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How to build an award winning contact centre

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Entries for the European Call Centre and Customer Service Awards 2013 are now open, so organisations and individuals from across the contact centre and customer service industry are now wondering whether they have what it takes to win one of this year's prestigious awards.

To gain a sense of just how high the best practice bar is currently set, contact centre professionals gathered at Paramount, high above London on the 31st floor of Centre Point, on 7th March where we held our increasingly renowned event on “How to build an award winning contact centre”.

Rather than the traditional event format, Sabio’s team of speakers includes award winning contact centre experts and award judges to share the steps needed in creating the kind of best practice customer service centres that will stand out in any awards process.

The day’s event offers insight into all the different categories featured in the ECCCSA awards, where the focus is on criteria that offer a perfect platform for showing off your contact centre and customer service excellence. To reflect this, Sabio invited four consultants to share expertise into four contact centre areas: Best Operation, Best Use of Technology, Best Customer Experience and Best Advisor.

In addition, the event provided an opportunity for attendees to hear directly from two proven contact centre awards winners – John Connolly, Head of Innovation at British Gas Cardiff, and Matthew Kemp, Customer Services Director at Lebara – winner of the 2012 Large Contact Centre of the Year title.

To be a contact centre prize winner you’ve got to draw together a number of elements to really succeed. This means resolving your customers’ main challenges; getting the right processes in place to optimise operations; having the right people on board, and continuing to develop your team; and taking advantage of the right innovative technologies.

British Gas Cardiff’s John Connolly – whose operation won the European Call Centre of the Year award in 2009 and 2010 – encouraged attendees to ‘steal with pride’! “This means actively seeking out best practice from acknowledged customer service leaders such as Amazon, Apple, Admiral and Lebara. There’s no point re-inventing the wheel!” John also spoke about the need to trust your staff. “At British Gas we went from 16 different metrics to just one that measured customer advocacy on the frontline. Every one of our agents knows their own individual Net Promoter scores, so they’re always focused on improving the service we offer.”

Lebara’s Matthew Kemp talked about the importance of moving from delivering services to providing more positive customer experiences. “We’re always looking for agents who can make a real connection with our customers, and we always make sure our existing agent teams get the final say.” It’s an approach that’s clearly working for Lebara, with over three million calls handled, the cost to serve reduced by 20 percent and the mobile phone provider’s Net Promoter Score growing from zero to 65 percent.

The Sabio team included presentations from myself, Gary Fowler, David Payne and Lyn Etherington – all experienced judges for the ECCCSA and passionate about the contact centre industry.

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