A conversation with Cary Weltken, Vice President of Business Development at One Contact Center.
Cary brings over 20 year of experience in the outsourcing industry and includes contact center, ITO and BPO solutions delivered both domestically and offshore. Cary has built a reputation among his clients for developing and delivering impactful and innovative solutions. To be effective in developing solutions in today’s complex business environment, Cary understands that he needs to stay up on industry trends and challenges. The outsourcing industry has been at the forefront of digital transformation and one must be constantly learning about new technologies and how they can be effective in solving problems. Even with the discussions about technology, Cary says “while technology will change the way a company interacts with customers, a well train agent will always provide the best experience”.
Tell us who is One Contact Center, what value does your company bring to the customer service community?
One Contact Center is a premier mid-size Contact Center Outsourcing company that leverages our 20 years of success in service delivery excellence along with bringing agility and innovation to service our clients. In today’s business enviroment our clients constantly face new challenges and One Contact Center ensures that we are part of the solution by being agile in our ability to quickly develop and deploy changes to meet the new requirements. One Contact Center is a U.S. business with delivery centers in Manila, Philippines. We combine deep process expertise, a quality-centric framework and the ability to attract and retain top talent, which results in a solution that brings service delivery excellence and value to your company.
At One Contact Center we work closely with our clients to gain a deep understanding of their requirements and goals. Then we evaluate the existing processes to create a “process gap assessment”. The value of a process gap assessment is to identify what is working well and what isn’t working. By closing the gap, the One Contact Center solution brings our clients the ability to improve the process and see better results.
What overall vision do leaders have for the future of the contact center?
At One Contact Center our focus is on ensuring that we bring the agility and innovation that our clients demand to meet their rapidly changing requirements for supporting their end users. The agility to quickly identify and deploy process changes and innovative tools are essential to making sure we continue our positon as a valuable partner to our clients.
What are the top ways organizations will improve their customer experiences?
Technology will change the way companies interact with their customers, but nothing will replace a well-trained agent for an excellent customer experience.
Omnichannel support will continue in its evolution to meet the customer where they are. Self-service will get better in providing quick navigation and resolution, seamless communications will allow issue resolution to move between communication channels and phone support will get better with an agent who has all the information they need at their fingertips.
In the era of AI, will organizations still invest heavily in live agents?
Yes. AI is only capable of performing simple tasks (for now) and the public is not going wait while AI tries to figure something complex or appreciate bring transferred to a human as an escalation point. AI will be very much like self-service, it will appeal to some people, but for others they really want to talk out their issues and get to a resolution. The human aspect such as initiative and empathy of live customer service agents will never be replicated by AIs. Technology will change the way companies interact with their customers, but nothing will replace a well-trained agent for an excellent customer experience.
How do organizations really feel about the digital transformation?
It is a blessing and a curse. Digital transformation has become a ubiquitous term for “change that involves technology”. Are you ensuring you are deploying technology to address a business requirement, if no, then why do it? The demands for digital transformation can be seen in every aspect of a business but prioritizing it to provide the greatest impact is proving elusive for many companies. Many times, the change is driven by wanting to maintain a competitive advantage or keeping up with the competition, so other operational areas of the business have to wait their turn for digital transformation.
Which is more important: reducing effort or increasing personalization?
Effort reduction will seem more important on the early stages of process creation. As the process is perfected, personalization will become a priority as customers will choose the process that will save them time while making them feel valued and important.
What are the most important parts of the agent experience?
Learning and growth are the most important agent experience. When the agent feels that every day, they become better at their jobs through skill and knowledge acquisition they feel empowered as part of the team.
How customers really feel about chatbots?
The feedback we are receiving is that customers view chatbots as a lazy way to interact with them and have very little value. They have little confidence that if they engage with the chatbot it will provide the detailed information/resolution they are seeking. Honestly, the campaigns that have tried chatbots have the same feedback: it is not fully developed yet and just creates confusion, wastes time and creates customer dissatisfaction.
Which metrics are organizations prioritizing – and ignoring?
The metrics that are on the top priority are productivity, quality and response time. The ones that are often ignored are the after service effect: the metric that shows whether the service retained the client or not.
How to create a “performance culture” within the contact center?
The first step in creating a performance culture is sharing with the agents the customer’s performance criteria, why that criteria is important to the customer and how it is measured. Show the agents the performance reports for individual and team goals. Explain in detail to the agents how they will be trained on the customer’s requirements and the coaching they will receive to ensure they can meet the goals. The second step in performance culture is created through healthy individual and team competition which rewards top performers, but more importantly the whole team when overall goals are met.
How “omnichannel” and “customer centricity” are impacting performance goals?
Omnichannel has created more opportunities for a company to interact with their customers, which means that each channel has to have adequate support. Supporting all the channels is creating a challenge for contact center to forecast volumes for each channel and ensure it is adequately staffed. This means that there are more categories of performance criteria to perform and be measured against.
Customer centricity has been around for a long time, it was just called other things. There have been many brands over the years that have shown that customer centricity has tremendous value in retaining a customer and increasing lifetime value. Now as more and more companies adopt a customer centric service approach, it means the contact center has to find the right balance between customer touches and keeping costs in line.
How organizations plan to elevate the “agent experience”?
Competition is a fun way to elevate the experience as it provides agents and teams a sense of purpose on a daily basis.
Why businesses are really excited about automation?
Businesses are excited about automation as it provides fast, consistent result devoid of human error. The promises of automation seem too good to be true and there is a reason for that. But the trap is thinking automation can solve more problems than it really can, so a poor deployment can be disastrous. I think we are going to incremental deployments of automation to validate what really works and what doesn’t.
How insights, content and omnichannel systems drive empowerment?
The empowerment comes from having a holistic view of the customers. When we have insights into the customers online and eCommerce behavior, we can meet the customer where they are and engage them in a way that is familiar to them. And this is a very powerful stuff.
Ways authentication and fraud prevention can add value to the customer experience?
The authentication and fraud prevention policies can add value to the customer experience as these make them feel secured when accessing their account, knowing it is protected and can never be hacked nor illegally accessed.
How would you describe your approach to customer experience and why is it important?
At One Contact Center our approach to customer experience is to make sure we understand the end to end customer experience process and know where and how we will engage the customer. Once we understand the entire flow we look at the different customer interaction points and see how they need to be addressed and what the performance criteria will be for that interaction. By understanding the whole process and each individual touch point you can create a seamless experience and the agents will be able to respond wherever they are plugged into the process. This also allows you to create a common goal for the team of agents.
What recent CX milestone in your organization would you say was transformational for your clients?
Emphasis on “anticipate the customer’s concern” is a transformational milestone for One Contact Center’s clients. Completing in-depth analysis on the client’s call data provides great insights and patterns emerge that identify what the customer’s concerns will be based on probability. With this information we can prepare our agents to anticipate the customer’s concern, which increases CSAT ratings and also lowered talk time, which is a net cost savings to our clients.
What is a top benefit that we need to offer to properly execute client campaigns with a positive customer experience?
At One Contact Center our processes are built on a quality centric framework. By focusing on quality at each step of the process, everyone understands the requirements and how important quality is. By setting expectations early, the agents understand what is expected of them and we ensure they feel confident in their ability to meet the performance goals.
How do you best make the case to key stakeholders, and how do you monitor the success of your initiatives?
When addressing stakeholders, it’s always important to understand their roles and what are their specific goals and objectives for the initiative. The solution must provide a comprehensive explanation that address all the areas that will be impacted and how each area will benefit from the solution. When the stakeholders see the totality of the solutions, they will understand the overall value it brings to the business.
Monitoring the success of an initiative means that you must have a good understanding of what the client’s goal was for launching the initiative in the first place. Working with the client you must prioritize what performance metrics are important and how will they be measured. Goals should also be viewed in short and long term importance to fully understand the impact.
What value do you believe CCW Executive Exchange contributes to the customer service community?
Awareness of current business trends and technology are the two greatest contributions of CCW to the service community. Without this knowledge, process and technology advancement will happen in a much slower pace.