Digital OmniChannel: Enabled and growing with SaaS – [FULL INTERVIEW]

In this full interview with Kyle Chadderton from ConnexOne, we discuss how the latest breed of contact centre tools is fundamentally changing the industry.

In particular how these tools are enabling greater access to Omni-Channel, with fast setup and implementation times, all at lower cost too.

Find out more about Connex One -> Here.

Interview Transcript

So hi, everyone. I’m here with Kyle Chatterton. He’s in business development for the connects one. So Kyle, thanks very much for joining me today. I really appreciate it. It’s a budget. So connects one on one sort of in the, you know, in the in the contact centre space helping customers with with contact and contact centre infrastructure. I mean, have you sort of found, I suppose, the business, the business infrastructure the last couple of years, particularly the pandemic, etc, in terms of like moving towards this sort of more sort of like virtual kind of environment? I mean, what’s what’s what’s what have been the impacts on you guys, if you sort of break that down into to two parts of the question. So how the last couple of years have been and how the business environment has been, I mean, I say, firstly, it’s been tough, but it’s been rewarding. I’d say it’s hard to pinpoint it as two years as well as a whole because of the peaks and troughs and changes within that time. So I think if you look at the very start of the pandemic, it’s all known that the business world was thrown into the unknown. We were all entering a period of time that we didn’t understand, I suppose, how are you finding the impact of remote working, and I suppose, because we all went out to sort of work remotely, I mean, how you’re seeing the sort of the, like the legacy of that coming through. So I think sort of pre pandemic, we were definitely all in the office, particularly the contact centre, there was a sort of rules for like, you move in the office, or you basically had digital processes that were sort of self serve in the background. But now we seem to be in this sort of like hybrid space, we’ve got some people still still out sort of working remotely, some people are coming back, some people aren’t those kinds of things, many has that fundamentally change the dynamics, do you think of the call centre or the contact centre, but then also have the technology needed as well. So I’d say hybrid working, has definitely changed the way in which businesses and companies attracts their employees, I mean, in terms of the switch, the pandemic has sort of caused people to have a forced trial run, if you will, of remote working. And it’s sort of providing individuals with the flexibility and technology which globalisation has provided, which means that sort of hybrid working is essentially meant that the Dolly Parton, nine to five life, if you will, is it’s not applicable for a working mom, who needs to pick her kids up from school, or someone who spends two hours a day stuck in gridlock five times a week, it’s, it’s meant that people can be more productive by making the work fit around the lives rather than having a big block of your day, which says nine to five, you’re in the office, you have to be in here, you can now be

in you can you can base your life around your life, if you will. It’s not it’s not it’s not a lack of your life isn’t best around work in mind, as long as you’re still succeeding in producing results, then the hybrid working model is something that’s only going to continue to grow. I mean, personally, I like, I like a mix, I like to I think it’s important not to lose office culture. And I think a lot of people myself included, while it was strictly work from home, where I mean, I missed the human interaction, what are you seeing from your clients in terms of, I suppose the impact of that in terms of the type of technical tools they need to have, for you know, from from a contact centre point of view. I mean, as I fundamentally changed, in terms of like the type of services they kind of need now, I’d say undoubtedly, there’s been fundamental changes in the way that clients are now communicating with their customers.

Obviously, the way society communicates has changed as a whole. So people I mean, if you go back as you go back 5060 years, people text each other now rather than writing letters and there are far more ways of communicating now than there ever has been so clever businesses aren’t going to drag their feet and fall behind the going to stay ahead of the pace, which is why there’s been a huge shift towards omni channel rather than a scattered multi channel approach. There’s been a huge shift towards omni channel rather than a scattered multi channel approach. So having omni channel allows businesses to communicate with people in a way that is best tailored to the customer which essentially maximises their chances of achieving their objectives. So hypothetically, if a business is trying to reach someone about, say a new author that they are running or track them down for about debts in the past, they would have had to keep trying to ring them maybe send a scattered email or to or or letter whether an omni channel system businesses can ring people we can WhatsApp people, they can speak to them on social media that can email them

And it’s all through one connected integrated system. So the employees, the staff and the agents can see all of their previous interactions. So if someone leaves a business, or if an agent goes on annual leave, and they are speaking to a certain customer or chasing a certain person down, then that case will become someone else’s priority. And guess what all with, with all the previous interaction history stored across multiple mediums at the click of a button, in one centralised system, it’s very easy and transparent for the person that he’s taking over that case, to be able to have a full history or an understanding of where that case is up to, and to use things like certain channels that are being more effective than others, or is it is eras, it’s really the combination that sort of that it’s important. I think you’ve got a look at demographics with that. So I think I think you need to look at

I think age is personally a big one. So be careful what you say now.

Well, I mean, typically, if you look at their so though,


I mean, typically, if you look at there, too, though, the younger generations tend to tend to prefer How do I put this a less direct approach almost. So younger generations will tend to prefer a whatsapp or a live chat voters, maybe some of the older generations that they tend to prefer human interaction. So they tend to prefer speaking to a person and having that, that, that human voice to speak to which you tend to then with a system like ours, or like omni channel systems in general, you can pull reports and data to supplement certain communication methods that tend to work best with certain demographics. So

if you’re running a campaign for say, life insurance, or for wetlab, wills and stuff like that, you medic tend to focus it more on mobile phone, whereas if you’re maybe running a campaign for so young persons, thinks about I have set up the car insurance services, so very broad example, but maybe the tailor that more towards email or, or more 21st century modes of communication, and I think industries as well, going back to that, say, debt collection, I’d say it has a much more successful contact rate and success rate over the phone. It doesn’t matter what the ages the it just tends to be a case. Whereas if he was to look at something like retail, then live chat and emails are far more successful in WhatsApp so far more successful than belling people over time, I suppose one of the one of the challenges of having lots of different channels is then how to orchestrate them. Right? So it’s like, you know, see, what do you do for which was more effective? What’s the combination of the different channels that is most effective in terms of, I suppose, reaching the outcome, which in my world is good outcomes for customers? Or it might be, you know, reaching resolution or disputes or something like that? I mean, what’s, what are some of the orchestration challenges? Because it feels like the, the, the omni channel world adds a layer of complexity, right? So it’s great from a customer centric point of view, but it also adds a layer of complexity to the getting hold of people in orchestrating everything. What are some of the challenges you sort of you see around that and, and how do you approach it?

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I think that boils down to your reporting any day, so So I think if you have a system, which is integrated to CRMs, I think that’s a big, big thing. If you’ve integrated with a CRM, then you have customer data, so you can pull reports which

simplify which areas prefer which channels of communication and also having that omni channel system how you said it complicates it, or disagree. And I’d say it’s the opposite because because you can look at a customer and a client and see how they have been communicated with previously across multiple mediums. It’s quite simple to see that if you’ve if you’ve tried to bring in someone 10 times and they haven’t picked up the phone 10 times Why would you bring them in the 11th time but I think at that point, you would look for to switch to a whatsapp or through an email and you

you’d keep going across the keep trying across the different mediums rather than keep trying for one way which in the past and without with a system that doesn’t provide a layer of internet interaction history and you will continue to do I think contact centres growing or do you think this sort of like changing because different channels have different cost profiles, right. So for example, if your whatsapp, you certain amount that you can, you can automate as well as you can have, you know, chat bots.

Those kinds of things you can take some of the cost out. But but there’s also then still a need to have real people sometimes as well, dealing with much more sort of complex issues means sort of how you sort of seen that that dynamic changing and you think context centre is growing or shrinking or changing how you think and change, I’d said it’s been more of a move towards digital so that there is no doubt that the voice element of contact centres is on the decline, I mean, you just have to look at the statistics and the data out there to see that, however, the the industry continues to evolve, and I’d say two or more self serve model, if you will. So this is something which has been accelerated by the continued growth of digital and something which I personally my customers are a big fan of. So to stay ahead of the competition and to reduce your costs and to ensure that contact centres Don’t.

Don’t go off business, it’s essential that you’ve detailed a comprehensive IVR and workflow. So directing people to websites or filling in personal details rather than wasting their time over the phone is much quicker for the customer and keeps agents available for more pressing matters. With waiting in a queue on hold for ages, I mean, we’ve all done it, it’s very annoying. So some of the Hold Music says it centres the people who said So providing people with an option to be called back when someone becomes available is much better for the customer. And it’s so much better for the business reputation than having someone waiting for half an hour on hold. If you’ve got system that can trigger a call back when an edge becomes available, that’s much better for customers. So because of self service staff don’t have to be a jack of all trades, if you will, which perhaps they previously would be. So when it comes to the customer, the business can allow them to become the agents to become specialists in certain areas, which allows customers to have better outcomes, more positive outcomes to positive outcomes, you could then trigger your workflow, perhaps to send a quick CSAT review by text because you know that because of the specialism of the agent dealing with due to the workflow, the outcome is more likely to be positive than negative. If you trigger a quick CSAT by your system that you’re enhancing your day, you’re enhancing your reputation and and it’s just a click of a button. It’s not it’s not a mundane process, which previously what they saw, the move towards digital is ultimately, like I said, this is reducing the role of voice in contact centres, but it’s allowing the voice element of contact centres to become much more efficient and effective. So all the other bells and whistles that you can build in a workflow businesses can now create a better customer experience whilst having the flexibility to keep changing and keep up with modern challenges. I mean, what does it mean for the for the call centre agent or the device on the phone numbers, I mean, they’re going to have a richer, a richer work life because they’re going to get more complex or more complexity or more engaging type of conversations.

I think he I think going back it just allows him to become more specialist in certain areas. So if you’re, which ultimately for an agent, as well will then allow them to maybe move on to better things within their careers. So if you’re say, say 10 years ago, and you’re working in a call centre, let’s just say let’s take a bank, for example. And you’re perhaps expected to understand

okay, so your role Matt Taylor taken taken all the details of people that might take credit cards might take

loans, you’re all the different bells and whistles of a bank, whereas with the acceleration of digital and IVR, and workflows allows people to become far more specialists in certain areas, which, if you’re then becoming a specialist in certain areas, it opens, it builds your knowledge within that area, but it also opens doors for you to then move on to maybe so let’s say I don’t know that you part of the credit team in a bank and you are responsible for dealing with

repayments, you can become a proper specialist in that area. And then that will allow you to become so knowledgeable that you can then move on to maybe management or maybe another role, but on a credit business or something like that. It just I think it enriches the agent. And also, you’re not going to get as many

calls. If you’re not I mean, you’re not going to get as many angry people down the phone because you’re going to be in a far better position to help them achieve what it is that they’re looking to achieve.

I mean one of the I don’t know what you find, but one of the things that frustrates me is whenever I call up a call centre, or a contact centre on the voice is like every single time no matter what time I call, they seem to be having an unusually high voice

volume. And usually we’re on hold for like 4050 minutes. So it does seem like there’s a huge opportunity to almost like, take some of that volume out there. And and usually I would call in if, if I haven’t been able to do something online. And so there’s a requirements call in so it feels like there’s there’s an opportunity there to put that automation in place otter to try and take that out. Do you think we’ve done enough of that in the industry to, to really look at that, because it feels like maybe the opportunity to get better service levels is the push in the automation? And the

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I’d agree completely. I think that. And I think the spotlight boils down to which businesses are staying ahead of the game, I think businesses who have adapted this change and ultimate it the systems to be much more

live, more or less on hold friendly, if you will. Reducing the wait times is, is imperative. And I think businesses who have created workflows and businesses who have two different methods of communication such as chat bots, and patiently creating a way in which it where the agent is

the last resort, that becomes then businesses are the ones that are thriving ones were, you’re on hold for a long time. So maybe, for example, public. So I find sometimes my mom will be the doctor.

Whenever I try to bring in the doctors, it’s on hold for a long, long time.

Obviously, because that’s public sector, it doesn’t have the same business needs, but you. But from a personal perspective, it could certainly grow. And certainly I think businesses who have automated are in a far stronger position to achieve more growth. What do you think the main barrier is to do the automation taking that volume out to improve service level? Right? So if you if you automate the process, you improve service level, but what’s, what’s the barrier? Why are you seeing that clients? Maybe don’t get to it. So when you come into a business, how do they leverage that opportunity?


sometimes it’s the fear of the unknown. I think, sometimes people, it goes back to one of my earlier points, that the businesses that stay ahead of the game are the ones are sorry, the businesses that will continue to thrive and stay ahead of the competitors, and ones that keep ahead of the game in terms of technology. And I think, when you have

sometimes businesses who have done things in a certain way for so many years and had success with trying to get them marginal gains is something by getting them marginal gains, but also having to change something which has been working for so many years, they kind of look at it as a risk and reward and they maybe don’t see the advantage in it. And I think that is I think it also ultimately boils down to human beings and mindset in terms of

how much do you want this change? And also, how much do you need this change? I mean, what drives a person to and what drives the business to feel like they need this change? And sometimes, if something’s working, rather than maybe switching to make it work better, they see as well, why would I change it when it’s working, even though they could gain more, it’s the risk and reward.

And one of the things we chatted about before is supposes software as a service. And I know that you guys, don’t you run it run a SASS platform. But but as far as just to talk a little bit about suppose the importance of sought SAS SAS models and how they’ve grown, but then also, also the whole piece around sort of user configurability. Seems like that’s a bit of a theme coming up. And I think I think you’ve probably seen some of the same with that.

Well, I’d say the left in popularity and in SAS is largely driven by the speed of implementation. So this evolution will continue. And it will boil down to

what I like to call when am I called client, so the slow death of on prem. So Web RTC has meant that call centres have allowed the growth of flexible work and they’ve allowed businesses to plug business critical software from a browser and a headset, as opposed to having to be in a certain place at a certain time. And I think having that ability to be able to plug into your business and your infrastructure at the click of a button from anywhere as opposed to having big clunky equipment that you have to be on site using is imperative to business growth and that’s only going to continue and SAS software services. It’s it’s the future Crysta cringy as that sounds is, what why would you have physical equipment when you can have something that you can pay for

monthly, and you can have more competitiveness in the market, you’ve got more, the ability to be competitive with a SaaS model and provide a better service is more critical as well, because it’s so simple to just, it’s like a button to switch, it’s a click of a button to change provider, it’s rolling monthly contracts, things like that, as opposed to signing a three year contract where

someone’s gonna have to come and it literally build systems in and around your, your area. So yeah, I think this this, this theme of user configurability, seems like that’s been a bit of a growing thing in the last couple of years, which is sort of like the cost of change, even when you’ve got a system, talk about an on prem system, you’d have the, the engineers come in and sort of make the change. And it’s sort of that that cost of your change cost associated with that. It does feel like there’s a suite of Systems that are sort of saying, Well, you can configure this yourselves, you’re much more in control than you ever were before. And it’s almost like that seems like a cost. It’s almost like getting taken out of the business as well as part of the SAS model. Yeah, well, I think having the ability to, like you said, the way in which engineers would previously come in and they would set it all up and it would be far more, right. This is the system this is how it works. Having that ability, which we provide and and a number of other competitors provide where you can have assessor a session where we call them technical specifications, where you will quite literally spend time. So we provide obviously, as we saw previously, an omni channel platform. So like, you know, this is what it’s centred around is centred around voice, it’s centred around communication methods, but you can tailor that system that saw that it’s best suited to your agent and best suited to how your business is going to want to operate. So going back to cell 37, building workflows, being able to configure your system to say, so for example, we have clients across multiple industries. So if your public sector, being able to build a workflow that maybe will take you to a payment system to pay your council tax, if you’re a retail business, it can take you two, you can build it so it will take you to a system to a customer service review and things like that and being able to apply that bespoke model is critical to personalising business critical software, the configurability, I think is kind of is kind of interesting in terms of like, being able to respond to it, I suppose. And,

and sort of taking that take taking that cost. And that cost out. So as one of the things I wanted to chat a little bit about is obviously we’ve seen

a huge amounts of change over the last couple of years. And now we’ve seen even more conflict, you know, in Europe, and we’re seeing a sort of conflict, and I suppose, how should we start thinking about BCP, I suppose, just in terms of reacting to maybe future changes, because I think COVID sort of took us as a bit of a shot.

Yeah. So I think one thing I would like to touch on with this, I think it’s important to look at failover, and geo redundancy. So setting up instances where your data can be

if say, for example, so we use AWS, as our source of death centre, said to us, London goes down having that failover to just switch to put it to me, I stopped when limits the implications. And I think it’s important to ensure that businesses because of the cloud, and because it’s maybe so how we talked about on prem, if it goes down, it’s a map, it was a success.

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Somebody, somebody comes and fixes it, and it’s a physical fix, because it’s in the cloud, it’s imperative to ensure that your business is in a position to run as smoothly as possible. 24/7 kind of agree answers, we just have to start thinking about those things maybe that we didn’t think about before. And I think one of the things that the pandemic sort of made us think about was, you might have unforeseen shocks that you’ve got to sort of prepare for.

Definitely, definitely, I mean, the pandemic has transformed the way that business operates. There’s no,

no denying it, and having

a plan in place for if we have to work from home if your clients so becomes if not retrievable being able to just switch that over and being able to, yeah, just ensure that if you’re thrown in a situation where you can’t come into the office, or you’re thrown into a situation where unfortunately, maybe data centres in Ukraine will have been attacked. You need to be in a position where that data or your business operations that can be quickly adapted

To fit the situation.

And going back to suppose just remote working, hybrid working, and we talk a little bit about sort of post keeping morale up and those kinds of things and sort of being sort of stuck and stuck at home. What are some of the things that that you’re looking at? Or you kind of feel really, I suppose in terms of like, how do you keep morale up? And how do you keep that interconnection kind of going? What’s your kind of view on that? Is it is it one day back in the office? Is it is it, you know, Flexi time? Is it sort of, you know, a couple of days a week, is it one day a month? What what’s what’s, what’s your what, what are some of the infrastructures that you’ve seen being put in?

So, I mean, personally, I think that having hybrid working is going to remain and it’s going to be it should be encouraged. I mean, going back to the earlier point about how attracting employees has evolved, hybrid working is becomes essential. So it ties very heavily in with the question in terms of ensuring that people have flexibility with their lives. And especially for those who have young children or long commutes, I think those are the two things that stick out for me in terms of the hybrid work. From a personal perspective, I think it is crucial to ensure that there remains an element of office life or even if it is just a one day a week human interaction is pivotal. And it’s not something that can be replicated on zooms or zooms.

It’s not something that can be replicated on Zoom, or teams or Google meat, things like that. So I think in terms of maintaining morale, and quality control, if you will, that boils down to the quality of management, and also the quality of the technology that you have to support your staff. So contact centres and companies that have heavy communication requirements for their staff,

they could really thrive with modules that we have in our system, one that sticks out is called gamification, which essentially is an incentive intensification module. So if you make a certain amount of codes, if you have a certain wrap time, you can build up points and ensure that you have

as high as they can win rewards and vouchers, things like that you can you can go back to the configuration, you can configure all of that around your your business and how that best works for you. And I think also just little things like going back to the management thing, having a having a good manager, especially when you’re working from home or hybrid work and ensuring that motivation is there. While you’re not in the office, seeing someone it’s hard, I have lost back for the good managers out there. And having the right manager to encourage that productivity of and ensuring that people will thrive is critical. And that’s so that’s the two things I would say in terms of that thing, habit, maybe technology that supplements morale and supplements working. And the human element is good management should not you know, find almost like just sometimes it’s just the change of scene. So like you sort of sit in the in your office and you feel like you’re there all the time, and you’ve been there for maybe not nearly three years now. And it’s just that changes scene just being in the office. And even if you’re not in like loads of meetings just just allows you to concentrate different it’s a bit like going to work from the library or going to work from a coffee shop or whatever it is it just, it just breaks or breaks your concentration to allows you to concentrate in a different way. Maybe 100%. I mean, like I said before, I think it one of the things I personally struggled with in COVID was

sort of finishing work. And then you know how you’d have to commute in to sort and then you’d get home. And it’s almost like a reset when you get home. And this is right. This is my chill time now, with during COVID I really struggled personally with the concepts of like finishing work. And then sort of looking around them in LA. I’m still here.

I used to commute to the kitchen.

Yeah, well.

I think I think it does get important to have a clear split between what what’s your workspace and what sort of the beginning of the pandemic I was in a house. And so I didn’t have the option to sort of work work from another room other than my bedroom. I mean, now I’ve got my own flights, and it’s very different. I work from the spare room and then connect. So it’s a lot, a lot better. But yeah, and I think what was another thing I noticed with with Zoom and teams and stuff when you’re doing these these big meetings, it’s when when you’re on the phone with people, obviously, sometimes you’ll have 20 people on there and it’s very mechanical in terms of only one person can speak at once. If you’re in an office that can be three or four different conversations going on. You don’t have to like tailor it to just one person speaking and don’t have to worry about people speaking over each other and it’s just that human interaction. It boils down to human interaction. Then you find themes and zoom are quite interesting. It’s almost like you have to really sort of be on all the time. So if you’re in a

big meeting actually, you could be having a little bit of a conversation with your neighbour about what’s being said or those few have those sidebar conversations. Or as you’re on Zoom, you’re not allowed to say anything, but you have to also be very much sort of concentrating like we are like we are now sort of thing is like, because you’re on show, it feels like you’re almost like more exposed to certain extent. And it’s quite, it’s a different dynamic.

Kyle, thank you very much for making the time. It’s fascinating discussion as ever, and I really appreciate it. So thanks very much. No problem. It’s been an honour Chris,

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