WENDY QUESADA

Colombia 2021 | FINANCE | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Wendy Quesada, Operations Director, South America for SYKES Colombia, about strengthening digital services, training and education, and the BPO segment in the country.

How do you ensure SYKES's impact is always greater for companies and that the suite of services available is always wider as well?

At SYKES, we want to be recognized for creating intelligent customer experiences. We have been a leading provider worldwide in multichannel demand and customer engagement services for over 40 years. In November 2020, we formally launched Sykes digital services that combines the digital transformation capabilities we have been acquiring and developing in past years. The focus is on transforming business operations with attention to customer experience; we are being true to our core. We design or redesign a company's digital strategy to guarantee an excellent user experience. SYKES counts on its methodologies, tools, expertise, and skill sets. Collaboration with our clients is paramount and ensures we understand the customer journey map and company processes that show where we can add value to the end user.

Where are companies falling short in their efforts to strengthen their digital presence?

It is important for a company to have clear objectives for their digital transformation strategy. We want to ensure that whatever we do in digital transformation goes toward the core of the business and provides value to the end user. By partnering with SYKES, our clients benefit from the expertise we have built during the last five years in end-to-end solutions. We understand the whole customer journey and can identify where opportunities can be created. End-to-end solutions incorporate aspects of automation, marketing, sales, and customer care. We can ensure that teams, systems, and technologies are streamlined; our added value is optimizing the customer journey. Creating intelligent customer experiences is our impact

How is training and education a permanent component of the company's culture?

Part of our culture is having a team that works, learns, and grows together; we want to make sure we continue to replicate our culture to our employees work from home experience. With regard to recruiting, we launched SARA, SYKES Automated Recruitment Assistance, which uses AI to help us maximize the candidate's experience. SARA has been an innovative tool that incorporates digital transformation and adds value to one of the most important processes in our industry. We need optimized processes that ensure we stay efficient through growth. Regarding training, we have adapted active learning to the virtual environment, which required updating tools and methodologies to ensure we continue to capture the attention of trainees. Keeping on-screen attention for six to eight hours of training is a big challenge. Gamification is something we have been incorporating that has great potential to be part of our virtual training and learning methodologies, especially in making our self-study modules more attractive.

What role does the company have within the Latin American and global operations?

SYKES Colombia began in 2013 with training classes and went live in 2014; it has been seven years of a successful story out of Barranquilla. We started on one site, and, despite the pandemic, we have grown and are in the process of opening a second site in Barranquilla. We are also evaluating a second city in Colombia, which speaks highly of our success story in the country. The service and delivery that we promise is high quality and leans on the quality of the Colombian workforce. We will definitely continue to grow in Colombia.

Why does Colombia have an advantage in the provision of BPO services, and what potential is there for the sector?

One of the synergies that Colombia can continue to leverage on is the country's technology know-how. The government is committed to investing on skillsets related to technology and software development. Today, 50% of SYKES' services in Colombia is focused on technology, and it continues to be one of the areas we prioritize for Colombia, especially with the country's large youth population. Still, Colombia needs to ensure it accelerates English proficiency, and it is important for the local workforce to have strong handling of the English language.

Where is SYKES Colombia focused on business development, and what strategies are at the forefront?

From a strategy perspective, technology is central. Colombia is considered an attractive nearshore location to the US and has demonstrated stability. Technology and Software development continue to be an area of growth and new opportunities, as part of the near future strategy for Colombia. We are focused on ensuring the sustainable capabilities to build medium- to long-term strategies, which requires a country-coordinated effort. There has to be a single country strategy to ensure we have the right skillsets, technology, and language skills. SYKES has been successful in its efforts to promote English and technical education in Colombia through different social responsibility initiatives, as the SEED, SYKES Education and Employability Development program, SWIT, SYKES Women in Technology program, and our own internal English and Technical Academies. We need to keep that in mind that as a country, we need to make sure we are sustainable for all the different industries. The more people who speak English, the more opportunities we can bring to the country.

What differentiates SYKES, and what added value can you provide for the Colombian and international business ecosystems?

SYKES offers innovation in the subject of digital transformation as well expertise in end-to-end solutions. We have the knowledge, skillsets, technologies, and methodologies to identify areas with potential for automation and optimization. Helping our clients optimize lifetime value with customers contributes to the long-term business relationships we have built. Clients continue to trust us to attract, convert, engage, and retain customers. For Colombia, the BPO industry is experiencing a great momentum that allow us to explore new markets, verticals, and technologies.