Another year slides away. As I look back on 2012, there were good times and things to savour and bad times and things I would rather forget both personally and on the HKCCA front. But there are always positives even in tough times and unpleasant situations. To build on strengths, let’s focus on the positives and see how we could do things better and wiser.
Like in previous years, the HKCCA Awards filled up a significant part of the calendar. From the Awards launch; applications screening; written submission desktop reviews; mystery caller assessments; panel interviews and on-site assessments to production house selection; the Awards Presentation and Gala Ceremony, all those activities occupied much of the Association’s time and resources.
And for the first time, we committed to give each participant a feedback report on respective performance in the assessment process. So, 139 reports were prepared. Though the feedback could only be based upon information available to the judges from the written submissions and on-site assessments / panel interviews against criteria set for the respective categories, the response to receiving the reports from the participants was positive.
The 2012 Awards also brought about one major change in using a “forced ranking” approach in giving out the Awards. Unlike previously whereby participants reaching the pre-set thresholds would receive the Awards. With this approach, the number of gold, silver and bronze winners was restricted. The rationale behind such change was to enhance the competitiveness and the prestige of the Awards as well as giving the ultimate winners a stronger sense of achievement. The emotional tears of winning; the excitement of triumph and the look of disappointment of those who missed out on the Awards that we witnessed in the Awards Presentation reflect the Awards mean a lot to the participants.
The objectives of the HKCCA Awards are to recognize excellence; encourage participation and strive for continuous improvement. The 2012 Awards achieved the objectives in recognizing the best of the best and raising the standards of respective categories. Somehow the “forced ranking” discouraged some participation. It would be a challenge for us in the next Awards to get the right balance so as to achieve all 3 objectives.
Mystery Caller Assessment
The Mystery Caller Assessment Award category was introduced in 2010 and is getting more popular with the members. 14 companies participated in 2012 – the highest participation for a corporate category. The participants saw value in it because of its 6-month completion period with progress reports provided every 2 months. The level of Award was determined by the final result they had achieved. Each participating company was actually competing with its own performance rather than others.
The Award also gave special recognition to companies that achieved Gold award standard for 3 consecutive years. The highest score company in the Banking and Financial Institution sector received the Best-in-class accolade while the highest score participant among the 14 companies was presented with the Best of the Best recognition.
The Government SME Development Fund project
HKCCA was granted the SME Development Fund to implement the Person-to-Person (P2P) Telemarketing Code of Practice (CoP) Certification Scheme. This 18-month project was successfully completed in August 2012 with over 300 SME corporates and frontline agents benefited from the project.
The project itself carries a mission of enhancing the capability and image of the telemarketing industry in Hong Kong. Through providing a series of training courses to the frontline agents; seminars; media coverage; TV programme and the certification mechanism, the industry practitioners, SMEs in particular, learn the specific requirements of the CoP and the best practices in conducting their business in a lawful and effective manner.
Though we succeeded in achieving the project deliverables and protecting P2P telemarketing from legislation, we had had some challenges in the process of securing the SME telemarketers to commit to certification. Unlike subsiding them to participate in an award programme (which is a one-off thing), the certification scheme is an on-going commitment which they have to be re-certified every 12 months. A number of SME call centres actually withdrew from the scheme after registration stating that they were not yet ready for certification and some adopted a “wait-and-see” attitude. By the end of 2012, a total of 18 companies had been certified. 11 companies were re-certified, 5 companies passed the certification audit for the first time and 2 companies failed to retain the certified Telemarketer status.
While the SME Development Fund granted for the project had come to the end, HKCCA is committed to continue implementing the CoP and the certification scheme that helps cultivate a healthier environment for the SMEs and the overall telemarketing industry to grow and improve.
HKCCA’s Got Talent
This new competition used the idea of the America’s Got Talent show to uncover the contact centre professionals other potentials apart from their contact centre job related competency. It also created another platform to enhance inter-companies / centres interactions and cohesiveness.
The competition attracted entries from Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Macau that they exhibited their talent in singing, dancing and MC. The winners’ performance in the Gala Ceremony was so impressive that they already aroused a lot of interests in the next HKCCA’s Got Talent competition.
Study on Contact Centre Frontline Agents Health and Safety needs
The collaborative study with Occupational Safety and Health Council on contact centre frontline agents’ health and safety needs was completed in the year. 558 agents from 11 corporates participated in the study. 5 corporates also underwent on-site Environment Measurement and measure of sound level by KEMAR manikin.
The findings from the study provided useful information for the Council to enhance its services to the contact centre industry in occupational safety and health. HKCCA will work closely with the Council to launch seminars, education programmes and guidelines for the industry practitioners and help cultivate their workplaces to be more healthy, happy and safe.
Contact Centre Knowledge Enhancement tour to South Korea
While we had organized 5 local centre visits for members and overseas delegates, we also conducted the third overseas Contact Centre Knowledge Enhancement tour in 2012. This time we visited 5 contact centres in Seoul, South Korea.
The overseas centre tour was initiated in 2010. Since then we had visited contact centres in Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. There were some similarities in those visits and there were unique learning from each of the centre visited ranging from people, customer and operations management to technology application. With the help from other APCCAL member associations, we will continue organizing overseas tour within the APCCAL network to enhance the contact centre knowledge of our members. Our next destination could be Thailand.
Asia Pacific Contact Centre Association Leaders (APCCAL)
HKCCA, as one of the 7 founding member associations in this Asia Pacific contact centre industry network, arranged representatives to attend the annual APCCAL Conference in Manila in Nov 2012. All 12 associations across Asia Pacific got together to discuss issues and select the APCCAL Chair Association, Secretariat as well as the host for the 2013 APCCAL EXPO.
We are delighted that HKCCA had been re-elected as the Chair Association and for the Secretariat role for a new term of two years - 2013 and 2014.
Sidney Yuen, the current APCCAL Chairman, who has been representing HKCCA in APCCAL, will continue his Chairman role to lead and take this Asia Pacific network to a new level. This is the recognition from Leaders who appreciate the work of HKCCA for APCCAL, in particular the successful APCCAL EXPO that HKCCA hosted in Hong Kong and Guangzhou in 2011.
Callcenter Industry Research Centre (CIRC) of South Korea was elected as the host for the 2013 APCCAL EXPO. The event will be held in Seoul, South Korea. It will feature Leaders’ Meeting, Contact Centre visits, Industry Conference and Exhibition, Gala Dinner and APCCAL Recognition Awards Presentation with performance by Gang-Nam Style and Girls’ Generations. HKCCA is planning to organize a delegation to South Korea to support the APCCAL Seoul EXPO.
New HKCCA Chairperson
2012 also welcome the new HKCCA Chairlady, Claudia Schlesinger on board.
Claudia is a dedicated BPO & Contact Centre professional who has over 18 years of experience in the industry. An Inspirational thought leader, respected pioneer with proven track record of success in international Contact Centre Operations, Human Resource Management and Finance Management across Asia Pacific region. Under her leadership, HKCCA will be inspired to offering better services and achieving greater results.
Looking ahead to 2013, we are continuing to invest our time and effort in serving the industry and supporting members’ business growth as well as the well-being of individual practitioners.
The next key event will be the 2013 HKCCA Symposium which will take place on 28 Feb and 1 Mar 2013. The Symposium offers pre-conference site tours, keynote presentations, high-level case studies, golf and networking events. We do look forward to meeting most of you in the Symposium.
By Rayland Chan
Hong Kong Call Centre Association
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