In Praise of Winners

The trouble with winners is that they keep on winning! So it was no great surprise to learn that NewVoiceMedia had scooped another gong. In fact if you end up beating John Lewis in anything these days, you know you’ve just done an outstanding job!

This time it was for “Best Technology Partnership” at the CCA Excellence Awards 2012.

That’s an important category in my book. In another lifetime I spent a regular amount of time listening to call centre technology stories. Few of them had happy endings. What I tapped into was not a unique find. A quick click through current technology blogs will still report the same rate of failure and wasted investment.

The root cause and solution lies in that word ‘Partnership”.

Even though we live in a world of BYOD (bring your own device) and intranet software that clones Facebook’s appeal, the old divisions between those that think business and those that think technology continues to lurk beneath the surface.

Neither side are to blame. Yet both are accountable when it comes to delivering workable solutions to time and budget. This comes down to clear thinking and sustained listening. On both sides!

One of the nice things about cloud technology is that a whole section of pain is removed from the implementation phase by virtue of the simplicity of provision. That’s not to say there are not some clever integration tactics in play. I’m sure reducing 20 outsourced operations to just four locations over three continents required a bit of creative fiddling with the wiring.

But it’s no longer a juggernaut of a problem getting things to technically function. That means energy and time can go into more of the business focussed side of the ‘partnership’, such as designing new levels of customer experience.

By the way, this matters a great deal to the other brand in this winning partnership namely SHL. A UK headquartered brand who are taking their quality approach to talent management out into the world as fast as they can absorb change, digest acquisitions and grow their reputation for service excellence.

In the context of this project brief, those ambitions translated into a customer service infrastructure capable of flexing to meet growth goals at an affordable level of investment. Being able to flip between on site and at home resourcing models for service levels consistency. Knowing how to match a Swedish speaking customer with the right person. Sending a returning customer to the front of the queue. Or smoothing out the wrinkles in an inbound queue by sharing the load more equitably.

Eight weeks later the job was done. Phones started ringing. Emails pinged back and forth. Customer data was all consolidated into a single instance of Salesforce.com. It worked!

The judges at CCA evidently thought so and awarded it top honours. They concluded their feedback to NewVoiceMedia team with this thought:

“This is a very encouraging case for other businesses and markets on the power of innovation and new technologies”

Must say, I’d be happy as a SHL customer if I could get stuff sorted any time of the day or night during the working week. And only have to remember one phone number or email. Pretty cool!