More tips on entering from two more of our judges


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

Here is what they had to say …

James Revell, Director of International Contact Centres, Air France KLM

Starting with the team and organisation categories particularly, what is it that you’re really looking for in a great nomination?

While it looks like quite a formal process, the nominations that really stand out are those that demonstrate the team’s passion and achievements. I know when I’ve been on the other side, writing nominations myself, it’s best to view it as a celebration of your achievements. If that spirit underpins your nomination it will really come across as authentic.

Having said that the content is obviously key, and there is a way to structure your nomination to tell a story. As judges we like to see a beginning, middle and end. The beginning is the why. Why go through this in the first place? What made it necessary? The middle is the how. What methods were used to achieve the goals? And the end is what was achieved from the point of view of the customer, the business, and colleagues.

I think if those three elements can be conveyed concisely and with passion then you can have a great story, which is what we judges love to see. The great thing is all these stories have happy endings!

When you’re going through the nominations is there anything particular in the stories that you’re looking for?

Everything in there should back up and add value to the submission. There should be no waffle, just tell the story straight and truthfully.

For example, if there were mistakes made along the way then be honest and let us know about them. In real life it’s not just about the strategy and plan, things do go wrong. Telling us what went wrong, how you coped with it, and how you overcame it makes your story really authentic.

Definitely keep your nomination concise though and make sure there is an underlying narrative that flows through it.

What advice would you give people thinking about nominating but who haven’t quite made the decision?

Just do it. There really is nothing to lose. Just entering is a really good process regardless of whether you make the cut. I know this from personal experience. Back in 2013 when we first entered one of our social media programmes we didn’t quite make the cut. But we did get great feedback and learned a lot from just going through the experience. We came back the next year and the team won it.

Entering allows you to benchmark against some of the very best examples from the great and professional industry we have here in the UK. Being part of that does create a buzz within the organisation. I’ve experienced that personally when we’ve entered. And as a judge you definitely see there is a buzz to teams when they are presenting to the judging panel.

There really is nothing to lose and it’s a great experience. Go for it.

Sarah Williams, Divisional Head Customer Experience and Digital, Westminster City Council

Focussing on the individual categories, what is that you’re looking for in those nominations?

We’re looking for a well-rounded skill set. People skills in particular are so important in this industry. We want people that are energetic and can energise others. People who can really demonstrate what their impact is on the organisation.

But at the same time it’s just as important that people demonstrate they know their numbers. What are their KPIs? Their attrition rate? Their absence rates? So it’s a package really. We’re looking for people with well-rounded skill sets, and people that make people smile.

From your experience what’s the biggest mistakes you see people make during the nomination process? What should people avoid doing?

We spoke already about jargon. Using internal language and abbreviations that judges don’t understand is a big no. Also do not assume that judges know your business or what you do, because we likely don’t. If you do either of those things you will fail to tell your story.

Your story also needs to be authentic so keep it real. We really don’t want a sales pitch. We just want to hear your story and what achievements you’ve had over the last 12 months.

Finally, from your perspective what advice would you give people thinking of entering who aren’t quite sure?

It’s a really good way to benchmark your very best people. The whole process is so rewarding. You’ve heard about those that have been successful in the past and the impact it’s had not only on their careers but also how it makes the team feel. As everyone has said, just go for it. You gain so much from the process so what have you got to lose?

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