McKay Bird is the Chief Marketing Officer of TCN, a global provider of a comprehensive cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs and collection agencies
Do you see any risk or limitations in following a process of innovation centered around listening to customers?
While most business processes have their pros and cons, customers are what a business is, or should be, centered around. When customers’ preferences change, companies traditionally adjust to meet their expectations.
The most significant limitation of following a process of innovation centered around listening to customers is that you may always be one step behind. Suppose you follow consumer trends rather than anticipating and predicting them and only make adjustments after that trend has become apparent. In that case, you may always be playing catch up with your competition.
Listening to your customers is critical when it comes to being a successful business. As we found in our consumer survey earlier this year, most consumers want an agent that cares, is attentive and listens to their needs. This is where innovation really comes into play -- staying ahead of the competition and trying to anticipate customer needs before they even realize they need it -- and is what we strive to do. We believe that coming up with innovative solutions to customer problems is where our greatest success lies.
Do your best ideas come through collaboration or deep thinking on your own? How does this process work in your organization (i.e. how do you mesh the styles)?
At TCN, we hold weekly and monthly meetings to sync up and bring our ideas together. This process begins with everyone doing some solo brainstorming, then coming together as a team to work out details and collaborate.
By using this approach of high flexibility and high responsibility, we ensure each team member has a valuable contribution to the organization. This can come in the form of task assignments, project leads or unique ideas. Managers and leaders do not always have the best ideas, and it is essential to listen to everyone at every level. Getting input from varying levels within an organization brings a valuable variety and diversity of perspectives.
What’s the best experiment or new product you’ve launched in the last year? Tell the story of how it came about.
To remain ahead of the curve and better serve the ever-evolving needs of our customers, we wanted to build a scalable and flexible platform for the modern call center that could provide a comprehensive set of tools for meeting practically all of the needs of agents. As a result, we developed TCN Operator, which features an intuitive interface and a holistic set of easy-to-use, automated agent tools and advanced apps centered around compliance that all work together to boost agent productivity and improve customer experience.
TCN Operator is seamlessly integrated into one cloud-based platform and puts everything in one place, allowing the monitoring of operations from virtually anywhere. We designed it to be highly scalable and flexible. Grounded in TCN’s deep understanding of call centers’ needs, TCN Operator is built on the company’s vast experience in supporting billions of interactions every year between call center agents and customers. TCN Operator is also accessible to agents with visual impairments and integrates with leading CRMs and APIs including Salesforce and Zendesk.
What current industry problems do you think will require the most innovative solutions?
The myriad of court cases, rulings and upper court battles can make TCPA compliance activities feel like a moving target, and one that can be incredibly complex and nuanced. It’s definitely a top issue for call centers and contact centers that requires an innovative approach to manage effectively. Any innovation that can provide clarity and precision in daily operations is beneficial to both businesses and consumers.
One example of this is the Supreme Court decision in Facebook vs. Duguid case which, after 10 years, has finally provided technical clarity about what an ATDS is. Correctly understanding the implications of this ruling is essential to building credibility in our industry and returning trust back to our communications.
Complete this question in the context of the ARM industry: What if….
What if outbound call center technology didn’t exist? Outbound communications have been one of the main drivers of efficient collections and call center operations.
Without technology like auto dialing software, predictive dialers, preview dialing and more, agents would be forced to manual dial -- this would be an incredibly inefficient use of time for everyone involved. Manually dialing can lead to increased employee costs for full-time agents, an increase in the price of goods (telco and software) and a loss of the opportunity to collect more debt more efficiently.
When looking at this from an account receivable perspective, these teams would turn to automated and self-service solutions like IVR routing, payments and account balance lookup. We could see an improved reputation in our industry (ARM, collections) as more inbound tactics are implemented.
iA Innovation Council is a collaborative working group of product, tech, strategy, and operations thought leaders at the forefront of analytics, communications, payments, and compliance technology. Group members meet in person (and lately, virtually) several times each year to engage in substantive dialogue and whiteboard sessions with the creative thinkers behind the latest innovations for the industry, the regulators who audit and establish guardrails for new technology, and educators, entrepreneurs and innovators from outside the industry who inspire different thinking.
2021 members include:
2nd Order Solutions
AllianceOne Receivables Management
Capital Collection Management
Collection Bureau of America
Crown Asset Management
Healthcare Revenue Recovery Group
NCB Management Services
Phillips & Cohen
Professional Finance Company
Radius Global Solutions
Spring Oaks Capital
State Collection Service
The CMI Group