Call-Center-Inside-View-Feature
Illustration by Nicolas Vicent

Comic book legend Stan Lee described a superhero as someone who possesses an exceptional power and uses it to accomplish good deeds. While Lee’s characters may have been fictional, in the contact center world, super agents do exist.

Just ask the management team at Listen Up Español (LUE), a bilingual call center for Spanish and English agent services. As customer feedback and performance records attest, frontline sales agent Manuel Felix embodies the key traits of a super agent—motivation, self-reliance, a sense of responsibility and a fighting spirit. Felix, who works in LUE’s contact center in Hermosillo, Mexico, was recognized for his efforts earlier this year with a 2015 Gold Stevie Award for Sales & Customer Service in the Contact Center Professional of the Year category.

MANUEL FELIX WITH THE GOLD STEVIE AWARD AT THE 2015 AWARDS BANQUET
MANUEL FELIX HOLDING GOLD STEVIE AWARD AT THE 2015 AWARDS BANQUET
For Felix, winning the Gold Stevie Award was one of his proudest moments. In fact, he has assembled an impressive list of achievements since joining LUE in September 2012. Felix earned the contact center’s “Agente Awesomeness” (Awesomeness Agent) award for four consecutive months (May 2014 through August 2014). It was an unprecedented accomplishment at the center, but a well-deserved one: Felix smashed his personal goals for call volume—which jumped from 59 to 489 calls per week (between June 2013 and November 2014). His add-on sales also skyrocketed from 13 to 151 per month (number of memberships sold).

A COMMITMENT TO LEARNING

Felix’s notable rise from new-hire to award-winning super agent took place in an incredibly short timespan. From the start, his supervisor remarked on his commitment to learning and applying the knowledge that he gained.

LUE Contact Center Supervisor Julio Ortega knows what it takes to be a top-performer, and he recognizes those traits in Felix. Ortega is also a former Gold Stevie Award recipient, winning the 2014 Gold Stevie Award in the Young Customer Service Professional category.

“Felix is driven to continuously learn about sales procedures,” Ortega says. “He constantly establishes new goals to accomplish for himself so that he is always learning and growing.”

Ortega recalls that Felix’s commitment to learning and development was revealed early on as a new trainee. In Felix’s first live call with a customer, Ortega listened in so that he could offer coaching and feedback. Ortega recalled that it was a complicated call with a reluctant customer. The call lasted for 25 minutes, but Felix persisted and put his training to work. He performed so well that the call was later used as an example in LUE’s training class so that new agents could learn from Felix’s call-handling technique.

A GOAL-ORIENTED ATTITUDE

For his part, Felix largely credits his achievements to the encouragement and support he has received from LUE management. He believes that one of the keys to consistently achieving—and exceeding—high performance objectives is active listening, whether during training and coaching sessions with his supervisor or while on the phone with customers.

Having a goal-oriented attitude is another contributor to his success. Felix brings to his role the mindset that it is critical for individuals to establish their own objectives for personal and professional growth, as well as meeting the company’s goals.

Add to that a highly competitive nature for a win-win-win combination in a frontline customer service and sales professional. Felix says that what he enjoys most about his job is striving to exceed his own performance goals, as well as competing against his peers in the center’s various sales contests. Friendly competition is encouraged at LUE, where one of the core values is “Achieving the Impossible.” LUE’s core values make up the company’s Code of Awesomeness, which includes principles like: Being true to ourselves and true to others; Living life as an extreme sport; Growing brain cells; and Going beyond ourselves (for more about LUE’s culture, see “Keeping Core Values Top of Mind,” Pipeline, January 2015).

A CHALLENGING, BUT SATISFYING JOB

All the while Felix was learning and growing his skills at LUE, he was simultaneously working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration, which he has now achieved. Balancing work and school was a challenge, he says, but applying time-management skills coupled with the ambition to succeed helped him to reach his goals.

But whether he is competing in contests or crushing a performance goal, Felix says that the main focus always should be to provide a quality experience for clients. “I’ve had good days and bad days, but the key is to be always positive and professional, and pay attention to the client’s needs,” he says, adding that it’s often the act of resolving a client’s issues that can put things in perspective. For instance, his most memorable interaction was one in which he was able to assist a caller who was coping with cancer treatment to select and purchase the right juicer to help her meet her nutritional requirements. The customer was so appreciative of the time and attention that Felix paid to her needs, she later called back to thank him.

A STRONG DESIRE TO BE THE BEST

Felix doesn’t believe in being complacent and resting on past accomplishments. He strives continuously to set higher targets for himself. As Felix’s supervisor, Ortega appreciates his drive and ambition. “His excellent work ethic is based on his competitive nature and being the best in his job,” Ortega says. “He really enjoys participating in contests. When there isn’t a formal one, he will create a friendly competition with a co-worker to reach a goal, which helps them both to achieve higher performance.”

Felix agrees that one of his personal strengths is establishing very clear objectives and then setting tasks to accomplish them every day. His advice to other frontline agents? “Be consistent and have the desire to accomplish your goals,” he says.

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