Image: Martin (second left) presents Teleperformance Greece with the Best Multi-Lingual Contact Centre award
Interview with a judge: Martin Teasdale
It’s a great privilege to be one of the judges at the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards. The standards are always high, and you come away from the experience positive in the knowledge that our industry continually provides evidence of great people doing all they can to deliver exceptional customer service.
I have also always been impressed by the standards of judging and my fellow judges’ professionalism throughout. It has been remarked by many of the Finalists that the judges are good at putting the nominees at ease and this is in large part due to the ECCCSA team who provide a judge’s briefing everyday as part of a well organised and prepared operation.
In addition to the briefing I’d like to share my own thoughts on some tips should you come to take part in future awards as a judge. This is the culmination of my experiences both as a nominee, previous winner and for the last few years as a lead judge plus the input of my fellow judges.
- It’s important to recognise and be sensitive to the fact that regardless of the outcome of the judging process, presenting a nomination to a panel of judges is a very special day. The words and actions you take as a judge have a significant bearing on the memories the nominees will have of the process for years to come. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that it’s a positive memory.
- Most nominees are nervous when first entering the room and whilst nerves are to be expected and natural it is the judge’s responsibility to offer a warm welcome and do all they can to calm those nerves. If the nominees are relaxed you are more likely to get a clearer, more informative view of the nominees’ presentation. Be warm and welcoming and help if needed with any technical aspects.
- It’s important for the judges to share with the nominees that just getting to the judging process is a great achievement in itself and one in which they should take great pride. Being willing to share their story and subsequently gaining recognition through being shortlisted is testament to the great work being done to raise standards within the industry
- In the introduction’s judges should be concise, just saying your name, title and who you work for. The nominees are keen to get going and overly long introductions about how long you’ve worked in the industry, been a judge, systems or people you’ve worked with don’t add any value and the nominees are unlikely to remember the extra details anyway.
- The presentation and day of judging is a test of your active listening skills and with the standard being so high the margins between nominations is often slight – so missing some key information from one of the presentations could have significant consequences. Be present.
- When it comes to the Q&A session I have found this is often the most important part of the nominees presentation if the right questions are asked. I think this works best when the judges beforehand decide to ask one question each in order and that order is rotated so each judge can ask the first question at some point in the day.
- The questions you ask are obviously important, but I think it’s worth noting that it’s for the judges to find the right balance between robust challenge and probing for reassurance or extra information. (Remembering point 1 here too.)
- When it comes to all the interactions with the nominees my overall reminder is that if you are judge it is not about you – it is the nominees day, your opportunity to deploy your experience and views over and above your questions will come when the nominees leave the room and you can start completing the judging forms.
- Being organised with the administrative aspect of judging will help you stay focused and ready to give your full attention to each new nominee.
These awards are one of the highlights of the year for me. The interactions with the other judges and the ECCCSA team is always good fun and seeing the consistently high standard of nominee’s presentations is a real privilege.
I always come away energised and happy to be a part of our industry.
About Martin Teasdale
Martin is Quality Solutions Director for BPA Quality, a company that provides quality monitoring services to the contact centre industry. Martin worked in contact centre’s for over 20 years starting as an agent and has led operational teams in the UK and in Istanbul, Turkey.
Martin is the man behind the industry’s first podcast, Get Out of Wrap, and has been a judge on industry awards, including the ECCCSAs, for several years.