Award-winning call center manager Elaine Leong shares her secret to success.
Contributed By Wilson Lim
|PHOTO COURTESY OF ELAINE LEONG|
“How may I help you?” is a common refrain heard when people call the customer service hotline. Hearing this line, many hope that the hotline personnel can resolve their issues in a genie-like manner. While stories from the customers’ perspective, both good and bad have been told time and time again, it is rare to hear the service provider’s side of the story. These “genies” located in call contact centers face a staggering volume of thousands of calls every single day; one can only imagine the immense pressure that results from the sheer volume of calls and the various difficult situations waiting for them to resolve.
Perhaps, adversity does bring out the best in people. City News speaks to Elaine Leong, 32, a service quality manager in a well-known bank, who is not only at the forefront of excellence in this demanding line, but also attaining success in the midst of her wedding preparations.
Leong has always been interested in the finance industry. With a bachelor’s degree of commerce in marketing and finance and after a stint in GE Money, she was head-hunted by her current employer of two years. An opportunity to learn about the operations in a bank was what motivated her to take up the job.
Her typical day in the call center is fully-packed. She has to ensure the key performance indicators are maintained. “I have to conduct training, review the calls and monitor their quality, pulse customers’ level of satisfaction through surveys, support audits as well as being involved in projects that enhance and improve the call centre’s operations,” Leong says. The demands on her as a manager is tremendous as she has to be “passionate about service quality, be customer-orientated and focused in meeting the KPIs collectively as a team.”
As a testament of her commitment to excellence, she was recently presented with the Best Contact Centre Champion of the Year (Under 100 Seats) Individual Gold Award by the Contact Centre Association of Singapore during the International Contact Centre Awards 2010. All nominees had to undergo a rigorous judging process by an international panel of three judges comprising professionals in the field. As part of the assessment, the panel visited each participating contact centre, increasing the intense atmosphere in a hectic place.
So, what are the ingredients of her success? Leong attributes it to “planning, hard work and networking.” In addition, she relies heavily on what she believes to be the basic foundation of everything that she does. “I pray daily to God to grant me strength and wisdom to carry out my work,” Leong shares.
Wedding preparations can be both a happy and delightful, and yet frightening and stressful time for couples, especially the bride. The fact that Leong was able to juggle between the judging process and her wedding preparations makes her achievement even more amazing. To get through this challenging season, Leong shares the importance of ensuring work-life balance in five levels, “I rejuvenate my faith in God daily. I cherish my relationship and time with my husband. I do my best to maintain a harmonious relationship with my maiden family and my in-laws. I am conscientious in my work commitments, to meet all deadlines and most of all, I try to be at peace with myself.”
This seems to be the perfect recipe for Leong as she is blessed in her coming in, and going forth. She happily shares her breakthrough moments of “getting married to someone who loves God and loves me, getting a home at a really good price and being happy at work despite the challenges!”
No doubt about it, the service industry is highly challenging. But Leong maintains her positive attitude, sharing, “We cannot control or even foresee potential challenges that will come our way. Dealing with it alone is difficult, dealing with it with your team makes it bearable but letting God deal with it gives you the courage and strength to handle it.” Leong and her team, with their excellent service, sure enough allow customers to “have a pleasant day.”