One of our clients in the shared services/financial division of a global medical supplies organization knew they needed to improve the customer service culture of their division. Since the organization employed approximately 700 staff in three U.S. locations, they sought Bonfire’s guidance and training.
The customers of this division were often internal customers (coworkers), with some departments working with both internal and external customers. To get an understanding of their current customer service development experience, we conducted an employee survey. The results demonstrated that very few had formal training in customer service, which contributed to the inconsistent views relating to creating outstanding customer experiences.
The Bonfire Approach
The first step to improving this client’s service culture was to partner with the customer service group to gain executive support. This representative group was tasked with every aspect of the initiative. Then, for all three locations, we handled pre-session activities, training workshops, and sustainability activities.
1. Pre-session Activities
The pre-session activities consisted of dozens of interviews with front-line staff and leadership teams across the division. This laid the groundwork for customized training. The insights we gained from the interviews directly impacted how we trained.
2. Customized Training Workshops
Based on the pre-session activities, our Instructional Designers and Trainers developed and implemented training sessions by mixing different departments together in the same training workshop. This approach provided an increase in knowledge and appreciation for inter-departmental impacts.
Activities such as role-playing and brainstorming assignments highlighted different organizational scenarios and created the opportunity to connect and empathize. This also provided an avenue to practice different customer service techniques and receive feedback during the workshop.
3. Sustainability Activities
The post-workshop activities were developed and initiated to create an environment that simplified the application of the training. The activities, implemented by the leadership team and peer leaders, addressed both personal development and team development.
The post-workshop activities were carried out over several months post-workshop to give employees time to integrate the new and improved techniques. This approach significantly increases the sustained growth of each staff member.
BENEFITS AND OUTCOMES
Bonfire assessed results through post-surveys and feedback from the entire leadership team. The post-surveys showed immediate positive staff receptivity to the training and their intent to use the techniques. The organization saw nearly 100% division participation in the workshops, meeting the client’s goal.
Through dozens of group coaching sessions with the leadership team, it was reported that the teams were dedicated to the post-session activities. Throughout several months of these activities, the leadership team consistently shared benefits such as increased team spirit and morale. They witnessed the staff integrating the customer service techniques one-by-one into their interactions. Leaders also saw an increase in visibility with their teams as they coached and encouraged their staff.
The results from our customer service training were so positive that the organization continued to engage us for several years to provide the training and post-activities to new hires as well as departments outside the original division.
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