Working at Sofology since February 2002, Chris Mckay has seen the company grow and evolve, adapting and advancing year on year. We sat down with Chris to discuss his journey, where he began with Sofology to his position as Direct Sales Call Centre Manager. Read on to find out more.
Can you tell us a little about your role at Sofology?
I’ve worked at Sofology for 17 years and 2 months. My first day was as a salesman for CSL, as Sofology was called back then, in the Speke store back in February 2002; after nearly 2 years on the sales floor, I was promoted to Store Manager. I subsequently went on to manage Speke, Chester, Warrington and Manchester stores for the next 7 years. I had some fantastic times as a manager in these stores, and cut my managerial teeth there amongst an amazing team of store managers in the region. When the opportunity came in 2009 to help set up a brand new department in Direct Sales with Stephen Hartley, I couldn’t have been more excited (I was only meant to there for 2 weeks). Some people were skeptical of the idea that customers would want to place orders over the phone, but 7 years on and this department has grown massively, expanding from 12 to 40 members, and I couldn’t be more proud of what we have all achieved together.
What has progression looked like for you?
Progression for me has been a process of gaining more business knowledge, as well as focussing on my personal development. I’ve also focussed on having my professional profile raised within other departments, as well as putting myself out there to other stakeholders in the business, developing my knowledge and expertise.
What attracted you to the role?
Initially, the potential earnings in sales some years ago were one of the main reasons why I was attracted to the role, but this has gradually grown to something much deeper; the sense of being part of a winning team and working for a brand of choice like Sofology is the main driver in my career now.
My role as call centre manager is implementing the strategic objectives set by the senior team and, of equal importance, looking after my team. Keeping engagement levels high and developing individuals to maximise their potential is at the forefront of everything I do.
How has your work at Sofology felt different to other companies you have worked for previously?
Having worked at Sofology for such a long period of time, I’ve been involved in a number of different departments and, as such, the biggest things that stand out for me are the progressive nature of the business and the family feel in every area of the company.
Recognition is a big part of Sofology, and for me recognition is pretty basic. I believe that a quick acknowledgement or small recognition of hard work is good enough.I believe that recognition, no matter how small, breeds employee engagement, which then drives performance.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Sofology?
It’s the people who work at Sofology that make this company so special. We have a very diverse range of people working here, and that’s what makes it such an amazing place to work. I love how everyone comes together to make Sofology an amazing company as a whole, as well as how close everyone is on a departmental level.
Further, the Sofology values (Committed, Caring, Trusted, Progressive, Fun and Exceptional) are one of the best things about working here. However, I believe they are inherent values that should be ingrained in everyone both inside and outside of the workplace. If these values are part of your own core values (which they are for me), then you’re already well on the way to being successful.
What’s the most encouraging thing about work at the moment?
The most encouraging thing about work at the moment is our CEO Sally Hopson’s mission for Sofology to be the No.1 in the Times best companies to work for. The changes and improvements that Sally is making on a day-to-day level as well as long term plans makes this current period in the company’s history very exciting.
I also love the wealth of benefits that we can use whilst working here. The most recent benefit I used was a discount on booking a holiday cottage for myself and family, through the rewards gateway. It’s just one of the brilliant ways Sofologists are rewarded for their hard work, offering them a multitude of discounts on purchases they make.
How do you help every customer to feel at home on a sofa they love?
In direct we incorporate inbound sales, webchat and outbound, and the majority of customers we connect with are pre-order, which means the kind of conversations we have with these customers revolves around asking questions and finding out how a customer lives their lives on the furniture; finding out what makes them comfortable on a sofa they love.
This is a big part of getting it right for the customer, and it helps to create recommendations and repeat business.
What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do?
The most rewarding thing about what I do is developing people, watching them progress and hitting their personal goals. I get a good feeling every time I see someone succeeding in their role, progressing in the business and developing professional and personal aspects of their lives. It gives me a real buzz knowing that I’ve made an impact not only on our customer’s lives, but also on the lives of my fellow Sofologists.