“Makes all the hard work worthwhile”
Nichola Hall, Sage UK
Contact Centre Manager of the Year
Did you nominate yourself or did somebody else nominate you?
We have a group of people who focus on colleague experience within the contact centre. They get together and agree who we’re going to nominate.
What attracted you to the UK Awards in particular?
We’ve entered them before. I joke with Ann-Marie that I was going to keep coming back until they got sick of me. Every year we’ve entered we’ve learned something. Compared to when we first started to enter, the quality of our submissions is really different now.
We use it to benchmark what we’re doing against other companies. Are we doing the right thing? Can we pick anything up from companies that we meet going through the judging process?
For me, the reason these awards are a regular entry for us is that they’re so robust. The judging process is so detailed, with great integrity, that it’s really well deserved if you do win because you have to do the work and showcase it to get there.
How did you decide what categories to enter?
We try to enter as many as possible because it’s potentially bigger recognition for the teams. The description on each category is really helpful. We try to match that up with our work and projects or people’s jobs.
A few times we have chosen someone to enter one category and as we’ve started writing the entry it’s become clear they go in another one. So I urge people, when they’re writing their entries, to keep the category description in mind.
How did you find the judging process?
It wasn’t daunting. If you’ve been totally honest, your numbers are what you know they are, it’s actually really enjoyable to talk through them. The feedback I got was that the judges couldn’t actually believe the performance level until they’d talked to us and seen the contact centre. Sometimes on paper it can look too good to be true, so it’s really good to be able to showcase what you do with the judges.
They were fun, they had a sense of humour. We had them for a full day because we had a lot of entries and it was really enjoyable.
What impact has the win had on your role or career?
It does give you a bit of an extra voice in the industry. Recently we hosted a best practice event here, based around my entry and that of the team manager who won the Sales Manager of the Year. It was about an operational transformation project we’d gone through. We’re a year down the line, and we’re wondering if it’s as impressive as we thought – so it was brilliant to showcase it and get such positive feedback from other people in the industry.
Also it gets you to know other people in the industry, so you can go to them to ask for ideas and opinions on things you’re trying to do. It definitely gives you that wider network, which is brilliant in my job.
Lastly, how did it feel when you won?
I was really, really shocked at first, which I guess everyone says. You enter to win ultimately though, so I was really proud. Ann-Marie always corrects me and tells me it’s an individual award but for me it really cemented all of the work our team had done. We’d gone through a tough year so for me and one of my team to be able to stand up there that night, made all the hard work worthwhile. And we did celebrate that night.