By Filipe Pacheco
Telecommunications companies operating in Brazil are facing some big regulatory changes. And, as a result, so are the companies that outsource services to them. In July, Brazil’s Communications Ministry prohibited three major mobile operators – Oi, Tim and Claro – from selling new cellphone plans following a rising tide of customer complaints over poor service quality, including dropped calls and patchy coverage.
Two of these operators have operations in several other countries. Claro, for example, is owned by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. TIM is an Italian operator, and Vivo is a subsidiary of Spanish telecom giant Telefónica. Oi is the only the domestic carrier. The prohibition will remain in place until the operators present an investment plan to improve service quality.
Brazil’s national telecom watchdog, Anatel, wants telecom operators to strengthen their telecom infrastructure before the Football World Cup that the Brazil is hosting in 2014.
For contact center service providers, the regulatory decision presents an opportunity for them to expand operations as businesses are streamlining customer relationship management.
In early August, Anatel told contact center service providers, hired by the telecom carriers, to quickly respond to customers’ complaints. Today there is a growing debate in the country over the need for contact centers to adopt “first call resolution” theory to deal with new challenges. According to TI Inside, a publication for local IT industry, Anatel’s suggestion has been received well by the local contact center industry.
The growing competition and consumer demand is also driving contact centers to improve their service quality, says TI Inside. This is an example of Brazilian contact centers changing their work culture and living up to customers’ expectations.
Contact centers with clients in the airline and retail industries are also expected to improve their service quality in the days to come, says an IT analyst wishing not to be named.
According to a research report published by IDC, the IT consulting firm, outsourced services to contact centers in Brazil registered 15.7 percent growth in revenues between 2009 and 2010. By the end of 2010, some 317,910 operators were working in various contact centers across Brazil.
“When it comes to expansion, technology has a fundamental role to play,” TI Inside quoted Marcelo Pugliesi, director of new business at Direct Talk. Direct Talk, a CRM company, has 170 clients in Brazil.
Cristiano de Oliveira, coordinator of client relationship management at Algar Tecnologia, the fourth largest call center in the country, says there will be a significant reduction in voice-based services in the coming years.
As the fight to cut costs continues, companies will look for other channels such as automated services and social-crowd CRM services, he added.