The Silicon Review
Founded in 1953, Skybridge Americas provides high-touch, high-quality omnichannel contact center, product fulfillment, and e-commerce solutions. The company is distinguished by the longevity of its client relationships and the renown of its brands. The company's goal is to deliver unprecedented clarity of brand message and strategic support to the customers.
Skybridge Americas create great customer experiences between a brand and its consumers. The company collaborates with its customers as a single team to drive quality, improve their market share and profitability. Skybridge Americas is PCI-DSS Level One certified.
Today, Andrew Bosko is leading Skybridge Americas from the front as its CEO. His leadership has helped the company's brand transformation, technology upgrades, and recent rapid sales growth since joining the organization in 2016. A recognized sales leader with 25 years of executive management experience, Andrew is known for his hands-on style, sense of humor, and relentless focus on results.
We recently interviewed Mr. Bosko to know more about his leadership style. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
Q. What motivated you to reinvent the BPO industry?
Several years ago, we recognized that the traditional “call center” model was rapidly becoming obsolete. The reality for our clients was that their customers’ expectations were constantly rising, creating a demand for delivery systems that are super-responsive, flexible, and quick, and helmed by leadership teams that are visionary, nimble, and innovative.
That left very little room for brick-and-mortar call centers to compete. Think about it. When you’re locked into legacy systems and property leases and the big buildings with the rows of cubicles, you’re pretty much locked out of any hope of delivering world class customer care. You can’t react immediately to unforeseen events. You can’t quickly take advantage of IT advancements. You can’t even hire best-in-class agents, each with the optimal profile for a specific program, because you are geographically limited to a fifteen-mile commute radius from the contact center.
We read those tea leaves earlier than just about everyone else in the industry. We re-engineered our business model, accordingly, designing everything around unfailing customer care, responsiveness, and adaptability. As a result, long before COVID-19, our agents were already safely working from their own home workspaces, throughout the United States and Canada. That, along with our move to cloud-based platform technology and integration of conversational AI, have given us a level of scalability that allowed us to deliver superior customer care, seamlessly throughout the pandemic.
Q. How do you gain insights/find specialized experts to provide tailor-made industry specific solutions for clients?
The short answer is simple: our clients, their customers, and our agents are powerful sources of insight for us. Every member of our leadership team has devoted their careers to the customer care industry. We are deeply immersed in tracking trends, breakthroughs, in daily conversations with thought leaders and innovators in this space and we’re constantly asking ourselves how we can be even better at what we do. That philosophy informs our hiring process. We are very aware that every agent, every coach, every executive who joins the team will impact our performance. Experience on the resume isn’t enough. We’re looking for creative problem solvers who love people, are truly energized by this work, and want to be part of the conversation about where we can improve.
Q. What are the anticipated trends in the BPO segment?
Earlier this year, we published a white paper where we focused on five critical trends to watch in the customer care industry. To zero in on two here, I think everyone in the BPO segment needs to pay close attention to consumer demand patterns. Early in the pandemic, for example, the extreme uncertainties that plagued just about every aspect of everyday life were having everyday impacts on consumer behaviors. Forrester described finding high levels of consumer “isolation, distrust, and vulnerability.” As we enter new phases of economic recovery alongside ongoing COVID-19 uncertainties, I expect to see ongoing volatility in consumer needs and demands. I expect to see consumers seeking reassurance that their brands actually care about them, personally. When they reach out to the contact center for help, they want so much more than efficiency and accuracy. They want to experience a sense of compassion, empathy, and connection. When that’s not their experience, they’ll seek it with other brands.
All of that is going to drive greater demand for more highly-skilled agents. I believe our entire industry is going through a radical redefinition of the customer care agent role. Because we are able to cast such a geographically broad hiring net, we’re able to recruit agents with exceptional communication and problem-solving skill but also for their own brand affinity for the client we’re serving. After all, who better to be the voice of your brand than an agent who personally knows and loves your brand themselves?
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful CEO?
I would say that deciding with speed and conviction is non-negotiable. High-performing CEOs do not necessarily stand out for making great decisions all the time; rather, they stand out for being more decisive. They make decisions earlier, faster, and with greater conviction. They do so consistently—even amidst ambiguity, with incomplete information, and in unfamiliar domains. The ability to engage for impact is also a critical trait. Once CEOs set a clear course for the business, they must get buy-in among their employees and other stakeholders. Strong performers balance keen insight into their stakeholders’ priorities with an unrelenting focus on delivering business results. They start by developing an astute understanding of their stakeholders’ needs and motivations, and then get people on board by driving for performance and aligning them around the goal of value creation. Finally, a successful CEO must be able to adapt proactively. Dealing with situations that are not in the playbook. As a CEO, you are constantly faced with situations where a playbook simply cannot exist. You’d better be ready to adapt. To me, these three traits define leadership.
Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Never stop listening to your stakeholders and never stop studying your industry and your market. Those habits are the keys to strong partnerships and solid growth. The minute I see a company get too locked into its own way of doing things is the minute I see them start to lose their competitive edge. Back in the day, we used to talk a lot about paradigm shifts as if they are distinct events. But a more realistic mindset is probably the one that understands the landscape is continuously shifting. Today’s solutions might not fit tomorrow’s circumstances. An agile leadership team is always preparing to adapt with better solutions.
About the Visionary
Andrew Bosko, CEO
Since joining the organization in 2016, Andrew has been the guiding force behind the Skybridge Americas brand transformation, technology upgrades, and sustained sales growth. A respected leader with more than 25 years of executive experience, he is admired for his hands-on approach, relentless focus on results, sense of humor, and people-focused decision making.