On The Frontline
This is Laura Roberts; she works for our New Enquiries team at CAP. This team is responsible for receiving that first crucial call from potential clients who wish to use our service. It may be that they are suffering from debt and wish to use our free Debt Help service, or they could be calling about attending a CAP Job Club, CAP Money Course or a CAP Release Group. Laura and her team essentially act as helpline, and they speak to people in all kinds of situations.
Laura is the manager of New Enquiries and therefore spends half her time dealing with clients on the phone, and the other half managing and supporting her team, which is made up of six others. She says, ‘Ensuring a client never goes to voicemail and that they always have someone to talk to is our number one priority’.
Their job is all about compassion, and that means putting the caller first, every time. Currently, the team takes around 100 calls a day and book 30 to 40 home visits. The end goal is being able to offer a solution to everyone, and this requires CAP to keep growing. Churches across the country must continue to open CAP projects, in an attempt to give everyone an opportunity to receive help.
Each call that is answered by the New Enquiries team is different, and that makes this role very unpredictable. Laura says there is a lot of variation within the people that call, and it is not always someone calling for themselves. Laura told us that, ‘It is common that friends and family will call asking for us to help their son, or sister, or friend… these people are often more desperate and emotional than the clients themselves’.
Due to new enquiries being the first point of call for many vulnerable, desperate people, the job can be emotionally challenging at times. Laura and her team receive a lot of training so they are able to provide the best service to callers. The day is non-stop for the team and sometimes it can become intense, especially after a difficult call. ‘The team culture is key to sustaining the individual roles,’ says Laura. ‘Sometimes, one of us will take two or three minutes after a call to pray for the client and we always support each other.’ They know that what they’re doing is important and God is with them in each call.
Laura tells us that one of the most important things to do on a call is give the client time to talk, and to listen actively. ‘This may be the first time they are saying these things out loud and they can sometimes be angry and frustrated,’ she says. When the phone is answered, no judgment is made from the team at CAP and everyone puts all their efforts into focusing on the future and how that client can move forward with their life. According to Laura, ‘It is a real privilege to be the first person to take the pressure off these people and listen to their problems. Hearing the sigh of relief at the end of the call or when someone says they will “finally be able to sleep tonight” is the best part of the job’.