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Megan Neale: Now. We have another great session coming up. It’s so great to be here at disruptive season this spring. My name is Mike and now I’m one of the co-founders. I’m so pleased to have Roger here with me today. My co-founder and partner in crime and we’re from Limitless, a platform which provides crowdsourcing for customer service. And we’re so happy to be able to share with you all views. We’ve had the pride and privilege of spending our entire careers in customer service, and we’re thrilled to be able to share some of our thoughts about what we think the future of gigs and customer experience holds.

Roger Beadle: So we wanted to cover three areas in particular today. One is the people that provide great customer experience. Two is the technology that enables them to do so on behalf of their brands. And three are, from a customer perspective, the customers that they serve. What are they demanding now and in the future from companies in terms of their customer experience?

Megan Neale: Yeah, well, so I hope that resonates with everybody. So if we take that first topic, people, I agree with you as well, by the way. What do you think are the kind of primary challenges with regards to people when we’re thinking about the customer experience landscape now and in the near and mid-term future.

Roger Beadle: Where there are of course lots of challenges and they’ll be different for each and every company. But I think there are three big ones that come to mind. I think the first for me is around the knowledge and the speed to competency of the people that are providing customer service. The second would be around the availability and the accessibility to recruit that talent into the business. And then third, I think is around attrition and turnover of staff and and low pay across the world and across the industry in terms of how much people that provide customer service on behalf of brands are actually paid.

Megan Neale: Yeah, no, I agree. And if we just touch on knowledge in a little bit more detail there. I just from my own point of view and kind of talking to lots of major brands about some of the challenges they’re seeing in their environments, some of the biggest challenges is just tapping into the native knowledge that people have on a products and service without having to train them. Some of the large challenges around these pretty long what we call speed to competence in the industry and sometimes take between three and six months to take an agent in a call centre from walking in the door to get up to speed to help customers in the way that the brand would love to do so. And so we’re seeing that being a massive challenge of how do we do that in this new world where actually people don’t want to work 9 to 5 or their shifts in contact centres. And also the second piece is how do we use A.I. as an enabler to help that knowledge get up to speed quicker? So for me, two key points. How do we get people with the knowledge from the start and how do we help them with A.I. on an ongoing basis?

Roger Beadle: Yeah, definitely. And we kind of then think about, well, what do you find those people with that native knowledge and that that competency? How do you find them in the world at the moment? So I think we need to understand who they are and how the labour market is changing in the kind of global picture. I mean, firstly, the dynamics are changing. So Millennials, Gen Zs are making up and will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. And how they work is going to be very different to the generations that have gone before them and what they want to do and especially as well since COVID, how people are wanting to work, whether they want to work in a hybrid, working in the office, working more remotely. So we need to adapt in terms of the industry with regards to finding and accessing that talent. People really in a summary I think want to work on their own terms more. They want to work where they want to, when they want to and how much they want to do so in a way that they want to do it. And how can companies enable that to be a reality? Because if they can, they can then be able to access the talent they need.

Megan Neale: That amazing knowledge that exists anywhere in the world. And I think another key stat is that by Forbes Gartner, many organisations are actually predicting that over 50% of the workforce in the US alone will be doing some form of freelancing or gig work at some point within the next few years and the years change, but from anything from 25 to to 2030. And I think the third point you raise around attrition and pay, I mean there’s a massive driver always has been in the industry to reduce attrition a significant percentage of. That resource simply isn’t there 12 months after starting, which means you lose a huge amount of the knowledge and training effort that is being put into those individuals. But over and above that, there is an absolute need with the cost of living increasing everywhere in the world to pay people more. It’s essential. These roles across the world have been. Minimum wage. Largely in its entirety. So finding a way to tap into ways to pay people more, to attract talent that has higher skills, native knowledge, working on their own terms has to be the way forward to provide a scalable but also robust solution for customer experience.

Roger Beadle: I totally agree. And, you know, and looking at how to do that, whether it’s through taking out non frontline resources, overheads, the systems themselves, the cost of the systems which would perhaps talk a bit about a bit more about later, how do we do that in order to pay people who provide great customers experiences to others more and what they’re worth and what on what’s required, I think. So in summary, I mean, I think really what companies are looking to or going to need to be able to do is create more fluidity in their workforce and more agility. And to do that, they’re going to need to attract different kinds of talent into their business who can help customers in the way that they’re going to need to be supported in the future? So let’s move on to the second area, which was the technology that will enable this new workforce in the future and what potentially some of those challenges are. Megan, what what do you see the challenges from a technology perspective?

Megan Neale: Yeah, well, it’s clearly going to have a massive impact on the way organisations can really and radically change the operating environment that the X resources are using. But I think there’s three core things that we need to resolve as an industry the fastest around accessibility and simplicity. Second is security and compliance. And the third is cost. So I’d love to dig into those three with you.

Roger Beadle: Yeah, no, I think I think they are three big, big, big areas for sure. Definitely. When we’re thinking about enabling that kind of more agile, more fluid work force. So the first, I think you were saying around accessibility and simplicity of systems. So the simplicity of use of those systems and the accessibility to the information, the data to make it to complete the transaction, that’s what we mean we mean by accessibility. So I think, you know, there’s been a desire, a recognition that legacy systems, multiple systems are really difficult for us to train C X resources to be able to use. And if you couple that with that attrition and turnover, you know, this is compounding the problem of that speed to competency that we were speaking about. So effectively, if we can actually put in that kind of one interface that enables the six resources of the future to be able to and I think control the access that’s down to a single customer record, a single cut to be able to complete a specific transaction. So by enabling those resources to do that, I think is going to be a big part of making it more simple and giving them the access to what they need when they need it. Cutting out a lot of the complexity that exists today in all of these multiple legacy systems.

Megan Neale: Yeah, no, I agree completely. And when you start to think about the fluidity of the workforce that’s needed, that they’re going to be anywhere in the world, they’re going to be in any environments, they’re going to be using any device, even whether that’s a mobile device to engage, whether that’s a laptop, what type of security. So the compliance aspect of that is critical and layering on technology. Now, um, like voice recognition, face recognition to make sure that the person who’s logged on to perform that task can help that customer is the person that you have approved and verified is absolutely critical. So for me, there’s, I agree with you baseline in the technology to get the simplicity of the interface so that we can get the speed to competency really low. But then it’s how do we make sure that that person performing the task is the person you think they are? Because ultimately in a contact centre environment, you know, they’re physically there in front of you, in the remote working landscape. It’s very different. And then what about cost? What do you think that.

Roger Beadle: Yeah, and absolutely. I think from a cost perspective, we’ve been in the industry now over 25 years, believe it or not. And we’ve seen a huge change in the technology and movement from big on premise systems requiring lots of support to the advent of cloud and and the march towards cloud and movement there. But it’s very it’s very expensive. And the way that you need to consume and buy the technology and the context in the industry is very is very costly. So per seat, per licence, per user. Not too much flexibility in terms of that cost base. Even even with the first move to the cloud, it’s not created that cost reduction that everybody has seen. So I think what’s going to happen and what we’re seeing is the competition. So us Kinect entering the market a while back, but now very recently Google coming in and even more recently using contact centre technology. So the competition is growing all the time. The move to cloud is unstoppable and it’s growing faster all the time. And with that, what we’re going to see is a move to more consumption based pricing and a lower cost for that consumption based pricing. It’s inevitable. And of course, that is one area that if we can look to reduce the cost, we can then look to pay people more who provide great customer service. But what we can also do is begin to look at ways that those cost savings can also enable a much bigger workforce. So fluidity and agility is going to require people working much more in smaller bite size, you know, maybe per task even, or very small shifts. And therefore, we can need more people. So. It’s really important. If we can move to consumption pricing, it’s going to enable that to happen.

Megan Neale: I completely agree. And I just like to imagine, rather than having 500 people in a contact centre, have 5000 people wherever in the world with the skills you need, the talent, the languages you need, and all using the same systems in the most secure way, delivering you that amazing quality of service. All current technology, infrastructure and pricing does not support that, and that has to change to support the future. So let’s think about customers. Our final and third topic. Um, what do you think of their core expectations in terms of the way they’ll engage with these brands that they know and love?

Roger Beadle: Yeah, well, we’re consumers. Everybody here is consumers. We are moving very much in changing our behaviours. So I think many things are still true as they used to be, but certain things are changing. I think what we’re seeing is definitely customers would love to sell so they, they don’t want to have to contact organisations unless they have to, unless they can see a value in doing so. So that I think is continuing to be a key focus for organisations. They want to, I think, communicate on their own terms. So what that means is engage when they want to and they want to engage with them in whichever kind of channels that I think that are readily available and easy to access again and simple to access those organisations. They want it fast. Responsiveness I think is, is another key point off the back of that that they they very want to do so in a very fast way. And then empathy, I think people just have shared experiences and really understand them. Yeah, I mean.

Megan Neale: I agree. And I think the interesting listening, you kind of list out those four points and it really means and points towards an agile, fluid workforce because to get responsiveness 24 seven, you need a wide resource for you can’t have a very restricted reason to do that. To get empathy, you need to be able to connect the customer with someone who is like them, who has a shared experience, who knows the product inside out, who hasn’t had to spend six months training to get to that point. And of course, um, in the preferred channels, I’m a big believer that, um, the customer can choose to engage when they want to, but when they do, the organisation has to respond almost instantaneously. And of course that’s very difficult to do with our traditional models like chat and voice. And so we are seeing asynchronous messaging kind of pick up, but I do think that will be the channel of the future.

Roger Beadle: Yeah, I think I totally agree. And I think with that asynchronous messaging, which to everybody else effectively means that experience that we have when we’re sending an SMS or a WhatsApp message or Facebook messenger, those are increasing in everyday life. And consumers are very keen to be able to talk to brands using that channel. I think we’re definitely seeing kind of this live the death of live chat, you know, in terms of this necessity to have to schedule people and try to create these big labour forces that are there to have this continuous conversation. We are all working in unconnected comms in kind of disconnected conversations in as much as they’re aggregated over time. So, you know, I think that’s definitely important. However, as you say, the responsiveness. So making sure that you have the agility of the workforce to be there, to respond fast kind of on demand, but equally allowing the consumer to respond at their own pace. I think that’s really important. And then finally, I think as you were saying, from my perspective, empathy and it’s been something we’ve been trying to train, develop, recruit for, for 25 years. But really true empathy comes from understanding and potentially walking in the same shoes of those consumers. And I think there’s no place replacement for if you have people that are passionate about products and services and about the brands and they actually use them themselves and have that kind of hands on experience, that thing enables them to have that empathy, to understand how to help and solve those kind of customer issues or add value to the customer and show them how they’ve got the experience, the value from those products and services like.

Megan Neale: So I guess we’re imagining a world where we never have to train anyone. They know everything they need to know. They have tools and systems that make it easy for them that everywhere and anywhere. And effectively it means the customer gets the service they need whenever they want it. There’s no friction point in that whatsoever.

Roger Beadle: Absolutely. So in summary, I think, you know, we know that the industry, the future lies in a changing who is providing great customer experiences, where they’re working on a global scale and how they’re working perhaps on a on a gig basis or on a on a much more kind of reduced scheduled basis. So much more part time work. You know, and I think, you know, we’re very proud, I know, to be part of that.

Megan Neale: Yeah. So thank you very much. It’s been an amazing opportunity to share our thoughts with you today and about the role of gig CX in remote working. Enjoy the rest of your day