Making work better: the empowering experience of being a rep

Prospect case handler Usha Bhangu is the go-to person for BT call centre managers in the East Midlands who face a problem at work.

As well as achieving change for colleagues, being a Prospect rep gives you a level of confidence, experience and knowledge that helps you as an individual.

That’s the view of Usha Bhangu, a case handler in Prospect’s BT Leicester branch, who also sits on the union’s Consumer industrial relations committee (IRC).

To encourage more members to get active, she spoke to SSR about her BT career and getting involved with Prospect.

Usha manages a team of 11 people at a Leicester call centre. Her team takes inbound calls from customers, generally repair or billing queries.

She began at BT in 1995 as a call centre advisor, and developed her career while juggling three small children and a business degree at De Montfort University, working part-time while studying.

“Becoming a manager took many years because BT wanted external candidates,” Usha says. But she was not deterred, and after persuading a human resources director to put her through the external process, landed her first management role. For seven years she led a team of 130 managers.

Usha joined Prospect after moving into management and was spurred to get more involved when she encountered a boss with no understanding of people with disabilities.

“One of my team had an ill mother and heart problems, yet I was being pressured to put to put him on a performance plan. My work ethic told me this was wrong. My attitude was to challenge upwards rather than take their steer.”

She believes her insider knowledge of call centres makes her a better rep because she understands when things won’t work. “I feel confident to challenge back and I am not afraid to ruffle feathers if needs be.

“Of course we have to meet customer demand, but we also have to make sure there is an OK work life balance for staff.

Fancy being a rep?

Just like Usha, you can gain confidence, experience and knowledge from becoming a Prospect rep.
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