As a riveting narrative and sharp social commentary, ITVX's new series ‘Ruby Speaking’ is re-igniting conversations about the realities of working in a contact centre. Set within the fictional Hellocom company, the series follows a compelling ensemble of characters – from the empathetic Ruby, the relentlessly target-driven Donna, to the versatile Marco, each playing a unique role in the portrayal of a contact centre environment.
Customer First vs. Sales-Driven Approach
In "Ruby Speaking," we see a bold contrast in approaches to customer service. Ruby is a character who profoundly embodies the "customer first" ethos. In contrast to Vicki, the Contact Centre Manager who seems more focused on sales. A telling sign in the contact centre reading "Sell they don't know they need it" is a stark representation of her strategy, revealing an underlying approach that prioritises sales over understanding and catering to the true needs of the customer. Ruby exhibits empathy and a drive to do what's right for the customers, even if it skirts the boundaries of conventional rules. A particularly touching scene finds Ruby delivering Turkish Delight to a grieving customer - a well-meaning action that nearly costs her job due to a GDPR violation.
A Delicate Balance
This highlights the delicate balance in the industry between customer empathy and data privacy. While it's important to cultivate personal connections, boundaries, and regulations are in place to protect both parties. Finding the right balance can be a challenging, but necessary endeavour.
The Discrepancy Between Image and Reality
Vicki's portrayal as the Contact Centre Manager eloquently highlights the discrepancy between outward appearance and internal reality in many organisations. She publicises wellbeing at industry events, yet ironically fails to actualise these principles within her own team. An epitome of the 'get me sales for donuts' stereotype, the show subtly points out the irony and underscores the importance of authenticity in leadership.
The Multifaceted Team Manager
The role of the Team Manager, personified by Marco, is brought to the forefront. As the one wearing many hats – motivator, coach, disciplinarian, friend – he embodies the pressures and challenges of being ‘everything to everyone.’ His character provides a lens to see the indispensable role a Team Manager plays in holding the team together.
Balancing Automation and Human Interaction
AI and chatbots also make an appearance, a nod to the increasing prevalence of automation in the industry. While implemented as cost-saving measures, the show underscores how these solutions can sometimes alienate customers who still crave human interaction.
Notably, ’Ruby Speaking’ doesn't shy away from the harsher realities of the industry.
The series graphically illustrates the unease of job insecurity that is particularly acute in sales contact centres, especially for underperforming agents, highlighting the high-pressure environment of the industry.
One particularly powerful scene shows an agent making their solitary journey home after working the night shift, underscoring the concerns about agent safety and wellbeing when planning shift patterns.
The sudden departure of a recruit midway through their first day is a poignant reminder that fostering a supportive, empowering environment is key to employee retention.
Embracing the Positives
Amidst these challenges, the series doesn’t forget to showcase the positives of working in a contact centre. In a heartening moment, a university graduate chooses to remain in the team, underlining that a career in a contact centre can be rewarding, fulfilling, and chosen out of passion. The show also shines a spotlight on the hidden talents within the contact centre, such as the part Ruby plays in the choir with her amazing voice, fostering a sense of camaraderie and community spirit.
Through ‘Ruby Speaking’, we are led to re-examine our perceptions and stereotypes about contact centres. It underscores the importance of empathy, the value of genuine leadership, the challenge of balancing human connection with technological innovation, and the crucial role of a supportive work environment.
As we watch these narratives unfold, we are called to reflect on the evolving contact centre environment and the potential it holds for those who are brave enough to redefine it.
'Ruby Speaking' indeed has painted a vivid and realistic picture of life in the contact centre industry. With its relatable characters and sharp social commentary, it takes us through the highs and lows, challenges, and opportunities, and most importantly, the potential for change and improvement in the sector.
That potential for change is precisely what greenbean's new recruitment and training programme, GROW (Get Ready for Opportunities at Work), is designed to tap into. Through GROW, greenbean aims to address some of the challenges highlighted in the series, particularly in recruiting the right individuals and reducing early attrition in contact centres.
By providing a comprehensive understanding of the contact centre environment to newcomers before they step foot in the industry, GROW manages candidates' expectations. It helps future agents anticipate the realities of working in a contact centre, be it sales or customer service, thereby enhancing their readiness to contribute meaningfully from day one.
Preparing for a Rewarding Career
GROW, is not just an e-learning programme; it's a preparation tool for a rewarding career in the contact centre industry. It recognises the industry's realities, while also shedding light on its potential as a fulfilling and rewarding career path. It aims to professionalise the sector, reduce early attrition, and highlight contact centres as a career of choice, thereby setting the scene for a bright and successful career trajectory for newcomers.
Shaping a Progressive Contact Centre Industry
As 'Ruby Speaking' continues to ignite conversations about contact centre’s realities, let us also remember the opportunities that await those who dare to change the narrative. Together with GROW, let's redefine the contact centre experience. To learn more about the GROW programme, visit the dedicated page on our website here, or explore the digital flipbook below.
At the end of the day, it is not just about ringing phones and making sales. It's about empathetic communication, a supportive environment, and most importantly, people who are prepared and eager to make a difference. And that's precisely the kind of readiness and professionalism that GROW intends to foster.
Ruby Speaking reminds us once again of the pivotal role that recruitment and training play in shaping a progressive contact centre industry. The future of the industry is here. Let's GROW with it.
*image credit ITVX