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The Categories & Criteria - Christine Allenson

Our Head Judge Christine Allenson explains how the categories and criteria have been revamped for 2020. Nominations close 5pm 31 July.

The North East contact centre awards have been refreshed for 2020, with a new judging panel made up of operational leaders within the contact centre industry. We have a core panel of five, but we will also be supported in the judging process by around a further 20 operational leaders from within your organizations.

As part of our refresh, we have updated the categories to make sure they are relevant for today's contact centre world and have tried to include a category to give everyone the opportunity to be recognized.

As a judging panel, we are conscious that contact centres are operating in very difficult circumstances at the moment. We are aware of some amazing stories of individuals and businesses adapting and changing how they operate - in some cases literally overnight! We have made the application process as simple and as easy as possible and added in a category for you to recognize people's efforts in keeping businesses running and looking after colleagues and customers during COVID. This article will explain a little bit more about these changes and how we will be adjusting the judging.

What are the categories?

We have a total of 19 awards this year, split into nine individual awards. Previously the national awards started at only team levels, but we felt it was important to get down to that level of detail where you can recognise some of the individual superstars within your organization. So, this year we have nine awards for individuals, four awards for teams and six for or at organizational level.

You can find the full categories and criteria on the Categories page of the website. I would encourage you to look at these before deciding which category to enter.

For all categories, we are looking for you to tell us what you've done, how you've done it and what impact that has had on what you have achieved against four key areas. These areas are your colleagues, your customers, your company performance, and your conduct - which is how you have gone about doing it.

There are four team categories, the best team: for the customer, the colleague, the company, and the community. We've added the community team in there, because we are aware of some of the great work that companies do within the community, and we felt it was important to recognize that.

The first three organizational awards are crucially important to recognise what you've done during the crisis. will recognise the incredible work that has taken place during the crisis. Most Effective Employee Engagement will recognise the hard work of organisations to keep their people engaged during a difficult time with the shift to remote working. The Business Continuity and Innovation Award will recognise the lengths an organisation has gone to to keep operating and providing a great service to the customer whilst safe guarding and protecting their people, whilst the Outsourcing Provider of the Year recognises how outsourcers have stepped up to the mark to help businesses run when their staff have had to isolate and they haven't had sufficient people there to answer the telephones.

Then we have the prestigious awards, which are the three overall contact centre awards, split into small, medium and large sizes [Under 50 seats, 50-250 seats, over 250 seats].

How has it been made simpler?

Speaking from experience of submitting entries myself, I know how time consuming this can be. So, in the interest of making the application process simple and easy, we have limited the word count on each section of the entry form to a maximum of 200 words. We mainly want you to tell us why we should want to put you through to the next stage of the judging process. Our emphasis in looking at the categories, looking at the application process and looking at the judging, has been how can we make it as simple and as easy as possible. You are all dealing with so much at the moment. Now, more than ever, we should be recognizing people and our focus has been on making that as easy as possible for you.

What is the judging process and what changes have been made for COVID-19?

After the nomination deadline of 31 July, the judges will review applications and create a shortlist for each category to carry through to the next stage. The shortlist will be announced on the 21st of September, and then the next phase of judging will begin.

For the Individual Star Awards there will be a personal interview lasting no more than 60 minutes with two judges. One will be asking the questions and one will be taking notes to make sure that we don’t miss any of the information that you might give us.

For the four Team of the Year Awards as well as the Business Continuity & Innovation, Most Effective Employee Engagement and Outsourcing Provider Awards, shortlisted nominees will deliver a panel presentation to the judges. The presentation will last for 20 minutes and that will be followed by a Q&A session of up to 20 minutes. There will be a maximum of four judges depending on the category.

The judging of the three Contact Centre of the Year Awards would usually involve a site visit, but because of the circumstances these are going to be done on a virtual basis by two judges. It will last no more than two hours; this is your opportunity to bring to life why you should be crowned the overall North East Contact Centre of the Year.

All judging will be conducted virtually via zoom, that means there is no travel into a venue for your interview or for your presentation. You'll all be able to do this from the comfort of your office or your home, and you can have as many of your team dialling in as you wish, if you want them all to be part of the presentation. Again, we have made it as simple and easy as possible for you to make a nomination and recognise your people.

We have new categories; we have a broad judging panel of industry experts; we have a simplified shortened application form; and we have an easier virtual judging process that will be transparent and will provide consistency. So, you know if you are crowned that overall winner, you absolutely deserve that award. Our aim has been to make this simple and as easy as possible for you all to enter and recognize your people and achievements, which this year is more important than ever.

Nominations close at 5pm on 31 July. You can view the categories & criteria and download the toolkit here.

If you have any questions at all during the nomination or judging process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team:

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