Leaders Talk: Be a Good Young Leaders by Learning New Things Everyday

October 15, 2021 – Interactive discussion initiated by Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC), Leaders Talk: Young Leaders in Contact Center, which invited three professional speakers in the Asia Pacific contact center. 

One of the speakers who is invited to this discussion is Somruedee Songsoengrit. She is the Distribution Manager in Roojai, Thailand. The company is engaged in insurance. Somruedee said that the young leader’s generation is changing very fast. That becomes a challenge for her to follow them. The impact is a consistently changing environment. It means one situation maybe work one way, but on the other hand, maybe can bring another huge problem. Then, Somruedee said, “And how do we do that? How do I develop my capabilities?”

She also said that to lead the contact center you will have to prepare yourself for that change. You must be ready, be positive, and also dealing with change, whatever it comes, and then we will use our skill set for any experience that we have learned from the past and apply it.  And to develop skills, Somruedee does from learning and practicing. She said that when she is learning, she is knowing, and then do coaching, especially when she led a contact center team.

Somruedee said to manage and communicate with older teams or generations, we should make a relationship with them. We should talk to them to understand them more because we need to spend time with this kind of generation more than the young leaders and the young generation. We should learn together and then, if we understand them for sure, we can work together with them. Team bonding is important. 

Somruedee also shares tips about how to be a good leader for the young leader, especially women, millennials, and the older generation. She said that every day we have learned new things from day-to-day routine. That those lessons we have learned in the day-to-day operations. Even if we are not at work, or our house, or outside the work, it can be helpful to enhance our development skills, especially communication which is very important nowadays. Then, do not stop learning. (ANF)

Leaders Talk CC-APAC: How To Be a Good Young Leaders in Contact Center

October 15, 2021 – In this Leaders Talk, the Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed “Young Leaders in Contact Center” by inviting three professional speakers to the Asia Pacific contact center.

This discussion was presented by Andi Anugrah, Chairman of ICCA Indonesia. The first panelist is Somruedee Songsaengrit, Distribution Manager, Roojai, Thailand. The second is Dian Ratna Furi, Operations Manager, VADS Indonesia. Then, the last one is Anne Purba, Corporate Secretary Vice President KAI Commuter, Indonesia.

Andi Anugrah as Chairman of ICCA Indonesia has led the discussion. The discussion started about the workstyle of young leaders can impact contact center operation. Somruedee said the impact is a consistently changing environment. It means one situation maybe work one way, but on the other hand, maybe can bring another huge problem.

Dian also said that so many young leaders would be born. They came up and bring new ideas and new perspectives, it is affected to contact center to leave all the traditional methods. Contact centers need to change and fast adapt to the condition.

Another opinion from Anne, she said that she has a work style urgency is efficiency. She needs to change the method from the traditional to the digital platform. She thinks that human touch and behavior change not about one or two years, but also every minute the technology is change.

The next discussion is regarding the capability that young leaders need. According to Somruedee, the young leader needs to get ready, be positive, and deal with a chance whatever is come. She also said that use skills and experience that learn from the past is necessary to apply. And to develop skills, Somruedee does from learning and practicing. She said that when she is learning, she is knowing, and then do coaching, especially when she led a contact center team.

For all young leaders, Dian said that we need to lead by example which contains the action to inspire. As a leader, she explains that we need to commit to the vision, mission, and even sharing the passion during coaching when meeting or individually. She also shared the experience when she got a big challenge for developing people who were older than her. She said that good communication is important to do.

Anne also agreed with Dian about how important communication is. Because make the expectation clear and with good communication, can also make it together even there is young people or old people.

In the middle of the discussion, there is some question from a participant regarding how to deal with the old and the young generation. Somruedee gives the opinion about how to deal with the old generation, she said that it’s a little bit difficult because they are experts in something and sometimes, they have more experience than the young generation. However, understand the older generation is needed and knowing them in person and make a good relationship is helpful.

Dian also explains that having good communication for dealing with elder people is very necessary. The young generation needs to understand their sensitivity during the works and their sensitivity about what they need when they aim in this organization. On the other hand, she found a millennial who likes to speak faster than action. Like she said before, the leader needs to give them an example containing action that can inspire them.

The Leaders Talk event closed with tips from all three speakers about how to be a good leader in the contact center, especially for the young, women, and old generation. Want to know more detail about their opinion? Check the newest article on the CC-APAC website. (ANF)

Critical Thinking

By Andi Anugrah

One of the questions we ask during individual competitions is about operational cost-efficiency. In the moderator’s question, “As a best Contact Center Manager, if you are asked to make operational cost-efficiency. Choose the action you will take, is it reducing the number of agents or providing digital services? Explain 3 reasons for this choice?”

If you were in that position, which would be your priority? Is it reducing the number of agents or providing digital services? Try to explain without connecting the two or try to explain using supporting data. Try to explain by paying attention to the risks and the development process that must be done.

One needs to train oneself to deal with certain conditions and one’s experience is forged from the various conditions one has experienced. It could also be from the references he read or it could be from studying the cases of other companies. The learning process gives us a broader insight into the aspects that must be prioritized when we have to choose.

Choosing to reduce the number of agents, of course, there will be risks. Choosing to provide digital services also has its risks. Of course, with the experience you have as a contact center manager, you will have many ways to reduce risk. When we choose these conditions for operational cost efficiency, we will be faced with calculations and tolerances for possible achievements.

What if you choose to provide digital services, and the impact causes the number of your contact center services to increase. Of course, it causes the need for agents to increase and your operational costs to swell. “Oh, is that so?” It can happen, the cause is because of different customer service patterns. However, many digital services are self-service, there are mobile apps or chatbots. Well, here you have to choose the right steps for services that suit the needs of your customers.

What if you choose “reduce the number of agents”. Well, you certainly have a more precise explanation. “Please. Come on, who’s answering?”

Keep the spirit up to welcome the morning, stay healthy and happy. (AA)

Workforce Optimization

By Andi Anugrah, Chairman of ICCA Indonesia

Friday two weeks ago, I invited three leaders from 3 leading technology vendors, Genesys, Nice, and Verint. Of course, contact center users are quite familiar with these provider technologies. We discuss workforce optimization in various aspects and its development. We increase labor productivity during the pandemic, in addition to balancing it with service quality. Also discusses the experience of agents and provides adequate tools for them to work.

Present as panelists were Andy Hardy from Genesys, Aryan Sunil from Verint, and Mark Harington from Nice. We also discussed the business objectives of the application of WFO technology. Along with technological developments, we also discuss sentiment analytics, especially customer analysis. There is a need to analyze more customer interaction data, both in real-time and historically. Not only limited to a certain sample but using technology to make it easier to capture various customer feedback. Likewise, we discussed gamification as a tool to motivate agents in various aspects of performance.

The three speakers highlighted that optimizing the workforce in the contact center needs to be a concern as part of the development strategy. For this reason, the contact center needs to integrate information about the workforce include performance management, e-learning, interaction analysis, quality management, and workforce management. It can involve a high-level framework that includes strategic contact center planning, agent recruitment, placement, monitoring, evaluation, improvement, and motivation, as well as corporate accountability and contribution.

Workforce optimization is a customer experience strategy that modernizes contact center technology and platforms. Through the use of digital channels, workforce optimization is for increasing employee engagement and increase customer satisfaction. Workforce optimization integrates technology into a single point of management to increase the visibility of customer interactions, employee performance, and business processes. By analyzing all customer interactions, businesses can leverage insights to train their employees and streamline workflows to improve the overall quality of customer service.

Not to forget, we also discussed the importance of collaboration in the application of technology. The importance of having a partner in building a contact center. For this reason, users need to build engagement with vendors, so they can get maximum results in the application of technology. Well, of course, all speakers are vendors, they hope to build relationships with users so that they can maximize the function of technology and provide benefits according to their business objectives.

In the last four months, we regularly invite contact center industry leaders to be part of the discussion forum. This is a regular event and activity for the Contact Center Association of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) to build relationships and networking with contact center leaders and executives. Hope you can participate in the next opportunity. Make sure to watch the recording on YouTube, Greetings are healthy and happy. (AA)

Leaders Talk: Realization What Is You Want to Achieve

September 24, 2021 – Interactive discussion initiated by Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC), Leaders Talk: Workforce Optimization in Contact Center, which invited three professional speakers in the Asia Pacific contact center.

One of the speakers, who was invited to this discussion is Aryan Sunil. He is Director Practice Backoffice and Retail, Asia Verint. Aryan also explained that optimization or workforce engagement management is evolving and has become very important, especially for the contact center.

This optimization concept is the way for us to develop them to be more engage in work. We must be able to determine the right number of people at the right time or look at the quality. That will have a lot to do with how we deliver better and faster results to our customer and in order to optimize the workforce in the company, we must consider the perspective from the employee’s side while trying to achieve what our contact center is. 

For example, a receptionist. Some people’s perspective of a receptionist is they job is just to answer the call, no one saw them that they were here for company business purposes. We don’t see them as a fancy calculation mechanism. We treat them well. They are here not to just answering the call, but they are here doing business and have taken a very remarkable journey. 

Aryan’s opinion of that strategy is sometimes we need to look at it from a third perspective view because we need to look at what matters to the center at that moment. Are we looking at cutting down costs or are we trying to increase our service because it depends on the stage of the organization? We may have to take one of those steps.

Workforce optimization integrates technology into a single point of management to increase the visibility of customer interactions, employee performance, and business processes. By analyzing all customer interactions, businesses can leverage insights to train their employees and streamline workflows to improve the overall quality of customer service.

Sunil Aryan also gives a summary and his opinion about today’s discussion. He said that the world is changing, and of course, vendors will try to bring something which will make your life easier. They are those who know your business better than you. The first point is you must realize that what is it that I want to achieve. The questions like, what is target to buy or target to fix a problem, please do not consider that solution.

None of these solutions work without a comprehensive. Sunil said that do the consultative approach with the person who needs to do it. That person who took a step forward to think of which solution needs to fix the problem.

The second point is, he thinks every one of us said that employees are the ones who give customer experience that they can be digital. Aryan said for example, all human beings always empower intelligent virtual assistants. Then, he asks a question to those bots. “Why is that answer different from what you are agent call center telling me or what is written on the website,” Sunil said. Then, don’t find these things in sight. He said that let’s have that as a unified platform. (ANF)

Leaders Talk: What Managers Should Do First Before Making a Strategy

September 24, 2021 – Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) present Leaders Talk discussion with the theme “Workforce Optimization in Contact Center.” CC-APAC invited professional speakers to the Asia Pacific contact center.

One of the speakers is Andy Hardy, Strategic Director of Employee Engagement for Genesys in Australia, and New Zealand. Andy explained that optimizing the workforce in the contact center is very important at this time. Investment in employees is typically the most expensive cost to any organization and business. Therefore, it’s more appropriate not to replacing our employees with new ones because it will cost more. Then, it will help us manage employees easily and engage them to be more involved in the work. Because by keeping our current employees, we will get a better level of service.

The next discussion is talking about the strategy of optimizing the workforce in the contact center. Andy said that we need to use the information and insight that we have on our employees. He tried to get back the basics of service, such as what service to provide to customers. Then moving on to the employee experience, think about service providers. 

Andy also shares some tips for managers regarding the implementation of workforce optimization. He said that we must think bigger and higher when we are starting a strategy.  Think about our customers first and what service we are trying to give to our customers. Then, build our strategy off the back of that for our employees, align the two. “If they are going in two different directions, neither are going to be successful,” said Andy. He thinks that is an important thing to do.

About the workforce, there is a study that said. If we keep our employees within our business and keep them engaged, then we are going to see higher productivity. We can notice this claim of 17 to 20% higher productivity by engaged employees. If we have engaged employees, we are going to see much lower attrition then, our investment isn’t just about people, but it’s about our organization. Then, he thinks that the engagement thing is important. (ANF)

Leaders Talk: Placing a Right Person in the Right Place to Optimization Workforce

September 24, 2021 – In this Leaders Talk, the Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed “Workforce Optimization in Contact Center.” We invited three speakers who are professionals in the Asia Pacific contact center industry. 

One of the speakers is Mark Harington, Vice President Solutions, APAC at NICE Ltd. Mark said that the industry has now come to a better. He said that we need to engaged workforce. Because today’s workforce they don’t do receptionist anymore because they answer the questions so hard. Compare it to chatbots and any other websites that can’t answer some of the questions, the receptionist is still better. And that is why you need to keep them more engaged in work and make their life easier, faster, better, and engaged.

About workforce optimization strategy in contact center, Mark shared his perspective. He calls that strategy a thick layer on the boiled egg. The thick layers are what our company decides on how to talk to our customers. Every company decides differently because some companies want to keep their customers happy and want their customers to love them. Some companies just don’t care about their customers and do the basic stuff only.

Mark also shared a summary of today’s discussion. He said that the way to deal with the shifts and markets, as the old man said that make sure you have the right person in the right places. Customers have to meet the right people who can answer their questions. Make sure you are there to answer what they need to answer. And if you can get to them before they even come to you, then that is great. That is the simplest way to organize your workforce.

He said that you can choose another option. You can go through technology, but you have to think about which vendor has the right experience in your domain. Who can understands your organization much better, what is the amount of changes management you change to adapt the staff.  Then, all of these things are what allow you to have the right development. Spend more time asking about change management, what will happen in three months or six months, how have you done this before, what are the challenges in getting technology to another technology. (ANF)

Leaders Talk CC-APAC: How to Increase Workforce Optimization in Contact Center

Friday, September 24, 2021 – The fourth Leaders Talk organized by Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed “Workforce Optimization in Contact Center” by inviting three professional speakers to the Asia Pacific contact center.

This discussion was presented by Andi Anugrah, Chairman of ICCA Indonesia. The first panelist is Andy Hardy, Strategic Director of Employee Engagement for Genesys in Australia, and New Zealand. The second is Mark Harington, Vice President Solutions, APAC at NICE Ltd. The last one is Sunil Aryan, Director Practice Backoffice and Retail, Asia Verint. 

The first discussion is talked about optimizing the workforce in the current contact center. Andy said that optimizing the workforce in the contact center is very important at this time. Investment in employees is typically the most expensive cost to any organization and business. Therefore, it’s more appropriate not to replacing our employees with new ones because it will cost more. Then, it will help us manage employees easily and engage them to be more involved in the work. Because by keeping our current employees, we will get a better level of service.

Aryan also explained that optimization or workforce engagement management is evolving and has become very important, especially for the contact center. In optimizing the workforce in the company, we must consider the perspective from the employee’s side while trying to achieve what our contact center is. 

For example, a receptionist. Some people’s perspective of a receptionist is they job is just to answer the call. We don’t see them as a fancy calculation mechanism. We treat them well. They are here not just to answering the call, but they are here doing business and have taken a very remarkable journey. 

Because no one saw that they were here for company business purposes then, this optimization concept is the way for us to develop them more engagement if we see it as a good calculation mechanism. We must be able to determine the right number of people at the right time or look at the quality. That will have a lot to do with how we deliver better and faster results to our customers.

Mark has a different opinion from other speakers. Mark said that the industry has now come to a better. He thinks that we need to the engaged workforce. Nowadays they don’t seem like a receptionist because they answer the questions so hard. Compare it to chatbots and any other websites that can’t answer some of the questions, the receptionist is still better. And that is why you need to keep them involved and make their life easier, faster, better, and engaged.

The next discussion is talking about the strategy of optimizing the workforce in the contact center. Andy said that we need to use the information and insight that we have on our employees. He tried to get back the basics of service, such as what service to provide to customers. Then moving on to the employee experience, think about service providers. 

Then, we can start thinking about how we engage our employees and what technology we need to provide that service. If we can start to correlate those two things together, we can start to be very smart around. Also, think about how you start to build your strategy. He would start there and use the data and insights.

Mark also shared his perspective about that strategy. He calls that strategy is a thick layer on the boiled egg. The thick layers are what our company decides on how to talk to our customers. Every company decides differently because some companies want to keep their customers happy and want their customers to love them. Some companies just don’t care about their customers and do the basic stuff only.

Aryan’s opinion of that strategy is sometimes we need to look at it from a third perspective view because we need to look at what matters to the center at that moment. Are we looking at cutting down costs or are we trying to increase our service because it depends on the stage of the organization? We may have to take one of those steps.

Workforce optimization integrates technology into a single point of management to increase the visibility of customer interactions, employee performance, and business processes. By analyzing all customer interactions, businesses can leverage insights to train their employees and streamline workflows to improve the overall quality of customer service.

We also discussed the importance of collaboration in the application of technology. The important thing is having a partner in building a contact center. For this reason, users need to build engagement with vendors then they can get maximum results in the application of technology. Because all speakers in this discussion are vendors, they hope to build relationships with users, then they can maximize the functionality of the technology and provide benefits according to business goals.

At the end of the discussion, all panelists give their summary and tips about the implementation of workforce optimization in the contact center. Want to know more about their opinion? For details, stay tuned for another article on the CC-APAC website. (ANF)

Workload

By Andi Anugrah, Chairman of ICCA Indonesia

A few days ago, I received a message from an agent asking about the workload at the contact center. That agent concerned about the work schedule at the contact center became difficult because of the frequent changes in work shifts. Sometimes that shift changes cause agents to be able not to serve customers well. With that high service traffic conditions, their rest time is limited.

Of course, I say that every job has risks. If you choose to work in a contact center, you must understand that some people have to work in a 24-hour cycle a day or seven days a week. Each employee will work according to a set schedule with work shifts are usually arranged for nine hours a day with one hour of rest. Each employee will also work 40 hours a week. This means that if an average of eight hours a day, then an employee will work in five working days.

I did not try to dig into the contact center where the agent works. With that agent’s work schedule, of course, the company also treats employees properly. However, the principle, “Customer satisfaction is born from employee satisfaction.” Satisfied employees will provide the best service to ensure customer satisfaction. If the workload is balanced, then each agent will get adequate rest opportunities. After getting a break, the agent can return to work to serve customers.

For some contact centers, managing an agent’s work schedule is certainly not easy. Moreover, if the number of agents working is very much, some can reach hundreds or even thousands of agents. Setting a day and night schedule is also not easy. Many employees have to be placed on a night schedule and duty until the morning. For some employees, working night until morning with a regular intensity is can be problems with their rest schedule. Employees who usually sleep at night have to get used to working and serving customers.

A contact center is a place for work discipline, also arranged rest periods only for a certain period, and cannot be seen pacing in the service area. Agents must set their time as well for doing various rest activities including eating, toileting, worship, and refreshment. And also, agents must start working and return to the workplace at the specified time. Otherwise, the workload can’t be handle with a sufficient number of agents.

However, the scheduling team for agents will concern with several provisions to manage their workload. The scheduling teams are not only concerned with the Service Level, they also pay attention to gender, religious needs, and even various personal needs. That all individual needs will make the scheduling team the hassle of managing the application. If you are already confused about scheduling or managing schedules, a weird work schedule is born and becomes a workload for agents.

For this reason, we should agree on various requests for personal scheduling and use an easy scheduling system. Discuss scheduling with all service lines and get feedback on the work scheduling process. All workload can be discussed internally and find the best solution. It is also a load just because you need a vacation or a meal together. Or it could be that you need a friend to get through all the burdens of your life.

Enjoy this world of the contact center. Then, use this opportunity to serve customers and consider their happiness as your happiness too. I hope your burden will lessen. Hopefully, there is. (AA)

Digital

By Andi Anugrah, Chairman of ICCA Indonesia

The development of telecommunications technology has driven the transformation of digital services. If we pay attention, the transition of digital contact center services is more inclined towards used self-service technology or the use of new media. We can feel 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 those times was less successful due to network limitations. When the development of cellular telecommunications networks dominates, then 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. That encourages written communication to become an exhaustive way of communicating services. Likewise, the presence of Artificial Intelligent or AI technology has encouraged the use of chatbots applications. The ability of Artificial Intelligent applications that can recognize sound or images or writing to provide various variations of self-service services to customers.

The presence of various mobile applications has supported customer service carried out by self-service. Customers only select the menu available in the application then they can perform many activities include getting information, making transactions, registering, changing status, or various other requests. The convenience provided by the mobile application, allows customers to solve many problems self-service.

More increasing the number of applications used will make customers depend on the availability of these applications. On the other side, the need for assistance also increases with various personal problems. When the customer does not get adequate service from the application, the choice is to contact the contact center through chat or chatbots. They can also use e-mail or even they choose to use the telephone.

The challenge faced with digitalization is the reduced 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. With that automation or digitization, they hoping can provide faster, more accurate services, even with greater service capacity. For this reason, contact centers that implement digitalization need to implement new standard procedures that can accommodate these changes in service patterns.

Sometimes these changes are not a concern because they assume that the digitization of services will run automatically. That 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 emphasize services that are relational, personal, and something that requires more complex feelings or thoughts.

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