The Silver Lining

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Capita Customer Management 24th April 2017 3 minute read

The Silver Lining

If contact centre agents want to help the community, what’s the best way of using their skills to do it? Ricky Alfred, head of our CSR team, has a clever solution for what might be the ultimate volunteering project for agents.

“Like a lot of companies, Capita believes in giving people time off to volunteer. The challenge we have is that a lot of our people are on the phone, and need to be on the phone to deliver the contracts we have. And it’s also where their skills lie.

We wanted to find a way to help our people support something they cared about, that was accessible to everyone, would have a positive local and societal impact, and would put those special skills to use. A project that would be beneficial for everybody, where the business gets something out of it too because our people are practising the very skills that make them so valuable to our clients.

So we went out searching for what we could do on the phone, and we happened on The Silver Line.  

In the UK we have an ageing population; not just an ageing population but one that’s becoming ever more isolated. That’s not through anybody’s fault, it’s just the nature of the beast.

The Silver Line is a charity started by Dame Esther Rantzen in 2012. It’s a friendship service that offers a helpline to older people in danger of becoming isolated and lonely and, basically, just chats to them.

We thought that was perfect. It involves all the skills our people use – empathy, active listening, relationship building.

So we’ve launched a pilot, and identified our first volunteers from a couple of retail clients, as we thought part of this older demographic might already feature among their shoppers. 

Once a week our guys will make an outbound call of 20 to 25 minutes with an elderly person suggested by The Silver Line, just to have a chat and to ease that sense of loneliness. 

The business benefits because our people have a chance to hone those empathetic phone skills and practise relationship building in a different way. At the same time we can help tackle the increasingly important societal issue of isolation. It all comes together in a really nice package!”

To read the full interview with Ricky Alfred in the April 2017 edition of Intelligence, go to our Intelligence report hub here.

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