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The TeleTech brand is so robust in the Philippines that when the global customer experience technology and services company rebranded to TTEC three years ago, a decision was made to maintain the existing name for the local market. “There is such a strong brand recall here that we haven’t moved to change it yet,” explains Regional Director for Asia–Pacific David Bernal.
While the plan is to eventually fall in line with the rest of the world, for now, David is in no rush. With the company since 2006, and in his current role since May 2021, he has plenty of other priorities to focus on: namely, bridging a cultural gap created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the moment we have two kinds of employees,” he says. “We have one group who have experience of working onsite, who know how we run activities and meetings and how we coach face to face. On the other hand, we have another group who don’t know anything about this, because they were hired as remote employees, were trained at home and are being coached and attend meetings virtually.” The chance to bridge that gap is what attracted him to the leadership position.
While the health crisis has thrown up many obstacles, it has also presented a number of opportunities, especially in the business process outsourcing (BPO) space. “TeleTech was one of the first BPOs out there that built an at-home solution within 48 hours of the President declaring lockdown in 2020,” David explains.
We want to be able to reach out to all these clients, to show them what our value propositions are and what sets us apart in terms of building a very secure network at home.
More than 12 months later, David says many of its competitors still aren’t able to deliver similar services, which has placed TeleTech in pole position. “We are being approached by new clients to model a solution for them at home,” he says, adding that he knows now is the time to “strike while the iron is hot”.
“We want to be able to reach out to all these clients, to show them what our value propositions are and what sets us apart in terms of building a very secure network at home,” he explains. This includes rigorous employee security checks and ongoing audits. “We don’t have to worry about information leaks or security breaches.”
In the ever-fluid experience economy, ensuring the business remains one step ahead in the marketplace is crucial for David, especially when one-third of TeleTech’s revenue comes from digital and technology solutions. “Innovation is key to our business,” he shares. From set-up all the way to the end stage, the company delivers an array of tools and services in the CX Strategy, CX Technology and CX Outsourcing domains.
A particular area of increasing importance is interactive voice response (IVR) applications. “As we move into a more digital age, we anticipate that most customer service transactions will happen over chat, email and IVR. Only complex voice work will remain,” he predicts. TeleTech is now capable of building IVRs in-house, and David believes this know-how showcases how the company uses technology to maintain a leading edge.
Local initiatives also serve as a point of difference, especially when attracting talent. A partnership with the mobile wallet app GCash for payroll means employees can avoid crowded banks, while another with Envirotech puts the company’s sustainable ambitions into practice with recycling initiatives as well as the creation of a small community garden. “The team can plant herbs and other produce together that can be used in the kitchen,” he shares.
Whether it’s COVID-19, climate change, digitalisation, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence or machine learning, companies should be able to invest time and intelligence in these issues.
In another example, an in-house gamified talent app rewards achievements in the pandemic-driven remote working era. “Gone are the days where you get up on a stage and hand out certificates and trophies,” he says. Inspired by online games such as Clash of Clans, the app awards points for performance, which can then be used in an online store or even transferred as currency into a GCash account.
COVID-19 has defined his first year in the role, but David is aware that businesses need to be agile no matter the context. “Whether it’s COVID-19, climate change, digitalisation, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence or machine learning, companies should be able to invest time and intelligence in these issues,” he insists. “We want to do right by our clients by keeping up with the types of customers they have, and with the types of interactions their customers want to have with their products.”