EmpowerCX 2020: How Sitel Group® Passed the COVID-19 Stress Test
At EmpowerCX 2020, Sitel Group® President and CEO Laurent Uberti underlined the importance of continued investment in creating new customer experience solutions and the crucial role his business philosophy has played in strengthening the organization and its connection with its clients in a time of disruption and uncertainty.
This year’s EmpowerCX Virtual may have been delivered differently than usual, but, even in virtual form, digital delegates were treated to the same insights, thought leadership and best practices needed to navigate customer experience (CX) delivery in an age of unprecedented change.
“To say this year has presented us all with challenges, is probably the understatement of 2020,” said Uberti as he began his opening keynote. “[COVID-19] has tested the best business continuity plan. It has redefined customer behavior, maybe forever. It’s changing how and where we work, and it has analysts and experts discussing a new normal.”
But, even if what we consider normality is due for a reset, what 2020 has demonstrated in abundance is that a certain type of organizational mindset – an approach to and philosophy towards doing business – has been key to overcoming the challenges of 2020, and it will be equally important in continuing to mature and move forward as the impact of coronavirus recedes.
An Antifragile Approach to Business
“This concept is Antifragility” explained Uberti. “To be antifragile is to develop new strengths and skills as a direct result of the pressure you are under.”
This concept, which was created by noted thinker and writer Nassim Nicolas Taleb, who also conceived the idea of the ‘Black Swan’ event, was introduced at EmpowerCX 2019 by Uberti. It means that for an organization to be antifragile it has to be more than solid enough to resist change, or so flexible that it bends under pressure yet doesn’t break. Instead it harnesses the pressure of rapid change or disruption and builds new strengths and competencies that promote further growth and maturity.
Using Challenges to Build Organizational Strength
Under Uberti and fellow Co-Founder and Global COO Olivier Camino’s guidance, Sitel Group®’s leadership team have been absorbing and instilling this philosophy and approach across global operations over the last several years. It has allowed Sitel Group to more than simply withstand the pressures of COVID-19, but ultimately become more robust and actually grow its footprint as an organization.
“I talked at length about this philosophy at last year’s EmpowerCX, but while we have been preparing for disruption, no one could have predicted this particular crisis, even in March,” Uberti continued. “In any other moment, antifragility could have stayed a theoretical concept, but this year it became a reality, it had a global impact and it meant that we, and the brands we support had to transform and transform, quickly.”
One of the most transformational measures was to create a truly global at-home agent network to keep employees safe and well and ensure continuity of CX management and delivery for clients.
“In just 45 days, we applied 13 years’ experience in At Home solutions and grew our network from 2,000 to 50,000 people,” revealed Uberti. “At the same time we continued investing in and developing the right tools, processes and infrastructure to support our remote associates to guarantee consistency of communication, productivity and performance while working virtually.”
Investment and attention has also been focused on growing Sitel Group’s technology ecosystem to increase the number of best-in-class processes, tools and solutions available for clients.
“Together, they enable digital transformation, deliver a greater speed to value for clients and are proactive to their needs as they adjust to the new consumer landscape,” said Uberti. “Our role is to be your partners in Experience Integration, whether it be by connecting technology from across our ecosystem into the customer journey, bringing your brand to life in digital automation channels via custom-built personas or by augmenting human assisted channels with CX-centric innovation to allow our associates to focus on making a difference in the moments that matter.”
A Platform for Client Growth
The most potent example of this approach at work is the newly launched enterprise experience platform, EXP+™. It’s a flexible solution with complete cloud capability that is designed to rapidly simplify the delivery of end-to-end CX services. Built around four product families each of which is laser focused on a different aspect of meeting customer expectations, EXP+ was created in concert with clients by understanding their current pain points and future goals and building solutions that address current needs but also continue flexing and growing in the face of tomorrow’s challenges.
A Foundation of Trust
“EXP+ enables us to extend our capabilities and leverage our expertise in areas such as learning and development and intelligent automation for the benefit of brands across all business sectors,” stated Uberti. “Its comprehensive nature is a result of the deeper partnerships we have forged with our existing clients and partners over the course of this year, so it is absolutely fitting that I take this opportunity to personally thank each of our clients around the world for their partnership and their trust during this challenging time.”
This continued trust in Sitel Group’s capabilities, from existing clients coupled with the belief from new brands that Sitel Group can meet their CX objectives, is why, even in the face of an unprecedented disruption, an antifragile approach has led to organizational growth.
“By the end of 2020, despite the challenges of the crisis, Sitel Group will be a $2 billion dollar organization,” announced Uberti. “We are growing organically as a result of new partnerships with many exciting brands plus deeper relationships with our valued client base. In the last six months alone, we have welcomed 20,000 more associates into the Sitel family and they are helping us make 4.5 million connections between our clients and their customers, every day.