Leaders Talk: How to Be a Strong Leaders in Contact Center

July 23, 2021 – Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) present Leaders Talk discussion by the theme “Millennial Leaders in Contact Center”. CC-APAC invited professional speakers to the Asia Pacific contact center.

One of the speakers is Lily Shen, Senior Vice President of HSBC Global Contact Center Shared Operation, China Region. Lily began the discussion with her explanation about the working style of millennial leaders. Lily Shen said that about 70% of employees in her company are young employees. She also explained that the working style of millennials, in general, is quite adequate, attractive, and dynamic.

In addition, Lily also shared what she and her team focus on for millennials. The focus consist of nine future skills: curiosity, creativity, connectivity, customer engagement, human development, communication impact, transformation change, resilience, and growth.

Lily also shared three tips about how to become a strong leader in contact center. If millennials decide to progress in the contact center, they must know it is a very challenging but meaningful business. It is emotional, needs a lot of connectivity, and the human touch is precious in business. Contact center has a crucial role in all kind of business, especially in this covid situation. Therefore, the first tip to be a strong leader is to add or link the purpose of contact center with the individual, then they will find a way to learn and also to grow.

The second tip, Lily knows that millennials focus more on instant return. We can challenge them to understand the efficient looking, especially the future trend of digital interaction that is linked with the human touch. This challenge makes them know how far they can understand that they focus and how far they can progress their careers.

Last but not least, do not just learn from the senior. Millennial leaders must build their own leadership style and branding. Be yourself and show respect to people. Lily also shared that diversity is a strength and a core value in contact center. The customers are diversified and we are all diversified, so build your own leadership style and then it would be great. (ANF)

Leaders Talk: Create a Better Workplace for The Future with Millennial Leaders

July 23, 2021 – The second Leaders Talk organized by Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed “Millennial Leaders in Contact Center.” We invited four speakers, who are professionals from the Asia Pacific contact center.

One of the speakers is Joyce Poon, Vice President of CNCCA (China), Vice Chairlady of HKCCA (Hong Kong) & CEO of Equity Global Consultants Ltd.

Joyce said millennials are tech-savvy and are actively attached to the digital world, such as social media and gaming. Not only that, but they are also independent with a strong entrepreneurial mindset. Millennials show concern about the work environment with friendly teams, learning & development opportunities, and work-life balance.

She said that we should empower the millennials to be future-fit by building up their soft skills, such as empathy, collaboration, coaching, persuasion, creativity, adaptability, and more. We should offer learning opportunities for hard skills, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, UX design, and even video production. They can be role models and leadership brands for contact centers.

Joyce also gave some tips for millennial leaders who are struggling in this pandemic situation. She said millennial leaders are very agile and resilient, and there are many opportunities for them to be involved in digital transformation. They can be the key enabler for digital success, and millennials can make a better work environment for future generations.

She wants to challenge millennial leaders to move from a “know-it-all” culture to a “learn-it-all” culture and nurture their “Growth Mindset.” As the Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  We need to nurture the culture in contact centers.

For millennials, you must take a chance, and Joyce hopes we can strive together to create a better workplace and a better experience for the next generation. She said that she feels grateful because we can do it together for the generation coming behind us. The last message to millennial leaders is: “you gain the upper hand and good luck in getting ready for a brighter future,” said Joyce. (ANF)

Leaders Talk: How to Deal with Millennial Leaders in Your Company

July 23, 2021 – Interactive discussion initiated by Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC), Leaders Talk: Millennial Leaders in Contact Center which invited four professional speakers in the Asia Pacific contact center.

One of the speakers, who is invited in this discussion, is Sarun Vejsupaporn. He is the President of Thai Contact Center Trade Association and the CEO of NICE Call Company. The company is engaged in telemarketing and healthcare industry.

He also shared stories about millennials in Thailand who are so brave and talk a lot.  He also has the key success to develop millennial leaders which are attitude, training, and incentives. With a good attitude, millennials will be easier to be trained so that they have good skills, then practice what they have thought. If they pass on the training, they will get what they want, such as incentives.

Sarun gave some tips about what you should do, if you have a lot of millennial leaders in the company.  First, treat them as friends regardless of what they have been achieved. Do not tell them that you are his or her boss, they will not listen to you. If you consider them as brothers or sisters, they will listen to you. The second tip is you should listen to them first before you tell them to do a job or do something. Do not give them orders, but it is better to give them the targets.

Third, let millennial leaders find their ways to achieve their own goals. Do not tell them, immediately, what they have to do. The fourth tip is support what they ask for and read some of their recommendations.

Next tip, give them more authority to supervise their team because that is what they want as a leader. They want to have the authority to control and get their team moving forward. The sixth one, give them reward or appreciation as soon as possible when they have done a great job or got success in achieving something.

One more tip from Sarun, millennial leaders are fast and aggressive. Therefore, you should keep them exciting, like a horse which will run faster when they feel ignitable. Then the last one is, if they are not the right one, do not try to change them because it will waste your time. (ANF)

Leaders Talk: Tips from Gratiano Yeung for Millennials to Get Out of Their Comfort Zone

July 23, 2021 – In this Leaders Talk, the Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed about “Millennial Leaders in Contact Center”. We invited four speakers who are professionals in the Asia Pacific contact center industry.  

One of the speakers is Gratiano Yeung, Chief Customer Officer of Thai Insurtech Roojai.com, from Thailand. In Thailand, Gratiano said millennials have courage to speak up and accept challenges. Every month, her company holds monthly meetings for their agent/staff with managers to discuss about their working conditions. The goal is to make all employees feel heard by giving them the opportunity to speak. Roojai.com also provides training and certification to improve their employees’ skills.

Further discussions about the right time to assign an agent contact center to another department. Gratiano said that 2 years is enough time for an agent to be assigned to another department. During this time, they can learn various knowledge from contact center teams and other departments. Before getting the assignment, they must go through the interview process first. “If they apply for those positions, they still need to go through a proper interview by the department head,” Gratiano said.

Gratiano shared some tips and gave motivation for millennials. She talked about her concerns. First, she thinks people in general prefer to stay in their comfort zone, so Gratiano thinks we need to challenge ourselves. Just like her, she challenged herself to leave her home country to a foreign country and built start-up business from the scratch. 

It does not mean that you must leave your country for a change, but she thinks it is always good to ask yourself, what you can do for make things better. The second is digital transformation in the contact center. She thinks, as a leader we also need to be humble to learn and equip ourselves very well.

Gratiano believes that these days, a lot of contact center still use on premises solution or still have legacy system. Roojai.com has been decided to give up the heritance system from their parent company then started their own solution contact center. It allows us to have more flexibility. The key is do not be afraid to make changes. We must try to think outside the box and always challenge ourselves. Gratiano said it is going to make a difference, so go ahead. (ANF)

Leaders Talk CC-APAC: How to Be a Good Millennial Leaders in Contact Center

Friday, July 23, 2021 – In this Leaders Talk, the Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed about “Millennial Leaders in Contact Center” by inviting four professional speakers in the Asia Pacific contact center.

This discussion was presented by Andi Anugrah, as Chairman of ICCA Indonesia. First panellist is Joyce Poon, Vice Chairlady of HKCCA Hong Kong & CEO of Equity Global Consultants Ltd. The second is from Thailand, Sarun Vejsupaporn, President of Thai Contact Center Trade Association & CEO of NICE Call Company. The next panellist is Lily Shen, Senior Vice President of HSBC Global Contact Center Shared Operation, China Region. Then the last one is Gratiano Yeung, Chief Customer Officer of Thai Insurtech Roojai.com.

The discussion was started with an explanation of the working style of millennial leaders in the contact center. Lily Shen said that about 70% of employees in her company are young employees. She also explained that the working style of millennials in general is quite effective, attractive, and dynamic. They are quite influential in their work system and highly appreciate the work-life balance. 

According to Joyce, millennials have an interest and are actively attached to digital things, such as social media and gaming. Not only that, but they also have a very strong entrepreneurial mindset. Millennials are also more concerned about the work environment with friendly teams, job training, and development opportunities, and work-life balance.

In Thailand, Gratiano says millennials have the courage to speak up and accept challenges. So, every month, her company holds monthly meetings for their agent/staff with managers to discuss about their working conditions. The goal is to make all employees feel heard by giving them the opportunity to speak. Roojai.com also provides training and certification to improve the skills of their employees.

Sarun also shared stories about millennials in Thailand who are so brave and talk a lot. However, there are challenges if we talk specifically about contact center. Millennials are very hardworking, but don’t know much about targets. They only know, if the company has a budget, such as a bonus, then they will reach the given target. 

The next discussion is how to deal with millennial leaders. According to Joyce, millennials in contact center should improve their soft skills to face the future, such as empathy, collaboration, persuasiveness, creativity, and more. They also need to learn hard skills about technology and data analysis, such as UX design or video production.

In addition, there are two important processes that must be considered by company when dealing with millennials. First, how they get through the training and how they understand their needs. What they need and what they expect from the company. This is done to achieve the balance between the two in achieving the company’s goals.

As same as Joyce, Lily states that we must truly understand their aspirations, as well as understand their ability gaps. The way Lily does for them there are two aspects, one of which is build their exposure. Expand their exposure and make them have stronger connectivity with others outside of the contact center in order to support their careers. 

In addition, Lily and her team also focus on nine future skills, such as curiosity, creativity, connectivity, customer engagement, human development, communication impact, transformation change, resilience, and growth.

Another opinion from Sarun, he has the key success to develop millennial leaders. The key is attitude, training, and incentives. The first thing is attitude. With a good attitude, millennials will be easier to be trained so that they have good skills, then practice what they have thought. If they pass on the training, they will get what they want, such as incentives. Mention what incentives they will receive in the future to encourage their spirit.

Gratiano also agreed with other speakers regarding career. Agents must be given the opportunity or career path to become leaders. In this case, Roojai.com also has a career path where agents are welcome to apply for jobs in other positions or teams according to their abilities. Their company also provides a month-long basic training agent consist of inbound, outbound, social media, and other competencies to develop their skills. This training is very important for them, so they can understand the entire customer journey and provide the best experience for customers. 

Gratiano explained that in the current pandemic there is a challenge for contact center because they must enforce their employees to work from home. Lack of visibility and monitoring of what they do at home and how to control data security. This is when the role of technology is needed. She explained about the technology used by his contact center company. Her company uses Cloud, so they can work from anywhere. They can keep an eye on the agents via their CRM system. The technology allows them to know the details of activities, reports, and other functions of the agents.

In the middle of the discussion, there was a question from a participant regarding the high turnover rate of millennials. According to Sarun, this can be overcome by making competitive salaries especially for millennial agents. Also give other offers, such as travel gifts, meal vouchers, and others. Companies should give them more benefits to overcome the high turnover. 

In addition, Joyce also argues that turnover can be handled by managing their work, having good allocation, giving clear targets, as well as training or coaching. Millennials also have pressure to compete with gen Z. So, the solution is company must equip them with hard and soft skills like Joyce mentioned earlier.

The next discussion is how to be a good leader for millennials. Lily says that a good leader is has strong character and self-esteem, so they can have experience and be inclusive leaders. Inclusiveness means respect diversity. Leaders should be able to connect everyone on the team with all their diversity with respect and care. In addition, millennial leaders must also have a lot of sense in terms of connectivity and knowledge. Another important thing is have a heart to help in providing sustainable excellent service and become a role model in the team.

Further discussions about when is the right time to assign an agent contact center to another department. Gratiano said that 2 years is enough time for an agent to be assigned to another department. During this time, they can learn various knowledge from contact center teams and other departments. Before getting the assignment, they must go through the interview process first. “If they apply for those positions, they still need to go through a proper interview by the department head,” Gratianosaid.

Different from Gratiano, Lily says that her company gives agents 18 months to learn through this transfer system, “Our kind of standard time range would be 18 months,” Lily said. According to her, millennial leaders should be given some opportunities to change frequently by make some modifications, facilitate their wishes, and let them choose. This is the environment millennials want, so they don’t get bored easily.

At the end of the discussion, each panellist give some tips to millennial leaders, so they could adjust their abilities in the contact center.

Do not miss the next Leaders Talk with topic of discussion “A Leader’s Roadmap to Contact Center Success” on August 27, 2021. Please check CC-APAC Instagram for further information. (ANF) 

Daily Routine

Daily Routine
by Andi Anugrah, ICCA Chairman

If every morning you drink a cup of hot tea, then it will become a routine or a habit. You’ll feel like something’s missing if you don’t. Likewise, if after eating you need something sweet for dessert, then you will feel incomplete without that dish. That’s a habit and there may be a routine process that is carried out so that it reaches that stage.

Same with me, every morning I write something in #celotehpagi. It becomes an interesting habit to think for a moment about something and start writing. Various kinds of things can be written in #celotehpagi. It can be about yourself, family, work or various things that are on your mind.

Sometimes it’s also difficult to find a specific theme to cover. On the other hand, sometimes there are too many ideas that you want to write down and eventually the resulting written material becomes diverse. Sometimes too much to think about, finally a lot of writing is completed. But I also try to re-read each article and correct certain parts before publishing.

As a routine that has been carried out during this Pandemic period, writing #celotehpagi is a spirit to share something useful. There are times when you want to count how many readers of an article, whether published on websites or social media and of course WhatsApp. But in the end it doesn’t matter how many people read, the important thing is to be able to write and share something useful.

Changing the perception of a routine into a positive habit is a process to give meaning to a work. Maybe the same thing is felt by some artists, whether in painting, or composing songs or various other works of art. They don’t think about how many people will see, hear and like the work. He continued to do his activities as a habit.

In our work it is also almost the same that we serve many customers every day and view this as a routine. It could be a workload or it could be an opportunity to benefit others. It can be a burden or it can be an opportunity, depending on our perception.

But I see that in every routine we face there is always an opportunity to do better. Routine is a process that has a pattern and this can be set or programmed in an application or robotics. Of course, if it is a routine that is a workload. It is different if it is a work of art which of course requires a human touch or feeling.

Just imagine if every morning the person who wrote #celotehpagi was a robot. Which takes certain themes that are trending on the internet. Don’t we almost every day experience it, if we open our gadgets. Sharing apps provides certain notifications and encourages us to read them. There are notifications from social media, there are also notifications if we open the website.

Such is the routine and the habit. Enjoy your cup of coffee or tea. Take the opportunity to say hello to someone you love. Good morning and stay healthy. (AA)

Mega-trends reshaping the contact center industry

By Raymond Devadass, Chairman of CCAM Malaysia

In July 2019, I was asked to deliver an opening address at our annual National Contact Centre Conference. This was when I began penning down my thoughts on the mega-trends reshaping the contact centre industry. There were so many thoughts in my mind, so many opinions to share, and perhaps so many heartfelt emotions to put into words. And when you have so much to say, sometimes it all gets mixed up in your head. The opening address was eventually delivered in some structured manner, but soon after that I began writing this article to share my thoughts. In many ways, it serves more as a reminder to myself of what to focus on.

The Contact Centre industry has evolved over the last 20 years and companies have started to realize the importance of adopting advanced technologies so they could better target the customers and consumers with more efficient engagement with the stakeholders. Customer interaction via contact centres has proven to be beneficial for the businesses as it adds value to the business.

Technology has always played an important role in the development and growth of the contact centre industry where the mobile boom, social media, data analytics, and big data centres are making a huge impact in today’s world. Contact centres were not even a recognized industry until the latter half of the 20th century but today, it is considered as the key part of many of the small and big revenue generating businesses.

According to statistics, in 2012, there were more than three million positions approximately, in the contact centre industry of United States accounting for almost five million jobs. Also, the annual growth of the contact centre industry in terms of jobs is 0.5 percent and it accounts for eight to ten million jobs worldwide according to estimation. Closer to home, the contact centre industry in Malaysia comprises of 230 MSC companies, employing 53,544 people, and generates a total revenue USD2.5billion per annum. With the addition of organisations in the BFSI and Telecommunications space, this industry employs all together more than 150,000 people – accounting for 1% of the total working population in Malaysia.

The rise of the call centres in the 1980s and 90s was the shift of terminology from telemarketing to call centres and it became a distinct function for the businesses and organizations in the last two decades of the 20th century.

By the end of the 20th century, the industry started to take off and call centres were being established by organizations of all sizes to address and cater the customer service requests, inquiries about the organization and its services, marketing and other similar areas. Not every company established their own contact service centres as some of the organizations also outsourced it to the already established contact centres whereas some established and ran the centres internally or did a little bit of both for better performance.

In today’s world where the competition is tough and economies are volatile in most part of the world, maintaining and establishing a profitable business is important. That is where contact centres play their role as it delivers and provides a quality customer experience (CX) to the individual customers as per their preferences, needs, and satisfaction. However, the technological advancements in the past have focused only on providing better and better customer service and improving the efficiency of the organizations.

Fast forward 20 years, the pace of change is accelerating, fuelled by technology and changes in customer expectations. The global CX industry is undergoing a major revolution as a result of automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning. With the new cutting-edge technologies, the scope of the contact centres is increased exponentially, and it is more important for the success of the businesses as it was ever before. Contact centres are considered as one of the most technically sophisticated operations, having a wide range of responsibilities and applications, within an organization. These new disruptive technologies are forcing us to re-think the way CX activities operate.

Companies, on one hand, are striving to improve the quality and efficiency of the customer experience by understanding the needs of the customers and, on the other hand, to cut down the costs associated with it. The technological advancements and new trends in the contact centre are revolutionizing the industry with self-service tools, simplifying operational requirements and environment, better online security and protection, the use of Artificial intelligence and deep machine learning, mobility, and big data analytics. These technological advancements have made it possible for the contact centres to provide more value-added services to the businesses and in turn create high-value jobs in the industry. (RD)

Digital Transformation of Contact Center Services

By Andi Anugrah, Chairman of ICCA Indonesia

The development of telecommunications technology encourages the transformation of digital services. If we pay attention, the transition to digital contact center services is more likely to use self-service technology or the use of new media. We can sense that this transition is initiated by the service using the Interactive Voice Response or IVR engine. Self-service with IVR helps customers to solve various information and transaction needs independently.

Then the use of email and the internet became the next service medium. Although the presence of an internet contact center with VoIP at that time was less successful due to network limitations. When the development of cellular telecommunications networks dominates, the use of SMS as a service line becomes the solution and continues with service codes.

The development continued with the presence of live chat, social media and various other message-based media. This encourages written communication to become a more complete way of communicating services. Likewise, the presence of Artificial Intelligent technology has encouraged the use of chatbots applications. The ability of Artificial Intelligent applications that are able to recognize sound or images or writing causes this application to be able to provide various variations of self-service services to customers.

The presence of various mobile applications has supported self-service customer service. Customers simply select the menu available in the application and can perform various activities including getting information, making transactions, registering, changing status, or various other requests. With the convenience provided by the mobile application, it allows customers to solve various problems self-service.

With the increasing number of applications used, customers depend on the availability of these applications. On the other hand, the need for assistance is also increasing with various personal problems. When the customer does not get adequate service from the application, the choice is to contact the contact center. They can use chat or chatbots. They can also then use email or even they choose to use the phone.

The challenge faced with digitalization is the reduction in the number of workers used, because most of the services are already done by self-service. The next challenge is that digital presence causes customer expectations to be higher. Hope that with automation or digitization it is able to provide faster, more accurate service even with a larger service capacity. For this reason, contact centers that implement digitization actually need to implement new standard procedures that are able to accommodate changes in service patterns.

Sometimes these changes are not a concern, because they assume that the digitization of services will run automatically. This is the challenge of transitioning the service automation process. However, this change requires the workforce to be more creative and use digital technology effectively in reducing various routine jobs. The rest of the workforce’s abilities should place more emphasis on services that are relational, personal, and something that requires more complex feelings or thoughts.

Enjoy the era of digital transformation of contact center services. I hope to be a part of that change. (AA)

Millennial Leaders in Contact Center

Contact Center Asia Pacific Leaders Talk

It is undeniable that the leadership transition with the presence of millennials in contact center operations. They were previously contact center agents and later became Team Leaders and even became Contact Center Managers. Rapid changes, lifestyles and work styles make this leadership transition affect the work environment of contact center services.

In principle, millennials prefer a group work approach to a power or tiered management style. One of the most important values that millennial leadership concerns about is their need to build relationships. Millennial leaders prefer to use a work group approach rather than an individualistic approach to achieve organizational goals and missions. Millennial leaders will discuss and seek their team’s opinion before making a big impact decision.

Millennials as leaders seek individual goals and fulfillment of needs with specific values. Family values, friendships and individual goals are key aspects of the millennial leadership style. Millennial leaders are embracing their employees working from home. Millennials will stay connected to the team, even when they work remotely. The availability of video communication becomes an important communication component when employees work away from their usual workplace. No wonder the intensity of communication via video and collaboration applications during work is becoming more common.

Join our monthly interactive Contact Center Asia Pacific Leaders Talk “Millennial Leaders in Contact Center, Friday, 23 July 2021, 13:30-15:30 Jakarta Time.”

Speakers : Sarun Vejsupaporn, Nice Call, Thailand (Direct Marketing), Joyce Poon, Equity Global Consultants, Hong Kong, Gratiano Yeoung, Roojai, Thailand (Insurance), Lily Shen, HSBC, China (Bank) and Moderator : Andi Anugrah, Telexindo Bizmart, Indonesia.

Leaders Talk : Joyce Poon

Joyce Poon
Vice President of China Call Center & CRM Association (CNCCA)
Vice Chairlady of Hong Kong Customer Contact Association (HKCCA)
Secretary-General of Greater China Contact Centre Alliance (GCCA)
CEO of Equity Global Consultants Ltd

Joyce has 25+ years of experience in the Contact Centre Industry with a demonstrated history in leading and running outsourcing services of over 1000 seats in China and Hong Kong. In 2011, Joyce played a key role in building the first outsourcing contact centre for disabled persons in China. She holds an MBA degree from the University of Hull, UK, and a Diploma of Business Management from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Currently, Joyce is the CEO of Equity Global Consultants Ltd, specializing in creating business values by developing a wider span of contact centre ecosystem and partnership. With the ultimate aim to “give-back”, Joyce is dedicated to helping organizations and individuals to achieve sustainable CX goals through enabling innovation, continuous collaboration, and sharing best practices.

Prior to founding Equity Global, Joyce led and managed the outsourcing contact centre business for Epro Group International Ltd and Epro Telecom Services Ltd in China. Her experience covers strategic management, digital transformation, customer experience management, business development, people development, and consultancy. She had also led the Epro Team to win over 30 prestigious contact centre awards in Hong Kong and China since 2009.

Joyce is committed to the development of the contact centre industry and presently serves in the capacities of:

  • Founding Member of Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC APAC) since 2019
  • Vice President of China Call Center & CRM Association (CNCCA), China Electronics Chamber of Commerce since 2016
  • Vice Chairlady of Hong Kong Call Centre Association since 2016
  • Founding Member and Secretary-General of Greater China Contact Centre Alliance (GCCA) since 2018
  • Executive Deputy Director of Guangzhou Call Center & CRM Association since 2014
  • Advisor for Shenzhen Call Center Association since 2018
  • Expert Member of “CCOM” China Call Center Industry Standards Committee (SJ/T  11739-2019) since 2019
  • Panel Judge of Contact Centre Awards in Asia for over ten years (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia)

Joyce is honoured to receive awards in recognizing her leadership:

  • Top 10 Outstanding Contribution in Call Centre Industry Award (2018) China Call Center & CRM Association (CNCCA)
  • Honour of Hall of Fame (2018) China Customer World (https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/rBAAh5qYT5RKp7VaTqlIzA)
  • Guangzhou Service Outsourcing Industry – Distinguish Person Award for Excellence (2011) Guangzhou Call Center & CRM Association (GZCCA)
  • 10-Year Outstanding Contribution Award (2008) China Call Center & CRM Association (CNCCA)
  • Top 10 Call Centre Trainer in China (2006 & 2007) Customer World Magazine