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)

Healthy Check Contact Center

By Andi Anugrah, Chairman of ICCA Indonesia

As with our health conditions, there are times when we need to do a medical check-up. What do we want to know about our health? We can check blood sugar, heart, urine, lungs, or a complete medical check-up. Various examinations of our bodies can be examined and tested in the laboratory, ranging from taking urine samples to blood. Therefore, we can check the ability to breathe, sight, hearing, body movement, and other physical factor. Everything is done, then we can anticipate if there is a dangerous disease that requires early treatment.

What about contact center operations that run with routine service? Why we need to do a health check? What are the potential risks that interfere with contact center operations? That various questions must be answered, which requires us to observe or leave it to others and evaluate the health level of the contact center service routines that we do.

Routines that are already running can cause us to feel we are doing our service exactly then there is no room for improvement. Various factors are ignored and have posed a risk to the business, operations, legal, customers, and even financial and reputational risks. It will be irritative to the operations of the contact center if not addressed as soon as possible. Irritative in terms of high costs or potential lost revenue.

We must be able to detect various changes that occur internally that are detrimental. It could be because it has become a routine then we neglect to update information. We forget to do an internal audit, we forget to supervise recruitment, we forget to update the debriefing process, or we rarely train agents according to competency needs. It could be that the quality assessment report is not appropriate or forgets to supervise the service in real-time. We can also forget to monitor traffic calls, calculate the service level correctly, and negligent the scheduling process.

In addition, we must also pay attention to changes that occur in customers, technology, and employees. The dynamics of customer behavior that changes in line with the business competition need to be the reference for making business process improvements. Communication media is developing with various channels, then that we can serve are easier, effectively, and efficiently. The development of mobile apps, social media, robotics, artificial intelligence, and cloud technology is a development that needs attention.

Likewise, the contact center does not stand alone in providing services. Contact centers need support from other work units for following up on problems encountered. Also providing helpful information for services. There are times when we forget to give reports according to the needs of other work units. The contact center is busy then they forget that the reports must be given and must be helpful for other work units.

Sometimes we are busy with routines. We forget that we have to make improvements for further development. Even when we feel better than other contact centers, we may be far behind. There’s just some creativity done out there that makes them better. With the accurate views of others, we can find the potential for improvement and development that we can do.

As long as we can open ourselves to getting input and being judged by others, there are opportunities for improvement. Various aspects can be observed, that is aspects of strategic objectives, service collaboration, availability of information, availability of business processes, and anticipation of change. Likewise, we must pay attention to the aspects of the availability of workforce, technology, and infrastructure and pay attention to performance measurement. We must not forget that we must pay attention to changing customer needs and expectations and how we can fulfill customer satisfaction.

The desire to carry out a health check expresses our desire to maintain the potential for developing our contact center to run well. Have you done a healthy check on the contact center? If not, plan now! (AA)

Leaders Talk: Get Out from Comfort Zone and Know Your People

August 27, 2021 – Interactive discussion initiated by Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC), Leaders Talk: A Leader’s Roadmap to Contact Center Success, which invited three professional speakers in the Asia Pacific contact center.

One of the speakers, who was invited to this discussion is Ts. Saravanan Belusami. He is CEO of VADS Indonesia. Saravanan explained that the contact center faces many transformations. It strengthens us to be more agile in accepting change. If we talk about working from home, there is always the question of whether this is possible or not. Then the pandemic happened and made us agree that this is possible, and we can’t deny it anymore. 

To face this change, he is talking from the perspective of a leader. He always looks from two angles, such as internal factors and external factors. The internal factor here, he sees how the role of the leader manages the organization from a perspective that requires their involvement as a leader, not only looking at your well-being.

Then external factors, such as from clients. In the BPO industry, they are very important. We have to be able to merge them in a situation like this. Also, how you can convince them and make your company a trusted BPO for them. 

Saravanan has a different perspective from other speakers. He said that the only important element that we cannot deny in dealing with this particular situation is communication. When referring to what is going on in technology that Raymond said before, technology can easily be bought and incorporated into organizational structures. But what matters now is communication, how we can translate something using the right delivery for our people during work from home. 

Therefore, this is where the role of a leader is so important to bring them to have a substantial understanding and make it happen, not only from the internal stakeholder perspective but also from they are external. 

According to the discussion about transformation and digitalization, Saravanan also shares some tips that we need in the contact center industry. First what we need to do and find out is we must get out of our comfort zone. As a leader, we have to know what is going on out there then, you can translate it into the internal organization. You should also encourage and ensure that they agree to and accept these changes. As a leader, you need to lead your teams by example or demonstrate, such as how you conduct meetings, how you allow them to advance, and many more. 

The second tips are you need to know your people, such as their strengths and weaknesses. You need to ensure that you are preparing to anticipate what is happening out there will not happen to your team. You must get yourself to prepare and have a proper development plan for your team. The last, Saravanan said the last thing that the role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas but, “To create an environment in which great ideas can happen,” said Saravanan. (ANF) 

Leaders Talk: Improve Yourself and Follow the Changes

August 27, 2021 – Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) present Leaders Talk discussion with the theme “A Leader’s Roadmap to Contact Center Success.” CC-APAC invited professional speakers to the Asia Pacific contact center.

One of the speakers is Raymond Devadass, Chairman of CCAM Malaysia, Founder & CEO Day Three. Raymond explained that today’s gameplay is play for a change. In the contact center industry, change is nothing new. They accept and experience many changes, just like the internet. We’re turning mobile because all millennials are now using their phones to reach out on social media and other things like that. Then the contact center industry has also gone through and followed this change very quickly and rapidly.

He also agrees with other speakers that it is a dynamic process that moves very quickly and adapts. And he thinks the organization has a great roadmap to say, “Okay, we will embrace machine learning for two years or AI for three years.” 

Raymond thinks as leaders that are the most important thing to keep abreast of what’s going on with the different technologies. How does it apply to your business? Not just to take a new technology and imitate it. They should see that implement technology works for the contact center and make a better customer experience.

Raymond also shared some tips in this digital era in contact center. Today, technology has grown so fast. There will be more sophisticated tools that will emerge over time and will change the industry moving forward. Therefore, as a leader, we must learn and adapt quickly to these changes. We must not be out of date or allow ourselves to become obsolete. He had heard the expression, “Machines will not make us obsolete. But our complacency will make us obsolete.”

As a leader, we must learn how to co-exist with technology. If you don’t improve yourself, don’t upgrade or re-skill yourself, then you will become obsolete. Therefore, the leader roadmap in this era is not only to implement some technological advances but also to improve our knowledge. We must always follow the flow or various changes that appear then we do not become obsolete. (ANF)

Leaders Talk: The Questions That Leaders Must Answer Before Create Roadmap in Contact Center

August 27, 2021 – In this Leaders Talk, the Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed “A Leader’s Roadmap to Contact Center Success.” We invited three speakers who are professionals in the Asia Pacific contact center industry. 

One of the speakers is Byron J. Fernandez, Former Chairman of CCAM Malaysia Group CIO, Country Director Teledirect Malaysia. Byron said that in the beginning, especially people from the BPO industry disagreed and said, “No” if do work from home. At first, they were worried about how can we know they were working or not, how the data was secure, and other issues. But when the pandemic hit, they had no choice. In Malaysia, because the technology is sufficient, they finally decided to transition more than 95% of organizations to work from home. 

The next discussion is talking about technology in the contact center. Byron said that technology is not important in the past. But in this current situation, technology is important and very useful. Some of the advanced tools we use can monitor the screen of a particular agent. In addition, there are also very interesting technologies, such as using facial recognition. With this technology, we can see people’s facial features, whether they are smiling, whether they are happy or not based on what they are doing. Also, the company can make it possible for agents to work from home in the long term and with good results.

At the end of the discussion, Byron gives his opinion about how to create a roadmap in the next five years. He thinks five years is a very long timeline. We never know whether there will be another pandemic in the next five years or not. Therefore, it is better to plan work in 18 months. What is your 12 to 18-month plan? Then make a roadmap by seeing what problems you face today. Then, what has changed and what will develop in the next 12 months.

That is where you must start thinking about where you invest. Do we invest in change management ratios? Do we invest in online tools to monitor people’s well-being? Do we invest more in insight and big data analytics to see where people are spending their time and what they do? Or invest in HR to see employee engagement? Those are the questions that leaders must answer that they can give excellent employee experience.

Byron thinks that the roadmap for the next 12 to 18 months is to figure out how we bring normality to our workforce. Therefore, we can provide our workforce with an employee experience that will make them want to stay. (ANF)

Leaders Talk CC-APAC: How a Leader’s Roadmap to Contact Center Success

August 27, 2021 – The third Leaders Talk organized by Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed “A Leader’s Roadmap to Contact Center Success” by inviting three professional speakers in the Asia Pacific contact center.

This discussion was presented by Andi Anugrah, as Chairman of ICCA Indonesia. First panellist is Byron J. Fernandez, Former Chairman of CCAM Malaysia Group CIO, Country Director Teledirect Malaysia. The second is Raymond Devadass, Chairman of CCAM Malaysia, Founder & CEO Day Three. Then the last one is Ts. Saravanan Belusami, CEO VADS Indonesia.

The first discussion is related to the leader’s roadmap in the contact center, especially during the pandemic. Byron said that in the beginning, especially people from the BPO industry disagreed and said, “No” if do work from home. At first, they were worried about how can we know they were working or not, how the data was secure, and other issues. But when the pandemic hit, they had no choice. In Malaysia, because the technology is sufficient, they finally decided to transition more than 95% of organizations to work from home. 

But in reality, Byron said that working from home is going well because the people in the contact center have good competence, are responsible, and care about others. Therefore, in this situation he is 100% more focused on taking care of everyone who works for his company, making sure they are successful, and that they continue to do well in their home environment that they adapt to this change.

Raymond also explained these changes. He explained that today’s gameplay is play for a change. In the contact center industry, change is nothing new. They accept and experience many changes, just like the internet. We’re turning mobile because all millennials are now using their phones to reach out on social media and other things like that. Then the contact center industry has also gone through and followed this change very quickly and rapidly.

He also agrees with Byron that it is a dynamic process that moves very quickly and adapts. And he thinks the organization has a good roadmap to say, “Okay, we will embrace machine learning for two years or AI for three years.”

Raymond thinks as leaders that are the most important thing to keep abreast of what’s going on with the different technologies. How does it apply to your business? Not just to take a new technology and just imitate it. They should see that implement technology works for the contact center and make a better customer experience.

Saravanan also agrees with Byron and Raymond that the contact center faces many transformations. It strengthens us to be more agile in accepting change. If we talk about working from home, there is always the question of whether this is possible or not. Then the pandemic happened and made us agree that this is possible, and we can’t deny it anymore.

To face this change, he is talking from the perspective of a leader. He always looks from two angles, such as internal factors and external factors. The internal factor here, he sees how the role of the leader manages the organization from a perspective that requires their involvement as a leader, not only looking at your well-being.

Then external factors, such as from clients. In the BPO industry, they are very important. We have to be able to merge them in a situation like this. Also, how you can convince them and make your company a trusted BPO for them.

The next discussion is talking about technology in the contact center. Byron said that technology is not important in the past. But in this current situation, technology is important and very useful. Some of the advanced tools we use can monitor the screen of a particular agent. In addition, there are also very interesting technologies, such as using facial recognition. With this technology, we can see people’s facial features, whether they are smiling, whether they are happy or not based on what they are doing. Also, the company can make it possible for agents to work from home in the long term and with good results.

What about training? Byron also explained that we are in a pandemic and cannot hold training. Therefore, they take advantage of the learning platform with concepts that are important for developing their people and then launch this course using the electronic platform. With this technology, he thinks in the coming months, all this thing will be done to support human development and the ability to work in the current situation.

Then, another perspective from leaders about technology. Raymond said that leaders must adapt and build the culture of digital internally. It means, if you want to create a great digital experience for your customers, you have to start with the employees. Therefore, everything you do internally needs to be more efficient through digital processes.

He also shared that people in the contact center are very energetic and thrive the social interaction. Raymond said that it is different today that we are restricted to do physical interactions, it is the challenge. Now, we have a hybrid model. Some of the agents work from home, some from the office.

Saravanan has a different perspective to other speakers. He said that the only important element that we cannot deny in dealing with this particular situation is communication. When referring to what’s going on in technology that Raymond said before, technology can easily be bought and incorporated into organizational structures. But what matters now is communication, how we can translate something using the right delivery for our people during work from home.

Therefore, this is where the role of a leader is so important to bring them to have a substantial understanding and make it happen, not only from the internal stakeholder perspective but also from they are external.

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

Leaders Talk: 3 Skills That a Leader in Contact Center Must Have

June 25, 2021 – Interactive discussion initiated by Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC), Leaders Talk: Role of Leader in Contact Center Change, which invited four professional speakers in the Asia Pacific contact center.

One of the speakers who is invited to this discussion is Riri Amalas Yulita. She is the Director Solution & Business Development of Infomedia Nusantara. The company is engaged in the BPO industry. Riri said that a pandemic is an opportunity to care more about contact center services. BPO is here to support the contact center operations and contribute by standing with the agent to face the changes.

Riri said that adaptation is important in this digital era. More than 70% of employees in her company are younger millennials then all leaders must adapt to them and try to understand their work. She also gives them a mission on how to grow in this situation. And every Wednesday, leaders also have an agenda to make them stay informed by sharing to update and distribute new information.

Riri states that Infomedia has a new normal work system because they think that work from home is not a big deal. Maybe in the future, they want to continue this WFH and WFO system. They will divide that which people who can work from home and who is not. Which technology will apply and so on. They also have to protect their team, because it is important to make sure their health condition.

In the contact center during this pandemic situation, she said that we need to create competent and adaptive because their industry has very dynamic. Then as a leader, they have to capability to empower their team. Then the other thing is utilizing the system and technology.

Riri also shared three tips for the leaders based on her experience. The first one is analytics skills. It is also important to have the analytical skill to know the real situation and provide a solution. The second tip is they also have to be consultative. We push our team to has that capability to make sure our client is confident that the transformation can be running well. And the last one is collaboration. She thinks that collaboration is very important, especially in this situation. With that collaboration, we can share, we can go hand in hand to solve the problems. (ANF)

Leaders Talk: Attitude is the Key for Being a Leader

June 25, 2021 – Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) present Leaders Talk discussion by the theme “Role of Leader in Contact Center Change”. CC-APAC invited professional speakers to the Asia Pacific contact center.

One of the speakers is Lisa Widodo, Executive Vice President Operations from BLIBLI.COM. Lisa states that the e-commerce industry faces public behavior which wants everything fast and gets instant solutions.  When the pandemic has happened in 2020, especially in Indonesia, everyone’s needs are increasing so we must particularly move and adapt with interactions. Lisa said that managing communications and the right agent to handle customers is the key to today’s contact center service.

Lisa shared that BLIBLI has a policy of following government regulation during this pandemic. Around 25% of customer care agents in BLIBLI still need to work from the office. According to that, the safety and health of agents are becoming their priority now. 

Leaders in BLIBLI do management in millennial ways which concern connecting each other by communicating agents’ language and open mindset. Lisa said, do not think the way that leaders used to do things is the best, even though the company has 20+ years of experience. They should have an open mindset as a leader and listen to what agents think. To make it more fun and relevant to millennial generations, they optimize social media as the media to stay connect and give appreciation. In BLIBLI, social media such as Instagram is used for creating a monthly magazine just to share achievements over the other’s agent.

Lisa also shared that what is key to being a leader. She quotes a word from John Maxwell which relates to this current situation. The words are, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” Then, Lisa concludes that attitude is key. As a leader, it doesn’t matter what you say, the matter is what you do and what your action is. She thinks that it is a privilege to be a leader, lead a team, manage a team, and have a responsibility. (ANF)

Leaders Talk: 3E as a Key for Leader in Contact Center

June 25, 2021 – The first Leaders Talk organized by Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed “Role of Leader in Contact Center Change.” We invited four speakers, who are professionals from contact centers in the Asia Pacific region.

One of the speakers is Kenneth Chong, Chairman of CCAS Singapore & Amazon Web Services Head of Sales of Amazon Connect (ASEAN). Kenneth said that one of the challenges now is workforce because we are in a limited condition as the COVID-19 pandemic is still going on.

In this pandemic situation, the leaders start building management of a virtual workforce. Kenneth said that their team or other team had not met each other in the last 18 months. How we work as a virtual team, we have seen this skill as different. The way we communicate over a video call is no longer involves physical touch. Kenneth states that make sure business still running and well-managed.

Kenneth also shared that contact centers in Singapore have evolved, such as training or engagement in these conditions has also become online. All the training sessions for agents are delivered online. Therefore, it takes different skills when operating or managing a team in person compared to a virtual team. The level of communication or empathy can be different.

Kenneth gave three tips for leaders in the contact center. The first is empathy. Be empathetic to your people and staff. The second is, engage. All critical engagement is vital during this period because your team may not be just in front of you, but they may be virtually anywhere. It is how you stay connected with the key members right now through virtual chat or other means to communicate.

The last key is empowerment. In the team, earning trust and empowering is probably the next area you will be looking for. Leaders are operated to move up the chains, so they can be the next successor. You need to empower someone around you to train them out, and then you can move for a new adventure. (ANF)

Leaders Talk: Tips from Chapman Lam How Leaders Face the Changes in Contact Center

June 25, 2021 – In this Leaders Talk, the Contact Center Associations of Asia Pacific (CC-APAC) discussed “Role of Leader in Contact Center Change.” We invited four speakers who are professionals in the Asia Pacific contact center industry. 

One of the speakers is Chapman Lam, Former Chairman of HKCCA Hong Kong. Chapman said that the contact center now faces changes every year. From omnichannel, workforce, and care more about customer value. Also, people and technology management are needed to be utilized optimally.

For example, Chapman also shares the changes that happened in the Hong Kong contact center insurance industry. He said optimizing applications and other technologies are the recent projects to make better customer service. In Hong Kong, his insurance company operation is 20% handled by their live agents. Therefore, his channel optimization mission is fulfilled. He moved more towards how to enable the chatbot to enhance that structural processing. The customer can get many instant responses, such as for claim approval or a chatbot answer instantly.

Further discussion about what is the leader’s key roles or what they must do. Chapman said that the contact center is full of talented people. As a leader, we need to push them to take advantage of another role in the organization. It’s not about age or educational background. If they have the passion for making a new customer experience through different channels, they are the best candidates. Let them know that we are supporting them. The more bravely to take on new challenges and push them to take advantage of another role in the organization, the more they can deliver a benefit to their company.

This contact center operation has many university graduates who may not be graduated from the top-tier university. Still, Chapman thinks this industry is one of the best environments for them to grow. Academic will be beneficial, but the staff has many opportunities to demonstrate other qualities to the top management.

Chapman also shared some tips for a leader to face all the changes in the contact center. He is concern more on “why” to move forward in a few directions. You should walk the talk. Whether you are genuine or not, we need leaders’ credibility and motivation to lead the people. It would be best if you drove your staff more towards the purpose of the company. Then, be creative, innovative, inspire your team, and make sure they know the purpose. (ANF)