Business travel across the Americas has come to near standstill in the context of the coronavirus crisis. Lockdowns and mobility restrictions have kept employees grounded, with 96 percent of companies reporting that they have canceled or suspended most or all of their business trips to Latin America, according to a survey conducted last month by the Global Business Travel Association.
But Nearshore businesses have responded to the crisis with “virtual site visit” platforms, or other innovative methods to introduce customers to their locations or delivery centers. Such platforms help companies reach clients despite the pandemic. Here are some examples of newly developed solutions, shared recently with Nearshore Americas.
Located in Belize, Transparent BPO has added a virtual tour led by a chatbot which directs new clients to specific areas of interest such as training and cost savings.
“Site visits are very important because people get to see how agents are handling calls and how well they speak English,” says Jason Sterns, the business development VP at Transparent.
Typically, once they arrive, “there is a 95 percent close rate. They say they can’t believe that what we were saying is true.”
But with few companies allowing their executives to travel, the virtual tour is a good medium-term measure, allowing executives to look at Transparent’s operations.
Everise, a Singapore-based global experience company, has turned to robotics support to navigate the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, BPO provider C3 – a subsidiary of Everise – unveiled a new customer services center in Guatemala City. Chief Marketing Officer Chris Greenough says the company began creating virtual experience center tours in April 2020, in response to mobility restrictions and transition to work-at-home.
“In some of our experience centers, we hand the control over to our partners, who control a robot that is maneuvered around the center,” Greenough says. “Each tour is tailored around specific client demands, ensuring that it answers their concerns.”
Everise has created a large library of immersive content that enables prospective clients to learn more about each of our experience centers and the people who power them.
“So far the response has been great,” Greenough told Nearshore Americas. “Moving forward, we firmly believe that the optimal outsourcing strategy is one that is both globally distributed and blended between work-at-home and brick-and-mortar. We are aiming to maintain 50 percent of our Everisers in a home-based model.”
In March 2020, BPO infrastructure developer and management consultancy firm Nearsol ramped up a new platform which offers virtual reality video walkthrough of plans and 360-degree virtual reality video footage of completed facilities.
Lauren Stebbins, research analyst at Nearsol, says the tour comprises of 14 renders in 4K resolution.
“It showcases the different important areas of the site and the navigation between them,” she says. “We also used tools within the software to add pop-up information in certain areas about the objects in view.”
“This site allows for navigation from a browser or mobile device,” Stebbins explains. “Viewing on a mobile device gives the best experience. You can use ‘pinch’ gestures to zoom in and focus on a specific detail of what is in front of you. We also support using a VR headset such as google cardboard for an even more immersive experience.”
With a few clicks, clients can walk through their new site from the safety of their home. This allows the design team to share ideas via the tour, then move to videoconferencing sessions to quickly gather valuable feedback.
Response, she says, has been “been brilliant. We have had some very positive feedback and its clear to see that the client is much more engaged than when looking at plans and basic renders. We’re very impressed with the capabilities of the tools and the impact they’re having on our business.”
Gabriel Heron, VP marketing for Jampro – Jamaica’s state promotions agency – told Nearshore Amercas:
“We have revamped our strategy around promotions and client support. For North America we are talking about our particular strengths, which are customer service support and financial services. Whereas in the past, we have relied on face-to-face, what we now have to do is leverage the digital platforms, webinars and building networks through these.”
He said Jampro is preparing webinars to inform clients about the safety and security of using BPOs which are offering a combination of work-from-home and on-site services.
So far, Jampro has offered two successful live-stream events: The Recovery and Export Matters. “We have had great success both in attendance and engagement with over 3,000 viewers for Export Matters and just over 2,000 for The Recovery. We anticipate even better performance for a webinar on global digital services in Jamaica based on the strength and proven success of the local industry. Digital communication platforms being used are Zoom, Facebook and YouTube.
“Specifically, we are targeting the US market to explain that services such as finance can be retained on-site while customer service can be done from home,” he said. Heron said Jampro is working with local BPOs to ensure that strict safety and security regulations are followed.