Meet the Stars – Contact Centre Advisor of the Year

Insight from Julie Mordue, Client Relationship Manager at NRG.

I wanted to know what sets the ‘North East Contact Centre Advisor of the Year’ apart from everyone else, so who better to speak with than Alan Burgess of Virgin Money who was crowned WINNER in 2016.

I was greeted by Alan with one arm outstretched to shake my hand, the other proudly holding his NECCA glass trophy which he had brought in from home especially for my visit.

Alan has over 19 years’ experience within financial services across a number of disciplines and has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Virgin Money mortgage & savings department prompting his manager to encourage him to make a submission for the North East Contact Centre Awards 2016.

Alan’s performance data is exemplary, achieving ‘Top Performer’ for Net Promoter Score for four consecutive years and ‘Top Performer’ out of 130 colleagues for Real-Time Feedback (RTF). Alan has an impressive portfolio of positive feedback from call quality compliance assessors, but most importantly, from customers which he proudly included in his appendices in support of his nomination.

In addition to his call handler duties, Alan was one of the first advisors to be an accredited mentor and is regularly called upon to support Virgin Money’s ‘Model Office’; a live and supervised training environment for colleagues who are new to the company, or have just been taught a new skillset in the classroom. Many of Alan’s mentees have now been upskilled and are able to support the department by being available for more skillsets such as Intermediary Relations and Existing Mortgages.

Alan also played a big part in the successful launch of the ‘Brain Station’ initiative; initially part of a trial to provide first-line support to colleagues taking a wide variety of new and existing mortgage queries from customers and intermediaries. The department worked on a collation of trends from queries received in order to identify areas where additional training would help. Due to the success of the trial, the ‘Brain Station’ has now been fully implemented as a permanent resource to support contact centre colleagues.

Always one to volunteer for extra responsibility, Alan also became one of the ‘go to’ people for script testing and landing changes within his department, and is a key reference point for Customer Experience Champions and Managers for all matters related to RTF.

I asked Alan why he thought he had won. “When I sat down and thought about my nomination, I looked at the different ways I had made a positive impact on the business beyond being a call handler. I wear several hats; that of a call handler, a mentor and a customer experience champion. My track record demonstrates how I can help other colleagues to ensure they provide a really high level of service for customers, which means colleagues then get very positive customer feedback. I supported my nomination by making sure the appendices were filled with evidence of what I have achieved, including reams of feedback from colleagues, customers and intermediaries for the judges to see.

“When I found out I’d been shortlisted I was delighted! I had never been to anything like this before and rushed out to buy a dress shirt and dickie bow tie!”

“It was a big day for me professionally, as earlier I had passed my CeMAP professional qualification and here I was, standing on stage waving an award in the air having been named the best contact centre advisor in the North East.

“It has given me the confidence to progress my career with Virgin Money, and I was successfully appointed to Customer Service Co-ordinator in May. My new role is to support colleagues with coaching and mentoring, call escalations and administration. I love the hustle and bustle of the contact centre, and I make sure I still take calls regularly to keep in touch with our customers”.

Alan says he would encourage people to make nominations for this year’s NECCA. “I was honoured and extremely proud to get the recognition with the award, and I’d encourage anyone with the right skills, attitude and behaviours in giving customers the best possible experience to put themselves forward. You never know, you might win!”