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Margie Middleton

Topic: New Normal Management – Lessons From The Frontline

The concept of Home Agents has been around for years and I have been a vocal advocate of the suitability of this concept for the South African context.  Who knew that a global pandemic would be the catalyst for a Proof-of-concept! 

Being in place as the newly appointed head of a small, inexperienced and under-resourced Outbound Contact Centre, here are my insights and learnings from managing at the coalface during the Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent state of disaster.

We have scrambled to set up a contingency service during lockdown; negotiated the ambiguity of ever changing regulations; scavenged for tech supplies in a world forbidden to provide stock or services and handheld a team of leaders in nurturing their frontline workers through transitioning from the over-controlled contact centre workplace to the totally unconstrained corner of their own home!  Hopefully we have learned a lot!

  • What are the lessons to be learned by the Contact Centre Industry?
  • What are the lessons to be learned by Business Owners?
  • What are the lessons to be learned by Managers?
  • What are the lessons to be learned by Trainers?
  • What do we need to do now to make a difference for the future?


For the last 30 odd years I have been actively employed in the South African Contact Centre market – in almost equal parts – as either an Employee or a Business Consultant & Trainer. 

Over the years, I have had the good fortune to gather hands on operational experience through a career progression from entry level as a Call Centre Agent through Team Leader, Manager, Executive and Director of various Corporations.

In addition to my experience of hierarchical career progression, my Consulting experience has been the source of exposure to lateral working experience across diverse industries and operational functions.  This has culminated in my having a thorough and holistic understanding of Service Operations in general and Contact Centres in particular. 

As a Service Operations specialist I bring a holistic understanding to the nuances required to achieve sustainable customer service delivery.  Customer Experience Management is my personal passion & Contact Centres my particular expertise. 

Company Profile: Nodube



Nodube is a B-BBEE Level 2 South African registered Management Consultancy specialising in providing robust solutions in Service Strategy and Customer Expectation Management.

Margie Middleton created Nodube to provide a vehicle for collaboration between a network of experienced professionals with complementary skills and expertise.

The core expertise of the members of the Nodube Professional Network is in the disciplines of Service Operations and Customer Experience Management. Each member has extensive hands-on management experience across a range of industries and in turn has their own area of specialisation.

Nodube is driven by the philosophy that in every facet of business there are things that each individual needs to KNOW, things they need to DO and things they need to BE. By understanding and integrating these three dimensions of individual competence, it is possible to create a collaborative and accountable culture in any organisation.

With cooperation and collaboration underpinning the Nodube Operating Model, each project undertaken by Nodube is in partnership with business owners and both internal and external subject matter experts. This ensures that the unique context of the client organisation and existing institutional knowledge are built into the planning of the improvement initiative to ensure sustainability.