At CCW Vegas 2022, the world’s largest contact center event, Bright Pattern presented an informative workshop discussing the future of customer experience technology and how to adapt technology to meet the needs of the new digital age. The workshop featured an esteemed panel of experts, including Othmar Mueller von Blumencron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at VIP Desk, and Jessica Osborn, IT Support Services Operations Manager at Randstad. The workshop also featured insights from the audience about the various topics presented on screen. In this multi-part blog series, we recap the key points from the Bright Pattern workshop.
Topic: What’s Next with Remote Employees and Working from Home
To start off this section, Ted Hunting, SVP of Marketing at Bright Pattern, presented key stats. Here are the key stats that were presented about remote employees and working from home during the presentation.
Remote 3.0 – Post Pandemic
- Mercer: 90% of companies say productivity is same or better
- Utilizing cloud based/omnichannel contact center platform – matching customer communication preferences
- Attracting and retaining best talent wherever and whenever
- Equip agents with the tools they need to be successful and empower them to make decisions
- Explore flexible, hybrid structures allowing team members to work shifts on-site or at home
- Security: PCI / HIPPA certification for remote structure
- Utilizing cost efficiencies to compensate team members at attractive levels
- Creating a strong remote culture with the help of digital engagement tools
- Empathy at core
Ted introduced Othmar to lead the discussion on this topic as his company has been a pioneer in remote work from home for many years, offering exceptional service to luxury and high-end brands using a 100% remote workforce.
Othmar took the stand and lead the discussion:
“We have been doing remote for 20 years now, believe it or not!
I like to think of Remote 1.0 being when we realized it was possible – especially during emergencies and disasters. Remote 2.0 was when we understood that we can hire great people and onboard them around the world, and do it with even higher quality than an “in-office model”. Remote 3.0 refers to the workforce post-COVID and the new standard. We now all need it as part of our CX armor.”
Othmar noted that a recent survey showed that the quality of the work environment is better than on-premise for 90% of companies surveyed, and it is now here to stay versus being a temporary approach. Now with cloud- based technology like Bright Pattern, we can enable it easily with work-from- home capabilities. He noted that he found it beautiful that he can attract and retain great, exceptional talent from anywhere in the world. He can look for a specific person with a special skill set anywhere in the world, and they don’t need to be in a 20 mile radius of a physical location. These exceptional talents can be anywhere, even 3000 miles away. With this model, Othmar is able to recruit better people, similar to software being based on the cloud and as a service model.
Othmar also noted that with remote, it is essential that you give your remote employees the tools and information they need to be successful. Learning, productivity, and information at their fingertips in a single desktop. He added that you need to make sure the software platform has all needed capabilities, like the PCI compliance within Bright Pattern to handle payments and so on so that remote workers handle data securely. From a workplace culture perspective, Othmar noted that being flexible with things like work-from-home Fridays can help retain people. Othmar and other supervisors talk with team members all the time as retention is critical to their business. His operations also need to be more efficient to compensate on the right levels for certain talent. At the end of the day, it’s all about creating a great culture.
Othmar closed his section by saying, “We have focused for 20 years on creating a great company culture at the watercooler, but doing it remotely. Talking with team members all the time helps with retention too. For many call centers, keeping retention under control is important, so for our executive team, culture has always been a top priority.”
“It is very important to keep remote staff fully engaged as we can’t walk around and see how they are feeling. We need to be extra invested in them and spend extra time reaching out to remote workers if we expect them to be invested in the company.”
A Member of the Covered California State Agency commented: They have 800 employees and now 99% of employees work from home permanently. They noted that the right tech is key to being able to do it. They have a concept called “presence equity” where everyone is coached to make people feel they are in the room even if they are virtual – effectively going out of their way to make people feel part of the conversation. They also have days where they encourage people to wear their favorite sports jersey to online meetings and employees love it! Leadership also coaches people who are shy and people who are talkative to either step up or step back in meetings. They also put people through Myers-Briggs type training to improve communication among teammates.
Another audience member commented that they have an annual strategy plan day with agents involved – typically about 30-40% of staff. They did it in a hybrid fashion this year for the first time and made a strong effort to get everyone engaged in a big room along with the virtual people. One of their learnings was that they had more engagement online because of chats and gifs as the online members communicated. From this, they realized that they needed to equip people in the room to also be on Teams during live meetings.
Ted asked how many people are using Teams or planning to along with their contact center software and about 80% of the hands went up. He noted recent research from Forrester that predicts UC and CCaaS are starting to come together, with an example being adding a subject matter expert to a web chat or a contact center call.
The Full Bright Pattern “Future of CX – What’s Next?” Workshop E-book
The full recap of the Bright Pattern “Future of CX – What’s Next” is available for download. Click here to access the full ebook.