Q&A: Raising the Contact Centre "Standard"

Shawn Siegel

Jasmin Denault is the VP of Customer Experience at Standard Life, one of Canada’s largest financial services institutions. In this interview, he discusses the importance of employee engagement and how the call centre industry is changing.

Denault will be presenting a case study at the 8th Call Centre Week Canada, April 29-May 2 in Toronto, ON.


Shawn Siegel, Call Center IQ: Has technology fundamentally changed contact centre management in the decade that you’ve been in the industry?

Jasmin Denault, Standard Life: The landscape has dramatically changed in the sense that customer expectations, because of technology, have changed. Multi-channel integration from a management perspective has complicated matters and the type of skill set needed to handle these types of requests (phone, email, twitter, etc.) required better recruiting. Speed of answer expectations of any channel has increased because of the expectation that technology delivers quickness. Moreover, data analytics have become more prevalent in terms of decision making. Lastly, several end user applications have made their way into the midst of larger applications in order to fill in some technological gaps.

Siegel: In your time at Standard Life, can you discuss one or two particularly successful call centre strategies?

Denault: The most important positioning strategy is to understand the needs of your clients and the service you provide. When you have a clear understanding of this, then you can implement the proper contact centre philosophy. A few years ago, we moved from a "call centre" nature to a "contact centre" one, putting emphasis on client needs, relationships and employee engagement. This has proven to be very successful thus far.

Siegel: Can you discuss some successful ways to drive employee engagement besides offering monetary rewards?

Denault: There are two key elements in order be successful: Listening to your team members and making their lives easier. We take these things for granted, but a collaborative approach in terms of involving people, listening to their needs (and client needs) and then providing retroactive feedback is a key element. Making their lives easier means to provide them with the right tools, equipment and support to do their work, and to remove obstacles (failure demands) that impede them from delivering quality service.

Siegel: How does employee engagement ultimately impact the bottom line? Is there a way to quantify this effect?

Denault: This is not an easy task to accomplish, and it depends both on what is measured and appreciated by the corporation. There are two key aspects: one is measuring the satisfaction level of your clients with a NPS-type of measure that you can benchmark. It is proven that retention of clients will solidify the value of the company. The other aspect is reducing turnover. This has a direct impact on the bottom line and on the quality of customer experience provided.

Siegel: Lastly, what are you interested in accomplishing at Call Centre Canada Week?

Denault: I would like to be able to share concrete examples of great approaches and errors made in the contact center industry with my peers. I am expecting to focus more on practical issues, concerns that can directly help colleagues, than having topics that are overly conceptual. Practicality brings more richness to the learning experience.