O2 in Leeds has beaten off competition from all over Europe to scoop two top prizes in the European Call Centre of the Year awards, 2009.

Customer Service Director Cheryl Black, who is based at the company’s main office at the Arlington Business Centre, won the prestigious award for European Industry Champion. She was described as ‘a leader, manager, go-getter and achiever whose key objective is to deliver a customer service experience that is second to none across four contact centres and outsourced management activity in the UK.’

O2 has more than 20million customers in the UK.

Cheryl has said that her passion for customer satisfaction is driven by a sense of fair play: ‘If people are paying for something, it is only fair that they get the service they pay for. We insist that our advisors call customers by their names if we are talking about one of them. This emphasises that they are not just numbers.’

She is also determined to change the perception that working in a contact centre is a job with no future. She says she has known many people who have worked in centres and gone on to hold management positions in a whole range of areas.

Paul Elkington, Project Manager, won the award for Best Use of Technology for a Jacada Desktop system which the judges felt had delivered very strong benefits in both customer service and advisor efficiency.

The objective was to improve customer service satisfaction by reducing the handling time of calls and ‘getting it right’ first time. It was also designed to make advisors’ work simple and more interesting. Judges said both these objectives had been achieved and costs had also been reduced.

A graduate of Sheffield University, with a second degree from the University of Bradford, Paul is particularly pleased to get the award because the programme is his first major project for Telefonica O2 since he joined two years ago.

O2 picked up a number of other awards on the night. Tesco Mobile, whose customer service is based at O2’s Bury contact centre was named best centre for customer service. Leeds manager Sharon Slinn, who heads the company’s Customer Relations team, and Ian Hayhoe from Retention and Upgrades, were finalists in the Manager of the Year. And the Retention and Upgrades team were Highly Commended in the Best Improvement Strategy Award.

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