CX Pod Europe: Building A New Contact Centre During Covid

I was recently invited to be a guest on the TTEC EMEA CX Pod Europe - the TTEC EMEA podcast that focuses on ideas and thought leadership focused on cus-tomer service and experience.

The podcast usually focuses on guests from outside TTEC so it was great to be joined by Amanda Krebs, the customer service centre development manager for Volkswagen UK. Amanda and I worked extremely hard on the Leeds contact centre that “opened” in the middle of the pandemic last year.

The podcast opened with us both talking about the experience of trying to launch a major new centre during the middle of a very unusual time for the in-dustry - in fact, for anyone working in an office and unable to actually go to work. I said: “Most companies had to quickly set up for home working, but we had to do it twice, because we were just about to transition to TTEC from the previous supplier when Covid arrived. So we had to send everyone home, set them up for work-from-home (WFH), then manage the transition, which meant sending out their equipment and then sending everything back to the previous supplier!”

Amanda added: “We had been working for months on the transition and then suddenly it was all change and panic stations - it kind of unfolded in real time! From our perspective, it was incredibly difficult for the agents - having to change employer. But TTEC handled it amazingly - the onboarding and the communica-tions to the staff. It went really smoothly from our our perspective, considering that even without COVID this would be a massive operation to deliver.”

I explained that greater resilience was always going to be a part of the plan, but we just had to accelerate the process: “The entire contract is focused on digital transformation. It was a predetermined five year transformation, which, in any normal year, would have been the biggest thing happening to the busi-ness.”

There are also many ways in which the pandemic experience has increased business resilience. I explained: "I think it's become more resilient because the team is working from home, but it's also changed the recruitment model. Re-mote staff don’t need to be in Leeds - they could be in Scotland. This may at-tract an entirely new different demographic, potentially people with disabilities or those that are homebound.”

I also explained why a transformation project is entirely different to a tradition lift and drop business process outsourcing project: “In the old days, BPO was just bums on seats, filling up a big warehouse, and the commercial model was focused on the cost. Now it’s about the customer and customer loyalty. For in-stance, with Volkswagen if you enhance customer interactions then you can build loyalty and make them a fan of the brand.”

Amanda talked about the complexities of really transforming how a brand like Volkswagen interacts with customers. She said: “We are not just one brand, we have six brands for different vehicles and so we need an omnichannel approach that allows all that social media and live chat to all work together. We've got all these technologies in place, now we are really transforming the customer expe-rience. So it's going to be really exciting this coming year to see what what we can deliver for our customers.”

This was just a summary. Please follow this link to listen to the complete ver-sion of the podcast and feel free to get in touch with me directly via my LinkedIn.

CC Photo by Jose Carbajel