Featured Role ~ Helpdesk Support

by Chris Winfield-Blum  - May 19, 2017

This article will feature a specific offshored role that Change Fox has had success with placing and realised significant benefits to the organisations who have included these types of resources in their offshoring initiative.

The below article will provide some statistics and overview details relevant to this type of role and then go on to discuss in more detail observations, areas of particular interest and strategies that should be considered when actioning this type of offshoring initiative.

Offshored role statistics and overview

Customer / Supplier Exposure

80% of the role is customer exposed

Engagement with customers to address their support requests is expected daily

English Proficiency Requirement

75% Difficulty

Being able to understand, write and speak English is important to this role as they will likely be the first contact point for customers

Internal Communications

70% Difficulty

A system for communicating tasks and requirements should be put in place, however, by its nature, this role will include ad-hoc tasks regularly

Talent Availability

75% Difficulty

Many qualified resources are available to fulfil this role

Domain Knowledge Requirement

75% Difficulty

High levels of customer specific domain knowledge is required and forms part of induction

Ease of Measurement

80% Difficulty

Responsibilities are usually easily measurable through standard support level agreements (SLAs)

Scope of the role

The scope of this role can vary significantly depending on the organisation and the customers that will be supported. As a starting point, Level 1 support is a great place to test and set your organisation up to use an offshored helpdesk resource or team. 

While many organisations offshore their phone support functions, if you are new to offshoring it may be worth considering introducing these new resources through your helpdesk / support / ticketing system first. Doing this while they become accustomed to your products and services, as well as your customers and support culture and while your team gains confidence and comfort with your offshoring approach will increase your chances of success.

Pro tip: Remember to set short-term objectives in relation to knowledge transfer and process handover. Then guide your team (local and offshored) towards getting your new team on the phones.

While the above addresses level 1; level 2 or even level 3 support functions can also be resourced through your offshored team. For example, in a software environment, hiring a customer focused development resource and placing them directly in your support team can be a great way to reduce your resolution times or at the least provide more thorough troubleshooting data to more senior technical resources.

Cultural considerations

  • Filipinos are generally reserved and unlikely to offer specific criticism, especially about their seniors. Even more so for those who have had little contact with foreigners in previous roles
  • Filipinos have a high sense of pride (often referred to as ‘face’), you need to build a culture of constructive feedback with your team that is non-threatening
  • Family is a very important aspect of Filipino culture and understanding this, and bringing this sense of family into your business will be a huge asset to your organisation and drive dedication and commitment to your vision and future
  • Be aware of your use of Australian or American slang and the speed of your speech (Australians have an amazing ability to merge an entire sentence into a single work – “hows-it-goin?”)
  • Australian and Filipino cultures are a good match once you break through the formalities of Sir and Maam. The relaxed, laid back approach to business adopted by most Australian organisations is attractive to Filipinos if you nurture your team members and help them build to build up their confidence in working within your organisation and for your customers.

Hiring & interview considerations

Depending on your business requirement you may be hiring for different specific skills but the primary differentiator to consider will always be; will they be on the phone. If yes then you must specifically hire for verbal English proficiency. Where your team will be working in ticketing or LiveChat systems, written English is more important.

Further, with any team member you should be considering;

  • Will they fit into our organisational culture?
  • Are they assertive enough to be a loud and proud customer advocate?
  • Is their specific, testable knowledge that should be validated prior to interviews (for example – SQL tests)?
  • Who in your organisation should be involved in the process?

As well as your specific candidate considerations you should also understand the below;

  • As discussed above, the majority of Filipinos will be reserved and will be unlikely to talk themselves up through the hiring process; it is, therefore, the responsibility of those facilitating the interviews to make them feel comfortable and to engage with them in such a way that you will get a better idea of their personality and work ethic
  • They will call you Sir or Maam, repeatedly. There is little point trying to change this in the interview process, just let it go and take it as the sign of respect that they intend it to be. Once they are in the team you can work on changing that behaviour if you prefer things to be less formal within the organisation
  • Techniques, where the candidate is purposefully put through high-pressure questioning, are extremely intimidating to Filipinos and generally, ineffective
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Chris Winfield-Blum

Software enthusiast, operations & project manager, MBA graduate, team builder, creator, developer, writer and father.

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