Brighton & Hove Albion has scooped a gold award at the European Contact Centre and Customer Service awards (ECCCSAs).
Highly regarded for its robust judging process, the ECCCSAs recognise organisations across Europe that are leading the way in delivering exceptional service to customers, likewise awarding those that value their people, continually innovate to improve the customer experience, and operate efficiently and effectively.
With entries from 26 countries competing across 36 categories, the ECCCSAs celebrated its biggest ever awards evening on Tuesday night, with over 2000 people attending the virtual event.
A large group of industry professionals volunteered hours of their time to judge the finalists, led by industry ambassador Ann-Marie Stagg as chair of the judges, and Albion took gold in the Giving Something Back category.
The award was given in recognition of club's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, namely the 4,500 plus calls made by more than 80 members of staff – including owner and chairman Tony Bloom and head coach Graham Potter – and mainly to our elderly, disabled and vulnerable supporters during the first lockdown.
“We are proud and honoured to win this award,” said Sarah Gould, the club's supporter services manager. “The important thing was always that we were able to connect with and help our supporters at a difficult time, but it’s great to see this team effort recognised with the award.
“So many people at the club were involved so we really feel we share this success.”
Incredibly, over 1000 calls were made by Jo Goddard, our North Stand receptionist, who found great solace in making contact with our fans at such a difficult and worrying time.
“I was concerned about our fans,” she said. “Like members of my own family, many were on their own and once you made the call, it was like opening a door for the first time – you didn’t know what was behind it.
“If I found supporters in desperate need, then I would pass on the message to our supporter services team, while others were just happy to chat – it made their day having someone to speak to and I took plenty from the calls too.
“I’d speak to people on a host of subjects, from oven cleaning and planting geraniums, to which Harveys beer is best and local environmental issues.
“I’m a born and bred Brightonian so I have a real connection with the fans and our city. I was only too happy to play my part and it taught me that, despite the awful situation brought about by the pandemic, our fans really are a nice and friendly bunch.”
On announcing the award, the judging panel said: ‘The Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club team spirit and focus on vulnerable fans was innovative, creative, caring, community-based and exposed the contact centre activity to the rest of the club.
‘Since the fans saved the club, it was apparent that fans have always come first. And so, at a time where income was at zero, all members of the club, from the CEO to the groundsman, past and present players and coaching staff got involved in this campaign.
‘They have offered practical advice and help during the pandemic to those who needed it, many under financial hardship and/or emotional distress.’
One judge added, ‘I could not love this any more than I do – it’s brilliant and so are the team behind it.’