Is It Confidence or the Dunning Kruger Effect? Why Contact Center Leaders Need Help Choosing the Right Technology
Vanessa Gates 00:12
Hey everyone, welcome back to masters of support. I am your host Vanessa Gates and today with me I have Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. He is the Chief Contact Center and CX Strategist at VesuvITas. Sebastian, thank you so much for coming here today with me,
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 00:31
Vanessa. Well done. I know I give you a lot to say there. Thanks for having me on. I really was looking forward to this for a while. So thank you.
Vanessa Gates 00:40
Yes, longtime coming. So glad that we’re here today recording Sebastian. I know you have a really, really cute guest that’s joining you today. Do you mind introducing him to us in our audience?
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 00:53
I do not mind. Let me see what I can do here. [Commands in German] Can
Vanessa Gates 01:04
you see his face now? We see him he’s so handsome. And I hope that all of our listeners right now are watching the video not just hearing. But to describe the cuteness that we’re showing right now. We have this wonderful German Shepherd, I believe. And I’m sure Sebastian, tell us a little bit more about him and his breed.
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 01:23
So he’s half German Shepherd on his mom’s side purebred and then on the father’s side, he’s half Belgian Malinois. So he’s basically the number one and number two service dog and special operations dog on the planet, combined into a single dog. And he is super intense, super persistent. And also super loving. Because, oh, thank you so much. Right on the mouth. I was trying to go for the nose. Usually it goes to the nose. Anyway, he loves to chew on things. Really, really tough things. But he’s amazing. And so he’s gonna start going around with me very soon, to different events, and he’ll get to meet folks and talk about customer experience. This is Alpha, the CXC, the Customer Experience Canine and you got to see him here first on the Playvox podcast!
Vanessa Gates 02:13
Oh, gosh, what a treat literally for Alpha and for us. He is adorable. And I hope that I can see him at one of the upcoming trade shows that we may be at. I will definitely be a superfan. Well, Sebastian, again, thank you for showing Alpha. And thank you for being here today. Before we get started, you want to share a little bit about your experience in the in the CX ecosystem, and essentially what does VesuvITas do, and how do you service our ecosystem?
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 02:45
Sure. So that’s a great question. A little bit of background for me, I’ve been in Contact Center, my entire career started as an agent. Fast forward to by the time I was 24 years old, I was Director of Operations for a VPO. I then switched over into the IT side of contact centers, the architecture, design, infrastructure, all those things, and then started consulting around 2006. By 2015, founded VesuvITas. And now we are dedicated to helping companies evaluate, understand and optimize contact centers all over the world. And so when we talk about ecosystems, we’re really talking about the different components of contact centers that either integrate immediately together, or undergird, or overlay them so that you’re delivering an amazing customer experience.
Vanessa Gates 03:44
I love it. Now, Sebastian that I know you shared with me. A wonderful artifact you want to show our audience this artifact that I’m mentioning, that speaks volumes as to this industry.
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 03:58
Yeah. So I didn’t even say how long right? So usually, unless, okay, so you’re not going to show this to more. This is just, only you see this right? All right. So this is my first badge of my first contact center. At Nielsen Media Research. I’m 14 years old, three months before my 15th birthday in Florida. That’s actually how old you’re supposed to be. And you can tell it’s authentic, because there’s a black knit tie there. And oh, no, Vanessa, it says, should you leave the employ of the company, this identification card is to be returned to the human resource. You can erase that part, right? So apparently, I supposed to turn that back. But if I didn’t have this, you would have no I wouldn’t have any proof and people would not believe have been in contact center for now… 32 years, right? So this is my 32nd year in Contact Center. People would not believe me, so I probably got to carry this around with me when I go to trade.
Vanessa Gates 04:55
So yeah, we’re going to not tell HR where you’re at, I’m sure some When is great looking for your card somewhere?
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 05:04
My face is on a poster in the HR room. Exactly,
Vanessa Gates 05:07
exactly. So I know you mentioned that we you have 32 years of industry knowledge in both the agent and customer experience. So with that information, we’re going to segue into today’s topic, which is strategies that can improve the contact center productivity and culture. So Sebastian, we’ll get right into it and talk about how we can improve the contact center productivity.
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 05:33
Yeah, so productivity is important. You know, when we look at productivity, the contact center historically, typically will use certain metrics and KPIs and use those to kind of drive forward productivity in certain areas. But the reality is, you’re not going to be able to effectively manage what you can’t effectively measure. And the way that we want to at least start looking at this, and we’re going to take a backward looking approach is we want to have the right tools for your particular business. Every business is different. You know, but you know, sometimes there are a lot of there are similarities between contact centers where you don’t have to start from scratch, right? We want to be able to have monitoring solutions in place that enable frontline managers to be effective without having to really spend their time data analyzing, they should really be focusing on nurturing and bringing up their contact center agents. And we talked about this when we when we were doing the pre interview call and, and that is not everyone plans on being a contact center agent when they grow up. Like that’s not I heard someone else say recently, it wasn’t on their vision board, you know, to become a contact center was that that was hysterical. But that’s true, right? It’s kinda like, you take these jobs, either it’s your first job like it was with me. And it can be a foundationally important role. Because you can learn so many different life skills, like it really brought me out of my shell, I was totally introverted before my first contact center engagement, my first job, and as probably one of the reasons why my mom told me to get that job, right. And, but there’s other life skills that you learn within the contact center use me as an example, as others upgrade examples, you can turn that into a different kind of career where you’re really being a thought leader in a certain space. So it’s all in what you do with it. But it’s also in how the contact center, frontline managers actually invest in those agents. And you want to give them tools that allow them to invest in the agents in a way so that they’re not, the frontline managers aren’t really poring over data, that they’re really looking at helping and coaching and nurturing and teaching life skills to these agents. And so productivity is partially associated with nurturing agents pouring into agents teaching them life skills, and giving them an opportunity to know that you’re part of a family and you care. And you’re not just some cog in the wheel. This ties into other technologies, though, right, you want to be able to empower those agents to do what they need to do. With less support. Feel, though, they know they can actually deliver a good customer experience, without having to go ask for permission all the time, right? This, this is going to be part of the whole culture discussion that we talk about later. Because from the top down, all the way down to the agent level, empowering the agent to know what they can and can’t do, to enable a great customer experience will actually deliver that great customer experience. So there are tools that can allow you to facilitate this. And part of that also is being able to adjust those dials back and forth because every day is a little bit different in the contact center and you may need to be delivering a different metric is requiring the attention of the contacts that are in that day. And that’s, you know, ties into what play Vox does, too, right because tools that allow you to monitor call record screen record and deliver gamification tools actually enable you to tweak which metrics they should focus on with the games of vacation of it to make it fun, and to make it relaxing. Now,
Vanessa Gates 10:15
Sebastian, I want to go back for a second and, quote, something you had mentioned, you said, not everyone has a desire to go and be a contact center agent. Now I’m going to shift a little bit and go off of a little bit off topic. But I do want to mention about how much the industry has changed, because of COVID. And the flexibility that our industry allows for agents? Well, how do you bring these tools in, to have people from other industries that are coming to our space now? Because of the flexibility? And how do you mold their skills? Essentially, big picture is that service heart that we spoke about, you know, having that compassion, I think you said, delivering compassion, and experience, etc, you know, it’s Yeah, bringing those tools in to kind of just mold the agent to continue to be successful in the service industry.
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 11:08
So you’re right, the work from home culture has been accelerating as a result of all the, you know, COVID, post COVID stuff. And it’s not going away anytime soon, people have enjoyed that liberty of not having to commute and all that kind of stuff. So that it’s even more important when you’re talking about a remote workforce, to have tools that allow them to feel engaged, right, and really having that culture, showing them that they’re part of a group part of a team and making the engagement fun, right. And that’s part of when we talk about gamification, we’re trying to make it a fun engagement for them, so that they’re able to compete on things that drive the business forward, while empowering them. Right. And so this ties into the culture discussion, right? So we’re going to get back into that in a few minutes. But when we look at the remote workers, right, how do you act as because used to be able to walk over and, you know, give a rah rah to an agent, you know, and you’ve yet to feel the energy in the room. You have to do that in other ways now. But the truth of the matter is, and actually one of my clients even told this to me, that they found so much more productivity when the agents were forced to go home, when they weren’t distracted by their neighboring agents, asking questions and stuff like that. Now, they’re focused in ways where you can use, you know, internal chat softwares, instant messaging platforms, you know, and, and driving questions in the healthy way getting them answered. But there’s plenty of tools, man fact, there are so many tools now that it’s almost difficult to make a decision as to what’s going to be right for you. When we talk about engaging with an agent, there’s even AI applications now that we work with, that will allow a contact center to identify if their contact center agent is likely to quit or turn or leave the business, right. And so that can be modeled in a way so that the frontline managers can go, Oh, hey, wait a minute, this person is unhappy. Let’s make sure we’re doing everything that we can to give them a upward opportunity within the organization, let’s set a clear path that they can go from one agent level to another or maybe eventually to a team leader or a supervisor, whatever else because yeah, it does give you flexibility to be remote. And a better quality of life, you can move to middle of this country if you don’t want to be in the city anymore, and still have the same quality of better quality of life really, because the the the dollars that you’ll spend go a lot further let me just add one more thing, when we’re putting these tools like call recording and screen recording and, you know, and desktop process analytics and all of these you know, speech analytics, we’re identifying what people are, are saying and you know, whether or not the sentiment is good or bad or or even putting things in front of agents in real time with conversational AI, or I should say, AI automation. You know, popping up things and sharing, you know, a form or whatever. It’s important that we don’t conflate empowerment with Big Brother. Right? We’re not there, to spy on them, we’re there to use tools that can enable them to identify where they’re falling down, so that we can prop them up. And in, by the way, when we’re doing the prop up just a tip for the general audience that’s listening today, right 85% of your coaching needs to be done in as near real time as possible, as close to the time of the call, or interaction or chat or whatever it was, as it occurred, no more than 15% of the coaching should be done on historical looking back, you know, information, it’s, you’re just not going to be as effective, the agents not going to remember these things. So part of this is when you have a happens when contact centers don’t have enough quality management people or personnel to really, or even supervisors to call the data right at to find out how many of these quality scoring events happen sub 80%, or whatever your scoring metric is for qualified call delivered properly. So that’s why you have things also to help facilitate things in real time as quickly as possible with automated quality management. And this is something that Playvox came out with. Recently, I heard someone announcement about it. And that’s fantastic. Because automated Quality Management allows you to wear when you could only normally score maybe one or 2% if you’re like on fire, you know to like now you can score 100% of your calls and at least identify, you know, with some of those tools, maybe curse words or negative sentiment or those kinds of things, and be able to focus on those immediately as quickly as possible. So we want to make sure that people realize that when we look at automated quality management or AQM, that that’s a powerful tool that can help accelerate their team’s effectiveness. Agent Assist is something that I think there’s different schools of thought on. Agent Assist can help those remote agents be almost like veteran agents as quickly as possible. Because when a certain sentiment is identified, when a customer says something, you can pop up the right form, and the agent doesn’t have to scramble up look forward, especially if they’re not as veteran. And but there’s other people who may think depending on their corporate culture, we don’t want to jump something in front of somebody, we want to just train them better. Because we don’t want to make it look like we’re telling them what to do. And you know, there’s, we can have that debate when we have like the two hour podcast version of this one.
Vanessa Gates 18:04
So let’s go ahead and pivot a little bit. I know we talked about it in the beginning, very briefly, but let’s talk about the contact center culture, and how can you do that?
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 18:14
So contact center culture, literally, as we mentioned a little bit earlier is a top down approach. It needs to be decided by the C-level, what is the culture of this organization, and that has to then be delegated every single manager level all the way down? It needs to be conveyed often, what are we trying to do for our customers? What is acceptable business practice? What is acceptable behavior? How do we delight our customers? How you know designing a corporate culture around excellence and delight is extremely important, right? You should be showcasing when your agents accel and do something that is delighting a customer. And even granted, you get a lot more I can hear the CX people watching, like, judging me a little bit as I say this, because you can if you focus on satisfying customers, and making sure that they get exactly what they need, then you have incredible value from a customer experience perspective, right versus delight, but that’s a whole topic for a different day. What I mean here is if you showcase the delighting events, of customer of agents to customers, then you continue to celebrate that you’re reinforcing a culture that you’re trying to present to your entire team. Right and you if you go and you reward those frontline managers for that agent behavior and then their managers for that man at supervisors behavior etc, you reinforce it, you show it has value. It’s almost as if, when we’re talking about rewards, it’s, we’re looking in culture, that’s kind of why Customer Service Week has always been so successful within most of the contact centers. It’s because it’s celebrating them and showing them that we care, even if it’s for one week out of the year, having realtime chatting and competition in games. It, it shows that you’re not trying to micromanage it’s, it shows that you’re trying to actually facilitate a family environment. And you can do that with remote tools now. I mean, it’s the the fact that you can have different games, among teams or against teams to achieve different metrics. And KPIs is really, you know, rewarding those people with either corporate swag or, you know, prime parking, if they’re in the office, or, you know, days off or, you know, lunch and you know, you can send them a DoorDash or whatever else, there’s so many ways that we can do this from a culture perspective. But it has to be, it has to be a decision, right? Just like the decision of teaching your frontline agents about making sure you’re anticipating the issues of that customer, part of agent assist, and why it’s so valuable is because you’re putting right in front of that agent, a next best action, right, this is what you should be doing based off of what just happened. But I would also when we talk about customer experience, want to focus on next issue avoidance, it’s good to have the next best action, and progressively, but what I mean by that, and NBA in NIA is let’s say you’re you’re working with a customer, as an agent, and you they’ve said something, you have to give them a form, and they have to fill something out, maybe they’re applying for a mortgage. Right? They’re done with said form and application, but then the customer is going about to be releases, right? You want to be able to anticipate what the next issue is going to be to deliver that excellent customer experience. So you can use the tools you can do with your training, you can be a part of your culture to say, Okay, Next Issue Avoidance, you’re gonna hear back from us in seven to 10 days. And we will follow up in email format, or a letter to your front mailbox, or we will call you at this time, so that the customer doesn’t have to wonder what should be happening when and then they proactively call back three or four times the next seven to 10 days, because they don’t know your process. Right. So that in itself is an optimization conversation, which could take a lot longer. But all of that has to be a decision when it comes to identifying your your customers, their buying decisions, breaking them down from a customer experience, persona, perspective, and then engaging those personas, the way that they should be engaged, and then measuring your customer satisfaction, and your net promoter score, etc, in a way that you’re not abusing those customers. Right. And that that in itself is could take a whole other meeting as well.
Vanessa Gates 23:54
A whole other podcast episode? Yeah, you’re talking about all of these wonderful things about redesigning the proper CX ecosystem when it comes to cloud migration. And I know that COVID has fast track many organizations to migrate to to the cloud. You know, in regards to the software solutions, you mentioned a little bit about the workforce management solutions. You talk about, you know, security and network. Is there anything else that maybe we have missed that you want to touch on? And what can help with a successful cloud migration?
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 24:31
Yeah, I mean, one of the things that I didn’t mention is that I’m actually an expert witness for contact center legal engagements, internationally. And some of that ties into dialing technologies, TCPA components. There’s, I mentioned that because every company is different and probably want to look at everyone’s delivery or what they’re actually what their service is like. How they’re servicing customers on a case by case basis. But there are a ton of different elements that we haven’t even touched on today, that can impact a company’s decision on going with a particular product, or service. So if there’s any help needed, you know, we’ll make ourselves available, I think we’re gonna make available to them, you know how to avoid the 10 biggest mistakes when selecting contact center solution. And so we made that available through you guys. And they can get that when you provide that link after in the podcast. But I mean, you know, taking a holistic look, and including different technology departments, different parts of your organization, so that you don’t end up with these siloed contact center and technology pieces all scattered throughout, I can’t tell you how many times we see it, you know, especially with larger organizations, they they get their own budget, and then they’re not talking to somebody else. And then you end up with six or seven different pieces of technology that could have been consolidated into maybe two or three or even less. And then it becomes very difficult to understand the ROI or in this case, ROX too.
Vanessa Gates 26:27
I know you briefly talked about any books that you all have this place out the replacing your contact center and how to avoid mistakes when you’re in this process. We will be linking that at the bottom of this podcast episode so that our listeners can read about it and know more and get informed. Sebastian, is there anything else you want to leave us with today?
Sebastian Anthony Corriere Jr. 26:52
Sure, I can I can drop an egg of knowledge sure we’re not in McKinsey states that that two thirds of con tech centers admit that they don’t know how to select Cloud Contact Centers and CX technologies. And that means that 1/3 think that they do, I would argue, and if if your audience would like to look up something fun around psychology, I would argue that there’s probably a case to be made here around the Dunning Kruger effect, which gives people a false sense of security at a certain knowledge level around what they can do. When we look at the fact that there’s about 2,000 to 3,000 conversational AI companies alone, out in the world, it becomes a little challenging to know what is right for your organization. But I’ll leave it at that. It’s been great talking to you. I’m really excited that you invited us to the Playvox podcast, Vanessa, something I’ve been excited about for a long time. Hopefully next time we invite Alpha out here. We’ll get him to do some tricks and stuff for you. And it should be exciting. And I love the new release of the automated quality management product from Playvox. So Well done on your side for that. Good job.
Vanessa Gates 28:21
Thank you. Thank you. It’s been a long time coming for all our listeners listening today. Thanks again for joining us and listening to another episode of masters of support. I’m Vanessa Gates, and I will catch you in our next episode. Thank you and as always be a good human