Contact Centre awards celebrate hidden business heroes
Global contact centre software company, Interactive Intelligence, recently wrapped up its local 2010 Outrageous Interactions competition. The results were heart-warming, and frequently more than a little funny...
From managing complex business processes to negotiating customer complaints, contact centre agents are the hidden heroes of the business world - and the services they provide can define a brand's reputation in the market place.
In recognition of this fact, contact centre software company Interactive Intelligence recently concluded its 2010 Outrageous Interactions competition for South African call centre agents and managers. Entrants submitted the weirdest and most outrageous customer interactions they've had in a Blog Style format, with an impressive R10 000 prize on offer for the most striking interaction.
“It's very interesting to be exposed to end-customers experiences that we otherwise may not ever hear about,” says Dave Paulding, Interactive Intelligence regional sales director for UK, Middle East and Africa. “The competition allows us to gain a deeper insight into what's going on at the point of customer interaction, which is essential to our business. But it also offers recognition to all the contact centre agents out there – who put a lot of effort into managing a high pressure environment on a daily basis”.
One of the funniest entries tells the story of an agent instructing a clearly confused customer in how to type an internet address into a browser. “Ok, it’s double U, double U, double U…,” The customer tried the address several times without success! Needless to say it took the consultant a little time to identify and correct the error.
The winner was Monika Roode from Pretoria, who services a technical call centre offering software support. Each category in the software she was supporting is set up in both English and Afrikaans – to facilitate printing in the employee’s preferred language.
“One of our clients sponsored their employees for eye tests and spectacles,” says Monika. “A very Afrikaans payroll administrator phoned in and asked for assistance in setting up the parameters. She was struggling with the English translation for the Afrikaans word “Brille” (spectacles). Before I could advise, she exclaimed proudly: “I’ve got it dear, I've got it! It’s testicles!”
Monika won the R10 000, but immediately made the decision to share the money.
“I think the way Monika and her colleagues entered the competition and are sharing the reward speaks volumes as to the kind of ethos that often prevails at contact centres,” says Paulding. “The competition is about sharing and voices being heard – there's no better articulation of that than the way the prize money has been used.”
“This is the first competition ever that we've entered and we are overwhelmed,” says Monika, on behalf of her team. “The competition has been very exciting, and it's also a wonderful way to acknowledge our clients, who are so much more than clients at the end of the day.”
And what will the team do with their prize money?
“We have decided to sponsor a petrol attendant at a local petrol station for a VIP Academy course. When he explained to me why the petrol attendants are currently striking and how he wished he could have an opportunity to make better use of his matric certificate, it dawned on me that he would be the perfect candidate to spend our winnings on”, says Monika.
The Softline VIP Academy's Module 1 & 2 covers a range of topics, from the basics of payroll administration, to in-depth payroll tax principles. If he completes this course successfully we would either be able to accommodate him in our business or place him as a payroll administrator at one of our clients.