Communication is at the very core of every business.
Whether you’re a remote-first, distributed, or hybrid company — communication always turns out essential for doing serious business, maintaining a thriving work environment, and building your company brand.
What’s helped companies across the globe stay connected with their employees and build trust despite the physical distance are mostly team chat apps, like Pumble.
- But how do team chat apps like Pumble help remote, hybrid, and even in-office teams communicate effectively?
- How can companies establish effective communication with customers and clients?
- What’s it like to work and be successful in the call center industry?
- And more importantly, what communication skills are essential for providing extraordinary service to your customers?
Join us as we pick the brain of Maryam Nazir, the Finance Director of TELOS, a company operating within the call center industry in Pakistan.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
Table of Contents
Before we turn to remote and hybrid communication, let’s start with a short background story about the TELOS company.
Although officially formed in 2017, TELOS’s journey started long before that — the company has more than 15 years of experience in providing various types of services to its customers:
- Tech support,
- Shipping and billing queries, and
- Food order takings.
So, how did they become a call center provider then? Let’s find out!
About 4 years ago, the company oriented itself toward the telecommunication industry, focusing on becoming a quality call center support provider.
Now, they provide their customers with:
- Telecommunication services: Customer and administrative service, telemarketing, and customer relationship management.
- Software development: Web and mobile development, game development, UX and UI, and quality assurance.
According to their website, quality is at the center of everything they do.
TELOS focuses on providing companies with cost-effective solutions and taking care of their business processes such as gathering relevant information and making budget estimates.
This way, TELOS leaves their clients time to focus on their core business activities.
To get a better grasp of how they do business, I asked Maryam to simplify things for me:
“We talk to a lot of different people over the phone or chat and listen to their concerns, especially if they have any issues with the purchase they have made.
So, we note down their complaints and try to resolve them right away. Or we direct them to the person who can help.
Sometimes, people just call to inquire about the things they are likely to spend money on.”
One thing about the company intrigued me, so I was eager to find out more. I’ve read on their website that “TELOS was formed as a solution to an internal business need.”
To paint a brighter picture, Maryam explained that this “internal business need” actually refers to “bridging a communication gap between a business and its customers.”
Maryam goes into detail about how they help companies solve their communication problems:
“We understand how important it is to have a strong customer relationship team in your business. We offer solutions to other businesses that face communication issues with their suppliers and customers.
That’s why we take the role of the bridge. We believe that clear communication is a resolution to half of the problems.”
But how do you build a strong telecommunication company? Maryam shared with us the secret to their success.
Being part of the telecommunication industry requires outstanding customer service and support. There’s a lot at stake, and knowing what to focus on is a must to be successful.
For TELOS, customer support is one of the most important aspects of their business. Maryam explains that it’s actually one of the crucial things for running a thriving company in this industry:
“Many businesses that offer a wide range of services and products usually focus on other, relevant sectors, but not as much on the customer service.”
For TELOS, however, it’s all about providing exceptional customer service. Let’s see how they do it.
According to Maryam, TELOS currently numbers 70+ people who are all working from Pakistan. Although a completely national team, TELOS works with internationally-recognized clients and mostly operates in English.
In addition to having the proper support from their government to conduct business in the call center industry, Maryam confesses that finding the right people is crucial for their industry. But finding the right people takes time:
“Sometimes we face issues with finding an appropriate resource who is proficient in European languages. It takes time but eventually we find the suitable candidate.”
What makes TELOS stand out from its competitors is the time and effort it puts into helping its employees improve their professional skills and training them for the job. It’s what helps retain the most talented people, Maryam proudly concludes.
But that’s not all!
Just like so many other companies worldwide, TELOS was affected by the pandemic, too. For them, this translated to adapting their work model to stay operational.
Maryam explains what changes they had to implement:
“We had to move to a bigger office space to ensure social distancing.
We also introduced a hybrid work model where employees were scheduled to work from the office and from home on rotations.
Luckily, we had no Covid emergencies and our clients received uninterrupted service even when the pandemic was at its peak.”
So, thanks to the flexibility in doing business, TELOS managed to avoid major breakdowns and losses. Luckily, that’s not where their story about success stops.
In all businesses providing products and services, quality is of utmost importance. The same is true for TELOS as well.
All of their customer support agents have to go through in-house training to be able to meet the customers’ needs and provide them with tailor-made solutions.
Thanks to their thorough understanding of diverse cultures and cross-cultural communication, TELOS agents are always up to the task and provide their customers with prompt and quality service.
What’s more, they know that building strong and trusting relationships with customers is the last piece of this success puzzle.
Customer relationship management is another reason behind the success of a call center company such as TELOS.
By investing time and effort into its internal communication strategy, TELOS also ensures that its external communication goes in the right direction.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
Communicating with clients and customers in business can be unpredictable. We bring you handy tips for effective communication and collaboration with third parties in business in this blog post:
One of the reasons behind communicating effectively among themselves is Pumble, a rising star of the online communication tools group.
Let’s learn more about how TELOS employees use Pumble to communicate more effectively and what functionalities they find the most appealing.
Adapting their work model to meet the needs of new working conditions translated to finding a suitable communication tool for staying connected even when some of their employees had to work from home.
Maryam says that they’ve tried several other apps before settling with Pumble:
“The more notable ones are Skype, Zoom, and Discord. Finally, we found Pumble to be the best solution for us. We found the interface very friendly and professional.”
💡Pumble Pro Tip
If you’re eager to compare Zoom, Discord, and other popular business chat apps, check out our chat comparison section for more details:
Read on as we get into details about what Pumble features attracted TELOS and how Pumble helps them stay connected at all times.
Although they usually communicate with their clients over email, phone, and chat, TELOS prefers to communicate internally via Pumble.
Knowing that email isn’t the best way to communicate in a remote or hybrid work environment, Maryam explains how Pumble helped the company improve its internal communication:
“Pumble makes interaction among employees easier and eliminates the need to use cell phones.”
In addition to reducing the use of cell phones, Pumble helps TELOS support its downward communication, too.
Company managers now use Pumble to communicate relevant information and discuss important topics during office hours, Maryam says:
“Some discussions don’t require an employee to walk all the way to the manager and discuss business matters in person.
When employees receive messages in real-time it’s easier to get a prompt response.”
For TELOS, sharing important information within the company and within each department is crucial.
Since the company is constantly expanding and hiring more people, TELOS has to speed up the flow of information and make sure that all updates reach all employees on time. Maryam says that Pumble plays a vital role in information-sharing and collaborating within the company:
“We used to communicate face to face in the office. Now, with Pumble and our growing need to hire more people, it’s easier to make announcements company-wide or department-wide.”
When the pandemic hit, TELOS had to adapt quickly to stay in business.
In addition to respecting social distancing measures and introducing a hybrid work model, the company also had to make sure that the team stayed connected at all times and avoided interruptions in external communication, too.
All this wouldn’t be possible without Pumble, notes Maryam:
“The current model [hybrid model] is working well for us and our employees. But, if we are forced to shut down our physical office, our employees are empowered to work from their homes.
Pumble helps us keep all the employees in one place and connected.”
Since their external communication greatly depends on internal communication, TELOS knows that ensuring smooth workflow within their customer support team will prove beneficial for the entire business in the long run.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
If you want to find out more about the role of real-time communication in remote teams, don’t miss our blog post:
Although Pumble provides a wide range of features, Maryam says that unlimited message history and document sharing are essential for their business:
“Unlimited message history and document sharing are important to us because product knowledge files don’t change very often and sharing them every other day would be hectic.”
Thanks to Pumble’s shared knowledge feature, remote and hybrid teams such as TELOS can:
- Easily access all their important messages and chat history.
- Find the information they need, when they need it.
- Have all their important documents and images in one place.
When I asked her what made TELOS choose Pumble over other team chat apps, Maryam said that it all boiled down to two things:
- Pumble’s generous free plan, and
- Pumble’s highly competitive paid plan.
“The free plan is amazing, and, when we finally moved to the paid plan, the additional features were outstanding as compared to the price range that Slack offered.”
If you still haven’t tried Pumble, you should know that you can start using it for free for an unlimited number of users, get unlimited message history, and 10GB of storage per workspace.
You can also choose to go Pro for $1.99 per user per month, too. It’s entirely up to you.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
If you also work with third-party clients and want to ensure maximum data security and privacy, you can host Pumble on your own servers, too.
It was great to learn how Pumble helps TELOS improve its team communication.
Yet, since a significant part of their job assumes communicating with third parties — customers and clients — I was eager to learn more about:
- How they establish effective external communication, and
- What skills are necessary for ensuring better relationships with customers and clients.
Here’s what Maryam shared with us.
Just like communication within companies has evolved with the recent events in the modern business world, the same happened with external communication, too.
While external communication depends on a wide range of aspects, from my conversation with Maryam, I understood that their core focus is providing outstanding call center service.
From her point of view, some skills are more important for succeeding in the call center industry than others.
“As much as effective communication is required to communicate and collaborate with globally recognized companies, it’s equally important to have a good grasp of soft skills.“
Among others, these soft skills may include:
- Active listening and strong interpersonal skills,
- Clear verbal communication and rapid response,
- Critical thinking and creative problem solving,
- Empathy and calmness under pressure, and
- Personalized training and constant knowledge improvement.
Let’s explore each of these a bit further.
The first skills on our effective third-party communication checklist are active listening and interpersonal skills.
Being able to provide quality call center service and solve customer problems, a call center agent has to understand the problem first.
So listening carefully to what their customers are saying and trying to identify their needs makes one call center agent stand out from the rest.
Moreover, being able to solve customer issues on the go and communicate effectively in the process matter, too.
Although they are entirely Pakistan-based, TELOS collaborates with international clients most of the time.
To excel in this, Maryam says they all have to be proficient in English:
“Our national language is Urdu.
But since the services that we provide are for the customers in North America, we are all proficient in English.
We encourage our team to communicate with each other in English, too.”
In addition to proficiency, call center agents have to maintain a high level of clarity and speed when talking to customers over the phone or by email.
What’s more, the Future of CX: 2022 Report by Freshworks revealed that speed has the biggest impact on customer satisfaction.
Accurately and quickly communicating relevant information to others can help call center agents not only avoid misunderstandings and communication breakdowns but also provide better customer service by making better decisions and resolving issues quicker, too.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
Verbal communication is only one type of communication that’s essential for any workplace setting. Read more about verbal and other types of communication here:
Working with clients assumes the following actions:
- Identifying the customer’s problem,
- Coming up with a potential solution, and
- Implementing the most suitable solution.
In essence, to effectively communicate with others, call center agents should be great critical thinkers and creative problem solvers.
According to Maryam, their customer support agents communicate with and provide solutions to their clients over the phone, chat, and email.
She further explains how this works in their company:
“Solutions we offer to our clients include receiving tier 1 tech support calls and handling their billing and shipping queries. If needed, problems reach tier 2 tech support.
About 95% of our queries are resolved in the first interactions.
When problems are resolved, we make follow-up calls to maintain positive client-company relations.”
A lot is at stake when it comes to communicating with external associates. That’s why a person working directly with clients has to:
- Be a critical thinker and creative problem-solver,
- Come up with effective and custom-made solutions quickly, and
- Know the right information and share it when necessary.
Being in constant communication with clients and customers requires customer support agents to be able to empathize and remain calm even under extreme pressure.
For example, Maryam says that “a major chunk of our operations is of repetitive nature.”
This means that their call center agents have to be prepared to handle recurrent situations and talk about the same issues with different (sometimes even difficult) people every day, all day.
Maryam tells us that their “call center agents are trained for handling queries on daily basis without any obstacles.”
So, knowing what to say and how to behave in time-pressing or stressful situations is the key to following the latest customer experience trends and ensuring a remarkable customer experience.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
Workplace communication turns toxic mostly because of the difficult people working in the company. Check out our blog post if you need some advice on communicating with difficult people at work:
To make sure their customer support agents are providing quality service to their clients, TELOS focuses on:
- Properly training them for the position, and
- Ensuring they always have all the important information about the products, services, and the company they are representing.
Now, since a big part of what they offer to their clients is actually labeled as tech support, Maryam explains why it’s essential that their employees are well-trained and knowledgeable:
“Tech changes and updates are inevitable so our call center agents are trained well so they can share their knowledge with the customers.”
To get the best out of each worker, TELOS makes sure that its in-house experts are able to deliver customized solutions based on each client’s specific needs.
Overall, a good balance between tech literacy, proper soft skills, and communication skills is what makes or breaks a customer support agent.
Having done a lot of different things in the past, I was curious to learn what additional plans TELOS has on its business agenda.
According to Maryam, the company is mostly focused on steady growth and satisfying its growing client base:
“The overall vision is to have constant and consistent growth. We want to avoid rapid growth and operational inefficiencies. We will be looking to rely more on Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence to automate some simpler and repetitive tasks, too.
This will allow us to focus more on solving complex problems and providing more strategic advice.
Keeping this in mind, we hope to work our way towards these tech advancements while managing the expectations of a technologically savvy client base.”
Final thoughts: By ensuring effective internal communication, Pumble paves the way for better external communication
Establishing oneself in the business world doesn’t entirely depend on what you have to offer or how long you’ve been doing business.
For TELOS, reaching the top in the telecommunication industry is mostly based on:
- Communicating effectively within the company and each team,
- Facilitating in-office and remote work,
- Implementing the necessary changes to ensure continuous progress,
- Sharing relevant information easily and quickly, and
- Providing quality and timely service to clients.
You’ll be happy to learn that Pumble is the one to “blame” for the progress TELOS has made recently.
By using Pumble to run everything smoothly on the inside, TELOS managed to step up its external communication game and pave the way to excellence in providing an outstanding customer experience.