Has the pandemic changed the Contact Centre industry forever?
The BGL Group shifted its entire customer service team to a remote working model in just 10 days, an extraordinary feat of agile and innovative thinking. In this podcast, Lisa Steele joins the pod booth to discuss how the team managed to mobilise so quickly, what were the lessons learnt and how they adapted to ever changing customer expectations.
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Guest Speaker - Lisa Steele
Lisa is passionate about customer experience and the differential it is can provide an organisation in this competitive world. She is a senior leader with exceptional experience in customer contact management and business digital transformation, delivering operational excellence within end to end sales and service customer facing operations, balancing channels to optimise company performance.
Embrace remote working. You know, because I think that suits some people it doesn’t suit everybody. But if you’ve got a hybrid where you’ve got some people in the office, some people homeworking and go for more about hybrid model, to me opens up the recruitment market that the sort of people you recruit suddenly gets bigger, because people who might not have considered and travelled into a contact centre and sitting in the contact centre is something for them. If for whatever their situation is, they want to work at home. Now we can tap into that talent pool.
When it was clear office working was no longer tenable how did you go about mobilising a plan for remote working? Who was involved and how were you able to work so quickly?
Did you have the infrastructure to pull this off or did you have to make decisions re technology/systems at pace to make this happen?
Were there significant regulatory factors you needed to consider during this period?
10 days is a staggeringly short amount of time to implement a totally different way of working – what were the key challenges and things that surprised you?
The BGL contact centre has exceptionally high employee engagement – we’d love to know how the team adapted to remote working?
Have you noticed differences in customer behaviour during this period and do you expect these patterns to continue?
Do you think the contact centre industry has changed for good? Do you have a view of what the future will hold for BGL’s contact centre function?
Simon – Welcome to CX Chat with Matt and Simon, the podcast series where we talk about the hottest topics in customer experience, and invite special guests to join the debate. For those who don’t know me, my name is Simon Thorpe. And as ever, I’m joined by Matthew Dyer. And we like to describe ourselves as two chaps with big opinions, but more importantly, bags of passion and enthusiasm for the CX industry. Matty, how the heck are you today? What’s going on in your world?
Matt – I’m good thanks, just enjoying the heat down in London, I’ve migrated down from the north of the country.
Simon – Little bit different to your Aberdeen climate that you’re used to?
Matt – Very much so very much.
Simon – And have you been engrossed in the news about the Microsoft Tik Tok merger, is that something you’ve been keeping following? I can’t imagine you’re a tick tocker are you?
Matt – I used to think I was a bit of a dancer but not anymore, so I’ll probably pass on that. But I do think it’s interesting that Mr. Trump is trying to get in on the m&a and make some money out of it themselves. So yeah, I’ll be watching that very closely.
Simon – It’s gonna be interesting. Now before we get going and cracking on with today’s brilliant episode we, we just want to say a big thank you. So Matt and I were looking at some of the download statistics from the podcast over the last couple of days. And we just wanted to say a big thanks to everyone that is downloading and listening to the podcast because in fact, we’ve got listeners now, in as far as field as Japan and Singapore and Poland and Israel and South Africa, pretty much every continent we’ve got listeners and so we’re thrilled to have you. Welcome if you’re listening in, in those countries around the world and then we’d love to hear where where you are, give us a shout out on social media on LinkedIn with we’d love to get an impression of, of who you are and and where you’re coming from.
Matt – I’m a little bit disappointed there’s no family from Ghana listening in so I will be having a word.
Simon – Get up nudge on there, Matty. Right, should we get on with this week’s topic because I think this is a cracker. And something I think will be on the mind of many of our listeners. In fact, we’ve kind of scratched the surface a little bit. But today, we’re going to be talking about whether we think the pandemic has fundamentally changed the contact centre industry for ever more. And, I mean, look, we’ve talked about this a lot with there’s no question that the last few months have thrown an unprecedented amount of obstacles at the contacts industry industry in the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them. But the big question is, you know, is the industry ever going to be the same again, and we wanted to get someone in to help us talk about this and that actually been living and breathing these many obstacles and this change over the past few months. So I’m thrilled with who’s who’s decided and very kindly agreed to join the podcast, because this lady has actually moved her entire customer service team to a remote working model in just 10 days. And so let’s give her the introduction she rightly deserves and for my money she’s one of the best customer service directors in the business and she’s led enterprise operations for the likes of Seven Trent Water, Tui and she’s now with bgl group the digital insurance distributor behind brands such as Compare the Market, Beagle Street, listen a big warm welcome Lisa Steele, how are you?
Lisa – I’m very well thank you very much. Thank you for that big builder. [Laughs]
Simon – I told you I was gonna try and give you a big build up and so you know, you and I have known each other for a few years now certainly, you know very least I can give you a you know, the introduction that you are duely require so welcome. How you doing?
Lisa – I’m alright thank you. Getting used to this staring at this wall every day. But yeah, I’m good. Thank you.
Matt – I must admit Lisa one of my favourite projects ever was a model office initiative at BGL where I think I got call from Jayne and she said, Matt, we want video chat in the contact centre. How do we go about doing it? So the question to you is, is that something you’re going to bring back?
Lisa – Erm not in the immediate future no, I think it’s in a chat contact centres can drive even a different type of person in the contact centre if you’re bringing video chat into the equation, so it’s not currently on our agenda. And but you never say never.
Matt – Yeah, I think it was an interesting initiative. The best thing about it was when I think some of the agents went to the local art and kind of video school to learn how to actually present there’s a lot of things people don’t think about as part of kind of delivering videos. So yeah, it’s probably not a bad decision.
Lisa – Yeah. Yeah, no, we’re both we’ll stick we’ll stick with voice when we’re interacting and chat for now.
Simon – So Lisa, thank you so much for joining us. I mean, I can imagine that you are one of the busiest people in our industry right now, given the the change that you’ve been going through. And it’s a wonderful story, that it’s entirely I mean, why we wanted to invite you on the podcast because you’ve achieved some fantastic and remarkable things in a very short space of time, as have many others in the industry, I should say. But it felt really current and resonating that, you know, you’ve lived and breathed it. And and you’re seeing this change, day in day out and you’re working in different kind of environments, but just to kind of kick us off. You know, I’d love to hear you know, how did you go about this kind of mobilisation of change? You know, I’m thinking back to when it was very obvious that the world was changing at a rapid pace and office environments were no longer tenable, you know, changes were afoot. We had to look at remote working in whatever environment we’re in. What was your kind of thought process? How did you mobilise? How did you go on and get this, this kind of Agile working, implemented at BGL?
Lisa – So I guess to me, it’s where BGL, you know, comes into its best. And particularly as you know, all customer service people that they’re at that in the heart, they’re their operators. So in some ways, contact centre managers and colleagues behave best and come to the come to their best whether in a crisis situation, and I think if ever there was a case for change, it was the pandemic. So I think we’ve fundamentally got a case for change that was just not questionable and everybody was behind. So you know, when we first set off on the journey, we put everybody together. So it wasn’t just the contact centre. So you we got, you know, HR, IT, IT Ops, and the customer service guys all together, going for the same outcome and driving for the same result which was to get everybody home. I mean, it was a massive change for us because we’ve got no experience at all with any of our reps and our team coaches team managers ever working from home. So I think it was how we did it. We just broke it down into bite sized pieces, and actually, in reality had a lot of people involved in different in different ways. So one of our big challenges was our telephony platform didn’t enable remote working. It wasn’t cloud based. So the IT guys very much focused on getting some new Tech in. But I think one of the ways that it did work is we we got contact centre, managers, senior and middle management very, very heavily involved with planning. And interestingly, it’s the logistics of actually making it happen because the reps from the contact centre or like desktops didn’t even have laptops. So we changed that we changed the telephony platform that put an infrastructure in place that would enable remote working, but then we had to say all the logistics around it, you know, how many laptops could we gather together, and where we haven’t got enough laptops, because, you know, the country sold out of laptops, and it sold out of headset, and it’s funny, all the things that you think you need just suddenly disappeared. And so the guys that you know, so the middle managers, very much went into the logistic planning part of it. Which was, which was, which was a big element. So when we knew we’d only got so many laptops, everybody else, we had to pick up desktops and ship them to people’s homes and, and put them together on people’s ironing boards and dining room tables and kitchen tables and garden tables and even just just everything. So it was a big logistical exercise. And so I think in terms of how did we make it happen so quickly, I think the reality is, we couldn’t have done it without our tech colleagues. Getting the tech infrastructure such that was cloud based, therefore we could access remotely and then the ops guys focused on what they’re very good at doing is just planning logistics and people and, and getting people home. I think just a great great example of, of teamwork that was brought together by an unarguable Case for change, which, you know, we all know, when you make a change, it’s got a really clear case for change. This case was stronger than anything I’ve ever seen. And that just brought everybody together.
Matt – Yes, you’ve made this big change, I guess from a technology perspective. And that kind of needed to happen quite quickly, I guess linked into that. A lot of times people say to the argument that there’s a lot of regulatory factors that stopped agents from working, I guess from homes, especially in the finance sector. How did you kind of circumnavigate some of those areas? And is this something that you think is going to go once the kind of covered period is over?
Lisa – So I guess you have to take a pragmatic approach, and be prepared as an organisation to maybe carry a bit more risk than you did when you’re in the office. So for example, you know, our approach to PCI, we had to have a different solution in place. Because within 10 days, we didn’t have a fully automated you know, PCI based solution, but we had, we could be PCI compliant by carrying a bit more risk and a bit more of a manual and pause and resume type approach to it in the short term, while we we implemented and bought in more rigorous solutions to ensure that we were we were compliant. So we’ve been compliant all the way through, but the risk that we were running is very so at the outset there was more risk. But we then had plans that came alongside us. That meant that that was strengthened as time went on. And better and more rigorous tech and business solutions were bought into play. So I think, you know, to get home as quickly as we did, it was teamwork and being pragmatic and you know.
Matt – Do you think the mindsets changed from a tech and risk perspective based on what you’ve experienced during COVID? Or do you think we’ll go back to where we were previously?
Lisa – I would like to think that we wouldn’t go back to where we were before because I think there’s lots of benefits. And I think, you know, many, many people in the organisation can see those benefits. I mean, who would have thought you could change it to any platform in 10 days, and, you know, that would have been a nine month project. So I think it shows that it can speed up, change delivery, if you take a more in a pragmatic approach to it carry a bit of risk in the short term, as long as it’s clearly understood, clearly articulated as a clear plan to to manage that risk. And so because we take as you would expect, a very strong or clear view to that risk management. So everything that we did was was risk assessed and was captured. So we were really clear any changes in working practices, though it was all all documented. And we’re really clear what the risk associated with that changing work in practice was and whether we were prepared to carry that risk until post pandemic or whether it was a short term carrying the risk and we had other plans for subsequent solutions to come in alongside. So, there was a very clear view of risk. And I would like to think we, we, we will learn from some of the, the pragmatism and but it’s pragmatism balanced with with risk management, I guess. I would like to think we don’t go back to where we were before.
Simon – Lisa it sounds like, it’s quite heartenng actually, because it sounds like it was a real kind of all, all for one mentality a real kind of pulling together of different departments and teams and seniority levels. I mean, it sounds like everyone really, because of the kind of common cause and as you said that this kind of reason for change that was affecting everyone in every walk of life, it sounds like it really galvanised and pull people together. But were there things that stood out that surprised you? That you didn’t expect? I mean, there must have been a tonne of things given you go through that amount of change. But you know, looking back at the things that you you hadn’t expected and maybe good or bad.
Lisa – I guess I guess it’s some of the things that you don’t you don’t initially think about when you first go into a change like that because of the speed we went into it. The that we came across, you know, some of them were, you know, that that galvanised and everybody coming together. I think that just one thing, and I will call as we saw that in the customers as well. Not just internally so Yeah, definitely, you know and what the way customers were interacting with contact centre the way that they were talking to the reps, you know, and then the NPS scores. I mean, we had our highest NPS scores that we’ve ever had as a business during this pandemic. Now that that’s not because we’re doing things dramatically different with just doing what we’ve always done. But but the customers seem to appreciate the fact that we were open. We were still contactable, they, you know, they weren’t having to hold for two and a half hours to do something. I mean, there were some horror stories. Just I think that, you know, one of the things that I didn’t anticipate was the customer’s reaction to what we’ve what we’ve achieved. So I think there was that but then just operationally, I think there was some things that we just didn’t didn’t really realise that, for example, if a rep is in the contact centre and their headset stops working, they just you know, they get up, they take the headset, they walk down to the office, they get a new headset, go back, plug in and carry on. Well, if you’re at home and your headset stops working, you’re not just out of action for, you know, a couple of minutes when you walk down to get a new headset, you’re out of action until we get you into the headset out to you. And it’s those sorts of things because it doesn’t sound you know, big thing. But when those add up, suddenly, you’ve got a proportion of your workforce that you would have in your resource planning. You know, your headcount plans would assumed would be operational, but suddenly they weren’t. So there was a lot of learning that we had to do as we as we went along. We had to learn quite quickly if it will, but we didn’t think about that we need to get a better process and a quicker process to get replacement kit out to people so that we don’t lose them. So I think you know, in terms of surprises, I think customers surprise me more than anybody, my BGL colleagues and the reps at the front line in particular, did they surprised me how well they took to it? No, not at all. Because, you know, like, like many many contact centres the people who work in contact centre just want to deliver good service for customers. So, you know, the reps just gathered that here, they wanted to carry on serving the customers, but also a really infused by the fact that the business really wanted to protect them and look after their welfare by getting them home so quickly, you know, particularly in one of the areas of the country where one of our contact centres is there were quite a number of contact centres that never got everybody, everybody home. So I think our guys really appreciated that and as a result, really just embraced what we were doing. And because we were trying to help them and customers.
Simon – So, just on that point, Lisa, I’m quite keen on knowing this because you and I have spoken before and I’m aware that your team, and you all speak incredibly highly of your team. But you’ve got some staggeringly good employee engagement schools within the the BGL contact centre. I mean, it really is incredibly high. I get the fact that they wanted to, you know, be part of that, you know, keeping the lights on for customers and, and BGL obviously looks after staff very, very well but how, how did that kind of come together because it’s a big shift for people, you know, particularly in contact centres where, you know, you come in, you have your pals, you see your mates there, you know, there’s often quite a, you know, an active you know, social life around contact centres. You know, you’ve got your team manager at the end of your bank that you can ask questions of if you’re getting stuck, you know, going from that to a total remote working where you as you said, you’ve potentially got a computer at the end of your ironing board and you’re trying to balance that with, with potentially kids in the background and all that sort of thing, how have they, how they found it, and how they embraced it?
Lisa – I think it has been challenging for some of them. You know, and we’ve done a number of colleagues surveys during the period just to try and get a dip test of how they’re feeling, you know what’s working, what isn’t working. And as a result, we’ve, again, as an organisation, we’ve tweaked and changed things as we as we’ve gone along. And, you know, but but generally, that they’ve embraced it, but some have found it a lot harder than than others. You know, we’ve we’ve had to become particularly aware of the sort of mental mental well being, mental health and just general colleague well being. So we have given we’ve trained all of our coaches, and given them hints and tips on how to recognise colleagues that might be struggling, that might not want to just come straight out with it, and some mechanisms to help them. And we’ve put more support support in place for colleagues that were in that situation. And when you actually dig underneath it, some of the situations that were making it difficult for them, we could actually help them with. So, you know, taking the scenario we just talked about with, with with colleagues with children running around, and if they were if, you know, we’ve changed shifts for people, we reduce people’s hours, we’ve moved people out of people’s hours to help them embrace it and do what they can. So I think a lot of it is you know, working with them not just being dogmatic saying well, those are your hours you’ve got to work those hours. You know, we’ve worked with them to make it as, as smooth for each and every one of the 1400 colleagues that that working from home. And but we but we do recognise the the well being challenges that have existed for probably more colleagues than would have been in that category Had we been in the office because, you know, the vast majority of people come to work in a contact centre because they like the they like having people around them. And suddenly that disappearing can be quite quite a challenge. You know, so we put some support in place we gave we trained the coaches on recognising colleagues that were that were struggling and we gave them tools and tips and we put support mechanism in place. But we’ve also then tried to do a lot of virtual events and things to replace the a lot of the social aspects That you refer to. So, you know, we’ve done all sorts, right, like many people have, but you know, as BGL in a couple of weeks time, we’ve actually got a virtual festival going on.
Simon – Nice.
Lisa – So we’ve got live music, and we’ve got picnic campus going out, and we’ve got, you know, all sorts. So, you know, we’ve tried to replace it with, you know, with virtual events. And, you know, so we have recognising customer Excellence Awards, which are just twice yearly. And where we recognise within the customer service centres, and those individuals that have gone above and beyond and their submission interview awards come from their colleagues without their Rep. You know, they’re the applications have put in their cases put forward by one of their colleagues and we reward and we used to take the people who’ve been recognised away for a day over to York for the day go racing or whatever. We’ve replaced that now with a virtual get together, it’s not as exciting as the racing because it’s, it’s a glass of champagne with me. But rather than spending the money on that whatever was, you know, we, we give out more vouchers they get they get vouchers that they can go and go and spend and they can tell us where you know which retailer they want the vouchers for or whatever. So we’ve shifted it and they still get the recognition, but in a different way, you know, and individual teams have done different things. And you know, we have, we have, you know, silly hat day where everybody’s wearing a silly hat and we do Zoom calls where they’ve all got silly hats on. So you can, it’s not the same but you you have to put effort into doing something different to retain that engagement because you can’t just leave people to work up to that on their own devices and expect engagement to stay where it is and as you said the arrangement in bgl contact centres is absolutely phenomenonal.
Matt – What do you think about the engagement from customers? I think you touched on it that your NPS had kind of gone through the roof. And during the kind of the crisis we’ve been going through, do you think, coming out of this, that that pattern is going to continue? Or kind of what’s your your thoughts? What are you seeing?
Lisa – Um, my thoughts are it’ll probably start to drop back a little bit, but fleet won’t get back to where it was. But I think we have there was like a bit of a bit of a tidal wave, I think where it went up because customers expectations were being exceeded because we were there and they could better get hold of us. I expect it will drop back and we’ve seen it drop back a little bit, but it’s nowhere near back to where it was as when we went into the pandemic. So I would, I would, I would like to think that we will get some ongoing benefit from that. And we are seeing that in the verbatim comments that we’re getting back.
Matt – I was wondering whether whether now that you’ve got such agility built into the contact centre now as well, if you start to see problems and kind of friction with a customer, the fact that you may be able to adopt a lot quicker now, I wonder if you can manage to protect NPS and CSAT in a different way now using the technologies to support what you’re trying to do.
Lisa – Yeah, I mean, I think I think that that agility, and that that speed of response is that sort of way that the whole way that we’re managing things is far more looking for those things to react rather than waiting till they blow up. So I think that’s definitely one of the the changes in working methods for me and the management team, talking about embracing and retaining because we’ve actually done a bit of an exercise and says, Okay, so what’s changed while we’ve been at home? And which bits of it do we want to continue with afterwards? So we don’t just by default, revert back to where we were, I think that’s really quite important to do that, and I think, see and response is part of it. But to enable you to do that, you’ve got to be looking first. And, you know, for very early indications that something’s changing. You know, we were quite lucky because some of our insight guys, were building new insight and new dashboards when we first went home to help us with that. Because we’ve got some quite clever techie people that do these things for us. And, and, you know, so they built some things for us because one of the things that did surprise me is, Simon and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago, is one of the big things behind contact centre performance is whether you’re going to succeed or not, is the thing that you have to have in place is robust planning, because if you’re planning out your scuppered as a contact centre, if you’ve got good, pretty accurate planning, then you’ve got a fighting chance of delivering in a good service to customers. And clearly going into this situation, all of the historical hypotheses that you have that underpin your your headcount plans have just gone out of the water, you know, because it’s just so that was one of the big things that we had to get through is just like, why is all of this shifting so that one of the first things we found was times of day that customers were calling us massively shifted really quickly. So literally, customer demand in the evening, just disappeared overnight. And that was good and that was fine, because we can then reduce our operating hours. And when we first went home, which meant managers could get to grips with managing remotely without also having to manage a bigger operating window, and you know, but that shifted, and then interestingly, just as quickly it’s swung back the other way. So literally from June the 23rd, when we had changes with like car showrooms opening, that evening performance shifted, and then had a second shift when lockdown was was further released. So and it’s, you know, will we get another shift when furlough completely disappears, quite possibly. But it’s those things we haven’t got any basis on which to do that forecast planning and, and also things that when this car showroom opens again, our change your vehicle calls just as the proportionate of our overall demand, just literally overnight, shifted by 30 odd percent. Now that has quite a big impact in the contact centre, because that’s a big AHT call. So we saw drop off in performance. We’re like, Well, why is that happening? Well, it’s because change of vehicles calls have gone up against and completely different to any previous forecast, because you had all of that pent up demand over the first three months, whenever it was of lockdown where people weren’t changing the vehicles. Suddenly, there was all that catch up, and it just shifted all the profiles. So that’s been it’s that volatility that has really been apparent to us. And as a consequence, when you’ve got that massive volatility in a contact centre, you’ve got to be all over your data, your insights, as you said, Matthew to recognise a problem before it gets too big so that you can then respond really quickly. And I, I think businesses will get a lot of value from that far tighter interrogation of what’s going on. And the ability to quickly move.
Simon – I couldn’t could not agree more Lisa. I mean you know how much of a fan of insight and I am so, yes, it’s not but it’s nice to hear that you’ve already started to build in a culture of evaluation of what it used to be versus what it’s now what are we learning? And what can we take and what you know, what should we be looking backwards on? One thing I was really interested before.
Lisa – No all that’s gonna say I think over this period, the planning teams in all contact centres will have earnt their money because they will have done reforecast on reforecast on reforecast more than they’ve ever done before.
Simon – Yeah, right. Lisa just before we get to, to wrapping up and I’m I could talk to you about this very for all day but as it as a leader has this has this remote working presented new opportunities for you as a leader to do things differently. So I’m thinking you know, as a leader in a contact centre, my experiences you typically spend most of your time going from meeting to meeting to meeting and, and and your time to breathe is very few and far between. And I just wonder what that what that’s like from your experience.
Lisa – So I guess from from from a personal point of view, I guess in the early days when we first went home, I probably had to be more detailed in what’s going on in the operation then I’ll have to be for quite a while. And so we did drag me down into some some detail for all the right reasons, and while we got out there and we stabilised and now I’m getting back to being able to do more of the strategic thinking strategic planning, looking at strategic execution plans, which is, which is where I should be. I think there’s, you know, in terms of delivering more strategic change, we’ve really got to think about how we do that going forward. You know, do we have to have everybody in a room together? I think the answer is probably no. So our ways of doing things I think will will change. We are certainly going to embrace remote working so you know, people will go back to the office and we do have some of our colleagues are going to start to go back from next week and for everyone to go back to everybody been in the contact centre, I doubt it. But I think some of the changes, you know, it’s one of those things. Like many contact centres. We do roster breaks. But actually remote working, we’ve run a pilot to see whether we don’t we don’t roster breaks and we let the colleagues take the break when it works best for them. We’ve actually found that improved efficiency. Isn’t that interesting.
Simon – Well, that is amazing. It’s those nuggets that you would never expect.
Lisa – Yeah I know. Exactly. So that that was just like wow because I’m just like, really we’re gonna let them book their own breaks. It’s like, yeah, let’s give it a go. And we did a pilot and that and they’re productivity, that team’s productivity was higher than everybody else’s.
Matt – I wonder it’s a bit of guilt thinking, I need to really get back onto the core very quickly, rather than when you’re in the contact centre. Maybe you think I can just take a bit easier, it’ll be interesting to know.
Lisa – Yeah, I think we found some of it was because people were working from home You know, many of the people contact centres, you know, they’ve got children, they were homeschooling, they were, you know, caring for, for children when they’re in the office, they’re not. So we were actually finding that they were taking more personal time. Whereas when we said like, hey, just take a break when you need it, if they needed to go and do something in the home, to keep the home running. And yeah, they take their break and then come back. So before they’ve taken personal time on break, but because they’re in control when they could take their break, they would just take in their break. And because they could take it when they wanted it. So it’s, it’s, it’s just a different, a different way to look at it. And I think that when we dig under it, that’s what we actually found. But you know, that will help with engagement as well. Because, you know, our colleagues are in control of when they take their break so they’ll feel good about that. I suppose, those little things that all add up, that to go back towards the engagement scores. And the other thing is, you know, we used to have floor walkers, particularly supporting new new starters. Well, we’ve actually recruited and taken on new starters from we’ve done it all virtually. We’ve recruited virtually we’ve trained them virtually, we’ve done a virtual introduction to their managers and their teams, and now they’re operating virtually, they’ve never even stepped foot into a BGL office. And so they’ve not got a floor Walker walking along behind them so and we’ve not seen any deterioration in quality or service levels that we would expect. So it’s like so do we really need those floor walkers doing that? can we better use those for walkers in a more productive way doing something else? And some questions, some long standing if I call them myths for one of a better word, long standing myths within the contact centre you need to have floor walkers. You have to schedule breaks. Do you? Remote working says you don’t?
Simon – I think that’s a, that’s a brilliant thing to, I mean, just to be able to have the ability to question those things. I mean, we’ve talked endlessly on the podcast about some of these, these, these ideas or ideologies or metrics that get passed from one contact centre to the other and, and the fact that you’ve, you’ve been able to test and learn and challenge some of those things is brilliant. It’s a really great. Hey listen just for us to wrap up. I don’t want to put you on the spot because you probably can’t say what the future is for BGL. But I personally, what I think what I hope for the contact centre industry or the customer experience industry, is that the very least we’ve used COVID to learn that decision making around technology or process or people can be sped up and we can work that much quicker without the kind of bureaucracy and red tape. Is there anything that stands out to you, Lisa, that that would be something that you really hope, the industry kind of embraces from here on in. And something that kind of remains as part of the culture of what contact centres are doing.
Lisa – Yeah, I guess Simon the two things for me one is the speed of response, which you just mentioned with it without doubt, we can we can be a lot more agile than we’ve been previously. And but I guess just fundamentally embracing remote working. You know, because I think you know, that suits some people it doesn’t suit everybody. But if you’ve got if you’ve got a hybrid where you’ve got some people in the office, some people homeworking and go for more about hybrid model, to me opens up the recruitment market that you know that the the sort of people you recruit suddenly gets bigger because people who might not have considered and travelled into a contact centre and sitting in the contact centre is something for them. If for whatever their their situation is, they want to work at home. Now Now we can tap into that talent pool. So I think it will open up talent pools for us. You know, as long as we embrace it, but I I’ll be astounded if contact centres go back to being 100% office based, I just this is broken all of that. But those views and I think there are definite definite benefits I mean, to me this efficiency benefits because an engagement benefits because you you know, all the travel time you know, commuting to work and back, you get that time back with the family. That means a lot to many people and I think this recent situation has made everybody realise how important family is. So, being able to spend more time with them. I think you know, that work life balance is a big benefit. And from the efficiency point of view, it makes split shifts, a lot more achievable for people the remote worker, split shifts, will be a lot for them that will help with the efficiency of contact centres. So I think there’s a lot to think.
Simon – The the one thing that I see universally in every contact centre I’ve ever been to Lisa, parking, not having the perennial parking problem. Wouldn’t that be marvellous? Wouldn’t that be marvellous? Hey, Lisa, thank you so, so much what a brilliant guest you’ve been and as you said, we could talk to you for hours about this. It’s so good to hear from the perspective of someone that who is living and breathing this right this minute so I know that the the audience will have really appreciated it. And thank you for giving us some time to coming on the podcast. I hope you did you enjoy it was this was it cathartic in a sort of way?
Lisa – It was. You know me Simon, I like a good chat.
Simon – It was awesome having you. Thank you so much, Lisa. And Lisa, would you have any issue I mean, we’ll put your your your LinkedIn profile, perhaps on the on social media would you would you mind if people drop you a line through through LinkedIn? If and if they have a burning question we desperately try not to fill up your inbox because I know you’ve got enough to do but I know people do want to reach out on occasion.
Lisa – Yeah, no problem at all.
Simon – Fabulous. Thank you. Matty. This has been an absolute belter this one, isn’t it?
Matt – Yeah, I’ve got a massive respect newfound respect for planners around the world to be honest.
Simon – Yeah. I can’t even begin to think how you would start doing things like that. So anyway, thank you both a brilliant episode. Really, really enjoyed it and to everyone that’s tuning in and listening. Thank you once again, as ever, stay safe. Thanks for listening. And we’ll see you next time. Goodbye.