Contact Center Predictions for 2021 w/ Leslie O'Flahavan, Dan Miller, and Neal Topf

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Contact centers have faced a tumultuous 2020 similar to most industries.

This begs the question, “Is 2021 going to be any better?”

Lucky for us, I caught up Leslie O'Flahavan, Principal of E-WRITE, Neal Topf, President of Callzilla, and Dan Miller, Founder and Lead Analyst of Opus Research, to create an expert panel on what contact center predictions there are for 2021.

We talked about:

  • What is going to change within the CX space between 2020 and 2021?
  • How can companies keep employees motivated?
  • What skills are essential in a remote contact center world?
  • What tools will appear in 2021 that will help collaboration and engagement grow?

For the entire interview, you can listen to Conversations That Matter on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more!

Gonto tell you that's not the solutionfor us: WE'RE NOT INBESTING in real estate whe'e, not inresting in Brickanworter that Er, I think really one of the worst investments that someone inmy particular position could make. Why invest in this amount of space that youcan only use half a bit for because of social dising, I don't think socialdistancing is going away for a while, not until we're far out of the woods ofwhat's going on right now. Welcome to the conversations thatmatter, podcast from uniform the podcast that dies into realconversations and that are happening in contact centurs around the world. Your youl experience, fiding interviewswith well known, opleaders or compelling stories from industry,actferts, Gan, fresh anfect on context in our best practices in more so Grabigeverage and tune in CAS. We get real with conversations that matter. Welcome everyone to uniforms. Linkedincompany page, my name is radick SAR and I'm the host of today's conversationthat matters- and we are talking about two thousand, an twenty one contextinter predictions. So we've compiled some great guests for you and let'sbring them on to the show. Here we go hello, everyone, my fabulouscenstational guest. We have three amazing panalists that are going toshare their views on what the contect center is going to be like. So, let'sintroduce everyone so lesle, Oh Flavin, from e Wright, Leslie Welcome Hey. Howare you doing Randy hows it belling doing great today SA Beautiful Day, andwe are excited to talk so, let's get into who you are and what expertise doyou bring to this conversation? Well, hi, I'm Leslie, oflehaven of e Wright,my company's business is to help people learn to write well at work and wefocus on helping frontline customer service agents, write, better email,chat, social media text and whatever else is coming down the way. So I'mcoming here today, full of predictions about the day today work life, afrontline customer service agents. That's my little slice of thisconversation. AWESOME AWESOME! Well, thanks for for joining US right, Neil!Let's start with you tell people who calls Ila is and what expertise do youbring to this conversation? Thank you. An it really appreciate you having meon and thank you to you know for for llow me to participate beon this Panol,some really smart people. So I am the president cofonder Callzilla. We are anoutsource contact center, also known as po or business process. Outsourcerwe've been in business fifteen years. We combine all the latest and greatestin terms of technology, and we prove that in outsourcing relationships youcan achieve multiple things. You can achieve performance, high qualitycustomer resolution, healthfuly call savings, we check all the boxes and theligdy the the full Lapp around the basis and come out ofhead. I have aside Hustle, which I started at the beginning of Covid, with a woco hostingcook, rator Al Cathral, Yeh host a customer experience, podcast calledfireside chats without the fighters and a a lot of fun. Doing that and I getyeah. I seen a few ESOYEAH Wev fad a lot of fun, get to talk to a lot ofreally great thought: Leaders, authorors practitioners about thetopics of the day, lots of different topics. I learn a lot. We get to ask alot of questions. I get to be the loud one on the podcast I tay that Woll, Ithink fairly well I'll, be lit me a little a the lad on on this one. Today,just slightly- and I did some of you know before I hi some figure wangingand promised to do a little bit of fhinge wagging today, but it's it's allin good, fun and and hopefully see Yo opresent some interesting ideas andchallenging ideas. Definitely No. I appreciate that, and last but not least,Dan coming in from New York, tell us a little bit about yourself and opisresearch and what experties you bring to this conversation sure so I'mgointing Biller, I'm the lead analyst an actually the founder about ThiResearch, which I coundo back, one thousand nine hundred and eighty six tolook at. We didn't call it this back then, but forever. Now we've beencalling at conversational technologies or conversational service, automationand that sort of stuff, because back then contact centers were like thefirst place where phone lines and computers were in the same placeconnected to networks, and we saw some of the big leading o technologist. So Ithink, although I was an English and...

...history major and think I write reallywell Ani Forto. You know this conversation going on I'm kind of theresident nerd here, and so here we go here. We go all right. Well, thank youfor being the resinent nerd. I am the chief Gadget Officer in my house aswell, so I usually get the phone call whenever something's not working. So,let's kind of move on from that to start off. You know we'll get to thepredictions and kind of the you know: What's happened in two thousand andtwenty, but to have a little fun. Let's just do a little rapid fire, and youknow this is short, quick answers and I think what we'll do is start off with areally simple one for two thousand and twenty and what has been your favoritetakeout in two tosand Y twenyears. All of us are working at home. Maybe you've gone outside for dinnerand being safe and healthy, but what's been your favorite takeout in twothousand and twenty, your Iscuss Ie goto go with ig roles. Chinese is, you know, go to and classicand IGG Rolls Are Finger Food and you know you now check a box on yoursmartphone Eyeryougo yeah. I mean the Jordash a just happened, so I mean o good job. Were there obus o quite abit this year I'll go with myself. My favorite takeout has been from arestaurant called Lo Taltis crill and they have an amazing, fresh rotitrychicken, with some corn bread crutans to go with it and some dates on it. Iwas like. I never fell in love with the salad, but that's a Sall that Shelo Owas so that's me, neil go for it man. The best takeout is the latest Tingiliterally just before I jumped on the call I had this and what was ine. Whowas a ball? Motso ball soup locaus in a Lotcaus. You know you sound like tloctes, todight dit. I mean what better way to wait right time. They did takeOt. They did take out Los. Oh Yeah, you don't Takeecaus! You Make Hem your SolEse days. I goyeah it was the Gelly donuts that we did score Bot thattatlpancakes at home. All Right Leslie from Your Perspective,tells your favorite to Co. Keepin it real and my favorite is always pizzaand ill eat, good pizza or bad pizza. As long as there's cold beer in a canto go with it and when I don't have to make dinner or clean it up, that's myfavorite takeup, awesome, Chicago or New York Pizza. Well, I'm a Chicago andby birth, but I live in Maryland, which is kind of a pizza wasteland. So I atthe least Yucky Pizzha I can order. But if I were back in Chicago where I grewup well, of course it would be Chicago Pizza, don't know what that thin stuffin New Yorks Ollabout! Oh, oh, that's should be good for some goodcommentrary right. So for those of you that are joining us thanks everyone forthat quick little rapid fire. It's all is fun. So if everyone ais joining us,let's know where you're from comman below lesson where you're tuning infrom. If you have a favorite takeout o to tosand an twenty. That's great andwell start getting right into the conversation, hello, all hello, Lincon,user, hello, all and then we have also Josh Howlesley great to see you guysawesome. Thank you josh for turning in so great to see. Atal Y, a bood Guy,good, GD, awesome all right. So the first question of the day is around theCX priorities that contect centers have had to juggle and en maybe adapt in twothousand and twenty. You know before we get to the predictions. You know whatis actually you think going to change between. What's happened in twothousand and twenty and what's going to happen in two thousand and twenty one,let's start with Neil start with you, fervic, okay, Sayd. Here's where thefinger wanging comes in. I think, if I were to predict that most people in theaudience most people in linked in most people in our community. Perhaps theother esteem collegues on the panel here- would talk about some really hotbutton. Important nations wane to talk about employe experience, we're goingto talk about automation, we're going to talk about engagement, we're goingto talk about Seaset, we're going to cover up like the things that I thinkin our community that are so important and critical that we all know aboutalready. But I'm going to go off the board on this one, a little bit and Hes,I again the finger ren here. It comes for those of us that, like a verysimple easy take away here, it is it's not like a letter K and there's also anumber one b. Here it is okay. The K is...

...for customer. The number one B is onebillion and the reason I mentione these things is for those of us that are inthe customer care were whether you're a brand you're an outsourced contactcenter, your technology provider, what's going to happen, is as a resultof the recent news that facebook is acquiring customer, a context onplatform tart to o one billion dollars and assuming that acqosition goesthrough, that is going to revolutionize our industry, even more so than what'sgoing on today. Those of us that don't know what that means better startfinding out what it means, and that means it in my pin, it's going to spurmassive consolidation at every level among technology providers among thbosthose tools that facebook is acquiring through this platform ar going tomassively push automation, also Comingi on as Bots, and it's going tosignificantly change our industry and with those of us that don't understandit. Nou just start to understand what that means. We should be not scared ofit, but scared, because we need to energize and get our hands around whatthe next steps are. What is it that customers are going to want and need,as a result of this and what's going to happen in our litany and portfolio ofbusiness partners and menders from technology and from Livateon thewerejust closed with this? I am for the live agent world. My business processoutsourcing company calls a loop. This fundamentally live agents. Those of usthat are in the live agent. Business Need to get our act together andintroduce automation, not because someone's telling us to, but whenfacebook clops down one billion dollars, they're not investing in live agens,they're, investing in tools for automation. That's not because I wantit, but I think that's what's going to happen. We Wane to have to swim up thatstream for better for worse any comments from Leslie or Dan on that oneo be gain so that that is the high hard one. NotThe softball I'll push back a little bit because I would say yes, thecustomer acquisition is going to get people starting to think about what youdo and for those who aren't really familiar with customers court business.I really is aggregating personal data about individuals and then puttingtools in front of it to the point you know, to help agents become moreproductive, theoretically to do better customer care and that sort of thing,but I was going to say, as you look forward, you know the major predictioncoming in two thousand and twenty one has to do with what we callconversational service automation with what amounts to in this doing betterlistening and if you're, going to put in the context of the customeracquisition. Better listening might just mean better. You know sort ofcapture and aggregation of you know, data about the individuals that areyour customers or prespects that look at what's happening to Duckerburg rightnow, they're just about to sort of break up the company and there's justconcern about you know all of the personal data that they're aggregating,to which my point is better listening really does mean doing more capture ofthe conversations that originate from an individual, and that could be youragent or that could be your customer, but doing a better job of using theautomation tools that are out there to understand their intent predict theirintent and do a better job of serving them. So so that's a that that'. Yes,an efficiency play. It's an automation to augment your agents, augment peopleas opposed to hey. This could be affect your business. Hopefully it reframeshow how we look at. You know how important what we say and do, includingfingerwagon, because they're going to catc your gesture on these videos and Toly, I didn't think everybody am inlove. I promised this for them. Lesslie from your perspective. You knowyou work with ther frontline customer...

...service agents, quite a bit how youseen their priorities, change over the past say twelve months. Well, I have myprediction to offer, but to comment very very briefly on neals commentsabout customer and then dance comments at customer is yet another tool. That'ssupposed to help agents do better work to augment their abilities to do betterwork. For me, my perspective, Ot, the last nine months has been a thinning ofthe middle companies that were doing an average Okaish job at customerexperience and at customer service and who were enabling their frontlindcustomer service agents to do an average and Okaish job they've kind ofdisappeared. In my opinion, everybody in my opinion, this emergency of thelast nine years everybody's been pushed to the outer edges of the bell curved.So some companies are doing great and is an itinerance in deliveringexcellent, flexible, AI, supported or human agent, only supported customercare and is an itinerant person as a consultant who comes and goes a lot ofplaces. I see quickly whether things are working. Wile things are workingpoorly and when I hear about a gigantic purchase of software, I always wonderis the employee. Experience is the setup for the human people to do thejob either as humans alone or humans, interacting with Ai, is 't acceptable?Is it adequate and in these day and age, when the companies that are strugglingtheyare way down at the bottom, the farind and the companies that aresucceeding our way up at the high end here, and I don't see how the softwarereally helps very much in the middle? Very true I mean, I think it's itstillget to be see how it plays out in to thousand and twenty one. But it'sdefinitely consolidation, I think, is what we're what we're seeing allrightLeslie I mean Wou just talked about employee experience. I think that isbeen a key topic of contact centers in two thousand and twenty other ones goneworking from home and we're not talking about the work from hole phenomenonbecause that's been done Anaugim, but from a motivational standpoint tohelping agents. Where do you see that changing in two thousand and twenty one?How are agents you know this? They still need to work from home from mostplaces in the world. How are they still going to be k motivated? So if youcould comment on that and kind of tied into the poy experience conversationthat be awesome, I think motivations going to be a real concern, because Ithink, even as we talk when I talk with my colleagues when I talk with myclients, I feel, like we've been living the last nine months on the fumes ofthe relationships we built in person before the last nine months, and thoughmany many employees are glad to be working from home, and many companieshandle work from home very well. They handle it very well in a an a universewhere they could join together, physically if they wanted to, and whenthat universe doesn't exist. It really is hard to keep employees motivated andconnected, and it gets very amy an I don't know trick story to keep peopleconnected, but it is possible more than motivation, though the thing I think isgoing to describe employes greatest concerns in the next six or eightmonths or so is their rights to determine what happens to their own bodiesvavccine. I think this is going to be it's anissue we haven't faced in our world before is: Will you take a ratheruntested inoculation in order to retain your job, and I think that worry blowsall the other ones out of the water like am I motivated? Do I like workfrom home? Are you attending to my wellness or are Youyou know? Are yougoing to require that that I get vaccinated and what level of risk am Ito absorb an? How about you, my...

...employer, yeah? That brings up a wholeother conversation, but I think you're, right, tha, th, the questions ofmotivation are not what they used to be and that it's a reality t a thatcompanies need to work with their employees and to be transparent aboutthose decisions that they have to make in their personal life right. So YeahNel Talk to us about your company and how you guys are working on keepingyour agents motivated and keeping them super positive when they're talking tocustomers. What have you done in two thousand and twenty that will carryover in to Thosand and twenty one? It's a really tinly question, so we'vealways been a brick and mortar facility. We also happen to operate near shoreinto that introduces some some interesting dynamics a little bitdifferent than what happens on shore here in the US. The reason I mentionedthis is that prior to Covid, I would have never ever wanted to do. I workfrom home model in that particular region. We operatin, I didn't believein it. Well, never sayg, never right covid came and we had. We had no choice,so we moved to an exclusive work from Homstragty, because we hade to now weare able to bring some of the workforce back if we want, but just because wewant doesn't mean we should I'm faced with an interesting series of decisions.Our business fortually is growing expanding. What does that mean in a BDOOrman? Typically, you grow the number of Stud. You had an additional site.You Han a new floor you hade to, but I got to tell you that's not the solutionfor us we're not investing in real estate when nitm investing in Brickanwarter. That would be, I think, really one of the worst investments thatsomeone in my particular position could make. Why invest in this amount ofspace that you only use half a bit for because of social distncing, I don'tthink social distancing is going away for a while, not until were far out ofthe woods of what's going on right now. The reason I mentione all this is thatwe are Hou know. We are never said that Er right well here we are, I'm notinvesting in sight. We are investing in work from home. We are optimistic aboutit. We've had to change some of the operating philosophies of thetechnology, all of it for the better we've tightened up or our tools andreally have our finger, hopefully on how to measure productivity. We have tobe very clear on our compliance. All of that means that, while we're offeringan opportunity to enterty be more comfortable, more convenient not haveto commute work from home, there's a whole other series of things, hat comealong with it. Just and now we engage our workforce. There's anotherinteresting thing, so you know I like the again I'm goin Ta Wag, my fingerjust a little bit set and challengeon these sauce precoved when the labormarket was really really really tight. Companies had to be very careful withhow we treated employees and offering you curps and benefits, and manycompanies ave bent over absolute backwards to retain their employees andkeep them enegaged. What's going to be interesting to see is that if the labormarkets continue kind of soft, what does that mean that companies are goingto do? Are Gon a company's going to continue to bend over backwards, theyno longer than ther we have to, and I like to see you know kind of where therubber its throat companyes really goodg, to continue to support thisthing. Some people call a byth of employee engagement and motivatingemployees in a tight labor market. Tyo have to now that Labor arket isn't sotight, ou curious to see whether that's really going to happen. The only therthing I woul win, I had ttally separate. Is that there's no easy button towardsit and you know, maintain your employes an on ofmatit used to be the PizzaParto, but I think we all probably know that the Pizza Party it's smokingmirrors. It doesn't really do much. It keeps people happy for a minute, I'mlike Leslie. I love you know pizza more than anybody and a cold canapeeerLeslie, and I have debated aboute local peiks and Washington DC. We de kin overy funny social meathing about a particular restaurant, but anyway Welof Piza parties, but I don't think pizza moves. The needlman employengagement. It's up to us to figure out what really does, and I think that justdepends on your geographic market, where you're located in the age groupof your employees, the type of service that you're you know, promoding it itthere's no clipcut recipe to this. I wish it were. I wish it was just apizza, throw me a piece of Peice, because I'm really simple, but I thinkthe work porse is not that Sim yeah, that's great points. So thank you.Everyone for all the comments are coming in some great stuff. I' got somegreat questions, be answering those in probably about five to eight minutes,and then we will start just themating...

...even more so this is great stuff. So,Dan, one of the things that you talked about is around Aian automation andConversational Service. Automation tell us from your perspective, how you'veseen the context centers adopt AI, an automation in two thsand and twenty one,and do see that as aws two thousand and twenty one yeh I knowi can see the love Ito can see the fture. I meanit'ncontrvertble that we've seen an acceleration of the adoption of newtechnologies, insupportive work from home, so that you know these contextunder supervisor and a brick and mortar situation in addition to showing wherethe pizza is or ou know, lobbing on behalf of you know, bringing in the Kagor whatever you know, they've become really concerned that you know thereisn't the person to person, sort of oversight and there's been anaccelerated deployment of technologies that use a I to sort of rapidlyunderstand the intent of a call or a contact, because the other thingsthat's happening with the context center is that you know it's part of adigital mix so that you know from the point of view of the agent and I guess,as a Technologis, I'm going to say, I'm gonna incute yeah, I'm going to inferfrom what from the changes we've seen in the agent workstation and what getsthe display, what shows up in screen pops how they become more dynamic, howth next best action as sort of become important? I think the idea is twofold.In this distributed environment you want agents to succeed, and in somecases you want to use technology to do the stuff that they find really boringso that S it's. You know it's sort of like int, recognizing the purpose ofrepetitive cause and trying to do that in automations or summarizing thepurpose of a call at the end of the Colso that somebody isn't consortedgoing through the motion of yeah. This is about that or that so that you getmore insights about the call without burdening the agent with the stuff thatthey're not traing, I shouldn't say not traine to do, but it's not first nature,if you, if you do, hire the right people and train them correctly, theythere to help the customers they're not there to like summarize, the purpose ofte call afterward and they're not there to just sort of help them authenticatethemselves or Yo, know answer like something that they could have found onthe website. So that was my long rinded way of saying: We've seen the rapidadoption and actually acceptance- and I'm interested in Leslie's point ofview about this- is that some of these actually improve an agent's experience.You know by removing some of the stuff that they really don't like and in someof the cases where we interviewed customers of companies that arebringing automation in to answer customer questions or you know offeryou know it could have been like clipfy in could have say. Oh I see it tind todo such insets and shouldn't you do it this way. They're actually saying youknow I like this. I like that they're doing the stuff. I don't want to do andI wouldn't have thought of such and such, and so I'm encouraged by how Isee technology being adopted. PLESA andhe comes on a I'm with you hundredpercent. Some automation makes agents life so much better with whowhoeverworks in tech support. Who wants to answer how to reset the Password again?Nobody, but there's a couple things. I have been watching Ou t for behind myshoulder many many years behind and I'm still watching out for it, and that iswhen the automation drops out those easy, repetitive questions. Our agentsgiven time handle the more difficult questions, because when there, the moredifficult questions are slower to handle and when they're not givenenough time when the expectation is you answer those difficult questions asrapidly as you answer the easy ones, that's a horrible agent experience andthe automation is essentially punishing the ages. Also seeing the world'sraggedious implementation of agents t...

...just today I was trying to buy someflowers from my friend who lives in Utah, and so I think, a lot of floriststhat I worked with today had chatbots implemented. Well, I mean broken wouldhave been a flattering CONTO. They were worse than broken. They were incoherent,one o the opening message from the chat. That was, how can I offer youinformation about our firm yeah? That's ridiculous and the other one allowed meto interact a couple times. Then it requested my email address and then itsaid it would email me within twenty four hours, nom on an ECOMERCE site.What do I need a twenty four hour communication so from an agentexperience standpoint now the agents are handling people who technology havemade angry and that's not at's a terrible ageint experience in aterrible customer experience. Yeah those emotions tend to kind of go crazy.When Aus I have experienced as well, I mean I was on a chat of all companieswith apple to about five different, chats reexplaining, my situation overand over again, not for a short break. Let's learn moreabout outifor UNIFOR is a global leader in conversational service automation,companyes vision is to disrupt an outdated customer service model. Ivirginally gap between human and machine using voice. A am automationthat every voice on every call is truly Hurd or more information about you, wwwfordoc, email, podcast at uifrcom for tweep at you nowback to the dote. Luckily I got my I got a new phonewhich is good. Thank you apple care, but but it was long experience yeah allright. Let's get into one of the questions that reallysomeone questionthat we already we were going to cover, but it was around skills. Let me justbring this up right. This gentleman here, wonderng, if panel can talk aboutwhat's next Gen kills a remote human that needs to be built. How much it hasimpact on this experience. Verse Price Play going forward, ul like tochallenge that one. It's good there's a lot in this question. It's a good one.This is my paraphase of what I think this person wants to know three. Justwhat I think sthreis asking is: What is the frontline employee like inincreasingly automated world? I think that's how I interpreted is: isn'tdesert everyone, agreeit Wut, the question yeah and I think that's youknow we coun San the conversation around kind of the skills that peopleare that need in two thousand and twenty one in relation to keeping theremote workforce kind of up and going so that's how we can look at it. LeslieO was at hat with. It was my intrepretation a way Shaked hour headLik, maybe equally off on this one. You read it differently, but but havinglistene to you paraphrase it as you did now. I'm really curious for your answer.Go ahead. I want to know what you have to say. You know OPL. It is a tough one.I don't think it's a clear cut answer and I think so, if we go with the ideathat we're going to take at way we're going to skim off the repetitivemonotonous, boring work for the agent right, we're going to give the agentthe trickier Questionis the ones that aren't so crearcad that on the onesthat can't be automated, at least here in two thousand and twenty Anos, twothousand and twenty one. So that in theory then means that the new agenthas to be a bit higher skill, maybe has more experience more adapt at what hershe does, and the level of training that a person has to have receivedcanno longer be ragging yeah to quote Leslia on that one, where I thinkthat's the common knowledge JAT's. The easy answer was her portion of thequestion I had to do with. Like you know the skills of working remotelyfrom home, I mean coic its right, no thereas great, come concept of a remotehuman, all Rightyeah, here's here's another question fromgiramovery, similar to that okay, I can jump in Yep a second gengmenit of thenew skills expected or desired to...

...secure success for the business. I wantto give this answer with you know. The theme Randy asked us to address, whichis the near future predictions for the near future. I think that agents aregoing to have to learn to answer questions that they have never beenasked before and that are really extremely difficult to answer. So backa couple years ago I used to, I was working with a lot of airlines. Thishappened over the last couple years and sometimes customers would ask reallydifficult questions and here's an example. Why was the fair I foundonline less expensive than the bereavement fare? You offered me sothat I could travel to my father's funeral. That's a difficult question toanswer. That's embarrassing for the airline, but I think that is nothingcompared to what's coming in the early part of two thousand and twenty one,and that is, customers are going to ask. They are asking to be provided services,they can no longer pay for at all and I'm thinking of credit card balancecan't pay it mortgage Cana pay it. My Rent, Canna pay it. My health insurancecan't pay, it can't pay my medical bills. I have no money, I've been outof work and I think frontline customer service agents and companies are goingto have to figure out how to answer these extraordinarily difficultquestions with poise, because those questions were off the table in thepast. If you don't have the money, you can't have the service, but in thisemergency year- and I think two thousand and twenty one will mostly bean emergency here. They will have to figure out how to answer the mostdifficult questions they have ever heard. Wand. Let me tin in withsomething that may shock you, but one of the things we learned, because inthe old world of bpos there was a category, an service writer that werethe skip, tracers and collections, and they were the king about bound and theywere finding that individuals who were in sensitive financial situationspreferred to talk to bots rather than Talk Toaer, and you know thatit'sortogonal tor discussion of the skills that an individual might havebecause one of the things we discovered in the rush to sort of get things done,because I was going to argue that one of the things Tho look for in twothousand and twenty one is a retooling of what the KPIS are for the contextcenter for the bpos thet gets more and more oriented towards task completion.Now, among those tests, may be renegotiating how much you can pay andthat sort of thing, but the skills that you may want to train. One of thethings that they were finding is they put test completion in is that hithere's a whole generation of customers that don't think automated handling oftheir problem is a bad thing. Some cases they'd like to complete thesetasks without involving a person, and that may speak to what the pasttraining of customer care agents were, how their performance was measured,what they were trying to do and how empahetic I was going to be the firstone to use that word today. INE turn out to be that's funny. Iasked a question linked in Wawas, most overused word in the context center inWo Thousand and twenty, and I think it's either empowered or empatheticyeah I'mlikethose are the two. I don't use them powered no now I don't it's not because it'splayed out it's because it's unmeasurable. What does that mean? Yeah?I don't use pro a use. It ta because I think it's overblown said the nicest guy we know. Actually we finger we this gentleman, Chris Patten. Whattools do you think will appear in the future? Thaughl help collaboration andengagement? I open this up to probably Dan and Neil probaby, her ets program,theower yeah and if Dosee, if you have any comentin o but good. So it's reallyfascating. You know going back two years. The platforms for customerengagement added the word collaboration,...

...so that was customer KarenCollaborations and you know, we've seen an evolution of the court technologiestowards what amounts to cobrowsing. So you sort of assume that it made he onlythe sophisticated customers now. But you have to start thinking that allcustomers have access to the same information that an agent has that this.What some people call customer journey that that we call these a synchonistconversations between brands and their customers start with a google search,and everybody can do that when they land on the you know businesses websiteand they can find most of this stuff, so th the tools that help agents gainaccess through their workstation to the at least the same information orsometimes better than a customer and sort of makes. The assumption that youknow they've done a lot of the search and qualification and decision makingand stuff, and they have a pretty specific question by the time. They'reengaging a live agent. You know so it's you know we're far beyond hey youshouldn't have to repeat yourself: Is Yor calling apple to get a phone thainformation about the call travels with the call along with that as theinformation about the individual, that is the customer, there's the matchingof the customer with what you know about the agent and their background,his or her background. All that sort of thing, it's all possible, we've seen itdeployed and just sort of hope that it extends it. Its depoyment lets go on tothe next question. Actually one quick comment: Lesslie had some good commentsthere it's going to be about empathy, themotion that human lals have, alas,bee best at delivering, and then our next question comes from Kimberly. Whatdoes the panel think is the right training environment and what doesn'tit look like when it is potentially all virtual s, his long question but neel?I think you would probably be the most approgiate person to talk about virtualtraining and an how that's going for you and what you think needs to changein t thoend twon. Thank you. Yeah training is Crricli again go back towhat lesbio so eloquently said. Tranni can no longer be raggedy. Wev Got Away with raggety too long andcan't be ragged. We better tools. So for us, a natural progression is alearning tools that are no longer faced in a classroom that are no longerpowerpoint fase that are no longer feel like you're sitting in second grade andhaving the teacher mark at you, Sothis don't work, especially in the roommotenvironment. You have to have toolsat about colloboration interaction that Ibelieve are on demand. So is people are at home. They can flip on the SCREEMwhetthey're, taking a call or wthey're not taking a callge or in the breakthey're learning you can ye frest play and the learning is available. Justlook at you know what linkedin learning has done. It's there it's undemand, butbut in terms of context, Ond, O customer Charat. It's got to bedelivered to the desk top. It's got to be able to you C press play Whenver,you want on the man, and it's got to be. I we've interactive. It's got to bemultimedia and with a special emphasis on video and well playing in situationsand no longer the old way. We figured about this out the hardway for years,Wer, putting slaping Ou power points and putting up ut. You know thrown upon the overhead projector and doing this an wagging the fingerin right.Writing the finger at the students in the classroom and Tryi to push contentinto their head and expectg them to remember it. That's just that'sridiculous. At shitting yourself on the foot, training by example, giving reallife examples, showing him how to handle and again to leslis example.When the customer calls in and says I can't pay for this and sit there likethis and the awkward silence takes place. What do you do real lifeexamples yeah? That, for me, is that is a critical piece and those students areno longer com going to come back in in the classroom. You got to be able todeliver that promotely to whether they're sitting in the living room,their bedroom, the toilet, wherever it is that they're sitting they've got tobe able to consume the training content. I really liked Kimberley's question andI think there's one part that as an educator, I want to answer a little bitdifferently. Virtual Training has all the advantages neel listed. Of courseyou can invoke at at anytime. You can...

...learn in shorter periods. Ou TrainingDevelopmer can develop elaborate scenarios and offer all the collateralthat a learner might have to use to walk through all of them. But Practiceis social and coaching is social and coaching happens during training. So Ithink and when you are physically together during training, the practice,the coaching and the feedback is ad hack, because social settings allow forit. When the learning situation does not allow for connection for engagementlive real time, engage wit between human learners. You have to budget timefor it. You have to add that on and virtual meetings are an acceptable wayto do it, but you cannot. I have a Peformula in my head. Let's say forthirty minutes of virtual learning worthy of the learner and the screenonly. We should probably budget ten minutes of conversation, like thirtyminutes to ten minutes, because without the conversation and the practice, thelearning does not stick and the also learning and isolation is Iola Ting,and we know that when you're working remotely, the last thing wo want to addis deeper isolation. Yeah, that's very true, all right, so we're coming up ontime here. I think everyone for all your questions. Any lass minute ones,definitely comment now, but let's start with some closing thoughts. You knowthe point of this was around predictions. You guys just want toshare your closing comments on the predictions for next year from contectintor perspective, so dam e, seor chuckling, then tiaking well, clearlywe're going to come full circle and say the secret to good training is well thesecret to success. Let's assume we are going to be working remotely for thetime being. I think you know the way the vaccine is being distributed. IsGoinna move what Lesliey was saying at least the first half of the year, andthen we can figure that out, so it all gets down to how quickly you candeliver pizza to the people that are working remotely as sort of incentivesfor behaving correctly. Tat Shy of that wasn't a great laugh line, I'm going tomodify what I an said initially, I you know. I think that a lot of attentionwill have to be paid two technologies that support what's impolitely calledonboarding and training and make that follow an engagement model that usessort of conversational technologies to just sort of keep people in the flow,and you know sort of recognize that we all have to just collaborate better,even though we are remotely and we're learning that you know with everyfamily. Zoom occasion, yeah well be lighting the candles tonight and allthat sort of SOM to some of that will happen organically. So Neil closingcoments perfect. So I think you K O. I made my feelings felt feeling xcit madeit express them about where I think the industry is going. YEA consolidation,with a very strong push towards automation by the way this acquisitionby facebook of customer is just one remember, there's another big onecalled Goole: that's out there and there's Amazon an they each ovtheirproducts and I don't think either e'r going to sit by and watch facebook withhe landgrap. My expectation is that these landgrons are going to continuewith an that's wha. The cinsolidation will happen it's going to affect all ofus. Weri'm going with this is I think that, for better worse, there's goingto be a massive push towards automation, andither you embrace it or you don'tembrace it, not because I love it or hate it. I just think that's thedirection things are going, then. I think that you can either jump on ornot be part of it, and I think we have to be part of it. That's where theindustry is headed, and so, therefore we need to no longer be raggedy and howwe design experiences, how we design the journey, making sure that we getbetter cheaper, faster, which includes resolution little to now weight timesthe most importantl resolution and not will lead to satisfaction that for mein capsul its where I think the industry is going from the next year,awesome ga insight and, I believe,...

Leslie your next and comes to yourclothing comments. Okay, I've got two predictions, one is about employeeexperience and the other one is about customer experience. Here's my employeeexperience prediction in March and April employees saw their companiesrapidly move them from working on sight to working at home. Companies have beentalking about doing this. For years they had been doling out permission towork at home, very persimoniously for months and years, but when everythingcame down, they decided in a week to send everyone home and make it work. Soemployees now know that their employers can be very flexible when called upon,and they are not going to tolerate other kinds of nonsense. I don't thinkthey should so neels comments are important in this, like the job marketis rather soft, we don't know how much power employees can wield, but we doknow that employees notice when employers are hypocritical and if theysay you know, put your comments in the comments box were taking it underadvisemen we're thinking about it, we're planning for it we're consideringit. Employees will know that in April twenty twenty everyone worked at homewhen they hadn't been working at home before so. In my opinion, my prediction:Is Employees won't tolerate this kind of Werte thinking about it, behaviorfrom employers anymore now. My second one is customers expectation for agreat customer. Experience are going to change. We all know that customersexpectations continue to grow and we are kind of running to catch up, butcustomers have had incredibly intimate customer service with healthcareproviders over the last six months, and they have experience that the verything they thought could only happen in an office, namely that a physicianwould examine them when they're ill can happen virtually, and if that canhappen virtually then I shouldn't have to repeat my account number six timesto have you check my bill, so they've seen how you know something that wasconsidered impossible as a customer and a client interaction can be possibleand they will not accept the idea that they have to have a tiresome old schoolexperience. Anymore, very well said, and in the words of one of our users,at's the come togin raggedy were the yearfotothatbig anything you remember from thisconversation. Raggedy is tw right now. Thank you, lesssie. Iappreciate those comments and definitely employ experience. You knowmore human, more compassion, it just needs to happen, and there shouldn't beany pressure for that to happen. It Shoul. U T be, should just happen. Whatyou know easier so than done whoam, I I'm just a moderator. anyways next gothrough a few more comments and then we'll just say or goodbyes so Paul assaying thanks, guys great discussion Youknow, you know Paul Hes, your cohoston fireside Cha ot, the pall all much lone me. We Got Mike Aoke, wonderful, ten,twenty one, three love the conversation, insites of wonderful and digialadoption is real for all of us. GARAMO excellent conversation wascoming next. Big Challenges on PS industry, Indeed Yeah Kimberley. I wantto say thank you to Leslie and Neila tol appreciate the insight. I'm sureyou to Dan Doresathank you for th, SST, forthats, really good information tohave that's awesome and PT is saying, thank you awesome and then Kimmerleylast one. Thank you all. So much tolly appreciate th conversations, knowledgesharing and insights. You welcome awesome. Well! Thank you all for thisamazing wo at fifty two minutes. Right now so got a little longer hat than wewanted, but I think it was supervaluable and I appreciate all thehonesty, the transparency and just the humor that actually helped kind of guide.This conversation so giv you guys the airwave just tell people how they canfind out more about you, so letslie...

...want you to start off and they'll go toDan atr them sure, and you can visit me at my website. You righe Onlinecom orfollow me on twitter at Leslie. Oh, not Leslie, zero, Leslie, Lettero, wes very go Ein Tuitter, I am at Dnm,five, four and most of or stuff is on the opins research website, which iswww opus research, dot net, not gay! We'll put all these we're Goin to do ablock post of all this and we'll put all the links in there. So that's vargood and then neil go ahead. Thank you. Just twitter handle at first name lastname altogether, Neil top- and you know if I can put a shameless blug in forthe the podcast fireside Chaptin of the fires. There've some amazing guests,Brobabl leaers on there and contents is generated. Then the other thing I justlike to mention to to the audience. Thank you the especially I a couple ofyou that descented, I love the sentless chat. Let's COP thes tow a conversationis this great: This is what's fun about this community. Is it's mostlywelcoming to different opinions? I think especially Robert Wanewright lovethat you disagree with it like. Let's talk, let's chat, let's figure stuckout come on the podcast at some point. You It'Sis Amazing Tosen as a goodthing, and thank you to unifor randy to you as well for having me and all ofHus Althis pal together Ye you randy thanks for your empathy, come on guys. We don't want to makeempathy like a empaty. Now I appreciate all you guys. You guysare great to the contect center in Cx community, so this is part of multipledifferent types of conversations that we're going to be having on Linkedin somake sure to follow the UNIFOR linkedin page well be doing one next week withour cofounder and Co. Meshsashdev he'll be sharing his predictions on thecontext center in Wo Thousand and twenty one to make sure tune into thatand stay tuned to the Linkdon company page for all those details and that'sall for today, stay healthy, have a great restery day and Happy HolidaysByebye. Thank you so much for. Thank you, Randi Great JobleslinDamor. Thank you se soon. I hope you have been listening to theconversations that matter podcast by uniform, make sure you subscribe to ourpodcast on your favorite podcast player and reas revew, to enable us to createrelative and valuable content for your business. If you like to learn moreabout conversational, cirfuse automation, it's uniforscom have agreat tame.

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