I am so excited to be working with contact centre recruitment specialists Greenbean, to create an ongoing guest blog. Those who know me will agree I am a passionate advocate for the call & contact centre industry. It is a great place to build a fulfilling and interesting career. I’ve worked on exciting projects with great teams all over the world and met amazing people along the way. Many of those people have become friends for life.
My skills and knowledge from over 20 years of working in the industry are vast and varied. From understanding neuroscience in people management to cutting-edge conversational AI - the opportunity to learn and develop has been endless. I have many stories and best practices to share to support those in the contact centre. And as I enter the world of self-employment to build the Get Out of Wrap (GOOW) community, I invite you to join the highs and lows of my journey. So, buckle up – it’s going to be a bumpy ride ...
And how it all began
The contact centre industry has evolved so much since the first day I stepped foot in one. ‘Back then’ was 1995 in an industrial estate in Wembley. To give you an idea of how different ‘back then’ was - even though I was 21, I didn’t have a mobile phone. Now can you imagine leaving home without yours?
I finished University with a good degree in Politics & International Relations. I chose the degree without thinking about the future; I had no interest in working in Politics! All my friends had a plan (or so I thought) and were embarking on careers whilst I bumbled around in London.
After over a hundred unsuccessful job applications I applied for a sales rolein a call centre. The role was for a stationery business a few tube stops away from where I lived.
I was immediately invited in for an interview. The next day I found myself in a portacabin in the middle of an industrial estate in Wembley.
Two people interviewed me although it was more like an assault! They fired standard interview questions at me for five minutes. They didn’t seem interested in my answers until they realised I could talk! Then I got my first exposure to role play. I sat back to back with my interviewer and played the role of someone selling stationery. My mission was to find out who was responsible for ordering and try to speak to them. To start the role play I had to say ‘ring ring’ out loud - It didn't get much better than that! After ten excruciating minutes of role-playing, they told me I got the job! Then they asked if I could stay to do two hours of training, which consisted of reading a stationery catalogue and price list for an hour. After that, I was shown a phone, headset, and the system I would be using; but not how to use it. Mind you, my training was looking at three objects!
We entered a building across the road. You could hear the noise of many people speaking at once, instinctively I liked the sound. I entered a room with seven other people in it, they looked as wide-eyed as me and all bar one was of a similar age. Left unsupervised we exchanged greetings and small talk. Most of them were also recent graduates who couldn't get ‘proper jobs’. We were bonding through our shared nervousness.
The door burst open and a man with an uncanny resemblance to David Brent jumped into the room. "Newbies’" he shouted as though he was about to eat us. This was Noel the Contact Centre Manager. Like Willy Wonka beckoning the golden ticket winners into the chocolate factory, Noel took us through a set of double doors. He looked at us, winked, and opening them with a flourish said "welcome to the Call Centre"
I then took my first step into our world. I looked out onto a contact centre floor for the first time, and I saw, heard, and felt the energy. Overlapping voices, shouts of praise & encouragement, questions being asked, smiling faces, frowns of annoyance, and some people standing up waving at us. I was hooked – I entered a world I have never left.
About Martin Teasdale
Martin Teasdale has over 20 years of experience working in the contact centre industry. His extensive knowledge of leading UK and overseas contact centre operations has led to him being a lead judge for the UK and European Contact Centre Awards. He certainly knows ‘what good looks like’.
Martin is a self-confessed contact centre enthusiast. He is the creator and host of the UK's 1st podcast dedicated to contact centres. Get Out of Wrap (GOOW) is now in its 4th year and rated 4.8 by Apple Podcasts. In February 2023 Martin launched the GOOW Team Leader Community. This is the first of its kind, a place where Team Leaders receive tools to develop the skills needed to lead like experts.
Find out more about Martin and how you can get involved in the contact centre community here.