Weekly News Roundup with Curiosity Worx (July 6 to 12, 2020)​

Just recently, Prime Minister Scott Morrison raised awareness of months-long 'state-based' cyberattack on Australia’s government, education, health, and business sectors. This wake-up call follows on the heels of a cyberattack on Lion that forced the beverage manufacturer to temporarily cease production. Australian businesses need to look to ensure that the technology their businesses employ must o stay updated with the latest developments in their industry. Adapting to automation, the demands for new capabilities and skills, and sweeping industry trends and forecasts can give businesses the edge over their competitors.  Conquering the Centre  1.  Upskilling the Contact Center: Planning for Your Agents’ Future in an Era of Uncertainty The pandemic has necessitated a shift to a digital only business world and to more prevalent automation for businesses. According to The World Economic Forums’ “Future of Jobs Report”, that by 2020, 54% of all employees will need significant upskilling. For the contact centre industry, automation should gradually take over rote tasks such as collecting customer information. Contact centre employees must learn how to use these programs and software but at the same time, there will be a demand for soft skills.   The demand for soft skills has already been on the rise with tools like chatbots automating menial tasks. The ManPower Group’s report showed that while 38% of organizations find in-demand technical skills difficult to teach, 43% said that training employees in the soft skills that they need is even harder. If digital tools take over simple tasks, contact centre employees need to improve communication skills, problem-solving skills and relationship building. The human touch has been and will continue to be a major differentiating factor for customer engagement and contact centres.    2.  How to build trust in an increasingly automated business world Despite customers and businesses not only accepting new technology that automates customer experiences, but the human touch also makes or breaks an experience. “We increasingly want to do business with people that we trust rather than just another faceless brand,” Aurangzeb Khan writes in an article about how to connect better with their audiences when automation takes over what were once points of interaction between businesses and their customers.  Unlike taking to a person, automation technologies like chatbots lack conversational markers like the tone of one’s voice and body language. 90% of human communication comes from nonverbal cues and these are lost when interacting with machines. Solutions like video conferencing can help improve both CX and EX by providing face-to-face interaction even on a digital platform.  At Groworx, we create creative CX strategies that address ever-shifting business needs and translate them into action. We’ve helped businesses leverage new technologies and capabilities like Live Chat to connect the human and the digital. Talk to us today to learn how we can help you.    The heART of CX  1.  5 Tips to Engage Remote Staff During Lockdown Good EX and good CX go hand-in-hand. After all, employees are a business’ frontline when dealing with customers. Keeping employee engaged despite them working remotely means staying consistent with the organisation’s culture and communicating. Provide employees with the tools and resources they need to continue excelling at their role. At the same time, businesses must also implement structure, processes and policies to maintain order and security.   At Groworx, we also like to show our appreciation for our employees and give them a chance to bond with each other. For example, we hosted a virtual pizza party. When businesses take care of employees, they can become brand ambassadors with customers. were able to shift to remote working in just 48 hours thanks to our agile teams and global ways of working. Let’s chat today and we can tell you how to keep your employees safe and productive when working from home.     2.  We’ve reached the Age of Customer-Centricity. But what DO customers really want? Communication is the most important aspect in the business-customer relationship. Getting it right, especially during a crisis is critical. Recently, brands have been sharing the actions they’ve taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From using hospital grade disinfectants on commonly touched surfaces to talking about remote work arrangements and social distancing. This line of communication opens itself up to questions like, “Why aren’t you already doing these things to protect customers and employees?”  As the new policies and processes become part of the new normal, brands need to look more at how to properly show care for their customers, employees and communities. Our Associate Director of CX, Shelley Beeston talks about caring for customers in her blog. She describes how businesses that show care will rise above the competition. Consult with Shelley today and learn how we create brilliant strategies and turn them into great performance with our CX in Action service.    IMO (Innovate. Modernise. Operate)    1.  Eliminating Bias in Recruiting through Artificial Intelligence Recent events have highlighted how discrimination disenfranchises marginalized groups. For businesses, forming diverse teams adds insight and skills that make a difference. Can AI, which is considered free from human bias and error, help businesses in the recruitment process and build more diverse teams? Amazon seems to prove this wrong as they retired their recruitment AI in 2018. But their experience is not the fault of the AI, but the algorithm they used. Their algorithm was modeled based on data from the past ten years, but in the past ten years, majority of resumes sent to Amazon were from men. Thus, the AI ended up favoring men over women.   However, AI platforms like Pymetrics gamify the recruitment process and assign categories to candidates so that talent acquisition teams can easily sort through thousands of job applicants. AI tools like Pymetrics should not be the only way to sort through candidates, but it can help significantly speed the process of reviewing resumes. In the end, human judgement still plays a massive part in the recruitment process, but advanced technologies can help make this process easier, faster and less biased.    2.  Building an Agile Enterprise Starts with Culture and Technology At Groworx, we believe that the world has become agile. Customers demand instant responses and engagement and technology forces businesses and even entire industries to innovate and adapt. Digital transformation starts with company culture and business technology platforms. Instilling a modern, agile culture in an organisation encourages employees to respond to new demands and gives them the tools to act instantly but not haphazardly.   Even with an agile culture, a business will not be able to keep up with the competition without leveraging advanced technologies. Technology accomplishes two important things: taking over menial tasks to free up employees to do more complex work and make opportunities visible across the entire enterprise. Whether it’s a CRM tool or a chatbot to help answer customer queries, technology plays a large role in empowering employees to do their work and to do it quickly. At Groworx, we believe in the power of technology to transform. Groworx Technology Solutions help businesses co-create, implement and manage advanced technologies. Talk to us today to find out how we can help your business adapt to today’s agile world.     Want to get the latest news about cool new tech and CX innovations? Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated with Curiosity Worx.​

Weekly News Roundup with Curiosity Worx (June 8-14, 2020)​

As the world sees major upheaval, businesses need to continue to look to the future and find the best tools, tech and trends to help them grow. More than that, businesses must continue to show their care, not just for their employees but also for customers and stakeholders.  This week, we rounded up the latest news that can help you perfect work arrangements in the new normal, adapting and improving CX strategies or learning about cutting-edge developments in tech to meet new needs and demands.   Conquering the Centre 1. Research shows 74% of home-working contact centre agents have a better work-life balance   If your contact centre hasn’t already shifted to remote working, pay attention. According to a recent study, 75% of organisations experienced lower attrition and 61% said their contact centre agents have been more productive. After all, when working at home, contact centre agents enjoy more time and money that otherwise would have been spent travelling to the office.   Remote working looks to be the future of the contact centre industry and the key to transitioning to a work-from-home set up is the fast and efficient establishment of remote working infrastructure. Advanced technologies such as cloud-based solutions, video conferencing tools and workplace collaboration apps can help with collaboration. If you need to set up or augment remote sales and support teams, check out our Groworx Home Customer Engagement Centre service. We provide businesses with the people, processes and tools and get virtual teams running in a matter of weeks.  2. How Call Center Agents can Work from Home with their Smartphone? Call Center Mobile Agent Applications have emerged as an alternative for remote sales and support teams that may not be able to get a hold of a laptop or desktop.  These are some key aspects that businesses to pay attention to when considering mobile devices as an option for remote call centre agents:  Inbound and outbound calls Dialers for automation CTI integration Monitoring and reporting Security While a smartphone may suffer from limitations compared to a traditional work-issued computer, emergencies may arise. Preparing for any emergency ensures business continuity as backup plans mean the business can continue operating as normal.   The heART of CX 1. Four Ways To Deliver Better Customer Experience During The Pandemic  Resilience allows businesses to continue providing value to their customers no matter what the disruptions and challenges are. COVID-19 has challenged businesses’ resilience in new ways.  The first and most important key to ensuring business continuity is empathy. Showing care and concern for people and communities deepens the relationship between a business and its customers. Groworx’s very own Associate Director for CX, Shelley Beeston, gives in-depth examples and talks about how businesses can show care and resonate with the people they help. Read more here.  Businesses need to communicate with customers in a simple and clear manner. During this pandemic, customers feel anxious and lost and businesses need to be able to relay important information to their customers through channels that they can reach. 2. One Size Does Not Fit All: Tips For Improving Digital Customer Experience  CX has always been about constant improvement. With more businesses forced to bring their operations online, CX strategies that worked in largely physical locations must be reworked to adapt to customer concerns and behaviours on online platforms.   For example, User Experience (UX) on a website or mobile app goes hand-in-hand with digital CX. In order to give customers the best experience online, CX professionals need to work with or consult web designers. UX practitioners would better understand how a website’s layout needs to be tweaked to make it easier to navigate.  At the same time, don’t mistake buying the latest AI chatbot as the only way to innovate. Technology such as conversational AI and CRM platforms can help businesses manage customers and their concerns, but sometimes, what they really need is a change in how its people think, feel and behave. Getting client feedback is much easier online, after all. Action items should be formulated based on feedback so that each succeeding customer experience is better than the last.  IMO (Innovate. Modernise. Operate)  1. This next-gen AI chip could be a major instrument in advancing the tech  The processing power required by supercomputer systems has led to a race among tech businesses to develop more sophisticated and innovative chip designs. Chip manufacturers like Intel have been developing neuromorphic chips, computer chips that are modelled after the human brain. An Australian startup, Cortical Labs designed a system that merges biological neurons with a computer chip that can process complex calculation.    One of the more promising chips out on the market right now is the NVIDIA DGX A100, an artificial intelligence chip that boasts 54 billion transistors to deliver 5 petaflops of performance. Furthermore, this chip can be partitioned into smaller workload for faster processing. The first order went out to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory which will use the chip in its fights against COVID-19. This chip creates AI simulations and models that will predict the spread of the virus and help with research into a cure.   As AI computing abilities advance, capabilities such as data analysis and machine learning are becoming more and more readily available. This latest advancement in AI tech opens up new opportunities for many industries such as retailers and Conversational AI and or car manufacturers and autonomous driving. Businesses need to know how they can best use these emerging AI technologies to grow.   2. Digital Signage and Zero-Touch Technology Today, touchscreen technology has become part of everyday life from phones to fingerprint scanners. The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing look to push technology towards touch-free technology. The technology has existed already, from motion sensors opening doors to voice assistants to facial recognition software on smartphones. Moving forward, digital experiences will be centered around touchless technology such as facial recognition, gesture recognition and haptics.   For businesses, this creates possibilities for touchless customer experiences even with existing tech. Contactless payments allow customers to make purchases remotely and facial recognition can offer unique, interactive AR experiences. As the word embraces remote business arrangements more and more, businesses need to adapt to the changing digital landscape. Talk to one of our experts today and find out how we can innovate, modernise and operate advanced technologies for your business needs.  Want to stay get the latest news about cool new tech and CX innovations? Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated with Curiosity Worx.​

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By Dan Sandiford

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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.

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