The one thing I have been asked most frequently is the secret to grow in callcenter industry. To get an answer to this I got an opportunity to interact with Sean Hawkins. Sean Hawkins is a Customer Experience and Contact Center expert with over 15 years of call center experience. In that time, he’s worked in numerous roles in the public, private and government sectors.
His many years in contact center leadership have provided a solid understanding of the call center environment. Sean has a terrific pulse on incorporating innovation into the contact center. He’s implemented social, outsourcing partners, new technology, and new products, while maintaining an award-winning contact center.
Let’s know Sean a little better and see what advice he has for us to excel in this field.
How did you come to join call center industry?
After discharging from the US Navy, I worked in an auto plant and went to school. After graduation, I had the chance to work for a company in Stockton, CA. as a one man IT department/Support Team. I was under qualified, uncertain of myself and deathly afraid of making mistakes. It was an amazing experience!
It is said that it is difficult to grow in call center field, what has been your experience?
I would disagree. Growth and advancement abound in the contact center. I think leadership has to do a better job of professional development with their staff and helping them create a career path. Lack of growth is generally due to these reasons.
When and how did you get your first promotion?
My first promotion occurred a few months after I started in my first call center back in 2000. I was promoted to a Technical Lead responsible for taking escalations from our Tier 1 team.
What are the 5 essential skills that one must have to make a successful career in call center?
That can vary based on the call center you are in, and what you are supporting. I’d say the most important are a high EQ, an ability to understand data, understand basic metrics, a great work ethic, and love for the job.
What terms/matrices should be known to all successful call center professionals?
Well, there are so many terms and matrices, to try to remember them all could be quite difficult. Furthermore not all are used in any given center. I’d say first learn what is used in your current center. There are some common metrics such as CSAT, Handle Time, Custom Effort, Score, Net Promoter Score, TSF, and ASF that are certainly worth knowing.
Who have been your inspiration/mentors and what key lessons did you learn from them?
I’ve had many in my career from Joyce Nyhaug, Erie Luces, Sarah Stealey-Reed, and John Tedesco. From a personal standpoint, my wife (Yvette Hawkins), parents, grandparents, and in-laws have influenced and inspired me as well.
I’ve learned that effort, determination, aspiration, a thirst for learning, and kindness will take you very far in life.
That is a blog I created with Jeremiah Methvin and Brooks Webb. We had a desire to provide a forum for call center agents and managers to share their stories, offer their advise. So often it is the those on the front lines who are responsible for successes, but they rarely have opportunity to receive recognition. The blog was a way to give voice to the front line staff.
What other resources do you recommend for people in the field of contact center?
There are organization such as ICMI, CCNG, HDI that specialize in contact center training. If possible, attend conferences, seminars, and webinars. I’d also take advantage of social media. Connect with people, companies and organizations and begin to engage them.
What advice do you have for call center professionals who feel that they are stuck in a single profile?
I’d encourage them to seek out mentors, ask questions, and find resources to help you. There are so many opportunities available to you