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Enough is enough: How I changed my fortunes and fitness at 50 

The glory days of youth For most of my adult life, I’ve struggled with my weight. As a teen, however, I was an athlete, competitive gymnast and long-distance runner. My mirror told me such nice stories back then. I think ‘shredded’ is the modern term.  Roaring twenties - the early ‘dad bod’ But the passage into my twenties, my married life and fatherhood introduced me to some unwanted companions: the dreaded “dad bod”, a spare tyre in the middle and a general squidginess around the edges. I didn’t think too much about it back then. After all, every dad I had ever seen faced the same struggles and I had a better excuse than most, I had five kids.  At the time, I promised myself that once my kids were older I would once again return to my former glory. Time for the roller coaster In my thirties, I had a few diets which provided temporary relief. In my mind, my dad bod was an imposter body that I had cultivated through neglect. I believed that my impostor body intent on ignoring my pleas and only kept inflating my ever-growing waistline. My clothes continued to shrink despite my efforts to only use cold water in my washing. My weight scales disliked me, but I eventually caught onto their plan- they only had one direction in their programming-upwards! The corporate condition So the notion of never being free of a bloated dad bod during my corporate career lingered for the next couple of decades. I drifted in and out of acceptance with diminishing hope of reclaiming my lost youth. Diets came and went and so did my weight. I was a leader in global companies but I was grossly unhappy with the roller coaster of emotions I was stuck on. My peers had accepted the dad bod as a physical manifestation to corporate success. In a way, I also began to accept it and I told myself that I had been raised in government housing, I should have been grateful for how far I had come and for what I had achieved. What I hadn’t figured was the darker side of the dad bod. It wasn’t just a matter of how I looked, I struggled with persistent mental and physical health issues that subtly impacted all areas of my life. So gradual was the decline that by my early forties, I hadn’t even realised how much my quality of life and potential were being impacted by my weight. “Without realising it, I had fallen victim to the modern cliche of a successful corporate family life-an unfulfilling career, declining vitality and increasing health ailments.” In my early forties, I suffered from one of the most prolific silent killers in the modern world: clinical depression. This was well before it was acceptable to discuss such things in the workplace, especially as a leader. Letting people know about my condition was career suicide. The Gift at Fifty - just accept it When I turned 50, I received a lovely gift from the government, a vial for me to send in my stool sample. Nice. Who doesn’t want to celebrate the milestone that your body has officially transitioned from a vigorous contributor to society to a manageable statistic?  While depressing to think about, and needed from a community health perspective, it was the wake up call that reminded me that I still had a choice to make: accept what my role, my body and my health had become, or do something about it. I chose acceptance, initially. My health issues, collected over the decades, put me in the ever-growing category of the CVD (Cardiovascular or Heart Disease) candidate. I was bloated and had poor gut health, high cholesterol and joint and overall body pain. With my body ticking all the boxes in the checklist of typical health issues for people my age, even my quality of life was miserable.  Every morning, I started the day with brain fog, and for the rest of the day, I lacked energy and suffered from frequent mood swings. I couldn’t even bend over in airplane seats. I had to ask my kids to run upstairs to get things with me and with each year, I found myself walking with my arms out wider than the year before.   “Being overweight made me feel constantly drained. Everyday action took far more energy to get done..” Every day was a battle for energy, for clarity of mind, for patience and to live without pain. For the modern middle class, life is a series of trade-offs made between lifestyle choices and health. People will often say, “I could never give up wine!” Or pasta, or bread or insert any favourite food or habit. On reflection, it became apparent that these health problems affecting millions of people worldwide are so common and so ingrained in our lifestyles that people don’t notice them or forget how obvious the causes really are. Our modern medical system treats conditions once they manifest, but spends little time or money on prevention. Our education, our access to affordable foods and food equity infrastructure, and our focus on what must be a proactive societal approach to these health issues is still evolving. I had enough - what I changed I was on one of my regular international work trips. I couldn’t bend down to pick up my bag under the seat in front of me without scooching to the side. My bloated belly pushed the wind out of me, but this was nothing new, as I had learned to accommodate my new size in many small ways. I had a growing list of ailments for which I needed medication. This collection of conditions began the self-reflection and impetus to my eventual change. First I changed my business life Like most reading this, I grew up in the industrialised white-collar world. I had done well enough, or so I thought. I had corporate share plans and good salaries, but I had no true independence. Other people determine my worth, my creativity, my activities. One day, I met a colleague who had bought a share in the Australian arm of a technology company, who also owned a string of restaurants. He said to me, “You still think like a corporate guy, Dan. Owned. You’ll never be truly independent. Never be your own person. I may not be not cleverer than you, but I am free.”  That woke me up.  The path before became clear. I was going to build my own business. Age and circumstance could no longer matter. It had to be one consistent with the values and principles that I connected with and others would connect with. I wanted to build a business with heart, or intentionality, one that was about contribution, about being useful. With this new mindset I spent the next couple of years leaving my corporate life behind and then, I began my journey as an entrepreneur, as a 50-year-old, which is uncommon. I haven’t looked back since then. I now co-own and run , a global firm that has been growing and making a difference for businesses and communities.Fixing my Fortunes. Done. More details on that journey in another post. Then I changed my body When I co-founded Groworx, I realised that I could not keep up with the pace of a full startup with my low energy level. In my first year, I travelled locally and globally for over 4 months in that year. I ended up in hospital twice in two months from preventable illnesses that stopped me in my tracks. I felt alone and vulnerable. I knew that I couldn’t grow my business with the body I had. I had to change my body if I wanted to keep my business and my life. For years, I had been an avid follower of tech podcasts personalities like Tim Ferris. Self hacking was par for the course for this crowd. On one podcast with Tim, Dom D'Agostino talked about Keto and Intermittent Fasting. Tim had shared stories from guests about many different fitness and longevity approaches but this one stuck with me. It required discipline and focus. The results seemed broad as well as drastic but at the same time, it seemed risky and complex. Then my wife came across other stories of how Keto had transformed others.  I had tried other diets before but this one seemed like it was worth trying despite the risks. To change your fuel source from carbs to fat! But at this point, I had everything to lose. So I tried it, one year ago this week. The result? I’ve lost over 20kgs and fixed my gut health. That means no more fatty liver, no more inflammation or joint pain, oodles of energy and no mood swings. For the first time in nearly a decade, I’ve been dreaming again. So my health was now fixed. But could I fix my fitness? In fact, now that I started Keto, I had so much energy so I decided to fulfil a lifelong dream of doing triathlons. I’d never done one before, but thought, “Why not?” I had dropped down from 85kgs to 64kgs. That was my Herculean accomplishment. A triathlon seemed easy in comparison.  In January 2020, I joined a Tri Club. Ten weeks later, at the end of February 2020, I completed my first two triathlons, just before the world shut down due to the COVID-19.  Fixing my Fitness. Done. If this seems hard to believe. It is, even for me. At 50, I reclaimed my life by shifting to a career where I could be with my family and control my daily lifestyle. I then fixed my health and my fitness. I now train 1-2 hours every day, loving life with a body health vitals that put me in my twenties! My life outcomes have changed. My wife joined me on my keto and fitness journey and we now both enjoy #FitnessTogether and #FitnessForever. I share this story in an endeavour that my stories, like all stories, makes me helpful to my fellow homo sapiens who have reached that stage, whether in their 30’s or their 60’s, who think that life has passed them by.​

Shelley Beeston joins Groworx as the new Associate Director for Customer Experience​

Groworx, an exciting global consulting and outsourcing firm, is taking its Customer Experience capabilities to the next level with the addition of Shelley Beeston, their new Associate Director for Customer Experience. Shelley will lead client engagement teams to further enhance the strategic and delivery leadership capability in the region. Shelley Beeston is a strategic and innovative thought leader in customer experience, digital transformation and digital product service design and delivery. She has over 19 years experience across a number of industries & countries within senior management and principal consulting roles. Shelley will be spearheading Groworx’s newly launched “CX in Action”. This new service aims to help organisations design and connect their organisational CX and Digital strategies and then drive them into action.  Groworx Co-Founder & CEO, Dan Sandiford said: “I’ve worked with Shelley for many years and admire her values-driven approach and passion for linking strategic creativity to operational execution. Shelley’s thought leadership and experience will combine our enhanced CX in Action capability with Groworx’s broader  and  solutions. Together, these capabilities provide a single place for businesses to think and deliver the entire customer experience. For me, it’s putting the entire customer at the centre of our mission to help organisations and communities achieve their potential.” According to Shelley, with the current crisis, organisations are rapidly adapting how they service their customers. For many retail businesses, this could mean investing much more into digital channels to support the surge of demand as customers have been forced from retail channels to online-only channels. While for essential services, this could mean designing the physical environment to ensure the safety of staff and customers, as well as relating to each other in a more empathetic and engaging way.  Under Shelley’s lead, Groworx CX in Action helps these businesses quickly and effectively design and implement these changes in a measured way for lasting impact.   In regards to Shelley’s decision to join Groworx, she said:“I wanted to join a company that wasn’t just modern. It had to be a business with a conscience that cared about its people and worked to make a difference in society. GroWorx is one of those companies and I am excited to be part of the team.” Her passion has always been about the human experience and why we do what we do. What she loves most is helping people and organisations see what great looks like and helping them work towards that. With Shelley taking the lead on Customer Experience Strategy, Groworx is enhancing its world-class solutions for clients that will enable them to increase revenue, improve both customer and employee experience, while enjoying the cost advantages of offshore delivery centres. Stay tuned for updates on Groworx’ Customer Experience Solutions. Subscribe to the newsletter.​

Groworx supports companies & workers during COVID-19 by launching new remote call centre & operations service​

Groworx Home is a virtual Customer Engagement Centre platform for governments and businesses that want to launch or expand their sales, support and operational capabilities without being impacted by the physical constraints imposed by the COVID-19 epidemic. As businesses cope with the sudden loss of physical contact and the need to adapt to digital only operations, Groworx believes that businesses and customers need the human touch more than ever. This is the philosophy underpinning Groworx Home: There will always be a need for people to connect with other people. This modern Customer Engagement Centre platform connects displaced workers from Australia and around the world with businesses who are struggling with the shift to a digital only economy. An out-of-the-box capability, the Groworx Home solution includes cloud-first technologies, processes and cultural connection so that workers can work from home while supporting government agencies and businesses with a range of customer support, sales and technology services. The usual innovation and operational excellence from the Groworx traditional Customer Engagement Centres have now been extended for this new remote-first delivery model. To improve the speed of adoption for Home Members, Groworx provides a Groworx Home kit and a self-service agent-member platform. Groworx Home enables employees, such as customer service agents or technology analysts and developers or even back-office roles like HR and Finance, to continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic. As companies struggle to make the transition from a digital first to a digital only economy, with Groworx Home, employees will have a complete suite of tools to help them fulfil their roles. Job seekers will join a community of remote Groworx Home Members who stay connected and engaged through modern video-first and immersive collaboration technologies that are the core of what Groworx calls their Global Ways of Working (GWoW). GWOW promises not only the ability to work independently from home but also personal and professional development. This timely solution provides employers with a modern operational platform to keep their business running while providing a safe and engaging environment for workers. Groworx recognises that technology plays an essential role in scaling service and operations for companies but some businesses may lack the maturity or scalability to adapt rapidly to the current crisis. “We knew in the beginning that building a remote, cloud-first business was needed for a modern economy but we never imagined that we could serve humanity on this scale and in a time like this.” Groworx CEO, Dan Sandiford said today. “We are actively working with companies large and small to find people to be on-boarded and trained as a Groworx Home Member so we can help those Departments and companies of any size continue to run their businesses.” Starting today, employers can set up their own Groworx Home service and have remote sales and support centres up and running in a matter of weeks, complete with the team, contact centre technologies and training to help them serve their customers and specific business needs. About Groworx Launched in 2018, Groworx builds and operates modern technology platforms and outsourced customer engagement centres for Australian organisations. Groworx leverages its strong presence in Australia and the Philippines to operate multidisciplinary customer engagement centres across a range of customer sales, support and technology operations as well as general back-office administration. To learn more about Groworx Home, send an email to info@groworx.com.au or visit the Groworx website. Groworx helps organisations thrive in the modern world using its unique blend of consulting and global outsourcing solutions. We connect the digital and the human in all of our technology and business solutions. We combine advanced technologies with the latest ways of working approaches and offshore teams to cut down costs. Whether it's co-creating the next digital product sensation, transforming your Customer Experience capability, or wanting to grow your business with our digital marketing solutions, we build, operate and grow businesses that co-create innovation, create customers for life and help scale the truly modern business.​

How going digital ONLY will save businesses: Customer Experience in a COVID-19 World​

It feels like it happened overnight. We are all still coming to terms with the tsunami of change that has swallowed every individual and company across the globe. Many of our responses are tactical, designed to protect against an unseen enemy that threatens the way we work and live together. What remains unclear are the long term structural changes that COVID-19 will leave behind. Much of that will depend on the length and depth of this pandemic wave washing through our lives and businesses.One of the most powerful shifts from our quarantine-imposed isolation is the way we conduct our commerce. Traditional business models are being tossed aside, with product and service strategies turned inside out as customers evaporate or are diminished beyond recognition. The strategies we employ to run our businesses are being amended overnight. The way we sell and service our customers has shifted Pre-COVID-19, physical stores provided reassurance to many customers. Even digitally-savvy customers often completed the sale at a brick and mortar store, preferring to engage with real people for sales and support. Until last month, businesses would have marketed, sold, delivered and supported customers across multiple channels (a.k.a. an omnichannel approach), each one supporting the different aspects of the Customer Experience Lifecycle. Customers would use digital (online/mobile) channels which led to bricks & mortar offices and stores, and, as a last resort, Contact Centre channels (call centres of voice, IVR and live chat) to provide any post-sales assistance they needed. Where a customer used to fit a pair of shoes or touched furniture fittings in-store before buying, they now need to rely on online research and company support channels before making a purchase decision. Even a piano teacher must adapt their lessons to video conferencing to continue serving their customers. The loss of physical interactions means that businesses need to make the transition from digital first to digital only. From Digital First to Digital Only COVID-19 has forced a change in the ways that businesses operate, no matter the industry. While restaurants and cafes can only offer takeaway now, essential retail such as supermarkets must consider the safety of their staff and keep them protected. Retail businesses have seen a shift towards digital channels and this growing demand is putting pressure on delivery and product availability.The problem is that many businesses or industries are not ready to make these changes. Schools have made the move to online classes, but not every household is properly equipped for this, leaving the burden of homeschooling on parents. General Practitioners offer consultation online now but may lack the capabilities to attend to the surge of phone calls. COVID-19 has removed the physical connection of the customer moment, with many customers struggling to cope with what is now a digital only world. Human-centred Customer Contact Centres are more important than ever before Customer Contact Centres need to step up and bridge the gap between the Digital and the Human. Rather than being an afterthought for companies providing service to their end-users, human-assisted sales and service teams must be incorporated earlier and more often into the sales process to avoid customer frustration and abandonment. Injecting human engagement centres (whether via voice or Live Chat) into the relationship early helps soften the loss of physical interactions. Furthermore, this instantly improves brand connection, especially when your competitors are reducing or shutting off their contact connections with customers. Being there for your customers in difficult times improves sales conversions and customer retention. Without physical interactions, businesses must further nurture human connections by empathising, understanding, being patient and trusting. Customer experience policies must be reevaluated and modified to go from contact to engagement. The Human Engagement Centre must be remote in a modern, COVID-19 world But if workers around the world can’t go into their offices, how does it work?Around the world, traditional Contact Centres have been providing reliable and affordable sales, service and operational backbone for many businesses large and small. However, the operational rigidity built into these models means that many have failed to keep up with the ever-changing needs of customers. Principles like remote working, immersive collaboration, business transparency through technology innovation, and cloud-first approaches are still in the early stages for many businesses. So, while remote working began as a luxury, businesses are now scrambling to restructure in order to continue operating. Businesses need to create their own remote customer service capability and if they don’t know how to, then they need to partner with companies that can provide modern customer sales and service capabilities. COVID-19 is not a short term crisis We should seize this opportunity to connect with our employees and customers. Removing physical contact is like removing one of the five senses for a business. We must now strengthen the other senses to compensate for its loss. We need to evolve our business models by improving digital self-service, real-time sales and post-sales support. And we all need to move fast. This is not a luxury. Customers are hurting. Businesses are struggling. The best way to deal with that is to connect the digital and the human like never before.​

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