We spoke to two of last year’s winners
In our recent Webinar on how to enter the UK National Contact Centre Awards we invited two of last year’s winners to talk about what it felt like to win, why they decided to enter in the first place, and their experience of the entry and judging process.
Here is what they had to say …
Jane Henderson, Emovis
Winners of 2020 Best Diversity & Inclusion Programme
What attracted you the UK National Contact Centre Awards in particular?
We looked at the market to see what was available. We knew we wanted to benchmark ourselves as a company. The reason we chose these awards is because they are recognised within the industry and they have a very good reputation. We liked what we saw, we thought it looked enjoyable and we wanted to participate. We’ve also since become a CCMA member and we participate in several groups which we find very useful, so the overall package was really great for Emovis.
You entered multiple categories, so how do you as an organisation decide which categories and which people to enter?
It’s about involving the team and looking at what we’ve done in the past year and where we have a good story to tell. What can we tell the industry that have we done differently. Last year we won best diversity and inclusion programme and we’re looking at what else can do this year to put ourselves in the frame for that category next year as well. So it actually gives us a bit more energy to look at extra things we can do.
Have you got any tips for people that are thinking of taking part?
You have to think as a team and get everyone involved. As a business we involved everyone from our CSRs right through to our CEO both to do the submission and plan the celebration. As for entering, it’s a very simple process so don’t be scared of it. Make sure you tell the story of your business and avoid jargon. Remember the judges don’t know anything about your business, they don’t know what you do. Be proud of what it is you deliver, and of the service or individual you’re nominating.
When you got to the judging phase how did you prepare for your presentation?
It can be quite scary, as people have said, you feel like you’re having an interview. It’s actually nothing to be scared of though, the judges are very friendly, put you at ease, and talk you through the process. When you get into it, it’s actually hard to stick to the time limit because you want to tell everybody about everything that’s going on. You need to plan, you need to prepare.
I know the awards were virtual and you weren’t led up to that stage when you got announced, but hopefully you still got that lovely warm glow when your name was read out as the winner – so where were you and how did you feel when you won and what have you done to celebrate?
We were very proud. Even just to get to the finals is a very proud moment, and then to get the trophy at the end of it was even better. We invited 60 of our employees from both the Leeds and Mersey sites. We sent them all gift boxes and a little drink and a Just Eat voucher so we could have a meal together and watch the awards over Teams.
So we actually had a Teams party and celebrated the success on there which was really good. And the feedback we got from the staff was really good as well.
Chris Ward, Markerstudy
Complaints Manager of the Year
Did you nominate yourself or did your colleagues nominate you?
It was my wonderful team behind all of this. There were a couple of managers in the team that had seen other awards and thought it would be great so they got their heads together behind the scenes. I did know they’d put a nomination in as they asked if I was OK with it and I said yes of course.
They went about writing it and thought about the good things to put in the nomination. They checked the advice carefully on the website where it says to tell the story, make it interesting and show the passion. So I know they spent a lot of time thinking about that and they shared it around with the executive team before sending it in. I was really delighted and really proud that they had the confidence and passion to do that, for me and also for them as a team. And it was absolutely about the team.
How did you feel when you find out you were a finalist?
It was really, really exciting. Obviously you know there’s so much talent out there. I know a lot of people in the industry and my peers who do the same job and I’ve got a huge amount of respect for them. So to get to the finalist stage and think oh wow we’re in with a chance here, someone must have seen something good in that nomination. It just gave everyone a buzz. From that moment on it as all about the build up to the awards.
You’re then put in touch with your lead judge to make all the arrangements, and of course it turned out to be a virtual visit and they interviewed you online – so how was that process?
It was fine to be honest. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have those nerves. Like Jane said you feel you’re going to do your GCSEs or your driving test. You can’t get away from that, but that just shows you care and you want to do your best. But to be honest it was great, it was just like having a conversation like I’m having with you. It was just being honest about what the story was, what we delivered, why was I proud of what I’ve done, and of the team, the deliverables and the results. It was a really interesting, easy conversation.
I know the judges spoke to some of the guys from the team that did the nomination and they both found the judging process really easy and actually really enjoyed it, so that’s worth noting I think.
What impact has it had on your role or career?
For me personally it was kind of a reassurance that I’d been recognised. Whatever comes in the future it shows you have a fantastic set of skills and competencies, and experience you can have confidence in. It’s not just your own view it’s that of an organisation that you can trust and that’s well respected. So I think that was really important for me. It’s so powerful no matter where you are in your career – whether you’re just building it or you want to move into something new, or change your role.
I know from talking to you how your gran felt when you won, and she loved the presenter who opened your gold envelope – but how did you feel, I know you were at home with your partner watching it – how did it feel for you when you heard your name read out?
It was amazing. They go through the bronze then the silver, and you don’t think it’s going to be you. That’s bronze gone, that’s silver gone, ah well at least I entered and did well. And then there’s the freeze moment and your name. It was really exciting and really emotional – I think everyone, myself, my team, all the family was watching, everyone was really emotional about it.