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The results from the World Economic Forum on the Gender Equality Gap 2020 remind us there’s still a long way to go to true gender parity.

 

99.5 years they estimate.

 

Luckily companies like CPM have been championing equality and diversity for decades.

 

Owned by the Omnicom group, they’ve been a global force in the outsourced field sales and marketing landscape for the last 85 years, now operating within 35 countries across the globe.

 

Creating an inclusive culture is nothing new to the CPM Teams, it’s in their DNA, reflected in the fact that 50% of the group’s senior leadership is female.

 

Step inside this progressive organisation and see how they’re actioning the change we need to see.  

 

CPM has supported #IWD since 1997.

 

Mike Hughes, CPM’s CEO says: “CPM has always been a gender-diverse business but like many things, there is more we can and will do.

 

Supporting IWD allows us to celebrate the achievements of the thousands of women who work for CPM throughout the world and I would like to thank all of you for what you do for CPM, for each other, for our clients and for our and your communities.

 

Through our owners Omnicom, we are fortunate and happy to be able to actively participate in global initiatives such as OPEN and Omniwomen*; this makes our company a more diverse, equal and inclusive environment which in turn allows us to do the best job for our clients by reflecting the societies in which we live and work.

 

I really like this year’s IWD theme ‘Choose To Challenge’. A challenged world is an alert world and I would like to think all our colleagues feel able to call out gender bias and inequality and to be treated to be seriously and with respect when you do, but if you don’t this is the year for that to change and I would encourage you all to exercise your ability to choose to challenge”.

 

 

 

 

Michelle Tugwell, CPM’s new Chief People Officer says over the coming years they’ll harness a global strategy. Currently, a lot is done at local level albeit with joined-up initiatives through OPEN & Omniwomen and its annual summit.

 

Michelle’s passionate about creating a truly diverse and inclusive culture whilst challenging traditional stereotypes in the workplace.

 

She states how important it is that people feel they can be themselves and benefit from an inclusive, supportive team around them.

 

Having never been overtly ‘ambitious’ and being open about sometimes lacking in confidence herself, she learnt she was capable of doing increasingly more senior jobs from the confidence others (both female and male bosses) had in her.

 

“As a company, we’re big on mentorship. I’ve seen from personal experience when others have confidence in you, you believe you’re capable too”. 

 

Mentoring and leading by example comes naturally to CPM.

 

 

Karen Jackson MD of CPM UK was the first UK female MD in 2014 and in 2021 is co-chair of Omniwomen UK.

Karen says it was CPM’s investment in sponsorship and mentoring that made a big difference to her self-belief.

 

“I was very lucky to have 2 great female sponsors at CPM. They encouraged me, championed me, and gave me the confidence to believe I could take on more senior leadership roles”.

 

She now helps inspire other future female leaders across CPM and its subsidiary companies Hyphen & Cosine.

 

 

Luci Beaufort -Dysart – Director of Hyphen is joining Karen on the Omniwomen committee this year and is excited to help shape the events and 2021 year-long programme. For Luci, investing in a company’s culture is only ever a good thing.

 

“I had a couple of female bosses in my former career who really championed me and taught me how important it is to: treat everyone with respect, not to dwell on the inevitable things that go wrong and to build relationships with people at every level”.  

 

She believes getting along with your colleagues is key to getting the most out of your work.

 

“I’m one of the senior leads on our internal sports and social committee. Driving this forward is something I feel passionately about”. 

 

 

Kirstin Knight –Group Manager of Cosine, joined CPM’s subsidiary company just 18 months ago. Whilst she’s keen to point out she’s enjoyed working with inspiring male and female colleagues since joining the CPM family, she says it’s refreshing to be part of a company with so many women in senior roles.

 

“One of the most challenging things for me to overcome as a female leader has been balancing my career with raising my kids; especially as one of my children has special needs.  In my former career, I had to tell a few white lies to attend medical appointments (there were so many!), which I’m ashamed to admit. 

 

Because of my experiences, I want to commit to being as supportive and flexible as I can be so no other parent – male or female feels they can’t cope anymore”. 

 

 

 

 

How brilliant is it to hear this sort of honest dialogue?

 

 

Veronique Motte– CEO, CPM France talks about how she’s been able to be both Presidente and a Mother:

 

“CPM has been a part of my life for 18 years and as CEO of the French Group the last 13 years, there have been challenges. 

 

CPM has become my second family, my second pillar. I’m able to do this role by putting in a lot of work, being tenacious and with thanks to tremendous relationships (both male and female), which enable me to achieve a good balance between personal and professional life, because the time devoted to my two daughters is the most precious to me”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the issue of achieving that elusive balance (family + career), it’s worth talking about flexibility in the workplace. 

CPM is a People business, offering a wide variety of career opportunities in an array of disciplines, some of which are part-time or tactical/project-based. So, there’s always been a degree of flexibility ingrained within their culture.

 

While many commentators have spoken about their hope that the post-pandemic world will begin to reset many of the imbalances in society, CPM are in a brilliant position to catapult off the back of the great work they’ve already done.

 

Michelle says that everyone has adapted so well to working from home, they’re reviewing their working practices to see how elements of this can remain in the future.

 

 

 

Diversity & Flexibility 

Within a world of increasing diversity, accelerated by globalisation and the ability to remote work (thanks COVID), we expect work expectations to change, from both employees and employers alike.

 

CPM are committed to embracing diversity and flexibility.

 

 

Lorraine Butler – MD of CPM Ireland says she wants CPM to challenge themselves to consider the diversity of how family units are created and aligning support for employees around this, as a means to helping create concentrated change. 

 

“At CPM Ireland, we’re currently looking into how we can implement incremental support(s) for families going through fertility treatment, ensuring people have the bandwidth and freedom to go through this challenging experience without the additional challenges of worrying about keeping this hidden from work”.  

 

Lorraine also points out another issue of huge importance here:

 

 “Given people are our greatest asset, we need to be mindful of ageism”. 

 

As far as both diversity (gender, age & race) and inclusivity go, this couldn’t be more poignant today.

 

The female workforce aged 50-64 has grown 50% in the last 10 years.

 

The outdated view that women of a certain age just want to wander off into a menopausal fog or coast their way into retirement, is completely off the mark.

 

CPM value equality and diversity across gender, age and ethnicity and develop staff throughout their careers.

 

Gender equality 

CPM works hard to understand the challenges that women face in their careers, not just around family but as the gender more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome (or admit to it anyway), and be judged by their age and the conditions that can accompany these life stages.

 

Veronique says gender equality is part of CPM’s DNA.

 

“Every year we ensure we make changes and one example is with our gender equality index. Last year we increased our score by 9 points (97/100). The fact our Executive committee is 50% female spreads inclusivity into the whole company. This year I’m committing to even more involvement, Co-Chairing Omniwomen France.” 

 

Recruitment and attraction 

With an understanding of the importance of finding new talent, from more diverse backgrounds and via more diverse sources, CPM has established a new recruitment strategy in the UK and are looking at replicating this across the group.

 

They work hard to ensure their advertising and selection process is free from gender bias. By decoding ad copy and job descriptions to eliminate words with unconscious bias and using creative containing more balanced representation from all walks of life. Plus, they’re placing increased emphasis on ‘will versus skill’. Focusing more on behaviours and attitude versus direct experience, they’ve seen an increase in the diversity of applications. 

 

And finally, CPM is choosing to challenge old-fashioned stereotypes common in the workplace. 

Michelle is a huge advocate of being open, honest and genuine.

 

CPM has been focused on supporting employee’s mental wellbeing, making a variety of tools and resources available, and have recently trained a team of Mental Health First Aiders.

 

They also operate a menopause policy, looking to protect their employees’ wellbeing in whatever way they can.

 

By speaking out and encouraging honesty, CPM hope the future of work will alter unconscious behaviours and attitudes for the better.

 

And as Lorraine Butler reminds us, Anita Roddick had some excellent advice:

“If you think you are too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito”! 

 

With CPM #ChooseToChallenge and taking action week in week out, it might be less than 99.5 years until gender parity is in touching distance.

Watch this CPM space

Follow us on social to see the changes we action this year and all that happens at Omniwomen2021

 

#ChooseToChallenge

#IWD2021

#CPMChooseToChallenge

 

Uncovering key considerations on how to ramp up resources for seasonal sales periods

 

Are you preparing for Black Friday 2020 but find it challenging to set up a flawless back-office customer support team?

 

Forecasting the necessary resources can be a hurdle, and even more difficult with the current market uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. eCommerce sales are expected to raise but integrating digital channels into the Customer Experience (CX) strategy is not so straightforward.

 

If you are finding it tricky to successfully plan and operate peak demands, keep reading.

 

Operating within the eCommerce landscape for a wide variety of clients, CPM International Contact Centre have developed unparalleled expertise dealing with the seasonal peaks and troughs related to sales, product launches, returns and in some instances, handling unexpected volume demands. By combining omnichannel strategies, flexible resource models and operational know-how, we constantly deliver a seamless experience for the end customer, no matter the sales period.

 

The impact of Black Friday week is not only on the sales and eCommerce Support department but it also affects recruitment, training, IT teams, and many other areas of the business. The preparation for this November commerce period can start up to 12 months in advance. Yet, specifically in our business we see a peak from September onwards with hiring and onboarding induction. Some of our clients work in a unique way as they update their forecast on a monthly basis, but for a relatively small, core team, this can create some challenges to manage the operation successfully.

 

Our holistic approach to peak demand planning is tailored to every client according to their needs. We closely design the ramp up strategy together with our client partners resulting in better performance management, deep employee engagement, exceptional customer satisfaction and ultimately, higher sales. During 2019 Black Friday season, CPM delivered €5 Million in sales for our eCommerce Contact Centre clients.

 

In this article, we are uncovering what business areas are critical to preparing for a successful Black Friday and provide you with best practices on how the operational manager and CX teams can build and work on a structured plan encompassing 3 core areas: business, client, and people.

 

1. Business area: Dynamic Resourcing

Firstly, you should determine where resources should be allocated within the business. When using a dynamic resource model, budget and headcount vary on a monthly basis according to expected fluctuating demand. For a contact centre careline this implies:

  • New approach to recruitment: revise agent profiling to look for people that are more flexible, fast to learn and adaptable to change, with versatile interview assessment.
  • Induction training: generic onboarding sessions for time saving.
  • Flexible contracts: enabling the business to hire more part-timers, and introducing new working schedules around the arrival pattern, hence, minimizing the impact during opening time.

 

2. Client area: Operational Optimisation and Transparent Reporting

Secondly, operational excellence is key to delight customers. We work closely with our client partners to revise the procedures and streamline the day to day operations; adopting a continuous improvement approach:

  • We optimize resources by sharing agents across different operational teams, driving cost efficiencies and improving our knowledge base.
  • Create new analyst roles responsible for reviewing CSAT results and quality assessments to provide insight and build the plan for the future.
  • We build robust tailor-made reports delivering consistent insight on the customer journey and share NPS reports with the client.
  • Consider investing in reporting tools such as Power BI to enable arrival patterns tracking versus forecasting on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
  • Improve CRM platform configurations to drive efficiency among the team.
  • Integrate technology into your omnichannel strategy. CPM develops chatbot solutions (Answerbot) to support during peaks and enabling automation of transactional contacts.

 

3. People area: Employee Experience

Thirdly, remember great employee experience equals great customer experience. So, make their work-life easier, motivating, and enjoyable – especially during the accelerated operating rhythm driven by sales peak. Some tips for enhanced people experience that will lead to high performance are:

  • Introduce employee engagement surveys: allow your team to have a say, and be transparent by sharing their feedback and outcomes during a team’s session. Allocate budget for employee engagement activities, boosting team building.
  • Revise the incentive plan: ensure people feels motivated and valued while stimulating productivity.
  • Career development: during the peak it can be arduous to maintain the standard 1to1 session with every employee, therefore you can introduce group sessions. Still, it is important to map clear individual career development, not only to reinforce your structure for the future, but to ensure your people have the opportunity to stay and grow within the business.
  • We review work-flows and provide templates in order to support the team and to provide a consistent responses to customers.
  • We offer our people stability and job security during the off-peak periods with options to reduce hours or work on other CPM operational teams.

 

As CPM work with clients operating in a wide range of sectors, their peaks and troughs fall on different times of the year. This allows us to manage our resources across different projects having all busy sales periods covered and avoiding idle staff. For instance, an agent recruited for Black Friday, has the opportunity to move within our business in line with another client peak. This help us to drive cost efficiencies by reducing the cost of new hire and training.

 

With flexible resource models we can offer our clients the security to have efficient resources to manage sales peaks. Being flexible and sharing resources helps to avoid backlog situations, and ensure we have happy, engaged and retained staff. We have been able to reduce backlog from 28 to 0 days for one of our clients in just few months and reduce employee turnover by 38%.

 

 

We invest time into reviewing different operational and delivery models, offering transparency and flagging potential risks. We encourage involvement from our clients and approach this in a collaborative and agile way. Some of our existing clients work with multiple partners on global basis and have replicated our business and delivery model across other programmes to offer a consistent customer experience. CPM have transformed its eCommerce Contact Centre Programmes to agile and flexible omnichannel solutions with Customer Experience excellence at its core.

 

We don’t know what 2021 will look like. This year has certainly evidenced we can’t always plan for the future. However, we believe the industry needs models that are flexible enough to cope with challenges that you can’t yet foresee, so you can be ready to adapt in a very proactive way.

 

What if getting ready for Black Friday could be a smooth endeavour? Contact us at infobcn@cpm-int.com if you would like to master your eCommerce sales and customer support regardless of your business seasonal fluctuating demand.

 

 

 

ustomer-Service-Infographic

 

CPM Australia, a leading direct sales and contact centre agency and member of CPM International Group; partnered with ACRS to undertake a consumer research study analyzing the current state of customer service in Australia. The findings revealed that Australian consumers tolerance for poor customer service is lower than ever. A summary of the findings and downloadable infographic are available below.

 

Australians’ tolerance for poor customer service is lower than ever

 

Today’s consumers are faced with more choices than ever when considering how they want to reach a brand. They’re more digitally connected, socially networked and better informed than ever before.

 

Consumers are saying it’s still so hard to navigate and resolve customer service issues. These growing number of touch-points has had the negative effect of widening the gap between brands and consumers.

 

To better understand these concerns and how customers feel about the state of customer service in Australia, CPM Australia partnered with The ACRS Omnibus Tracker to explore these challenges. The “State of Customer Service in Australia Report” reveals critical gaps between customer service expectations of excellence, ease and accessibility and the disappointing realities associated with a lack of consistencies and response.

 

The power of word of mouth

 

The research points out that the power of word of mouth still holds its top ranking as the most popular channel. It reveals that the majority of disappointed consumers share their customer service experiences with one to five people. For those who have had a negative experience, 79% will air their grievances with friends compared to 72% who will share their positive interactions.

 

“It’s been a long standing belief that recommendations from friends and family is the most influential channel over all other forms of marketing. Yet, if consumers value word of mouth and marketers believe it’s effective, then why aren’t brand owners more focused on it?” said Martin Robbins, General Manager – Contact Centre, CPM Australia.

 

“I believe that the problem is that for the last few years, brands and retailers have been more focused on “collecting” instead of “connecting” directly with customers,” continued Martin. In other words, brands can get too caught up in collecting social media fans while forgetting to actually connect with them. Having 100 really passionate fans that love your brand or product is exponentially more effective than having 10,000 “fans” who’ve signed-up just for the off-chance of winning a new gadget.

 

Costly realisations

 

The survey also reveals some costly realisations. Over one third (34%) of customers surveyed have stopped shopping at a company in the past year due to a poor customer service experience.

 

In today’s competitive markets, brands can’t afford to lose sales due to poor customer service. This research validates that customer service stories are spread widely — especially bad ones – and in our experience, you’re typically judged by your resolution and not the initial issue. The quality and immediacy of contact, response and resolution of complaints or queries cannot be underestimated in a world where consumers are less brand loyal and where social media and word of mouth can make or break brands.

 

Factors driving excellence

 

In an age where technology dominates our lives, the research shows that dealing with human being trumps social and mobile channels. Across all the age groups, 61% percent attributed an important factor to good customer service experience was getting their query resolved on the first attempt and speaking with someone in Australia (60%).

 

The study also suggests that social media and mobile channels will not solve customer service queries. For both simple and complex enquiries, customers’ top preferred communication channels for customer service based enquiries includes: speaking with a real person on the phone, followed by face-to-face (in store), and finally through email. Not only does the study reconfirm the notion that customers are seeking a human connection, but they are also seeking local Australian knowledge.

 

Download The State of Customer Service Infographic

 

Contact us to find out how we can help drive sales for your business

Microsoft and their agency partner – Retail Safari (part of CPM Australia);  were awarded the “2017 Field Marketing Excellence Award” at the POPAI Awards for Australia and New Zealand, which took place in Sydney, Australia on the 12th October 2017. The industry event is dedicated to celebrating and recognizing the innovations of retail and shopper marketing across Australia.

 

“We are incredibly proud to receive this esteemed award,” said Michelle Casey, Channel Marketing Lead, Consumer Channels Group, Microsoft Australia. “It’s recognition of the robust work we’re doing in-field and a testament of our talented in-field Microsoft evangelists who are 100 per cent committed to delivering compelling customer experiences that drive demand and sales across our entire ecosystem.”

 

Awards were presented in several retail marketing categories. Microsoft was honoured among leading national field mark

eting experts for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of a retail campaign that successfully influences and enhances the shoppers’ journey.

 

 “We are proud to be a collaborative partner with Microsoft,” says Louise Mockler, Group Account Director at Retail Safari’s Sydney office. “It’s always been an honour to be in a strategic partnership that not only meets and exceeds business objectives but earns Microsoft recognition within the industry and community.”

 

POPAI is the only global, not for profit industry association exclusively advocating for excellence in shopper and retail marketing. With more than 45 offices and 1700 member companies worldwide, POPAI brings global best practice intelligence, resources, recognition and networks and to their members. 2017 POPAI winners: click here

 

A part of CPM Australia, Retail Safari provides a complementary suite of retail marketing services that connect consumers with brands in environments where the ability to influence is at its strongest.  The integrated channel structure activates brands along the purchase journey, triggering the impulse to buy at critical points both in-store and out-of-store.

 

To find out more around CPM’s global industry recognition and success stories, please click here.

 

For more information, contact:

Tania Peck, 0414 011 587

tania.peck@cpm-aus.com

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