Russell Wilson, UK National Call Centre Awards’ Call Centre Manager of the Year 2013 and nominee for this year’s senior manager award from the European Call Centre Awards, talks to us about his daily work and what it means to be an award winning Call Centre Manager at Chaucer Direct.
Q: What’s your role at Chaucer Direct and how did you get to where you are now?
A: I am the Call Centre Manager and I’m responsible for the inbound, outbound, administration, renewal retention and customer accounts departments.
I worked for an insurance broker for 10 years prior to coming to Chaucer Insurance. I have managed both Chaucer Direct and the Broker Helpline teams in the 4 years I have been here.
Q: What challenges are involved in the job?
A: Keeping everyone engaged and excited about answering phone calls from customers. We have received amazing employee feedback and we try to involve our people in the business and the journey in making us who we are.
Q: What qualities does a contact centre manager need?
A: You need to be a quick and logical thinker, you have to understand the needs of the team and never lose focus on what the customer needs.
Q: How do you feel the UK’s current contact centres are performing? What do you think would improve contact centres in general (both for the customer and internally)?
A: I think call centres need to make sure they work from the outside in. View everything from the customer’s point of view. Challenge processes and make life simple for your customer, which in turn will make work experience easier and more pleasant for your staff. Make sure you include and engage your staff so you can develop and keep your best people.
Q: How do you keep informed of industry changes that affect your work?
A: I am a member of a CCMA specialist group, which provides me with a great insight into the market and how other call centre operations are functioning. We all share best practice to perfect our business. I attend best practice seminars and visit other call centres.
Q: What would be your advice to those wanting to choose a similar career path to you?
A: Be patient, recruit the right people for your customer and invest in their development. Enjoy and be proud to work in a call centre and celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes.
Q: Have any technologies changed the way your call centre runs? If so, how have you adapted to these?
A: Technology is always changing and it is always a challenge. Voice analytics seems to be the latest technology that can add real value into understanding the voice of the customer and provide some intelligent insight.
Q: What do you think will be the main challenges that you think you’ll face in the coming years?
A: Customer demand is always changing. We have some big projects underway to provide variety for our customers, improve what we offer to them and increase their loyalty, making things more efficient, slicker and cheaper to run without damaging the experience of the customer.