Here at INSIGHTS, we have just crossed a major milestone in the run-up to the annual Middle East Call Centre 2016 show (Summit, Exhibition & Awards event) and given the regional “downturn” (a term used generically to reflect the fall in oil revenues currently being experienced in the region), we were not quite sure what was going to happen in terms of the number of companies that would be entering submissions for the annual INSIGHTS Middle East Call Centre Awards 2016 competition. As it turned out we needn’t have worried; the numbers are in, and they are about the same as last year, a fact we find very encouraging and boding well for the full show in 6 weeks time. Not totally unrelated, our other lines of business are up if anything at present on previous years and we are starting to formulate an alternative theory as to what is going on in the market. It goes as follows – with lower, new business sales in many industries, organisations are looking at their existing customer base more carefully and realizing that they need to raise their customer service game; hence more initiatives and focus on customer interactions to help achieve the hereto largely unrecognized business benefits of customer retention and advocacy (and therefore the need for specialist services like ours :)). The jury is still out on this hypothesis of course but as you might expect, we’ll be watching the price of oil very carefully going forward!
Apart from the eagerly-awaited anticipation that is part of the Awards completion, the biggest part of MECC’ 16 in terms of the number of people involved is the free-to-attend MECC ’16 exhibition. As regular attendees have come to expect, MECC is distinguished by a host of special features designed to ensure time spent at the show is as worthwhile and useful as possible.
To understand how to gain the most from a visit to MECC ‘16, it is instructional to classify yourself according to the four categories indicated below and follow the guidance offered that follows:
a) “Urgent”. We know we need to invest in customer service – either a contact centre or using an outsourcer – but we’re not sure where to start. (In fact, our senior management do not have a good track record on customer service and we fear we will lose a lot of customers unless we act soon.)
b) “Upgrader”. We have a call centre but we know there is room for improvement.
c) “Opportunist”. We are a reseller and are looking for new opportunities.
d) “Entrepreneur”. We recognise the benefits of networking with like-minded people
a) Urgent. You definitely need to get up to speed quickly. Suggest you head for the “Free Consultancy” clinic on arrival and then spend as much time as possible on each of the stands talking to the subject matter experts. The more face-to-face time you get the better, and the easier it will be for you to understand the industry jargon. Also catch some of the free seminar sessions on industry developments to watch out for. Beware though of getting overly excited by all the new technology on display. The tech stuff is only one element and needs to be part of a well-crafted business plan that includes finding answers to issues such as, recruitment, training, processes, reporting, etc. Seek out the booths that offer these types of services and explore your requirements in depth. The more preparation you do at this stage, the easier things will be when it comes to the actual launch.
b) Upgrader. Three main show tactics here. One, attend as many of the free MECC ’16 seminar sessions as possible to catch up with the latest trends, technologies and Outsourcing options. Two, visit as many booths as possible to discuss upgrade possibilities. Many will be offering special deals and discounts so be sure to take advantage of these. And three, if you can organize it, get yourself enrolled in the “Speed Networking” sessions where you can explore your requirements in depth with international experts. There are limited places available here and you have to be invited, but if you supply as much detail as possible about your requirements and approximate budget when you register for your FREE Exhibition Pass, you can increase your chances of being selected to participate.
c) Opportunist. Simple, talk to as many exhibitors at their booths as possible as many of them have affiliate or reseller programmes. If you know of any current opportunities, they will be more than happy to discuss them with you. Also attend the MECC ’16 seminar sessions to get ideas for new business opportunities, certainly as far as your existing customer base is concerned.
d) Entrepreneur. At a show like MECC ’16, you have the opportunity to catch up with colleagues and definitely make many, new contacts. Sharing your most recent experiences and plans over a coffee can lead to new opportunities and ideas, and you should definitely reserve some time to introduce yourself to others in the “Networking” area – just let serendipity take over from there!
For your FREE Exhibition Pass go to www.insights-me.com/mecc
To further aid your call centre discovery journey this newsletter contains two pertinent follow-on articles. The first by Jay Minnucci differentiates call centre utility on the basis of the nature of the interaction-transactional or conversational, whilst the second by Bob Furniss reminds us of the need to both continuously re-evaluate the most important KPIs we are using but also the new ones that we need to take notice of as our dynamic contact centre world moves forward. Enjoy!