We have interviewed Iain Banks, Regional Vice President, International Markets at TTEC in EMEA on the company’s changes in their operations and delivery model, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Founded in 1982, TTEC is a global customer experience specialist with 49,500 employees worldwide.
1) Iain, TTEC is a global customer experience and digital services specialist. I learned that you were able to migrate more than 30.000 employees to a safe work@home model. This is an immense task. Can you tell us a few corner stones of this work@home setup?
Yes we were able to deploy 99% of employees across EMEA to secure, work-at-home environments and as you say 31,000 globally within days. Health and safety of our employees and our customers’ employees has been our priority and in addition, we have technically-enabled over 43K of our customers’ employees to be able to work using at-home technology. It has taken a monumental effort from everyone in our organisation, however having the technology and getting it working is only the start of a successful home working solution.
We have had to understand what equipment people need and have access to such as laptops, internet access, secure authentication devices and how these set ups will impact on information security and data protection and the information employees need to control these risks. Our IT teams world-wide are providing help desk support and particularly around securing devices and the information held on those devices.
Last week we announced we are hiring over 3,500 work-from-home agents, team leaders and managers for the UK.
2) I am sure this migration included many challenges for employees and management. Could you please describe the critical aspects and which problems were most challenging for you and the employees?
The challenges aside of the mirgration, the actual real hard work starts from here and there are many challenges in leading a remote team that require a whole new mindset and leadership approach.
With some employees working from home for the first time, this has meant working with them in different ways to stay on task in a new environment. Employee well-being is our highest priority and to keep in constant contact during these times we have launched a wealth of new employee initiatives such as WhatsApp coffee mornings, virtual gym classes taken by our own employees with yoga and keep fit skills, daily VC calls and regular communication updates, including video messages from the company’s leadership team. Humanity is winning in the fight against COVID-19 as we see the incredible effort our employees make on social initiatives such as TikTok and #TTECstrong and in reaching out to fellow employees and our customers to help support them at these difficult times. I could not be prouder of them than I am today. Here is a short video to see what we are doing; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKjR6E2c4yk
3) Data protection and IT-security are very important not only for clients but also for you as operator. I would be very interested on how you managed to provide technically secure environments.
Information security is the number one concern when it comes to the at-home model. Often, fear of data breaches prevents companies from implementing home-based associates. TTEC takes data security very seriously, whether our agents work at home or in our brick-and-mortar sites. We have been operating an at-home environment for different industries for years and can rapidly stand up PCI, HIPAA, HITRUST and GDPR complaint at-home solutions. Our on-going investment in best practices, into training, and vulnerability testing positions our clients for success when they use our at-home platform.
4) You are working with many different clients. What were their feedbacks, concerns and requirement and what other implications this migration included.
A global contact centre leader from a Fortune 100 healthcare company recently said: “It is not often in IT that we are able to directly influence and protect people’s lives. Each at-home workstation represents a person whose life is safer and who is able to have continuing income during this crisis because of the work we did. Thank you for helping us to protect and serve our people and enabling us to serve our patients.”
5) In times where it becomes increasingly difficult to hire the right talent at the right time and location, do you think the work@home model will become more than “just” a solution for an imminent crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic?
I believe many of the technologies deployed by businesses during the crisis will become the “new norm”. The sudden switch to remote digital work, overnight and en masse, is accelerating changes in how work is performed and the way we think about working arrangements. Organisations are reinventing their business models to seamlessly and continuously engage with their customers on the digital channels necessary for survival. Huge amounts of work will become automated and transformed by technology.
The good news for customers is there will be greater engagement from brands, such as embedding messaging buttons (Messenger, or Apple Business Chat) in web pages that will allow brands to continue the conversation beyond the website.
We will see brands exploring how to reduce costs without reducing customer satisfaction and messaging and livechat will be a big part of that.
Brands are also going to have to deal with a much greater volume of interactions and this is where we will see an increase in AI and chat bots that will stay post COVID-19.
All of this presents a huge opportunity for the tech industry to revolutionise industries, already in the healthcare sector we have seen Apple and Google join forces to use their digital expertise and to create contact tracing technology to enable the use of Bluetooth to help governments and health authorities track the spread of the virus.
We at TTEC are working closely with our partners, LivePerson, Pega and Cisco to be able to provide the innovative end to end customer solutions being demanded. We will see many more alliances and partnerships form as more technology companies come together.
We have seen businesses survive and now there is a need for them to thrive. Those brands that look after their customers and think creatively about the customer experience during this time will be the winners.
Thank you Iain, for sharing these insights with our readers.
Iain Banks, Regional VP International Markets, TTEC is responsible for developing TTEC’s full International go-to-market business plan for sales, marketing and solutions. Iain is an experienced, senior-level business development professional with a career spanning more than 18 years in the Global BPO/Contact Centre/work-from-home environment, with a proven track record in delivering business results including new logo sales, organic account growth and strong operational relationships. Iain has previously held senior positions in the contact centre industry at companies including Sitel, Sykes and Kura (CS) Ltd.
Picture: Luke Peters via unsplash.com https://unsplash.com/photos/B6JINerWMz0