Talk about exceptional customer service!
I’ve just read the ‘Panda customer service programme’ news story here on our website. And because it really doesn’t do Sue Milner-Smith justice, I thought I would let you know what a big job this has been and just exactly what she has achieved with our new Panda initiative.
Sue is passionate about customer service so her prime objective was that every member of staff should always be able to demonstrate to our customers that we care. She’s put a lot of thought into every aspect of this project, from the name (a play on words to remind us to pander to our customers) to the cuddly-toy pandas, posters and stickers she’s dotted around the building to remind everyone to ‘cuddle’ our customers.
The first step she took was to develop benchmark standards so that everyone knew what was expected of them, and then train them to meet those standards.
The training programme includes modules for the likes of business writing, face-to-face communication and telephone technique where staff are encouraged to smile down the phone, always use the customer’s name and always be as helpful as possible. She also tackled internal relationship training which has helped staff to think of colleagues as customers – for example IT’s ‘customers’ are the staff who rely on them for support.
As well, each department now has a “Champion” (Team Leader) who has been put through an NVQ to give them the skills they need for a two-way dialogue – to disseminate the CS requirements throughout their department and report back to the monthly meetings.
Everyone now feels their voice is being heard and it has broken down the “them” and “us” barriers which, in turn, has shown a noticeable improvement in communication between departments.
As well as training, Sue also keeps an eye on how well we’re doing. She has drawn up a series of customer feedback questionnaires which she analyses and she audits internal performance against the benchmark standards. For example, she listens to lots of phone calls each month to which helps her identify any training needs Most importantly, she spreads the word if anyone has done well. Plus, as mentioned in the news story, there is also an Recognition Award to reward those who have gone that extra mile.
Sue’s not stopping there. This programme is constantly reviewed and amended, and the training elements have been included in CIA’s quality manual to ensure that we maintain these standards and when I spoke to her recently, she told me she’s got lots more plans in the pipeline.
So a big thank you to Sue, whose enthusiasm has been infectious and has benefited us all.