Blog: We Salute VOCA for paying National Living Wage – Regular readers of my humble blog may have realised that I have the utmost respect for the contact centre agent who I strongly being to be the most important member of staff working in the contact centre.
The perception and worth of the agent has changed immeasurably over the past few years – gone are the days, thankfully, when an agent used to start work on a Monday, hear the obligatory company presentation, get handed a script, buddy alongside an experienced agent and low and behold they are a fully trained agent.
If the agent fails never mind there is a long line of the unemployed to take their place.
Today the contact centre agent, in the words of Jabra, have now become SuperAgents and knowledge workers; they are normally trained for 4-6 weeks in the classroom to master the art of customer service and to learn the CRM systems before they are let loose on the telephones.
A year or so ago Ann-Marie Stagg, Chief Executive of the Call Centre Management Association spoke at their annual conference to highlight the obvious fact that although the agent is fundamental to the contact centre operation more often than not they are normally paid the minimum wage – “hang your head in shame” , or words to that effect, I recall Anne-Marie saying to those contact centres who work on this remuneration package.
How pleasing it was to receive a Press Release today announcing that Irvine based outsourcer Voca Telemarketing have announced that agents will be now paid the Living Wage of £7.20 per hour with some agents receiving an additional £3,100 in their annual pay packets.
Indeed this morning Ann-Marie Stagg commented,
“The CCMA are always delighted when positive announcements like this are made – many organisations still don’t appreciate the value of their customer facing teams and so, all too often, paying minimum wage gets them minimum results.”
Victoria Edwards, Voca’s Managing Director commented,
“We are very pleased to be the first contact centre in Britain to be offering all staff the voluntary living wage,”
“It is the morally and socially right course for employers to follow and together with good training will deliver staff productivity, retention and recruitment benefits. We hope our latest pay initiative sets the trend for the contact centre industry as a whole where a large proportion of workers are under 25.”
I couldn’t have said it better – Voca we salute you and hope that this is a trend that will be replicated throughout our industry.
Have a good week ahead.