SPD offers employment and training to persons with disabilities at newly set up contact centre

Managed by industry veterans, the SPD Contact Centre aims to provide bespoke solutions to meet customers' business needs while building capability of aspiring customer service agents.

Nestled within the Enabling Village is the newly opened SPD Contact Centre. Set up in September 2022 to provide employment and training opportunities to persons with disabilities, the outsourced contact centre is managed by industry veterans who are passionate about nurturing the next generation of customer service agents. 

Eight months into its operations, the contact centre is already bustling with activities. The enthusiasm of the customer service agents permeates the room as they attend to customers’ calls and handle work assignments with diligence and professionalism.  

SPD Contact Centre team

One of them is 59-year-old Mr Mohaimin, who has low vision. The former civil servant was one of our first hires for the SPD Contact Centre. 

Mr Mohaimin working on his computer
Mr Mohaimin, who has low vision, is one of the contact centre’s first hires

His first assignment saw him calling over 200 caregivers to seek feedback for a service provider. In the list were some caregivers who could only speak Mandarin. But this was not an issue for Mr Mohaimin who speaks over five languages.  

While language is no barrier to Mr Mohaimin, what was more impressive was his ability to build a rapport with the caregivers and managing to get them to elaborate on their feedback. With the comprehensive data gleaned by the contact centre team, its customer was able to leverage these insights to enhance their services. 

Besides telesurvey, SPD Contact Centre also provides a range of services such as call and e-mail management, live chat support, appointment booking and data entry.  

A lady coaching her colleague on the contact centre's operations
The contact centre is managed by industry veterans who are passionate about imparting the industry know-hows

“We recognise that no two customers are the same. Hence, we pride ourselves in developing bespoke solutions to meet our customers’ unique business requirements,” said Head of Social Enterprise Development, Jonathan Thio, who oversees the running of the contact centre.

Building capability in the contact centre industry 

Providing customers with omni-channel solutions is but one aspect of the SPD Contact Centre. With training as its other core pillar, SPD welcomed its first two batches of trainees in the inaugural Contact Centre Induction Training Programme conducted on 4 and 18 April.  

The three-day complimentary training programme emphasised the importance of effective communication and customer service skills. Areas such as active listening and adapting to different customers and situations across communication channels were also covered. 

Ms Sharon Kow conducting the training for six participants
Training in progress

As the participants have different disabilities, ranging from physical disabilities to intellectual disabilities and vision loss, assistive technology was introduced to accommodate their learning needs. For instance, a participant with vision loss was allocated an electronic tablet with in-built zoom function to access the course materials more easily. 

Facilitating the training was team lead Ms Sharon Kow, an experienced trainer with over two decades of industry experience. To cater to participants of varying needs, learning speed and abilities, Ms Kow had to adapt her teaching methods.  

“I had shortened the course materials to bite-sized segments as some participants were unable to absorb too much at a time or did not have the stamina to sit for long hours. However, we took great effort to ensure that the rigour of the curriculum is not compromised,” shared Ms Kow. 
A group photo of the S P D Contact Centre team and the training participants
The contact centre team with the training participants

The participants were full of praise for the useful knowledge gained through the interactive and engaging training sessions. “The trainer was sincerely passionate about the training topic. As a result, she was able to impart a depth of knowledge,” a participant commented.

Heartened by the participants’ enthusiasm to learn, Ms Kow said: “I’m happy that they enjoyed and learned from the programme.”  

“My hope is that they can carve a niche for themselves in the customer service industry and make meaningful contributions according to their individual strengths.” 

This project is supported by the Enabling Lives Initiative (ELI) Grant, which is funded by Tote Board and managed by SG Enable. The grant brings together the best ideas from the community to create scalable and impactful innovations to improve the quality of lives of persons with disabilities.

The SPD Contact Centre is excited to welcome their next batch of participants for the May 2023 run of their Induction Training Programme. Write in to information@spd.org.sg to find out more.  

Employers looking to provide employment opportunities to the SPD Contact Centre trainees can visit www.spd.org.sg/spd-contact-centre for details.