Since the beginning of his career in customer service, Geoffrey Peytier has had a special relationship with outbound. After his career as a professional football player, he started working for Telenet in 2005 as an inbound sales agent, where he worked his way up to the manager of the outbound department after some time. ‘That has always been my passion and when I see how outbound is used in practice, I often find it very unfortunate’, begins Peytier. ‘An outgoing contact can be super valuable, but many companies saw it purely as an acquisition and started calling without thinking about it in advance. All those irrelevant contact moments have given outbound the stamp it still has today. The people who are called realize that they are just a number and that they are not being listened to, and also for the employees it is unpleasant to convey an irrelevant message to uninterested people. So the company arose out of a bit of frustration, but especially out of a lot of love for the channel. With Best Next Contact I want to restore the power of outbound.’

Intuitive System

Because Best Next Contact specializes in outbound, all processes within the company are geared to it. Peytier has therefore opted for the Steam-connect platform. ‘Steam-connect is the first platform I know of that is completely built around outgoing customer contact. The platform was developed from outbound and other channels were added later. Often it is the other way around. Steam-connect fits very well with my philosophy. I wanted software that was completely tailored to the specific nature of the contacts we do. Furthermore, it is a very intuitive system and I can keep my IT costs to a minimum. Setting up a new campaign takes no more than a few hours, once all the info is available. An additional advantage is the speed with which we can switch once we have started up. Add fields or result codes, adjust campaign flows, introduce segmentations in the address file, all things that can be easily adjusted from within the operations. This also creates a much better understanding at that level about how the tool works, such as how and on which reports are generated. All this contributes to a deeper and more qualitative follow-up. I’ve seen a lot of systems in my career and they can’t do what Steam-connect can. Almost all the functionalities I was looking for were built into Steam-connect as standard.’

Leiderschapsmodel

During his employment at Telenet, the idea arose after a few years to start his own company, but Peytier first gained more experience and started working as a consultant at The House of Contact Centers. Because he had seen many contact centers inside, Peytier had gained a lot of valuable insights and experience. In addition, he saw there, but especially in his previous career as a professional football player, many examples of good and less good leadership. ‘There are few sectors in which the results of both are so immediately visible. Everyone can imagine something when you put a good or a less good leader in front of a group during half-time of a match. In retrospect, I mainly picked up my insights about leadership there, later a theoretical framework was developed that enabled me to explain and reproduce things much better.’

Based on the models of Dilts & Bateson and the teamwork pyramid of Patrick Lencioni, Peytier and his team are developing their own leadership model. ‘The basis is honesty, open and transparent communication with each other’, he explains. ‘It is also important that the manager dares to show vulnerability and in this way inspires his employees to do the same. Vulnerability in an organization is, after all, the basis for trust, it is the creation of a security that is necessary to be able to be yourself. Only when people are themselves, then talent can really flourish and you achieve the best results. I don’t know everything either, make mistakes or like to get some appreciation and don’t mind showing or expressing that. Far too many leaders still see vulnerability as a weakness and are not aware that as a result they (un)consciously contaminate their company with power relations, and then you get distrust, people start taking less responsibility or good employees drop out. So we are fully committed to vulnerability at all layers and today we can only be proud that very good things have already happened in our company in recent months.’

Verantwoordelijkheid nemen

Peytier wants to be a leader who is approachable and this is reflected in the organizational structure. He did not place himself at the top of the organization chart, but rather at the bottom. There is only one intermediate layer and at the top are the CEOs, the Customer Experience Officers, the employees on the shop floor. Peytier is therefore not someone who isolates himself in his own office. ‘I want to be able to feel the temperature in the smallest corner of the company. I want to feel where my energy is needed and where the focus of the employees lies.’ These employees are given a lot of responsibility within the company, but they have to take it. The two key words that Peytier mentions are ‘ownership’ and ’empowerment’. ‘We focus much less on behavior and more on responsibility. People like to have the freedom to do things themselves. To gain that freedom, you must of course show that you take responsibility for your own behaviour. I don’t want to be someone who sits in front of a monitor all day running reports to see what people are doing. I want to be a leader of employees who fill their work with things that give them energy. I want to inspire them and make them better at their work.’