The shortlist has been announced for the 23rd annual Welsh Contact Centre Awards, ahead of November’s event at Cardiff Bay’s historic Coal Exchange.
Tthe Welsh Contact Centre Forum-led awards will celebrate a sector that contributes £650m annually to the Welsh economy. The event will also bring together the teams from across Wales whose commitment, adaptability, and support, provided essential lifelines for customers and businesses across the UK during the pandemic.
Among the 21 company and individual awards, new categories will recognise the agility and dedication that allowed businesses to rapidly develop and deploy Covid, homeworking, and transformation strategies to support their staff and customers.
Kath Chivers, a Board Director for the Welsh Contact Centre Forum, said:
“The pandemic has touched all of our lives. When our highstreets and workplaces were closed, we all depended on the on the ability to pick up the phone and get support.
“These awards recognise the monumental work that ensured there would be someone there to answer those calls. We’ll applaud the rapid mobilisation that saw nearly 32,000 people transition to home working. Ultimately, we will celebrate those who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to safeguarding the wellbeing of teams who have given their all to support customers.
“Emerging from the crisis of the pandemic, in many ways the call centre industry feels closer than it ever has. We applaud all our members who are ensuring that the innovations, technology, and new ways of hybrid working successfully deployed during this crisis. Innovations that will continue to provide new employment and training opportunities for all.”
Lloyds Banking Group is one of the companies nominated in the Best Covid Strategy. Mohammed Shaid, Senior Team Manager at Lloyds Banking Group, is also nominated in the Senior Manager category.
Mr Shaid, said: “My career with Lloyds began 21 years ago. I’ve come from the front lines of our industry, and I took on a senior role just before the pandemic hit. This was just weeks before our teams were asked to step up and work harder than ever to support our customers and each other, while working from home. Lloyds is truly committed to ensuring that every colleague is supported, and safeguarding wellbeing is paramount. Today, I feel that my most crucial responsibility is to always ensure that I make time for each member of my team. It’s a vision I know is shared by our organisation and the Welsh sector.”
“I’m a big advocate of ensuring growth and development opportunities are available to all. Recently, I realised that I am the first BAME individual to hold a senior position at our Newport site. It was a proud moment and I hope that helps to show other people that opportunities are available to everyone.”
As contact centres have become ever more essential to all our lives and businesses, the industry has faced increased need to recruit new talents and upskill its workforces. Driving the diversity and inclusion agenda for its members has been at the fore of the Welsh Contact Centre Forum’s activity. Ensuring best practice is shared between its members and that the bar is constantly being raised and ensure that these new opportunities are accessible to all.
Also nominated in the Senior Manager category is BT Senior Operations Manager, Danielle Colborne, who said: “Being nominated as a finalist reaffirms a personal belief that our industry provides career and training opportunities for everyone. That’s certainly been my experience over the past 18 years and today marks a proud moment in that journey. There’s no one career path when it comes to contact centres.
“The work of the Welsh Contact Centre Forum to support the creation and growth of those programmes has been key to ensuring that best practice is shared across our industry. I think that culture has been key to my own progression and BT’s commitment to supporting progression didn’t wavier when the pandemic hit, if anything I think it highlighted a real need and desire to go further.
“As happy as I am to be personally nominated, I’m even more excited to see the work of so many of our teams shortlisted for their achievements. That is especially true for our support teams, who were the backbone of our transition to home working. They’ve been essential to our continued operation in times of immense pressure, and their vital role is set to continue as we move to hybrid ways of working.”
Corrie Hall, Senior Manager Customer Service at Blackhorse Finance is also nominated for the Senior Manager award. Commenting on her team’s achievements throughout the pandemic, Corrie said:
“I’ve spent my entire career in this industry. In that time we’ve overcome many challenges and changes. We’ve weathered recessions, embraced new technology and ways of working, but nothing compares to the past 18 months. What you come to realise is that the key to overcoming most challenges, is people. That’s what makes being selected as a finalist at these awards so special, because I work in an industry full of incredible people. It’s strange to think that despite being separated for the better part of two years, in many ways, our team feels closer than ever before.
“We’ve had to adapt and find new ways of working in the face of monumental changes brought by the pandemic. It was immediately apparent that our customer’s needs, and the support they need from us, has changed. I’m proud to work with colleagues who understand that. When they take a call, they don’t know the personal challenges that customer is facing in their lives, or the pressures they’re under. But they answer the call and do all they can to help, every time.”
This year, the headline sponsor of the Welsh Contact Centre Awards is Jomo People, who specialise in recruiting for the sector. Sarah Hopkins, Co-Founder and Talent Partner at Jomo People, said: “Becoming a headline sponsor for the Welsh Contact Centre Awards has been top of our bucket list ever since my partner Katie Armitage and I launched our recruitment company three years ago. Having worked in the contact centre sector our entire careers, we know how much the awards mean to the teams who enter. We’ve also seen first-hand how hard these businesses have worked throughout the pandemic, the challenges they have faced, and the commitment they have shown to supporting their teams and customers. Becoming headline sponsors is our way of recognising those successes.
“These awards are also an opportunity for those outside the sector to discover what we believe makes contact centres unique places to work. As the industry transitions into new hybrid ways of working, now more than ever we are looking to recruit new talents who can bring skills from other sectors. By supporting the awards, we hope people from a range of backgrounds will be able to discover exactly why we love this fast-paced industry, and what it offers for those who look for flexibility and progression in their careers.”
For additional information on the Welsh Contact Centre Awards visit their Website
Picture caption: left to right: Corrie Hall, Blackhorse Finance, Katie Armitage, Jomo People, Mohammed Shaid, Lloyds Banking Group, Kath Chivers, Welsh Contact Centre Forum, Sarah Hopkins, Jomo People, Danielle Colborne, BT