Mental health is a difficult subject in customer service. In an often-stressful environment it’s a big concern, how do you make a difference?

When someone phones Westgate for IT support because they’re having problems with their workstation, they are already frustrated, and that frustration can spill over on to the person answering the call. We don’t often get phone calls where the client is bouncing with joy because their workstation won’t boot up. But we do get a lot of thanks, daily, in the form or glowing reviews or in the case of one of our clients (Nici) a telephone message that literally made my month! 

Our frontline engineers who take the initial call are generally in this role for a few years until they gain experience and move up to more technical things. We go to great pains to train them up, with particular focus on customer service.  Our NCF team (Non-Client Facing) deals with the alerts, monitoring and simple change issues, this is a perfect starting point for junior engineers.  Once they can do these duties following procedure and without issue, we move them gently into the role of 1st Line. Initially they are not allowed to take incoming calls, they make outgoing calls to the client, this way they can control the conversation and can research the issue beforehand. This builds their confidence and their experience on the telephone. BTW even experienced engineers that start with us join this team for a while.

I was approached by a member of the frontline team a few months after he joined, he wanted to let me know that he’s been suffering from depression and anxiety and that the medication he was taking may have an adverse effect. I wish I could say I’m the most understanding boss in the world, I’m not, I’m human like everyone else. I didn’t really know how to react to this, so I just listened and made a few suggestions along the lines of, “Take time out when you need to”, “My door is always open” general clichés. I was worried that the position he was in could be very stressful and add to his problems.

Imagine my delight when I received the email below, this is honestly not made up and it’s our clients that made this possible, so thank you!

 “Good Morning Nigel,

I said the same to Rich earlier this morning but if you remember about 3 or so months into when I started working here I let you know that I had been suffering with anxiety and depression for a long time, 

However, I have found working here has made me much better and it feels nice to be good at something and get good responses (not just me but all the staff) from our fantastic clients on a daily basis, to the point where I will be coming off my medication soon as I don’t think I need it anymore,

I know there are others in the company that feel the same way,

I just wanted to say thank you for giving me the chance”

Published: 20th November 2019
Mental health at work