You may have seen me post a few comments on here so I thought I’d take 5 minutes to properly introduce myself and perhaps show you a little insight into life here at the Barcelona call centre. My name is Chris Cox and I am the Trainer for the UK and Dutch markets. But first, to explain my job properly, a little background of the call centre is required.
Here in the call centre (based in the World Trade Centre just overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea!), we receive calls from all across Europe. These calls are from customers wishing to get a quote, book or ask questions about booking car hire with Avis. We have teams that represent 12 European markets and we offer native speakers in the following 8 languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Dutch & Czechoslovakian. There are 5 Trainers, such as myself, and we each look after 2–3 markets depending upon the languages spoken there (although I do admit, however, that I only know about 5 words in Dutch!).
“Induction groups” for new starters are the main bulk of our jobs. In the centre we all communicate in either Spanish or English but most induction groups are done in the agent’s native language. These inductions involve a 2-week training course that aims to give new starters the tools to successfully handle customer calls. Not only do they learn the computer booking system that lets them create the reservations but also the terms and conditions of rentals, the huge and varied fleet, the various markets (a rental in Dehli or Peking is quite different than in Manchester!) and also the basic soft skills (e.g. active listening, identifying the customer’s needs, explaining the often complicated jargon of car rental in simplistic terms, the type of language to use, how to handle angry or upset customers etc) that will aid them whilst on the phone.
This isn’t always the typical day for us trainers however. Depending upon the time of year we might be busy recruiting for the peak season. Or we could be training existing agents to take “overflow” calls (e.g. we train multi-lingual agents about products in other markets so that they are able to take calls for that country when it has a high call volume). We’ve also just introduced a new reservation system which has meant months of testing and a huge amount of work for an awful lot of people (us included!) but the benefits now seem to be coming to fruition.
But sometimes we need to “muck in” ourselves. When it’s really busy we might be up on the 5th floor with all the agents trying to help with any problems, taking calls ourselves or assisting the Team Leaders who never seem to have enough hours in the day either! Avis is also very committed to personal development and another part of our responsibility is delivering the sessions for our internal program of personal development called ARTE. Successful candidates attend workshops on topics like: Time Management, Coaching Skills, Leadership, Change Management, Empowerment, Presentation Skills etc. This generates a “pool” of expert agents who are always first in line when we have internal vacancies. Or we might simply be sat at our desks answering emails (or Blog questions!) working as the main point of contact for our countries, updating internal “help” material with any changes to our products or with new promotions that are launched and generally trying to keep on top of everything.
I hope this helps give you some insight into life in the call centre. And please let me know if you have any feedback about your experience on the phones with one of our agents. We’re absolutely committed to providing the best service we can so any feedback you provide to help us do better is always welcome!