Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

How a Contact Center Rep Worked His Way Up to a Leadership Role

Steven Gibbs, a production supervisor at AWL
Steven Gibbs, a production supervisor at AWL.
| Courtesy of AWL

As a self-described people person, Steven Gibbs was made to work in a customer service-related role. “I have always loved helping someone solve a problem, find what they are looking for, or provide them with a needed service,” he says.

After spending time in the hospitality and retail industries—where, he says, “my favorite part was trying to please customers as best I could”—Gibbs joined All Webs Lead (AWL) as a contact center representative.

“When I was on the phone with customers on a regular basis, I would often marvel at the fact that I was getting paid to help people fulfill their insurance needs,” he says of his first role at AWL.

Since joining the company more than seven years ago, he’s been promoted a number of times, most recently to a production supervisor. In his current role, he says, “I’m in charge of making sure we meet our quarterly metric targets and guaranteeing everything operates smoothly and correctly on a daily basis.”

Here, Gibbs talks about AWL’s approach to internal mobility, why multitasking and flexibility are key to his success, and how he spends his weekend mornings.

What initially attracted you to apply for a position at AWL, and what’s kept you there for more than seven years?

I applied to AWL not only to pursue a customer service-related position, but also because the ability to work from home was extremely desirable and beneficial. I had a friend who worked here at the time, and he thought the job would be a good fit. Thankfully I was hired and began training to be a contact center representative (CCR).

There are many reasons I have stayed with AWL over the years. The pay and benefits are some of the best in the industry. They have also been very supportive of me, both personally and professionally, and I have been recognized for my merits and accomplishments. AWL is as much a home as it is a job and my coworkers are essentially family to me.

How does AWL encourage employees to grow in their careers?

AWL encourages internal employee growth right from the start. CEO Bill Daniel gives contact center trainees an encouraging speech about the many opportunities available to them. He makes it clear that AWL loves to hire from within, and that trainees can advance as far as their hard work and dedication dictates.

When I was a CCR, I was urged to apply to any open positions that I felt I might qualify for. Throughout my career here, I have received nothing but support along the way. I am living proof you can go from being an entry-level employee to a member of the contact center leadership. Many of my employees have gone on to be insurance agents and leads in other departments. AWL is a meritocracy, so you can do anything you want to, as long as you are willing to work for it.

What has been your career trajectory since joining AWL?

After a few months of performing well as a CCR, I was selected to be an assistant trainer, which is a reward for displaying exemplary skills as an employee, both on and off the phone. I enjoyed being able to teach prospective new hires all they needed to know to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. I was then chosen to become a team lead, and was responsible for overseeing a team of about 30 to 35 CCRs. I helped them with call procedures and quality, and was available if they needed support. I was recently promoted to my current position of production supervisor.

What are you responsible for as a production supervisor?

I am responsible for running one of the four teams in the contact center, overseeing around 140 CCRs and five team leads. I handle scheduling, identify those deserving of merit increases and promotions, manage payroll and time off, handle consumer complaints, work with trainees, and make sure the team maintains a high quality of calls.

What skills are necessary to succeed in your role and why?

Multitasking is crucial for success in my role. I must be patient and understanding as well. I have 145 or so people that work for me, each one with individual wants and needs and their own way of navigating through the world. It’s important that I understand this when dealing with them. We are a tech-based company, so being computer savvy is also key. Finally, being flexible is crucial to what I do. I have done a few different things at AWL, and I am always ready to take on new challenges at a moment’s notice.

What is your favorite employee perk or benefit?

I love that we get all kinds of gifts just because, such as T-shirts, hats, mugs, and the like. We often do incentives for CCRs, where they can earn Amazon gift cards. (I have received my fair share of those over the years.) AWL sponsors great employee events, such as renting out a water park, so employees can have a fun day with their families. We also do leadership team building activities, like escape rooms and bowling.

What’s one thing most people would be surprised to find out about you?

I am pretty much an open book, but many of my coworkers might be surprised to know I am an avid sports fan. Soccer is my favorite sport, and I’ve supported Manchester since I was a child. I even play Fantasy Premier League soccer, so my early weekend mornings are spent glued to the television watching European soccer matches.

I also root for the Houston Rockets, Texans, and Astros, along with the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. Given my current location, I am a die-hard University of Texas Longhorn’s fan as well!

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

I love tabletop role playing games. I not only play Dungeons and Dragons, but I also create and run my own adventures. I also possess a particular fondness for science fiction or fantasy-related television shows and movies. And I have been known to play a video game or two when time permits.