Client Challenges and Business Requirements
The client wanted to improve the service culture of their division in the organization. This was the Shared Services/Financial division of a global medical supplies organization. There were approximately 700 employees in three U.S. locations targeted for the customer service development.
The customers of this division were often internal customers with some departments working with both internal and external customers. There was an employee survey done to assess the current development experience employees had in the area of customer service. It was discovered that very few had formal training in customer service. This seemed to contribute to the lack of consistency in being “like-minded” on how to create outstanding customer experiences.
The Bonfire Approach
The first step was partnering with the Customer Service working group who was tasked with every aspect of the initiative. Bonfire partnered with this group to gain executive support, plan the pre-session activities, develop and implement the customized training workshops in the three locations and develop and initiate sustainability activities.
The pre-session activities consisted of dozens of interviews with front-line staff and leadership teams across the division. This provided insights enabling the customization of the training.
The training sessions were implemented by mixing different departments together in the same training workshop. This approach provided an increase in knowledge and appreciation for the impacts each department has on other departments. The use of different activities such as role plays and brainstorming assignments highlighted scenarios from the different areas 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.
The post-workshop activities were purposefully planned to create an environment where it was easy to apply what was learned. The activities addressed both personal development and team development. The activities were implemented by the Leadership team as well as front-line staff who were selected to be Peer Leaders. The post-workshop activities were implemented over several months after the workshop in order to give employees time to phase in using the techniques. This approach significantly increases the sustained growth of each staff member.
Benefits and Outcomes
Results were assessed via post-surveys and via feedback from the entire Leadership team. The post-surveys showed immediate positive receptivity of the staff to the training and their intent to use the techniques. Also, the goal of 95% of the division’s participation in the workshops was met.
Through dozens of group coaching sessions with the Leadership team, it was reported that the teams were dedicated to doing the post-session activities. Through the several months of post-session activities, the Leadership team consistently shared that benefits such as increased team spirit and morale were being realized. And that they witnessed the staff phasing in the use of the customer service techniques one by one into their interactions. Another benefit of the post-activities was an increase in the Leaders’ visibility with their teams as well as a dedication to consistent coaching and encouraging their staff.
The results were so positive that there has been several years of implementing the customer service training and post-activities for New Hires to the division as well as including other departments in the training from outside the original division of the organization.