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Global Call Centers: Achieving Outstanding Customer Service Across Cultures and Time Zones [Hardcover]

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Item description for Global Call Centers: Achieving Outstanding Customer Service Across Cultures and Time Zones by Erik Granered...

Companies around the world have joined the global services revolution. The financial benefits of outsourcing customer service call centers are well known. Brilliant technology makes the transition seamless. And yet, missing a single key ingredient, outsourcing is unlikely to succeed. That missing element is culture. Global Call Centers is the first book of its kind, guiding businesses to outstanding customer service by addressing fundamental cultural factors. Erik Granered, a pioneer in cross-cultural call center training programs, shows how customer expectations vary around the world and how those expectations are magnified over the telephone, where other communication cues are lost. Through compelling, often amusing, and very human examples as well as practical training tips, managers and agents alike can achieve much-needed cultural literacy---and, in turn, provide outstanding customer service worldwide.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   206
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.22" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.06 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Publisher   Nicholas Brealey Publishing
ISBN  1904838030  
ISBN13  9781904838036  

Availability  0 units.

More About Erik Granered

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Granered is currently a consultant at Corporate University Enterprise, Inc.

Erik Granered was born in 1967.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > General
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Industries & Professions > Customer Service
3Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > International > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Global Call Centers: Achieving Outstanding Customer Service Across Cultures and Time Zones?

Amazon should read this book  May 10, 2006
A straightforward guide to promoting quality customer service   Jul 4, 2005
Global Call Centers: Achieving Outstanding Customer Service Across Cultures & Time Zones is a straightforward guide to promoting quality customer service even when one's customer call service centers may be outsources around the globe. Erik Granered, communications expert and former course developer and trainer for WorldCom's customer service operations, walks the reader through outsourcing and offshoring, creating a customer service culture, strategic approaches, specific issues pertaining to English-language and Spanish-language customer service as well as European and Asian customer service options, and much more. From taking different national communication styles into account to basic cultural analysis in plain and simple terms, Global Call Centers is a groundbreaking book in its field and a "must-have" for anyone responsible for organizing or maintaining an international customer call service.
Insightful !  Mar 23, 2005
Author Erik Granered makes a sincere effort to bridge the gap between two distinct bodies of business expertise: what it takes to establish an offshore outsourcing endeavor, and what it takes to operate a successful call center. This is a unique volume because it appeals to the strategic concerns of both corporate decision-makers and call center executives on the front lines. Overall, however, Granered focuses more on practical applications than on strategic issues. He acknowledges correctly that his treatment of broad cultural issues may sometimes sound simplistic. Even so, we find his book a useful addition to any library on offshore outsourcing, and strongly recommend it to managers and executives who are interested in outsourcing or call centers, or both.
Great Read!!  Jan 27, 2005
There is nothing else like this book. One of the best I have ever read on the subject. As a former call center manager and sales trainer, I wish I had access to this at the time. If you are running a call center, international or not, this is the one book you will need on your shelf.
Improving the customer experience  Jan 18, 2005
A few years ago, several colleagues and I had decided to write about the decline of customer service in the USA, particularly seen from the misery of trying to do business with organizations in our own country from abroad. Perhaps because it was an idea generated from upset, we never quite got around to it. Erik Garnered's new book on Global Call Centers is a positive approach to improving customer service at a time when both the customers and the service providers may be located just about anywhere on earth or thirty thousand feet above it, and perhaps like ourselves, easily frustrated by both the technology and the people we experience in the search for service.

The key to Granared's contribution to this discussion is the concept of the customer experience. All of us are customers at one time or another. What we need to get or resolve and what we remember about how well service worked and how we were treated is key to the customer experience. It determines both what we continue to feel and what we will say to others about the performance of a supplier of the goods or services we require. We rarely remember good handling, unless it has been extraordinary, but it take a long time for the bitter taste to go away when we feel we have been badly dealt with.

So, when such services are outsourced and offshored, how do we guarantee a quality customer experience? Is it enough that Raj Thiragian answers our call as Roy Thurman and speaks our language with an impeccable accent? This may help, but Granered insists that this is far from the whole story, and, in some cases, not even the most important part of it. As a new book in a relatively new field, Global Call Centers is inevitably a review of current, developing, and what the author recommends as best practices in the customer service field. What he adds is what is most often missing from such discussions, the cultural influences and implications of these practices. His approach is inevitably both eclectic and focused. He starts with a discussion of the phenomena of outsourcing and offshoring, moves to the role of culture in the customer experience in the various media generally employed to deliver customer service.

The second part of Global Call Centers gets to the heart of the matter, the importance of cultural awareness and the need, not to just educate individual service personnel, but to create a customer service culture that drives the service activities an a positive way. It asks us to make the experience of serving sometimes difficult and often annoyed customers satisfactorily a matter of course and a matter of pride. Granered details a strategy for how this can be done both systemically in the organization itself as well as in the training of its personnel in the requisite knowledge and attitudes.

In the end there is the always delicate matter of the culture-specific knowledge required to respond appropriately to others. The customer service agent usually needs to be the one in the conversation who needs to take care of the cultural dimensions of the interaction at the same time as he or she provides the information or services that the customer is looking for. Not an easy juggling act. The ability to do this as Granered points out, is ultimately a matter of competitive advantage for commercial organizations. The successful choice and preparation of a call center in another region or part of the world is critical both from a functional and a public relations perspective for which the author provides some basic formulas that experience shows as helpful.

This third section of the book also includes a cultural profile of the four greatest areas or markets served by global call centers, the English and Spanish language areas and countries, as well as Europe in its linguistic diversity, and the challenges found in some major Asian countries. These are not profound but focused on the cultural dimensions which affect the customer experience. In each case there is an introduction, a cultural analysis of the countries under consideration and a look at the relevant features of the area's communication style for the customer service agent. These overviews in the author's own admission provide at best signposts than certitudes when dealing with diverse customers. Having a small knowledge base of (one's own) and customer's cultural preferences gives the agent something to build on and share with colleagues to continually improve the customer experience.

Global Call Centers shifts the paradigm of outsourced call centers that most of us have. It takes us from the common image of an overworked and underpaid, perhaps exploited, impermanent, alien workforce just hammering out their job to a more human vision of a motivated team. We begin to imagine workers who are integrated into both the strategy and community of the organization employing them. At least this is the ideal, that challenges decision makers, human resource personnel and trainers as call centers are formed and acquire both functional and cultural competence. Granered adds considerable value to the book by including training activities sections. These take the subject under discussion and provide ways of turning them into real learning experiences in the training room or online learning sessions.

This is a book then for all those involved in the challenge of creating effective call centers, in particular for those who need to create and carry out the strategies necessary for success. I read it from two perspectives, that of the often unhappy consumer and that of the professional interculturalist. I found myself switching hats frequently, getting both empathy and clearer expectations as a consumer, and discovering as well how this application of intercultural knowledge might be important in dealing with my own clients and their strategies of globalization. The cultural principles may be familiar, but the territory in which they are employed is new. We can be grateful to Erik Granered for widening our horizons and organizing our understanding of a worldwide phenomenon, in which willy-nilly we are all now in some way engaged.

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