After winning UK National Call Centre Awards’ Call Centre Manager of the Year 2013 and being nominated for this year’s Senior Manager award by the European Call Centre Awards, Russell Wilson talks about life as an award winning Call Centre Manager at Chaucer Direct:

What’s your role at Chaucer Direct?
I am the Call Centre Manager and I’m responsible for the inbound, outbound, administration, renewal retention and customer accounts departments.

How did you get to where you are now?
I worked for an insurance broker for 10 years prior to coming to Chaucer Insurance. I have managed both Chaucer Direct and the Broker Helpline teams in the 4 years I have been here.

What qualities would you say a contact centre manager needs and what are the major challenges you face?
You need to be a quick and logical thinker, you have to understand the needs of the team and never lose focus on what the customer needs.

Keeping everyone engaged and excited about answering phone calls from customers. We have received amazing employee feedback, and we try to involve our people in the business and the journey in making us who we are.

What do you think makes you successful in the way you do your job?
I think I have the ability to understand and balance the needs of the business, the people who work in the department and also what the customer needs. I work with an excellent team from phone advisors to Director level who are all part of the recipe of success we are breeding at Chaucer Direct.

What do you think would improve contact centres in general?
I think call centres need to make sure they work from the outside in. View everything from the customer’s point of view. Challenge processes and make life simple for your customer, which in turn will make work experience easier and more pleasant for your staff. Make sure you include and engage your staff so you can develop and keep your best people.

How do you keep informed of industry changes that affect your job?
I am a member of a CCMA specialist group which provides me with a great insight into the market and how other call centre operations are functioning. We all share best practice to perfect our business. I attend best practice seminars and visit other call centres.

What would be your advice to those wanting to choose a similar career path to you?
Be patient, recruit the right people for your customer and invest in their development. Enjoy and be proud to work in a call centre and celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes.

Have any technologies changed the way your call centre runs? If so, how have you adapted to these?
Technology is always changing and it is always a challenge. Voice analytics seems to be the latest technology that can add real value into understanding the voice of the customer and provide some intelligent insight.

What do you think will be the main challenges that you think you’ll face in the coming years? 
Customer demand is always changing. We have some big projects underway to provide variety for our customers, improve what we offer to them and increase their loyalty, making things more efficient, slicker and cheaper to run without damaging the experience of the customer.

How do you keep team morale up?
We run relevant fun incentives, invest in training and developing every individual in the contact centre, making sure they feel part of the business and its growth, and communicating with them on a regular basis.  We run a monthly internal ‘Smile Survey’, asking the team for feedback on the month – what’s going well and what’s not going so well etc. It is important that we then act on the results and update the team on what we have done and why.

When you’re not in a contact centre how do you spend your time?
With my two children mainly but I still try to play a bit of football and some golf.

Russell WilsonRussell Wilson

Russell lives in Broadstairs with his wife and two sons.  He was born in Yorkshire but has spent most of his life based in East Kent.  He is a passionate Tottenham Hotspurs fan and won’t have a bad word said against Take That (Gary Barlow is his idol).  He often tells us about his semi-professional career as a footballer and how the premiership missed out on his talent.

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