A day in the life of a service centre worker

Working in
a service centre is not just about answering the phone, writes Caroline Horn.
She looks at a typical day of Andy Warren, an employee at one of PwC’s service
centres.

Andy
Warren, 38 years old, has been working at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ service
centre in Potters Bar since April, after spending 17 years following a career
in life assurance administration. His career included a period as an HR
officer, which gave him a taste for the role. "I enjoyed dealing with
people’s day-to-day problems and sorting them out. It gave me enough of a feel
for HR to realise that was what I wanted to do," he says.

As
HR administrator in Business Process Outsourcing for Equifax at PwC’s service
centre, Warren can combine both sets of experience. He says, "It is
difficult to get into HR without experience, but PwC was interested in the work
I had done in HR, as well as my administrative skills." He has a second
title, too, as employee service associate for PwC.

Warren’s
initial training included three weeks handling the day-to-day functions at
Equifax in Bradford, before returning to Potters Bar to start learning on the
job. His administrative duties can vary from dealing with recruitment to
dealing with queries about a person’s official grade or holiday entitlement.
Onsite advisers for Equifax deal with any personnel issues.

What
makes the job interesting, says Warren, is "dealing with people – helping
them to make their working life easier and their working environment
better." The centre handles customer telephone calls from 8.30am to 6pm,
although Warren works an 8.30am to 5pm shift. At busy times, four or five
people are needed to respond to queries while quieter times mean that just two
or three people are needed.

A
lot of queries, however, can be processed via email. "That makes the
working environment very quiet, especially as – like most people – I am used to
hundreds of phones ringing in the background," he comments. He describes
the environment at the service centre as pleasant and, surprisingly, fairly
quiet because so many queries are handled electronically.

As
well as everyday issues such as recruitment queries, the division has ongoing
work providing information for references, sourcing references or issuing
reports to the customers detailing total staff numbers, upcoming staff
anniversaries etc. The centre also deals with training administration for
Equifax, including setting up courses, bookings etc.

About
four people in the team cover training and two cover administration issues.
While most employees will focus on their specialist areas, Warren says,
"We need to be able to deal with multiskilling because there are times
when you will need to cover for other people."

He
adds, "Outsourcing is still a fairly new concept and in career terms, it
is very new. What excites me with the way things are going is that I can carry
on dealing with the administrative side, while also looking towards my future
in HR." Eventually, he says, he would like to work more personnel work
although for now he is enjoying dealing with administration for HR.

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