In today’s globalized economy, the contact center is more relevant now than ever. Bringing together consumers, technicians and agents from every corner of the globe, it is central to customer service, sales, and client retention. HR is often the most important, and most challenging, factor in the successful management of any call center, anywhere in the world.
PlayVox is a talent management platform designed specifically for contact centers. It integrates HR processes with social and gaming elements to help contact center supervisors, managers and directors manage and motivate their teams.
Arcaris, the company behind PlayVox, was founded in 2011 in Sunnyvale, California and boasts a truly international team. Its founder and CEO Oscar Giraldo is a Colombian native, and though the company is officially based in the United States, much of its sales and marketing operations are located in Chile (and led by Argentina-born VP of Product Ariel Cordiviola). Giraldo, who spoke with us about PlayVox’s launch, is now living and working in Colombia, tapping into development and engineering talent there.
Management & Motivation: A Much Bigger Problem
PlayVox is not Arcaris’ first run out of the gate. The company already has in its repertoire Click-to-Call, a tool to increase online sales and conversion rates by allowing potential clients to connect with customer service representatives at the touch of a button. Giraldo explained that PlayVox has come as an off-shoot of Arcaris’ first product. This time around, however, the Arcaris team is going after a much bigger problem.
As noted, globalization has had huge ramifications in the world of the contact center. Giraldo described the industry as ultra global and cited the sharp increase in offshored contact center jobs over the past decade, especially by companies in Europe and the United States. Vast amounts of technological innovation and increased access to cheaper labor abroad have virtually erased any global limitations to contact centers, and places like India, the Philippines, Argentina and other developing countries have become hotspots for corporations looking to take their customer service operations abroad.
PlayVox will capitalize on the growing contact center market by providing a solution to keep employees from around the globe connected and motivated. The SaaS will foster a meritocratic environment that renders the contact center a more enjoyable place to work. It will encourage communication between team members and keep agents in direct contact with higher-ups in order to receive feedback, get training, and be rewarded for their accomplishments.
Pilot to Public
Up to today, PlayVox has been operating a private pilot with select companies in Latin America and the United Kingdom. Its official launch includes a new website, a place for users to register and an overall more aggressive approach to sales.
PlayVox will offer customers a hybrid freemium payment scheme to its customers. While some parts of the product will be free of charge, more advanced features will be paid.
Giraldo explained that PlayVox has been designed for contact centers in a wide variety of areas: sales, customer service, technical assistance, surveys, and debt collection, to name a few. He pointed to the case of Groupon, which has successfully put PlayVox to use in its Latin American operations. PlayVox is helping Groupon to improve the work of its youthful employees, ensuring that each of its 140 agents remain in tune with company procedures and that customers hang up the phone satisfied with the level of service they’ve received.
Creating a Community for Telecommuters
PlayVox proves extremely useful for helping supervisors to monitor the work of agents, evaluate employee diagnostics and send feedback and training in turn. Beyond that, Giraldo made note of the social aspects of the platform, especially for those who work remotely or telecommute instead of traveling to a physical office. In such cases, PlayVox creates a sense of community for those working from home.
Giraldo acknowledged the existence of similar products on the market already, including Salesforce and SuccessFactors. However, they offer generic solutions that are not in line with the specific needs of contact centers, where stress often runs high. Such platforms do not account for the constant measurement and evaluation in the contact center dynamic.
Contact Center Specifics
Prior to launch, the PlayVox team has spent countless hours studying contact centers to gain a true understanding of the sector and its requirements. Surprisingly, Giraldo said that there was little difference in employee expectations and motivations across various geographies and cultures – in other words, incentives are the same for contact center agents in the U.S., Argentina and India alike.
Generally, he elaborated, employees are motivated to work by three main factors: money, recognition and personal satisfaction. In the contact center, however, personal satisfaction is greatly diminished.
What PlayVox seeks to do is to make up for this lost ground and keep employees happy. It employs motivating tactics through familiar social features, fun training materials and incentivizing benefits systems such as badges and other rewards for helping customers and colleagues alike.
Focus on Market, People
Following PlayVox’s launch today, what does Giraldo hope to achieve? Arcaris, which has been backed by capital from Chilean investors for this product, will concentrate on achieving sustainable growth with PlayVox over its first year. It will work towards gaining more users and establishing itself as a market leader in HR solutions for contact centers. Revenues, while always important, will not be the initial priority.
Despite the fact that contact centers spend roughly 70% of their money on people, employment in such organizations is often viewed under the veil of a most dismal stereotype of high stress and little reward. With PlayVox, might the stereotype be broken? Perhaps.
In the meantime, check out the PlayVox demo video below:[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/47358520[/vimeo]