“We have a history of employing graduates and offer them flexible schedules to fit around their studies, whether they study locally or return for seasonal work. They are usually good performers for us, and many stay because we show a clear career path, either working up through the management levels of the contact centre, or progressing to roles elsewhere in the business.”
The employment longevity is in part attributed to a programme instigated last year designed to maximise value, improve the customer experience, and offer the best possible working environment. The success of the project led to Holiday Extras being listed as one of the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service, and Ellie Hutchison, who worked in the contact centre before and during her studies before taking a full time role on graduating, explains the appeal of the role. “The atmosphere is great and each call is a challenge. You can be friends with everyone up on the management team and the opportunities to progress your career are well explained.”
But not all contact centres are taking advantage of changes in the job market, as Natalie Calvert, managing director of consultancy firm Calcom argues. “The adviser of the future is already here; call volumes are being reduced by the web, the calls are more complex then ever and salaries are slowly increasing as businesses better understand the value of front line staff. This could create exciting career opportunities for the contact centre industry.”
Calvert believes that not enough has been done to shake negative perceptions of contact centres. “The industry doesn’t have a great reputation. Although some senior service personal have risen up from the contact centre, it is not happening as frequently as it should, and the potential career path is not fully defined. To retain graduate-calibre people, businesses need to provide 18-month, fast track career programmes.”
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