Oscar Giraldo introduces us to Playvox, before discussing the importance of agent experience and giving his take on the future of the contact centre industry.
Tell us about your history with the company
I started my career as a software developer and that role led me to visit a contact centre in Chile nine years ago.
When I walked in the contact centre, I was immediately surprised by the energy of the contact centre and I started talking to the manager about the challenges of managing such a large number of people.
He told me that motivation was his greatest problem, as that led to high turnover – meaning that this contact centre was constantly recruiting and onboarding.
The initial idea of Playvox… was to automatically recognize when agents showcase a good behaviour and then add to gamification techniques and give agents scores to motivate people…
This led to the initial idea of Playvox, which was to automatically recognize when agents showcase a good behaviour and then add to gamification techniques and give agents scores to motivate people with gaming dynamics.
Nine years later we’ve added lots of features to create a technology that is ideal for evaluating, improving and inspiring agent performance.
What do you attribute your success to?
We listen to our customers, but not just the managers. We go and talk to agents, listen to their feedback and ask them:
- What have you been struggling with?
- What are your main motivators at work?
- How can we make your experience better?
This is a theme of our work at Playvox. When I started, I interviewed over 100 agents to create a solution that not only had everything managers and analysts wanted but was also easy for agents to use.
Listening to your customers is the key for any successful company and that’s something that we try hard to focus on.
How has the contact centre industry changed since you founded Playvox?
In the past nine years, what has changed dramatically is the expectations of consumers. Everything is much more accessible and customers now expect things instantaneously.
Customers expect faster responses, more channel choice and really knowledgeable agents.
For contact centres, this means that customers expect faster responses, more channel choice and really knowledgeable agents.
Some of this contact centres have been able to address, but what hasn’t changed a lot is they way that people manage, motivate and engage agents – which is something that we are actively looking to change at Playvox.
Many companies invest a lot of money in cloud technology, omnichannel and automation – all of which are important – but they don’t put the same level of investment into their agents.
So, while the last nine years has all been about the growth in customer experience, I hope and I believe that we are now moving into a time of focusing on the agent experience as well.
What do you predict will be the biggest change that will happen in the industry in the next five years?
Automation will continue to be a big trend and we will see more and more of a convergence between humans and bots.
I don’t believe that artificial intelligence (AI) is going to take all of the jobs from humans. Instead, these bots will be designed to make our lives in the contact centre easier.
This will be important because automation and self-service are going to take up more and more of those simple, transactional queries – which agents can use to take a breather.
Instead, agents will take tough call after tough call, so it will become even more important to focus on supporting agents and finding ways to use AI to empower contact centre teams.
What do your customers tell you are their greatest challenges?
99% of our customers were running their contact centres on spreadsheets before moving to Playvox. Efficiently tracking agent performance was therefore a huge problem.
With spreadsheets, contact centres are only collecting static data. They are time consuming and it becomes very tricky to manage change.
With spreadsheets, contact centres are only collecting static data. They are time consuming and it becomes very tricky to manage change. All of this makes processes like quality assurance (QA) much more difficult than they need to be.
Spreadsheets are not designed to drive good customer experience and they are not efficient. Ideally, QA analysts want technology to centralize and automate the entire quality process for them – so they can focus on coaching and working with agents to help them improve.
What product developments will your company be making over the next five years?
Our vision is to have Playvox in every single contact centre in the world. To achieve this, we want to play a key part in every stage of the employee journey.
We want contact centres to be using our technology to train and onboard agents, manage their performance, evaluate quality, get feedback from customers and present that to advisors, as well as using Playvox as a continuous motivation tool.
We will be making investments to make sure that Playvox is the only tool you need to run your contact centre operation.
Contact centres are today using four or five different vendors to get to this point and accomplish what Playvox can do in one place.
So, over the next five years we will be making investments to make sure that Playvox is the only tool you need to run your contact centre operation – with workforce management (WFM) capabilities, e-learning and automation.
What is the most gratifying part of your job?
I always feel a great sense of achievement when I listen to the feedback from the contact centres that we work with – especially when it is the agents that are saying really positive things.
It’s also great to hear supervisors and quality analysts say that they have more time now to help agents develop and improve. When we hear things like that, it makes us feel really good. I’m proud because it shows that we are doing the right things.
The next step is to think about how we can multiply that positive impact that is being experienced by the thousands of agents that are currently using Playvox, and translate that into millions of happy, engaged agents.
What is your proudest achievement at your company?
Building a company that is based on values and making sure that we can attract the right people, who are invested in the same values that we believe in, is something that I’m very proud of.
We started with a vision and we aim to make everybody who works with us not only happy but engaged with this vision too.
Creating a work environment around this, which our people love and enjoy, is something that I’m very proud of, motivates me a lot and it’s also something that I’m very grateful for.
What has been the best company / contact centre that you have recently visited?
Again, we come back to the values of a company. Those that I really admire always put people first – i.e. their customers and employees – and consider how every decision they make impacts their people.
A fintech company that we work with does this very well. It’s a challenger bank that is much more innovative than some of the traditional banks, focusing on the customer and creating great user experiences – especially through their app.
It just comes down to having a set of values and applying those values culturally…
They don’t take the approach of having physical banks and facilities, they concentrate on providing great experiences across the channels that their customers want to interact with.
It just comes down to having a set of values and applying those values culturally, so the customer experiences that you create are all “on-brand”.
If there was one piece of advice that you could offer our readers what would it be?
My message would be to apply the same level of effort that you are putting into your customer experience into creating agent experiences.
If you apply some of the same concepts that you are using for your customers to your agents as well, that will likely have a multiply effect on the bottom line of your business.
There is great value in providing your agents with the tools that they need and rethinking how you develop, motivate and inspire your contact centre team.
For more insights into improving agent experience, which was a key theme of this article, take a look at the following stories: