Contact Centre Magazine


With Insights from the Optus Outage of November 9, 2023

Telecommunications forms the backbone of our interconnected world – where we are ‘always on’. We rely on seamless communication for nearly every aspect of our daily lives, from banking to healthcare. However, when a major telecommunication provider experiences a massive outage, the consequences are far-reaching, affecting millions of Australians and triggering waves of disruption.

Optus’ Telecommunications Network Collapse

On November 9, 2023, millions of Australians woke up to a digital nightmare as Optus, a prominent telecommunications giant, grappled with a severe network outage. The outage, which lasted for an excruciating 12 hours, had a profound impact on digital banking and customer services across the nation.

Digital Banking Disruption

While most of Australia’s 91 deposit-taking institutions managed to keep their digital service platforms operational during the outage, a significant number of customers found themselves locked out of their accounts. Why? Because they relied on Optus phone and broadband services for access.

The impact on the Australian banking landscape was palpable, with contact centre operations taking a direct hit. Some of the country’s largest banks, including Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and ANZ, struggled to maintain normal operations as their contact centres were paralysed for the majority of the day.

The Commonwealth Bank’s Predicament

Commonwealth Bank, in particular, felt the brunt of the telco’s 12-hour outage. The bank, which heavily depended on Optus for telecommunications services, saw its customers unable to make calls to the company’s contact centre. In a bid to manage the crisis, CBA urged customers to use its banking app for communication since call centres were incapable of receiving calls.

The disruption went beyond just calls. The Netcode SMS-based security service, a vital component of the bank’s security infrastructure, was also severely affected. While the bank assured customers that branches, ATMs, NetBank, CommBank app, CommBiz, and merchant terminals were fully operational, the communication channels were strained.

Disruptions at the contact centres persisted well into the afternoon, leaving customers to grapple with delays. The bank issued warnings to customers, urging them to be patient as they navigated through the crisis.

A Glimpse into the Wider Impact

The outage had a domino effect on various sectors. Retailers and merchants faced challenges in processing Eftpos transactions, requiring adjustments to Eftpos terminals settings. Not all merchants could readily reset their machines, given limited access to the bank’s support centre.

Westpac, too, reported merchant customers experiencing issues with EFTPOS transactions but noted that services were gradually returning to normalcy. Call centres at Westpac were also adversely affected, unable to accept calls until the early afternoon.

A Sector-Wide Challenge

While some banks managed to navigate the Optus-induced storm relatively unscathed, others like Macquarie Bank, Great Southern Bank, and Auswide Bank reported issues stemming from the outage. These institutions, too, faced temporary disruptions in their call centre operations.

Great Southern Bank revealed that customer calls couldn’t be received until around 2:30 pm, and customers with Optus accounts found themselves unable to make online payments. Auswide Bank’s staff mobile phones were also impacted.

The Assurance from Australian Payments Plus

Amid the chaos, Australian Payments Plus sought to reassure the public. They stated that the Optus outage was not expected to affect the processing of Eftpos, BPay, and NPP transactions executed by account holders on Wednesday.

Optus’ Efforts to Restore Services

As the nation grappled with the outage, Optus, on its website, announced that it was working diligently to restore mobile and broadband services. However, it was notable that as of 6 pm on the same day, there was no acknowledgment of the outage on the company’s media portal.

The Resilience of Contact Centres

The Optus outage of November 9, 2023, serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of our digital infrastructure and the critical role that contact centres play in times of crisis. Contact centre agents, the unsung heroes of customer service, faced the challenge head-on, adapting rapidly to maintain essential services.

Ultimately, the resilience and adaptability of contact centres shine through during adversity. They exemplify that even when technology falters, the human touch and adaptability of contact centre agents remain invaluable in preserving customer relationships and ensuring the continuity of essential services.

In the ever-evolving landscape of customer service and contact centres, excellence is the guiding light that illuminates the path to success. Auscontact’s 2023 State Excellence Awards were a celebration of the best and brightest in the industry, honouring the individuals and organisations that consistently push the boundaries of excellence. In this blog, we take you on a journey to meet the outstanding winners who have made their mark in the world of customer service and contact centres.

The Essence of Excellence

Excellence is not a destination but a continuous journey, a commitment to delivering exceptional service and unforgettable customer experiences. In the customer service and contact centre domain, it is the cornerstone of success, fostering brand loyalty, and paving the way to industry leadership.

Auscontact’s State Excellence Awards: A Tribute to Achievement

Auscontact’s State Excellence Awards serve as a platform to recognise and applaud the exceptional accomplishments of individuals and organisations in specific regions. They set the benchmark for excellence in the industry and provide well-deserved recognition.

Queensland’s Excellence Awards: Champions of Excellence

Customer Contact Professional:

  • Jessie Salomone – National Heavy Vehicle Regulator
  • Mandy Smith – Brisbane City Council
  • Mary-Kathleen Fleming – Concentrix Services* (Winner)

Coach or Quality Professional:

  • Abbey Clarke – Concentrix Services* (Winner)
  • Christopher Knipe – Brisbane City Council
  • Kyle Parfitt – Smart Service Queensland

Training Professional:

  • Helen Gordon – Smart Service Queensland* (Winner)
  • Natasha Dagg – Concentrix Services
  • Sam McGahan – Energy Queensland

Team Leader/Team Manager:

  • Amy Heavy – Smart Service Queensland
  • Michelle Webber – Energy Queensland
  • Sarah Wratten – Allianz Australia* (Winner)

Workforce Management Professional:

  • Brett McDonald – Smart Service Queensland* (Winner)
  • Joel Stewart – Australian Taxation Office (Lodge & Pay)
  • Samara Monterrosa – Concentrix Services

Operational Support Professional:

  • Cathy Harris – Brisbane City Council
  • Leila Milonas – Queensland Health* (Winner)
  • Simone Hayes – Brisbane City Council

Business Analyst/Reporting Professional:

  • Adrian Beech – Brisbane City Council* (Winner)
  • Katie Torenbeek – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)
  • Kristy Haylock – Brisbane City Council

Customer Experience Champion:

  • Fleur Tukavkin – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)
  • Layla Buckley – Brisbane City Council* (Winner)
  • Phillip Lincoln – Smart Service Queensland

Centre Manager:

  • Brent Sheriff – Energy Queensland
  • Renata Lee – Brisbane City Council
  • Sara Barnfield – Smart Service Queensland* (Winner)

Rising Star:

  • Willow Bell-Maier – AIA Australia*

Contact Centre of the Year:

  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Brisbane City Council* (Winner)
  • Energy Queensland

Customer Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Digital Transformation – Smart Service Queensland* (Winner)

Customer Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Workforce Transformation – Australian Taxation Office* (Winner)

Customer Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Process Transformation – Australian Taxation Office, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator*

Employee Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing – Energy Queensland* (Winner)

Employee Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Engagement and Culture – Australian Taxation Office*, Brisbane City Council

Employee Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Diversity and Inclusion – Brisbane City Council, Concentrix Services*

New South Wales Shines Bright: Recognizing Excellence

Customer Contact Professional:

  • Jen Hall – AIA Australia
  • Mckeeley Whitmore – Ampol* (Winner)
  • Mel Thompson – nib Group

Coach or Quality Professional:

  • Aleisha Harris – AIA Australia* (Winner)
  • Ashling Hartigan – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)
  • Yasmin Raza – Teachers Mutual Bank

Training Professional:

  • Gabrielle Worthington – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)
  • Rebecca Whatley – Teachers Health Fund* (Winner)
  • Tyra Koksal – Honey Insurance

Team Leader/Team Manager:

  • Amy O’Connor – nib Group
  • Klime Sekutkoski – AIA Australia* (Winner)
  • Theresa Brunton – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)

Workforce Management Professional:

  • Emma Maatouk – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)
  • Jeremy Prakoonheang – Tabcorp* (Winner)

Business Analyst/Reporting Professional:

  • Eduardo Martins Lynch – Tabcorp
  • Gayle Gillett – nib Group* (Winner)

Operational Support Professional:

  • Caitlin Gardner – Service NSW
  • Danielle Curtis – Australian Taxation Office (Lodge & Pay)
  • Luke Marsden – Tabcorp* (Winner)

Customer Experience Champion:

  • Colleen Galea – Service NSW
  • Melissa Cunningham – Teachers Mutual Bank* (Winner)
  • Tom Fewell – Ampol

Centre Manager:

  • Aneta Field – Honey Insurance* (Winner)

Contact Centre of the Year:

  • Service NSW* (Winner)

Customer Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Process Transformation – nib Group – Project ECHO* (Winner)

Employee Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Engagement and Culture – Australian Taxation Office*, nib Group

Employee Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Diversity and Inclusion – Australian Taxation Office, Service NSW*

Victoria/Tasmania’s Best: A Showcase of Excellence

Customer Contact Professional:

  • Caity De Haan – BOQ Group
  • Neha Collins – recoveriescorp
  • Sasha Jaschenko – Concentrix Services* (Winner)

Coach or Quality Professional:

  • Ashleigh Pullin – Australian Taxation Office
  • Kinnersly Smith – AIA Australia
  • Kyleigh Stewart – BOQ Group* (Winner)

Training Professional:

  • Garza Ghebre-Michael – Australian Taxation Office
  • Matt Xavier – recoveriescorp* (Winner)
  • Tom Fallon – Australian Taxation Office

Team Leader/Team Manager:

  • Liam Henry – ANZ*
  • Rahul Anand – recoveriescorp
  • Tony Nguyen – APM

Workforce Management Professional:

  • Darcy Lee – Yarra Valley Water* (Winner)

Operational Support Professional:

  • Fiona Rajapaksha – AIA Australia*
  • Maddy Abela – Australian Taxation Office
  • Talitha Savige – Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

Business Analyst/Reporting Professional:

  • Brianna Willcox – Yarra Valley Water
  • Chris Dicker – Yarra Valley Water*
  • Jonathan Bowen – VETASSESS

Customer Experience Champion:

  • Luke Llewellyn – Australian Taxation Office*
  • Patrick Axford – Yarra Valley Water
  • Shalini Francis – recoveriescorp

Centre Manager:

  • Mel Gore – recoveriescorp* (Winner)

Contact Centre of the Year:

  • BOQ Group
  • recoveriescorp
  • Yarra Valley Water* (Winner)

Customer Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Digital Transformation – CPM Australia*

Customer Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Workforce Transformation – ANZ*

Employee Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing – recoveriescorp* (Winner)

Employee Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Engagement and Culture – AMP Services*

Employee Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Diversity and Inclusion – recoveriescorp*

South Australia’s Finest: Excellence Personified

Customer Contact Professional:

  • Fleur Koplin – Australian Taxation Office (Lodge & Pay)
  • Miriam Bleyerveen – Allianz Australia* (Winner)
  • Yioryia Rollas – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)

Coach or Quality Professional:

  • Jade Saliu – Allianz Australia*
  • Matt Hughes – Allianz Australia
  • Jade Saliu – Allianz Australia* (Winner)

Training Professional:

  • James Brown – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)* (Winner)

Team Leader/Team Manager:

  • Adrian Duran – Datacom
  • Ashley Botelho – Allianz Australia
  • Michael Dang – Datacom* (Winner)

Workforce Management Professional:

  • Caitlyn Aytekin – Datacom
  • Nicola Lutze – Datacom
  • Sarah Service – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)* (Winner)

Operational Support Professional:

  • Christina Christou – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)
  • Kat Francis – Datacom
  • Monique Gibbons – Datacom* (Winner)

Business Analyst/Reporting Professional:

  • Sonya Hup – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)*
  • Natasha Sekulic – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)* (Winner)

Customer Experience Champion:

  • Daniel Wasilewaki – APM
  • Natasha Sekulic – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)*
  • Sonya Hup – Australian Taxation Office (CAS)* (Winner)

Centre Manager:

  • Chloe Hatswell – APM*

Customer Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Process Transformation – Australian Taxation Office – Operation Wipeout*

Western Australia’s Champions: An Ode to Excellence

Customer Contact Professional:

  • Christine Thurston – Synergy*
  • Jackie Hobbs – City of Wanneroo
  • Shruti Jajoo – Australian Taxation Office

Coach or Quality Professional:

  • Mark Chance – Australian Taxation Office
  • Nicola Smith – Synergy*

Training Professional:

  • Elena Loveland – Australian Taxation Office* (Winner)

Workforce Management Professional:

  • Natalie Pike – BOQ Group*

Team Leader/Team Manager:

  • Debbie Allen – City of Wanneroo
  • Kirsty Eatts – APM*
  • Rachel Clegg – Australian Taxation Office

Operational Support Professional:

  • Sandie Kempton – Teachers Mutual Bank* (Winner)
  • Nolan Nott – Australian Taxation Office*

Business Analyst/Reporting Professional:

  • Jonathan Bowen – VETASSESS*

Customer Experience Champion:

  • Beth Porteous – Synergy
  • James McManus – City of Stirling*
  • Sarah Straker – City of Wanneroo

Centre Manager:

  • Kelly Donker – City of Wanneroo*

Employee Engagement Initiative of the Year:

  • Engagement and Culture – City of Wanneroo*

Customer Experience Initiative of the Year:

  • Process Transformation – Synergy*

Contact Centre of the Year:

  • APM*

Countdown to the National Excellence Awards Celebration

The excitement continues to build as we count down to the grand finale, the 2023 National Excellence Awards Celebration, scheduled for November 17th in Sydney. This prestigious event will bring together state winners from across the nation to compete for coveted national recognition. Registration for Auscontact’s celebration is accessible here.

Conclusion: A Bright Future Shaped by Excellence

Auscontact’s 2023 State Excellence Awards have illuminated the unwavering dedication of individuals and organisations in upholding the highest standards of excellence in the customer service and contact centre industry. As we eagerly anticipate Auscontact’s National Excellence Awards Celebration, we celebrate not just the winners but all the nominees who have played a pivotal role in shaping the future of customer service and contact centres, one remarkable achievement at a time.

In an industry where excellence is the currency, these winners have proven themselves as luminaries. Their commitment, innovation, and dedication to delivering outstanding customer experiences have set a high bar for others to follow. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of Auscontact’s 2023 State Excellence Awards for your remarkable contributions to the world of customer service and contact centers. Your excellence inspires us all.

Twitter’s monumental rebranding as “X” has not only captured the attention of the global social media sphere but also sparked curiosity about its potential implications for various industries, including contact centres in Australia. As the platform ventures into uncharted territory under the visionary leadership of Elon Musk, businesses Down Under are pondering how this transformation may influence their customer engagement strategies and interactions.

Real-time Customer Support Evolution

For contact centres in Australia, Twitter has been a vital channel for providing real-time customer support. With the introduction of “X,” businesses can anticipate a shift in customer behaviour and preferences. The rebranded platform might necessitate a reevaluation of customer communication strategies to adapt to the new interface. Contact centres will need to stay agile and swiftly respond to customers’ queries and concerns, ensuring that the transition to “X” does not compromise the seamless and immediate support they have come to expect on Twitter.

Embracing New Customer Interaction Channels

As “X” transforms Twitter into an all-encompassing “everything app,” businesses may explore novel customer interaction channels beyond traditional social media platforms. Contact centres will likely seek to diversify their engagement channels to keep pace with the evolving landscape. This may include integrating artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, leveraging messaging apps, and exploring other emerging communication platforms that align with the reimagined “X” ecosystem.

Data-Driven Insights and Personalization

With Twitter’s rebranding, Musk aims to embrace data-driven insights, making personalization a focal point of the platform’s evolution. Contact centres in Australia can leverage this transformation to tap into enhanced customer data and analytics. By gathering deeper insights into customer preferences, behaviours, and pain points, businesses can tailor their customer interactions, providing a more personalized and impactful customer experience. This shift toward data-driven personalization aligns with the broader “X” vision and underscores the importance of understanding customer needs to drive meaningful engagements.

Redefining Brand Interaction and Influence

As Twitter transforms into “X,” businesses must recalibrate their approach to brand interaction and influence. Contact centres play a critical role in shaping a brand’s reputation and public perception. With the new branding, there may be a transition in how customers engage with brands and how businesses position themselves on the platform. Contact centres will play a pivotal role in ensuring consistent brand messaging and maintaining positive customer sentiment amid the dynamic changes.

Adapting to an Evolving Landscape

While Twitter’s metamorphosis introduces exciting opportunities, it also necessitates agility and adaptability among contact centres. The changing social media landscape demands continuous learning and monitoring of customer trends, behaviours, and preferences. By staying ahead of the curve, contact centres can remain responsive to customers’ needs and expectations while leveraging “X” as a powerful tool for brand advocacy and customer engagement.

As Twitter’s transformation unfolds, contact centres in Australia must embrace the winds of change and seize the opportunities presented by “X.” The rebranding ushers in a new era of customer interaction, personalization, and data-driven insights. While challenges may arise, the promise of a more innovative and interconnected social media landscape beckons. As the “X” journey commences, contact centres can chart a course for success by harnessing the power of this reimagined platform to deliver exceptional customer experiences and reinforce brand loyalty in the digital age.

Join us for the 2023 Auscontact Excellence Awards State Awards Celebrations!

Get ready to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the contact centre industry as we recognise and honour the best of the best. Mark your calendars for these exciting dates:

– Western Australia: Friday, 4th August 2023, at Hyatt Regency Perth

– South Australia: Friday, 11th August 2023, at Stamford Plaza Adelaide

– Victoria/Tasmania: Friday, 18th August 2023, at Grand Hyatt Melbourne

– New South Wales: Friday, 25th August 2023, at Doltone House Hyde Park Sydney

– Queensland: Friday, 1st September 2023, in Brisbane

Don’t miss this opportunity to join us for an unforgettable evening of celebration and recognition. Book your tickets now and be a part of this prestigious event.

Celebrate excellence, network with industry leaders, and be inspired by the remarkable achievements of the contact centre industry. We can’t wait to see you there!

Visit to secure your spot at 2023 Auscontact Excellence Awards in your State!

On a bustling Monday morning, Jane, a customer service representative at a contact center in Australia, finds herself at the heart of a captivating narrative. Armed with a headset and a warm smile, she embarks on a journey that unravels the intricate challenges facing contact centers in the Land Down Under.

Australia, renowned for its strong service culture, places great emphasis on the pivotal role of contact centers in bridging the gap between businesses and customers. These centers are bustling hubs of human connection and problem-solving prowess, where dedicated agents like Jane strive to provide exceptional customer experiences.

As Jane settles into her desk, the weight of the day’s responsibilities settles upon her shoulders. Little does she know, she is about to confront a series of hurdles that test the very fabric of contact center operations in Australia.

The first challenge Jane encounters is the soaring expectations of customers. In this age of instant gratification, customers demand seamless and personalized experiences across various channels. They seek prompt responses, tailored solutions, and interactions that require minimal effort. To meet these expectations, contact centers must invest in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and omnichannel capabilities. However, implementing these technologies while preserving the human touch proves to be a delicate balancing act.

Technological advancements, the second hurdle on Jane’s path, bring both opportunities and challenges. Automation and AI can enhance efficiency, streamline processes, and improve self-service options. Yet, contact centers must tread carefully, ensuring they maintain the crucial human element that provides empathy and critical thinking for complex issues. Navigating this integration of automation and human connection becomes a constant battle for contact centers in Australia.

Beyond the technological landscape, Jane grapples with the intricacies of workforce management. Contact centers employ a diverse and skilled workforce, but the repetitive nature of the work and the challenges presented by difficult customer interactions can impact employee morale and engagement. Maintaining a motivated team, investing in employee well-being, and providing continuous training are crucial to combat high attrition rates and foster a supportive work environment.

Meanwhile, the ever-present concerns of data privacy and security loom large. Contact centers handle sensitive customer information, making data protection a paramount priority. With cybersecurity threats evolving rapidly, contact centers must stay abreast of regulations and invest in robust security measures. Regular audits, encryption protocols, and comprehensive training become indispensable tools in the arsenal against data breaches.

Amid these challenges, contact centers face the complex task of integrating multiple communication channels seamlessly. Customers engage with businesses through phone calls, emails, live chats, social media, and messaging apps. Ensuring a consistent and unified experience across these channels demands meticulous planning, system integration, and agent training. The pursuit of providing consistent service becomes an ongoing endeavor for contact centers in Australia.

At Last, scalability and flexibility stand as formidable obstacles. Contact centers must adapt swiftly to fluctuating customer demand, whether due to seasonal peaks, product launches, or unforeseen events. Cloud-based solutions offer the scalability and flexibility necessary to adjust resources promptly. Embracing these technologies enables contact centers to ensure uninterrupted service and meet customers’ needs at any given moment.

As Jane and her colleagues navigate these challenges, their dedication shines through. Their stories are a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence and the resilience required to thrive in the dynamic landscape of contact centers. Through innovative technologies, investments in employee well-being, robust security measures, and process optimization, contact centers in Australia continuously evolve to meet the ever-growing demands of customers.

Join us on this journey as we unravel the intricacies of contact center operations in Australia. Together, we’ll explore the strategies employed to triumph over the conundrum of customer service.

When we think of entrepreneurship, bustling cities and high-tech startups often come to mind. However, rural areas also hold immense potential for business innovation and economic growth. Rural entrepreneurship not only benefits local communities but also contributes to the overall development of the region. By highlighting a few inspiring examples of successful rural businesses, we will explore the power of rural entrepreneurship.

Beekeeping in regional Queensland:

Beekeeping has become a thriving industry in regional Queensland, with numerous entrepreneurs harnessing the natural resources of the area. Beekeepers have transformed their passion for bees into successful businesses, producing high-quality honey and other bee-related products. These rural entrepreneurs have not only created employment opportunities but have also contributed to the preservation of natural ecosystems.

Agri-Tourism in rural Victoria:

In the scenic landscapes of rural Victoria, agri-tourism has flourished as a unique entrepreneurial endeavor. Farms and vineyards have opened their doors to tourists, offering immersive experiences such as farm stays, wine tastings, and agricultural workshops. These ventures not only attract visitors to the region but also provide an avenue for local farmers to diversify their income streams and promote sustainable farming practices.

Craft breweries in rural New South Wales:

Craft breweries have emerged as a thriving industry in rural areas of New South Wales, with passionate entrepreneurs crafting unique and flavorful beers. These breweries have become local attractions, drawing both locals and tourists to taste their specialty brews. The success of these ventures has boosted tourism, created employment opportunities, and infused a sense of community pride.

Eco-friendly farming in regional South Australia:

Rural entrepreneurs in South Australia have embraced eco-friendly farming practices, focusing on organic and sustainable agriculture. These businesses have tapped into the growing demand for ethically produced and environmentally friendly products. By adopting innovative farming techniques, such as regenerative agriculture and permaculture, these entrepreneurs are not only building successful enterprises but also contributing to the preservation of natural resources.

These examples demonstrate the vast potential for rural entrepreneurship and its positive impact on local economies. Rural entrepreneurs bring innovation, job opportunities, and economic diversification to their communities. Moreover, they often leverage the unique resources and characteristics of their regions to create niche markets and differentiate their businesses.

At The World Incubator, we believe in the power of rural entrepreneurship and are committed to supporting and empowering rural entrepreneurs. With mentorship, access to resources, and collaborative networks, we strive to unlock the potential of rural businesses and foster sustainable growth in rural areas.

So, if you have a business idea and are based in a rural area, put it into action! Your innovation and determination can be the driving force, benefiting not only your business but also the entire community. Together, let’s celebrate the success of rural entrepreneurship and continue to inspire more ventures in the countryside.

As if we needed another social media platform to add to our customer service programs, Meta has brought us a new challenge for contact centres to tackle. With the emergence of Threads, a new social media platform by Meta, the impact on contact centres is profound. Threads offers a unique opportunity for contact centres to expand customer engagement, build stronger relationships and enhance brand loyalty. In this article, we will explore what Threads means to a contact centre and delve into its potential benefits and challenges for transforming the way customer service is delivered.

Seamless Multichannel Communication:

Threads brings a new dimension to multichannel communication for contact centres. It enables agents to interact with customers through threaded conversations, making it easier to track and manage inquiries. With its integration of Instagram, contact centres can leverage existing messaging capabilities while exploring the additional features and functionalities Threads offers.

The platform’s threaded conversations provide a more organised and structured approach to handling customer interactions. Agents can easily navigate through discussions, ensuring no messages are missed and providing timely and accurate responses. This enhances efficiency and helps contact centers deliver a superior customer experience.

Enhanced Customer Engagement and Support:

Threads offers a range of features that can revolutionise customer engagement for contact centres. The ability to link multiple posts together in LinkedTree pages provides an excellent opportunity to share valuable content, showcase products or services, and offer in-depth support. Contact centres can leverage this feature to guide customers through complex issues, provide step-by-step instructions or share relevant resources.

The visual nature of Threads allows contact centers to incorporate rich media, such as images and videos, into their customer interactions. This can be particularly valuable when demonstrating product usage, troubleshooting procedures or providing visual tutorials. By leveraging these features, contact centres can enhance engagement, deliver information in a more digestible format, and ultimately create a more memorable and impactful customer experience.

Real-Time Monitoring and Brand Reputation Management:

With Threads’ real-time monitoring capabilities, contact centres gain a valuable tool for tracking brand mentions and customer sentiment. By monitoring relevant conversations and hashtags, contact centers can proactively address customer concerns, resolve issues and manage their brand’s online reputation effectively.

This feature enables contact centers to identify emerging trends, identify potential brand ambassadors, and engage with customers in a more personalised manner. By actively participating in discussions and providing timely assistance, contact centers can solidify their position as trusted advisors and build stronger relationships with customers.

Leveraging Analytics for Continuous Improvement:

Threads offers robust analytics and insights that can help contact centres understand customer behavior, preferences, and pain points. By analysing metrics such as engagement rates, reach and sentiment analysis, contact centers can gain valuable insights to optimise their customer service strategies.

These analytics provide a wealth of information to refine content creation, tailor messaging, and identify areas for improvement. Contact centres can leverage these insights to better understand customer needs, adapt their service offerings, and continually enhance the customer experience. This data-driven approach allows contact centres to stay agile and responsive, ensuring they meet the evolving expectations of their audience.

Potential Challenges and Considerations:

While Threads presents exciting opportunities for contact centres, it’s essential to acknowledge potential challenges. As a relatively new platform, there may be a learning curve for both agents and customers in adopting and understanding the functionalities offered by Threads. Contact centres must invest in comprehensive training programs to ensure agents are equipped to maximise the platform’s potential.

Given the dynamic nature of social media platforms, contact centres need to closely monitor changes, updates and user behaviour on Threads. Staying abreast of platform developments will help contact centres adapt their strategies and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Threads holds immense promise for contact centres, providing a platform to enhance customer engagement, streamline communication and boost brand loyalty. By leveraging the threaded conversations, rich media capabilities, real-time monitoring and analytics, contact centres can take customer service to new heights. While challenges and considerations exist, the potential benefits far outweigh the obstacles. Embracing Threads and incorporating it into contact centre strategies will enable organisations to deliver exceptional customer experiences, foster lasting relationships and stay ahead in the competitive world of customer service.

Article by Shelley Flett

The topic of boundaries has become increasingly important in recent years, particularly around preventing and managing burnout among leaders. Year after year, the expectations placed on people leaders have grown to unsustainable levels, leading to detrimental consequences such as exhaustion, deteriorating mental health, disengagement, and even resignation.

In the latest Microsoft Work Trend Index, it was discovered that 66% of Australian managers suffered from burnout, compared to the global average of 53%. 2023 is shaping up to be the “big reset” where workloads and expectations must be reassessed and adjusted. For the past three years, we have been reacting to our environment without pressing pause, attempting to incorporate strategic changes and forward-focused adjustments on top of an already overwhelming workload. This relentless pace is pushing many leaders to the brink.

As an executive coach and facilitator, I have worked with numerous leaders, helping them shift their approach to work and life, ensuring they can avoid burnout and continue to succeed in their careers. Through my experience, I have found that boundaries make the most significant difference for every leader I have coached on this topic.

Boundaries are personal expectations that individuals set for themselves to create balance and maintain control over their lives. While they may differ from person to person, their purpose remains the same: to establish a healthy, sustainable equilibrium in life.

Leaders must prioritise self-care to be fully available to serve others. Boundaries enable leaders to balance individual support with the expectations of their role, fostering an environment where they can lead with love, kindness, care, and compassion. Prentis Hemphill eloquently describes boundaries as “the distance at which I can love you and me, simultaneously.”

Understanding the expectations of one’s role within the organisation is a crucial aspect of establishing boundaries. Without clarity on what success looks like, it becomes challenging to set boundaries that align with achieving one’s goals. Regular conversations with managers about role expectations are essential. Failure to engage in these conversations risks either taking on more than one can reasonably handle, compromising personal well-being, or becoming too rigid with boundaries, which can lead to irrelevance in an evolving role.

By setting boundaries, leaders can avoid overcommitting themselves and focus on the priorities that will bring professional and personal success in the short and long term. It is through these boundaries that leaders can achieve a sustainable work-life balance and ensure their well-being while effectively leading their teams.

Individual boundaries play a vital role in preventing leadership burnout. Leaders must manage role expectations to ensure they create balance and maintain control over their lives. By understanding role expectations, practicing compassion, and setting boundaries, leaders can navigate the demanding nature of their positions while preserving their well-being and achieving long-term success.

Shelley Flett is a leadership development & team performance expert with over 15 years working as, for and with leaders to build capability, increase effectiveness and create high performance team cultures. She has a rich leadership, operations and customer service background with people being central to everything she’s done in her career. Shelley is the Author of ‘The Dynamic Leader: Become the leader others are inspired to follow’ and ‘Feedback: Seek it, Give it, Connect with it’. For more information about how Shelley can help your leaders visit

Article by Sharon Melamed

2023 has ushered in new trends in the sort of services and software which contact centres are procuring. At Matchboard, we receive almost 500 requests every year from organisations looking for vendor recommendations, so we’re in a unique position to spot some of the emerging trends.

With the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, and the lightning uptake of the technology globally, it’s no surprise that interest in conversational AI and chatbots has skyrocketed this year.  Both vendors and practitioners have spent the last several months grappling with what the advent of ChatGPT means for their offerings, and the evidence of this is in the overwhelming number of related events and white paper campaigns in market. There has been some hesitation in pushing the buy button while this reboot takes place. It’s not only interest in text-based AI that’s surged – voice AI, for outbound functions such as collections and reminders, and for inbound functions such as providing Covid-related advice or taking appointments or orders, is becoming noticeably more popular.

Growth in cloud contact centre software is slowing this year, as most companies have already made their move from premise to cloud solutions.

The market for contact centre outsourcing in 2023 looks quite different to 2021 and 2022. With Labor coming to power in 2022, there was a shift in policy to have more work delivered inhouse, and some major Federal agency outsourcing contracts were cut back. In addition, Covid-related contact centre demand subsided resulting in thousands of onshore contact centre jobs shifting to different industries. In the private sector, Matchboard is witnessing ongoing demand for offshore outsourcing, despite re-shoring back to Australia in sectors like telco and energy in 2021/22. But the trend is towards location diversification with the island paradise of Fiji now outstripping demand for the Philippines on our platform. Interestingly, the number of clients asking for “PCI-accredited” providers has more than doubled this year compared to last, as regulations governing credit card payment acceptance tighten.

In the world of contact centre consulting, we’ve seen a jump in work for BPO and technology procurement consultants, assisting clients with RFPs, tenders and new vendor transitions. Contact centre “health checks” never seem to go out of fashion, and there is a plethora of quality consultants ready to help!

Sharon Melamed is the Founder of matching platform Matchboard, named by Optus as Australia’s Business of the Year and by Westpac as one of “200 Businesses of Tomorrow”. With 30 years’ experience in the contact centre and BPO world, Sharon has helped hundreds of clients set up and manage customer service, sales and back office functions, across four continents. Sharon was named 1 of the region’s top 100 influencers by Auscontact.

Tax time can be both daunting and confusing, especially when it comes to determining what deductions you can claim as a contact centre professional. Fortunately, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has provided valuable resources and guidelines to simplify the process. This article will outline the key deductions available to contact centre operators and provide insights into record-keeping and the best time to lodge your tax return.

Understanding Your Deductions:

The ATO’s occupation guide for Call Centre Operators serves as an excellent resource for identifying common deductions within the industry. Some of the key deductions you may be eligible to claim include:

  1. Car Expenses: If you use your personal vehicle for work-related purposes, such as visiting clients or traveling to training sessions, you can claim deductions for car expenses. It is essential to keep a logbook or use the cents-per-kilometre method to track your work-related mileage accurately.
  2. Clothing: If your work requires you to wear a specific uniform or protective clothing, you may be eligible to claim a deduction for the cost of purchasing, cleaning, and maintaining these items. However, you cannot claim for ordinary clothing or non-compulsory uniforms.
  3. Union Fees: Contact centre professionals who are members of a union can claim deductions for their union fees. Ensure that you keep records of your membership payments throughout the financial year.

Working from Home Deductions:

With the increase in remote work arrangements, the ATO has introduced simplified methods to calculate deductions for individuals working from home. As a contact centre professional, you may be eligible to use either of the following methods:

  1. Revised Fixed Rate Method: From 1 July 2022, the revised fixed rate method allows you to claim 67 cents per hour for every hour worked from home. This rate covers the additional expenses incurred while working remotely, such as electricity, heating, and internet usage. Unlike the previous method, you no longer need to have a dedicated home office space to utilise this deduction.
  2. Actual Cost Method: Alternatively, you can choose to calculate your working-from-home expenses using the actual cost method. This method allows you to claim the specific expenses related to your work, such as a portion of your electricity or internet bills. To utilise this method, you must maintain accurate records of your expenses.

Keeping Comprehensive Records:

Accurate record-keeping is crucial when claiming tax deductions. To simplify this task, the ATO offers the myDeductions tool within their mobile app. This tool allows you to store receipts, track expenses, and keep records organised in one convenient location. Utilising this app will help you stay on top of your records and ensure you have the necessary documentation when lodging your tax return.

The Ideal Time to Lodge:

The ATO advises that the best time to lodge your tax return is from late July. By this time, most of your financial information, including income from employers, banks, and health funds, will have been automatically included in your tax return. Review the pre-filled information to ensure its accuracy, add any missing income details, and claim your deductions accordingly. By lodging your tax return at this time, you can streamline the process and receive any refunds or address any outstanding payments promptly.

Tax Assessment Considerations:

It’s essential to be aware that the low and middle-income tax offset has ended, which may result in lower refunds or potential tax bills for some individuals. The ATO website offers a list of reasons that may affect your tax refund, providing valuable insights into potential outcomes.

As a contact centre professional, taking advantage of the available tax deductions can help optimise your tax return. Familiarise yourself with the ATO’s resources, explore the tailored occupation guide, and utilise tools like myDeductions to streamline the record-keeping process. Remember to stay informed about any changes in tax legislation and consult a tax professional for personalised advice. By effectively claiming your eligible deductions, you can ensure that you receive the maximum benefits during tax time.