10 questions with the Onward Contact Centre
Continuing this month’s theme of Service, today we’ve asked our Contact Centre Manager Neil a few questions to find out what life is like behind the scenes of the customer service team.
How long have you worked at the Contact Centre?
I’ve worked for the organisation for over 10 years, starting off at LHT’s Customer Service Centre as Customer Service Co-ordinator and subsequently CSC Manager. I relocated to Accrington when we established the new single point of contact for all Onward’s customers here so have been in situ as Onward’s Contact Centre Manager for almost two years now.
What were you doing before?
My passion has always been customers and the customer experience so all of my previous roles have been very much in that field. My most recent role before joining LHT (subsequently Onward) was with Carphone Warehouse where I worked initially as a Contact Centre Team Manager and then latterly the Learning team Manager.
How would you describe the role of the contact centre in a sentence?
The heart of the organisation, the champion for customers and an all round fantastic experience!
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Working with an amazing group of people who are passionate about what they do whilst actually being able to make a tangible difference to someone’s day
What’s the most challenging part?
Although it is massively rewarding to see new, ambitious and talented individuals join the team and progress, this presents a challenge in that potentially at some point that talented individual is going to spread their wings and fly into the next step of their career in another team here at Onward.
Of course there are always those bright stars who stay with the Contact Centre and progress with us too. Change is definitely positive but totally selfishly I would still like to keep the best people on my team! And it’s probably worth mentioning that we have a plethora of former Contact Centre stars working in a variety of different roles across the organisation.
Your team is often the first port of call for customers – how do you ensure you’re giving the best possible service all the time?
We close our Contact Centre every Wednesday morning between 8am and 10am. This allows us to plan in a schedule of learning, training and briefings to support our team of Customer Service Specialists to deliver that best possible experience.
We’ve also developed our own online team homepage which is kept up to date by our dedicated Quality Advisor in order to provide Contact Centre colleagues all the information they need to help deliver a great service, improve efficiency and minimise hand-offs.
You work across calls, emails & more recently social media – which type of enquiry is best suited to each platform?
It’s great to offer different opportunities for customers to get in touch but of course not every type of contact is suited to every query. We would always suggest the telephone is the best form of contact for emergencies and matters of an urgent nature.
For enquiries of a less urgent nature or to access information about rent accounts, check balances and make payments etc., our customer portal MyOnward is always the best option. Customers can of course also get in touch via email at CustomerServices@onward.co.uk for non-urgent requests or general enquiries. If you want to chat to us about something happening in your community or neighbourhood then our social media platforms, like Facebook, are a great way to do this.
Contact Centres often get a bad rap – what’s the one thing you wish the public knew?
With the right people and a shared passion for delivering a great customer experience, they are a great, vibrant, fun, energetic and rewarding place to work. They are also a fantastic foundation for learning and developing some all-important people skills that will always help, whatever someone’s long term chosen career path.
How is your team innovating to provide better service in the future?
We are always looking at ways in which we can improve and enhance the service we deliver. We keep an eye on different customer contact opportunities and work closely with our Customer Engagement and Customer Insight colleagues to gain a good understanding of what our customers actually want.
We are looking at introducing webchat facilities in the near future which will offer further opportunities for customers to get in touch and seek a swift response to their enquiry.
What’s really exciting you about the Contact Centre right now?
Just working with some fantastic people. It really feels like we are at the start of something special and exciting. We have created a great place to work – a truly positive space – with lots of colleague engagement opportunities that ultimately motivates us all to want to be even better at what we do!
Get in touch with our Contact Centre team to find out more about how they can help you