Episode 21: Innovation in remote work by utilizing offshore BPO
What you’ll learn about in this episode
Over the past 2 years the employment picture has morphed into something new, and the ARM market is facing some challenges in finding qualified candidates to fill jobs leading to a marked increase in the number of first-time outsourcers looking to offshore their customer-service, back-office and technical support functions. Many first time outsourcers have specialized needs, for instance screening of medical records, insurance claims processing, research and surveys etc. In this episode we’ll explore the evolution of this rising niche in our industry, why it will continue to be a viable option, and how you can develop an outsourcing strategy that helps your business grow with Clinton Cohen of IContact BPO .
Customer experience or CX is a process of combining technology and people to enhance a brand’s reach and data driven touch points, and improve the customer experience by meeting customers at any stage in the customer journey. This episode will provide insight into CX from a business process outsourcing point of view, and highlight South Africa’s IContact BPO as a viable offshore option.
Why Outsourcing makes sense, especially now
What sets South Africa apart from other options
How BPO is a growing solution to the employment problems of the great resignation
Key points to consider when developing an outsourcing strategy
Guest: Clinton Cohen
Clinton is the chief executive officer of IContact BPO in Johannesburg, South Africa and is an experienced c-suite executive with a demonstrated history of leading in the outsourcing/offshoring industry from South Africa, specializing in customer experience.
LinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clinton-cohen-ba181095/
LinkedIn Company: https://www.linkedin.com/company/icontact-bpo/
Lex Patterson 0:11
kindred force media over the past two years, the employment picture has morphed into something new. And the accounts receivable market is facing some challenges in finding qualified candidates to fill jobs, leading to a marked increase in the number of first time outsourcers. Looking to offshore their customer service, back office and technical support functions. Many outsourcers have specialized needs for instance, screening of medical records, insurance, claims, and processing research and surveys. In this episode, we’ll explore the evolution of this rising niche in our industry. Why it will continue to be a viable option and how you can develop an outsourcing strategy that helps your business grow with Clinton Cohen of IContact BPO Here we go. Hi Clinton. It’s good to see you again. Thank you for coming on the podcast
Clinton Cohen 1:23
Great to see you again Lex thanks for having me.
Lex Patterson 1:26
Tell us where this podcast podcast finds you Clinton.
Clinton Cohen 1:29
Lex I am down at our operational office in Cape Town in sunny South Africa. Nice, and where are you today?
Lex Patterson 1:39
I’m in Utah we’ve got some snow on the ground here it’s springtime we need the water so it’s a good thing. But it is it’s it’s actually turned back to winter a little bit here. How about you?
Clinton Cohen 1:50
We’re heading into to our autumn we certainly can’t compared to snow and being blessed. But then say eautiful beautiful end of summer going into autumn? Absolutely no complaints for half a minute on my end.
Lex Patterson 2:08
Yeah, my favorite time of year fall, you know, so beautiful. Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah, well, let’s start this conversation off by getting to know you tell us about your journey into BPO or business process outsourcing
Clinton Cohen 2:24
licks. It’s been a fantastic journey for me coming out of an entrepreneurial background in hospitality and transitioning into the world of BPO. I think first and foremost, you know, having customer service being ingrained in the entrenched in the from my early ways of work, have certainly assisted and kind of helped develop me into understanding the world of customer service and customer journey. Moving into the BPO world, quickly realizing there, come out of a dark environment, stop counting and and that way of work to moving in transitioning into people data and technology has really been a great learning, a great learning and really quick adaption in my world. But an absolutely wonderful space to be in when I first transitioned coming out of hospitality into the context into BPO environment and realizing, you know, quote, Stephen Covey here and the 10,000 steps 10,000 miles on the context into flow. I’ve done those. I’ve done some of them, I’m doing many more, and continuing to learn and absolutely, really enjoying the journey as I’m going. And that’s been tremendous to transition into this industry in the sector and continuing to learn as as I grow within the industry.
Lex Patterson 3:58
Yeah. Well, and you mentioned, Stephen Covey. And what a great I mean, I love his stuff, I’ve read his number of his books, and actually attended a seminar with him one time, which was a really cool experience, too. So he really lays a great foundation there seek first to understand, you know, there’s so much that’s so applicable to life and to customer service. So kudos on that. That’s cool.
Clinton Cohen 4:20
And that’s what that’s what I love about is his work as well. You know, there’s so much there not only from a business perspective, but also on the personal journey. Yeah. Yeah. Right, the next day with me,
Lex Patterson 4:32
right? Yeah. And with your role that you’ve got there, you’re coming into an organization that has a deep deep background and legacy around debt collection. You want to talk a little bit about that too.
Clinton Cohen 4:43
So our group holding company AlefBet Holdings Group, really founded in 2002 with two brothers Daniel in their own Shapiro and day to day journey here in the South African domestic market with Italy It’s an accounts receivable. And again, I think you know, what I love about their legacy. And what I love about the journey is starting a contact center with four agents on day one, then the guy resigns on day one. Today, they’ve really both are formidable the collection business domestically with, you know, 50 to 60, blue chip clients in various different sectors, financial services, medical healthcare, utilities, and really a strongest state across our today group holding, if you fast forward that conversation to 2015, where the team was getting a lot of inquiries to be everything other than debt collection. There comes Clinton current CEO of eye contact today, where the team was very operationally focused in the debt collection businesses and said, Hey, Clint, known them from growing up in family homes together, so a trusted pair of safe hands, they knew I was on a sabbatical between hospitality and my next venture. And when the team called me in 2015, saying, Hey, we’ve got these opportunities, we need someone to drive it was an absolute great timing, great to be able to step into my role and have the expertise of what was then you know, and what still is the legacy of collections expertise in the background, and now leveraging into BPO. And going down this uncharted, blank canvas that gave us gives us the opportunity to create BPO side of our business, which is one of tremendous international clients servicing North America, Canada, Australia and the UK. So deep domain knowledge in collections, but it was worth a fair understanding of the experience and expertise of what the team had created before me. Brady gave me kind of that springboard that kickstart into the world and having them to lean on with really great experience in a context center.
Lex Patterson 7:11
Yeah, I love stories like that about connecting the dots, you know, right people, right time. Right? Opportunity. You know, and it just it’s meshing, you know, so yeah, really cool.
Clinton Cohen 7:22
Lex Patterson 7:23
Let’s talk about the debt and economic landscape in the footprint of your company. And what you’re seeing out there, tell it tell us a little bit about that. Next, you
Clinton Cohen 7:33
know, with with with a disruptive called COVID. And I’m just gonna use that as an example. And not that I want to harp too much on COVID, because we’re glad to see the back of it. And in some sense, you know, what we’ve really seen thus far for understanding people technology and having those processes, but kind of going through COVID, what we saw with the with the economic landscape, and kind of where it’s still, the aftermath of that has really shifted, what we experienced going through the past two and a bit years, but really the conversation needing to shift around hardcore debt collection versus brands needing to understand that people and their lifestyles and the needs may have changed through COVID people in the hospital, people in the hospitality sector that really lost their businesses, and important for us to kind of go back and at a client level in those narratives changed around just sensitivity and understanding and payment holidays and payment gaps and payment breaks. Really, you know, we’re the early stage. And and again, you know, I think, not unique to us, or anyone for that matter, because it affected everyone across the board. But those old approaches didn’t really work the same way. And it was how do we shift? How do we change that conversation. And what we really saw from it was ensuring that we come in with a customer service call rather than a debt collection call and, and level of empathy and understanding which we are now seeing the benefits of those together with our clients. That having changed those conversations, having engaged with people and really connected with them on the human factor is resulting in those of brand loyalty is resulting in people’s needs now changing post COVID and how they then can, you know, pay those debts but it really disrupted that didn’t call it a global pandemic financing. Right. So, yeah, but it was really connecting on those levels. Yeah. And really reaping the benefits and results now.
Lex Patterson 9:52
Yeah. So South Africa in particular, your your collection climate. I mean, tell us tell us a little bit about tell listeners a little bit about what you guys are seeing as far as like the economic landscape in comparison, let’s say to the US or like, what are some of the challenges? What what what do you feel are some of the things that are going on there?
Clinton Cohen 10:12
Yeah. So I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a great question, great topic to talk to you economically financially, you know, meeting people that their various different journeys, various different stages of where they’re at what we what we see and what we’re delivering on. And we’re seeing more accounts being handed over, but possibly less people able to pay those accounts. So that actually rings true in the South African market, what we see probably differently in the eye contact in the BPO sector is if we look towards North America, some of the contact center challenges are really trying to get people back into context centers with a labor shortage is being impacted, possibly more on your end of the world. And for that reason, then we’re seeing an increase in opportunity coming out to a destination like South Africa, whose recent recently just had first place within the ad last year, we had it on our own, are we still in that global, most favored CX destination? This year, we’ve just paid the accolade first. And we’ll continue to take first we’ll share it will be selfish, we’ll have it on whatever it takes. Yeah. A first is a first and we’ll take about so what we’ve seen is a lot of global reach outs coming back out in North America saying, Hey, we’re looking for outsourcing partners. Can you help? And yeah, I mentioned labor shortage being one of those. But I think also where it kind of derived from is, when COVID hits and 2020, April, March, March, April, organizations, pivot to the businesses needed to keep the lights on got everyone working remotely, and possibly went, Hey, we may have been scared to outsource historically. But now I entire businesses working from home, maybe outsourced and start to scary. And that’s what we’ve seen an increase coming out of the North American market, in fact, from a global perspective, anyway, being labor shortage being one of the primary reasons that I think secondly, being the disrupter called COVID. really changing the landscape? On a global side.
Lex Patterson 12:37
Yeah. Which is interesting, because you mentioned COVID. And then it seems to me like you’ve got COVID, you’ve got the great resignation going on as well. And you’ve got, it seems like a lot of companies in the space are concerned about the impact of hybrid remote work, and specifically the the impact that will have on their culture and customer care in virtual delivery models, you know, and it seems to, to me, like in some of the conversations that I’m having that companies have recognized that outsourcing might be a way to fill the gaps that they’re dealing with to better compete in ways that won’t maybe impact their cultures. Do I have that right?
Clinton Cohen 13:17
You do Lex. And so that’s a, you know, a great statement and a great topic to discuss as well. I mean, you know, talking about how contact centers or managing remote teams really changed from traditional brick and mortar, you know, where a normal Team Lead ratio would be less than say, you know, one to 12, what we saw being in a remote environment leading to smaller, make testing smaller one to six, in order for the team to continue, check in engage, have those sessions important to ensure that those connections are being made. So the world of work in those harbored models definitely shifted the business strategies and the way to engage ensuring that culture isn’t lost, performance delivery isn’t lost. We’re done. In many instances, they did come the great availability of technology, and we saw those increase, you know, things like the zoom key. The wonderful tech stuff that has come through has really allowed organizations to have deep connections, continued connections with employees in those remote environments. I think when you start moving into regulated space and things where protection of cardholder information PCI and certainly together with ISO standards and certifications and data protection and security come about those conversations were really tested through this period. How do we ensure that our teams can still deliver safety and security about working remotely. So, you know, we did see the support through technology, allowing those instances, and ensuring that delivery would continue in a seamless way, with all the bells and whistles that a brick and mortar would have. What you do lose from that brick and mortar is really having those environment when, and I’ll use the sales environment, you know, we know that celebrating those wins, and having that in house feeling of God’s creating those sales, and I’m going to use the wolf analogy where they go out and hunt in packs, right? So get Yeah, you’ve got a team, and how do you still celebrate those wins where people are selected. And it was really through technology, and the implementation of bringing organizations that allowed that team to still hunt as a pack, even though they might be working remotely from their homes, and we saw tremendous winds through those. So again, absolutely love the technology, cause through disruption. And again, it was always there, it was probably just lost track. But we kind of felt that it would come in the next, you know, three to five years where all of a sudden, now, you had no choice, but to implement back to deploy, and ensure that some of that culture has not lost not only the culture of the human to human engagement, but that celebration, those wins. And you can talk about it, even from onboarding new employees through the pandemic that now I’ve never come in to brick and mortar, who are onboarding digitally remotely. And it’s how you bring those employees through that experience. How you translate that company culture and fit to people was really an eye opener, I think an eye opener, not only for me. But I think for the larger colleagues in industry that we we face the same and sharing some of those stories over the past two years has been tremendous to see how different companies have adopted various different technologies to be able to deliver the connected remote from home scenario.
Lex Patterson 17:24
Yeah, and I think the part that’s striking to me is, and I think we’re kind of in a way, like, in my opinion, Clinton a little bit on the front end of this with debt collection, and some even some of the BPO in North America here. Because, you know, I think, coming out of COVID, you know, I think people are maybe looking to it, like going back to normal, so to speak. But I think I feel like personally, there’s a different, there’s going to be a different challenge coming out of this, I feel like there’s the companies are going to be balancing customer care and culture with, you know, keeping and finding the right talent. Let’s I mean, that, that landscapes totally changed, I think, and being competitive on the biggest item on their balance sheet. When you add in inflation, you add in all the other things that are going on with stimulus stuff that’s happened and higher wage stuff in the US, you know, it’s just more difficult, I think, to find people to do these jobs. And I feel like the ones most likely to succeed are going to be perhaps the ones that learn to adapt and embrace creative solutions. So let’s talk about cultural fit and brand because I know that scenario, I feel like that’s one of the areas where people feel like outsourcing, you know, how does that how does that fit? I mean, what’s what’s been your experience with some of that,
Clinton Cohen 18:45
right? You know, the sentiment is really about finding the partnership approach. And in any outsourcing world, it’s always kind of say, you know, give a problem to a BPO they’ll figure it out. To have that advocacy in your corner is really a great testament. But I think today what you’re finding more and more in kind of any of the client connect patients is really defined. And maybe it’s coming more from the BPOS but being discerning about it’s not just here’s a problem fix it for us because I think if the isn’t that true partnership approach that I’ve spoken about, you’re never going to be able to fix that solution because it’s not a one sided but to the equation. It’s really how does a client and a BPO partner meet their worlds together and work together in a transparent way and and why is a transparent way because it’s not always peaches and cream it’s not always a beautiful stories. There’s many times where you gotta get down and nitty gritty to, you know, be able To talk about the things that aren’t working in order to be able to get to the other side of that picture, where you’re delivering exceptional results. So that relationship, that culture that is always important, and certainly from us at our contact BPO, we come into those clients engagements, and we say, we want to be able to immerse our team 8,000 miles across the pond. We need to be able to inculcate your brand, your business brand that our teams are living, breathing, speaking your way of work. And what you’re seeing is that great divide ready. Listen, today, you and I are on technology, and we are having a frank conversation. But there’s so much more in terms of culture brand and set that speak to different organizations that say, Hey, do we get you? Do we understand you we wanted to, we want to understand the can we work together in that truly transparent, seamless world, there allows us to ensure we reach your dear client Northstar, because that’s what we need to achieve here in order for a win win success, but on the same hand, it’s, it’s about celebrating the wins, talking about the things that aren’t so good and finding the solutions to fix them.
Lex Patterson 21:19
So great. Well, you mentioned a minute ago, you alluded to this being tied for first, and I want to speak to that. So according to the 2022, Ryan strategic advisory front office CX omnibus survey, which is a mouthful, in and of itself, and we’ll put a link to that in the show notes. So you can you can take a look at that as well, but based on the input of nearly 700, enterprise contact center leaders, for the first time in six iterations of this annual survey, a statistical tie for first place between South Africa and India. So yeah, great, great things there. So let’s talk for a minute about though Clinton what you feel sets South Africa apart in terms of customer service, and BPO,
Clinton Cohen 22:08
brilliant Lex, you know, one of one of the things I’m going to lead with is, as a culture, as a country, South Africans are empathetic, due to some of our historic and past, those are things that are ingrained in us. And, you know, when we stand on the global stage, and we always do, proudly, South African, we can’t forget those, you know, we can ever forget our past, what’s created some of us, but what’s what’s created some of the legacy that allows us to stand in with empathy. So when when we talk CX it’s probably one of the highest ranking things coupled together what a third world country with First of all, the infrastructure is another part and English being our native speaking language, our president get up on stage and addresses the nation, we have you live in official languages, but you’ll address the nation in English and have it across some of the other languages but being able to have English as our native speaking language, servicing the global market, predominantly, North America, UK being an English as a great detractions. To why South Africa. I could talk on this topic for weeks about why South Africa and extremely passionate about from that, but again, you know, being being on the global stage, and, you know, tying with India and having Philippines and in second, those are probably our three global global markets that we’ve looked at. But it would be remiss of me to say, I think today, South Africa’s number one competitor would probably be near shore. And what, you know, the Latin Caribbean, Guatemala, Colombia, what those countries are as emerging markets, you know, that’s where we’re seeing probably being a major competitor, or when we’re coming against the international RFPs against those. And the assures a good market wide, because again, they’re a hop, skip and a jump away from North America. And it’s easy for exits to jump down there. But again, you know, we might be a longer flat, but this exceptionally interest and exceptional quality work coming out of the South African market. That’s allowing us to stand on that global stage amongst some of those great names that have come across those polls. And
Lex Patterson 24:45
we spoke a little bit about the technology but speak a little bit to clearly about the workforce.
Clinton Cohen 24:51
Yes, Lex, certainly something I’m extremely passionate about is is creating sustainable employment and that’s The beauty that I’ve had the opportunity to lead our business, unfortunately, South Africa does have a really high unemployment rate. And those are mostly, I’m going to say mostly because I want to talk to, to the impact sources aside too, but of highly skilled, educated youth that are seeking actively seeking employment and in in the market, what what gives us that opportunity, when there are those client requests for those reaches out that allow us to go into our skilled talent pool to recruit and fun, there’s an abundance. So that’s probably a great highlight, or a great feature about why come to South Africa is because there is that talent pool, I’ll move on to to the impact sourcing initiatives and the previously disadvantaged, or those in rural areas, who may never have been exposed to the formal job market, it gives us a second wonderful place to call in dominance in the rapid hunting for those diamonds in the rough and finding those disadvantaged, and being able to go into those informal settlements and run recruitment drives and really, you know, pick up an amazing, talented individual who just could never access the form of job market. And these are the kinds of initiatives that are running here in South Africa. That one we love doing, because again, passionate about creating sustainable, meaningful employment. But I think what that resonates with the global community, is that it kind of fits the corporate social responsibility initiatives that they know, they’re not only that they’re co creators in that because, again, then coming out into the South African market is one because they’re looking for talent, but to have a wonderful story supported by the team that they’re employing is setting and just a good story.
Lex Patterson 27:07
Yeah, for sure. So let’s let’s jump into, like key points to consider when identifying opportunities for outsourcing offshore, you know, so let’s say I have a challenge of trying to find agents and I’m considering offshore as an option. What should we look at? I mean, generally, what opportunities make sense? What are you seeing kind of on the growth? And what are you seeing coming at you?
Unknown Speaker 27:32
So always wonderful question that depends you reengaging that I think, you know, if you engaging with the CFO, the first thing he’s going to talk about is price cost. But today, we know it’s not the price and cost, because it can get a free service delivery, and it’s just gonna fail, right. But for us, what’s most important is the quality conversation. And that we know we get from skilled unemployed youth in South Africa that we’ve got a ballot. So, quality service delivery, coupled together with price are going to be always key, talking points to any particular client wanting to cover up but more importantly is, you know, when we feed that into how we overcome certain attrition factors or agent churn, and you start diving into the details, those would be, you know, additional points that organizations will want to know. So in an organization like contact, we we pay higher than living wage standards, which is three times higher than basic minimum wage levels. And again, we understand investing in the right people from early in the process from recruitment, interviewing stages, all the way up into onboarding. We understand the importance of that. So you mentioned what other cost, quality infrastructure and security, those are table stakes to any of the conversations and, you know, when you talk about what are their security standards, things like having ISO 27,001 9001 are kind of table stakes per game. Then you’ve got PCI, you’ve got soft tissue, you’ve got HIPAA in order to be able to have a seat at the table. Those are, as I said, table stakes. And organizations today are wanting to know that outsourcing their data or their piece of work. They want to know that the landing with a Rockford organization that has all these checks and balances for the right reasons, and that are able to securely deliver back into compliance worlds of work. So we’ve seen that been a tremendous shift over the past two, three years, where organizations had it all in house and then had to pivot agents working from home, and then they’re going well, those aren’t core business processes. And now we don’t need to be scared of outsourcing them to now that consider them and then coming out and really experiencing those proof proof of concepts where we say to those organizations, bring a small team where we’re, we’re able to deliver at least showcase that to you, but it showcase it to you first, and the quality of delivery, the cost may or may not or as those programs scale into the hundreds or the 1000s, they would then have a cost factor element. But again, organizations are more concerned today about quality delivery, Compliance Certification, and they’d be cost probably, you know, on the low end, it depends who you talk to. Because sometimes the end guys do want to talk about prostrata friends and the one that provides the lowest cost location. And again, we’ll come back to our earlier part in the conversation where we’ll go, or maybe they’re not a good fit. Maybe they don’t have that partnership approach in those. And for that reason, we’re out. So but I think clearly, you know, quality is always gonna over promise, time and time again, we’ve seen it and how they know organizations get that right culture fit, like we were talking about earlier.
Lex Patterson 31:43
Yeah. So we talked about culture, we talked about technology, you touched on the privacy and data, table stakes and security stuff. What about integration? Like, how do you work? Are you basically technology adaptable? Let’s talk about
Unknown Speaker 31:58
that. It was probably the last day that I had. So we at IContact BPO We do recovering from a technology agnostic perspective, many clients want to be able to know that we can work or integrate in their worlds. And that’s something that we can do seamlessly. And those are problems that quickest onboard, some organizations who may never have outsourced or looking for their BPO, who then does have all the bells and whistles from technologies. And we have that too. We’ve had the expertise and being in industry long enough where we can come forward to those particular clients and recommend the full end to end solutions. But again, not being prescriptive technology plays a massive play in terms of how we integrate or how we connected to that client’s specific world of work.
Lex Patterson 32:55
Yeah, let’s talk about that specific client or that specific scenario, maybe where you have a company that has an outsourced before. And maybe they’re even exploring some new BPO stuff, because there’s those opportunities are really opening up in many markets in the US as you know, medical being one of them, too, for sure. So they’re looking at the fact that you know, the cost of acquiring new talent might be exceeding their sustainability of that and, and so they’re looking for solutions, other solutions, and like, step us through maybe some of the steps of like, what is a good fit for an outsourcing for BPO type work with you guys? Like what do you what do you typically targeting there? Or what are you seeing
Clinton Cohen 33:45
in a BPO? Well, then, obviously not taking away from tremendous legacy in debt collection and accounts receivable. So that’s well embedded in well in our estates. But when we’re starting to transition, and the more and more we’re developing our BPO, and our BPO strategy is coming in around customer experience in the world of deploying solutions and those technologies back into our CX. Today, eye contact is probably position. Devaney has been in that inbound customer experience world. And that’s where we see our movement, moving and deploying the technologies that are differentiating us as a CX provider, and a CX player, in this market is with brands, people and experience and how we leverage that and we bring that across providing the data. And that’s why it’s really important that the AR and we’ll meet our customers at any stage of the journey, but that experience that insight that we can provide back into those clients with that technology and insight really provides a lot more meaning into the world of work just from the interactions that are contacting that, you know, gets to see on a day to day and all of a sudden, providing insights, for example, we see from automated QA and automated speech to text analytics and the data that drives through that, just that as a channel, and as a touch point, all of a sudden, you you’re kind of seeing on one particular day, those interactions highlighters care to see well, the business is actually experiencing because there’s a snowstorm in Utah, as you mentioned today, are you better example, that there’s a delivery or a logistics issue? And is it a one sofa event or is it but today, contact centers have that data, just purely from agents speech and transcribing that and the analytics around that being able to provide that back to businesses today, is really meaningful, when you’re deploying it across all the channels, all the touch points, and really starting to map out the customer journey and having the voice of the customer journey coming into all your touch points across your business. So it’s extremely loaded, complex question, and that they could probably end up speaking to the spot hours. That’s something that we’re extremely passionate about. When we’re saying we’re in the CX sector, when we in the CX space, those are the those are the initiatives that we’re working on day in day out with that insight, data analytics and people. So you, it comes across all those touch points, but it’s a great question and a great topic to talk to.
Lex Patterson 36:55
Yeah, so Clinton, and I know, when we talked before, you know, you were mentioned, the difference between maybe core processes and some of the help that can be provided in this additional insight gathering or looking at SLAs, for instance, that you’re trying to meet and finding areas. So I’m just probing that a little bit trying to figure out, do you find, you know, complexity within their processes? I mean, speak to that a little bit. If I wanted to, say, dip my toe in somebody else, and I’m, but I’m still, you know, I’m not fully committed into it. But I want to try and dip my toe, what would I do?
Clinton Cohen 37:29
I think, you know, that’s what a lot of the great teachers today are doing. And they are they’re dipping their toes into processes that are uncharted or untapped water.
Lex Patterson 37:38
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Clinton Cohen 37:41
And I think it’s a taste them into those businesses that are willing to try those things. And the worst it’s going to happen is you’re going to fail, but fail fast. And try again, and what happens through those iterations and those improves that business process with the right clients in the rock outsourcer, net rock, cultural fit, you’re able to take on anything, you’re able to try anything. And, you know, take it on, and if it works, expand upon it, if it fails, again, fail, try again. But being able to have that great fifth grade culture between any client and outsourcing, that will allow those conversations will allow those initiatives to drive and get over the line. And what we’ve definitely seen through the course, and through the disruption are many more of those organizations going, Hey, we realized this isn’t a core business activity come for us to let it go, we want to try with an outsourcer. And let’s go into proof of concept, we’ll test it out and see that we get a great result and nine times out of 10 You’re seeing those fit, and those expand. And now all of a sudden, a business and BPOS providing that service. And then from there and either scales or moves into new lines of work. And those are really those good, good stories all around.
Lex Patterson 39:12
Yeah, which is, it’s a little bit of a mental shift, right, instead of a hit to the culture. You can actually enhance the culture because you’re offloading something that may be remote anyway, that you’re maybe having difficulty managing, right? is kind of the aha moment for me here. You know, so you, you’ve got this difficult situation, you’re worried about the hit on the culture and everything. But if you have that partnership, and somebody that deals with this all the time and you know, you’ve got the right partner, you’re handling those call center functions or that data gathering function. It’s your core business, so to speak. So you’ve got this business partner, and the world is really shrinking, you know, so whether you’re remote across town or you remote like we are right now I mean what’s really the difference? Right?
Clinton Cohen 40:02
caught on and you know what, what you are see is the cultural synergies. And again, that all comes into, you know what organizations are prepared to invest into it. But that scariness that would have previously been there to now beginning to outsource those processes, you’re seeing tremendous results, you’re seeing the quality and delivery coming across 1000 miles upon from the pond where we are today. At, you’re getting an exceptional quality at a significantly reduced price than what you would have been paying for them onshore in North America compared to Yeah, and you get that aha moment after the fact. Why don’t we do this sooner, but there’s many of those conversations stopped the reason why, but now that doing it,
Lex Patterson 40:56
yeah, well, what do you think is the biggest challenge you have to overcome? In other words, if you could change something, or change something in people’s minds about outsourcing, what would it be?
Clinton Cohen 41:09
What would I change? You know, I think, I think the world as a, as it’s developing post COVID, I think there’s going to be many more of the disruptors that COVID, you know, and, again, we’re seeing them today. So, you know, what would I change? I wouldn’t change anything. Right. Now, externally, I would more look internally and say, Are we on the right side of our change? Are we on the forefront of our data, people technology? How do we continuously improve in terms of our people in our culture, our processes, because when the next disruptors, the cleaner will be there just going to be a different look, feel and taste? Are we ready, then on our side with all our internals to be able to be on the forefront to be able to go out and support organizations who’s coming in? They need help with it. And that’s where we want to meet our consumers, clients, partners, in terms of how can we help you? Yeah, yeah.
Lex Patterson 42:22
Well, do you have any stories that you love, like success stories, or anything where you’ve seen a transformation happen doing, you know, that partnership that you’re talking about, where you had a great fit, and things worked out? And it caused a result or something? Is there anything that comes to mind on that,
Clinton Cohen 42:42
thanks for the tons of great stories, and all the good times that are one of the great stories that that I do want to share, there’s actually two I’ll start with the people side of it internally. And, you know, we’re, we’re a firm believer in not only contact, but part of our group, culture, and philosophy is really the promotions from within. And one of our today’s CX managers, who’s been with our group for 12 years, started as an agent within, you know, through their tenure through this skills, development and training, through their willingness to most of them raising their hands and saying, Hey, notice me I want to this is where I see myself in the context into reporting, you know, we’re promoted to a team leader. And that was in our debt collection environment, part of our group and when our content came along, in 2015, and now we’re in a BPO. And now, we’re, we’re looking to bold our business and bolder processes. When we turned around and looked within the group, there was an amazing lead, who we were able to go in and approach and offer them a different career path. And I contacted the next world. So that’s just the internal wonderful story about those career path things in journey that we’re able to do, but not to, to kind of go back to what when do you know that a client’s button and you know that partner effect and we had a client recently who came over from North America and again, it was we developed the program and we started the program together with them in the United States, kind of mid COVID was October 2020. And many discussions before but the client just reached out and said, Hey, we need some support, and it’s COVID. And we won’t be able to get you in can we do all these things beautifully and virtually and out? How do we set this up? And so we deployed a small team and it had all those promises and commitments that would make but where I want to go is a year later when they could actually get out to us in October 2021 plans are out there and It was, really, it was such a heartwarming story all around money for Atlanta for us to where one of the passions and one of the initiatives of our clients is. Yeah, early childhood development in childcare, education. And one of the initiatives we ran together with our clients is we went out to one of the sites in South Africa, which was an informal area in Johannesburg, where it’s an organizations called Cartland. And what we all experienced was spending a day in that early childcare development center and way you really kind of going back to the grass level roots, and really seeing what the community gives back to the community. In terms of gay you’ve got a group of, you know, 1516 kids who would have previously never had a place to go to Yeah, they’ve got a center with in the area that they go to get love care and attention, for lack of a better word, or all the warm and fuzzy feelings that come to mind when I talked to it. But, you know, it really is Early Child Care Development Foundation and building blocks, and where they can go and just spend a day with loving, nurturing, educational way and setting and we had the wonderful opportunity to be able to not only share this with our client, but with the staff, too. So we all ran these, we ran these internal drawers where everyone had to bring books, and you know, toys and those kinds of things. And yeah, and we went and spent the day there with his kids. And, yeah, we all need to stay humble, and just really super proud of the small contribution that we could give back into organizations such as that, that are doing such wonderful things for our communities.
Lex Patterson 46:59
Wow, that’s powerful. I mean, that’s partnership on a whole different level, right.
Clinton Cohen 47:05
And legs, you asked me what how do you know? So that’s when you know, it’s a good fit, right? Yeah. It just, it just oozes on both sides. And you just know, you’re aligned with you all wanting to grant and drivers kind of initiative projects that deliver just giving back?
Lex Patterson 47:24
What’s such a cool story too, because the way it started virtually right? It started in the midst of COVID when you really couldn’t have the human contact. And in the end, you have the not only the human contact, but magnified that out to a need in the community. I mean, that’s awesome. I love that story. Thanks for sharing that. Yeah. Well, Clinton, what do you think? I think we’re probably close to wrap on this. But I got one more question for you. What do you think’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your life? Wow. Oh, that’s a big one, right? Or let’s maybe a valuable lesson you’ve learned in your life, you know, just,
Clinton Cohen 48:07
I’m gonna bring it back to kind of honesty and integrity. And I mean, those are probably core values of just mine. That better kind of resonates for me when when we talk about the transparency that you’ve got, with clients partners in business, again, back to my story of celebrating those wins. There’s no, there’s no part of any partnership relationship, that when you’re dealing in your own sense of self and purpose and drive, those core foundations, to me that rings true. But I think if I have to extrapolate it, I think it’s being of service. And I came back to Iraq to the beginning of the show. And we spoke about the you the question was, you know, coming out of tell us about your journey of stepping into the BPO. And, you know, coming from that customer service and experience. So it’s kind of having that ingrained as part of my makeup, my personal makeup, and stepping into my role in the BPO. With their customer service, honesty, integrity, I can celebrate those wins, I can talk about those areas that aren’t so good and sure we fix them. But it’s about being transparent, being open being of service to others, in a human connected way. really rings true for me in terms of how I choose to wake up every day and lead my life with that openness, honesty, integrity. Yeah. And just being transparent with people and intimate.
Lex Patterson 49:53
Yeah, yeah. Which is so great. And I’ve enjoyed connecting with you. I I feel a connection. I mean, The world really is shrinking. I mean, we’ve talked a few times, and I can just feel the warmth in the in the culture to both speaking with both you and Daniel in your organization. And so I think it’s a, it’s an interesting concept that I think you’re on the front end of, of looking at too, with, you know, trying to get this word out to maybe that there are other options, you know, in a time when when I think again, I think it’s kind of on the front end, but I think we’re definitely getting there. Right.
Clinton Cohen 50:25
Yeah, the markets are definitely up to the cloud, and back to your earlier points are certainly coming to the fore. So the world is opening up in a whole different, new normal way. But there’s definitely a lot of interest, a lot of excitement and a lot of activity. And not just for us here in South Africa. But I think the world at large.
Lex Patterson 50:50
Yeah, yeah, it really is a shift going on in our world in general of really empathy. You touched on, you know, people, helping people connecting with people, you know, even though we’re, it’s weird that we’ve been in this forced into this more isolation, but that’s brought out in us maybe the more human parts of us, too. So
Clinton Cohen 51:12
that’s what I’m loving about, you know, we’re connected through this technology. But as that will starting to open up again, there’s this craving this, you know, Sookie on masa, just to see people and be and overlapping to this. Wow, it’s so great to get back out. But are we back here? Or are we back there?
Lex Patterson 51:38
Right, right. Right. And what does the future hold? But I’ll tell you what, and so at some point, I hope to meet you in person, my man,
Clinton Cohen 51:44
we will be coming out of state fraud in the property change law, which is a wonderful feature. Yeah, I haven’t done it yet. Just pre COVID. But I mean, for me to get back over space so far. I’ll be coming. guitar and lifting.
Lex Patterson 52:02
That’s for sure. Have a beautiful cup of coffee or a breakfast together. Yeah. I look forward to that. Yeah, me too. Yeah. Well, thank you for being on the show. It’s been a pleasure. Absolutely. Thanks for having me. And thanks for spending the time with us. All right.
Thanks. Thanks for listening everybody. For links and resources related to everything discussed today. Visit the show notes on the episode page at Kindred force.com. If you’d like to support the podcast, the easiest and most impactful thing you can do is to subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts on Spotify, on Amazon music, or on Google podcast. Sharing the show, or your favorite episode with friends or on social media is of course always appreciated. And finally, for podcast updates and the inside scoop, subscribe to our newsletter, which you can find on any page of our website that can reinforce.com I appreciate the love and support. I don’t take your attention for granted. Thank you again for listening. See you next time.