Executive Interview : Executive Interview: Candace Laubscher, Sales & Marketing Consultant - Mindpearl on 2013/2014
We caught up with Candace for our annual 1to1 update - a look back at the industry in 2013 and looking ahead to 2014
In your opinion, what has been the greatest challenge the contact center industry has faced in the last 12 months?
Social media management – for most organisations this area is still a mystery and area of huge growth opportunities.
Why do you believe has this been a challenge?
Challenges around how to manage social media, monitor, train staff, which staff to train, hours of operation and the challenge of avoiding any negative publicity around a viral comment if not managed effectively.
In 2013, what do you think will be the top priorities in the contact center industry for each of the following:
a) Contact Center Directors
People management/training/upskilling for changing multichannel service delivery
b) Company Executives
c) IT Directors
New technologies/cloud/social media management tools
d) Human Resources Directors
Recruitment, training and retention of staff with the correct skillset/attitude/culture
What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 12 months?
What impact have "external events" even had on your company, and how have you adapted your business?
As a outsource provider with four locations around the globe with major airline clients, extreme weather conditions always have an impact on our business. We have a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place as well as effective staff management resources which ensures minimal disruption to business when extreme weather affects call volumes or closes part of a business due to power outages, travel delays, and/or staff delays in getting to work.
Do you feel the service you personally get as a customer is better or worse than it was a year ago?
As a general consumer - certainly no significant improvements – especially when related to banks and mobile providers. Over use of IVR and under-training of agents who are clearly not empowered to resolve 1st line queries still result in frustrating interactions and lengthy contact times.
What developments are you planning to launch in 2014 and how will they benefit the industry?
We are currently in the middle of an exciting rebrand / revitalize project for our organisation. This will see our online assets become more engaging and user friendly.
What has been the most important contact center related conversation topic in 2013 (last year) and what are your views on this?
The client vendor relationship being treated as a partnership in which both sides must invest.
Mature as the BPO/Contact Center sector may be, we still witness too many failures in outsourcing projects where organisations fail to deliver the long term goals. We are now witnessing an increased focus on governance frameworks at the very beginning of projects which helps both organisations define their longer term goals beyond initial cost benefits and to recognize the commitment needed by both parties to ensure compatibility and mutual success.
Can you share a great story of service you received when contacting a contact center in the past year?
I called my cable TV company to have an error code cleared. There was a minimal IVR choice and in less than 30 seconds, I was talking to an informed agent who knew the exact problem and cleared my fault before I even hung up. The call took less than 2 minutes. There is nothing exceptional about this story - but what makes it great is that this company was doing it right and making it easy for their customers. Far too many service organizations fail at this very basic requirement for positive interactions.
What do you think will be the buzz word / focus for the contact center industry this year?
Multichannel agents, agents that can effectively use voice, email, web chat and social channels to service your customers and provide outstanding customer service and engagement over any of these channels. And with multichannel integration provide a single view of the customer.
Lastly, what do you think 2014 holds for the industry? (good or bad and where/how etc)
I think we will see rapid growth in social media management, SMS, web chat and virtual hold technologies. The challenge will be how to integrate all these channels for a seamless and consistent experience for the customer.
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Mindpearl designs, implements and operates multi-channel contact centre solutions around the world.
Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014
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