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  /  Business Leaders   /  Leading the Market by Establishing and Transforming Contact Center Operations for Global Organizations
Mike Mattsen

Leading the Market by Establishing and Transforming Contact Center Operations for Global Organizations

Outsourcing has gained a lot of attention recently as more companies leverage BPOs. From industry titans to small players, everybody is looking for a beneficial source of business by outsourcing their operations. Presenting the customers with a functional resource that they can turn to if they encounter any difficulties in using the products or services is no small feat. Often enough, establishing a multi-channel contact centre in-house is expensive. It requires investments in facilities, equipment, technology, and human resources. Henceforth, in order to manage costs better and improve customer satisfaction, organizations are turning toward outsourcing providers. MattsenKumar (MK) is one such company that is establishing and transforming contact centre operations for leading organizations across the globe.

In an interview with GlobalTech Outlook, Mike Mattsen, CEO of MattsenKumar, and Aarati Kumar, Co-Founder and COO of MattsenKumar shared their valuable insights on how the company is providing successful transaction output and offers business analytics and process improvement strategies by leveraging business insights expertise.


Take us through your background and your role as a leader.

Mike Mattsen: I’m the CEO of MattsenKumar. I’ve been privileged to have great mentors throughout my professional career, including during my 25+ years at the global BPO space. I’ve held executive leadership roles (C-level) in three successful global start-ups and had the honor of working with talented people from across the globe.

Aarati Kumar: I’m the Co-Founder and COO of MattsenKumar. I don’t have quite a long story like Mike (I’m not as old). But I have over 20 years of experience in leadership roles within the BPO space, including being one of the first women in India at a BPO Country Head position. I grew up in a family with a military background. The relocation and the travel throughout India helped me prepare for the diversity, which is our strength!


How do you think you are the ‘out of the box’ person for a leadership role?

Mike: Building and managing service delivery operations in North America, South America, and Asia has taught me that while there are cultural differences, people are people, and given the opportunity, they want to learn more and work hard. That’s how I approach leadership. I work to ensure a culture of learning and ask questions (there is no such thing as a dumb question).I try to lead by example—-putting in the effort.  Our culture as a leadership team is to not ask anyone to do something we wouldn’t, or haven’t, done ourselves.

Aarati: Creating an employee-centric culture that encourages ideas from all has been a foundational aspect of not only MK, but it represents my leadership style too. Fifteen years ago, initially establishing employee committees to drive much of our culture, it has snowballed into a distinct MK differentiator. We ensure transparency so that everybody can see the path, especially, challenges.


Can you relive your past experiences, achievements, or lessons that shaped your journey as an impactful leader?

Mike: Within the outsourcing industry, losing clients comes with the territory. It’s still impactful, and we turn every situation into what we call a ‘TANIAP’ (Turning a Negative into a Positive) moment. Besides, I think a deep appreciation for building a culture that places a priority on ensuring satisfied clients is important because doing so gives the greatest probability of growth. It also helped keep the team challenged (and employed). The highest priority is to ensure clients value your service.

Aarati: The ups and downs of the business are securing new clients and solving the growth dynamics they bring. Balancing between the two is a good part, and early on, I learned that there are no shortcuts to this. Like Mike said, losing clients for whatever reason, for example, for their evolving business needs, impacts the team to give their best efforts every day, and it’s never easy. But it is what taught me the discipline to be focused on CSAT because that brings growth and stability. Fortunately, it is working!


Who changed the tailwind of your life with their influence?

Mike: So many people have influenced me, too many to mention in fact. Would it be too cheesy to cite Aarati as one of them? She paved the way for women leaders throughout India by simply demonstrating capabilities that outshined her male counterparts.

Aarati: I learn every day from our leadership team at MK. Mike and the men and women who provide their teams with the strategic oversite to ‘move mountains’ influence me continually. I also have to give a shout-out to my parents.


What makes you outperform others in your industry?

Mike: We at MK never set out to be the biggest. But by leveraging solid processes and building a ‘can do’ work culture, we wanted to build a reputation for being the best. The company’s clients seem to think so as well.

Aarati: We are particularly good at helping clients with their evolving business needs. For example, within the e-commerce industry, MK has grown several hundred percent because of the employees’ ability to quickly adapt and help clients figure out better processes as their launches mature.


State some of the hectic challenges you faced as a rookie. 

Mike: Time management has always been difficult for me. When I was younger, I would resign myself to working longer to get the job done. Now, I try to work smarter.

Aarati: Early on, demonstrating my capabilities as equal to as or greater than my worthy male counterparts was challenging. However, I learned to recognize, appreciate and embrace it. I’m very proud of MK’s focus on equal opportunities for everybody in our team.


What do you think a successful leader should possess? 

Mike: Sometimes, leadership means making the unpopular call or sticking with it while explaining the rationale, or getting buy-in if possible later. Recognizing when that skill is needed is as important as the ability to carry it further. Also, setting a solid example for the team does make a difference.

Aarati: Solutions can come from many angles, so a leader should never become pigeon-holed in only one solution. Flexibility is a key attribute of a successful leader, so is respect. In leadership, more than wanting to be liked, successful leaders realize that they should be respected.


How do leaders change the people around them for the better?

Mike: I am very gratified when I hear from former team members who have gone on to have successful careers. They share an anecdote or learning from our time together. It proves that mentorship matters!

Aarati: Mike said it well. Let me add that these impacts can also occur with a new employee on their first day of the job. Just giving a few words of encouragement or even a smile and making sure they know they matter can influence a difference too.


Give a piece of your mind to emerging business leaders.

Mike: As hard as it sometimes gets, it’s often the tough times where the learning comes from. So, business leaders should embrace the negatives and, when possible, turn them into positives. However, no matter who you are, there will still be negatives. So, learn to embrace them.

Aarati: I would suggest business leaders enjoy the journey. That will likely be the highlight and not the destination itself. In between the hard work and stressful days, find time to laugh. It makes a difference.