Advice on entering from two of our judges


In our recent Webinar on how to enter the UK National Contact Centre Awards we invited two of our most experienced judges to talk through the entry and judging process.

Here is what they had to say …

Christine Allenson, Head of Customer Management, Npower

Previous winner and long term judge

Can you give us your view on what the key attributes you are looking for when judging a team or organisation nomination?

Within the team categories there are three key things; to make sure the team articulate what they set out to achieve and why they set out to achieve it. Then tell us how you have achieved those objectives you set yourself. It’s a good idea to contrast the results after with those before. Also include details on how all parties were impacted, colleagues as well as customers. Finally, try to get across to the judges why you stand out and what makes you different to every other organisation.

Do you have any tips for people completing the nomination?

Definitely – be concise, don’t waffle, and stick to information that’s relevant to your category. Sometimes people are so excited about what they are doing they want to tell you everything, but actually if it’s not relevant to the category then you risk missing out some other vital information. Tell your story, take the judges through the journey you have been on. Remember that the judges don’t know your organisation. We are all contact centre operational leaders but we won’t know the specifics of your organisation, so provide some context as to what you do.

Is there any advice you can give to potential nominators if they are unsure whether to nominate or not?

Just do it would be the best advice I can give.

For a number of years in various roles, we as an organisation debated putting entries in. You wonder how much work it is and how much time it’s going to take as everybody is busy with their day jobs. But the best advice I can give is just to do it, it really doesn’t take that long and the whole experience is so worth it.

It’s a great way to benchmark what you are delivering and it’s a great way to recognise what you have achieved as a team. Bring the team with you on that journey and to help them get the recognition they deserve is priceless.

If you think you’re doing something well, you generally find that you are, but it is only when you go out into the external world that you can benchmark yourself against other people in your industry. No matter whether you win or not you get valuable feedback on what you are doing. You can benchmark yourself, use it as an improvement journey, and if you don’t succeed in the first year, the feedback from the CCMA and judges helps you improve for the following year.

Jason Mann, Endsleigh

Judge for over 10 years

Can you give us your view on what the key attributes you are looking for when judging an individual nomination?

The standard of nominations improves year on year.

We see a lot of good people, so what’s important for us to understand when we are out judging is why has it been a good year, what’s your outstanding achievement in the past 12 months. I’m really looking for those standout achievements, things that differentiate that individual from the other people we will be judging in that category.

We are looking for someone that has a rounded skillset. They have to be good with people but also, I’m looking for great skillsets around the customer and the commercials as well. I think it’s important they can demonstrate and have an understanding of how what they have done has impacted the operation.

We are looking for energetic people who can also energise other people, who are creative and solution focused. Finally, it’s important for people to know their numbers, not just their immediate KPIs but have a good understanding of the operational KPIs as well that they have an impact on.

In your experience what is the biggest mistake people make when submitting a nomination?

It’s assuming that the judges know their businesses. Even though many of us have worked within the industry for many years., there is always unique internal language that we won’t be familiar with so just avoid using it, or if you do use it then explain what it means. Also make sure you bring to life your standout achievements and tell the story behind these. We need to really understand what you were responsible for, what you did, and what impact it had on the operation. We are experienced judges and we have probably been in similar situations to the ones you are describing, so be honest, be authentic, and don’t go down the sales pitch route.

Is there any advice you can give to potential nominators if they are unsure whether to nominate or not?

For me, it’s such a great experience. It’s a great way to benchmark your people and there are so many benefits to just going through the process. It helps you develop, recognise, and retain talent. It supports colleague engagement across a site and business. You naturally see people raise their game though the process. The whole process is rewarding. As Judges, we always ask ourselves, could we take that individual and drop them into any business and would they do a great job. If the answer is yes, nominate them!

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