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How I conquered anxiety at AO – Beth’s story

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Beth Clegg
Beth Clegg

Hi, I’m Beth and I’ve been part of AO since August 2018, when I started my AO journey as a Customer Experience Specialist within the Customer Services department.  

This was my first job since dropping out of university and I was very anxious – but excited – for a new challenge and something completely new. I’d dropped out of university after struggling with my mental health and my self confidence was still extremely low.  

I completed my training and despite having no previous contact centre experience, I had hit all of my targets and KPIs with flying colours. I loved Academy as I had never had such a warm and welcome experience when starting a business and it meant so much to me. 

The presentation

At the end of our Academy journey, but ahead of joining a core team within the contact centre, we had to do an end-of-probation presentation to the managers and that’s where my anxiety started to kick in again.  

I had to stand in front of all the managers and ATMs and talk about who I was, what I had achieved through Academy and why I was looking forward to going on to my core team.  

It only lasted for 10 minutes tops… but it felt like a lifetime. My anxiety was through the roof and as soon as I started talking, my hands began to shake, my face turned a darker shade of red and I couldn’t hold it back any longer: I burst into tears.  

One of the managers gave me a hug and asked if I wanted to take five minutes but I knew if I left the room, I would not come back in. I stuttered and sobbed my way through the rest of my presentation and practically ran out of the room once I’d finished.

Overcoming my anxiety

I promised myself that after that experience I would never allow myself to be in that position again. I didn’t want to let my fear and anxiety of public speaking stop me from growing within a business that I loved. I continued to hit my KPIs and when the opportunity arose to become an Associate Trainer, I leapt at the chance to take a step in my career and work on overcoming my fears.  

My Academy journey was so much fun and I wanted to be a part of giving that same experience to our new starters and watch them grow into a role that they love. I also moved internally within the CEx department to work in the Correspondence And Social Media team (CASM) and I worked closely with the Learning & Development (L&D) team for nearly two years, supporting them with both delivery and design across the Customer Experience department.  

I started off doing short 30-minute sessions and as my confidence grew, so did my sessions. Over my time as an Associate, I was involved with delivering some of the largest induction groups the business has ever had whilst navigating a worldwide pandemic and I also designed the first ‘Inbound to CASM’ induction.  

Stepping into L&D

Being able to help the business grow the way we did through Covid was an amazing opportunity and it felt so good to be able to give something back to a business that had given so much to me.  

After working as an Associate for a few years, I was able to progress and become a full-time Learning Specialist. Since becoming part of the People Team, I have been involved with training for numerous departments and it has really shaped me into the person I am today.  

My confidence and knowledge has continued to grow in an area that I am passionate about and it makes me proud to see how far I have come since I joined the business.  

I truly believe that if you want something you will work hard to achieve it, and AO is a company that really provides those development opportunities.  

Beth Clegg
Learning Specialist 

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