Marcelo Bechara: The ‘contact centers’ will migrate to centers of experience

More than 1,500 Cordovan people work in the conglomerate led by Marcelo Bechara, president of Grupo Evoltis. It is a set of companies focused on customer experience, technological developments, contact center and BPO.

With long experience in a sector of which Córdoba was something like the “national capital” during the 2000s, Bechara is also vice president of the Argentine Chamber of Contact Centers.

From that double role, he actively participated in an industry that lived a boom and then it was transforming its appearance –although without losing prominence–, fully impacted by new technologies and digital transformation. With that baggage, he traces the present and future scenario of the contact centers.

–Cordoba is still a pole of “contact centers”?

–It maintains the title, although in a slightly smaller version of the sector. Back in 2007 the activity reached a peak: it employed 70 thousand collaborating workers, of which Córdoba contributed half. And of those local positions, the province exported 42 percent. Today there are 50,000 employees in the country, of which between 20,000 and 25,000 are in Córdoba.

–But it exports less…

–Yes, the export of services is no longer in force as it was years ago, as a result of the competitiveness the sector had achieved. Furthermore, that call center “Version 1.0” was efficiency and speed of implementation associated with cost. With the appearance of new technologies it evolved, adding added value and innovation. Today it is about being prepared to incorporate exponential technologies, serve multiple channels and generations. It is very challenging.

– Consumers or clients increasingly “whatsapeamos” with “bots”, that is to say that we dialogue with “software” powered by artificial intelligence. Will any human being attend to us in 2030?

Let’s hope we never stop talking to human beings. Here I make a distinction about this fourth industrial revolution that we are experiencing, the “change of change” as they say. In addition to being a convergence between technologies that unite the physical, the digital and the biological; I think there is an interesting convergence between those disruptive, exponential technologies, and human talent and the human condition.

–But it is real that artificial intelligence relieves humans in many attention tasks…

–Today artificial intelligence is here to stay, to make it more efficient, to facilitate processes in those things that do not add as much value and resolve them. However, artificial intelligence must be combined with the emotional connection between human beings, and in no way implies canceling it. For this reason, facing 2030 predictions that there will be more artificial intelligence but there will also be more human connection. And in that sense, working in a call center It will be with new skills and new skills.

-For example?

–I think that the usual tasks or commoditiesAs the basic processes are called, they will be managed by automation. But we will not lose the construction of the bond between humans, that is why the call or contact center they are going to be centers of experience, we are going to migrate to that. Because today the experience is the perception that we generate from the interaction with the brands themselves, and in each of the points of contact that perception is built.

– Before it was enough that what I bought works …

– With that the perception was already good. Today, in addition to functionality, there is emotionality, I think that the experience will be based more and more on the way in which we achieve that our consumers remember the way in which they interacted with us through each of the channels.

–During its boom, the “call center” was enthroned as a typical first job for many Cordovan people. Does it continue like this? How will it evolve?

–We are the first link in the knowledge-based services industry. For 33 percent of the collaborators participating, it is their first job. It already implies developing new skills and in the future that will be even more essential. Competencies such as critical thinking, flexibility, curiosity and capacity for innovation, empathy, networking skills will be very necessary. Today a collaborator of a call You must be trained in multiple disciplines: from the basics of effective conversation with empathetic listening to skills that have to do with the whole question of computing.

–Are they able to return to strong exports?

–He mentioned that we are the first link in the knowledge industry, there is great expectation regarding how this sector can develop in Córdoba and its export capacity in the future. I imagine a sector of contact centers that it exports, that it is attentive to niches that do not exist today and that can add value in the external market. Córdoba has high institutional quality, high quality of houses of high studies, high density of student population.

–Once again an exporter pole …

–We have all the conditions to achieve it. If one sees how some local sectors such as the software there is already a history. And if we add to this the appearance of new educational programs; the opportunity is. Therein lies the great challenge we have facing 2030: to be able to activate what is called “the triple helix”, that is, the industrial sector, the academic sector and the government working together. The task is to devise training programs that are very consistent with the realities of the economy.

# 115

115 characters think 2030

In the year of the 115th anniversary of La Voz, politicians, social leaders, athletes and personalities of culture reflect on the Cordoba of the future. I followed the cycle on LaVoz.com.ar.

Print edition

The original text of this article was published on 03/14/2020 in our printed edition.