Transcript EP09

“This Could Have Been an E-Mail”: Sutherland Global on Innovative Ways to Engage Employees

Episode 9

Vanessa Gates 00:11

Hey everyone. Welcome back to Masters of Support. I am your host, Vanessa Gates. And today I have with me two lovely ladies. I have Charlene Petrie, Senior Project Manager, and Alex Pratt, Associate Project Manager, both at Sutherland Global. Welcome, ladies.

Alexandra Pratt 00:26

Hi, Vanessa!

Vanessa Gates 00:27

Hi. So great to have you. It’s been a long time coming. I’m so excited to talk to you too. today. Before we get started, I wanted to go ahead and start with an icebreaker, like I usually do on all of our other episodes. And that one is based on one of our core values, the enjoy the little things. So what are some of the things that you to like to enjoy outside of working at Sutherland Global? And Alex, if you want to start we’ll go with you?

Alexandra Pratt 00:56

That’s a great question. Because it’s all about the little things, right? I really love animals. And so one of the things I really love every day is watching the birds and feeding birds and squirrels and little rabbits and I get so much joy out of seeing a new bird or birds I recognize. So that’s my little moment of joy.

Vanessa Gates 01:14

Oh my gosh, that’s so amazing. I saw my first hummingbird when we came together at our annual summit with playvox. And I was just absolutely thrilled and was screaming for joy. So I have some hummingbirds too.

Vanessa Gates 01:29

Oh, my God, special snowflakes. So great. Charlene, what about you?

Charlene Petrie 01:34

I really liked being outside, obviously, I’m sitting outside on my porch here at my house in Delaware. And I just think that it’s one of the best things to be to have the capability to work from home and to work anywhere in your home. Normally, I’m sitting in my office that can get a little old and you know, stale. But to be able to come out here like this in this situation. It’s just absolutely fantastic. I try to get out on my breaks, you know, to take a walk in my neighborhood and stuff like that. Because I think that when you get out in the fresh air, it really helps you to think better.

Vanessa Gates 02:08

Totally agree with you. I think sometimes the reverse happens for me where I don’t get out as often. So you just mentioning about going out for a walk motivates me that after we finish recording, I will go out for a walk in my neighborhood and enjoy the nice weather today.

Charlene Petrie 02:23

Yeah, especially if it’s cooler. It’d be a great day to get out.

Vanessa Gates 02:25

Yes, yes. Yes. That’s awesome. Awesome. Well, we’ll get started. So before we really get into the deep dive of why I have you to here, let’s start off with can you share with us a little bit about who Sutherland Global is and the industries you represent?

Charlene Petrie 02:44

Yes, I can do that. So Sutherland is one of the world’s leading business process outsourcing companies, but we also focus primarily on digital transformation. If you’re unfamiliar with what Sutherland does, I highly recommend that you visit our website,, because there’s so much information available to you there. But the group’s that Alex and I support are primarily part of the services that we provide to our clients. So that would be you know, customer service, technical support, sales. We also support industries that have insurance agents, medical, under writers, mortgage underwriters, those sorts of roles. So Sutherland has over 50,000 employees globally. And Alex and I are just two of them here to support the approximately 20,000 of our employees that are using playbacks currently.

Vanessa Gates 03:47

Well, you said 50,000, that is huge. Yes, huge, huge kudos to you too, for managing such a large team, or it’s just seems such a large team. You know, we’ll go into details a little bit later as to what you to do and and how do you support and get out information in a successful way. So you mentioned 20,000 are using the Playvox solution right now. Can you give us a little bit of story of kind of how long you’ve been using the solutions and how do you I guess we can get into how do you communicate the updates on the Playvox side and so forth? Yeah.

Charlene Petrie 04:24

So we started using Playvox about eight years ago. We were one of Playvox’s first customers. As a matter of fact, I know that tomorrow the 21st of October is Playvox’s 10th anniversary, right?

Vanessa Gates 04:40

Yeah, yeah, it’s Playvox day!

Charlene Petrie 04:42

So we were one of your first customers two years in. And we have been using Playvox ever since it was my very first project here as a project manager to find a solution for our teams that were working from home at the time before To the pandemic, Sutherland actually did have a contingent of people that worked from home, I was one of them. And we needed a tool that was going to help us with two things, primarily engagement in a remote environment. We’ve all had the opportunity now to work from home, probably everyone listening and watching today, has also had that opportunity to work from home and you know that you tend not to feel as engaged with your coworkers when you’re working from home. So we wanted something that was going to help us there. And then the other thing that we wanted was a methodology to performance manage people who are working from home. So those were the two things that we were looking for Playvox fit the bill. Eight years later, we have almost 20,000 users on the platform, because of the pandemic. Before the pandemic, we were only about 2500 users, the pandemic hit, all of our employees went to work from home and then play Vox started to be a much bigger and better solutions globally for Sutherland.

Vanessa Gates 05:57

Wow. So from 2500 pre pandemic to now 20,000. Right?

Charlene Petrie 06:00

Yeah, we’ve been busy.

Vanessa Gates 06:03

Yes, to say the least. And is every all the agents now currently remote? Or do you still have some that are on-site?

Charlene Petrie 06:14

Both, but a majority of people who work at Sutherland are still working from home. So we do have some of our clients who wanted their team to be in a brick and mortar situation. And they are also using Playvox. So, and part of it is that Sutherland because we have so many geos across the world is that there are a lot of our teams that are what I call “cross-geo.” So we might have one client team that has some of their associates in the US, in Canada, in Jamaica, in the Philippines in Colombia. And that is part of the beauty of them using Playvox to Vanessa, because no matter where they are in the world, they can all engage on the platform together.

Vanessa Gates 06:55

Yes, we love that global connection. So 20,000 agents users are utilizing the playbook solutions right now. How are you communicating news and updates? So many people like you mentioned globally, how are you getting that information out? And kind of what challenges and opportunities? Have you seen getting that information up?

Charlene Petrie 07:19

You know, I, I want Alex to answer this one. Because Alex is just a little bit younger than me. And we have talked about how people of her generation prefer different communication methods than mine. Go ahead, Alex.

Alexandra Pratt 07:33

That’s interesting. So Charlene was doing monthly meetings to invite people in leadership all over the company to watch about updates and see tips. But she realized slowly over time that there wasn’t a lot of attendance. So the idea was like, how do we continue to offer this information in a way that’s going to engage people in a way that’s a little bit more bite-sized?So, you know, she asked me, she said, What do you think about a podcast and personally, I’ve, I’ve done podcasts before, and I love them, I consume them, and make them and I think they’re really great. And I thought it was a great idea. Because especially in service delivery, you’re on the phone, you’re on the floor, having time to then take on another meeting, or sitting in something for an hour, it doesn’t necessarily fit into our workflow. and it wasn’t very engaging.

That’s the other thing. Yeah, you just listen. This podcast gives us an opportunity to not only share about, you know all of the features and benefits in a detailed way, it allows us to share our personality, to show what we’d like to share our tips and get people excited about it. And it’s really amazing to see the response we’ve gotten and people asking us about these features that they watched like a 15 minute clip on. And so a little bit more bite-size and consumable for that fast pace, service delivery kind of world.

Charlene Petrie 09:02

Right. And I think that’s really one of the best parts of it is that service delivery is so fast paced, you know, they’re constantly answering calls, they’re constantly engaging with customers and to be able to, you know, get something that’s a little bit more tactile in this instead of another meeting, you know, so many people another meeting another meeting, another meeting, it gets old. And that’s why people stopped coming. So this methodology, where Alex and I can create this podcast, and then we can engage we can share what we like about the platform, really, I think helps to fill this gap in giving them the information that we want to give them about the platform, how they can use it, the best practices that we’re seeing on all these different teams across the globe here at Sutherland. And we’re sharing that with them. So it’s really fun. We have a lot of fun and we just started I don’t know if so if we told you, we just started with some shorts. I think we were prompted from your suggestion the last time that we talked, so we did record two shorts that are only like a minute or two long. And now we’re also sharing those. So that’s another generational thing. Yeah, the younger generation. Two minutes. That’s it. That’s all they’re giving me.

Vanessa Gates 10:13

I am so happy. I’m glad you’re taking these tips. So first of all, I want to come in how you mentioning, you know, another meeting another meeting another meeting, I think, this virtual world that we have now, pivot to everything’s virtual, I always laugh and think about the meme that you if you’ve ever seen in, it’s like, oh, couldn’t this meeting being an email? So I love how you’re being innovative. And I love that you’re trying this new way of bringing out your information now.

Charlene Petrie 10:41

And you know that that is funny. That is that meme is funny. But then when I think about it, sometimes I’m like, but I don’t want another email either.

Vanessa Gates 10:48

Very true. It’s gonna get lost in the shuffle. I’m sure. Okay, so you have this podcast idea which we’ll talk about a little bit more of the name and how it’s been going. But let’s take a step back and move back. The podcast wasn’t always how you were getting the information out, correct?

Charlene Petrie 11:05

No, that’s where we were having the meetings and where people weren’t coming to the meetings. After about a year and a half, they were like, I’m not learning anything new. And this is boring and forget it. I’m not gonna go anymore. So that’s why I came up with the concept of the podcast. Let’s share that instead. It’s more engaging.

Vanessa Gates 11:20

So yep. People got tired of it, they said, “You know what, there’s another meeting, I don’t I don’t want to go on here.” They were losing information, not knowing about updates. So then this new podcast? Voice of Vox, right? That’s the name.

Charlene Petrie 11:33

That’s what we called it. Yeah.

Vanessa Gates 11:34

Which totally so adorable. I love it. The play on the word of Playvox. So Voice of Vox came in. And what kind of, you know, so let’s talk about it and see what success have you seen? How are you implementing people to listen to these podcasts? Because again, you got you got the information out, you bring the horse to the water, but can you get the horse to drink from it? So what are you doing to to implement these new updates out there to make sure that they’re following through?

Charlene Petrie 12:02

Right? Well, you know, what’s really funny is that we are sharing the podcasts in Playvox. Like we’re using the platform to communicate about the platform. So it’s like this it’s like a double stack, right? I talk all the time about how the platform has so many different methods for sharing of information, know you could share in the community wall, you can share in an announcement, you could put a learning lesson together, you could share knowledge in the document in the document storage in the database. So I find all of those different methods to be extremely successful. And I like to tell everyone when I’m when I’m sharing about Playvox, I’m like, there’s multiple ways to share. Because that’s like, one of the things that I learned years ago is that, you know, when you want to share something, you have to tell people in multiple ways, like I used to be a trainer, and they used to tell them, tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and then told them what you tell them. So you got to do it like multiple times in order for him to finally understand it. So that was like the concept around it. So we are sharing about Playvox via Playvox, we create a learning lesson. That’s what we do.

Vanessa Gates 13:09

Like seriously, mind blown something, what is so easy, it’s, it’s just amazing. It’s so amazing. So you’re actually assigning a learning assignment in the suite, you’re assigning it, then to the the managers, agent itself?

Charlene Petrie 13:28

Not to the agents, we don’t assign it to the agents, because again, as I had mentioned, we’re still a call center, although lots of people don’t want to call it that by that name. But you know, we have to adhere by our client schedule adherence. So we can’t have all of the agents jumping off the phone to watch this learning lesson. So we actually tailor it to the leadership, you know, all of our account managers, our team leaders, those are the ones that we invite to this particular sessions. And, you know, we have it where, you know, we talked about it from the leadership perspective, what they can do to get their teams engaged in the platform more.

Vanessa Gates 14:01

Great. So then then, what kind of feedback have you been getting from these leaders? What are you seeing for them to make sure that this information then gets down to their agents? Are they having monthly calls? Month, you know, are they doing them on their one on ones with their agents? Like, how do you…

Charlene Petrie 14:18

Well you know what I think a lot of what we’re sharing with them is, What we’re sharing with them is how they can use the platform more successfully. So like our first episode was the community wall. So we talked a lot about the community wall. And if they take our advice, and they use the community wall more that will prompt their teams to use the community wall more. You know, one of the things that I tell everyone when I’m training them on how to use the platform is the the success of implementation of Playvox is so dramatically weighed on the team leaders usage. So the more the leadership team is using the platform, the more that those people that report to them will use it. So you know, if I were a team leader, and I were doing coaching, and I was looking at the audits, and I was giving recognitions, these are all the things that I would then say to my team, did you see your coaching? Did you see your last audit? And how well you did? Did you see that recognition that I gave to you or the others on our team? Those are all of the things that they’re using it, which then has like a snowball effect down throughout their whole team. So we’re just sharing with leadership, how they can better use it.

Alexandra Pratt 15:27

If they’re excited, their team will be excited, right?

Vanessa Gates 15:27

And I love it, because Yeah, exactly. And you are practicing what you preach, essentially, you’re in it, you’re doing it, which hopefully, like you said, has that cause and effect to those other leaders.

Charlene Petrie 15:40

Right, and we did get some feedback. Alex, I know specifically, someone had reached out to you and had mentioned to you how much they enjoyed our podcast.

Vanessa Gates 15:46

Yes, that was gonna be my next question is have you seen any success or any feedback since you’ve launched the Voice of Vox?

Alexandra Pratt 15:52

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s actually really exciting, because there’s so many teams and platforms already existing. Seeing some of those come out of the woodwork and say, you know, we really are interested in adding this or getting a Karma Store. And we were just looking about how to do this and you put out an episode. So definitely seeing the excitement and engagement and also sparking kind of that call to action of like, how now can we implement this solution more and use it more. And that’s been really exciting to see.

Charlene Petrie 16:26

We’ve even had one team come to us and say, we want to do a podcast. So they were inspired by us to do their own podcast about their own service delivery account here at Sutherland as well

Alexandra Pratt 16:37

For their team. So we met with them and talked to them about their ideas and how they could use Playvox for that. And just really exciting to see.

Vanessa Gates 16:45

Oh my gosh, that just warms my heart that makes me so excited, It’s just been.

Alexandra Pratt 16:51

Yeah, it’s just getting started too! We’re, you know, we’re just getting started.

Vanessa Gates 16:56

Which, how many episodes are you in now?

Charlene Petrie 17:00

We have done three. We’ll probably record number four next, but then we have the two quick tips that we’ve also done.

Vanessa Gates 17:06

I love it. Love it. Love it. Love it and the Quick Tips, or snippets for for use, so that you can get out.

Charlene Petrie 17:15

What do we call it? Alex? Quick tip for a quick,

Alexandra Pratt 17:18

Our Quick Pick, for a quick tip.

Charlene Petrie 17:20

Yeah, I always get the word quick, for a quick tip, quick pick for a quick tip

Vanessa Gates 17:25

Say that three times really fast and see if you could get it out.

Charlene Petrie 17:33

The first one I didn’t say it right, like we did, I told her we were ending it and I was like watch to the next week pick for the quick tip. And I got it wrong. It was hilarious, but we just left it in there.

Alexandra Pratt 17:42

But that’s our personality and what makes it fun and engaging. Because it’s not some stiff lecture that we’re talking at you. You know, we’re human beings sharing our best practices laughing enjoying the Playvox so

Vanessa Gates 17:54

Well I mean, your personality is shining, the personalities are shining on this episode. So I’m sure I hope our listeners are watching not only hearing but to see how much you personalities come through just recording here. So I know that Sutherland is so lucky to have you to recording these podcast episodes. So

Charlene Petrie 18:12

Thanks Vanessa

Vanessa Gates 18:13

you’re welcome. You’re welcome.

Alexandra Pratt 18:16

So nice. So funny.

Vanessa Gates 18:18

Obviously, we can tell how much you love Playvox and I will tell our audience, this is not a paid episode or anything you are these are genuine responses and reviews that you are giving us. So want to share with us. What is your favorite Playvox software solution right now that you’re using? And kind of why Alex, if you want to go ahead and start with that?

Alexandra Pratt 18:40

Yeah, so before I joined Charlene team, I was actually a team manager for Sutherland. So I was using Playvox as a team leader. And I think one of the most important parts is recognition. It’s an amazing feature. And I think it also does a great job at coaching and auditing and things like that. But it’s equally important to celebrate the wins and acknowledge strengths. And I think that Playvox has a really good job offering the karma store, karma points for teammates, recognition and things like that. So I absolutely love that part about it.

Vanessa Gates 19:13

That karma store is amazing. And I know from other customers, they have said the same as well, too.

Charlene Petrie 19:20

I say there’s nothing better than I love than a good functioning karma store. I have said that countless times over the last eight years. And while I love karma, I really do I agree with everything Alex says about that. I absolutely, as a former quality manager, I love the quality part of Playvox. I know that that has been a big focus of the engineering team to develop quality like no other and it is extraordinary. I know a lot of your customers start using the platform strictly for quality. And while I can understand that the rest of it is also extraordinary, but quality is by far one of the best parts of the platform, just the just collaboration alone. I tell the story all the time when I’m training on it that When I was a quality manager 20 plus years ago when we had to do a calibration, we used to have to get in a room. In a conference room, we sat around a table, we live barged into the queue, and we had a piece of paper with a red pen. That was our calibration now, it is you know, all virtual and it’s absolutely fantastic. So it’s come a long way from the old days.

Vanessa Gates 20:23

You’re telling your time in the industry. That was the days of no AI and I will say Playvox, we’re definitely priding ourselves, and we’re just getting started on the automation and quality management. We’re just getting better. You know, as the year the new year comes, we have a lot of great things that are coming out. And we’re just excited to keep getting better. And just working on our software solution. Like you said, our developers…

Charlene Petrie 20:51

Every day every day! We love to hear the new things that are happening.

Vanessa Gates 20:54

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Alexandra Pratt 20:55

So exciting every month.

Vanessa Gates 20:57

It’s so exciting. Thank you, Alex and Charlene fo for sharing your story along with us and giving us some tips and tricks on the Voice of Vox. I’m sure our listeners have learned a lot of great things today on how they can maximize and, and get their message out in an innovative way to help engage. Before we close off, could you just share with us if others listening today want to know more about Sutherland Global? Or how they can apply to any careers? Can you please go ahead and share with us again that website?

Charlene Petrie 21:32

Yes, it is absolutely And there is a careers tab. So they certainly can go in and they can apply. We always have openings, and we are global. No matter where you are. There’s a place for you to work. And now that we have a majority of our associates working from home, globally, anywhere, it’s called Sutherland Anywhere so they can apply and they can work for us today.

Vanessa Gates 21:53

Yes, and they’ll have an awesome software solution to make they’re

Charlene Petrie 21:57

Very likely that they will then be using Playvox once they get onboarded.

Vanessa Gates 22:04

Thank you to you two, so much for being here with me today, taking time out of your busy schedules. I’m so excited that we were finally able to record this episode. Again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to all of our listeners here today. As always, be a good human and I’ll see you in our next episode. Have a good one everyone.

Charlene Petrie 22:24

Don’t forget to like and subscribe. Thank you