Turkey is becoming a key location for German-speaking customer management, with a compelling language and technology offer.
Yasin Uslu, General Manager of Comdata Turkey, gives us his expert view of the Turkish market, looking at nearshoring, hybrid working, and other big trends and priorities for 2022 and beyond.
Q: Can you give us an overview of the BPO market in Turkey?
YU: Turkey is a rising star in the world of BPO, chiefly for two reasons. Firstly, over the past five years, it’s become an important centre for German-language customer management.
Secondly, Turkey has strong IT and technology capabilities, and Comdata Turkey’s own origins are in ICT. As digitalization becomes a higher priority for brands in all sectors, we have a strong offer here.
In both these areas, Comdata is positioned as one of the leaders. We have around 5.000 staff in 8 cities in Turkey, with native German-language abilities and a successful record on technology, including a number of major awards.
First, let’s look at the German-language aspect. Can you tell us more about that?
Nearshoring for German-speaking customers is a big story here. We offer services to the German, Austria and Swiss markets, and can also offer Dutch / Flemish language support to the Netherlands and Belgium. Our customers in the nearshore area include leading brands in the telco, technology, e-commerce, travel, retail, mobility and cosmetics sectors, and we support them on customer care, telesales, collection, chat, back office, email management and social media.
Right now, we have over 450 employees serving the German-speaking market, and are fast expanding. In the last year, we have achieved 200% growth in nearshore call center services and expect to deliver robust growth this year too.
In fact, we have just opened a new office in Izmir, which we see as a hub for nearshore. It’s in a beautiful location in the heart of the city, very easy for employees to get to, and it’s one of Comdata’s best locations anywhere. We’ve hired 100 FTEs there for German-speaking customers and intend to almost double that figure by the end of 2022.
Why is Turkey so attractive as a nearshore option for German speakers?
It comes down to the language capability. Starting in the 1960s, a lot of people emigrated from Turkey to Germany, and there are now several million people there with Turkish roots. As a result, through family links or people returning here, we have a lot of native German speakers who have grown up with German culture – particularly in Izmir. That’s one reason we have opened the new hub here.
Our Istanbul location has also become a multilingual hub for Comdata, focusing on German language services. We have a team of German-speaking employees there who are highly proficient in telesales.
Also, as part of a group which is very experienced in the offshore/nearshore field, we have developed managers in Turkey specializing in nearshore projects, which positions us strongly to serve international clients.
Let’s look at Turkey’s other strength in BPO – the technology aspect. What can you tell us about that?
As I said, as a country and as a company, we are very strong on technology and digital. We understand the dynamics and language of the digital world, we understand the requirements of customers, and we use that understanding to provide them with tailor-made digital solutions and digital transformation services.
Through our investments in digitalization, we’ve had great success in delivering benefits for our clients. In the last year, we have increased our operational efficiency by 7% by integrating technology into our business processes, and through the work of our CX team, we achieved a 15% increase in measures such as CSAT and NPS.
What makes Turkey so strong on digital and technology?
We have a young population, they’re highly educated, there’s a strong talent pool in engineering and technology, and our government is very supportive of R&D.
For example, Comdata Turkey was recognised by the Ministry of Industry and Technology as an R&D Center in machine learning and AI, and that brings tax incentives that make it very cost-effective to innovate here. So we collaborate with leading universities on projects that deliver value to our customers and other parts of Comdata.
Tell us more about what you do in the R&D Center?
We focus on designing and developing technology-based and high-value-added products for the local market and also for European markets. Our goal is to produce innovative projects that make a difference, and we develop solutions based on RPA (robotic process automation), big data, and AI.
Through this work, we’ve recently won many international awards, including awards for best Tech Innovation at the Contact Center World EMEA and World Finals. Comdata Turkey’s tech reputation is going global!
What are the important technology trends in Turkey and the German-speaking markets?
Right now, big data and AI solutions are driving a lot of the major customer management trends. There are exciting developments in digital and workforce engagement through Intelligent Virtual Assistants, knowledge management, text and speech analytics, and automatic quality management.
Also, social media applications and communication channels have brought a new challenge for brands. Consumers now expect brands to communicate with them through any channel they prefer, so we’re also supporting our clients to deliver seamlessly and cost-effectively on that.
Remote working and hybrid working are another area where technology is facilitating profound change around the world. Is this happening in Turkey too?
Yes, very much so. One of Comdata Turkey’s awards at the Contact Center World finals was for Best Home / Remote Agent Program, and we now see hybrid working as an important part of our business model. For example, look at our new Izmir hub. We’re going to use a hybrid working model there, with new employees based in the office during their training and ‘nesting’ period, and then moving to home-working after that.
The important piece is that, with our home-working and hybrid models, we are able to deliver operational excellence to our clients and their customers. We’re using digital solutions, training and performance management to outperform clients’ expectations in terms of customer satisfaction, operational and financial targets.
Another global trend is the increasing interest about ESG issues. Is Turkey part of this trend?
Yes, ESG is very big for Comdata Turkey and our clients and our employees. We set up the Comdata Future Foundation to increase ESG awareness and create a socially responsible business culture.
We encourage our employees to participate actively in CSR projects, under the motto “We Are All Good Together” and in collaboration with non-governmental organizations. Protecting nature and the education of children are our adopted causes. Last year, we created Comdata plantations by donating saplings in certain regions of Turkey. We also provided educational materials for a primary school and made donations to support girls’ education and fight financial exclusion.
And finally, apart from more good work on ESG projects, what else can we expect in Turkey in the next months and years?
Firstly, our R&D Center will continue to focus on developing products that use machine learning and deep learning methods to improve CX. Secondly, we’ll continue to develop our hybrid working model, further improving our operational, financial and CX processes. Thirdly, we’ll support our managers to develop skills and reach for ever-higher levels of management excellence and leadership.
We think this is a winning combination to create value for our clients and their customers, and to make Turkey an even stronger rising star in BPO customer management.
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We’d love to talk with you about the Turkish and German-speaking markets and how we can help you improve your Customer Management performance. To find out more, get in touch.