Executive Interview : State of the Industry - Interview With Michael McBride from iiNet
A past Top Ranking Performers Awards Global Champion, Michael McBride with iiNet in Australia gives us some insight into the state of the industry in his homeland in this exclusive interview.
In your opinion, what has been the greatest challenge the contact center industry has faced in the last 12 months?
I think the expectations of consumers to have the organisation they want to deal with available on the channel of their choice at the time of their choice is still being worked through internationally. Some have tried providing every channel across 24 hours per day, others have tried to "steer" customers to the companys preferred channels - I think either has worked well to date.
Why do you believe has this been a challenge?
Each organisation needs to better understand the people who want to deal with them and why they want to deal with your company. Peoples expectations are different based on their own life experiences and everyone wants to feel valued and get personalised service - but in a fast and efficient manner. It is a very hard balance for a company to build this for all customers. But the companies who get it right will be the winners and will prosper!
What do you think will be the top priorities in the contact center industry for each of the following this year? A) Contact Center Directors B) Company Executives C) IT Directors D) Human Resources Directors
A) CC Directors - getting the balance right between staff satisfaction and meeting the ever evolving customers wants and needs
B) Executives - Trying to balance the cost to serve customers in the evolving digital landscape whilst maintaining the traditional customer experience as well. Many companies are structured to work a certain way and that will be tipped on its head over the coming years
C) IT Directors - Balancing the wide choice of CRM systems that can handle digital and traditional customer experience to ensure a seamless customer journey in the omni channel world
D) HR Directors - Getting the right mix of people (both front line and leaders) to be able to handle the evolving landscape but still deliver on the traditional channels as well
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What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 12 months?
Omni channel CRM software - still an evolving space as social media channels continue to evolve as well.
What impact have "external events" even had on your company, and how have you adapted your business?
The financial tightening seen across the world has been felt by us in Australia as well. We have had to tighten our belts and control costs. We have been able to successfully do this due to a strong culture within our teams. By explaining the reasoning to staff and taking them on the journey for the greater good for our company and customers we have got through it with minimal push back
Do you feel the service you personally get as a customer is better or worse than it was a year ago?
Worse - for me personally the State I live in is part of a booming economy and job growth has been strong which has resulted in the level of service lowering as people felt if they didn't like the job or were told they were not doing it correctly they would leave and possibly even get more money somewhere else. A challenging situation for service industries in our state.
How do you intend to improve your contact center in 2016?
We need to improve our customer experience by making it easier and better for our staff to provide the experience. Better shift times and days with more manager support on the floor is a big challenge - but will provide big benefits to both staff and customers.
What contact center technology or other innovation excites you the most right now?
Still keen to see a truly inclusive CRM system across both traditional and social channels. That combined with voice biometrics - makes life safer and easier for customers!
What has been the most important contact center related conversation topic in 2015 and what are your views on this?
I don't think there has been one standout - what I have found this year from talking to people from all over the world is, the challenges differ but often come down to meeting the needs of the three key stakeholders - customers, staff and shareholders and trying to find the balance between all three.
Can you share a great story of service you received when contacting a contact center in the past year? If so, please share!
To be honest the best customer service I received in the past year was actually in a cafe! The waitresses attention to my and my family's needs was outstanding. At the end of the meal I sought out the manager and gave her the feedback.
What do you think will be the buzz word / focus for the contact center industry this year?
Customer experience in the omni channel world.
Lastly, what do you think 2016 holds for the industry?
I think it will be one where we continue to grow, learn and evolve as peoples expectations evolve in the multi channel "right now" environment.
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iiNet is Australia's second largest DSL Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the leading challenger in the telecommunications market. We employ over 2000 inquisitive staff across four countries and support over 1.7 million broadband, telephony and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) services nationwide.
Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
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