Contact Center Insights from Plug and Play

Our team was recently featured in an exciting virtual event hosted by Plug and Play.  This organization is a world-renowned innovation accelerator that introduces promising new companies to corporate partners. 

Plug and Play also creates top-notch, free educational content. This latest webinar tackled the impact of the pandemic on the contact centers. Airkit was highlighted along with up-and-coming companies Agara, Forethought, Aigo and Pypestream

The keynote conversation between TaskUs CEO Jaspar Weir and Airkit CEO Stephen Ehikian was especially informative. Since you couldn’t listen live, we’re sharing our notes!

The TaskUs Story

The conversation started by highlighting Jaspar Weir’s story. He co-founded TaskUs, a “customer experience outsourcing company” that has grown from idea to more than 20,000 employees around the world.

Emphasizing People (Yes, in the Contact Center)

Stephen asked Jaspar to comment on finding the right team and building culture in a BPO. 

Jaspar noted that the TaskUs team “actually made [the employee Net Promoter Score] the number one most important metric in our business, more important than revenue or profit or growth.” This is an innovative approach in an industry that traditionally doesn’t motivate employees. He also explained that finding the right people is challenging at scale, but his team stays on track by interviewing with clear core values in mind.

Consumer Trends Before COVID-19

Next, Jaspar reflected on the digital-first consumer before the pandemic. He noted that when companies hit the mass market, they actually have to consider adopting more traditional communication channels. This trend is now changing due to the pandemic. 

“I think what you’re seeing during this time with consumers .. is you have a mass audience that has been forced to become digital-first consumers,” Jaspar said. You know, my mom and dad are using Instacart for the first time and realizing how great that is.” 

Meanwhile, customer expectations  have been steadily increasing for years. Jaspar Weir credits Amazon for single-handedly changing customer expectations, especially for delivery and customer service. Other businesses struggle to keep up. 

“The truth is that [Amazon] set the bar … and it’s a really high bar, but companies are having to deliver, having to step up to the plate to try to deliver to customer experience,” Jaspar reflected. 

To meet these high expectations, businesses bring in new technologies such as digital self-service options.

Contact Centers Ops While in Crisis

As the health crisis began to unfold, TaskUs had to act quickly to transition contact centers to working from home. This way of doing business is a major shift for the industry. 

“We had been following the situation and just realized from a health perspective, we have to not risk our teammates’ health and put people at home,” said Jaspar. 

The transition for the 20,000 TaskUs employees happened in three stages. 

  • First, the company focused on ensuring all agents could go home with laptops and other necessary devices. 
  • Second, TaskUs worked with customers to get aligned on strategy, especially shifts such as changing communications channels from phone to chat. 
  • Lastly, the company created a task force of leaders charged with creating a new work from home operating mode. 

“I’ve never seen a more clear example of why investing in culture and people is so important than I did in that time of panic. We had heroic efforts from our teammates, staying up days on end delivering PCs to people’s homes in the various countries that we operate, literally to make sure people could just get back online and work for our customers,” Jaspar highlighted. 

It’s still uncertain when the agents will return to a regular work environment, whatever that will look like. Jaspar estimated that “at least 20% of our jobs stay at home.” 

While they wait, TaskUs customers are starting to consider how to ramp operations quickly once shelter-in-place orders are lifted. These companies are also accelerating their adoption of chat and asynchronous messaging.

Who’s Scared of Automation?

On the topic of the future of contact centers, Stephen asked Jaspar about the role of automation. 

The TaskUs CEO explained that there are, in fact, two types of automation. The first is the result of product improvements that make experiences simpler for customers. One example is the way Uber created color codes to help riders and drivers recognize each other faster. 

The second type is tied to technology that boosts agent efficiency. TaskUs holds regular hack-a-thons and encourages employees to automate their own workstreams. Even if such changes can result in a short-term revenue reduction, the company sees it as a way to build trust and long-term value. 

“What we’re seeing is the contacts that are remaining in the system will be more and more complex … especially when it comes to technology companies.” 

In other words, contact center agents will become more sophisticated problem-solvers. To aid this evolution, businesses need a strong feedback system. TaskUs helps fulfill this need by encouraging feedback from contact center agents. Then, Jaspar’s teams meet with customers and advise on how to improve business. 

“Today, people are looking for their outsourcing partner to add value, because we are the ones on the front lines talking to customers,” Jaspar said.

See the Opportunity

Lastly, Stephen Ehikian noted that Jaspair Weir started TaskUs during the last major recession. Even though the economy is in another downturn, entrepreneurs should not lose heart. 

“This, I think, is a fantastic time to start a company,” Jaspar said.

Airkit for the Modern Contact Center

The insight from Jaspar Weir was incredibly valuable and bolstered our team’s confidence that Airkit is the perfect tool for the modern contact center. 

That’s because Airkit is not just one tool. It’s a platform that allows teams to create endless new digital customer experiences,  evolving to keep up with consumer expectations. 

As our CEO Stephen Ehikian explained during this webinar, “we really started Airkit with the idea that every company out there wants to look like Amazon … where you want to have this effortless customer experience.” 

Our team understands that back-end systems are really hard to swap out. That’s why Airkit is a low-code platform that works on top of a business’ existing infrastructure to empower non-developers. Now, customer-facing teams can build the kinds of easy experiences we all want, without the need for engineering resources. 

“So, the problem we’re solving is companies don’t have enough technical resources to dedicate to servicing sales and service leaders that want these effortless experiences,” Stephen noted. 

Although so much is changing right now, one thing is certain: new tools and solutions are being developed to overcome every challenge. If you oversee a contact center and you’re intrigued by Airkit, fill out the form below to schedule a demo!

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