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Designing the 21st century contact centre

News
30th October 2012

Webhelp UK is using dynamic workplace design to build long term strategic value for our clients and engage our employees.

Anton Manley, Director Strategic Accounts, Webhelp UK

 

 

Integrating the client and the contact centre

With nearly £6bn turnover and more than 10 million customers using satellite, broadband and telephone services, one of our clients is the largest provider of digital entertainment and communications in the UK. We built a long-term strategic partnership with them, working across four of our sites in Scotland and England, to deliver significant growth into new work streams. To meet the demand we were tasked with acquiring two new sites in Glasgow and Derby.

We’re accustomed to dealing with blue chip companies and fully understood their expectation of branded workplaces. We worked hand in glove with their branding team to achieve the exacting standards they would demand of themselves, paying meticulous attention to the relevance and positioning of the brand.

We’re accustomed to dealing with blue chip companies and fully understood their expectation of branded workplaces

Improving the contact centre design

At Webhelp UK, we pay an extraordinary amount of attention to detail when creating spaces where our culture wraps around the client. We set out to create places that both our people and our clients want to be part of. Together, with a team of interior designers, we looked at everything from colours to the amount of space between desks.

At Webhelp UK, we are ripping the old contact centre image to shreds

The call halls themselves were deliberately designed so that no seats were back-to-back with each other and there was a real sense of personal space between each advisor work station; you only need to set foot in Glasgow and Derby to see that they are a world away from the public perception of a contact centre. We’re basically ripping that old image to shreds.

Substantial research went into looking at the cross section of people who would be coming into the business. We considered that we would be bringing together at least three generations under the same roof, and that played a large part in designing an all-encompassing environment. If you look at our ‘village green’ in Derby you will see that we’ve used different colours and furniture that is at once distinctively modern in style, but comfortable and accessible.

The seating area in the canteen in Glasgow has been ingeniously designed to become softer as it progresses towards the windows. The idea behind that was to draw people towards the light to relax and enjoy a different experience and view of their surroundings. In Glasgow, the training rooms are named in memory of some of the great ships that were built and launched on the Clyde. We have the Pegasus and Centaur rooms, complete with their launch dates reflecting the rich, historic industrial legacy of where we’re based.

The Discovery Lab

Another ground-breaking design feature within the customer management industry is our unique Discovery Laboratory. This initiative is our formalised methodology of the model office and it creates a distinct state-of-the-art lab feel.

The Discovery Lab enables our people to be experimental and discover things about our clients business that we didn’t already know

Its purpose is to enable our people to be experimental and discover things about the business that we didn’t already know, for example, behaviours, processes, and root cause analytics. it facilitates intelligent thought – it’s all about utilising the fantastic assets that we have, our talent, and empowering them.

Leaving the call centre behind. Becoming the customer experience centre.

We want to dispel once and for all the depressing image of battery hen coops with revolving front doors that our industry used to portray. I believe we have delivered the “wow” factor in Derby and Glasgow and now we want to invite people to come and work with us.

We can offer talented people the opportunity to work in innovative, contemporary, hi-tech environments, and the icing on the cake is that we offer a clearly defined route of career development to front-line management.

We’ve already started organic growth – in Derby and Glasgow alone we’ve promoted 11 people internally so far through our TUPE transfers into managerial positions and we have another four who have gone into support areas.

This has been achieved through our Management University, through our assessment centres and our Path to Success model. There are many more success stories, including one colleague who was an Operations Manager in our Falkirk site who is now Site Lead in Derby.

We can offer talented people the opportunity to work in innovative, contemporary, hi-tech environments

In terms of employment, evolving our environment and our commitment to social responsibility, there is a specific methodology behind everything Webhelp UK take on and do.

 


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