Telco’s call centre provides setting to increase productivity while keeping employees and customers happy

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AT THE Maxis Sunway Pinnacle Contact Centre, there are no cubicles and no fixed seating. Instead, there is lots of open space.

One can play foosball in the pantry during lunchtime. It’s a fun space with graffiti. Drums and guitars are mounted on the walls. Surfboards hang from the ceiling. There is also a climbing wall set with colourful handholds.

The window overlooks the Sunway Lagoon theme park. Upstairs, in one of the meeting rooms, the table can be converted for a game of ping pong.

A first-timer might mistake it for a recreation branch if not for the many telephone operators sitting in front of computer screens with their headsets. Then, it dawns on the visitor this is an office running in full swing.

Maxis Sales and Service head Tan Lay Han calls it an integrated contact centre where customers only need to call one number for all enquiries, and anything relating to services.

“We have 700 customer care consultants working 24/7 here, including those manning our online assisted channels.

“The key thing is we have rostered the consultants to cater to the traffic flow and call volume, a strategy designed to achieve stringent service levels,” he said.

In order to deliver this, he stressed that it was important that employees had a conducive place to work, where they can unleash their passion, instil a sense of collaboration and develop a positive mindset in the way they approached work.

“We think this sets the benchmark for any industry, be it telecommunications, banking or other service-related industries,” said Tan.

A contact centre need not be a boring and mundane place, insists People and Organisation head Adzhar Ibrahim.

“We want our people to feel energised when they come to work. This can have a huge impact on the way we deal with customers day in, day out. It’s all about a positive attitude towards work, and we believe that an environment such as this will help nurture that attitude,” said Adzhar.

The transformation journey, he said, started in 2014 and it was about turning Maxis into a high-performing organisation, in addition to making it a really fun place to work.

“When we embarked on our transformation journey, we introduced MaxisWay to drive a new culture, mindset and a new way of working. It describes the way we work together, how we relate to each other, to our customers, to everyone around us.

“This new culture that is very much alive and part of our DNA today is built around our values of engaged people, great leaders and new ways of working,” he added.

Together with this change also came a new set of processes to enhance service satisfaction.

“The changes in processes systematically implemented since 2014 have resulted in a more simplified customer journey.

“For example, quicker transactions such as data transfer at our retail stores is now completed in two minutes. Our contact centre also proactively calls customers, giving them assurance their needs are taken care of if they have repeatedly called us,” said Tan.

Smart and simple. To have an obsession with customers. Working well together and having fun. These were the values incorporated into the new way of work.

“We believe that if we create an environment with a high level of engagement among people, productivity goes up, results improve.

“It’s a combination of feeling that you belong to the company, feeling that you are appreciated and that your voices are heard,” said Adzhar.

An important part of this new way of working also involves being more digital and mobile.

“We are a digital and mobile company, and it only makes sense that we use our own technology to make our lives and work simpler.

“What we have done internally has also been introduced to our enterprise customers – digitising our customer interface, moving from piece-meal to integrated solutions, from rigid and non-scalable solutions to mobile-enabled, flexible tools.

“Ultimately, we want our business customers to operate in a similar way, by helping them recognise the potential of what mobile communication can achieve,” Adzhar explained.

The brand new contact centre took 10 months from design to handover, said Corporate Services head Claire Bolard.

“We’ve broken down the walls; everybody has the same desk, the same chair. The vibrant colours are in line with the design concept and will help enhance creativity, energy as well as create a fun environment. Our workstation chairs are ergonomically designed and certified to provide the best comfort and back support,” she said.

The essence here was about removing barriers, Adzhar emphasised. “It’s about democratising the workspace where the only thing that matters is personal credibility and the ability to be successful at the job.”

According to Tan, productivity levels have certainly improved.

“The best evidence is the significant reduction in our customer complaints by 17% in the last year, and by 50% in the last two years, the lowest in a decade!” he added.

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