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|MAXhubs: Welcome to the Contact Centre of the Future

MAXhubs: Welcome to the Contact Centre of the Future

The contact centre of the future is not only about leveraging the latest technologies and digital solutions - it’s a people-first, resilient model with a focus on connection and innovation.

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by Olivier Camino July 24, 2020 - 4 MIN READ

Our new MAXhub concept reimagines traditional contact centres as spaces where our agents can engage with each other, develop their skills and foster stronger links with the local community while absorbing Sitel Group’s business culture. Yet, they also serve to maximise the benefits – from work-life balance and flexibility, to better well-being and greater job satisfaction – that comes from working from home.

The widespread shift to remote working across all industries, not only within Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and customer experience (CX) management, brought about by COVID-19, has led many to ask if we still need contact centres. Is gathering together several thousand people in the same place to sit in cubicles and wait to create positive brand engagements still the best way of delivering CX?

Building upon a strong foundation

At Sitel Group, we already have a mature work from home solution that has helped our clients improve their business resilience, effortlessly meet spikes in contact volumes and to access the widest and most diverse talent pools possible for more than a decade.

It was this existing foundation that meant transitioning 60,000 of our associates around the world to our Sitel at Home model in order to protect them from COVID-19, and it took just three weeks.

The technologies that are already available, aligned with the tools we have developed ourselves, meant it was comparatively simple to move our people off site without compromising on security, productivity, quality of performance or connectivity. However, the fact that our people continue to meet and exceed KPIs is also down to their capabilities and our business culture.

A question of culture

As this crisis has aptly demonstrated, if a business doesn’t have the right culture and the right foundations, it can only navigate when the waters are calm. In the eye of the storm, it is impossible to get to where you need to be.

Yet, whenever there is a conversation around the future of the contact centre, it is usually triggered by a new technological innovation.

The arrival of intelligent automation, real-time analytics, omnichannel platforms, artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and self-service have each resulted in discussions around the death of the contact centre.

But, while every one of these innovations has already had a positive impact on how we deliver CX, to restrict the conversation about the future of the contact centre to technology is to ignore the human element.

Your CX is only as good as the associate who embodies your brand promise and as we move through this decade, it is this intersection of agents and technology that will transform, rather than terminate the contact centre of tomorrow.

This is why our MAXhub concept – what we sincerely believe is the contact centre of the future – will be designed around reinforcing the employee experience while simultaneously unlocking all of the benefits of working from home.

The MAXhub concept

People need a better work-life balance. Each hour spent travelling to or from work is an hour they can’t spend with their families or friends or engaged in doing something for themselves.

Along with time, whether the contact centre is in the UK, US and the Philippines or Colombia, the commute creates an often significant financial and sometimes environmental cost.

So the question is how can we make this new way of working – where people have more time and flexibility – sustainable, not just for one or two years, but until there is another new normal?

The digital tools we use to keep our people connected are excellent and our regular associate surveys show that satisfaction rates regarding working from home are really very high. But we can’t take this satisfaction for granted. We have to proactively build on it because decentralised teams of agents based from home are now a fundamental element of delivering CX as part of an organisation’s business continuity plan.

Building on the employee experience

This is why we need to provide physical destinations – hubs – where our associates who normally work from home can come to train, develop new skills, grow and socialise.

Employee experience is in danger of becoming another business buzzword. Delivering on it means more than simply paying lip service, it means being able to prove you have an employee-led culture, one where the associates delivering on customer experience are at the centre of the organisation. It’s the only way to develop and maintain a winning business culture.

MAXhubs personify the employee experience; they bring it to life for those teams of agents who would otherwise only have a virtual connection to each other and to our organisation. They provide enough seats for upwards of 20% of agents to work at any one time if they wish yet also offer spaces dedicated to well-being, exercise and meditation.

There is also a dedicated space for coaches and managers to lead and monitor campaigns in real time. We call this space the Mission Command Centre and it is key to building trust between our associates and our organisation – giving our clients the complete confidence they deserve. The Mission Command Centre ensures all front-line management and support functions, from quality and compliance to the implementation of new training approaches, are working together. This ensures that in addition to our operational and security standards, our values and culture are reflected in the work our associates perform.

Investing in the community

In addition to being an employee experience hub, a MAXhub should be a hub for the community. They will provide development paths not just for associates but for their families and the local community, too.

For example, in Colombia, learning English is key to obtaining many types of jobs. So for our MAXhubs in the country, we are working with the local government to implement English academies where people can come to develop their language skills. And because each community in each country has different needs, we will coordinate with the respective stakeholders to identify and provide the things that will make the biggest difference.

MAXhubs make it easier for each agent to find their way; they can identify which path to take and then have the tools they need to complete their journey.

If you missed our Spotlight Series: The Contact Centre of the Future: MAXhubs, watch the recording here.

Olivier Camino
written by Olivier Camino Chief Operating Officer
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