Agina Siti Fatimah: The Most Important is Commitment

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AGINA Siti Fatimah was elated when PT Infomedia Nusantara won the Superbrand award at the end of December 2008 for a fourth consecutive year. Indeed, Agina had every right to feel pleased about the award, which was recognition of the company’s impressive performance. Agina, who was born in 1957, heads the company, which is a joint venture between PT Telkom and PT Elnusa. Previously, she handled the contact center.  

The Superbrand award is not the only recognition Infomedia has received under the leadership of this energetic woman. It simply complements other achievements by the company. What she is most proud of is the 60 percent increase in the market share of Infomedia’s contact center.  

The contact center is Gina’s world, as she is often called. In 1999, she moved to the company’s contact center, which initially functioned as a complaint center.

At that time, the mother of three was general manager of PT Telkom’s Call Center (Jakarta) and for two years before that she was the company’s customer service manager. “Service is my world,” she said.  

She adheres strongly to the principle of giving customers the best service. She strives to find new ways to improve the service and often exceeds customers’ expectations to meet their specific needs. Based on her long experience in serving customers, in 2002 Gina was appointed director of Infomedia’s Contact Center.

At that time, Infomedia was making changes in its business strategy. Its product was not only the Yellow Pages as Infomedia had spread its wings by making available outsourcing facilities through its Contact Center for better customer relations management as well as providing data for customers’ requirements.  

The changes in the business strategy went smoothly, and the Yellow Pages was no longer the only source of revenue for the company. Other new businesses developed by Infomedia were warmly welcomed by customers, and its Contact Center turned out to be the market leader.  

However, Gina acknowledges that call centers here still lag behind call centers in developed countries. One of the reasons is that businesses in Indonesia are not aggressive enough in implementing services within their call centers. “Those that have contact centers only use them as complaint centers,” she said.  

Gina viewed this as an interesting challenge because she considered contact centers more than mere complaint centers. “It can also become a profit center as it can be turned into a distribution channel for a company’s products and services through inbound activities, such as delivery service, reservations, phone banking and much more. At the same time, outbound contact, for example telemarketing, telesales and telecollection, can be created. All this goes to show how important contact centers have become,” she said.  

She also is very involved in the education of the targeted market. She often personally contacts customers to convince them of the important role of a contact center. “I am not a ‘back-room person’, who prefers to stay in the office. I like to get out there and discuss everything and share a lot of things with my prospective and current customers,” she said.   

Gina said the market education conducted by Infomedia as well as its competitors had paid off. “The contact center business here in Indonesia has shown significant improvement,” she added.  

The positive trend has spurred Agina, who graduated from the School of Technology at Trisakti University, Jakarta, to boost her subordinates’ spirits because, in her mind, the outsourcing business potential of a contact center is huge, especially times of economic crisis such as now when companies are trying to be more efficient in their operations.  

As the leader of Infomedia, Gina applies open and transparent relations with employees to nurture commitment to the company’s goals. One example is that the door of her office is always open and no one has to knock on her door to ask anything. This makes her closer to her subordinates and communication has become easy and effective. Besides being fully committed to her work and its principles she is also very democratic.

She is committed to giving the best service to customers as well as everyone in the company, so even outside office hours she is always available for both customers and employees. “My cell phone is active 24 hours a day and I make myself available at any time of the day for any complaints from customers or queries from my staff,” she said.  

She also never discriminates in her policies or decisions. For her, the integrity of the company is top priority, and therefore each employee has to be fully committed to his or her job to achieve the best performance. “As a professional we must be strict about our commitments. That’s how I reached my current position in the company. Such are the values that I always strive to pass onto my employees,” she said.  

Gina hopes that the contact center business in Indonesia will develop further and she expects that Infomedia, as the market leader, can set a good example for related companies to further advance the industry. She relentlessly stresses upon her employees to give only their best to customers. “As a market leader, we are always watched by our competitors, so we cannot afford to be careless, otherwise our position could be taken over by other players,” she said.  

Besides providing her employees with lessons from her own experience she also gives them wide opportunities to get further training elsewhere. “An increase in their skills and competency is key to a company’s success,” she said. (T. Hidayat)  

The Jakarta Post, January 28, 2009

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