Covid19_Q&A - Rod Jones


Friday 29th May 2020 @ 10h30 (South Africa)

Some contact centre and BPO operations have handled the COVID-19 pandemic crisis better than others. Some operations have failed whilst others are only just managing.
And a few are actually thriving! What makes them so successful?



All of the panellists have had decades of extensive experience in many aspects of call centre, contact centre and BPO/GBS operations. They are all currently involved with operations and working with the realities of COVID-19. How can this remarkable team of subject matter experts help you?

You just have to ask!   Submit your questions now!
(You will also be able to submit questions during the live webinar)


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many contact centres to rapidly deploy large numbers of remotely located agents, team leaders, support personnel and managers.  The logistics of such massive changes to most contact centre’s operating models have presented monumental challenges. These include the deployment of remote technologies, connectivity issues, WFM, performance management and productivity. In addition, ensuring quality and compliance present operational management with massive challenges.

For more information about Callbi, the South African languages speech analytics solution, visit or click the logo above or click below for a quick 3-minute video overview of the Callbi speech analytics solution.


Jackie Naughton

Jackie Naughton CEO of BYC, responsible for the overall business delivery and strategic goal achievements. BYC operates outsourced quality assessment solutions globally to the contact centre industry and beyond.

I would say the most significant new experience during Covid-19 is managing the un-known aspects which, is rare for most seasoned leaders who are used to working with absolutes in best operating practices.

Effective and fluid change management is essential for leaders and organisations to sustain themselves during Covid-19.

Strategies that have been put in place needing to be reviewed and adjusted on an ongoing basis as new realities arise. Maintaining focus on leading a significant and diverse team to continuously drive their agility in change management whilst working remotely coupled with the learning of the virus impact as it evolves.

Watching our clients and industry trying to manage their organisations in a perpetual state of uncertainty which is new to all of us. That coupled with keeping the plates of industry spinning without fully understanding the end-result of business impact via Covid-19 in South Africa and the world.

As a leader, my day, now consists of driving outputs in a two-pronged approach, the reactivity of ‘here and now’ and dealing with daily changes needed. In addition, continuing our focus on the creation of the longer-term picture of what our business of two decades will look like when we come out of Covid-19 in the months to come. It must be different.

Overall experience has shown that constant and transparent communication and reassurance, where possible, are the essential factors to protecting our organisations through this exceptionally unusual time.

Whilst we have all been catapulted into un-known territories, it really does allow incredible learning for all of us. If we embrace it, we will come out much stronger and smarter on the other side.

Contact Jackie at:

Operations Director: CapabilityBPO

Currently the change in my role as COO has been from long term strategy to short term solutions. Every situation has been unique, be it getting the team re-located from the office to their homes, ensuring they are supplied with data and re-assuring stressed Clients that we have the situation under control.

Logistic management has become important we have had to change or develop new Policies and Procedures . Just ensuring that everyone Working from Home has sufficient data is an exercise all of its own. Asset tracking has also become important.

Amendments to the Business Continuity Plans and updating clients has became a necessity for trust building. Once the WFH became the norm, the focus moved back to meeting contractual obligations and the focus moved back to KPI’s.

During this time I have had to step up the depth of interactions with my Management Team. This has involved understanding when to be business like, and when it was time to ease up and talk about family and challenges presented by the Covid-19 situation.

Sensitivity to how they were feeling, how stressed they were and whether there were tensions needed to be gleaned by the tone of voice or the facial expression. Zoom chats are by nature more superficial and my role is to ensure that the daily interactions with my leadership team are more caring and personal.

The use of humour to ease the mood and to ensure that we all know we are facing the same issues has become very important and some of our team meeting end up with us all dissolving into fits of laughter.

Contact Roz at:


CEO  CallForce Direct BPO

Candice is an outsourcing thought-leader who is focused on transforming customer experiences through innovative contact centres solutions. Her business CallForce provides customised outsourced contact centre services to local and international markets including UK, Australia, USA and Asia and to many industry sectors including EdTech, Telecommunications, E-Commerce and Financial Services.

In 2019 CallForce won best BPESA GBS Top Operator 2019 and best BPESA GBS Top Offshore Campaign 2019. Candice was also a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the year in 2017.

For Candice, the COVID crisis has highlighted the amazing talent that South Africa has at our disposal. This has been demonstrated by her own CallForce team as well as many other BPO operations around the country. There have been phenomenally positive stories that have emerged despite an enormously challenging time.

These observations and response to the COVID crisis include:

• Agility to respond to the rapidly unfolding situation in a highly co-ordinated and effective manner, is and will remain, a key factor to surviving and thriving over the next few months.
• Bold action and innovation of processes and technology is key to success through this downturn and beyond.
• Leveraging internal culture of self-management and trusting your teams ability to work remotely.
• Virtualising all processes including recruitment, learning management, performance management and support services such as payroll and finance has been a great success, based on prior experience of remote management.
• Introducing communication platforms to keep office and home based team connected including communicating with full transparency to staff, suppliers and customers.
• Emphasis on staff safety including training and educating staff about the virus and building on a positive and authentic employee experience.
• Leveraging the teams expertise to navigate challenging times, while never forgetting to keep the focus on the future and your objectives, despite sometimes being overwhelmed the enormity of the current situation.

Contact Candice at:

Speech Analytics Specialist
Callbi / Alphawave Ventures

With 25 years’ management and leadership experience in the field of Business Intelligence and Analytics, Corey’s proven hands-on experience and ability to provide strategic direction to senior management on cost-effectively utilising technology to align with corporate goals renders him an invaluable member of any Covid-19 strategic insights team.

Having been involved with Speech Analytics since 2016 with the implementation of five Enterprise deployments to more than 5,000 agents, he is committed to helping contact centre operations to find the smartest way forward. The knowledge and expertise that he has gained in the field of Speech Analytics in the South African context is currently being leveraged by several forward-thinking organisations, to find smart ways of using this technology to monitor and manage quality and compliance of both on-site and remote workforces, while providing management with valuable insights and business intelligence.

Contact Corey at: or  +27 (0)83-444-9991


Chief Customer Officer

With well over twenty years of hands-on experience in the field of customer contact centre technologies, Deon is widely recognised as a subject matter expert, both regionally and internationally. Deon is able to share some of his recent experiences assisting customers to rapidly deploy remote or work-from-home contact centre agents and support and management personnel. He has a wealth of experience addressing some of the challenges facing users of on-premises technologies and the techniques used to mitigate these.

Contact Deon at:


BPESA as a not-for-profit company serves as the industry body and trade association for Global Business Services (GBS) in South Africa. The organisations focus is to create a trading environment in the country that is conducive for inclusive and collaborative growth at scale, underpinned by the sustainable supply of workplace skills for the future, a culture of innovation, and a drive for continuous improvement across the supply chain. The association exists to serve the broad stakeholder base which includes call & contact centres, shared service centres, digital and ICT.

In my operations role, I support our dynamic team to deliver to the diverse group of stakeholders which include sector partners from National, Provincial and City Government, Social Partners, local and international member bodies and associations, local and global investors and of course our association members.

The onslaught of COVID-19 has had dramatic effects world-over and all parts of the globally economy have been impacted including the globally traded services sector. It has been heartening to see how the local South African community have rallied together and in the true spirit of South Africa uBuntu we have seen industry peers who compete for business collaborate to ensure that the South African GBS sector kept ‘’its lights on’’ and operations open and functional. As soon as the impact of CV-19 became clear, BPESA took a people first approach and rallied with industry to promote a responsible approach to adopt stringent hygiene measures. As a people intensive sector we needed to keep our sectors front line workers safe. Numerous, collective efforts went into lobbying government for support, ensuring that the sector developed stringent Health and Safety Protocols to mitigate the risk and spread of COVID-19. In an effort to ensure compliance of and from the sector, weekly reporting structures were put in place and the many learnings have been shared far and wide to support business continuation, job retention and ongoing economic activity.

We are at the start of an unprecedented journey and life ‘post COVID’ will look different to before. A collective, innovative and growth mindset will allow for the South African GBS sector to continue on the positive trajectory it has been on for the past four years, we have learned that we are #StrongerTogether and the sector Trade Body BPESA will continue to support the numerous stakeholders on the recovery path towards global success.

Contact Traci at: