Identifying and nurturing customer service skills

Nurturing customer service

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At WeAnswer, customers (or more specifically, our clients’ customers) are the focal point of our business. As a result, we aim to make every interaction with them an excellent experience.

We asked James Stevens, our Training Manager, about how he ensures our agents offer a consistently high level of customer service.

Q1. Describe your role within WeAnswer

My title is “Training Manager”, but it involves much more than simply arranging training! I find new ways our people can improve their skills and better not only themselves, but the organisation in the long term.

Face-to-face training has its place, but we also recognise the benefits that alternative methods, such as self-study and online learning, can offer our people, our clients and their customers.

Q2. How do you seek to improve the customer service skills of WeAnswer colleagues?

We have a great pool of people who deliver fantastic customer service every day – but there’s no space for complacency.

We are always looking at how we can ensure our service remains the best it can be. We achieve this through sharing best practice internally and externally, making sure we keep up to date with industry knowledge and skills and applying our greatest tool: feedback!

People need to hear when they do well, and be told when they just need to tweak a couple of things to improve the service they provide. Most people want to do a great job, and honest feedback is a really important part of that.

Q3. How do you provide feedback to your employees to help enhance the service they provide?

Feedback is important not just for customers, but also for the development and progression of our employees. That’s why we have started to ensure that feedback is delivered in a timely and local manner.

Line managers have a key role in developing their team, giving feedback and agreeing next steps. This can be formal (i.e. documented) or informal. Both have their place, but need to be monitored and followed up.

Line managers also have reviews with their team members on a monthly basis providing feedback on the work they’ve been doing, whilst also giving the agent the opportunity to ask for the progression and development they feel they need.

Our clients also share feedback from their customers, which means our employees get the recognition they deserve for a job well done – or extra training should it be required.

Q4. How regularly do employees undergo training to ensure their continued progression?

When new products are launched, our clients will come in to provide training for our employees. Some of our training team will sit in on these training sessions so that we can monitor our employees’ performance and re-train where required.

Team Managers listen in on six calls per agent per month and provide feedback and training to help develop them. This also gives Team Managers the opportunity to recognise their strengths and help them to improve their weaknesses.

In addition to the above, all employees undergo annual general knowledge and skills training.

Q5. How do you reward employees who give excellent customer service?

I think recognition is so important. We have a “100% Club” recognition programme, where our agents’ calls are monitored by our expert Team Managers on a weekly basis. They listen in on calls, looking for consistently excellent customer service across those interactions, and provide a quality score to the agent.

Everyone who gets 100% for the month receives a prize, as well as development opportunities. They will be used as a role model for other agents to look to as an example. We want all of our agents to deliver – or aspire to providing – operational excellence.

Operators who achieve 100% every month will then be put into Quarterly, Bi-annual and annual prize draws, ranging from a variety of denominations of high street vouchers and Red Letter Days vouchers.

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