SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Greg Hanover, Chief Executive Officer at Liveops

What does it take to drive a better virtual call center experience in a digital-first selling environment? We had Greg Hanover, Chief Executive Officer at Liveops join us for a chat to share some thoughts:

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Hi Greg, we’d love to hear about your journey through the years…tell us more about your role at Liveops?

I was named CEO of Liveops Inc. in 2017 after 10 years with the company in a variety of senior leadership roles. Liveops is a leader and pioneer in the virtual contact center space, with a distributed flexible workforce of over 20,000 domestic home-based agents. Before Liveops, I was with West Corporation in a client services capacity. Prior to my leadership roles in the contact center space, I held senior-level positions in the sports and entertainment industry. I hold an MBA and B.S. Degree in Marketing from Canisius College. At Liveops, we are committed to delivering flexible work opportunities to a highly motivated agent community who are driven to deliver the best possible customer experience with every customer contact.

We’d love to hear more about Liveops’ latest innovations?

Liveops is the leading provider of skilled virtual workforces for customer service and sales. At Liveops, we enable our agent contractors to work around their lives. With the ability to work virtually and choose their own schedule each day, Liveops agents have complete flexibility to work when it suits their needs. This has become increasingly crucial during the past year as the pandemic caused  individuals around the country to search for remote working opportunities that allow them to work within the constraints of the pandemic.

For the working parents demographic, specifically, having a flexible schedule became crucial in order to handle childcare and remote schooling while also earning an income.

With Liveops, these individuals didn’t have to choose between continuing to work and caring for their families. Just as we are committed to providing this flexibility to our agents, we are also committed to equipping them with the tools they need to be as efficient and successful at their jobs as possible. Recently we have further enhanced our digital transformation of the agent experience, really making the journey more efficient for agents from step one.

Can you talk about some of the necessary digital transformation trends you’ve been seeing become priorities for call centers and customer-facing staff across industries today?

Liveops alone created opportunities for 20,000 virtual agents between March 2020 and year end. We recently rolled out a new strategy to improve the agent experience for our independent contractors. These enhancements include digital tools and tactics to improve recruitment processes, optimize agent workflow, and enhance community engagement.

Over the last year, we have seen enterprises really evaluate the work-from-home model, whether it be out of necessity amidst the pandemic, or to meet the evolving needs of the workforce. Transitioning an in-center customer care team to a remote workforce requires a robust digital toolbox. Many businesses needed to adapt recruiting, onboarding, learning, and productivity management to a virtual world.

Most recently, we launched an applicant tracking system designed for high-volume recruiting. As more call center and customer service workers begin to prefer working remotely with flexible hours, more applications will continue to come in. At Liveops, we needed a platform that could manage the high-volumes of applicants, sometimes over 1,000 per day, while delivering a seamless applicant experience.

More importantly, this platform was chosen as a result of direct feedback from our agents regarding their journeys with Liveops. No matter the technology, the process for implementing digital transformation within an organization should begin with a direct need from those that will be impacted the most. Technologies can only be impactful if they are implemented to address a specific problem. This way, you can ensure that your investment will optimize your teams.

What are some top technologies and processes that you feel virtual call center teams need to be following more of?

The workforce of 2021 looks very different than many businesses would have anticipated. More people are seeking more flexible work options – from gig and entrepreneurial opportunities to more work-from-home. As many companies embrace a fully remote or hybrid work environment, technology will play a crucial role. Even after a year of remote working, many companies are still grappling with how to manage their team without constant monitoring, how to efficiently onboard new agents without being in a classroom setting, and catering to the community and engagement needs of the teams. There are a variety of tools available, and there isn’t a secret formula (that I know of) that works for every business. My advice is for leaders of virtual teams to explore and embrace technologies that complement each other and meet the needs of both your agents and your business.

How do you feel call platforms such as this will evolve in future and what will drive demand for more innovations and what kind?

During 2020, we were forced to experience just how capable we are of keeping businesses up and running, all from our homes. While some retail experiences are returning to in-person work, many of the trends that have formed over the past year will remain with regards to online shopping and communication. This trend will continue to drive demand for virtual call centers, leading to more technological innovations to create a more seamless and efficient experience for both the agents and the customers calling for assistance.

Virtual call centers are the modernized version of brick-and-mortar centers. For the last 20 years, we’ve seen an increase in people that are looking for more flexible work options – whether it be an adaptable schedule, or the desire to work from their homes. Over the last year, the pandemic really expedited the transition to more virtual workplaces as a whole. Now that the virtual component is here (and likely to stay in some capacity), the challenge is to stay innovative and on top of cutting edge technologies, and optimizing operational efficiencies. Customer service isn’t going anywhere – especially when trends like increased ecommerce and subscription-based platforms are likely to stick around. Digital transformations and innovations for call platforms will need to continue to evolve in order to ensure business continuity and resiliency planning, regardless of the situation. The pandemic showcased how important it is to be able to pivot in order to continue to deliver, despite disruptive incidents that may occur.

A few thoughts on what you feel today’s sales and customer facing teams need to be doing in terms of optimized processes and technologies to drive better customer experiences and journeys?

One thing that people often fear is that technology lacks a human-centric approach. This human connection is also something that we have all been deprived of for the past year. While technology may be implemented to assist with the work, the core of this industry is, and always will be, the sales and customer service representatives connecting with customers each day. As a result, each digital innovation implemented should be one that improves the process for either party. With this in mind, we can use the technology to improve and supplement the process, while still prioritizing the personalized experiences of each customer interaction.

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Liveops is a virtual call center offering an on-demand skilled workforce of onshore virtual agents for all customer service and sales needs. With more than 20 years of experience offering flexibility, scalable talent and meaningful work, Liveops has been improving the lives of its agents, clients, and employees by facilitating endless opportunity. Its Virtual Flex model has enabled more than 400 organizations across service industries including retail, healthcare, insurance, telecom, travel and hospitality, and government to trust Liveops to deliver a fully scalable enterprise workforce, with faster program readiness, increased revenue, and greater customer satisfaction scores than traditional call centers.

Greg Hanover is the Chief Executive Officer at Liveops.

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