Executive Interview : Winning A ContactCenterWorld.com Award Is A Valuable Opportunity To Learn: Interview With Mithum Singh - Merchants SA
Mithum Singh is the Head of Workforce Management for Merchants South Africa. He recently competed and won at the Top Ranking Performers Awards in London, UK. He took home the gold medal in the Best Support Professional - Workforce Panning category and spent some time with ContactCenterWorld to talk about his experience.
ContactCenterWorld: What was your reaction to being named Best Support Professional – Workforce Planning for Europe, Middle-East & Africa?
Mithum Singh: The region the award covered is really quite big and there are a number of key players, so be to be named Best Support Professional was an unexpected and extremely humbling experience. I was and remain honoured by the accolade, and am grateful for the acknowledgement not only of what I do, but of what people in my position do every day.
ContactCenterWorld: What was the reaction from your Merchants colleagues upon returning to your Contact Center?
Mithum Singh: Merchants are a very people oriented company and are quick to recognize that a win for one is a win for all and the entire company, from agents to executive level, were ecstatic to be a part of the recognition.
There was a high level of excitement, jubilation and pride on my achievement and a number of individuals across all levels took the time to congratulate me on the award. In fact, it’s been almost two months on since the award was bestowed on me and I am still receiving feedback about the achievement.
ContactCenterWorld: What was the reaction from your boss and can you share with us what they said you upon winning the award?
Mithum Singh: My manager, and the entire executive committee, was ecstatic at the news of the achievement, however, my manager was one of the first to share the "good news" with the rest of the company and externally with the public. He took to social media immediately, sharing what an achievement it is and what an honour it was to be in London, to watch me collect the award.
ContactCenterWorld: Has winning this award changed your approach to your job in any way?
Mithum Singh: My approach to my work has always been one of consistent and relentless delivery, and this hasn’t changed. However, the award and publicity around the achievement has allowed me to create opportunities of similar nature for other candidates in WFM as well as other functional areas such as Quality Assurance, Management Information and Business Intelligence. These are areas that we at Merchants have identified as integral to the development of our people and the furtherance of our business strategy.
In addition, the bestowing of this award has created the belief in others that winning at such a prestigious organisation and level is possible. This year has seen a number of new entrants at our local awards, due to this newfound belief and indeed we scooped 5 out of the 9 accolades at the recent CCMG awards.
ContactCenterWorld: How did you celebrate your success upon winning the Best Support Professional – Workforce Planning Award?
Mithum Singh: The people that I work with and the agents that my actions influence are an important part of my personal work strategy, so I celebrated by giving back to others in the organisation and industry.
I was afforded the opportunity to support this year’s local entries, of which certain members have already won the South African region, which has just allowed for the celebration to continue.
ContactCenterWorld: Are you or your company telling others of your achievement and what are they doing to help promote your win in E.M.E.A.?
Mithum Singh: Both parties have used every opportunity to share the good news with local, international, existing and potential new clients. The news has also been shared with suppliers such as NICE and Genesys in the E.M.E.A. region. The organisation has also utilised social media to promote my personal brand and the achievement, across the region and the bigger Dimension Data business.
ContactCenterWorld: How important was it important for you to be seen doing this in your country?
Mithum Singh: Merchants is one of the country’s leading BPO and CMO partners, and is in fact home to SA’s first mega contact centre with more than 1,000 people servicing one client. With the current competitive landscape, the functional support areas are vital in assisting existing and new clients to reach their strategic goals. I believe that this award has re-enforced the capability that is available in this region and goes a long way in showcasing the region to the rest of world.
ContactCenterWorld: Do you think being named a winner might have an impact on others with similar roles in South Africa?
Mithum Singh: I absolutely believe that this award will have an impact on others in South Africa. I believe that it will expand across other functional areas as well, which will create awareness about the WFM functionality and WFM Brand, but more importantly the role of support functions within contact centres and South Africa.
ContactCenterWorld: Plenty of ideas were shared during the conference, how have you been able to take some of these Best Practices and introduced them into your Contact Center?
Mithum Singh: The ideas that were shared have been incorporated into day-to-day operations, through brainstorming sessions, daily briefing sessions and general operations meetings. An example of this is how we now share an overview of an idea with the team then we build on this idea to create something that fits with our organisational culture and strategy. Therefore the ideas shared were helpful in "kick starting" the process flow or change.
ContactCenterWorld: Outside of your own category of Support Professional – Workforce Planning, what was another category that captured your interest and why?
Mithum Singh: The other areas that caught my attention were the Quality and HR categories due to the integration with workforce planning involved in them.
The other category that I will be entering in the near future is that of Leader of the Year as this focuses on thought leadership and responsibilities across all levels and functional areas, irrespective of title or job grade.
ContactCenterWorld: How would you describe your journey to this point to someone who is considering entering the Top Ranking Performers Awards for next year?
Mithum Singh: The journey to this point was full of opportunities to learn, and I would encourage anyone who wants to enter to do so - one should never turn down an opportunity to learn. This being said, the potential entrant should not underestimate the high level of competition that comes through – each and every entry was top quality and deserved to win. Potential entrants should prepare well and have completed all their "homework" well before the award process starts.
ContactCenterWorld: How are you preparing for the World Championships in Las Vegas, November 7th to 11th?
Mithum Singh: As I already said, the competition at this level is stiff as everyone is now working towards a global standard of excellence. In order to prepare for the World Championships, I have to keep my finger on the pulse of the Merchants strategy, constantly aligning and realigning as we work towards our goals. In addition, I am also continuously keeping abreast of the local and international trends in the WFM arena, as well as staying in touch with the local and international landscape.
ContactCenterWorld: Besides the award, what has been the best part of your experience with ContactCenterWorld.com so far?
Mithum Singh: They – whoever they may be – say that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I say that it is a combination of both and that you need to use what you know to influence those you know.
In keeping with this, my experience has afforded me the opportunity to add more people to my circle of influence – the "who I know" group. I have also enjoyed hearing from the best in the industry and experiencing high quality presentations throughout the week of the conference.
ContactCenterWorld: What can you tell us about the Contact Center industry from your perspective that others who are not familiar with South Africa might find interesting?
Mithum Singh: The contact centre industry in South Africa is a focus point for job creation as it provides a jump off point for people with few skills to develop these and learn more. That being said, South Africa also has highly talented individuals who understand corporate diversity and are extremely happy and willing to embrace it.
In addition, South Africa provides a host of opportunities for offshoring of BPO from scalable operating premises to cost effective people and technology solutions.
We boast some of the best-built, most cost effective contact centres globally and are extremely economical under current global economic pressures.
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About Mithum Singh:
Mithum Singh is the Head of Workforce & Resource Planning for Merchants SA (South Africa). He also owns a gold medal for winning a ContactCenterWorld.com award at the Top Ranking Performers Awards in 2016 in the category of Best Support Professional - Workforce Planning.
About Merchants SA (South Africa):
Merchants, a Dimension Data Group company, is a provider of bespoke outsource contact centre solutions, operating in South Africa and has a 35 year track record of delivering customers contact centre solutions for a variety of blue chip organisations, globally.
Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2016