Tips 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 …

Michael Sherwood, Head of Customer Experience, Atom Bank

What’s different about the UK National Contact Centre Awards?

I’ve worked in the contact centre industry for 20 years now and entered lots of awards. I can honestly say the UK National Contact Centre Awards are by far my favourite because they are solely about and for our industry. These awards celebrate talent in our industry and recognise that talent through a transparent and robust judging process.

Tell me what it is you’re looking for in an award winner?

It might sound like common sense, but nominate someone you and everyone else knows is good. If there’s a go-to person in your organisation who has a good reputation internally they will be good and that will come through in the quality of the entry and also during the judging process.

Make sure the story you tell is a compelling one, full of passion and purpose. While you need to cover off operational skill sets and technical elements, focus more on the people side of the story. We are a people and customer focussed industry so be emotional and inspirational.

The very best stories are true stories and can also be quite a long time in the making. At an individual and team level it can take many years to be performing at the very highest level because you’ve made mistakes and learned by them and tweaked things and improved as a result. So please tell us about the journey and how you got to be the best – the ups, downs and learnings.

Finally, make sure your entries are realistic, credible and supported by compelling evidence. Do lots of sanity checking internally before you submit.

What’s the biggest mistake people make?

It doesn’t matter how much we try to make people feel at ease, sometimes nerves can take hold and as a result they don’t get across the things they should have done. So try and relax and enjoy the process. I always find that if your story is true and compelling then it’s much easier to tell.

What advice can you give people considering whether or not to nominate?

Just go for it. Make sure you have a story that is compelling, authentic and true, but if you’re thinking about it there’s no better awards to go for than these.

Jen Turner, Head of Customer Operations, Endsleigh Insurance

What are the key attributes you look for in a nomination?

I think the first thing we look for is authenticity. Sometimes you get a brilliant nomination with lots of wonderful things in it. We then need to see the evidence of those things. There have been one or two occasions when we’ve gone on a site visit expecting to be amazed and instead been met with tumbleweed.

It’s people that run contact centres and keep the wheels turning, so I always look for people-centric stories. On a site visit it’s the people we talk to that validate what’s in the nomination form, not the judges.

When thinking about your story, don’t just go with someone who has come out well in their year end appraisal. The best stories come out of tough times – for example if the contact centre went through a big change like an operational excellence programme, transformation, or restructure. Give us the evidence of the X to Y improvement you got on that journey.

It’s also good to respect the word count and be succinct in your written nomination.

What are the big mistakes you see people making during the process?

At the panel judging it really is one of those times in life where you need to blow your own trumpet. British reserve is not going to help here. Tell us why you, your people, and your achievements are so great.

If you can relax and enjoy it that helps immensely. Once you get over your initial nerves and settle into it you’ll realise what a fantastic opportunity you have not just to tell everybody else how great you are, but also to remind yourself of the things you’ve achieved over the last 12 months.

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