3 Easy Google Search Hacks to Improve Your Google Results

virtuadminblog

image

Hellen Oti July 29, 2015

Once upon a time, I had a very scary adventure on Google. Yes, I did the ultimate Google blunder—I started searching for a diagnosis to a small rash that I saw on my arm.

Turns out it was nothing really more than a mere allergic reaction, but before I got to this conclusion, I had gone through hundreds of forums, blogs, medical researches and articles that said it could be an early sign of a cancerous disease.

Trust me, I had a few terrifying days in front of my computer.

Hopefully you don’t take your medical advise from the web, but it can still be frustrating if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for when you do a search on Google. In some cases you might be looking for something that is not readily available on the Internet (in my case a real…

View original post 157 more words

7 Factors That Dictate the Pricing of Transcription Services

You might be asking yourself how transcription service providers determine the price rate for their transcription services. Well not all audios, clients’ needs and subsequent instructions are the same. This means that the work done on the transcripts will not be the same. There are  factors that determine how much a service provider will charge, below are the most common ones.

Image: Source
Image: Source
  1. Turnaround time.

Most transcription companies offer a turnaround time (TAT) of between 24 hours to 5 business days. For longer projects it can be anywhere from two weeks to months. However there are times when a client might need their work to be rushed, I’m talking in a matter of hours. For such cases you will find that the service provider will tend to charge a little extra for such a special request. The reason is that this work will be prioritized over other clients’ work. It does not mean that the pricing will be ridiculously much higher than the standard fee but it definitely won’t be priced the same.

Image: Source
Image: Source
  1. Quality of audio.

The quality of the audio can be determined in a number of ways.

  1. Background noise.

A clear audio is very easy to transcribe. You can hear what is being said clearly thereby reducing the chances of having inaudible parts in the transcript as well as the time taken to transcribe it. However audios that have background noise can be tricky to transcribe. This is because the background noise makes it difficult for the transcriptionist to hear what is being said. For example if you have two audios one recorded in a quiet room and another one recorded in a noisy restaurant, the first one will definitely be easy to work on as opposed to the latter. You have to try and hear what is being said amidst noises such as people talking and laughing, spoons hitting the plate, others clapping name it. Therefore you see more effort has to be put into this audio justifying the extra charge.

  1. Low volume.

Some audios may be clear but the volume of the speakers might be barely audible. Either the speaker was sitting too far from the recording device or they were simply speaking in a low tone. Take it from someone who has dealt with such audios in as much as the softwares for transcription, headphones and computers have options for increasing the sound some audios don’t get any better. The transcriptionists therefore have to use their hearing skills in order to work on the audio.

  1. Poor recording quality.

Some audios do not have background noise and neither are they low but they might have been poorly recorded making it hard for one to hear the speakers. This might result from using poor quality recording devices, not knowing how to operate the recording device or failure of the recording device to work properly. Other times the recorder was working just fine but maybe the speaker was not stationary. So if a speaker keeps moving around the sound being picked by the device will vary depending on whether they are close to it or not. The recorder might also be picking up on other sounds. For example the mic might be rubbing on other things while the speaker is in motion like jewelry or clothing. In other instances a recording might be done over the phone or on Skype and sometimes the connection is bad that you end up having static. Speakers get cut off or you have these buzzing noises drowning the speakers.

Image: Source
Image: Source
  1. Heavy technical terms.

Some topics around certain areas frequently have heavy terms that need researching. Some transcriptionists do specialize in certain fields like medical and legal fields so for them, chances are they are familiar with most of the terms in their field. For some however it means a lot of research. So be it scientific terms or legal terms this means extra work for the transcriptionist due to fact that they have to research the terms.

Image: Source
Image: Source
  1. Heavy accents.

Some speakers have really thick accents that are very pronounced in their speech. If you are not familiar with the accents sometimes you might even doubt that they are speaking English. Accents can range from American to British, Irish, Chinese, Indian, Canadian the list is endless. Some transcriptionists choose to stick to their lane and only work with accents they are good with.

Image: Source
Image: Source
  1. Time stamping.

Clients might require you to timestamp their transcripts. Time stamping frequency differs from client to client depending on the intended use. It can range from putting a time stamp every 30 minutes to putting a timestamp every 15 seconds. The point is the higher the frequency the higher the pay.

Image: Source
Image: Source
  1. Number of speakers.

An audio with one speaker is a slice of heaven for transcriptionists; an example is a doctor’s dictation. The more the number of speakers the higher you will pay for the services. The reason for this is that the more speakers there are the more likely you will have interruptions and talkovers making it harder for you to identify who spoke and what they said. Examples of audios with multiple speakers include focus groups, seminars, conferences et cetera.

Image: Source
Image: Source
  1. Verbatim versus clean transcripts.

A verbatim transcript is one where you are required to transcribe everything. By everything I mean everything, the stutters, false starts, uh-hums, ah-ahs, grunts, chuckles, repetitions, filler words and the likes. At times you are even required to mark the silence and other noises outside of the conversation, things falling, chair movements, car honking outside. This is just about the most complex transcribing can get. You cannot afford to miss a thing. Verbatim transcripts are typically required for deep qualitative analysis such as those done by speech disorder specialists.

A clean transcript on the other one means you only transcribe the important details. Ignore the outside sounds, false starts, stutters, filler words. Below are two examples of a clean and a verbatim transcript of the same audio.

Verbatim:

John Smith: I, I, I went to the mall to uh [car honking] do some shopping. I got like…I got a lot of stuff you know for my kids to play with.

Clean:

John Smith: I went to the mall to do some shopping. I got a lot of stuff for my kids to play with.

For clean transcripts some clients might require you to also correct the grammar. Say the speaker was not a native English speaker and said things like, “Last night I wake up in the middle of night and I feel hungry.” To, “Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and I was feeling hungry.” However such work calls for people with spot on knowledge of the English language. This is because in an attempt to correct the grammar you might end up changing the meaning of what was said. Remember the client wants you to correct the grammar but maintain the meaning.

As you can tell from the above the more the work put into the transcript the higher the charges. So depending on your needs you are able to decide how much work goes into the transcript consequently determining how much you’ll be charged.

9 Sure Ways to Cultivate Trust Between Employees and Management

Image: Source
Image: Source

Trust is a key ingredient in the success of a company and many a times companies that lack trust between its employees and management often do not succeed. Why is that? Well, first of all for it to function, teamwork is needed. What happens when there is no trust between teams looking to work together? Everybody will be on the lookout for themselves meaning that their focus will be dived and directed towards their welfare and nothing else. Everybody has different goals so if everyone is focused on their personal goals they will be working towards different end goals. That being said a company cannot succeed when its employees are not working towards the same goal. How will you coordinate tasks? So are you wondering how to get your employees to trust you? Here are a few key tips that will guide you towards achieving that.

  1. Tone down on the scolding a notch.

As a boss once in a while you will find yourself reprimanding your employees when they error in their ways but try not to overdo it. This is because overdoing it will in the end result in them either disliking you or affecting their self worth. They will tend to feel like they are not good enough or that they can’t live up to your expectations apart from making them defensive. They will eventually give up trying. Disliking you will be due to the fact that they think you never see the good in them. So to be fair scold and give credit where it’s due in the same measure. When they error have a sit down with them and find out why they made the mistake in the first place instead of going straight for their head.

Approach the problem from a different angle, from an angle of concern and wanting to help. Once you identify why the mistake happened help them rectify it and actually let them do it over. This shows that you have faith in them and trust them to get it right. Once that is done be sure to let them know that they got it right next time they do it correctly. This is a sure way of giving their confidence a boost. For some it might take a while to correct their mistakes, be patient. However also learn to recognize your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. If they cannot do it , try their talents on other things.

It is entirely possible that you are trusting the wrong employee with the wrong task. Also avoid throwing blame around. Sometimes while in the process of holding a member of your staff accountable for one thing can turn into you blaming them for something larger. For example blaming the failure of an entire project on an employee’s mistake.

  1. Do more listening than talking.

Listening to your employees can tell you a lot of things you might otherwise have missed. And when talking about listening I’m not only referring to you listening to the actual words but also the subtle non-verbal communication. This could be their body language, their tone of voice, their facial expressions and so on. When you master the ability to listen and read your employees you will be more understanding, meaning you will be able to value their feelings more. This will open doors to open and honest communication. Granted you will be able to communicate more effectively with your team.

Personal opinions tend to cloud judgment so put aside your pre-formed opinions as you are communicating with them and try to look at things from both your end as well as theirs. The best approach to such an issue is trying to answer the question what and why. What happened and why. If you approach a situation looking to find out what happened and why, you will be more inclined to listen because you want to find out something. You are not looking to blame anyone or reprimand so as you will be listening, you will not be busy coming up with how you are going to scold them.

Avoid interrupting them as they are trying to make a point as it makes them feel like you are not interested in what they have to say. Make sure they know that you are always willing to listen. You might be surprised how open they will be with you. And don’t be mistaken listening does not always mean that you are in agreement. It only means that you are willing to get all the facts in order for you to be in a position to make an informed decision.

  1. Delegate tasks

Delegation of duties is vital if you want to win the trust of your employees. It communicates the message that you have faith in their ability. Bosses who always do things by themselves indirectly say to their employees that they don’t have faith in their abilities. Giving your employees responsibilities not only shows you believe in them but provides an opportunity for them to advance their skills. They might not be good from the get go but you have to recognize that growth is achieved in stages. They first of all learn the skill, practice it and then polish it. The reason that you are there is to guide them through this process. However don’t mistake micromanagement for guidance. Hovering over them and fussing over every little detail and task that they do will not do any good. You might as well have done it yourself.

Give them room to take charge with your supervision of course, empower them and once in a while let them learn through their mistakes. Set up incentives for them to perform well. This will make them want to improve on their performance next time. Remember positive reinforcement works much better than criticism and blame. Focus on what they are able to do rather than what they are not. For the areas that need work on, lend a helping hand. For example you can ask, “You are very meticulous but what can I do to help you finish your projects on time?” Rather than, “You can never finish anything on time.” The first approach compliments and points out an area that needs work at the same time. On the other hand the second approach just points out the weakness.

What the first approach will do is it will encourage the employee to continue with the good work and make them open to asking for help where it’s needed. The second option will only serve to make them defensive. All they will be doing so trying to come up with reasons as to why they did not perform in an attempt to defend themselves. You will be surprised at what a little pat on the back and encouragement can do. Sometimes it’s all your employee needs to unleash the great potential in them.

  1. Maintain consistency.

You have to realize that they listen and see what you do. Your staff notices everything that goes on in the office. Even that quiet one that rarely talks and almost never leaves their cubicle. The same way they notice things is the same way they remember almost everything. You should therefore maintain consistency, be it the message that you are giving them or the way that you act. Do you act nice towards them when the company performs and suddenly get mean when it doesn’t? Are you polite to them when you are having a good day and turn mean when you are having a bad one? Do you come into work early when you are feeling like it and late or don’t come in at all when you don’t feel like it? They may not let you know but they notice these things. You are communicating one thing today and another tomorrow. Soon enough they will start to mirror your behavior.

  1. Live up to your word.

When you promise your employees things make sure to deliver on them. Even when the situation changes try to keep to your word otherwise who will trust someone who fails to keep their promises? Make a commitment and follow up on it so that even when it seems impossible during hard times they will not have a problem trusting you to come through for them.

  1. Take responsibility.

Everyone makes mistakes and bosses are not immune to this. When you make a mistake instead of thinking about how they will see you as a failure own up to the mistake. Show them that you are no different and that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Trying to look perfect in the eyes of your employees does not work. A day will come when you will not be able to cover your mistake and they will see right through the lie. They will see you as a fake, instead you want them to relate to you, see that you are no different and that at some point you were right where they were. So acknowledge it when you go wrong, they will respect you more.

  1. Lead by example.

Ever heard of that saying, the best leaders don’t tell you how it’s done, they show you how it’s done? Well, it’s true. You want your staff to do something start by doing it yourself. If it’s time keeping, make sure you come in early. What would employees think of a boss that talks of timekeeping but comes into work at 11 a.m.? Live what you preach they will follow suit.

  1. Get to know your staff.

Learn about your employees either by watching them or better yet by having a face to face with them. Learn where they live, what they like and even the names of one or two of their family members. This reflects as concern to your employees, they will feel that you care about them, about their welfare and that you are not all about having them make money for you. Knowing them will even enable you to notice when something’s wrong with one of them. Maybe someone is having personal problems that are now affecting their work performance. Catching that before it spirals out of control will go a long way to help both you and your employee.

  1. Act on employee feedback.

After cultivating trust between you and your team it is very likely that they will be open to communication, this means feedback. Feedback could be positive feedback or criticism and you need to find a way to act on it. If they give a suggestion about wanting something improved that will make their productivity improve find a way of implementing that. Just be aware that it doesn’t mean that you have to implement all their suggestions. If they ask for something that you cannot give, have a sit down with them and explain why it cannot be so then propose an alternative.

The most important thing to note here is that creating trust between you and your employees will not only make them more productive but also help towards retaining employees. There is nothing worse than spending resources on training employees only for them to take that training elsewhere. With trust, communication both upstream and downstream will definitely improve and so will productivity. Your employees will be more willing to share their thoughts with you including new ideas and potential threats facing the company. You want to make them respect and trust you not fear you.

Grammar-ease: Good versus well

Live to Write - Write to Live

Welcome back to another tips and tricks for grammar post.

So many grammar rules, so little time. Some grammar rules just don’t click for me, so when I find a tip or trick that helps me remember, I like to share it. And I hope that, like me, you’ll realize grammar isn’t anything to be scared of. Maybe you’ll even find grammar — shall I dare say it? — fun.

Anything is possible, right? Cartoon of moose with thought bubble. Good versus well as text inside bubble.

Good/well confuses many people, even though the word choice is about usage. To cut it to its basics, all we need to know is that good is an adjective and well is an adverb. There, that was simple, right? Okay, off with you then and happy writing. What? Not so fast, you say?

How about: we just plug in good when we need an adjective (to describe a noun or pronoun) and well when we…

View original post 422 more words

Grammar-ease: Using ‘and’ and ‘to’

Live to Write - Write to Live

Here is a grammar refresher on using and and to.

I see it all the time, and although it’s more a choice between casual and formal use than right and wrong, I thought it was worth writing about.

Here’s what I’m referring to:

  • Be sure and visit the robotic display at the museum.
  • Be sure to visit the robotic display at the museum.
  • When slicing a sandwich, try and cut it evenly.
  • When slicing a sandwich, try to cut it evenly.
  • Stop by the display and learn more.
  • Stop by the display to learn more.
  • ANDorTOMake sure and set the stove to 350 degrees.
  • Make sure to set the stove to 350 degrees.
  • When reading, pay attention and notice mistakes.
  • When reading, pay attention to notice mistakes.
  • Send the kids to the beach and have a great time
  • Send the kids to the beach to have a great time.
  • My goal is…

View original post 120 more words

Who needs transcription services and why?

Image: Source
Image: Source

A lot of times many people I come across don’t know what transcription is, let alone who uses the services. And when I’m done explaining what it entails the next question is always, “Why would I need that?” or “Why would I pay to have that done? I can do that myself.” Give them a trial run and they go “Oh that was harder than I thought.” And I’m thinking, “You think?” With that being said we are going to explore those who utilize/need transcription services and how they benefit from it.

  1. Media industry.

Professionals is this field conduct a ton of interviews, studies and research which they then need to analyze, create reports from and keep a record of. In as much as many of them are good at short hand there are things they will miss during the interview. They can never get everything down on their notes. So this is where transcription comes in. They hold their interviews then have it transcribed. The transcript that comes out can be use for several things. One it can be edited to make the final copy for the print version of the news.

Two, it can be used for analysis purposes. It is much easier to analyze written content than audios. This is probably because of the photographic memory aspect. You are more likely to remember things you saw than things you heard. Additionally it’s easier to flip back to page X to find a certain something than rewinding an audio to minute X. Chances are you didn’t even check what minute it was. And finally it can be used for records purposes for future references.

  1. Legal industry.

Legal transcription services are popular because of its efficiency in producing quality and accurate records i.e. clearly written records that are thorough. Lawyers also need accurate records so as to be able to gather useful information not only to argue out their cases in court but also win cases. Before transcription services caught on attorneys and paralegals were in charge of the records. However they were so swamped with work they didn’t exactly make sure that the records were accurate. It is a common misconception that legal transcription services are only required by lawyers for court reasons such as depositions and hearings.

While it is true that in the beginning this was the main reason however today many other sectors like the banking industry, insurance companies, governments and other business also require transcription services. This could be for reasons such as business meetings in order to have a professional influence on legal records and also better protect their clients. Aside from producing records from the legal transcripts, they can also be used to create reports for the likes of clients and the press.

  1. Educational institutions (for both teachers and students).

Educational institutions benefit greatly from such services. It can be on the teaching side or the learner side. The lecturers could have their lectures transcribed then have a copy for future reference or if they cannot make it to a class they can simply dictate the lecture have it transcribed then sent to the students via email. By getting their lecture in written format they would not exactly be missing their class entirely just because the lecturer couldn’t make it. They would then perhaps have a discussion about the lecture in their next class. The lecturers could also have speeches from events such as workshops and other events transcribed. This they could then keep for their own use, use it as reference material in their teaching or put it up on the class/school website as part of their publication.

Students who are conducting research for their projects whether at undergraduate, graduate or doctoral level, normally employ transcription services for they research interview recordings. This is again for analysis purposes. They can also have lectures/talks recorded then transcribed either to have it as part of their reading material for school or for other reasons.

  1. Medical industry.

Medical transcription services require one to transcribe recordings from doctors and other professionals in the health care industry. These recordings are done by doctors while they are examining patients either in hospitals, clinics or other health care facilities. It is especially important for them to do so when it comes to initial consultations. During such consultations they usually record the history of the patient, the physical examination observations, the tests and diagnosis. This information then goes a long way in creating a records/medical file for the patient.

  1. Research institutions and individuals.

Research institutions are probably one of the biggest clients of transcription services. This is because a lot of research requires one to conduct interviews. Later they have it transcribed for analysis. The research can be on a one on one basis or focus groups. Focus groups are mostly preferred as they save time and money considering a large number of people can be interviewed at a go. This would also mean that by the end of the study a lot more people are interviewed than if they had been interviewed individually.

  1. Religious institutions.

These days almost everyone wants to have a record for future reference, the likes of pastors, priests, sheiks and other religious leaders are not to be left out. They can have their sermons/preaching/talks/speeches transcribed and create a record out of that. They can even go ahead to use that as a guide to publish books, e-books and website articles.

  1. Life, business coaches and motivational speakers.

These three have one thing in common, they spend most of their times giving talks. It can be to a group of people or individuals and many of them would like to have a record of their talks/speeches/trainings. Many of them have gone to use the records to write books (including e-books) or create scripts for TV/radio shows. They can have the transcripts distributed to their clients/audience after the event as additional materials. They can contain the entirte presentation or a summary of the main points. They can also have these published online either on their platforms i.e. website or other professional platforms e.g. e-journals.

These are just a few of those who frequently use transcription services. The bottom line is anyone who wants a recording transcribed so that they can have the content in written format will need transcription services. Some will need it for one time use while others will need it on a frequent basis. So the list of clients for this service is endless.

Calling Emily Post: A Blogging Etiquette Roundup

The Daily Post

If you’re a new or recent arrival on the blogging scene, there’s definitely a lot to process: themes! Widgets! Stats! Taglines!

Then there’s the large set of (mostly unwritten) rules that govern the smooth functioning of the blogging community. Just like going to a dinner party in a country where you’ve just landed, you want to make a good first impression, or at the very least not appear like an irredeemable oaf.

Thirsty for more? You can browse our entire archive of blogging etiquette posts.

Being kind to others and asking questions is always your best bet. For more specific cases, though, we’re here to help with some of our most popular posts on blogging etiquette.

The ethical use of others’ content

If you’re a blogger who prefers to restrict access to some or all of your posts, be sure to read about your blog’s privacy settings, as well as…

View original post 811 more words

Divide and Conquer (Your Prose)

The Daily Post

Reading, like breathing, is a continuous process that’s made up of numerous discrete acts. (If you’re like me, the same is true of eating gummy bears.) Whatever style we write in — from the most traditional to the more experimental — our job as writers is to make the experience so smooth for our readers that they don’t even notice the little seams that hold it all together.

We do this in ways both big and small. We make sure our grammar doesn’t call attention to itself (unless we want it to, like in some forms of poetry). We keep our posts clean, and their format easy on our readers’ eyes. We embrace the screen’s white space.

Dividing your text into smaller units is another way to make the reading flow and engage and push your audience onward. I’m not talking about breaking down walls of text into paragraphs — unless you’re James Joyce you’re hopefully doing this…

View original post 1,105 more words

How to Handle Customer Complaints Efficiently in a Multi-Channel Contact Centre

My Virtual Workforce

Man shouting on the phone

No business is immune to customer complaints. Whether you’re building your first startup or are a seasoned entrepreneur, you are bound to encounter your fair share of criticism and negative feedback every now and then.

Indeed, there’s no absolute way to prevent all the issues that trigger customer complaints.

Of course, every complaint should not be seen as a bad omen. When a dissatisfied customer engages an interaction with your brand to talk about an issue, they are actually highlighting areas for improvement, which can help your business gain a competitive edge. That is, if you are able to deal with them properly.

The process doesn’t have to be time-consuming or stressful for anyone involved, especially if you’re working with a multi-channel contact centre that can address customer issues via various touchpoints.

My Virtual Workforce has 5 simple tips for efficient customer complaint handling.

Check your service strategy

Complaints…

View original post 459 more words

14 Challenges Facing Export of ITES/BPO Services.

Image: Source
Image: Source

The US and Europe are some of the most popular markets for ITES (IT enabled services) and BPO however at the same time they are the most crowded. The competition is fierce and more so for the small companies from developing countries who are expanding and want to internationalize their business. Below we look at some of the challenges facing the export of ITES/BPO services.

  1. Marketing

Many companies looking to export their products and services lack international networks. This in turn makes it very difficult to obtain intelligence on marketing matters on foreign markets. Marketing then becomes a key problem.

The marketing challenge can be explained from different angles. One of them is the lack of proper country branding and the other is the lack of marketing skills of individual companies. Country branding will be discusses shortly. As for the lack of individual marketing skills in regards to companies, they do not have knowledge that can help them effectively market themselves. Their know-how may not even be sufficient to help them do proper local and regional marketing let alone international. Many may result to relying on referrals and word of mouth in order to acquire new business/clients.

Aside from the lack of/limited knowledge, limited finances also play a part in poor marketing. Marketing is expensive and many businesses rely on their already limited finances to conduct marketing and advertising. Currently the kind of marketing and advertising that many businesses engage in is not enough to convert leads into revenue generating clients.

A company may have great products and services but when that is not properly packaged and advertised it won’t attract any business. It also may be marketed but poor products packaging in itself is enough to turn a potential or current client away.

Also many of the businesses lack proper network building abilities. With the absence of a reliable contact on the ground in their target market they are unable to get their products to those who need it outside of their zones (read local market). This therefore renders the question, how can businesses establish connections with the stakeholders in their target markets?

  1. Skill disparity and shortage.

Lack of high-quality and experienced staff is a key contributor to poor quality services in the ITES/BPO sector. Therefore skill disparity and shortage pose a major problem to many companies looking to export their services. Even though a country may have staff who are graduates they may first need to be trained in order to be conversant with the BPO market requirements. A company therefore has to invest a lot in incubating and training them to get them up to speed with what is happening and what is required of them.

Another factor in regards to skills and workforce in the ITES/BPO industry is the fact that in many developing countries it is not considered a career. Therefore those who come into it do so with a view of it being a ‘temporary gig’. A company therefore ends up training staff that will sooner rather than later move to another field taking their skills with them. They are then left to train other staff.

Also the skills in developing countries’ tech space in varied, thus the disparity. The difference in the technological skills between an IT specialist and a non-IT graduate is very big. A company looking for staff with high tech skills has no choice then but to employ on IT specialists. But in doing so they end up spending a lot of money to recruit and retain them. In the end they cannot be competitive (especially in the international market) because of the expenditure-gain margin.

To such businesses the decision to exclusively employ IT skilled staff was informed by the fact that having non-tech staff often leads to production of poor quality products and services. Secondly there are many services being offered in the ITES/BPO sector that require specialized skills. Furthermore businesses are often forced to undertake the training themselves because there are not that many training institutions for BPO.

  1. Regulatory Restrictions.

Businesses sometimes face difficulty in penetrating foreign markets as a result of trade regulatory restrictions. These restrictions could be domestic and foreign taxation-related, too many protocols and licensing requirements etc. The businesses are then often required to meet these standards. There are regulatory issues in which companies have to first meet these set international standards before they are allowed to export many of which are at times hard to meet.

  1. Product pricing.

From time to time the businesses looking to export their products and services have insufficient knowledge on vital matters like pricing. How can one be competitive in a space that is already crowded by business that have been in the game for years when you are even not fully informed on the value of ITES/BPO service offering?

  1. High bandwidth costs.

In many developing nations bandwidth costs are still high. This makes communication and conducting business expensive. This is a blow to many businesses in the ITES/BPO industry since almost all if not all of their businesses are conducted online. The same goes for IT infrastructure. The IT infrastructure in many of these countries are antiquated and need re-hauling if they are to deliver to the maximum and to the satisfaction of the clients.

  1. Lack of Market information

Lack of market information and insights limits businesses’ all out on investments focus on the export. It is impossible to invest wisely in the foreign market if you are going to do so blindly. Without the knowledge on export opportunities, markets, processes and required tools, venturing in the global market will almost always lead to failure. On top of that many also do not know how to go about acquiring that knowledge/information especially since there are not that many resources out there informing on BPO trends and the likes. A potential key contributor to this limited information might be due to the fact that many of these businesses have never exported before thereby they lack pre-requisite information.

Most businesses have poor understanding of the international investment climate and best practices and also lack knowledge on how to strategically align their marketing strategies with the global market requirements to draw business.

  1. Increased competition

Overtime the competition has not only increased in the ITO/BPO services industry but has evolved to become fierce. New businesses have to compete with already well-established brands in the sector in the local, regional and global market. These businesses are offering the same services yet one has a well-established reputation and network, staff and finances while the other is only just starting out. This makes it harder to enter the market. On top of not being recognized, these new entrants many a times cannot even make their margins.

  1. Privacy and safety concerns.

The internet has a tendency to render people faceless and nameless. In addition many developing countries and some developed nations still lack proper law on data protection. Some of them do have the laws but lack strong legislation to enforce it. This fact has raised concerns in regards to confidentiality and safety of shared information especially for US and Europe. This might be due to the rise in cyber crime over the last few decades. They then have to worry about finding credible service providers. And even when they do find these honest service providers they can never be too sure of their data safety. Some of the ITES’ include outsourcing financial, legal and medical services all of which involve sharing of sensitive information.

This concern however is not one-sided. Those offering the ITES/BPO services are also concerned seeing as during the course of sourcing for clients there are chances that they may instead end up finding fraudsters. This makes it difficult for them to find honest clients as well.

  1. Country Branding

There is lack of proper country marketing for many developing nations as a reliable ITES/BPO destination. Lack of awareness of these countries as attractive outsourcing destination makes it hard for them to penetrate the international scene. Lack of a country marketing strategy is often the cause of poor country branding. As a result very few countries have managed to venture and succeed in the foreign market. Many of these countries struggle to build that image for their clients and convince them that they have credible technical expertise.

To get a country known for its ability in the outsourcing sector can be well solved by collaborating. Have competitors put their differences aside and work together for the sake of building their county’s image. However this has not been easy thanks to lack of trust. None of the companies want to work together as they often tend to view their competitors as the ‘enemy’. They all want to build a wall around their ‘territory’ and are often overprotective of it. In the quest to fight each other they sadly end up working against themselves by creating closed markets. Although there are some nations e.g. India and Bangladesh, that have managed to work together.

  1. Lack of comparative advantage with other countries.

Other countries have already established brands, networks and finances and have been in the industry for a while. This makes the playground a little uneven for the new businesses.

  1. Quality assurance measures.

There is a lack of internationally accepted outsourcing standards to make the services quality competitive. How can one measure if their quality is up to par? Who dictates the terms of the measures?

  1. Different business cultures.

The business culture of the nations that businesses are exporting to differs from their own. This means that they have to familiarize themselves with it and try to fit in so as to be able to deliver to the client expectations. Sometimes they fail and other times they do manage to fit in.

  1. Language barrier.

Speaking different languages forms a hurdle between the service providers and their clients in two ways. One, it makes communication difficult when instructions are not understood. Secondly the message may be passed along but then it is may be misinterpreted on the other end. In such cases some result to learning the new language while others rest on using an interpreter or simply sticking to nations who speak the same language.

  1. Finance issues

Cash flow issues also present a key challenge. Most companies use their own money to conduct business and then you find most clients paying for the services late. This then forces the businesses to try to make their margins while also paying for utilities and the staff from their own pockets. They might also need to invest heavily in IT and communication infrastructure not to mention training which requires a lot of money that many of them do not have. The poor communication infrastructure that they are then forced to work with if they cannot upgrade makes communication difficult and at times expensive.

In the next post we will take a look at the solutions to these challenges. Don’t miss our next article.