Article : How to write an award winning entry – Individual awards
Every year we at ContactCenterWord.com receive hundreds of entries for individual awards which cover everything from front line professionals to leadership. What is important is that you should stand out from the crowd. It’s like writing a CV/resume except you have to convince judges you are the best and worthy of getting to the regional finals. Below we share some good and bad examples. In order to protect the identify of entrants, we have modified some of the responses.
To assist you here are some things you should know about the application and judging process.
There are several questions which aid judges in getting a ‘feel’ for your company and business. These are referred to us as ‘background’ questions and judges purely use these in this manner. You are not judged on these, however the more information you can provide where we ask for detail, the better if it helps understand the background.
For individual awards these are questions where we ask you to share information about your roles, responsibility, achievements and aspirations. These are where you really need to shine.
How judges score each entry
Firstly, it is important that judges do not know who you are or the name of the company you work for – this avoids potential bias. Second, the judges who score entrants from your region are in a completely different part of the world and it is unlikely the judge will have had any contact with your organization at any time. Third, judges are randomly assigned entrants and several judges score the same entrant and averages taken to finalise the scores.
Judges are given a rating system to score entrants. They rate each question you answer (except background questions) with the following system (see image below)
A judge will rate your entry based on this system. There is a N/A should an answer not be relevant for any reason. As you will notice, judges are looking for entries that exceed expectations and entrants who consistently are rated this way by judges are the ones who typically get chosen to participate in the regional awards conference.
To assist us, Judges also add comments from time to time using the link Judge: please add any comments that would be relevant
Now onto some good and bad examples
1. Entry for best sales professional
Question: What achievements have you accomplished in the last year for your center in terms of sales? (specify results versus targets)
For the financial year of 2010, I accomplished 130% of my sales target (Target 960: Actual Sales 1250)
Very Good answer
At our center, our sales results are measured by three criteria, the first being the approval to funded ratio, the second, year to date funding, in dollars, and third sales consistency. In order to receive a bonus, we must hit our monthly approval to funded target of 43%. In 2010, I exceeded my monthly sales targets hitting an average approval to funding ratio of 55% which culminated in a total mortgage book value of $78 million. I also funded the highest number of deals, 381 vs 314 for the next runner up who is also a very strong sales agent. Every month, I have been consistent in exceeding my targets and in April 2010 I had my best month where my approval to funding ratio was 60.53%!
2. Entry for best leader
Question: Tell me about a specific time when you were in a leadership role and were faced with a resistance.
I was never faced with resistance. However, some might disagree with my approach to certain call center developments and plans. Setting priorities might be a place where I faced several challenges.
I don´t remember a special situation in which I have been faced with resistance. I am lucky that I have a team behind me that accepts and supports my decisions. Resistance could only appear in times of changes, for example with the implementation of new procedures, targets or approaches. It is very important to explain the reasons for change to the team in advance and to discuss open questions together with them. If they are well informed and understand a decision they are more likely to support it and to deliver constant high performances. One of the most challenging tasks here is to always keep the right balance between fulfilling the requirements of the partner and the needs of the employees.
I introduced the concept of Speech Recognition to the company. The initial response was lukewarm with many Executives very weary having had very bad personal experiences with Telcos and Taxi companies. I set up a ‘Lobbying Committee’ of 4 Contact Centre Support staff team members. We placed the name of each Executive on a white board and laid out their background and reasons for their opposition. We then brainstormed how we could address their arguments. Each Executive was assigned a Contact Centre person who would best ‘connect’ with them. We also sent all the Executive a copy of a segment of Seinfeld episode that clearly explains that Speech Rec is so much better than a traditional IVR… just to get their attention!
It took us 10 months but we finally reached a compromise of launching a Speech Recognition initiative but only as a first ‘auto attendant’ stage. We then launched a stage 2 and have just received approval for a ‘Speech ID’ and ‘Speech Verify’ solutions (please refer to question 29 for more details). The key about ‘resistance’ is to engage, listen and to use ‘counter point’ their every point with their own arguments. Compromising generously and launching ‘pilots’ instead of a full scale implementation are two approach I often take.
So, key to your success
As you will see the differences are stark between poor entries and exceptional ones. Just like applying for a new role or promotion, you need to ‘sell yourself’ to the judges. If you were interviewing someone and their response to a key question was short you compared to another applicant who gave a full response with great examples to illustrate their success and motivation, who would you hire?
So, when you submit your responses make sure you include great information, relevant information that will set you apart, otherwise you will fail to impress in this, one of the greatest award programs in the World.
If you have supporting documents attach them where relevant but remember to strike out any company names or personal names in documents.
Only where we specifically ask, use your name and company name – all other answers make sure you delete or remove your company and personal name and replace with ‘company’ or similar so it still makes sense.
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Published: Monday, December 19, 2011