How our people maintain excellent performance
In the next chapter of our ongoing blog series, we hear from Credit Style employee Christopher Barlow, who has recently been recognised for consistently high performance and success.
Over to Chris…
When I first joined Credit Style 8 years ago, I was exclusively a collector on the Commercial team and would lend a hand to a separate Utilities team when things got busy. In recent years the company and wider industry have evolved, we joined the Bristow & Sutor Group and changed the way some our teams were structured, including amalgamating Credit Style collection teams. Now, I work on commercial, utilities and personal finance cases which has brought greater variation to my role and is something I really enjoy.
Working with utilities cases is something I took to naturally, as before I joined the business, I worked in a call centre on the British Gas Unit and before that spent five years working on National Rail enquiries. Having been on the phones in an office environment many times before, I had a head start when I joined Credit Style, but I have found as time has gone on and the role has expanded, I am drawing more and more from my previous experiences. This is particularly useful if a customer needs help with understanding energy bills, how the process works and insight into why circumstances have developed in the way they have.
Keeping up performances
Credit Style has a designated Service Quality team that, alongside management personnel, implement a performance strategy designed to ensure employees are complying with the rules around their role, but mostly, are happy and able to perform to the best of their ability. One of the ways they do this is through ongoing monitoring of conversations for call quality and ensuring staff are treating customers fairly when they converse with them. Calls are listened to in full and then given a grade for performance, based on the advice given, approach to resolving the situation and ability of the employee to provide a helpful, informative and satisfactory service.
I was delighted to discover that throughout last year, I achieved at least 97% every month and for 9 months out of the 12, I achieved 100%. There is no real secret to how I have achieved these numbers beyond always trying to the best I can, but I do have some advice that I think could help if anyone is looking to do the same.
Listening is the most important skill and whilst this might seem obvious, it takes real concentration to capture what every customer is saying about their unique case. I count myself lucky that I have a knack for storing information quite quickly, but there is nothing wrong with taking your time to ensure nothing gets lost in translation. At Credit Style, we have unrivalled access to helpful items like copy invoices and a company intranet where all kinds of useful resources are stored. Searching these will often help find the answer to whatever you are looking for. Talking is also just as important as listening, as asking the right questions in the right way can be the difference between someone choosing to engage with you or not. But above all else, speak up if you are unsure about anything as there is always somebody who has faced similar and will be happy to help!
Sharing best practice
I am pleased that Credit Style recognises better confidence tends to lead to better results. Instilling confidence in others is something I am proud to be part of and this is a fundamental aspect of the training Credit Style provides to staff from their first day in the business.
Over the past two years, my role has expanded to include training new starters a key responsibility and this is something I truly enjoy. New employees have to pass assessments to ensure they are fully compliant with industry rules and regulations and I help take them through what they need to know step by step. This is then consolidated with a training manual that remains accessible on the company intranet at all times. Staff of all levels are encouraged to refer to this manual and I have done so myself on several occasions over the years when unique situations or questions arise.
Being able to go back over training documentation is very useful, but a helpful environment is the quickest and easiest way to find the answer to most problems. Credit Style benefits from having many knowledgeable and friendly members of staff who are only ever on the other end of the phone.
What comes next
Next up, I am looking forward to doing some training of my own, as I have enrolled alongside several colleagues to become First Aid qualified. I am very much looking forward to adding this extra skill to my repertoire in the Spring and knowing that I can be of assistance in future if ever an emergency requires me to be.
Credit Style has been and still is a great place to work because the approach has remained consistently friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and ambitious. The focus of job roles, such as my own, have changed over time to reflect the needs of customers and clients, but the manner of what we are involved in and our ethos of doing things right never changes. Working together in this way and consistently reviewing our performances will ensure we continue to achieve and succeed at the highest level.