Martin Teasdale is the founder of the Get Out of Wrap (GOOW) podcast, GOOW TV, and the Team Leader Community. He created the UK's first podcast solely designed for the contact centre community four years ago and has become a UK Call & Contact Centre institution.
Martin also presents GOOW TV which is streamed live on a weekly basis which has aired 30 episodes. Earlier this year, Martin left full-time employment to build on the success of the GOOW podcast and TV and embark on building another first for the industry; The Team Leader Community. This provides an interactive and safe space for Team leaders to come together, share best practice, overcome challenges, and provide them with the tools to be amazing leaders.
During a recent Talking Talent LinkedIn Live session with Julie Mordue, Martin Teasdale shared insights into his career, including his greatest achievements and his biggest mistakes. He also discussed how to inspire the next generation of contact centre professionals, highlighting the need to work with schools, colleges, and careers advisors to showcase the industry's exciting and rewarding career opportunities. Here are some of the highlights from their engaging discussion.
Martin's journey to becoming a prominent figure in the contact centre industry is a fascinating one. He had no idea about the industry until he left university. He graduated in politics but knew that he did not want to pursue a career in this field. After applying for jobs in the paper and receiving over 100 rejections, he landed a job as a salesperson selling stationary in a contact centre.
“It was touch and go, whether I was going to stay past lunchtime because we had something like 2 hours training before being thrown in the deep end. I was thinking, I don’t think I can stick this out”
Martin went back the next day and was quickly bitten by the bug, enjoying the buzz and the people he worked with.
“Everyone in a senior position, whether it was a team leader, the contact centre manager, the trainer, or the IT guys were all about the same age as me. They had all started on the phones, and I thought, I can do this, I could do well here.”
Over the years, Martin's career progressed to follow a linear path up from an operations point of view. Team leader, contact centre manager through to contact centre director, working in financial services then outsourcing. During this time, he also started winning industry awards, both individually and as a team, which led to him being asked to judge for the UK and European Contact Centre Awards.
“The impact this career can have on you is unlike no other. I've worked with, and for some super inspirational people who have had a long-lasting effect on my life. I'm so grateful for what this career and this industry has given me”
Overcoming imposter syndrome
Martin Teasdale's experience in Istanbul, Turkey, was a challenging yet transformative time in his career. With responsibility for c600 FTE in a country where he couldn’t speak the language, Martin was left to his own devises using Google Translate, and furiously listening to podcasts to pick up the language. He admits that he made numerous mistakes every day, from language barriers to operational decisions, and cultural nuances. However, he learned from these mistakes and used them to develop his leadership skills and overcome his imposter syndrome.
“It was a real challenge getting up every day and going into work because I knew I was in a position where you know you're going to mess up all day long and that's really, really tough. But I had a background in outbound, right? So, in outbound, even if you're successful, 90% of your time is failure. So, I had that kind of mindset, if I can be a bit better every single day, I'll get there in the end.”
Martin stayed in Turkey for 2 ½ years and despite the challenges, he takes great pride in his time there, where he helped improve the financial and employee metrics of the company. Martin's success in Turkey and his subsequent career achievements, are a testament to his resilience, perseverance, and willingness to take risks.
Get Out of Wrap Podcast
Martin has won awards, judged for awards throughout the UK and Europe but considers the GOOW podcast as his proudest achievement in his career to date. He was at a low point in his life, his marriage had ended, and he was seeing his kids less which meant that he had more time on his hands. So rather than wallow, he started listening to podcasts. When he couldn’t find one about UK contact centres, he decided he wanted to try and do one himself!
“I asked five of my friends in the industry what they thought of the name ‘Get Out of Wrap’ for the podcast. They all hated it, so that’s when I decided on the name”
The impact some of the amazing people he has met throughout his career has led to his success. He wanted to try and share some of the people and the stories behind the industry, because it gets such an incorrect representation in the media.
Four years ago, Martin had his first industry interview with Rachel Goddard, who was leading the quality function at Hastings Direct. It's remarkable that people are still discovering and listening to those initial episodes today, as evidenced by the analytics.
“What Rachel shares in that podcast is still really helpful and relevant today so it’s good to have that recording as almost a knowledge base. The legacy is going on and on, and it doesn’t go out of date.”
Most memorable guest
Martin admits that he has learned something from every single person that he has interviewed and is grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. The most memorable guest had to be Iryna Velychko, head of the Ukrainian Contact Centre Association.
“We recorded the podcast while she was on the phone in the corridor of the block of flats where she lived. Both she and her mum were sat on the floor in the corridor which was considered the safest place during a missile strike. As we were talking, I could hear the sound of rockets exploding in the background. After one of the explosions, she stopped and said, ‘that’s quite close’. I had goosebumps, it was just unbelievable, and extremely emotional for me.”
“A few days later I talked to her again during a zoom meeting with several other contacts from their association. One of the guys on the call told us that their HR manager had gone to the bakery to get some donuts for the people working in the contact centre and never came back due to a rocket attack. The fact that they were striving to receive support through their work rather than solely relying on charity was overwhelming.”
Martin was moved by the experience of speaking with people working in the Ukrainian contact centre industry during the conflict and hearing their stories of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. When he is frustrated, he takes himself back to that moment.
“I couldn't tell you any of those results from Turkey or any of the other places I've worked, but I can tell you about people and the impact they’ve had on my life.”
Get out of Wrap TV
GOOW TV is a weekly show that airs every Tuesday at 10am, where industry professionals can come together and discuss the latest news and events in the industry. The show started out as a quick rundown of Martin’s interests but has since grown into a community-driven event where viewers can share their opinions and thoughts on various topics related to the industry.
One key aspect of the show is the sense of collaborative competition that exists in the industry.
“Rather than viewing other professionals and companies as competitors, industry professionals are supportive of one another and are willing to work together to better the industry as a whole”
Industry best practices
As a respected judge for the UK National Contact Centre Awards (UKNCCA) and the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards (ECCCSA), Martin has learned that storytelling is a crucial aspect of the nomination process.
“It is essential to make it easy for the judges to understand the challenges faced by the contact centre, and how they overcame them. By telling their story, the nominees can demonstrate their achievements, and it's an opportunity for them to showcase their hard work and dedication.
The judging process has provided me with an insight into the best practices in the industry, and it's heartening to see the level of commitment and passion that people have for their work. It is evident that contact centres are constantly evolving to keep up with the latest trends, customer demands, and technology. I have seen nominees who have challenged the norms and those who have turned things around, which has been brilliant.
It's a challenging task to judge and determine the winner when all the nominees are exceptional. However, being a judge has allowed me to recognise the good in our industry and appreciate the problem-solving capabilities of the people working in the contact centres.”
2023 will see Martin join the judging panel for the North East contact centre awards (NECCA) where he will lead the judging process of two of the team leader categories.
“The North East is known for being a hotbed of excellence, and I look forward to seeing the level of talent and dedication that the team leaders have to offer. As someone who loves the team leader category, I am thrilled to be a part of this process and contribute to recognising the excellence in the industry.”
Team Leader Community
Martin took the leap into self-employment in January 2023 and at the same time founded the Team Leader Community. The Team Leader Community is a great resource for team leaders, team managers, inspiring team leaders, contact centre managers, and senior leaders who are looking to share their experiences and help others. With almost 100 members, the community has grown quickly in just over a month, and Martin is open to anyone who wants to join.
“I wanted to create a collaborative environment where people can share challenges and best practices and help each other succeed. As someone who has spent a lot of time in the team leader space, I recognise the importance of investing in team leaders and helping them develop the skills they need to lead their teams effectively.
We used to call it the magic weekend. On Friday you are an agent, on Monday you are team leader and over the weekend somehow you magically have developed the skills to lead 15 people. The Team Leader community will help people get to the point of progression quicker and not necessarily by having to have messed up.”
The next generation
Martin gained valuable insights into the perceptions of young people about the contact centre industry when he had three business studies students join him for work experience.
“It was eye-opening to see their perspective and their openness to different possibilities within our industry. It's important for us to continue to educate young people and let them know that there are exciting and rewarding career opportunities within the contact centre industry. We need to work with schools, colleges, and careers advisors to showcase our industry and attract new talent.”
Martin also recognised the value of listening to the ideas and suggestions of young people and being open to implementing them. He believes their fresh perspectives and innovative ideas can help us evolve and improve our businesses.
“During the week with the young people, I was challenged on my views on equality, the environment, and how I could use my business for the community. that we need to be open to attracting talent and not just tick boxes, but care about diversity and environmental issues because potential employees do care about them,”
Martin's experience taught him the importance of inspiring and educating the next generation of contact centre professionals.
“I believe that by working with schools, colleges, and careers advisors, we can attract new talent and showcase the exciting and rewarding career opportunities available in the contact centre industry. Overall, it was a valuable experience for both me and the young people, and I hope to continue to inspire and educate the next generation of contact centre professionals.”
To view the complete conversation between Martin Teasdale and Julie Mordue on Talking Talent, the recording is available for you to watch here.