Building the BPO of the Future w/ Mike Small and Umesh Sachdev

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this episode of ‘Conversations that Matter’, special guest host Umesh Sachdev, Co-Founder and CEO of Uniphore, chats with Mike Small, CEO of Sitel Americas. Sitel Americas is a global leader in customer experience management with a team of over 90,000 associates around the world. 

On the podcast, Mike explains how, by capitalizing on ever-evolving technology such as AI and automation, the BPO (business process outsourcing) industry can help organizations optimize their brands no matter the scale. “The BPO of the future,” he says, “is truly an integrative platform.” 

On the podcast, Umesh and Mike discuss: 

  • Ways the customer experience industry has evolved over the years 
  • The biggest myth around the BPO industry 
  • How AI and automation impact the BPO industry today and potentially in the future 
  • Advice for contact center agents to excel in CX 
  • Becoming a better customer service operations manager  

For more information about Uniphore and Sitel, go to our recent blog post. 

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to the Conversations that Matter Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

The power of CX is the FROOFFENCE. It'sknowing exactly what your customers, customers. Think of you and thechallenge for all of us is how do we automate mine, ensure that we arecompletely connected into the data that we sit on today, which is exactly thepower of any organization? Welcome to the conversations thatmatter, podcast from uniform the podcast that dives into realconversations that are happening in contact centers around the world here,you'll experience, exciting interviews with well known, bought leaders here,compelling stories from industry experts gain fresh insights on contextand our best practices in more so grab a beverage and tune in as we get realwith conversations that matter. Everyone welcome to another episode ofconversations that matter a podcast for contect center professionals and hostRanix ar from uniform, and we have a great and really special episode today,I'm joined by Mesh Sashtev from UNIFOR Mesh Welcome. Thank you Annie. I'mreally excited about the conversation today with our special guest and I'vedecided to Anvy Mike Moll who's going to be on in just a moment. So it'sgoing to be a fun session. Yeah. You guys are GN, have a great conversationI'll be in the background, and you guys areready for a great conversation andMICIS is very Jan for giving this time today, so Le's bring on Mike to theshow e a Mash Hey Mike. Welcome to this show, welcome Topri that matter and forthe Foxs or ER joining us today. I have decided to invite my good friend, MikeMorl was the C of Americas that Syco for disclosure cycle and UTIFOR signdepartnership from time ago to use our conversation, Al Service, AutomationPlatform, but today's conversation, what it's all about, Israely to talkwith Mike and Learn how his company and what they're doing forsight o heroesand how they're helping organizations around the world with their contactent.If anyone wants to learn more about the partnership, leas check out the lengthon the notes and details about this announcement, but let's get thisconversation so start welcome Mike. Thank you Amentualy. I appreciate thetime and it's great to see you hand it's great to be here absolutely. Thisis the chance for our viewers and need to get to know you a little bit betterand what you Kdo, axsite or Sim, going to start with a series of questions andthat's okay to get the conversation flowing so the first one ready is forthose whoa are familiar. Please talk to us about with site of what is your orand what a site of all about. That's a that's great. I appreciate appreciatethat question. You know first, O start with quickly sites. Ouse, I tell is ateam of over ninety thousand associates globally around the role which ismandated to really focus on every single connection that we areprivileged to serve our customers. Customer delivering a great CX of greatclient experience were obsessed bout...

...that and everything we do, how we go about making that happen withgreat partnerships, how we go about making that happen with great peopleand, most importantly, from our sandpoint, how we empower ourassociates to deliver that Experience Having Ninety thosand folks or will wieglobally connected. We want to ensure that our experiences are consistentthroughout the world, but, most importantly, individual emotional, actrue connection, so empowering our people is everything. My role is, I'm achief Chileader, you kN, I get to you, know postcod and hopefully get back ona plane and travel to wonderful places around the world, but right now we'rehumkered down like so many of us in our headquarters in Miami I'm actually inmy Home Office today, but we are still firmly guided byour values and myvalues for the company are behind me on th the wall. You know we focus onbuilding trust with one another working together. You know truly being bold and,most importantly, allowing our customer. So in the role of Chief ExecutiveOfficer for the Americas, I try to embody our values and, most importantly,support. Our people grow. Great teams work with our clients to deliver aGRACC, xexperience excellent, and you know Mike in the time that I 've hadthe progress to come to know you and the rest of the CYTLE team. This is atruly unique organization and it's been a privilege for me to partner with youand work with you. My next one. Is You prought this up that we are living inan usual times right now, the pandemic has just you know, caused some majorshifts in the way Yo Lave Ando business. So I need this new normal. How has yourbusiness been affected on people and your customers business? What's yourcommentary on the times we Levin Right now? Well, my first commentary is justMuc isere hope that everyone is safe. You know we are people at the end ofOday. We serve people and COVID. Nineteen, a D, I believe, hasimpacted the globe like nothing, we've seen in a very long time. You knowdecades, if not going back to you know. This is a crisis that has impacted allof us imultaneously, and you know it's really stretched. It'sreally tested who we are as a company and who we are as a people and and whenI think about you, know how Wevas company have responded. I am so sothrilled so privileged to be part of this team. This team is Aga. This teamis tirelessly committed to CEX experiences of hour customers, so we'dbeen able to respond. Most importantly, get our employees working at home inmany cases about eighty five percent of...

...my organization is all at home, whereour employees are still in centers around the world, ensuring that thosecenters are safe, garden and safe to come to work, Aut and ensure that we'reproviding our experience, our clients, a phenomenal experience. We had tochange our processes and and a big piece of that is technology, a bigpiece of that is quality and an uniform place of major role, and that a bigpiece of that is securing, and you know that's where we've invested in millionsof dollars over the last no three to four months is really focusing on thosethree pillars around a an experience for at home in terms of a people housis,affective us. We are so connected that we're used to global conference callsand videos mandatory in our and our Culture Tut. I Miss My team I missbeing in the office face to face. I miss our customers based office and I'msure you can experience and share that as well. You know we're doing our verybest leveraging technologies and well always keep ourselves safe and ourcustomers say, but there's definitely an element of interacting innovating, challenging oneanother face to base interaction that simply we do miss for sure. Our cultureis so important to psytell group that face toface interactions. The last timemy entire team was together was in the February time frame for our kickoff andwe all went to Cartahenya Colombia. We still seak about that and usually we'retogether every month. So that's the only thing that I would say from apeople standpoint we're looking forward to hopefully a vaccine and getting backto some degree of normaly post the code cris right right and cycholexcitle. Youhave the unique mandise point of selving customers across many differentindustries and many different countries in the world. How would you say just asnapshot of what's happening with your customers around the world in this newnormal yeah, a great question? You know I would say that it really does dependon the industry of vertical that we are supporting, so we're seeing significantgrowth in our banking financial services, businesses around the CLOTE,we're seeing significant growth and ability to help support, covidresponses and our public services or public secatimes around the world, butthen the're having clients in the travel hospitality side that obviouslyhave been impacted greaty. So you know the first aspect that we've looked atin every client interaction is empathy and ensuring that we are there tosupport them on their terms, how they need us. So if they need us to scale up,move around the world, launch a new product or service to help drive moredigital online capabilities. We've lunched over fifteen thousand boss inthe last cory gays last forty five days,...

...just helping clients help capitalize onmore of a digital channel to help serve their clients, as opposed to, in somecases, traditionally focusing on voice or shad or email. So these are some ofthe initiatives that our customers are asking us for what I would say acrossall industries. Tho theme of Digital Adoption, digital transformation andacceleration is that an all time Lin got you so like Shiftin Dears, you'vebeen in the sinistry you've been in the trade for for a while Wat me throughhow you've seen customer experience industry evolved over these years.It'sa great question you know t when I first came to the BPO side of the our industry. I came from a traditionalit services and more of an application background, and when I looked at theBBO industry I said here is an industry that is right for transformation and,and I made a career decision it was. I want to be focused solely on media andwhen I made that pivot away from purely it or large it or services firms intotruly BPO focus, it was looking at Polistically, the endto end process,the front office, the Mid Office, the backup and there's been. You know someinnovations that have started in the back office around onaunomation per se.There's been some innovation around bolt on technologies in the mid office,but the power of CX is the FROOFFENCE. It's knowing exactly what yourcustomers customer think of and the challenge for all of us is: How do weautomate mine, ensure that we are completely connected into the data thatwe sit on today, which is exactly the power of any organization? What areyour cliemts sink of you? What are your customers truly say about you? Are youservicing them on their terms and are they providing you feedback to getbetter? And if you are customer obsessed as we are, that is where youwant to spend every waking moment of your day. So that's why I feel youknowso about business process et worcing perspective legacy quoteunquote, Butts and seats, and I can't stand that term because today I feelmost drands are absolutely a line to the CX. Experience is everything itdrives. PNL performance, it drives Groth, it drives your innovation agenda.You have to be customer absess to so many great companies with examples ofthat globally and we thrive ourselves on being one. What will you say is thebiggest myth about the BU industry. The biggest Mytho Albpio industry is itsall labor armachage. You know, and that...

...really was historically a lot of thefocus is: How do we take cost out of our operations and how do we move workaround the world in order to optimize Labor arbitruch and that is stillexists? Todat and, Frankly, I believe that myth will go away with companieslike yours with companies. Like was sin, tell group where we're just changingthat narative and every interaction we have with our customers customerbecause the more we harnish the data, the more we transform the process todrive either revenue growth reduce sure make a process improvement. Thatremoves friction in terms of customer experience, the more we continue to dothat and need our customers on their terms when and how they want to meetwith Thos the more our industry will change, intoo, truly, a CX transformedindustry. Absolutely, and this please me Troue the topic of artificial intelligenceautomation. You know the world we live in Mike Ai and automation are buzzwords. These are technology, wars and hives that have been created, but are they real? What's the impact ofthese technologies in the BPO industry, from your nights? I'll use a greatexample of highlight: Are they real? I just finished a client call with one ofour bran new innovate ove. You know fotwer brands that are joining our porkOlia, and you know this was the CEO of you know the brand that was just doinga meetang greet executive to executive touchpoint with our teams, and it wasso refreshing to see how each and every one of the leaders on the call spokeabout how they are clients obsessed and how, from the very beginning ofWaunching, this company, the brand the product, the innovation of people, woreverything. So specifically, one of the questions asked was: How do you createan emotional connection with our customers? The second question that wasasked is: How do you ensure your associate can provide greatstorytelling, and I just I was like finge. You know this is a brand. I wantto go all in on because they get it's avout storytelling, it's about livingyour values, Mr Misss customer and translating those values and thosestories to your inclines, to create that sickiness to create a connectionto create emotion, to create empathy, and we can't do that as scale without technology. There'sjust no a so. You know you think about going back eight nine years ago wewould have a small team, doing quality...

...assurance and reviewing a certainpercentages of calls and everything was driven by spreadsheets and kapioxs. Today, no human is touching any of that.Our data, where is, is completely autonated, using technology to drivespeech, to drive customer sentiment to fly areas of opportunity for ourassociates and to help automate the coaching experience, and it's amazing.We have this opportunity the other day. We can't do coaching, you know, roundtables and Hudles, because we're all virtual, so one of the things that wedecided to do wis lets and she were using the same AI technology, the sameautomation, technology, not just to record our assocites calls with theendcustomer, but how the record our coaches and how they are interfacingwith their teams. Because, let's face it, you know I don't know about you. Mygame is a little loft in terms of just purely being virtual. I want to ensurethat we are always on our toes and the way to do that is the hardest oftechnology that'. I They Don'Al and frankly- and you know this better thanmost- how far has it come? I mean leaps and bounds over the last. You know twoto three years in particular, so if you're not focused on in betting, aiinto all of your inton systems to drive a you know, a completely automated but,more importantly, an integrated experience for your people and your encustomers. Someone else is that's a great answer and I love the example ofthe customer that you picked not for a short break was learn moreabout outifor UNIFOR is a global leader in conversational service automation.Companies Vision is to disrupt an outdated customer service model. Ivirginally gap between human and machinesn voice, AI, an automation thatevery voice on every call is truly herd, O more information about Youu wwwdn fordocom email, podcast at you, beforecom for tweep at you now back to theos. You Know My gesing commentary of thelast few years about this a and you know how, in the future, with theimmaturing and automation coming in that there may not be a need for the BPindustry. I am one I said on the opposite. In offit, I like Ho believethat the DPINDUSTRY has evolvd in the country into word and one that is atthe middle of this entire transformation, so one who's leadingone of the largest pitas in the world into the future five or ten years out.What would the beaty of the future look like? I think the BPO of the future is trulyan innegrated plaform,...

...and you know there will be consolidation in ourindustry. We do know this because there was a high cost in terms of you know:Entry into the BPO industry that cost is only going to increase this sincerecapital required to be a leading provider in the bbo industry issignificant and if you're not investing to x what you were investing sixteentwenty four months ago, you're going to fall behind and that's why the majorityof our capital, as going into proof of concepts, is going into technology, isgoing into our it. Our data anamist teams tremendous amount of investmentneeded to catch up to some of our clients in terms of how they operate,but in many cases help many of our clients catch up to where they need tobe in the industry. So if you're, an organization and BPO you've got to beable to provide services and call center services, ind it services andDat and analytics services and borning, and you have to have a great people,culture and- and that's really where we're focused in terms of you know thefuture state of the future model. And I would av to that that I do believe thatfront office, mid office and back office are able to drive efficienciesand effectiveness through the endto end process. So companies like ourselves,working in partnership with both innovated technology companies, thereal endto and value, be able to take that mortgage process from front office,Mid Office back office back to front office in a frictionless way. The waythe client wants you to interface with them and just ruptors arout there andwe work with so many to swupthe, brams and- and I love it because I get to seetruly how if we were not in a legacy environment, how would we buildsomething and that type of design, thinking that type of innovation andspeed and agility is quite refreshing, depending on the industry, so beingable to be welcoming of those ideas being able to operate in a model Lik,like you, know, Branin destructor, to a traditional legacy. You Know FinancialServices Institution, you know. How are we going to be able to reinvent the CX experience together andyou know that's going no be you know something that does not go away chance.You question specifically does at do. I think cauls will continue to contract.Yes, do I think that digital will always be the primary chat, a channelof choice? Yes, do I believe that humans will have some form ofinteraction in that process? Yes, will the human be aumented with technology?Yes,...

...all of those have to integrate togetherand and that's why we exist. That's why you ould tit, I mean that's fun stuff.Absolutely! I couldn't agree more with you a few moments ago, you mentionedhow you Er xcited, to lire using technology, getting what your trainersto record. You know their trainings for the as as the Cou in Americas, for oneof the largest DPRS talk to not just cigte ous thousands of contactenterragens, but you know even contract centerations wo, don't work et sat. Howwould you message them in today's era? What would be accoaching to the contactcenteration to just keep excelling at this customer experience? You know thefirst. The first thing that I would say to our most treasured ASSAT are peopleokay and those who are not with us in the industry is yea. I said this in arecent discussion around some of our most diverse leaders in thecompany got together and Shar. Some experiences for me choose a company whoyou can be authentic, the reall you if you're, not accepted for who you are,if you feel like there's just a little bit. You know these these folks. Justdon't don't get me. You know look for a company that gets you lookfor a company where you can trutely. Just lea you that's the first advicethat I would give. The second is really take a hardr look at their culture andlisten. We have transformed this company over the past four and a halfyears. My two founders, Olivia and Laurentan Berti came over from Paristhey located to Miami with us. They are obsessed and they are alignedto the values that I share and working with people that are like minded andwineto culture and DALUES UST. So just it's critical, it's critical to thesuccess of an organization and it doesn't matter what level you're at wedon't care about titles. We don't care about. You Know How long you've beenwithan organization. That's great, especially long. Ten yeur fuls Yo careo about. How are you feeling about what you bring to the table and how can webetter support you to bring more you know? So we still we seek a lot aboutour associate. Experience are my Associa perience Max where we havetechnology project fol week port and we connect into the collective genius ofour associates. Tell us how to redesign the recruitment process. Tell us how toreansign the customer experience for one of the largest brants tell us whatour marketing lingo should be. Tell us what it's like to work here and how wecan make it better. You know one of the things that they came back with our Maxinsidour community of over twohsand associates. You know its connect withus more, you know get my schedule to a...

...mobile platform. Let me do shift swaps.Let me be able to show you what my skills are. So if a project comes up, Ican, I can put my hand up. Those are the types of ideas that you, if you'reconnected into the collectiv genius of your Poice, what comes out of them whentop is just Gol, so that's what I wuld Shir with or associates, make sureyou're able to be authentic within the walls of your organization and makesure that you have a voice. That's great! That's great advice! Shifting toyou know a bunch of industries, as you and I got know, are seeing searge andcourt traffics anunfortunately, also industries where the businesses havetaken ahead, including retail, traveland hospitality. If you weremeeting a customer service operations manager in one of these brands today,what would be your advice to them, especially your learnings from othercustomers? Don't stay still, don't stand still when you're looking at youroperation today, whether you're in an internal captive where you're workingthrough partners do not stand, still go and send some time with your associatesand right now. I understand that that's difficult to do. You can't dowidjacking and sitting right beside our associates, but use and LEVERAGOURtechnology to be as close as you possibly can, if your associates,because, right now what many customers are focusing on, depending on you know,calls and arrival patterns and workforce management being either goingthrough the roof or maybe reduction because of e. The series of COVIDrelated industry challenges. Yes, this sowill pass so use this time if you'vebeen excelerated in you're. One of those industries that are going throughsignificant growth use this time. As an opportunity to advance the agendafaster and if you're in one of the industries that are impacted, take careof your people is absolutely best. You can and use this time to truly look attransforming, so you can come a out of Covig, stronger and Ey know those arewords, but it takes leadership in the you know, I will make reference. Thisis not a customer of ours, but you know I was absolutely honored to see howMariott who's gone through a very difficult time, with covid how theirCEO handled communication to both shareholders, as well as theiremployees, and how they bein able to work or through partnerships to helpplace some of their employees. Nothing is ever perfect. I understand that, butI know Mariatt will be ounch back a I caught it brandon and around the worldin an iconic US company. You know I root for Brams, like that. I grout, foryou know, as we come out, hopefully...

...stronger, post covid that we will beable to all recover and I think, using the time now, while maybe it s a littlebit more difficult to do. Some really innovative transformative projects.While you know volumes are low, you know it's the opportunity, so that'swhat I would recommend, depending on the Industry Whil, it's been a greatconversation. So far we move a segment of the conversation and it's a littlebit of a game which we call what's behind the post and what we do here iswe bring up one of your recent social media post, a Oly forow you and we askyou what Ao, what it's all about so here it is now you already just dealwith customers around the world, and some of them are delighted in happycustomers and, as we know, some of them, probably or not, but you came up withthis initiative call of the Sitean Heroes Hell I what this was all about.You know I was reminded through a mentorship early on in my career, thepower of a thank you, and you know simply what sytell heroes is all about.Was it just give? U Sense of you know we went from roughly, you know, eightto ten thousand employees working from a remote location to over sixty fivethousand globally, and we did that in the space of two to three weeks andthat's a lot of testament to our customers, but also a tremendous effortfrom our associate world wid, whether it's our ITTM or PMO team, our qualityteam, our coaches, are associates all of the operations teams Godway. It wasa monumental effort, and you know, as we coin July, coming out of somenormalizations to save stability in terms of running those operations andgetting our customers back to you know levels where we felt we could just takea breath takin moment and make sure that we recognize you know outstandingexecution and ostanding outstanding work, and you know this was one of myfavorite recognitions of Ourour sitel heroes. We did this by individual everymanager in the organization. Every leader was asked to recognizeindividuals and share their story and there's countless stories, but one ofthe posts from chat and we forwarded there because I just think it nailed itit'. I'd like to thank all of our funline assosiates, you know they havefamilies they're scared. They are worried about the covid impact the sameway we are, and you know they came through big time Mar Assosius wereroughly ninety US thousano. You know...

...we're up to ninety FIVESAND S withwelcome treendous amount of new associates in they are the the heartbeat of signtop, so just you know, recognizing them and thanking them forall of their efforts was was really wer. Thank you month was Olver. You knowMike it totally right the difference between great companies and goodcompanies as the culture, and this post of yours is a great demonstration ofthe culture that citle has and leaders like you are putting together so Goejob to job apres. It them well now, coming to the final segment of thisconversation and to end on a fun note, this segment is nhat, be called therapid fire small style. Okay. So I'm going to ask you a series of quickquestion. We can be as rapid or not as you like, or as long as not butstarting with complete this statement. For me, my favorite part of the day isthe morning I sarve with the meditation it's awesome. Last Book Ou rectessentialism, my chief revenue officer who joined the organization, gave meessentialism by Craig mckennon Grat Buk Youn mancar growing up my older brotherJason. You know it's always good to have an older brother that can beachyou up and challenge Yot, and we had lots of those lots of those experiences,but one that also could protect you and love you and yea. Definitely growing up.That was my big brother Jason. That's awesome! AFUBI PIKAR! You look up to coin Ho. I'm surprised favorite way to be compressedrunning used to be rying. As you know I had. I was over in the Philippines inthe February time frame at our employee kickuff, and I had a knee injury and let me tell youthat is not fun as a runner, but definitely running is my way ofdecompressing. I I miss it tremendously. I am doing fast walking andaccumulating way too much covid nineteen weight, but this to will, youknow, come to a conclusion. I'm working hard to get back to my run. Well, Ihope and pray that you get back to your running as as quickly as you can. Thankyou fevorite CISIE. I love Thaifood, Love, Love, love, Tyem, awesome,parrents, Pottan! You know, I'm gonna have to say this is a tough one,because I grew up in Toronto. Now I live in Florida, so it is being a a long transition, but Ihave to say the Miami Okay and you know we have good good run going right now in the bumble in Orlando, but Miami Hand you know for a kid growing up in trolley. You got to say I Toronto, theTRAUMIC. We ore your favorite vocation...

...destination. You know we love Barbados,I'd like to say it's a second home, but it is our favorite family vacationsfougt. We try to go every year and we have family. I have family in Barpedoesas well, so we love thea the country of Barbaido Anas. Definitely the smalldestination sput, that's awesome, yeah, and if I oe one, the next bigacquisition or the thing you've been waiting to buy personally postcovert, Ihave to say: Definitely you know I miss going and looking at you know a nicepair of jeans or you know some shoes something definitely in the wardrobespace, because I don't know about you. You know I'm so happy that you know wehave this conversation because, like that's to dress up a little bit- andyou know- but I tell you you know, I do Miss Ma Interaction and I think definitely a trip to the mall for the entire familywould be something that we we tay through Postu Ar Ome Mi. Thank you forthe time it's been a pleasure, as always talking to you. You know howmuch I appreciate. First, our friendship and partnership now forfolks who want to reach out and learn more about citl or connect with you.What would you say is the best way from them best way to connect is SITOCOM.You know you can pretty much get any one of our experts myself anytimeanyplace, where an extremely nimble organization, extremely flat, so andvery responsive, so any way we can help El were always standing by my thank youkeep doing the amazing work that you're doing and get back to ruting as quicklya as possible. Thank you. So much imasures of pleasure really appreciatea time you have been listening to theconversations that matter podcast by unifors, make sure you subscribe to ourpodcast on your favorite podcast player and raise review to enable us to createrelevant and valuable content for your business. If you like to learn moreabout conversational, surface automation, is it uniforscom have agreat day.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (21)