Welcome to the new blog of Better for Everyone, the UK call centre with intelligence, integrity and initiative based in Bradford, West Yorkshire!

The traditional call centre approach has earned the industry its awful sweatshop image and reputation for terrible customer service. I knew there was potential for something much better and that creating my own company with a better, more ethical approach to call centre services was the right thing to do.

Through this blog, we’ll keep you informed of our news and let you know our thoughts on what’s going on in the industry and in management generally, so do keep coming back.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Admiral Insurance is using vocal coaches to motivate staff...

I read today that Admiral Insurance has appointed vocal coaches to provide vocal health sessions aimed at “motivating staff, team-building and reducing sickness and absenteeism”.

What a waste of money!! Maybe they should actually trust their staff to get on and do their work – that would surely be more motivating than someone teaching them how to sing!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go at Admiral – just call centres in general! This is because how staff do their work is decided by senior management that aren’t close enough to the front-line and team leaders monitor and control their staff, and measure individuals’ performance against arbitrary targets that have been derived from the annual financial plan.

The use of targets like this suggests that managers think staff are holding something back from their performance when they come to work… which is odd, when you think about it. After all, most people want to do a good day’s work each day, so why might managers assume they don’t?

However, since companies manage people in this way, they have to use competitions or incentives and nonsense like “vocal health sessions” to “motivate” staff to meet their targets. Unfortunately, since meeting targets is often outside of staff members’ control, winning becomes more of a lottery. This whole situation puts staff under stress, de-motivates them and has an adverse effect on staff turnover, sickness and absenteeism.

We need to see a bit more common sense in call centre management to improve this situation: surely it’s better to trust people and allow them to take the time to just get on and do their jobs and do things “right first time” every time?

Then companies like Admiral could offer better service from happier staff at a lower cost – how neat a solution to the effects of the “credit crunch” would that be…?

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Business is about people

I set up Better for Everyone to offer a complete alternative to the problems in the call centre industry. After all, business is about people – people buy people before they buy products or services.

At Better for Everyone, we promote collaboration between our staff so they can share ideas and learn from each other and improve the work they do for our clients. And we always ensure our staff represent us and our clients’ products or services honestly and truthfully. Similarly, we don’t give our staff target numbers of calls, appointments or sales to make – our clients would only get poor appointments, cancelled orders or inaccurate research! People are the bedrock of a business and an empowered and trusted workforce produces better results and excellent customer service. It’s not magic, just common sense!