Spotlight Q and A

If you have not heard of FrontLine Group before, you may be surprised to learn that it is part of one of the largest and oldest Canadian-owned collections firms, CBV Collection Services Ltd., with four locations in Canada, as well as centers in the United States, India and the Philippines. FrontLine Group is the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) division that delivers customer management services—including customer care, sales, first-party collections and back-office work—to businesses in financial services, telecom, retail and other sectors.

Ryan O’Hara

FrontLine Group brings to its clients customer care processes, standards and techniques developed to deliver high-quality service and to retain customers—tried-and-true strategies that have been refined over the past 96 years. We recently caught up with FrontLine Group’s Director of Sales & BPO Ryan O’Hara to get a glimpse into the processes and philosophy that have contributed to the firm’s long history of delivering successful solutions to its clients.

What is your leadership’s top priority?

At FrontLine Group, our top priority is always to ensure that we deliver the highest level of service possible for our clients and to make sure that our employees feel valued.

To give our clients the highest level of service possible, we feel that we must provide continuously increasing value and customer experience. We do this through a unique training and development program for all employees that focuses on one-call resolution. The program, called Switchgear, emphasizes positive reinforcement rather than negative. We’ve found that this approach helps to build confidence and leads to a more satisfying work experience.

We truly value our employees, and we try to create a family atmosphere. Everyone in our organization understands that we all need each other to achieve our goals. The best role model for our culture is our President Bob Richards. Even though he is the top executive, he frequently walks the center floor just to talk to our agents. He also has been known to make a few calls himself.

What was your most recent success?

We have recently decided to productize and offer our live-transfer program to clients. It’s a segment of the market that we feel has been underutilized, and we’re really starting to see substantial demand in the number of FTE requested.

This has been a huge benefit for our clients with outbound programs. It allows for their skilled onshore agents to be always speaking to a right-party connect as opposed to spending most of their day dialing. It has also allowed many of our clients to reduce their underperforming headcount and keep their best employees.

Tell us about some of your other achievements.

We have been recognized with various industry awards, including the Noble Tech Innovation Award and AI International Best in Finance.

We also have been recognized by a number of clients internally for top performance. When we compare our results to our clients’ internal sites, we consistently perform much higher. We also have increased client retention through our outbound strategies by no less than 6%.

In addition to our work with clients, we strongly believe in giving back to the communities that we’re a part of. We work with a number of foundations throughout the year and we’re very proud of that.

What makes you unique in the industry?

We have two unique selling points: Our size and our history. We’re considered to be a mid-sized company, so we believe that we’re small enough to deliver the type of high-touch, personalized attention that lets our clients know that they matter, and we’re large enough to handle all of their requirements.

All of our programs are customized to fit the needs of our clients, whether they’re large or small. As mentioned previously, all of our agents go through Switchgear, in addition to any client-specific training. Every agent is cross-skilled in voice and text, but we assign them to programs based on the strength of their skills. So if we know that someone is a strong typist but gets nervous on the phone, we will assign him or her to a text or email program.

Our customer care centers are supported by leading-edge systems. We believe that we’ve partnered with the best in contact center technology.

Additionally, we have a 96-year track record of success. I should also mention that we still have our first client—a relationship that has lasted 96 years.

FRONTLINE GROUP AT-A-GLANCE

What do you do?

We are a BPO that specializes in customer care, first-party collections and back-office work.

Who do you serve?

We do work with almost every industry vertical. However, our largest concentration of clients are in the telecom and banking space.

Where are you located?

Our HQ is located in Vancouver, Canada, but we also have centers in the U.S., the Philippines and India.

How many employees do you have?

We have over 2,000 employees globally.

When were you founded?

1921

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