Datapak Services- Now Primed for ISO Certifications

During the first week of July 2016, a dedicated team of employees from Datapak began a seminar with delegates from the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. This seminar, which spanned a total of 80 hours led to Datapak receiving certificates of compliance for ISO 9001:2016 and ISO 13485:2016. These levels of compliance place Datapak within reach of ISO certification.

While some may read the information above and nod their head with approval, others may just see letters and random numbers. For anyone unfamiliar, the acronym ISO stands for the mouthful “International Organization of Standardization,” and according to ISO’s website:

“(ISO) brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.”

So why does ISO matter? ISO matter? Simply put, international standards are what keep almost everything in our world consistent, reliable and above all, safe. Again, ISO states:

“(international standards) give world-class specifications for products, services and systems to ensure quality, safety and efficiency.”

 ISO will argue that when things don’t work as they should, it often means that standards are absent.

If you are sitting at a desk with a computer, take a second to look at your keyboard. If you have become comfortable with its layout, design and functionality, then you can thank the ISO standard 9995, which “defines a framework for the layout of all alphanumeric and numeric keyboards.”

If you have enjoyed milk at any point in your life, then you can thank the ISO standard 6785, which “specifies a method for the detection of Salmonella in milk and milk products.”

To shed light on Datapak’s decision to pursue ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certifications, Client Service representative Dave Buck responded-

“The initial reason Datapak began working towards ISO certification  was due to a client, MC10. This client is currently working towards the goal of having their product become a registered medical device. In order for any business  to take part of the design, manufacturing or distribution of a registered medical device, they must be ISO 13485 certified. This certification specifies requirements for a quality management system regarding medical devices.”

Regarding ISO 9001 certification, which specifies requirements for a quality management system, Buck stated-

“It was only logical for Datapak to also pursue ISO 9001 certification in addition to ISO 13485. With the 9001 certification, we will bring proof to any current or future client our ability to provide services which meet industry regulatory requirements.”

Datapak’s next steps towards the ultimate goal of ISO 9001 and 13485 certifications are to continue creating internal ISO management systems. Buck stresses the importance of robust documentation regarding all steps leading up to the eventual hiring of a 3rd party ISO auditor. These data trails will provide proof that Datapak has and will continue to uphold all ISO standards.

Datapak has set an internal goal of July 2017 to become ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified.

Outsourcing your Customer Service Part Two: What Are You Waiting For?

Let’s say you’ve done your research and identified a handful of businesses which could effectively handle your customer service. This research likely also came paired with articles online which spell out what to look for when outsourcing and what your expectations could be. As a result of this research, you may have also held internal discussions with your employees to gather opinions and concerns that resonate with your business. You may have already accepted that outsourcing your customer service is the most logical next-step for your business, yet you still feel reluctant to move ahead.

We want you to know that this is normal, and that Datapak’s own Monica Clark has something to say about it. If you recall from our previous post, Monica Clark is Datapak’s Customer Service Manager. Her experiences, which span more than 30 years, include working with AT&T, Time Warner and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Clark is also HIPPA certified. HIPAA certification, which stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability, means that Clark is able to teach to industry standards regarding the handling of highly protected personal information.

Again, we posed a question to Clark-

You’ve had many years experience working in both in-house and outsourced customer service roles. What, if any, are the initial fears or hesitations that businesses have with outsourcing their customer service? What do you say to try and ease any of these worries?

I think the biggest fears that many businesses have are as follows:

  1. The customer service will simply not be handled properly
  2. The accountable staff will not be properly trained
  3. And perhaps the biggest fear- the customer will realize that they are not speaking with the actual company.

And although this is a specific example, another issue arises when the customer service is handled overseas. If this is the case, then a business owner may rightfully fear that their customer may dislike having to deal with a language barrier.

What I say to business owner is this- You must be willing to rely on the strength, knowledge and professionalism of the company who will handle your outsourcing. Listen closely to the diction of those you speak with. Although it may seem obvious to read this now, if they are not well spoken, their staff probably won’t be either.

It is advised to ask any potential outsourcer about not only their specific training procedures, but also how their agents will be trained to best represent your business. You should expect to hear that you or a representative from your business will play a role in building any specific training modules.

The above can not only ease the second fear listed, but also the third. The right outsourcer will stop at nothing short of having their agents give the impression of sitting at your company headquarters. Again, this is achieved through proper training on their behalf and with direct input from your business.

In short, perception becomes not only the business’s reality, but more importantly the customer’s.

We’d like to think that Clark’s last sentence above can be usefully applied to not only this topic, but to many elements of your business.

Want to know learn more about Datapak’s customer service capabilities? All you need to do is Contact Us

Outsourcing Your Customer Service

Why does the term “customer service” evoke such an uneasy feeling? After all, the field of customer service carries out one of the most effective ways for potential and recurring customers to directly communicate with your business. However, if you have experience in a customer service role, then you know that most people’s reasoning for contacting you isn’t usually to give accolades.

A clay tablet currently housed in the British Museum contains what is believed to be the first documented customer complaint. Dated 1750 BC from Babylonia, this tablet conveys a man’s disappointment regarding the quality of purchased copper ingots.

Fascinating, huh?

Jump ahead about 3770 years to today and businesses are still fielding customer complaints with regularity. This is not a criticism towards businesses, because customer complaints—whether they are due to elements within your control or not—are inevitable. And while anyone who is filling in for customer service duty may not be directly fielding phone calls, tasks such as answering emails and responding to social media concerns are now on your plate.

If the scenarios above sound familiar, then outsourcing customer service has likely become a recurring thought. But how can you know when the time is right? For a professional opinion on all things customer service, we can turn to Datapak’s own Monica Clark. Among Clark’s responsibilities as Customer Service Manager is the oversight and training of her team as the first point of contact for several of Datapak’s clients.

We asked Clark: “At what point in a business’s life should outsourcing customer service be considered?” and, “What should a business look for when outsourcing?”

Any business that is drowning in calls, emails, chat or other ways of servicing customers should have already looked into outsourcing. This also holds true for companies that are either growing too fast and are in danger of tarnishing their reputation, or companies with a bad reputation which they are trying to overcome.

One needs to be extremely selective when approaching and using outsourcers. It is always best to use someone who is closely matched with your company’s morals and values and that can identify with your mission statement. Obviously, experience is important as well. When lacking experience, an outsourcer can do more harm than good.

One of the most important things to consider when selecting an outsourcer is their training system. It is crucial to choose an outsourcer with great training practices. These trainers must be experienced, capable of learning a variety of information, and have the ability to teach everything they learn.

One of the end goals here is that if the company providing the service is on point, then outsourcing should be seamless and your customers unaware of any transitional period.

Check back for upcoming posts in which we’ll explore other topics regarding call centers and customer service.

 

Learn more about our Customer Care solutions.

Building Your Email List & Email Marketing Best Practices

This much we know: email marketing serves as an essential next-step for any business looking to grow into a brand with a consistent and dependable image.

This much is fact: gaining subscribers for your email list isn’t something that just magically happens.

So, how does a business go from having subscribers which consists mostly of internal employees and family members to having a robust and organically built mailing list? You may be surprised to learn that building a robust list involves fairly straightforward tactics that any business can utilize.

Make Your Audience Want to Sign Up

Next time you visit a website, whether it is ecommerce, news based or a static business page, take note if there is an email subscription opt-in field, and where on the site it is located. Also take note if you feel at all compelled to share your email. We’re willing to bet that unless you already have a connection with a business or brand, you won’t feel compelled to share your email. It’s important to realize that the majority of visitors to your site will likely feel the same. Therefore, the question now becomes, how do you make a visitor want to share their email address?

Ecommerce Site:

One tactic commonly used by ecommerce sites is to offer potential subscribers an incentive- most often a discount on future orders. So how can your website effectively communicate something along the lines of, “Subscribe to our mailing list and get 10% off your next order”? Easy, just say it with a banner or homepage slider.

Email marketing services such as MailChimp will allow you to create a signup form, that while identical to any other used on your site, will auto-reply to a subscriber with a custom message. This custom message can be an email which welcomes a new subscriber and presents them with their promised promo code. You can link any banner or slider to this specific signup field.

You may be concerned with customers using an introductory promo code more than once. We cannot speak on the behalf of all ecommerce platforms, but platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce can allow you to limit a customer’s use of a promo code to just one. This is done by identifying their checkout information or IP address.

Additionally, for any visitor who eventually becomes a customer, you can offer an option to subscribe to your mailing list during the checkout process.

Static and Standard Business Site:

If you’re looking to build a mailing list for information based or static website, then you’re faced with a slightly greater challenge. We recommend a tactic similar to that above- that being the use of a banner or homepage slider which calls for action. However, because you’re not in the business of selling a product online, then an incentive such as a promo code has no use. Instead, you must be willing to develop a freebie or a takeaway.

If your site happens to run a blog, then curating that content into an eBook as a digital download can serve as an appealing incentive. Likewise, if you have a collection of whitepapers or case studies which you are willing to share, curating an eBook can not only serve as an incentive, but also help your business become an authority.

Frequency:

The frequency in which you send your marketing emails will have an effect on engagement as well your overall brand image. No business wants to appear to come off as pestering, and likewise, neither do they want their subscribers to forget about them. According to data collected from Campaign Monitor (read more here), the optimal frequency rate at which to send emails is either on a weekly or monthly basis. We agree and would suggest that ecommerce based business follow a weekly (or bi-weekly) sending schedule, while news based or static business follow a monthly schedule.

Above all, we would like to point out that frequency falls second to consistency. It is crucial for your email marketing efforts to follow a strict schedule. If you decide to send emails at 11AM on Tuesdays, then always send at 11AM on Tuesdays.

 

We truly feel that email marketing is essential for any business. Want to know what other marketing tactics we feel are essential? All you need to do is contact us. Let’s Talk.

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