Market-defining Gartner analyst Jim Davies has joined Calabrio after more than two decades helping companies integrate voice of the customer (VoC) insights into customer experience (CX) programs. His experience ranges from customer relationship management (CRM) to workforce engagement management (WEM), workforce optimization (WFO), and more, with connections spanning top contact center leaders across the globe.
Calabrio’s Chief Marketing Officer, Ross Daniels, sat down with Jim, Calabrio’s new Chief Experience Officer (CXO) on his first day to talk about joining Calabrio, what’s happening in the market, and where he sees opportunity for contact centers to accelerate the delivery of exceptional customer experiences.
Ross: First, welcome to Calabrio, great to have you on board!
The contact center technology market is highly competitive, what led you to join the Calabrio team over other vendors?
Jim: I’ve been monitoring Calabrio for close to 15 years and admire the customer-focused culture across the organization. I wanted to join the Calabrio team because of what it offers, both in and outside of the Calabrio ONE platform. It’s not the product, pricing model, services or any standalone item that makes Calabrio unique—it’s how it all comes together to provide a clear, cohesive workforce performance platform focused on client success. The sum of all its parts! It’s extremely unique for a cloud company—I even struggle to name another brand—to pull it all together quite like Calabrio does. You, no we, are in a great position to level up and introduce the platform to more and more brands.
Ross: Coming in on your first day, what are you most excited to explore at Calabrio?
Jim: I’m really looking forward to interacting with customers and hearing their experiences with the Calabrio ONE suite. The exciting part of my role is making customers our advocates. I’m not here to upsell them on anything. As the CXO, I want to wholeheartedly hear their pain points, successes, and how we can continue to evolve and provide even better experiences to our customers. Calabrio has done a tremendous job growing its brand and client base, while still focusing on its own customer experiences.
My goal is to take a proactive approach, and act as a partner to all Calabrio departments and clients alike, and together ensure customers elevate their initiatives and optimize their investment in the Calabrio ONE suite.
Ross: Putting your analyst hat back on for a minute, what’s happening in the workforce performance segment that Calabrio customers should be thinking about right now?
Jim: The last couple of years have been eye opening for the contact center industry. Customer engagement has always been vital to brand success, but the recent pandemic forced us to change the way CX leaders think. We all need to shift our thought process to focus on employee engagement, and the frontline brand guardians who are the face and, more often, the voice of the brand for so many consumers. Consumer expectations have been on the rise, but so has employee burnout. We must elevate the importance of employee engagement and equip them with the necessary tools to successfully deliver exceptional customer experiences that empower and engage them, rather than stress them.
Secondly, VoC strategies must be top of mind, but not just in terms of data collection. Everyone is collecting data. But how many companies are acting appropriately based on the data they are collecting? In my experience, not many. There’s very limited progress in terms of VoC activation, and companies need to start driving actual change based on the data they gather. There’s invaluable data coming in and out of the contact center every second. Brands should prioritize analytics and proactively reengage the consumer based on these insights.
Ross: How are contact centers progressing in terms of cloud adoption?
Jim: While it may seem like a no brainer, moving from on-prem to the cloud should still be top of mind for all brands. In the last 18 months I’ve spoken with numerous companies that are either moving to the cloud now or hedging whether to stick on-premises for another 2-3 years, and then shift to the cloud.
We need to be driving those conversations, so people take the step when they need to, rather than too late. And we need to ensure that they adopt and implement the right strategies as they migrate. Do those brands need to do one additional round of on-prem, or can they skip that and move right to the cloud? It’s certainly something we need to think about since cloud tech has evolved so quickly.
Ross: How are contact centers managing omni-channel communications?
Jim: I think there needs to be better management of all the traditional and new communication channels. It’s no longer just a call or an email, we have a whole array of channels being utilized–video, WhatsApp, Slack, Teams, and Skype to name a few. We need to be thinking about the ability to manage all these channels seamlessly and create a consistent user experience.
We need to build the ability to manage consumer-preferred methods of communications and proactively train staff with personalized coaching on different channels to elevate their performance. To remain competitive, organizations must stay ahead of the more modern channels and think outside the traditional ones.
Ross: What are contact centers missing from a technology perspective—what should they embrace to build a better employee and customer experiences?
Jim: From a technology perspective, most contact centers are still struggling with the basics. There are lots of advanced technologies we can utilize, and many of these are not difficult to implement. But we need to nail the basics first.
One example of this is Intelligent quality management (QM), or automated quality management. This is a term that has been around for years, yet most companies are still in the manual mode. Few companies are applying speech analytics to the quality evaluation process. When bringing QM full circle and utilizing technology to the fullest, brands can record, monitor, and analyze every call and continue to improve how they interact with customers.
Another that continues to surprise me is the intraday management market which is still not at a higher volume in the contact center space. This is software that sits between WFM and real life. The WFM is doing critical forecasting and scheduling, while intraday management is looking at the right now. For example, it’s 3:15 PM on a Wednesday, intraday management analyzes operations in real-time, such as: Do we have too many staff on shift? What do we do about it? Do we ask them to shift to training to fill the time?
It offers real time recommendations that optimize agent time and build a better, stronger, more engaged agent base. It’s a no-brainer investment, but not nearly enough contact centers are considering it. No matter how advanced your WFM is, it’s not a crystal ball. It can’t predict the future so there’s always room for error between reality and the forecast.
Basic, fundamental functions like this should be prioritized before looking at more advanced technology.
Ross: What technologies represent the future of how CX management will evolve to improve productivity and digital customer experiences?
Jim: In the contact center, several approaches spring to mind. Firstly, I expect there to be a greater connection between CX understanding and the ability to automatically act upon the associated insight both reactively and even more importantly proactively using advanced AI driven analytical tools. For example, if 100 customers have called in on a Monday morning because they are confused by a recent letter they received, then proactively contact every other customer who received the same letter with a clarifying email.
Another future productivity enhancing technology is interaction assistance tools that steer the agent through the interaction, helping them navigate multiple systems and processes. All whilst providing contextually relevant customer recommendations and even supporting the ability leverage insight from the analysis of the voice- or text-based conversation in real time.
Ross: Thanks, Jim! We are thrilled to have you choose and join Calabrio, and the new heights it will take customers’ product usage and programs to.