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 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 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”.
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 –General 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?
“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 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 and develop staff throughout their careers.
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 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
Fiona Whelan, Managing Director of CPM’s International Contact Centre in Barcelona, is interviewed for a special feature on Business Excellence within the Contact Centre & CX Industry for leading Spanish newspaper, La Vanguardia.
Read the full interview excerpt in English below.
CPM Barcelona: Specialists in Exceptional Customer Experience (CX) & High Performance Sales
Since Fiona’s appointment as Managing Director in 2015, the company has gone from strength to strength.
During this time, CPM Barcelona has experienced 300% growth and secured multi-million Euro investment to fuel business expansion into an additional site; creating over 1000 new jobs for the region.
Here, Fiona talks about the critical importance of Customer Experience (CX) for businesses of the future and CPM’s continued success as it celebrates 15 years in Barcelona.
What is the main support brands need in order to remain close to their customers?
We are living in extraordinary times in terms of the pace and scale of technological and societal transformation.
This is driving real behavioural change in consumers; who paradoxically want increased efficiency and automation but conversely, more authentic engagement with brands than ever before!
This presents new challenges for businesses operating in an increasingly hyper-connected, transparent and ‘always-on’ Experience Economy.
As products become more replicable and indistinguishable; what matters most are the brand promises businesses make to their customers; and how the experiences customers receive when they engage with brands deliver against these promises.
It sounds simple but can be extremely challenging to achieve!
How does CPM provide this support to brands?
CPM’s raison d’être is to support our clients in delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences (CX).
We provide Technical Helpdesk, CX Support, Consumer Carelines, Customer Satisfaction and High Performance Sales programmes for premier global brands including Airbnb, Harley-Davidson and New Balance, to name a few.
Although we of course speak to customers over the phone; over 60% of our contact centre activities now take place via digital channels including chat-bots, social media, web-chat and ticketing; as well as a variety of messaging services such as WhatsApp and Messenger.
As a result of our investment in AI, data insights and predictive analytics; CPM are also able to harness leading edge technological innovations to automate simpler tasks; whilst simultaneously accessing a more digitally empowered, emotionally intelligent and highly skilled workforce for complex cases.
CPM employ over 2000 agents who engage with over 30,000 customers on a daily basis, spanning 65+ markets and 26 languages via our two contact centre hubs in Barcelona.
On an annualised basis, we deliver €100 Million in revenue for our clients and our CX Teams are achieving record breaking Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of 70 + (a key measure of Customer Loyalty!).
Do your clients belong to a specific sector?
Whilst CPM operates across a diverse range of sectors; in recent years, our success has been fueled by the exponential growth of clients operating within the High Tech, New Tech and Consumer Electronics space, where we have developed a real specialism and predict continued growth.
Looking ahead, what are CPM’s plans for the future?
CPM is committed to Barcelona and the continued growth of our contact centre operations in the city.
Adding to this; CPM have recently launched CPM Ignite, our Work from Home solution which enables clients and agents alike to avail of a boundaryless, virtual contact centre workforce operating across Spain and beyond.
We are also in talks to enhance our Northern European coverage; alongside established partnerships in the US and Asia.
CPM’s vision is to be the premier boutique provider of high skill, customer intimate contact centre solutions for clients across the globe; with Barcelona at its heart as our multi-lingual centre of excellence.
Please click here to view the original newspaper article in La Vanguardia.
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.
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:
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