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by Aaron Stafford | May 22, 2019
Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool. It makes for a great story; expert service in any skill or language, an enticing work experience, and a sustainable business. It also presents an intriguing challenge: How do we balance flexibility, productivity, and security?
To attract talented people from across the world, flexibility is key. Cloud computing, Work from Home (WFH) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) lie at the heart of our IT strategy. The vast majority of our team are agents: enthusiasts who, because of our asset-light philosophy are able to work in an environment, and with a kit, that makes the most sense for them.
Our toolset, our CX platform used by all of 5CA is a modular suite of best-of-breed, highly-configurable Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. Each is chosen and continually reevaluated to maximize productivity. By keeping things modular, cloud-based and low-code, we’re able to elevate our thinking; to focus on quality work, experimentation, and innovation rather than IT fleet management, software development, and capital outlay.
Our agents work with personally identifiable information of the consumers with whom they interact, and they manipulate backend administration systems belonging to our customers. Security is, therefore, a priority, and like any challenge, there are a number of ways to achieve the same end.
If we ran a traditional contact center, we could address security by managing a physically secure facility and populating it with a clone army of managed PCs supported by a tightly controlled network. If we wanted time zone and language coverage, we’d cookie-cutter the solution to strategic geographies. We’d drive up our costs and limit ourselves to a pool of people willing to move within commute-distance of the centers, and of course who want to work in a contact center in the first place.
At 5CA, we take another approach: We dream big and embrace new technology and then run off with it! Today, the internet is cheap, and interoperable tech standards abound.
There’s nothing stopping us from taking the best SaaS products out there, screwing them together and making them available to people who want to make some money supporting others to enjoy a product or game as much as they do. Nothing at all, so long as we don’t compromise the confidentiality and integrity of the data in our care.
Let’s take a brief look at how we do that.
There’s more to the story, but to share would be telling. Suffice to say; we don’t make and implement security decisions in a vacuum.
Our agents are key to our success, and their ability and willingness to perform their work productively can’t be blindly sacrificed in the name of security. The easiest way to make things secure is to remove flexibility. That’s also the least valuable approach. We’re constantly exploring security threats and tech innovations, and we’re speaking with agents, and their team leads to see how we can apply what we learn.
Just like tech innovation and the associated security threats, 5CA never stands still. It’s necessary to remain competitive, credible and to meet our customer’s growing compliance demands. That’s why we’re always testing a hypothesis here or spinning up a preview there in our continuous hunt for the right balance of flexibility, productivity and security.
Sometimes we don’t get that balance right; erring a little too far into security, but we learn and try to do better. All of 5CA’s IT team are ex-agents who know what the job involves, and they maintain productive relationships with today’s agent community. We in IT are fortunate to have such a group of supportive and tech-savvy agents willing to help us keep 5CA competitive. It’s unsurprising though; these are the same people who offer such high-quality consumer support. Making things better is in their DNA.
Aaron is our Chief Technology Officer, which puts him at the center of 5CA’s capability to deliver incredible things today and to do even more tomorrow. Australian by birth and Dutch & British by choice, Aaron’s collection of passports rivals that of Jason Bourne. According to Aaron, IT is a fantastic industry to be in: It’s always changing, there’s always something new to learn and plenty of opportunities to make things better. IT’s biggest plus though is its people: Interesting, smart and geeky; there’s never a dull moment in the IT crowd.
I started working for 5CA back in October 2019. Currently, I’m working as a Gaming Technology Support Agent in Spain. My job as an expert on the products of the company I'm supporting is to offer support to customers and get them up, running and happy in no time.
2020 is set to be a blockbuster year for gaming. In particular, mobile games that don’t need the player to invest in a console or any other equipment. One of the effects of the stay-at-home and quarantine orders during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has been that people have needed to find things to keep them occupied.
The white paint lines on the road crept passed ever so slowly, like my life tricking away.
I tapped the steering wheel with my nails, trying to release the pent up stress and irritation while the radio mindlessly droned on. Then the tears came, right on time, same as usual.
When you look at how many people searched for ‘work from home’ in the past year, you see the chart soars in March 2020 just as many national governments were applying stay-at-home orders and quarantines to help reduce the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. This is no surprise. Every company that could possibly keep functioning with remote workers asked their people to go home.
It’s often said, ‘people are the weakest link in cybersecurity’. I get that and I agree that we must seek to minimize human-related threat vectors. But I believe that if we view our people, our teammates, as our greatest security asset, then we start from a position of strength.
Have you noticed how many companies and senior executives are now experts in building a work from home strategy? According to Malcolm Gladwell it takes 10.000 hours of individual practice to become an expert at anything. Have those 320 business hours since the 1st of March really made everybody an expert?
Across the world, business journals have been endlessly reporting of the heroic efforts of companies with large numbers of office-based employees managing to switch to a work-from-home strategy. This has particularly impacted the contact centers because they have a large number of people in a small area and this is no longer acceptable because of the social distancing required to keep us all safe.
For almost two decades, 5CA has been perfecting our work from home customer service model. The latest version, where we only ever hire agents to work from home, has been around since 2015, so it is clear that for us this is very much business as usual.
A few days ago I participated in a webinar titled ‘pioneering contact center quality working remotely.’ The title makes it clear what the focus was, but I was pleased to be joined by our Lead QA Analyst, Sylvia Mattl, and Derek Corcoran, CEO of Scorebuddy.
A few days ago I participated in a webinar titled ‘pioneering contact center quality working remotely.’ The title makes it clear what the focus was, but I was pleased to be joined by our Chief Customer Officer Rob van Herpen, and Derek Corcoran, CEO of Scorebuddy.
My experience with starting to work remotely has certainly been one of the very best opportunities I’ve had so far. It changed my life, for the better. I’ll gladly tell you the short story of how I went from an in-office agent biking to the station every day, to exchanging my bike for snow boots when I reached my new home.
Companies across the world are racing to get their team all working from home to protect them. During multiple global lockdowns citizens are expected to practice social distancing, therefore it is essential for companies to operate with as many people as possible working from home.
95% of our team works from home and we have been working this way for over 15 years, where we truly understand what it is really like to build a work from home strategy with a huge focus on quality.
I've been working from home for a full year now, and no working experience can compare...
At 5CA working from home is just business as usual. 95% of our team is based at home so we have been watching the sudden focus on work from home business models, especially for customer service, with some interest.
It sounds kind of obvious, but training and developing your remote workforce is essential to improving their skills and performance. It encourages them to be more engaging within the workforce of your company while working from their home office, which leads to happy, effective and great employees that are here to stay...
I saw the situation, and I went for it. 2014 was going to be a decisive year. It was to be the year I got laid off from my well paid corporate job and the year I decided to study Permaculture and reunite with nature again!
Because 95% of our team works from home and we have been working this way for over 15 years I feel confident that I can help people to understand what it is really like to build a work from home strategy.
A lot of people are currently being thrust into the murky waters of communicating purely via different apps. It’s dangerous. I’m Australian, and to me the perfect analogy would be diving head-first into a muddy river on a scorcher of a day.
Many management consultants and business experts are advising executives to move their workforce home with laptops until the crisis is over. What they are not saying is that this is now business as usual - the new normal.
Companies across the world are facing an unprecedented wave of disruption at present. One of the specific outcomes from this is that many people are suddenly working from home. Many have no experience working away from the office and so the business journals are full of tips on how to make it work.
Companies across the world are finding their business extremely disrupted at present and it looks like things may get worse before they get better. During this time there has been a strong focus on the need for people to work from home...
“I’m on break, it’s my turn to hold him!” This is just one statement many fathers don’t get to say to their significant other as they usually do not have home based job...
I have to say, the first time leading a team without ever being in the same room is quite a unique and unsettling experience in the first few weeks...
I have to say, the first time leading a team without ever being in the same room is quite a unique and unsettling experience in the first few weeks, but I have found that it makes you work a lot on your communication skills...
Workforce engagement is a buzzword. And like all good buzzwords, there’s a lot of hype around it, but something really valuable at the heart of it too.
Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool...
Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool. It also presents an intriguing challenge: How do we balance flexibility, productivity, and security?
Consumer support over any channel, in any language, at any time: 5CA’s successful contact center as a service is possible because we use technology to make planet Earth our talent pool.