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A day in the life of a ....Head of Call Centre

23 January 2013

A day in the life of a ....Head of Call Centre

The head of Betfred’s call centre Cheryl King talks about her job


How did you get involved in this role?

I worked for the Tote for 15 years before becoming part of Betfred and then recently being promoted to the Head of Call Centre role. I began my career as an operator, or agent as they’re sometimes called, on the phones taking bets and just worked my way up. The Tote helped me with my personal development and I went to college for a couple of years, one day a week, and did a CMI level 7 Management Qualification. I passed that and for the last 8 years I was the Call Centre Manager. Following the integration of the Betfred and Tote call centres, this opportunity arose and here I am!

What attracted you to the job?

I was ready for a new challenge and wanted to use my skills and experience that I’ve honed over the years in a more strategic capacity. I’m in a position now where I can make decisions and recommendations to the Board on how we may be able to improve the services we offer to our customers, how we may be able to grow the business and how we may be able to make improvements on controlling the cost base

What is a typical day like for you?

I split my time between Warrington Head Office, where I am responsible for Customer Services, and Wigan where the Betfred Call Centre is located. My day typically starts with a scan of RP to check on events and anything they may cause a spike in activity, going through emails and correspondence and preparing for any meetings I have that day. I’ll then have a daily update with the team Managers and catch up with anything that needs my attention plus reviewing the key performance indicators (KPIs). I’m lucky that I have good Manager’s in place in both the Call Centre and Customer Services and with Customer Services dealing with queries from all channels of the business, they are always extremely busy.

What is your favourite part of the job?

It’s always trying to find better ways of doing things – ‘kaizen’ as the Japanese say – continuous improvement. We strive to be the best we can be and the goal is always to exceed customer expectations. There is no better feeling than getting a letter or email from a customer telling us how good or how positive their particular customer experience was – it makes it all worthwhile. And I love the atmosphere during the big festival meetings in the Call Centre, the buzz in the room is almost tangible. The teams dress up especially for the occasion, we lay on a buffet and everyone works their socks off to answer the burgeoning volume of calls that come through just before the off.

Which part of your job would you like to change?

I imagine like most people the days just fly by when it’s such a fast paced environment, so if I could slow time down that would be useful! But nothing really at the moment – I’m in a new job, learning every day, enjoying the fresh challenges – ask me again in 12 months!

What is the career progression for someone in your role?

I‘m delighted that my career has got me to where I am; where I go from here I haven’t really considered yet. I report directly in to John Haddock, the MD, and whilst I have no designs on that role (just yet!), with Betfred being such a large organisation of 10,000 people, there may be opportunities in many different areas in the future.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of taking a similar role?

You need to be a strong, capable leader and be able to manage a variety of different, competing priorities and tasks at any one time; the plate spinning analogy is pretty accurate! You also have to have excellent planning, budgeting and organisational skills, and manage your time effectively, not to mention working under pressure. But this is beginning to sound like I’ve copied directly it from the job description… Well, it’s all in there and it is all true! The only other advice I’d give is that you need positive people skills, if they’re innate so much the better – they’re absolutely essential in running big departments with lots of different personalities. You sometimes have to adapt your management style to suit situations but that is part of the art of management. Oh, and one final thing, you don’t have to mind having your weekends off in the middle of the week, but it’s worth it.

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