The concept of the customer as the centre of commercial endeavours has seen many a business model improving services aimed at providing a desired experience for the customer. The realisation that customers do indeed call the shots has led to the growth of a myriad of customer management services. Telecontinent Sdn Bhd, a local service provider for outsourcing and consultancy services specialising in contact centre solutions, has been at the forefront of the customer services industry providing supportive services to a wide range of local and international businesses. In an interview conversation, Jusri Ong, the founder and managing director of Telecontinent speaks about the company’s growth, achievements and future plans on the local and global platforms towards becoming a significant local player.
The customer services domain is a major industry spurred by the rise of customer-centrism. The maxim of the customer being the king has been taken to greater levels of technological sophistication with the development of outsourcing services by the call-centres of developing countries. Jusri Ong, the founder and managing director of Telecontinent, foresaw the high potentials of the industry subsequent to working in the customer contact industry for several years.
A Malacca boy who spent his growing years in Klang, Ong got his inspiration to venture into the entrepreneurial world from both his parents and the surrounding environment. “My father, a timber merchant in Indonesia, and my mother who gave her best despite the constraints of bringing up a family of five children on her own provided me with the foundational understanding of the trials and challenges of doing a business on my own,” recollects Ong. A gung-ho personality tempered by pragmatism has helped Ong in formulating new game plans while simultaneously resolving successfully the many intractable people-related issues connected with employees, customers and clients.
Armed with a degree in economics with multimedia, Ong worked in the service industry for eight years from 2004 before taking to the entrepreneurial path. “The experience and knowledge gained from working in local and international companies helped me in seeking the opportunities existing within the industry,” says Ong. A deep insight into the industry potentials combined with the readiness for risk-taking resulted in Ong starting Telecontinent in December 2011.
“The highly competitive industry is focused on servicing customers and our unique selling proposition is the skills of our talent pool. We focus on multi-lingual talents, specifically with a combination of Mandarin and English. Malaysia possesses the winning formula derived from a combination of talent and cost-effectiveness,” explains Ong.
“The company’s expansion has been phenomenal. We started off with a team of ten employees which has grown into a 500-employee team today with four offices in Kuala Lumpur. We continue to elevate ourselves by providing better customer solutions on the local and global front through higher skilled employees supported by the latest technologies.”
There are plans for future expansion in terms of seeking new locations and the introduction of an integrated omnichannel network that can improve the customer experience. “We are looking at data analytics in order to be able to leverage on the information we possess and ultimately to be able to add greater value for customers,” says Ong. Currently positioned within the second-tier 500-team level, Ong’s goal is to expand the talent pool to the 1,000-team level in order to achieve the first-tier positioning.
As a people-oriented person, Ong believes in managing his staff based on cooperation, teamwork and close communications. “People are our key asset and the company focuses on the development of the staff, we need to ensure our people feel good about themselves in order for them to produce good results,” says Ong. He credited Telecontinent’s successes to his current team of shareholders, business partners, clients, colleagues, family and friends who have been relentlessly supporting him throughout the seven-year journey.
The work demands are high with limitations on work-life balance. “I seldom go home before midnight but then I am looking at the long-term scenario. I prefer to work hard now and get to take it easy later on in life,” says Ong, a father of two children aged nine and six. Staying close to supportive relatives in the township of Bangi, Ong gets his much needed leeway for him to go all out in his business endeavours at this point in time.
Ong’s advice for newcomers in the industry is to focus on one’s passion in life with determination and persistence.