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Executive Interview : Irine Lopez From Asian Business Software Solutions (MYOB South Asia) Pte. Ltd. On The Past Year And What To Expect In 2017

Director Customer Engagement
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We begin our review of 2016 and take a look ahead at what to expect in 2017 in the contact center industry by sitting down with Irine Lopez, Head of Business Services for Asian Business Software Solutions (MYOB South Asia) Pte. Ltd. in Malaysia to talk about self-service technology use in her country and the implementation of a new cloud based CRM system.

: In your opinion, what has been the greatest challenge the contact center industry has faced in the last 12 months?
Irine Lopez: In Malaysia, certainly the readiness to accept that more and more customers are using self-help, social media or online technology independently and lesser customers need a contact centre person to assist them. That being be case, contact centres are struggling to keep up or accept this paradigm shift and some are staying status-quo. The pace of preparation to make changes and adapt to on-line technology and self-help, will determine the survival of the business.

Why do you believe has this been a challenge?
Irine Lopez: The evident challenge is when the business forecast is made with less consideration of changes in technology and how it would impact various elements of a business such as resources in the contact center. Yearly forecasts for contact centers are done and normally strategic plans of 2-3 years are made as well. This means if technology takes away 20-30% of customer interaction from the contact center to online, within 3-6 months the business would end up needing lower occupancy in the contact center while the cost will reduce as well because of shorter communication durations. The ability to forecast in anticipation of change and to be able to scale up or down is definitely an area of concern.

In 2017, what do you think will be the top priorities in the contact center industry for each of the following a) Contact Center Directors b) Company Executives c) IT Directors d) Human Resources Directors
Irine Lopez: a) Brand promise via contact center. Sometimes Directors are disconnected to the pace of change in the industry or technology that then misinterprets the delivery of brand promise via the contact centre.
b) Company Executives should have to be able to ensure first class service delivery is across the contact centre and online services.
c) IT Directors must understand and have appreciation of new digital trends.
d) HR Directors must be able to engage the interest from the online generation Y or Z people to their pool of hires.

What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 12 months?
Irine Lopez: Cloud based technology and digital touch points.

What impact have "external events" even had on your company, and how have you adapted your business?
Irine Lopez: GST compliance implementation in Malaysia. Our business had to plan ahead for two years to face the high inquiries and business sales. For this we had a project team.

Do you feel the service you personally get as a customer is better or worse than it was a year ago?
Irine Lopez: I personally enjoy self-help services as it's quick and convenient for me. All my transactions are online and on the go. I hardly contact a person in any contact centre unless it's a complaint.

How do you intend to improve your contact center in 2017?
Irine Lopez: Introducing new simplified processes, more towards automation for manual work areas and integration for improvement.

What contact center technology or other innovation excites you the most right now?
Irine Lopez: Implementing a new cloud based CRM which will bring more visibility, automation and flexibility of use. Also that which can provide a holistic view of a client whilst prompting new business opportunities and a win-win solution for both parties.

What has been the most important contact center related conversation topic in 2016 and what are your views on this?
Irine Lopez: Cloud technology - a hot topic which opens a new path of running a business. I.E. From desktop solutions to online, with a reduction in cost for clients using recurring billing.

Can you share a great story of service you received when contacting a contact center in the past year?
Irine Lopez: I called up an art gallery contact centre because they was a delay in my shipment of paintings purchased. The call was attended to, while the agent kept on following up with me in the subsequent weeks to either give me update on the progress of the shipment or just to give me heads up on any delay and change in timelines. I received my paintings 5 weeks later but the interactions with the agent made me no longer upset with the delay. I thought it was very professional of the agent to keep tracking this complaint and ensuring I was a happy customer at the end. Nice.

ContactCenterWorld: What do you think will be the buzz word / focus for the contact center industry this year?
Irine Lopez: Social media, online, cloud, big data.

Regarding the change in governments in places like the US and the Philippines - do you see this is good or bad for the contact center industry in those countries and why?
Irine Lopez: If the U.S. is trying to bring back jobs (contact centre roles) to their home country, it's good for the employment rate progress but will they get the same quality and dedication? Some jobs are deemed to be not highly paid and are perceived as low level roles, so businesses may suffer if they can find the sufficient resources. Cost might be high so the tendency to compromise getting substandard quality workers will diminish brand quality & promise. Again this is just my opinion.

Lastly, what do you think 2017 holds for the industry? (Good or bad and where/how etc.)
Irine Lopez: Good because we are in an era of high speed technology and the contact centre industry can use this opportunity to innovate and change. With positive positioning and communications done right, this can be a very engaging change to contact centre teams. However, the challenge might be that a paradigm shift in moving your processes and forecasting might not be considered well, leaving adaptation to change being a road-block and dissatisfaction that businesses have to deal with, which can take up unnecessary time and effort.


About ABSS:
Company LogoAccounting software provider, headoffice with contact center in KL. Serving the south Asia market, providing bussiness solutions for small & medium enterprise.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Complaints

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Wednesday, January 4, 2017

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