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The Australian Taxation Office contact center has installed a new automated voice authentication system for identity checks.

The ATO hopes the new system will take up to 45 seconds off each of the several-million calls it receives every year. "For people who call us regularly, voice verification will speed up the authentication process and cut the time they need to spend on the phone to the ATO," said ATO Second commissioner Geoff Leeper.

The ATO has already enrolled about 30,000 people to use the new service, dubbed "voiceprint", which asks taxpayers to repeat a phrase to prove their identity. The new system verifies that the voice matches the voiceprint originally enrolled with a particular tax file number. It also checks what was said to provide an added layer of security. The ATO receives about 8 million calls each year, and for about 6 million of these it needs to ask the caller to verify their identity.

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The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is reportedly considering an invitation by global BPO giant Accenture to offshore work to the company's offices in the Philippines.

The ATO assured Australians that if the deal went through, it would exclude the sending of personal tax information to Manila. As part of assessing the capability of ATO for the new deal, senior representatives of the agency recently visited Accenture's Philippine Delivery Centre, but the ATO insisted the deal is still in the proposal stage.

The ATO spokeswoman said the proposal is part of its current contract with Accenture to use its Global Delivery Network for IT application development and test services. She added that the proposal would not result in axing of posts in the ATO or replacement of any ATO employee. If the ATO would accept the proposal, it would be because of its value-for-money offer.

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — September 19, 2014— Matchboard, a free online matching service for the contact centre industry, celebrated its two-year milestone this month. Managing Director, Sharon Melamed, said, "Almost 1000 requests have been submitted and hundreds of deals have been signed as a result of our service for the industry." The company's website shows testimonials from many clients, from SMEs to large enterprise and government agencies. The key benefit cited is the time companies can save in searching for the "right-match" vendors – from contact centre outsourcers through to technology and data vendors, training providers and consultants.

"I'd like to take the opportunity to thank our clients and partners for their support. We are particularly appreciative of our partnership with Auscontact Association, and see ourselves as completely aligned with their mission to unite and connect organisations across the industry," said Melamed.

Matchboard revealed the following key buyer trends in its most popular categories:

  • Training – more and more we're seeing requests for specialist training providers who can cross-skill telephone sales and service agents into multi-channel agents, so they're equipped to deal with email, chat and social media channels.
  • Technology – as the sheer volume of knowledge agents need spirals, there's strong demand for customer service-specific knowledge management systems. We're also seeing the majority of organisations sourcing a new contact centre/telephony system indicating a preference for cloud.
  • Outsourcing – the trend for offshore continues, but it's not all about the Philippines: increasingly the market is showing interest in New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa. Onshore, government is the "hotspot" of activity. Many organisations are also looking to outsource after-hours solutions to complement their inhouse centre and provide today's demanding consumer with round-the-clock coverage.
  • Data – as cold-calling diminishes, we're seeing more requests for solution providers who can help clean, segment and analyse customer data.
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Dr Catriona Wallace defines Customer Experience Strategy.


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