In a recent article in 1to1 Magazine, “Setting the At-Home Service Standard,” author Mila D’Antonio cites the higher overall quality of home agents as the critical reason why companies today are delivering better customer experiences as they transition customer service to a home-based workforce. But the real question is: Will better talent alone (aka better skilled agents)lead to the best results?
Let’s face it, talent is just the beginning. It’s having fuel without an engine. Sure, it’s why many companies are discovering the advantages of an at-home workforce. In reality the engine behind at-home success is the combination of cloud-based technology with cloud-based talent that is producing even better performance—the cloud is the difference to achieving better results faster and more consistently.
Moving to cloud-based technology means rethinking how you’re working with talent, in addition to identifying and sourcing talent. (I’ll save identifying, sourcing, and profiling for another blog.) Simply implementing the same traditional, on-premise approaches and tools doesn’t work when you’re striving to get the best out of a cloud workforce. Cloud-based talent requires new tools and new ways of managingremote workers to inspire performancethat is superior to an on-premise environment.
Take collaboration, for example. Home agents are already adept with online chat and forums to stay connected and access information. But there are times when real-time voice and face-to-face interactions can have a huge impact on the ability to more effectively communicate complex issues or deliver critical feedback. Just look at the recent launch of group video chat via Skype on Facebook or the new Google+ “Hangouts” feature, and you can see how similar technology could be implemented to take collaboration to a whole new level in the cloud-based work environment. We are at the forefront of a consumer-inspired, collaboration technologies boom that will change how we work. Smart cloud application developers are positioning themselves now to take full advantage of this opportunity to enable the workforce to perform better, faster, and more consistently.
And let’s not forget how cloud-based applications can transform how agents assess and improve their own individual performance. At-home workers require greater connectedness and more visibility into how they are performing against their peers, and this concept of “reputation” can lead to new and powerful motivation tools and techniques. The use of gamification feeds into human nature to compete on the basis of performance and then be rewarded for doing well and
reaching new heights. Those agents who compete well in the “games” that defines their work also provide a higher standard of service. Trust me, I’ve seen the proof.
The shift to higher quality home agents is well under way. With this shift is a new standard of excellence for customer service. If you haven’t moved to the cloud yet, what’s going to help you keep up with the new standard of customer service excellence?
Flowers and Mother’s Day go hand-in-hand. But celebrating so many moms on a single day can create an overwhelming spike in demand for a flower company. So when one of the largest online flower retailers came to LiveOps again this year to handle calls for the flower-heavy holiday, we understood the challenge.
In addition to the huge call volume that comes in every year, the other thing we can count on is that our community of independent agents loves this opportunity and can’t wait to start taking calls for the occasion. As we have done previously, we created a special community of agents focused on this specific retailer. (more…)
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m very passionate about what we do at LiveOps – not only because of the role we play in evolving the customer service industry, but because it creates an innovative and quality model for work. I couldn’t help but think about our work as I read the State of the Union address. A number of points struck a chord with me as a CEO but the one idea that resonated the most was: ”We do big things.”
It reminds me of my time at eBay – we did so many big things – and this same spirit and opportunity is the reason I chose to join LiveOps. We have been doing many big things. But, amazingly, the most rewarding part is not in the “bigness,” but in the individual pieces that are ultimately responsible for building a powerful (and big) story.
In the Internet world we used to have a phrase – you probably know it (and you probably loathe it): Go Big or Go Home. Although I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing with every ounce of your being or not at all, that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Going Big in this era is about something else. We at LiveOps are proud of the innovation and leadership role we play in transforming how sales and service work is done in contact centers. (more…)
As a technologist, I’m obsessed with searching for the next killer app. Today, there are many companies that are offering amazing services and products that some may deem “killer apps.” What I find interesting is that many of these are aimed at improving our virtual world—becoming a mayor on a social networking site, getting a hole in one or building an empire on a gaming site. It seems so simple when we escape for a few minutes (or hours) from our real world commitments to the fantastic online world we have created! But what about improving our offline “real” world?
To me, the billion-dollar question on the quest to create the next killer app is this: How can we harness the same spirit and imagination we are applying to make our virtual worlds fulfilling to solve our biggest and ugliest problems? (more…)
The proliferation of broadband to all corners of the globe has lead to the promise of meaningful work reaching everywhere. Companies like LiveOps and non-profits like Samasource aim to expand these work opportunities to underserved populations domestically and around the globe.
Our goal at LiveOps is to change the world of work by reaching into many areas of the United States, providing meaningful opportunities for sales and services type work individuals can do as a home-based business using a broadband connection. LiveOps provides services to its client by engaging a contracted workforce of many of our partner- independent contractor agents, many of whom are full-time parents or caregivers who require flexible work hours, or disabled individuals who prefer a work-from-home opportunity, or individuals that live in an area that is either too remote or too heavily unemployed to find meaningful work. The LiveOps business models allows these individuals to develop a home-based business of their own, and to work according to their schedules and needs.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/liveops2008#p/a/u/1/uFQM_96PICQ]
Recently I was invited to the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program Roundtable on Talent Development, where the theme was Solving the Dilbert Paradox. The paradox, in a nutshell, is that while managers claim that their highest priority is the selection, retention and satisfaction of high-quality employees, many of the most talented contributors feel under-appreciated and under-utilized. And those who are the most passionate about what they do often end up being the most frustrated and dissatisfied with their jobs.
Miracles don’t only happen on the ice—they happen every day in the workplace.
I’ve been lucky enough to experience several in my career. When I went to eBay in 1999 the company was battling some significant technology issues. Many people said I was crazy to join in the midst of such turmoil. Certainly during those dark days at eBay, no one believed it would evolve into the world’s largest online marketplace and transform the world of e-commerce. But the real miracle I witnessed was not eBay’s rise to greatness, but rather the many moments when I saw teams unleash their potential and brilliantly solve what was previously deemed impossible. (more…)
As the director of Workforce Innovation and Advocacy at LiveOps, a company that provides work at home opportunities to individuals interested in call center type work, I found Jillian Berman’s article “Before Signing Up with Work-at-Home Firm, Check for Red Flags” a good reminder for how to avoid job scams. While Berman has many good points to share for signs of a scam, there are two generalizations made that, in my opinion, unfairly cast legitimate opportunities into the same pool as scams. (more…)
As the CEO of LiveOps, I talk a lot about the opportunity of flexibility for both companies and workers. Flexibility has become a modern day value that everyone wants.
But flexibility comes with a cost. The cost is accountability, which is necessary to gain the opportunity to work where you want, when you want, and how you want. Just as it is in pro sports (http://blogs.liveops.com/2010/06/16/meritocracy-part-1-world-cup-fever/), being managed by outcomes, maintaining an outstanding record, and doing something to get voted onto the team every day is mandatory to make our system work. (more…)
World Cup fever is here again and I’m more excited than ever — especially because this year I can catch the live games on my smartphone and laptop. The games are expected to get more online coverage than any major sporting event, and while fans across the planet are going ballistic monitoring matches, results, and statistics, I can’t help but think: why can’t work be more like this?
I’m not talking about the obvious good stuff — the energy, the teamwork, the camaraderie — I’m talking about the way the World Cup works. The event, like all athletic activities, represents a meritocracy at its finest. (more…)