The INSIGHTS-organised Middle East Call Centre ’15 (MECC ’15) show is taking place this week, bringing together the region’s top call centre professionals and the industry’s leading suppliers for their annual networking and learning forum. Running for two days on May 12-13 at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre (DICEC), the show will focus on key corporate issues such as how to improve customer satisfaction, control operating costs, increase revenue and utilize new technology developments such as social media.
Of particular key concern for regional call centre is how to “future-proof” their strategies and investments given regional realities such as:-
- The Middle East is one of the world’s heaviest users of social media?
- Operations Support Functions such as Quality Assurance are going through a period of accelerated development with the adoption of advanced technologies and new ways of working.
- From an employee perspective, the concept of working from home is gaining ground.
- From a technology perspective – the cloud is “where it’s at”
In terms of DIRECT customer contact, Social Media is the BIG thing this year – more and more contact centres are handling customer contact via Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and other applications. Visitors to MECC ’15 should therefore head to the booths of vendors such as Genesys and Interactive Intelligence to see what they have to offer in areas such as social media queuing, routing and even performance reporting and performance management. But make no mistake, social media is, at this moment, dominating a tide of change that is engulfing regional contact centres.
Voice analytics has been spoken about for some time. Voice analytics is now commonplace in the larger English-speaking markets but Arabic language, regional dialects and local accents have until now proven to be more challenging for voice analytics developers. Nonetheless, that seems to have changed as this year sees previously unseen growth in the number of regional operations installing voice analytics systems within quality assurance functions. This is, in INSIGHTS’ opinion, the beginning of a regional trend in voice analytics that will migrate beyond contact centre quality assurance into predictive reasoning for agents and even advanced Customer Experience Management solutions. Voice analytics also offers unique customer insights through voice sentiment and emotion analysis.
In addition to direct customer contact, contact centres require operations support, in the form of training, workforce management and quality assurance. With regard to these, so-called, operations support functions (OSF), there are a myriad of changes on the horizon but one of them is of particular interest in the region – HOME-WORKING. Contact centres across the region have experimented with “home agents” in numerous guises over the years. INSIGHTS’ advice has always been to tread carefully because homeworking for agents requires significant dilution and in many cases the total destruction of the home/work barrier. Organisations in Europe that have deployed homeworkers have a mobile support network of managers, technicians, coaches and even trainers that constantly visit, audit and assist the home agents. It has been found that without this mobile support mechanism, home agents fail to perform as expected.
Many regional contact centres are already operating teams of home agents. The regional homeworking proposition, however, remains fraught with cultural and social challenges due largely to the dilution of the home/work barrier. The homeworking business case often looks attractive on paper but becomes less attractive as the challenges materialise.
Operations Support Functions such as Workforce Management, backoffice support, and even quality assurance functionality actually offer easier homeworking opportunities for operators to experiment with. Companies and employees can begin to understand the complexities of homeworking (that is not an easy-fit for everyone) in order to build a regional model that maximises the opportunity without impinging upon cultural and social concerns. Our expectation is that socially-tuned homeworking will dominate in the medium to long term but in the short term companies will experiment more and more. As traffic congestion and office costs soar the cost of mitigating the challenges of homeworking will become less detracting.
If call centres are about People (employees & customers), Processes and Technology then future-proofing an operation requires a thorough review of all three components. Customer expectations and behaviours are changing (most virulently perhaps, in social media). Employee attitudes are changing as they demand more quality of life from their workplace and more support from their managers. Technology continues to evolve and as a result of all of the above, management processes, fulfilment processes and even strategic processes are racing to catch up.
Customers rate and choose businesses relative to their expectations. Expectations are set by market conditions and by the actions of local competitors and global industry counterparts. It is likely that your competitors and your global industry counterparts will be discussing their future plans at MECC ’15. If you want to future-proof your contact centre you need to be there too!
About MECC 2015
The MECC ‘15 show is organized by INSIGHTS, and is widely acknowledged as the premier call centre and customer management event for the region. The 2015 version takes place May 12-13 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) and comprises the MECC ‘15 Conference & MECC ’15 Exhibition. The former offers the region’s top call centre and customer management professionals a unique, expert-led forum to get up-to-date with the industry’s latest trends and developments, gain fresh ideas and contacts, discuss common issues, and re-invigorate their current development plans. The INSIGHTS Middle East Call Centre Awards 2015 event is also a key attraction of MECC ’15 for the industry’s top performers.
INSIGHTS is the only Customer Interaction dedicated, Professional Services Organisation in the Middle East region to offer a combination of regional experience (19 years serving the regional industry), industry journals (spearheaded by the Customer Middle East portal), international accreditation with recognised global industry bodies (G-CEM, CIAC, etc.), accredited and certified Call Centre training programs (English & Arabic), the region’s only dedicated Call Centre Conferences and Exhibitions and is the developer of the Call Centre Lifecycle Development System.