Michelle Ansell - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
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Contact Centres – The Future Leaders training ground
Given the number of headlines surrounding redundancies, unemployment and job shortages, a discussion ensued at DJHQ about opportunities and careers in general and how each of us have developed our careers based upon the opportunities available to us, which admittedly, were not always what we set out to do all those years ago. This led us to thinking about the Customer Service and Contact Centre industry, and the opportunities this sector can open up to individuals. In particular, we wondered how the Call Centre industry could be seen as a more favourable option for many of those individuals seeking a new career opportunity?
As one of the leading recruitment consultancies for Executive and Managerial appointments in the Contact Centre and Customer Service Industry (although we don’t recruit for entry or agent level staff), the continued development and emergence of future leaders is critical to our own, as well as our client’s on-going success. We felt that the Contact Centre industry, together with the required effort and work from an individual, can offer a great opportunity for all. To explore this further we decided to ask our contacts about the experiences and opportunities they have had since starting life as a Call Centre Agent or Customer Services Advisor.
Utilising our Call Centre Professionals LinkedIn Group, our Twitter page and together with the help of Call Centre Helper (the UK’s most popular call centre magazine), we had an overwhelming response. The response was so great that we can only feature a small selection here, but you can visit the LinkedIn group discussion by clicking here. Please do join in the conversation, as we are sure that this might just be one that can run and run and not just across the UK, as we were also able to speak with and research some of our Call Centre colleagues worldwide including those in South Africa, Mauritius, Toronto, Washington and India.
Some of the facts and figures for the people we spoke to were as follows:
- Less than 20% were graduates
- Just over 25% entered the Contact Centre industry as a second career
- 90% were promoted to a Managerial/Team Leader position within 2 years of starting life as a Call Centre Agent or Advisor.
- Within 5 years those researched saw an increase in starting salaries of 85%.
- 100% of the respondents are earning above average UK salaries
- 40% were in the upper 10% of earners. (against Guardian 2011 income findings)
Over 90% of the respondents were still working within the Call Centre industry, either in operations, management, support, consultancy or sales and the variety of positions attained included; CEO, Head of Operations, Client Services Director, Interim Consultant, Senior Operations Manager, Customer Service Manager, Project Manager, Training, Technology Sales, Technical & Application Support Manager, so a wide and varied range of career opportunities seem to be very much open to potential Agents or Advisors.
Some of the stories follow:
We spoke with Sally Earnshaw, who on leaving university started as an advisor nearly 20 years ago. Sally is presently a Client Service Director for a leading Contact Centre Management Consultancy. Sally works with some of today’s leading blue chip organisations and company leaders to enhance their future business performance – Sally said:-
‘I started as an advisor nearly 20 years ago; I worked for a growingorganisation and was an Advisor for 6 months before I became a Trainer. That said, I did grab the opportunity with both hands – I used to stay behind after shift watching the Trainers that were already in role, putting materials together and demonstrating commitment, so when the job came up it was mine. Too many people expect opportunity to come to them, but in contact centres there are really so many opportunities available, you just have to show you want it the most. I then moved into line management and became a Head of Telesales, then Department Manager across both Inbound and Outbound, before becoming Director of Training and Planning. I have now been consulting and providing training solutions for the call centre business area for the last 9 years. I believe call centres are the best place to be for career progression – and the best place for learning a really broad range of life skills that could help you progress into many other areas, we need more good people to see it’s a great place to start!’
Nick Clancy, presently a Head of Operations for a Contact Centre and Logistics department within the Fashion industry said ‘I think you’ll find a lot of us to be honest. Yes I started life as an agent after realising the university degree I was doing was not for me. I got my foot in the door and found I had a real connection with the industry. I was soon offered an opportunity to become a Team Manager with a Claims Management company. I was then able to secure a role as a Customer Services Manager role with a mail order business and have gone on to develop the opportunities available to me, which has consistently allowed me to develop and grow my own career over the years.
Jo Helire-Glynn, is currently Head of Operations, UK and Europe, for an award winning business, which is also part of one of the world’s leading leisure travel companies, Jo said:-
‘Having trained as a chef after leaving school, I was looking for a career with more regular hours and one that would support me raising a family having just married. I started in the Contact Centre as an evening agent. I progressed to Team Manager and then on to the management team within the training and recruitment function. After many good years, I was unfortunately made redundant but this gave me the chance to move industries and I have since progressed from Call Centre Sales Manager and am now Head of Operations, UK and Europe – not bad for someone who never went to University!’
Via Twitter we spoke with Caroline Theobald, who, thanks to her start in Call Centres, had the confidence to start-up and establish her own state of the art college for Sports and Nutritional Therapies. Caroline said:- ‘After taking my A Levels I started out as a Customer Service Agent in a small inbound contact centre, this experience allowed me to secure a role at one of the large telecommunications companies in the UK and I soon became a Team Leader across the Telephone Account Management team. Due to the close links between this role and the Commercial Marketing department, I was offered the chance to move into a Marketing Consultant role and soon achieved further promotion, until eventually, I was reporting to the Vice President, as the Manager for Marketing and Commercial Operations. Since then, I have spent many years as an interim consultant to the Contact Centre and Customer Services industry. It was thanks to the experience and the varied career opportunities and skills which have been open to me, that I have been able to achieve all I have.’
Gary Kinsella, now a Senior Operations Manager and Interim Consultant, started his career as a police officer, Gary said:- ‘Like most people who have forged a career in Contact Centres, this wasn’t the original plan! After leaving the police force and feeling somewhat disillusioned with the outside world I moved to the south coast with my new girlfriend (now Mrs Kinsella) to take up a role on the phones in a call centre selling home and motor insurance.
Initially it took a bit of getting used to but I did really enjoy working in the atmosphere of lots of people and being in the middle of “the buzz”. I volunteered for different projects. I think I was chosen as I wasn’t looking for time off the phone and often any work I did was in my own time initially.
After two years I joined another Contact Centre based Insurance Company and within 6 months there I was given a 9 month secondment to cover someone’s maternity in a managerial position. It was during this role that I started to understand some of the mechanics of Contact Centres and this helped me get the best out of my team.
A couple of years later I was promoted to the role of Sales Support Manager and managed to spend time in Bangalore as part of an off shoring project.
Since that time I have moved to various parts of the UK & Ireland for new roles within Contact Centres. I have been fortunate to work with some really good people and also companies, which has been part of my education.
I finally took the decision last year to go on my own and now work with companies on an Interim basis. I am currently working for a top 100 Financial Services company in a senior leadership capacity and am enjoying every minute!
Looking back on my career and asking myself did I do the right thing? Did I make the right choices? I have to say a resounding yes to both! Contact Centres have been good to me and my career and I would not change any part of it!’
What is your story? Why not join in the conversation and let us know of your own situation or personal journey within the Contact Centre industry. Hopefully we can all encourage school leavers, graduates, return to workers or individuals considering a change of industry to make our industry a career of choice and help create the future leaders we all need to continue our success. Finally, a big thank you to everyone involved and all those who took time to talk with our researchers.
Friday, April 13, 2012 4:14 AM EST
Douglas Jackson are presently searching for a Ecommerce professional as a Senior Web Performance Analyst. Please contact Stefan Gilson, email@example.com or visit us at: www.douglas-jackson.com Tel: 0845 620 9720
Friday, December 03, 2010 10:10 AM EST
Douglas Jackson are recruiting for a Customer Care Team Manager required in the Midlands. Please contact Stefan Gilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.douglas-jackson.com Tel: 0845 620 9722
Friday, December 03, 2010 10:08 AM EST
Job Ref: DJMA1242
Job Title: Call Centre Performance Manager/Outsourced Service Delivery Manager – GERMAN SPEAKING
Salary: Dep on candidate generous base with extensive bens package
Opportunity for a multi-lingual contact centre professional, who must be fluent in both English and German to take on a hands on, proactive performance management role, with a focus to deliver exceptional sales through service within a Globally recognised brand leader.
The role will either be permanently based in Berlin Germany, with travel, or London based with regular travel to Germany
Successful candidates will be responsible for the quality and operational efficiency of the contact centre based customer sales and customer support experience across all functions in Germany, with additional operational focus on other European country service provision.
The position will work closely with multiple stakeholders across the business and within outsource partners, to ensure a complete understanding of business requirements and expectations, working and influencing directly within the operations to ensure full adherence and optimum performance standards are achieved.
Candidates will require a proven track record driving performance across a sales and service contact centre environment. Ideally with experience gained working for or with contact centre outsourcing providers. Taking a proactive approach, the successful candidate will be able to analyse existing process and delivery to, identify, define and deliver continuous improvement across the operational infrastructure.
Douglas Jackson are a specialist recruitment consultancy and executive search company, working specifically within the Executive and skilled Contact Centre, Call Centre and Customer Service recruitment markets, recruiting Directors, Managers, Head of and Analysts across the Call Centre industry.
Douglas Jackson are working as an Employment Agency in respect of this vacancy.
All applicants must be eligible to live and work in the UK and or territory/location specified. We will not be able to enter into any discussions or offer any assistance regarding sponsorship.
Call Centre Recruitment, Contact Centre Recruitment, Customer Experience Recruitment, Resource Planning Recruitment, Customer Services Recruitment
Friday, December 03, 2010 10:03 AM EST
Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:17 PM EST
Douglas Jackson are recruiting for 2 Head of Sites (Contact Centres) for a predominanly outbound sales operations, leading a large number of FTE in performance and driving efficiencies. Please contact Lisa@douglas-jackson.com or Visit us at: http://www.douglas-jackson.com/?p=516
Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:16 PM EST
Douglas Jackson are presently recruiting for a Resource Planning Manager to be based in the South East, managing a team of planning analysts, schedulers and forecasters. Please contact: Steven@douglas-jackson.com or visit: www.douglas-jackson.com
Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:15 PM EST
Douglas Jackson are recruiting for a Retentions Team Leader to be based in a Midlands Call Centre, managing a team of sales agents. Contact email@example.com or visit us at http://www.douglas-jackson.com/?p=517
Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:12 PM EST
Douglas Jackson are recruiting for a Customer Experince Analyst based in the Midlands to be the Voice of the Customer across the business and look at Root Cause Analysis of complaints. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at http://www.douglas-jackson.com/?p=518
Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:11 PM EST
Douglas Jackson are recruiting for a Head of Customer Contact, who will have responsibility for providint customer experience and insight across all business areas as well as being a hands on manager and developer of the contact centre to provide best in class. Contact: email@example.com or visit us at: http://www.douglas-jackson.com/?p=524
Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:10 PM EST
Douglas Jackson are recruiting for a Customer Services Manager in Lancashire to deliver sales and service within a B2B and B2C environment for a small but rapidly expanding business. email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.douglas-jackson.com
Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:14 AM EST
Douglas Jackson are recruiting for a Customer Services Manager/Customer Order Processing Manager based in the South East to be the first point of contact post sale for all B2B customers and lead a small team. Contact; email@example.com or visit us at www.douglas-jackson.com
Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:31 AM EST
Douglas Jackson are recruiting for a Trainer/Coach to help develop and train across both product and people skills across UK sites, so travel will be required. Based in the South East/Couth Coast 40% on site, 60% travel. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.douglas-jackson.com
Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:29 AM EST
Douglas Jackson are recruiting for a Voice of the Customer Product Manager based in the South East, contact me at email@example.com or visit us at www.douglas-jackson.com
Thursday, October 28, 2010 4:25 AM EST
Thursday, October 28, 2010 3:46 AM EST
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