A STELLAR SERVICE
As the most awarded business process outsourcer in the industry, Stellar Asia Pacific has gone from strength to strength. The business opened its first contact centre in Australia in 1998, and now the company has a footprint across Australia, the Philippines, Europe and the USA. As technology capabilities grew Stellar expanded their reach, and today they are experts on the end-to-end customer journey across multiple channels. As the leading provider of sales, service and business process outsourcing in Australia, Stellar is proud to have supported product growth and revenue generation for some of Australia’s most recognisable brands. The company’s differentiation stems from their approach to strategic partnership, focus on operational excellence, and a culture of transparency.
Melissa Hamilton, CEO of Stellar Asia Pacific, talks to us about how the company works with clients to achieve success, Stellar’s unique business culture and how Stellar has adapted to changes in the industry.
Stellar takes a collaborative approach with their clients, working in partnership to discover what is best for their business. They then collaborate with suppliers to plan, design, and deliver services and solutions that exceed the expectations of their clients and their customers. Melissa explains what steps Stellar takes to ensure that their clients and customers are satisfied. “Whether a client wants to sell more and increase their market share, adopt self-service automation strategies or drive stronger customer loyalty and advocacy – we put their customer at the core of everything we do.
“We firmly believe in tailoring a solution to suit our clients’ specific customer goals. We employ the right channel, or mix of channels – including voice, social media, web chat, and virtual agents. Our back-of-house operations are in safe hands with our shared services team. And throughout all of this, our customer insights programs can harness feedback directly from the voice of the customer.”
Stellar’s consulting branch Stellar Evolve was established to customer-led innovation and transformation for our clients. Stellar Evolve combines Tier 1 consulting experience with operational expertise to offer practical solutions that provide business value.
Melissa continues, “We have clients of all sizes and across all industries. We are proud to be the most trusted contact centre provider for government organisations – alongside telco, travel and transportation, utilities, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, tourism, education, aged care and non-for-profit.
“We lead our clients on a journey. Every client is different, and while our industry and vertical expertise will put us in good stead for knowing what to do, there’s still a discovery in finding out what makes their customers special.”
The culture that Stellar adheres to makes them unique in their industry. Founded on Open Book Management (OBM) principles, the company has always ensured that people are an essential part of the company’s success. OBM creates links between client contractual outcomes and agent performance, and is the reason that Stellar confidently guarantees performance. Melissa describes Stellar’s ongoing strategy and how staff are vital to their business.
“Our core principle is that we are ‘passionate about people, passionate about customers’. When working with clients, we always put their customer first and look at how we can transform that experience.
“We educate our staff to understand our clients’ industry, why they have chosen to partner with us and what they want to achieve. At Stellar, we enable our staff to track and understand their performance, rewarding them through our unique profit-share program. Since we opened our doors, we have paid over 35% of our EBIT to our people. This direct line of sight between each client’s core business drivers and our employees’ rewards empowers our teams, creating ownership and pride in the outcomes we deliver together.”
The Open Book Management (OBM) principles Stellar uses helps them to provide two key outcomes:
- Better outcomes for clients – exceeding product sales targets, reducing overall operating costs and achieving industry leading NPS results for clients
- Better outcomes for employees – better retention, participation in a company-wide profit sharing scheme and a clear ability to contribute and grow.
This culture differentiates Stellar from the other providers in the market. By being passionate about their employees as well as their customers, Stellar has thrived. This principle only makes the company stronger, as Melissa clarifies:
“Culture is our core, and it cannot change. People need to come first in business – empowering people makes our company stronger. At the essence, everyone wants to do a good job and know they are valued, and everyone has room to grow and learn. Open Book Management culture promotes the free flow of communication in both directions, and sometimes the best thing to do is to just listen.”
Since the company began, Melissa has nurtured her passion for the OBM culture throughout Stellar. “I believe in setting high standards and striving for excellence, while also understanding that mistakes happen, and the best solution is to just fix them quickly. I have a genuine interest in our people and what matters to them. First and foremost, this is a people business. Being engaged and interested in what they need is essential.
“Keeping communication simple, honest and truthful is a huge priority. To be any leader in any role you need to explain the ‘why’, and ask your team ‘how’. I trust my team and my people to do the right thing, and they always deliver. I firmly believe leadership is a behaviour, not a position."
The industry which Stellar operates in has seen a significant shift in recent years towards digital interactions with customers. Many leading researchers with contact centre expertise, including Gartner and Dimension Data, have had to adapt to this change. Melissa explains what Stellar has done to face this challenge. “Digital disruption in customer interactions has required us to launch a broad range of digital offerings including webchat and social media services, along with providing consulting services to assist companies with customer strategy and operational improvements. We have seen some great successes in our ability to assist clients with their digital transformation journey – across travel and transportation, government, utilities and retail industries.”
“While taking on new challenges – whether it’s technology, markets, or new solutions — two things remain critical and are the backbone of our ability to respond and adapt. Firstly, it’s about keeping our focus on our people and OBM approach. Secondly, it’s making the customer the core of what we do. In short, it’s all about keeping our mission front and foremost … ‘passionate about people, passionate about customers’.”
Stellar keeps up to date with technology in the industry and invests in new innovative solutions. The company researches the best technology for each client, to keep ahead of changing consumer expectations, as Melissa explains: “Our innovation is ongoing, with investment in a transformation program to integrate a wide variety of digital channels into our offering. We continue to invest in our own in-house workflow management and workload distribution solutions, believing in the quality of what we have built.
“To prove how much we believe in staying ahead of the curve, we have piloted with clients to trial new technology solutions, taking the financial risk on ourselves. In addition, we make sure we are doing the best thing for the customer, by taking realtime data from multiple sources to get a complete picture of customer behaviour and expectations. Our speech analytics programs take sentiment from the voice of the customer to understand if what we’re doing is working – leading to improved business metrics across customer churn, sales yield, and improved customer advocacy.”
Stellar is currently experiencing very strong growth within the Australian market. Melissa explains that to build on this growth , the company will continue to adapt to change and will hire employees who can communicate with clients on complex issues.
“The biggest change for our business over the next five years is mostly likely to be the increased emphasis on digital and automated interactions, and these will become increasingly the expectation from customers across all industries.
“As automation increases, our industry will need to have “super resolvers” – frontline employees with the skill level and empowerment to handle complex problems. Stellar will also continue to broaden our offering of products, starting with our recent launch into shared services offerings – including financial and HR services.”
Stellar’s future is in safe hands, especially with a dedicated CEO such as Melissa at the helm. “A lifelong passion for people gives me the drive to take care of our clients, their customers and our team. It’s not hard to stay motivated and positive when you love what you do – the people here are magical, and my life is full of laughter.”
With Melissa’s passion for her staff, clients and customers, Stellar can look forward to a bright and prosperous future.
Name: Melissa Hamilton
Web Address: www.stellarbpo.com.au
Address: Como Level 4, 650 Chapel Street, South Yarra, 3141, Australia
Telephone: ASIA PACIFIC 1300 133 799
UK/EUROPE 44 1294 225 300
NORTH AMERICA 1 214 540 9722