Executive Interview : Vera Austin From MassMutual Financial Group On The Past Year And What To Expect In 2017
Vera Austin, Director at MassMutual in the U.S. and a multiple Top Ranking Performers Award winner, speaks to the importance of social media in 2017 and the challenge of maintaining staffing levels. Austin takes time out of her busy schedule to discuss those topics and more with ContactCenterWorld.com in the following interview.
ContactCenterWorld: In your opinion, what has been the greatest challenge the contact center industry has faced in the last 12 months?
Vera Austin: I’m not sure I can speak for the industry as a whole but our biggest challenge has been staffing.
ContactCenterWorld: Why do you believe has this been a challenge?
Vera Austin: A big portion of our call center staff are millennials. Our goal has been to hire ahead of attrition. However, that has proven to be a challenge due to our call center’s Series 6 requirement. Representatives must pass the exam before they can actually do the job. This has lead us to adjust our recruiting practices so we can have the appropriate staffing to meet service level.
ContactCenterWorld: 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
Vera Austin: a) The top priority for the Directors will be engagement. We want to engage our staff to ensure maximum performance in line with our call center strategy.
b) Company executives will be focused on our strategic goals. They job will be to make sure we are focusing on the right metrics to ensure our business is successful.
c) IT Directors’ main priority will be to make sure our technology is meeting the needs of our customer base.
ContactCenterWorld: What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 12 months?
Vera Austin: I believe social networks like Twitter and Facebook will have the most impact. Folks find it easier and quicker to communicate both satisfaction and dissatisfaction through social media.
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ContactCenterWorld: What impact have "external events" even had on your company, and how have you adapted your business?
Vera Austin: External events impacts and affects our business because of how much a person can or cannot save for retirement based on the economy.
ContactCenterWorld: Do you feel the service you personally get as a customer is better or worse than it was a year ago?
Vera Austin: Honestly I can’t say better or worse. I have been the beneficiary of both good and bad service.
ContactCenterWorld: What do you think will be the buzz word / focus for the contact center industry this year?
Vera Austin: The focus will always be great customer service in the call center.
ContactCenterWorld: Lastly, what do you think 2017 holds for the industry? (Good or bad and where/how etc.)
Vera Austin: 2017 will be a busy year for our industry. We need to ready for big call volumes and sometimes extended hold times. Customer service should be a priority.
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Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyholders. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders every year since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company's strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term. MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.
Published: Friday, February 3, 2017
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