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BPO 2.0

Podcast #10: The Upgraded Contact Center

Jon Lunitz interviews ibex's Technology Leaders Jim Ferrato & Chad Rycenga on The Future of CX and The Contact Center

The Best Bits

On today's podcast, Jon talks with the leaders of ibex's CX & Contact Center technology innovation - Jim Ferrato, CIO, and Chad Rycenga, Executive Vice President of Product. If you didn't get a chance to listen to the full interview, below are the best bits, selected just for you.

  • Jon Lunitz: Over the last few weeks, we have been discussing the impact of technology – how it is both accelerating and augmenting the customer experience, as well as creating digitally enabled marketplaces. Accelerating the shift comes down to ensuring the digital platforms and solutions that are implemented support and enable a successful customer journey. While the shape of that journey varies dramatically depending on a brand’s goals and culture, creating a standout digital experience depends on meeting four key criteria - hyper-personalization, brand augmentation, interconnectivity and immediacy.
  • Jon: Tools and services should span the entire customer lifecycle, ranging from acquisition to engagement to managing and measuring the customer experience. Furthermore, these tools and services must exist across multiple channels including voice, chat, email and social media. Finally, they should provide productivity gains and drive customer insights.
  • Chad Rycenga: Within ibex specifically, my charge in life is to be responsible for the book ends of the business – we have a digital part of our business, which handles a lot of the acquisition, online acquisition on behalf of a lot of big brands, and then on the other side of the coin, it’s the customer experience software.
  • Chad: We provide those analytics – either we strip them out of the verbatim responses or the actual survey responses themselves and providing insights and analytics into how well or poorly that experience went for customers. We have cascaded that throughout our business to try to improve every interaction we have.
  • Jim Ferrato: It’s been a lot fun over these last 4 years as Chad and I have helped take, kind of a traditional BPO that was very focused on large blue chips, typically in the Telcom space and evolved it into what we’re calling BPO 2. Really a new approach to how we acquire, engage and then measure the entire customer journey. My side of the fence – a very, very large part of that customer journey is driven by the agent experience. How do you support the agent? So, as we get through and start talking a bit more about specific technologies, talk about you know – let’s put it this way. All the easy stuff has been automated. Now it’s the agents that get the hard stuff, so what do you do to create that brand connection or what kind of tools do you supply the agents?
  • Jim: What should the optimal customer experience be? What’s the mix of automation? What’s the mix of voice and personalization? So, if you look at the new economy side of things, it’s actually a lot of fun where you say, “Okay, we’ve got this tool set of technology – we’ve got Box, we’ve got AI-enabled chatbots, we’ve got some great databases and knowledge bases, so what do you want your customer experience to be?” And that’s where we could take them into the 'test kitchen' and start to really visualize the end-to-end, the customer journey and add the appropriate tools.
  • Chad: We have a lot of different technology that supports our existing client base and those kind of get plugged in along the way based upon the needs of the customer.
  • Chad: We don’t approach it with a ‘one size fits all’. We bring it into the kitchen and if all they need is a sprinkle of salt, well that’s what we’re going to go ahead and do. But if they’re looking for the full on, 5-course meal, we have the ability to supply that as well. The kitchen really provides us with the ability to access the needs of the client, big or small, and put the right technology in play to help really accelerate the growth. On the digital side specifically, it’s really in terms of just what Jim said – it’s in the acquisition space. So, what we have at our disposal through the technology is the ability for them to get into alternative channels that they wouldn’t necessarily either identify or it may take them far too long to get there.
  • Chad: That to me, is one of the benefits of the ‘test kitchen’ – is the ability to really kind of solve based upon the needs.
  • Jim: We’ve got a number of platforms - everything from customer agent, AI-based matching to some really good speech analytics technology that we’re able to sprinkle into that customer journey and add to our CX tools for a really interesting view of the customer.
  • Jim: Then you look at what goes on in the agent desktop and you know, agents because what they have access to, there’s always the opportunity for maybe perhaps, misuse of the tools and so what we do is we record 100% of the calls and the screens so we can tell you at any given point if an agent is doing what they’re supposed to do.
  • Jim: We have a full-time computer security team and will alert in real-time if things like a credit card number, a social security number are entered into someplace they shouldn’t be. So that within the four walls of our facilities allows us to provide a really high level of security. Now you take that outside and with the move – very, very rapid move to work from home, we’ve had to develop a very secure desktop just like it would behave at the call center.
  • Chad: Our ability to leverage that data and that information and derive some analytics to provide those insights to our clients, to help them run their business better, is a big part of what we do. Both of course in the customer engagement, but also in the customer acquisition and in the full blown CX suite of products that we have.
  • Chad: This is hyper-personalization, which is if we already know something about the customer based upon information we’re getting from other customers’ CRMs and some of the blue chip stuff, if they were attached to their systems and we were able to go ahead and create better outcomes based upon previous calling patterns. Those are the things we use to our advantage to empower our agents to create better outcomes.
  • Chad: The second you’re putting into search terms on the Google side - we’re really trying to leverage that from a retargeting, from a remarketing perspective to really attempt to fulfill a need. To scratch an itch, if you will. And in the customer acquisition space, it’s those – it’s that use of that data that really helps create an outcome that matches the goal set of the clients we represent and we’re really doggone good at it!
  • Chad: The ability for us to go ahead and mitigate the risk of somebody being a flight risk as an existing subscriber is exactly the business we’re in. We need to create positive outcomes, we need to retain loyal customers, and increase that ‘LTV’, which is the ‘Lifetime Value’ that’s incredibly critical to our entire business thesis and that’s kind of where we use this information within the products we cultivate, within the interactions we have and the success we’re enjoying here.
  • Jim: One of the things that my team does from a data management perspective is really supply the raw materials for our business analytics teams to go in and do the complexity analysis of the entire engagement.
  • Chad: I can take one verbatim, three paragraph review and synthesize that into three different categories of sentiment. And it’s that sort of technology that we built over the last decade that really serves a variety of different use cases.
  • Jim: The more you understand about the customer, the client, the better you are able to tailor the next step in the customer journey.
  • Jon: Some themes I picked up were the technology that you are implementing and designing is really focused on the user experience seems to be very scalable, figureable, reliable, and with a huge focus on data security compliance.


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