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March 2021 CSIA Quarterly

Nominations are open The 2021 Australian Service Excellence Awards are open for nominations

ICSS: 2020-2025 Webinar

Can’t see the customer for the data?

The Unsung Heros

Tony Rambaut shares how customer data platforms are enabling organisations to create highly personalised customer experiences.

Andrew Carlton tells us why he believes team leaders are the unsung heros.

Find out more

Welcome to the first edition of FOCUS for 2021 We hope you enjoyed the summer and have had a wonderful start to 2021. It has been incredibly busy start to the year at CSIA and I’ve been delighted to hear about all the customer centric activities organisations have been planning and executing since the beginning of the year. Many organisations have seen large shifts in customer behavior over the past twelve months and now, more than ever, a laser sharp focus on customers is crucial as we move into the post-pandemic world In this issue of FOCUS, we highlight the importance of customer centricity, leadership and technology as an enabler to deliver superior customer service. We hear from Andrew Carlton, CSIA Certified Practitioner and Managing Director of Virtual CX, who tells us why he thinks Team Leaders are the unsung heroes of our service teams. Tony Rambaut from Friendly Persuasion and Unifida explains how customer data platforms can improve service performance, and Paul Baptist, Senior Director at ServiceNow talks to us about how technology is the key to resolving customer issues in the ‘messy middle office’.

Mary Blake from Citrus talks about employee first leadership and we hear from 2020 Australian Service Excellence Awards Executive of the Year, Lisa Dowie. And with the Australian Service Excellence Awards (ASEAs) now open for nominations for the 2021 program, we’re pleased to bring you an interview with last year’s Best of the Best winner, Adam Centorrino from Centorrino Technologies. Stay safe and we look forward to hearing from you again soon.

Jeremy Larkins Executive Director

MARCH 2021


Contents 04

News in Brief


‘Connected Together’ – a winning model We talk to Adam Centorrino about winning the 2020 Best of the Best.


2021 Australian Service Excellence Awards


Lisa Dowie 2020 Executive of the Year Lisa Dowie shares her thoughts on creating great customer experiences.



Can’t see the customer for the data? Tony Rambaut shares an introduction to customer data platforms


The messy middle office Paul Baptist explains how technology can fix the messy middle office


Is it time to rethink leadership? Mary Blake reveals the rising popularity of servant leadership in response to the pandemic



Team Leaders – the unsung heroes Andrew Carlton tells us why he thinks our team leaders are the unsung heroes of our industry


Collaborate and Thrive Jeremy Larkins discusses the benefits of customer collaboration in the product and service design process.




News in Brief Interested in the new version of ICSS? ICSS Webinar Following the interest in and success of our ICSS webinar earlier this month we are pleased to announce our next ICSS webinar has been scheduled on August 04, 2021. Join us to learn about the new version of the International Customer Service Standard and how to apply the framework to your organisation through the certification process. Find out more

What are your post-pandemic priorities? CX Management Disrupt 2021 As we look to 2021, a key question at the top of CX leaders' list will be how to align customer strategy to broader business outcomes in the post pandemic world. CSIA is delighted to be again supporting the 14th annual CX event in Sydney (or online) from May 18 to May 20. CSIA members receive a 10% discount – please contact our memberships team for the discount code. Find out more

Welcome to Jay Wane

CSIA’s partnership with UTS continues

CSIA is very pleased to introduce you to Jay Wane who has joined our Client Services Team in Victoria where she will be supporting our clients undertaking ICSS certification and Training. Jay has a background as both a Training Coordinator and Facilitator, along with Book now experience in real-estate and retail.

We’re delighted to announce our ongoing support for the University of Technology Sydney Business When: October 22, 2020 fromSchool. 6pm CSIA has enjoyed a close association with UTSsoon for - registration details coming many years, and we are very pleased to be continuing our support of academic excellence with prize sponsorship for the Services Marketing Undergraduate program for the next three years.

MARCH 2021

Calling all service leaders … and aspiring leaders CCSL Public Training Program Online via Zoom Join us for our Certified Customer Service Leader (CCSL) program online on Thursday, 22 April. The program is all about equipping customer service leaders with practical tools and techniques to motivate their teams to deliver great customer experiences. This is great opportunity to become a certified customer service leader so secure your place now. Find out more

You be the judge – join the 2021 ASEAs judging panel Applications are open to join the 2021 Australian Service Excellence Awards (ASEAs) judging panel. Each year CSIA invites our members and ASEAs alumni to join our judging team and contribute to the recognition of service excellence. If you’re interested please contact us or register.

Find out more

CSIA-CHF 2025 This month, CSIA will be releasing the updated version of the CSIA Complaints Handling Framework (CSIACHF). The framework enables organisations to identify risks and improvement opportunities in their customer feedback systems and is aligned to the International Customer Service Standard, along with ISO 10002:2018 and AS/NZS 10002:2014. Please contact our team if you would like more information about the new CSIA-CHF.




‘Connected Together’ – a winning model

Centorrino Technologies has been recognised by the ASEAs every year since 2013, but in 2020 the company snagged the Best of the Best Award thanks to a company-wide ‘hunger’ for innovative customer service solutions. Book now

MARCH 2021

Voted one of Australia’s leading customerfocused managed services providers, Centorrino Technologies is renowned for creating tailored IT solutions – but its dedication to customer service has set the company apart. CT garnered a swag of awards at the recent ASEAs, including Customer Service Organisation of the Year for a Medium Business, Contact Centre of the Year for a Medium Business and the highest accolade, the Best of the Best Award. Here, we chat with CT founder and CEO Adam Centorinno about the award win and why customer service will always be king at Centorrino Technologies. What gave you the edge to win the 2020 Best of the Best? We have a genuine and deep rooted passion for customer service which is prevalent through the whole organisation. Our teams are consistently pushed to find more innovative ways of improving our customer service delivery. To do this, we focus on our people, our systems and our processes. One of the strongest internal programs we run is our continuous improvement program whereby each team contributes ideas to improve a function of our delivery. These ideas are then assessed and prioritised, and are then assigned to a team for execution. Our mantras are, ‘we must do everything we do brilliantly, or don’t do it at all’ and ‘What was good enough today is not likely be good enough tomorrow’. We feel this hunger for continuous improvement won the award. What does winning the Service Hero in the Customer Service Executive of the Year category mean to you? Professionally, it represents recognition of what we set out to achieve, because we have built our business and our products on a customer service focus. Personally, it is incredibly humbling to have been selected from the incredible pool of candidates.

How has CT created such a successful customer-focused operation? It’s the result of years of iteration and mistakes in order to continuously improve, learn and evolve our offerings. Customer service has been baked into every decision, from hiring new team members to office fit-outs and our quest for constant improvement never ends. How much of a priority is positive workplace culture at CT? Our internal culture is absolutely critical because ultimately, happy team members result in happy customers. We place equal emphasis on our eNPS (employee net promoter score) as we do our customer satisfaction scores. Strong leaders build strong workplaces -what are the attributes of your leadership team? They are the greatest champions of both our internal culture and the service experience. The ability to balance the often-conflicting priorities whilst still exuding passion for what we do is instrumental. How important is it to have specialist knowledge teams within CT’s contact centre? Specialisation wins. There is no obstacle that cannot be overcome more rapidly, nor a solution that can be more comprehensive than one devised by people who are specialists in their field. Biggest lesson you’ve learned about customer service? When it comes to providing excellent customer service, you cannot stop. The moment you feel you’ve perfected something is the moment your customer service will begin to suffer.

ICSS: 2020-2025 Webinar

Any final words? Customer service isn’t a choice, or a strategic direction for CT. It is part of our fundamental behaviour. We love and are humbled for being recognised by ASEA, but there’s plenty more we look forward to doing for our customers.

How did CT achieve a customer retention rate of over 99%? So many organisations place a huge When: Wednesday September 9 • emphasis on their sales pipelines and contracts and • Where: Online somewhat neglect their existing customers • Time: 9am and/or their service. We don’t. We truly value • Duration: 60 Minutes our customers and literally pump thousands of Registration: Free hours per year into delivering them• the best experience we possibly can.

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Nominations are open Are you ready for National Recognition?

2021 Australian Service Excellence Awards We are excited to announce that nominations are open for the 2021 Australian Service Excellence Awards Program.

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Australian Service Excellence Awards. The Australian Service Excellence Awards (ASEAs) are Australia’s premier customer service awards program, attracting hundreds of nominations each year and recognise best practice, performance and innovation in customer service, highlighting their importance in today’s business climate. The ASEAs are open to all individuals and organisations servicing Australians. The Australian Service Excellence Awards recognise individuals at all levels within organisations, as well as big corporations right through to government departments, not-forprofits and small businesses.

2021 Key Dates Feb 01: Nominations Open May 31: Nominations Close

When: October 22, 2020 from 6pm - registration details coming soon -

June 30: Finalists Announced July – September: Finalist Judging October TBA: Winners Announced

Book now

MARCH 2021

Individual Categories Customer Service Executive of the Year This Award is open to C-level executives who seek to drive customer centricity within the organisation, including Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Managing Directors, Chief Operating Officers (COOs), Executive General Managers, and Vice Presidents of Customer Service.

Customer Service Manager of the Year This Award suits individuals with roles behind the frontline but below C-level, and can include Customer Service Managers and Customer Experience Managers.

Customer Service Leader of the Year This category is aimed at leaders managing a team that services internal or external customers. While they might also take a frontline role in working with customers, their role is predominantly focused on managing a team of frontline service professionals.

Customer Service Professional of the Year This award champions individuals who deliver customer service everyday - frontline team members who work with internal or external customers.

ICSS: 2020-2025 Webinar

Customer Service Advocate of the Year Advocate of the Year is aimed at recognising customer champions at any level in a business, from the frontline to the C-suite. These Wednesday September 9 • When: individuals demonstrate true passion for customer service excellence in everything that Online • Where: they do, and inspire work colleagues their Time: 9am • with zeal and commitment. • Duration: 60 Minutes •

Registration: Free

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Organisation Categories Customer Service Project of the Year Project of the Year recognises specific and distinct projects completed in the 12 months preceding the Awards which demonstrate innovative problem solving and an improvement to customer service delivery and/or business performance as a result.

Customer Service Organisation of the Year - Small Business Targeting businesses (or autonomous divisions or business units) with fewer than 90 full-time employees, this award recognises smaller organisations in the Australian market.

Customer Service Team of the Year This category targets groups of individuals in an organisation that have delivered a demonstrated improvement to customer service delivery and/or business performance. Unlike the Project of the Year, this award is focused on a team of individuals that, by working together, have created a benchmark for how customer service should be delivered by an organisation.

Service Excellence in a Large Contact Centre This award recognises frontline teams of more than 100 staff in larger contact centres, for the critical role they play in customer service delivery.

Service Excellence in a Medium Contact Centre

Customer Service Organisation of the Year - Large Business

This category recognises frontline teams of 20 to 100 staff in mid-size contact centres.

This category recognises organisations that have championed customer service throughout the business in the past year, and is open to organisations (or autonomous divisions or business units) with more than 500 full-time employees.

Service Excellence in a Small Contact Centre

Customer Service Organisation of the Year - Medium Business This award recognises organisations that have championed customer service throughout the business in the past year, but targets businesses (or autonomous divisions or business units) with 90 to 500 full-time employees.

This award recognises frontline teams with fewer than 20 seats in smaller contact centres. Customer Service Organisation of the Year Government/Not-for-Profit CSIA understands that there are specific legislative requirements and budget limitations for government and not-for-profit organisations that mean customer service excellence needs to be delivered in a different (and often creative) way. This category levels the playing field in providing a specific category for this vitalOctober organisations. When: 22, 2020 from 6pm

- registration details coming soon -

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JULY 2020



Organisations or individuals wishing to nominate for the 2021 ASEAs can do so via the CSIA website where you will also find forms to download, ASDEAs terms and conditions, FAQs and the electronic submission portal.

Finalists for each category will be announced in June. Finalists will then have an opportunity present to our judging panel between July and September with winners announced in October.

Judging Criteria

Judging Panel

The criteria for the ASEAs is based on the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS: 2020-2025) which is a framework of 25 elements grouped into four key perspectives which enable an organisation to understand how well it is focused on the customer. Nominations are required to address these four perspectives.

CSIA’s Board appoints a lead judge who is supported by an extended panel of customer service experts from CSIA’s community. ASEAs Judges include CSIA members, former ASEAs winners and CSIA Certified Practitioners.

Ready to achieve National Recognition?

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Executive of the Year 2020 ASEA Executive of the Year Lisa Dowie shares her thoughts on her role as the Chief Customer Officer of PropertyWhen: Exchange October 22, 2020 from 6pm Australia (PEXA), why she is so passionate about the purpose-led - registration details coming soon organisation, and why she believes employees and customers should be at the centre of any business Book now strategy.

MARCH 2021

Tell us about your role as CCO of PEXA A large part of my role is about ensuring the customer’s perspective is at the heart of everything that we do. This starts with our culture and extends to ensuring our customers are leading our strategy, informing how we prioritise and invest, and are part of absolutely every decision we make. I get to spend a lot of time with people – talking to customers, networking with the CX community, engaging with other leaders and my team who interacts with our customers each and every day. What does being named ASEA’s Executive of the Year mean to you -- personally and professionally? It’s a wonderful endorsement of our team’s passion, their dedication to our customers and their relentless pursuit to make the PEXA experience exceptional. One of the greatest testaments to this is that the team (the Member Operations function) was named Champions for the Customer Service Organisation of the Year (medium business) and our Head of Member Operations Ryan de Rosayro clinched Customer Service Manager of the Year as well. Personally, it validates that I have found an area where I can thrive and excel. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career journey to date? Say yes to opportunities, seek them out or ask for them. Then remember to then pay it forward and provide opportunities to others. Why is it so important to PEXA to put customers at the heart of everything you do? Our customers are an essential part of the value chain – the trusted advisors to home buyers and sellers. Without them, a property settlement would not be able to proceed. Customers are the competitive advantage all businesses need, and delivering an exceptional customer service experience ultimately boosts our bottom line.

What inspires you? Game changers - people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. Adventure and all things new – I really enjoy going to new places/countries, understanding different cultures, meeting new people, learning new things, trying new foods. My mum – She showed me the essence of resilience time and time again, demonstrated how doing the ‘right thing’ will win out in the end and that you don’t have to be the loudest person to have the greatest impact. Advice for others seeking to become CCOs? Be obsessively customer centric, work closely with your frontline teams, learn to collaborate, be really open to feedback, love people, have solid diplomacy skills and an innovative spirit. Any final words? Of course, thank-you to CSIA for running awards like this, it really does help teams in the frontline receive the recognition they so deserve. Also, a shout-out to the wider Customer Service community, I love how everyone is so happy to share best practices, war stories and is so supportive of one another. It’s a fabulous community to be a part of and I look forward to contributing further and sharing what we are doing here at PEXA.

About PEXA: PEXA’s world-first digital settlements has revolutionised the way we exchange property in Australia. By providing quicker access to the proceeds of a sale and near real-time tracking on property settlements, our network of financial institutions and legal and conveyancing firms helps over 20,000 families a week safely settle their homes.

ICSS: 2020-2025 Webinar

What are the golden rules in delivering superior customer experience? Great people and a great employee experience. I really do believe it starts with Wednesday September 9 • When: hiring the right people, enabling them with the • Where: Online right tools, continue to develop and reward • Time: 9am them, teaching them empathy, creating an Duration: 60 Minutes environment where they can thrive,• building social connections, and have fun! • Registration: Free

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Can’t see the customer for the data?

Now, more than ever, businesses know the importance of looking after existing customers in order to retain them and increase their value. The key to this is having complete and up-todate customer data that accurately depicts how your customers behave – both offline and online.

Tony Rambaut,

Co-founder and Marketing Specialist at UniFida Australia

Equipped with a clear understanding of their needs and preferences, your marketing department will be more effective at increasing customer loyalty and sales. And just as importantly, your service teams will be able to provide more insightful, helpful impressive When: October 22,and 2020 from 6pm experiences.

shares an introduction to Customer Data Platforms

- registration details coming soon -

Book now

Of course, this all depends on how accurately your data is depicting your customers.

MARCH 2021

Customers in pieces When it comes to capturing customer data, quantity isn’t the problem. Customers generate huge volumes of it as they engage via websites, apps, email, call centres and retail branches. The real issue is where it is kept – often in divisional or channel siloes that few businesses can integrate. This fragmented approach prevents businesses from getting a clear picture of their customers and a true understanding of their preferences and needs. And it is compounded by the fact that customers are frustratingly random. They might buy online using their office address and mobile number, for example, yet their loyalty membership may be linked to their home address and personal email.

It’s like you don’t know me A fractured data picture leads to decisions that are based on only a partial understanding of customers. Inevitably, it results in experiences that leave customers feeling unrecognised, unvalued - and yes, unloved. The sense that ‘the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing’ can be all too evident during personal service encounters. When a customer talks to your service teams, they expect you to know the totality of their relationship, not just the last time you spoke. The fact that your data is siloed is of no interest to them, but if you genuinely want to build customer loyalty and value, it should be critically important to you.

Even if data can be accessed, extracting insights takes so long that any commercial value is lost – particularly in dynamic, fast-moving markets. Thankfully hope is on the horizon, in the form of a new breed of technology platform.

With CDPs everything is clear The emergence of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) is giving service organisations the opportunity to see their customers as they really are – often for the first time. Hosted in the cloud, a CDP integrates customer data from multiple online and offline sources, often in real time, to create a true single customer view. This complete picture is available in dashboard format on the desktop of each user. It puts the awesome power of customer data in the hands of the people who need it most – your marketing and service professionals. Equipped with true insights, your people can deliver personalised experiences that maximise opportunities and mitigate risks in the context of a customer’s entire relationship with your organisation. The hottest topic in the world of data-driven marketing, Customer Data Platforms are being widely adopted as much for their ability to improve customer satisfaction as their capacity to boost sales.

Take customer-centricity to the next level Being customer focused requires more than

ICSS: 2020-2025 goodWebinar intentions. It demands a technology

I want a complete picture, and I want it now The ability to get a single customer view, quickly and in real-time, is what’s preventing many businesses from becoming truly customer focused. •

solution that lets your organisation recognise each customer individually and enables your people to deliver highly personalised customer experiences. That solution – the Customer Data Platform – has arrived.

When: Wednesday September 9

The problem is traditional processes Where: Online • and systems can’t keep pace with the volume of9am • Time: data being generated by today’s customers. • Duration: 60 Minutes This results in large amounts of customer data • Registration: Free being overlooked and unused.

Tony Rambaut Co-founder and Marketing Specialist UniFida Australia Find out more




The messy middle office Paul Baptist explores how to customer engagement and service operations can improve clogged up workflows and damaging your customer experience?

What is the measure of good customer experience? Typically, the focus is on how customers can engage with contact centres—what channels and self-service tools are available and how easy it is to speak to someone. Even with good customer management practices in place, the reality, however, is that agents are trying to “do the work” to resolve customer issues either manually or using disparate systems, and their organisations are holding them responsible. This results in customer call-backs and delays, causing what we call experience fracturing. A true measure of great customer experience should therefore involve both customer engagement and service operations (the act of “doing the work”). Most organisations are reluctant to give their agents the necessary tools to help them with doing the work to resolve customer issues because it isn’t easy or straightforward. Often there are different departments, different people, different processes and different systems that they have to navigate. We refer to this as the “messy middle” office.

The best way to work through this messy middle is to ensure that work can flow through the organisation.

Fixing Kiwibank’s messy middle Kiwibank, the largest New Zealand-owned bank, was challenged with a cost-reduction and customer experience initiative. It was suffering from multiple tools and extensive manual overhead across its operations, contact centre and branch systems. It also needed to comply with an impending Commerce Commission regulation on loan transparency and tracking customer updates on loan changes, or otherwise face significant fines. Our solution was the implementation of one common platform across the entire bank that digitalised workflows incorporating integrations across the systems, and improved data capture, analytics and visibility. It enabled teams to apply automation to customer processes efficiently and effectively. They had the right information available when talking to customers, responded to customers faster and could dedicate more time for high-value customers. Kiwibank was able to deliver better outcomes for their staff and customers, realise time and cost savings, and ensure compliance. It has predicted savings of 1 million minutes per year by the first workflow, 25% reduction in time for new hires to reach full productivity and 30% improvement in customer retention.

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We can see how relieving pressure on the frontline improves agent satisfaction, which in turn improves the customer experience.

MARCH 2021

How to make work flow through For true workflow to happen, you need the right manual and automated work processes, people and technology. Here are some important things to consider: 1.


Identify the most complex process but design for the more common processes to ensure you aren’t spending all your time on the exceptions. But don’t ignore the exceptions either—often these are the cases that make front-page news.

Ultimately, creating the best customer experience involves giving agents great ways to engage with customers and helping them make work flow through the organisation to resolution. Author, Mandy Hale, wrote: “Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” We don’t often get opportunities to engage with customers. Let’s not waste them

Identify the steps in the process where you interact with customers directly and ask the questions: Should this be automated? Will human interaction add to or detract from the experience I am offering my customer? What impact will automating this process have on that experience?


People are needed to make work flow.


The right technology empowers people to make work flow better.


The added dimension of time can add complexity. Waiting for a step to complete can be just as crucial as pushing for immediate action.

Paul Baptist Senior Director ServiceNow

ICSS: 2020-2025 Webinar

• • • • •

When: Wednesday September 9 Where: Online Time: 9am Duration: 60 Minutes Registration: Free

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It is time to rethink leadership? Mary Blake, General Manager from Citrus Group shares her observations about the rising popularity of Servant Leadership as a method for organisations to nurture their teams during the pandemic and beyond.

As Simon Sinek has said, “Leadership is not about being in charge, it is taking care of those in your charge”. 2020 is a year that tested managers around the Globe, and I have been intrigued as to how leaders have supported their teams throughout last year and are supporting them as we emerge from the pandemic. The NEW normal is an ever-changing series of scenarios such as rapid organisational transformation, maintaining employee engagement, ongoing or permanent flexible working arrangements, continuing digitalization and of course many hours on Zoom or Teams. The waves of constant change create employee fatigue and supporting people in this environment has become a major challenge for many organisations. Robert Greenleaf first coined the term “Servant Leadership” in the 1970 and this movement has gained new popularity as organisations and leaders were thrust upon the murky waters of 2020 and beyond. According to Greenleaf, A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people, as opposed to traditional leadership which involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Servant leadership is based on turning the organisational chart on its head. Your people become the most important and the leader is there to, just as it says, serve it’s people. Book now

“Leadership is not about being in charge, it is taking care of those in your charge” Simon Sinek

When: October 22, 2020 from 6pm - registration details coming soon -

MARCH 2021

This style of leadership is about serving instead of commanding, lifting and empowering those above to great success, through continuous growth to unlock the individual potential which in turn continuous to create a sense of drive and purpose. Servant leadership starts with an open mindset and one that is completely unselfish, where your desire is to truly serve your team, which in turn serves the organization. It requires ego’s to be checked and control to be handed over. Don’t get me wrong, servant leaders still require a number of other leadership traits such as vision, strategy, self-awareness and emotional intelligence to name a few.

We are asked continuously how we at Citrus Group manage to have such long tenured staff in an industry that churns and burns recruiters. It is simple, our business was built on the style of servant leadership. We are there to serve our people, it is ingrained into the core of our leaders and our people. We practice it every day, with each other and with our clients. Hiring those with a servant attitude is imperative to creating an environment that is conducive to individuals achieving great success, working together to achieve and live the vision.

In a candidate rich market, it will be your ICSS: 2020-2025 Webinar

There are several well-known organisations who practice servant leadership including Starbucks, Marriott International, SAS and Zappos.com. These organisations are known to be great places to work and to have inclusive, supportive cultures.

leadership style that will denote the stickiness or longevity of those you bring into your team. How strong is your culture? As we move into 2021, are you ready to serve your people?

• When: Wednesday September 9 • Where: Perhaps Kenneth Blanchard describes this Online 9am • Time: model the best, “Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your 60 Minutes • Duration: sleeves up and doing whatever it •takes to help Free Registration:

people win”

Mary Blake General Manager Citrus Group Find out more




Team Leaders – the “unsung heroes” While there’s no doubt a highly functioning team can achieve first-class customer service, it’s those proactive and effective team leaders working hard behind the scenes who really deserve the accolades, writes CSIA Certified Practitioner and Virtual CX Director Andrew Carlton.

As we slowly emerge from the COVID-19 fog and get back into some sense of a ‘new normal’, it provides an opportunity to reflect on some of the amazing things that organisations have done to improve customer experience. But how have they actually got stuff done? I reckon that it’s time to call out the team leaders who I see time and time again as the ones who pull everything together and make it now Book work. Here are some of the common characteristics of great team leaders.

They understand the business Great team leaders are acutely aware of how each cog turns within the organisation and how they relate to each other. They understand howWhen: customer service can impact October 22, 2020 from 6pm the business overall, how decisions can - registration detailsmade coming soon impact other business units, and can find innovative ways to work with other departments to improve the business. Take Jaime, for example, her aged care Non

MARCH 2021

For Profit (NFP) needed to get staff to work from home but with an outdated phone system — an issue faced by most organisations. She was able to figure out the work-around, work with limited technology, build the plan, assist and encourage staff and all in the background make this transition seamlessly from the customer’s perspective. You can only get this done quickly and effectively when you know the business.

Excellent strategy execution Most executives are brilliant at creating a strategy and product teams build and configure innovative products but, at the end of the day, this needs to be understood by frontline staff. Naturally, they are supported by training and processes but I continually see team leaders as the ones who ensure each and every staff member can deliver on the promise to customers. With patience, with care and with purpose they coach and match the individual needs of each team member. They are able to take the great idea and the grand plan and make it tangible, practical and meaningful.

First-class communication

translate both to the internal tech language in order to activate much-needed changes to some software. Others who lack these skills could not have made this happen.

Excellent work ethic Great team leaders are in it not for the glory, but the satisfaction of making an organisation’s customer service team hum. No matter what is on their plate, they always have time for their team and for the customer. They are often humble and shun the limelight. Janice, working in a retail organisation, does not count her success in hours spent in the office but in team successes for the day. Her generosity of time and knowledge seems to have no bounds, and unless you go looking you do not see the effort that that takes.

I call these team leaders ‘unsung heroes’ as, just like the Jaimes, Jaydens and Janices of the world, they get stuff done, develop their teams, deliver for their customers and they ask for nothing in return. So, from all the executives, managers, team members and customers out there, thank you.

The ability to not only communicate well with customers and call centre / customer service staff, but the ability to work seamlessly with IT teams and report in an effective manner to senior management is another trait of a topnotch team leader. As an example, Jayden from a finance company was able to not only ‘talk’ the external tech language, but also the business operational language and then

Andrew Carlton Director Virtual CX

ICSS: 2020-2025 Webinar

• • • • •

When: Wednesday September 9 Where: Online Time: 9am Duration: 60 Minutes Registration: Free

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Collaborate and Thrive CSIA’s Executive Director, Jeremy Larkins discusses how the first element of the new version of the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS: 2020-2025) is integral to delivering best practice customer experience.

As organisations strive to improve their products or services and the way they deliver these, they generate greater value for both stakeholders and their customers. Success in new product or service design requires a range of factors, but the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS) highlights customer collaboration as the most significant. Placing the customer at the centre of product or service design and actively collaborating with customers through the design process has been practiced for many years, yet often organisations miss one of the key benefits from engaging with their customers during this phase – increased customer loyalty. In simple terms, if a company wants a better product or service, why not listen to the people who’ll pay for it and make changes according to their feedback? If the customer feedback is incorporated into the product or service, it will improve the customer experience and increase organisation success.

“The organisation collaborates with its customers in creating and optimising its products and services” ICSS:2020-2025

MARCH 2021

But what are some of the benefits of customer collaboration during the product or service design phase and how can companies go about implementing customer collaboration?

Why Customer Collaboration? If the success of a new product or service is defined by how well that product or service meets customers’ needs and how well it solves their problem, then it makes sense to involve customers in the design process to ensure a successful new product. In simple terms, customer collaboration is the key to developing a better product or service and improving the customer experience. In fact, the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS) states that a best practice is that “the organisation collaborates with its customers in creating and optimising its products and services” (ICSS:2020-2025) Customer collaboration goes further than just the design of the product or service, though. If customers are involved in the design process, companies build stronger relationships with these customers which means, in turn, these customers are more loyal. In this sense, customer collaboration also benefits both companies and customers.

How to Implement Customer Collaboration There are several ways that organisations typically implement customer collaboration in their design process. •

Getting feedback from customers early in the product lifecycle. When a company plans a new product or an update to an existing one, it can get feedback from customers early on in the design process to make sure that the product or service adequately meets the customers’ needs.

Inviting customers to evaluate new products. Customers in a programme to evaluate new products can identify any problems or concerns before the product is fully released to the market.

Issuing new product announcements. By issuing new product announcements well ahead of a product release, companies can request feedback from customers on what they would like to see in the product or service.

Working in partnership with customers. In this way, product or service design becomes a joint initiative where a company works with specific customers to develop a product that effectively meets their needs.

Using an existing product to make improvements. By listening to feedback from customers during the customer service process, companies can effectively develop updates to existing products or services to make them better meet the needs of the customers.


Final Thoughts The ICSS framework guides an organisation to develop best practice customer experience from design to delivery and service, by identifying where the organisation can improve systems to advance both customer and organisational success. Customer collaboration is vital if an organisation wants to offer the best product or service to the market. It's capable of a total transformation of a company’s design processes, its customer relationships, and customer loyalty.

ICSS: 2020-2025 Webinar

Establishing a user group. By establishing a user group to evaluate a product or service, the company in effect encourages feedback and learns what issues concern customers regarding the product.

Jeremy Larkins Executive Director Customer Service Institute of Australia

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