Updates from across the region
Technology Profile - Paula Kennedy Garcia
Paula Kennedy Garcia, Vice President at Concentrix, shares how innovative solutions from Cloud to Crowd is helping clients rethink customer support and business strategies beyond the Covid-19 crisis, with Concentrix XP and Solv™.
Describe the last few weeks and the challenges you have faced:
It’s fair to say the last weeks have served as an awakening for many about the fragility of our modern-day ecosystem and how heavily impacting change can be at both organisational and financial levels of business, when we are not prepared for it. As a global leader in our industry, Concentrix’ footprint spans almost every continent in the world, so we have been engaged proactively on business continuity for our clients and staff since the early part of the year, through the current cycle of world-wide lockdowns, as the Covid-19 crisis has intensified. With almost ¼ million employees globally, our first priority is always the safety of our people and their families and how we can contribute to minimising the impact of the crisis on the businesses of our clients and their customers. Of the greatest challenges faced by the industry to react to the crisis, client and supplier side, speed and security to resume service outside of the contact centre have been front and centre. Millions of customer interactions missed every second, legacy systems and networks exposed for resiliency and security, and hundreds of thousands of staff to be redeployed to a physical and technical safe environment.
More than 100,000 Concentrix’ customer supporting staff were transitioned seamlessly from office to home within days. We were able to do that as a result of experience and investment in innovative solutions well ahead of the curve. Concentrix is already seasoned in Work At Home (WAH) operations for many years, so we benefited greatly from proven operating processes and secure technology that was designed for remote delivery, meaning service and engagement for staff and clients had minimal interruption and was quick to stabilise. Our Gig solution, Solv™, has been pioneering in the BPO industry for the last 12 months, offering fully flexible remote crowdsourced support at 50% lower cost than traditional models. ‘Solvers’ earn on-demand with freedom to resolve customer queries from their personal phone or tablet, any time of day or night. We have seen a huge spike in demand to join the platform as more and more people are sadly impacted by furlough or loss of jobs, but this reinforces the power of crowd for brands and create an immediate opportunity for a fresh approach for customer support that can literally grow in a few days. Scalable remote solutions, combined with Concentrix XP Experience platform, has meant our clients have been able to resume quality support in the most cost-effective means possible via a blend of automation and human support.
How has the local workforce been affected in Northern Ireland?
Northern Ireland has had to react swiftly to the same challenges as other countries, across all sectors. As a major employer in the region over 2000 jobs, continuity of service and jobs was a top priority but, with our local NI leadership fully engaged in our global action planning, Concentrix was able to act fast for our staff and our clients. Within 1 week of the lockdown announcement in NI, we transitioned 1950 staff members from our four NI based centres to work-at-home – we provided all desktop equipment and secure connectivity and supported technical set up and upskill training and structured engagement processes with all staff and management. This has meant a full transition of all clients’ business, unadjusted, across tech and customer support, social media and sales and, akin to what we already knew and see in WAH operating models, we see significant uplifts in performance and productivity. This is only possible when the foundation for remote work is seasoned and stable, and staff engagement and management is adjusted to reflect remote working.
What do you see for the future of the industry?
Looking ahead to the recovery period, investment in automation and innovation will be key to new commercial balance and reduced risk for any repeat incidents that might reoccur in the future. Digital transformation, where not yet executed or has failed to delivery optimally, will need help to fast track via partnerships that are agile and cost effective as we re-assess how the current crisis is shifting customer needs and expectations. A well-defined human/automation strategy with a partner who can enable solutions quickly will be required for anyone with lagged transformation to make up lost ground. Alongside work-at-home solutions, emerging trends that will transform customer support and enable more effective distributed workforces include Conversational AI, Messaging, BOT virtual assistants and Gig. All of these sit within ConcentrixXP and has meant we are already well advanced with conversations and plans on how best to deploy intelligent automaton / human support solutions with many leading organisations. Indeed, industry analysts already predict that organisations that have invested heavily in work-from-home infrastructure and technology platforms to future-proof their businesses will not just weather the Covid-19 storm, but will have the expertise and capabilities not just to shift a bunch of bodies around but also to re-design and implement the new optimized digital CX model.