Meet the Stars – Santander’s Operations Division

North East Contact Centre Awards 2016 Winners of ‘Customer Experience Champion’ and ‘People Development Heroes’.

How do you identify an award winning entry to the North East Contact Centre Awards? Julie Mordue, Client Relationship Manager at NRG spoke to Louise Carter, Business Manager at Santander’s Operations Division to find out.

Established in the UK in 2007, Santander’s Operations Division (formerly known as Geoban UK)  provides services to Santander UK’s retail, business and corporate customers. Over 3,500 employees aim to deliver operational and digital excellence on Santander’s products and services.

The Mortgage Centre of Excellence in Teesside employs approximately 200 Customer Service Advisors who support all Santander Mortgage and Loan customers.

Having developed the department over a period of time, they were inspired to enter the NECCAs to showcase some of their achievements as a ‘Centre of Excellence’

When nominations opened in 2016, they looked at category criteria and matched this to their people, identifying potential award winning stories.

John Holmes, Customer Service Advisor and aspiring Team Leader, led the Welcome Calls Project from March 2016. Initially planned for a three to four month trial, the project continued until year end to extend the great experience customers receive when applying for their mortgage prior to moving into their new home.

John recruited and trained employees to help develop the Welcome Calls project and establish effective outcomes and smoother journeys for customers. During the trial period, the team helped nearly 3,000 new mortgage customers, which resulted in a drop in inbound calls, more queries answered at first point of contact and a reduction in complaints. The result was 93.4% of customers rating their experience as excellent to extremely satisfied.

Because of the impact made by the Welcome Call team, the pilot has been turned into a BAU operational activity on a quarterly basis.

When the management team looked at the criteria for ‘Customer Experience Champion’ they approached John saying ‘We believe you’ve done this!’

John Holmes ‘Customer Experience Champion’ 2016

John was extremely humbled by the whole experience, the support and encouragement he received from his colleagues and the management team for seeing his potential. One year on from winning ‘Customer Experience Champion’ his award and certificate still remain proudly on display on the contact centre floor and he has now secured a Team Leader position.

The second win for the division at NECCA 2016 was ‘People Development Heroes’, a newly formed department called ‘The Learning Zone’. The team support the recruitment, training and development of every new joiner to the Contact Centre teams over a nine month period, enabling them to deliver exceptional customer service.

‘People Development Heroes’ 2016 – The Learning Zone, Santander Operations, Teesside

The dedicated, structured approach to onboarding new employees, tailored to suit the individual, was created as a result of extensive employee opinion surveys and feedback evaluations. The bespoke department (The LZ) supports new employees through the use of mentors, specially chosen for their proven record of creating and inspiring talent within their teams to become future role models. With a three part Mentor Accreditation programme and Graduation ceremony, only those with a real passion for developing future talent will be successful.

Louise describes the excitement of last year’s awards ceremony, “The North East Contact Centre Awards 2016 was extremely special for us. Shortlisted in four categories, two runners up and winning two. Our culture and values are truly embedded into our organisation and our employees are passionate about being the best. I have memories that will stay with me for life and can remember every little detail from what I was wearing, to the red carpet at the entrance, and the overwhelming pride we all felt that ‘it was us, we made this happen!”

Louise says that being part of an award winning team had a huge effect both internally and externally. Initiatives have been shared between sites and others have been inspired to enter a nomination themselves. Their achievement as an award winning programme is included in every new starter’s induction to demonstrate Santander’s commitment to developing, nurturing and recognising their talent.