Call Centre Operator
Information about Ben Dixon
"I could have ended up selling kitchens or loans so, instead, to be part of an ethical company, providing services that really help people and the environment, means an awful lot.
I’m Ben Dixon, and I work in the call centre of Enact Energy.
We’re involved with a number of different energy efficiency projects. My job is mainly to deal with telephone calls from and to people with enquiries about our schemes. I’m also given other interesting tasks though, such as developing our procedures and researching new directions for Enact to explore.
The environment now plays a huge part in global politics and current affairs, and I take a massive interest in all the things that our company is about. I think this thirst for new knowledge has helped me a lot in developing within my role.
I enjoy getting stuck into new things that have a lot of meaning to people – renewable energy has a big impact on the environment and people’s lives so, to me, it’s very meaningful work. I particularly like carrying out research and putting together reports for my colleagues.
I also appreciate that there’s scope for me to advance my position here.
Tell us about your job – where do you work and what do you do?I work in the call centre of Enact Energy, a company that's involved with domestic and commercial energy efficiency projects - we work with a number of local authorities and large retailers that are household names! Most of these projects involve the use of funding - from government and utility companies - to help people improve their energy efficiency, in the form of insulation or renewable energy schemes. The main element of my job is to accept phone calls, dealing with customers and contractors on a day-to-day basis. However, because of the close-knit and relaxed nature of the company, I'm given other challenges to deal with. These range from developing the call centre's processes and procedures to researching new areas for Enact to explore.
What inspired you to do what you do? How did you get into it, did you have a plan?There was no plan when I came to Enact. I applied for the job because I’d recently moved to the area and needed to work somewhere. In hindsight, I think I’m very lucky; I could have ended up selling kitchens or loans so, instead, to be part of an ethical company providing services that really help people and the environment means an awful lot.
Why is your job meaningful? Both to you personally, and in how it benefits the wider world in terms of climate change and other environmental challenges.Working for Enact means working for a successful and established company; one that's not only at the forefront of an industry on the cutting edge of current affairs, but also one that has won numerous awards for the work it’s doing. Anyone who can be a part of that should draw some pride from it. If every company operated with the same core values that we try to uphold, then saving the world from potentially damaging climate change would seem a good few steps closer.
Many jobs in this sector are very new, how long has your job existed?Enact has actually been around over 13 years, and the requirement for dedicated call centre staff has existed for most of that time (although I've been here for just under 2 years).
What personal qualities do you think have got you where you are today?It's true to say that you don’t need to be a genius to handle the daily tasks of the call centre - I was given all the necessary training on the computer systems that we use when I started. The ethic of the call centre is fairly relaxed, so there’s plenty of scope to develop skills in your own time, with no pressure to sell a product. However, there is a lot to know about the projects - information that the customers find useful. Therefore, it’s important to be open to new knowledge regarding energy-saving products that are good for both the environment and for people’s homes and bank balances alike.
I have to be ready to learn, to take on information, and to use it in such a way that anybody phoning with an enquiry goes away wiser for the experience - or applies to the scheme that they were enquiring about.
What are the essential skills for your job?Excellent communication skills, plus a bright and polite telephone manner.
A good standard of computer literacy and keyboard skills (experience of the Microsoft Office package is helpful too).
The ability and desire to learn about the new technology that will play a major role in shaping the future of energy.
What qualifications do you have? Are these typical for people in your role?I have 9 GCSEs at grade A-C. I left college before finishing my A-levels, but obtained A/S levels in History, Geography and Government & Politics.
What do you think most helped you get where you are now?What’s helped me to develop within my current role most of all is having a thirst for new knowledge, and taking a massive interest in the things that our company is all about. That not only includes renewable energy, the environment and climate change, it stretches as far as global politics and current affairs - in which the environment is now a huge factor.
Showing an interest in what you are doing, and wanting to learn more, will prove to your employers that you're eager to excel in the long term!
Please describe a typical working dayI either arrive at 08:00 or 09:45, depending on which shift I'm working. The first thing I do is go online and check for any contract opportunities that the company might be interested in. Over the time I've worked here I’ve built up a list of different sources that may provide work for Enact, and every day I check to see what’s new. Next, I'll deal with any emails and online applications to our schemes that have been received during the past 24 hours. Then I'll make calls to customers who need to be contacted for further information or to inform them of what’s going on with the service. All the while, I'll be taking incoming calls from customers who would either like to make a new application or query an existing one. I may also be dealing with any number of research tasks to assist the Project Development Coordinator. As these will frequently be passed to managers and directors, it’s important to be thorough - but, because every task is different, it’s really interesting (it can mean grabbing information from the local council, or from someone on the other side of the world!).
What do you enjoy most and least about what you do?I most enjoy getting stuck into new things that have a lot of meaning to people. Renewable energy has a big impact on the environment and on people’s lives, so it's carrying out research and putting together reports that I like the most.
Understandably, the call centre can become a little repetitive at times; it's these periods that I enjoy the least.
What kind of people do you meet through your work or do you work alone?From installers to customers, and colleagues to outside agencies (such as the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency), there's a huge range of people to deal with - by phone and email - every day.
The only people I get to see in person on a daily basis are my work mates - but it’s a great atmosphere in the office here, so that’s no problem!
Do you feel well paid for what you do, or is it not about the money?The wages at my level are basic. However, there is scope to advance here, and I’m satisfied with that. Also, there's more to the job than earning money; like being a working part in a machine that's designed to help combat climate change and improve people’s lives - not to sell them rubbish!
Finally, what do you know now about jobs, careers and the future that you wish you’d known when you were at school?Whilst qualifications like GCSEs are very important, they are not the be all and end all. It's just as important to go into the workplace with the right attitude, and a desire to take on the information required to perform like a professional - and all you really need to achieve that is enthusiasm.
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