recordings (ideal, less than ideal, etc.)
  • Email/chat support templates (if applicable)
  • Access to calendars (if we are setting appointments within your team’s calendars)
  • Appointment parameters
What information do I need to provide to aid in the Inbound implementation process?

Materials needed for the training session include:

  • The dialogue plan (often referred to as a “script”)
  • FAQs/answers
  • Knowledge-based support materials
  • Product samples (as appropriate)
  • Content related to navigation of systems we would be using specific to your program (OMS, CRM, etc.)
  • Sample call recordings (ideal, less than ideal, etc.)
  • Email/chat support templates (if applicable)

Additionally, we will need the following for your campaign:

  • Call disposition list – What we present to the representatives after a call to reflect the nature of the call
  • Reporting parameters – What information you would like to see in your report(s)
  • Your QA report card – If you have one you would like us to replicate
  • Telephony instructions – If Telecom will assign a new number to your program or you be forwarding your number
  • Transfer parameters – If transfers are potentially needed what the rules are for transfers, where we are transferring to, and during what days/hours we can transfer
  • Access to CRM/OMS/order history
  • Metrics to measure success by and the goals associated with them
What information do I need to provide to aid in the Outbound implementation process?

Materials needed for the training session we should prepare for include:

  • The dialogue plan (often referred to as a “script”)
  • FAQs/answers
  • Knowledge-based support materials
  • Product samples (as appropriate)
  • Content related to navigation of any systems we would be using specific to your program (OMS, CRM, etc.)
  • Sample call recordings (ideal, less than ideal, etc.)
  • Email/chat support templates (if applicable)

Additionally, we will need for your campaign:

  • Properly scrubbed calling list
  • Call disposition list – What we present to the representatives after a call to reflect the nature of the call
  • Reporting parameters – What information you would like to see in your report(s)
  • Your QA report card – If you have one you would like us to replicate
  • Access to CRM/OMS/order history
  • Metrics to measure success by and the goals associated with them
  • Transfer parameters – If transfers are potentially needed: what the rules are for transfers, where we are transferring to, and during what days/hours we can transfer
  • Email support templates (if applicable)
  • Details on whose domain we are using and what email server (if sending emails)
  • Access to calendars, if we are setting appointments within your team’s calendars
  • Appointment parameters
How much staff turnover do you have?

To answer this we must ask, “What do you include in your formula?” Not all companies calculate this the same way.

In our case, we don’t count representatives against turnover calculations who don’t graduate from our “incubator” state onto the production floor. Our “incubator” state is where newly trained representatives take their initial calls with a veteran shadowing them. We also don’t count people who were hired for a short-term, pre-defined period when we have projects to source that are specifically short term projects.

Taking these factors into account, our annual turnover rate ranges from 25% to 35%, which is considerably less than the industry average. In addition to recognizing their efforts and promotional opportunities, we provide other incentives for employees to remain with Telecom, such as health, dental and vision insurance, 401K matching, paid sick leave, merit pay increases and community participation.

Can you provide references?

We are proud of our partnerships and will be happy to provide contact details to you. Please contact us for a list of references.

Our brand messaging is important to us. How will you replicate it when servicing our customers?

Branding is a key consideration for all of our partners. Each of our partners is unique, and we fully appreciate the need to reflect their uniqueness when serving their customers. We will work closely with you to absorb a complete understanding of your brand messaging and policies.

Training our team on your brand messaging is where the process begins. Our staff respects the uniqueness of each of our partners’ brands and expects branding to be a focal point of their training. Your Account Manager will help lay the foundation of our brand-focused training during the implementation process. Once our staff is trained, we measure their effectiveness in reflecting your brand messaging as part of our QA process. As a standard component of our client services approach, we will be in regular communication with you during this process. From a maintenance perspective, we also have the opportunity to implement any changes related to your messaging when you make corporate changes.

How will I know what my customers are thinking when you serve them instead of me?

Your Account Manager will be the critical point person in maintaining that personal touch. They will provide regular insight into what our staff is hearing and seeing while serving your customers. Telecom’s staff is trained to share details of their correspondences, especially those where a customer seeks help for an issue not covered in training. We also provide custom reports that reflect dispositions you define at the onset of the program, so it is easy to monitor why customers contact us. We encourage joint monitoring sessions where you can listen to calls as they take place. We appreciate how important our role is in serving you and your customers and make sure to provide details that allow you to stay connected with your customers.

What industries do you specialize in?

We pride ourselves on providing an adaptable partnership, with the capability to design a solution no matter the audience. Most of our industry experience to date has been serving businesses classified as e-commerce and retail, catalog brands, consumer goods, manufactured goods, professional services, compliance and certification boards, continuity clubs, memberships and subscription boxes, government programs, digital and print media, high technology and SAAS firms.

What is your QA process?

Our quality assurance process is instrumental in our success as your partner in serving your customers effectively. To read more about our evolved process, head over to our Quality Assurance page.

Are custom reports available for my program?

Absolutely. Our approach to reporting is simple: we can report on any data element we touch or capture, however and whenever you want it, including real-time.

We understand that timely, accurate and detailed data, presented in the most beneficial format to your team, is critical to the success of your program. Our fully customizable reporting solutions provide as much operational data as you desire.

What languages do you provide support in?

We provide support in English, Spanish, French, Tagalog, Vietnamese and can source other Asian dialects, if needed. By way of our headquarters located in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have access to individuals who are native speakers of many languages.

Do I have access to your owner or executive team?

Absolutely! Your scope of access is not restricted to your Account Manager. One of the benefits of working with us is that we operate as a mid-size boutique, providing access to members of our team at all levels. Our owner is actively involved in the day-to-day operations of our company and is involved in the maintenance and growth of our partnerships.

How do you bill for your services?

We offer custom billing solutions and can bill by the hour, minute or correspondence. Sometimes it is a combination of these methods, as is the case when we are providing support with a dedicated and shared team. We also offer performance-based billing for vetted programs, where we bill by the successful outcome.

Do you round service time for billing purposes in a shared environment?

No. We accrue actual support time over the month and bill based on this time. For example, if a call lasts 3 minutes and 58 seconds, we do not round this up to 4 minutes.

Do you charge a premium for after-hours or weekend support?

No. Our rate is fixed as defined in our agreement with you and covers all hours and days at the same rate.

Do you pre-bill us for the upcoming month?

No. This is a common practice of a telephone answering service (TAS), which we are not.

What is the length of your contracts?

Our standard contract has a one-year term associated with it that contains a 30-day out clause. We are accountable to our partners and provide the 30-day out clause for your peace of mind. We are also happy to discuss any preferred variation of this.

What is the turnaround time, from contract signing to live?

This depends on several variables with your program. Generally speaking, in a program where training is two days or less and does not require significant custom programming, three weeks is a fair expectation. Our focus is on designing a successful program from day one and we don’t cut corners while setting up your program or training your staff. If your program requires implementation in a shorter timeframe, please discuss this with a member of our staff and we will consult with you.

Can you assist me in developing my program? I have never outsourced before.

Certainly! As your partner, we will assist you in all phases of the design and implementation of your program. Our three decades of experience allows us a substantial base of information to draw from when consulting on the setup of your program. Once we have a complete understanding of your program needs and objectives, your Telecom Account Manager (along with our operations and executive team) will provide valuable advice on how we achieve your goals at no charge.



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