September 2019 CSIA Quarterly
ON THE ROAD TO THE ASEAS Our judges on celebrating customer service excellence.
Designing for everyone
Luke Jamieson on gamifying performance metrics to drive business outcomes.
Centre for Inclusive Designâ€™s Dr Manisha Amin on the value that inclusive design can bring.
Welcome to the spring edition of FOCUS magazine.
I look forward to collaborating further with CSIA’s community as we develop our strategy for 2020 and beyond.
As this is the first issue of FOCUS since I’ve become CSIA’s Executive Director, I want to say thank you for warmly welcoming me into my new role. I’m especially enjoying your feedback and suggestions, and look forward to collaborating further with CSIA’s community as we develop our strategy for 2020 and beyond. Now that spring has officially sprung – the festive season is right around the corner, and in this issue, Citrus Group, leaders in contact centre recruitment talk about ‘customer anxiety’ and the challenges of delivering great customer service at this busy time of year. We’re always keen to share our members’ experiences. We spoke with Chelsea Cheney, National Manager Member Services at Engineers Australia who shares the story of her organisation’s customer centricity journey and the role CSIA training has played in shifting their culture.
CEO Manisha Amin takes us through some of the key findings and how we can ensure a great customer experience for everyone in our society. While measuring customer sentiment is important, Brett Gumbley, Director of market research agency, Antenna, reminds us to look beyond the data and walk in our customer’s shoes from time to time. And I’m sure you will enjoy reading the heart-warming article from CSIA’s Lead Facilitator, Monique Richardson titled ‘Everything I learnt about customer service I learnt from my dad’. It’s a wonderful reminder of the impact our service has on others. Finally, as the 2019 Australian Service Excellence Awards gala dinner approaches, I’d like to wish all finalists the very best for your categories. I look forward to seeing you at the celebration in Melbourne.
Luke Jamieson from Customer Driven explains how gamifying behaviours can drive great customer, employee and business outcomes. The Centre for Inclusive Design has recently released a fascinating report on the benefits of designing for everyone.
Jeremy Larkins Executive Director
"Anxious customers left to fend for themselves are less satisfied with their choices, and less trusting of the company with which they are interacting."
News in Brief
On the road to the 2019 ASEAs
Contact centre rush hour – how’s your customer and service anxiety?
10 Playing around with gamification
Luke Jamieson asks if the methodology we use to set KPIs flawed?
State of Service: 2019’s changing customer service trends
Everything I learnt about customer service I learnt from my dad
Monique Richardson's tribute to her late father.
The benefits of designing for everyone
Setting a customer focused benchmark for Engineers Australia
Measurement isn’t enough!
To create a truly customer- centric culture, Australian businesses need to look beyond the data and walk in their customers’ shoes writes Brett Gumbley.
News in Brief Continuing our partnership with Salesforce
CSIA is proud of our ongoing partnership with Salesforce to share events and networking opportunities that support customer service professionals and the customer service industry in Australia. Across August and September we supported Salesforce with the second annual Saleforce Service Edge Summit events in Sydney and Melbourne. Over 400 delegates attended each event to hear from trailblazing innovators and learn how to transform their own businesses through service. CSIA Certified Practitioners were part of The Future of Service panel, with Todd Gorsuch (in Sydney) and Bruce
McGregor (in Melbourne) sharing their knowledge and expertise about customer service technologies including AI and Bots. We were excited to be part of the official Australian launch of Trailblazers for the Future in Melbourne. With this workshop series, Salesforce is investing in future service leaders with a program designed to help customer service agents, managers and directors understand the evolving role of service professionals in the 4th industrial revolution. Attendees delved into the human side of service and learnt about the skills that will be required as technology disrupts customer service roles as we know them.
"Salesforce is investing in future service leaders with a program designed to help customer service agents, managers and directors."
We've recently created and renewed partnerships with our industry's leading organisations.
We would also like to congratulate Transurban for its recent recertification to CSIAâ€™s Complaint Handling Framework (CSIA-CHF 2015).
This full-day program is for all team leaders, supervisors or customer service managers who are responsible for the customer service performance of those within their consumer facing teams.
We would also like to congratulate SNP Security and Smartsalary for maintaining their status as Certified Customer Service Organisations through their recent recertification to the International Customer Service Standard (2015-2020).
Congratulations to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade â€“ Australian Passport Office for their recent certification to the International Customer Service Standard (2015-2020).
Join us in Melbourne on 23 October for our Certified Customer Service Leader (CCSL) program.
Newly certified companies
Calling all customer service leaders October 2019, Melbourne
It is a great opportunity to boost your service leadership skills. We hope we will see you there!
Our industry partnership with VETASSESS CSIA recently formalised a partnership with VETASSESS in a commitment to support skilled customer service migrants to thrive in the Australian market. Our partnership brings together industry and education providers to ensure that the current assessment criteria for the Customer Service Manager occupation in Australia instils confidence and meets expectations for employer groups and organisations Australia-wide. Find out more
On the road to the 2019 ASEAs This year, organisations are showcasing their unique value propositions and authenticity is being celebrated.
We caught up with Lead Judge, Danielle Larkins. How has the program evolved, what differences are you seeing? This year has been a year like no other to be on the road judging the ASEAs finalists. From week one, the judging panel quickly identified a noticeable increase in the calibre of site presentations being given by finalist organisations, and this has continued throughout the 2019 judging process. Material has been specific and targeted towards CSIA’s four customer service perspectives. What technology trends are you seeing?
It has been a busy time for CSIA’s Awards team. Judging for the 2019 Australian Service Excellence Awards began back in July. Over the past three months, our Lead Judge, Danielle Larkins, along with a judging panel of over 30 guest judges have travelled across Australia to visit both organisational and individual finalists. Our judging panel have been most impressed with the quality of finalists and the quality of site visits.
As judges, we have been seeing how AI is creating value to the bottom line of businesses but also to staff engagement levels. We’ve also been seeing how technology-driven initiatives are promoting equity for customers with accessibility issues, and how more and more technology projects are being architected through customer lead design principles.
A few of our judging panel also took the time to share their thoughts with us: I’ve judged for the last three years and this year the entries have been of an even higher standard. There was a nice mix of established companies wrestling with change and innovation to give them an edge, and newer businesses that have been built around the customer from day one. I saw less ‘lip-service’ and more genuine commitment (and tangible efforts) to put the customer at the centre of everything. Just about every business I judged was looking at augmented intelligence. Most notably, bots supporting knowledge management — helping with the training, development and efficiency of customer service teams and also aimed at providing a better customer experience. Tony Rambaut Strategy Partner, Friendly Persuasion
Having been lucky enough to participate in the CSIA judging this year again there are some amazing themes coming through. Finalists are improving — last year’s participants have stepped up and new finalists are sharing great innovations. The passion for great customer service is outstanding, and while leadership support for CX is critical I have been impressed with the can do/nothing is too hard attitude of Australian CX managers. I wish everyone all the best with the awards, and on a final note must say that CSIA has an important role to play to support us all to connect and share best practice. Todd Gorsuch CEO, Customer Science
Join us at the 2019 ASEAS Last chance to purchase your tickets for the Australian customer service industry’s night of nights at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday, 24 October.
Contact centre rush hour: How’s your customer and service anxiety? In this era of disruption, when technology offers clients and customers more choice than ever before — the pressure’s on.
As the Christmas season peak hour looms and anxiety levels rise — it’s a fine line between the pleasure of delivering great customer service, and the pain of failing to meet expectations as we close out another year. Anxiety levels rise as the pressure rises — customers are anxious to get the service they demand and those of us providing the service are anxious to deliver! A recent survey by Harvard Business School (HBS), reported here by Harvard Business Review (HBR) has found that, when it comes to the crunch, anxious customers look for “human customer service”. Think about it. It’s human nature to turn to others for help. Harvard (HBS) focused on companies with what they call “high-anxiety settings” — including financial services and healthcare — and they observed that many such companies isolate their customers “at the precise moment they are keen for connection.” They send us to the self-service technologies, like a website, smartphone, or kiosk and that increases our customer anxiety. Most of us could probably think of one or two other industries which heighten our anxiety! The HBS research found there’s a domino effect to dissatisfaction and anxiety in online settings, because so much choice can lead to confusion and indecision. Which leads to dissatisfaction and distrust of the brand/business. Surely, then, that must elevate the actual call centre to the front line, with a human at the end of the line the last port of call to alleviate customer anxiety. Many would argue, that’s what contact centres should be there for. Gordana Smith, co-founder of Citrus Group and a 20-year veteran of the specialist recruitment industry, works with a range of businesses to source staff for their contact centres. She says client anxiety is always a key consideration when it comes to contact centre recruitment. “Our role is to mitigate that anxiety, by delivering what our clients need,” she says. “That means sourcing and placing the right people in the right roles to deliver great customer service for their businesses.” According to Gordana, her team can generally forecast the peaks and troughs throughout the year and running up to the last quarter
of 2019, she can already see demand is rising as her call centre clients search for more, quality personnel to deliver that Christmas “peak hour” service. Constant communication with and understanding of her clients, goes a long way to delivering the right solutions. “Our clients are both our customers and our partners, and we consider the individual needs of each business to ensure we tailor the solutions to suit them,” she says. “One size does not fit all — and because we are specialists, we can adjust our service delivery every time. They also need to know they can trust us to deliver, and they need to know that we care.” The theme remains the same — whether it is business to business customer service, or front-line sales to the person in the street. Says HBR: "Anxious customers left to fend for themselves are less satisfied with their choices, and less trusting of the company with which they are interacting." Ultimately, as the survey found, for those of us delivering customer service it is a fine balance between the human touchpoints (the people on the front line) and the technology. Sometimes the technology may be too intrusive and off-putting because it requires too much “self-service” for the customer. However, if the customer knows a person is at the end of the line to solve their issues, whether they call them or not, it’s a comfort. As the 80s hit told us ‘It’s a fine line between pleasure and pain’ — a timely reminder that the pleasure of delivering great customer service will go a long way to averting the pain of losing their business.
Anne Fulwood Communications Citrus Group
Anne Fulwood enjoyed a high-profile broadcasting career in network television over two decades and is regarded as a leader in the field of broadcast media and the communications industry in general. She is currently working with Citrus Group assisting them with their communications and marketing strategy.
"Our clients are both our customers and our partners, and we consider the individual needs of each business to ensure we tailor the solutions to suit them,”
Playing around with gamification Is the methodology used to set KPIs flawed? Have you ever thought about how you come up with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you use in your business? Quite likely you apply a formula that results in a bunch of binary metrics that are only attractive to your top quartile performers. A recent Gallup study estimated that only 30% of employees are considered engaged. Perhaps the methodology we use for setting KPIs is flawed? And therefore, organisations end up with bell curve performance, high attrition and winat-all-cost behaviours. Instead of repeating this methodology maybe we should be thinking of how we can do better…and maybe consider gamifying your KPIs?
What is gamification? Wikipedia defines it as ‘the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts…a set of activities and processes to solve problems by using or applying the characteristics of game elements’. It was a big thing back in the 90s, but its time in the spotlight was short-lived. Gamification wasn’t taken seriously in organisations as it was seen to be targeted only towards young people and because it was thought that ‘play’ did not equal profit! However, the recent launch of some new gamification SAAS platforms has spurred a comeback in gamifying work tasks.
It’s interesting to note that in 2019 the digital gaming industry has the highest revenue of all the major entertainment categories — over $116 billion. Compared to the box office with a revenue of $41 billion you can see why people are starting to look at gamification with increased interest.
So how does gamification of KPI’s work? In my youth I became quite addicted to gaming. When I started to question what kept me playing for hours on end, I decided to investigate the mechanics of my favourite game. What I found was that there was something in it for everyone — progression, challenge, glory, social interaction, exploration and a bit of a story… and that was all it had taken to get me hooked. Each of these elements was a motivator which kept me playing. And I wasn’t alone in my addiction. Did you know that collectively there have been 50 billion hours spent playing a game called ‘World of Warcraft’? That’s equivalent to nearly 6 million years of playing time. Imagine what we as humans could have achieved if that time was spent on something other than levelling up characters in a video game. This led me to think about how I could gamify the contact centre I was leading. My research showed that gamification was deeply rooted in behavioural psychology.
"Rather than defaulting back to our standard way of setting binary carrot and stick metrics...what if we considered the motivational benefits of these chemical releases when we set KPIs?"
Playing games releases chemicals into our bodies such as: • Dopamine when we score points, win or learn something • Serotonin when we socialise with others • Oxytocin when we work with others in alliances, and • Endorphins when we interact or exceed our perceived limits. Rather than defaulting back to our standard way of setting binary carrot and stick metrics that only attract 30% — what if we considered the motivational benefits of these chemical releases when we set KPIs? Perhaps this could help us motivate the other 70%? Researchers have analysed which game mechanics work with which people and how they could be woven into day to day work life.
By looking at my contact centre through this lens I was able to create KPIs based on the behaviours that led to outcomes and that aligned with rewards that matched player motivations. Over time, I created my own taxonomy and profiling tool designed to fit within a workplace. That profiling tool now forms part of the consulting we do at Customer Driven around gamification and best practice implementation. It lets us help organisations to understand the make-up of their people and how to build a game that best motivates all their employees — not just the top 30% who are driven by standard KPIs. Gamification isn’t about putting a controller in everyone’s hand and turning the work environment into a game of Pacman! It’s about diversity
and understanding that we are all different yet can all pull towards a common goal if motivated uniquely in what can be a fun way. If you want to make your KPIs more engaging — then perhaps it’s worth “playing around” with the idea of gamification.
Luke Jamieson Head of CX & EX Customer Driven
Luke Jamieson has over 20 years of leadership experience and 15 years in the customer contact industry. He is an enthusiast for employee and customer experience and an expert in gamifying performance metrics to support diversity and drive sustainable business success.
State of Service: The changing customer service trends of 2019
New research into the latest trendsÂ identify exactly what organisations need to know about what transformation looks like and how to be ready for it. The newÂ State of Service reportÂ provides indepth analysis of a survey of more than 3500 customer service decision-makers and agents worldwide, signals a new reality for the role across every industry, and identifies practises that set leading organisations apart. Here are the five customer service trends that stand out.
"Today, it’s not enough for agents to focus on closing as many cases in as little time as possible."
1. Leading service organisations invest in transformation
4. Service teams are trailing customers on channel adoption
Four out of five service decision makers believe that emerging technology is transforming customers’ expectations of them.
10 different channels to communicate with companies, and expects a consistent, contextualised and personalised experience across all of them.
Even more (82%) think their company’s customer service must transform to stay competitive.
Planned implementation of digital service channels such as online communities, mobile apps, and mobile messaging platforms including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger is high, but service teams are still largely behind the curve.
While the recognised need for service transformation is relatively consistent across organisations, high-performing teams — those with excellent customer satisfaction rates — are far more likely than their underperforming competition to be getting more resources.
2. Strategy is more important than timeto-resolution Customer expectations for tailored engagement based on their unique needs means that no customer-facing role — including agents — can operate with a ‘business as usual’ mindset. Today, it’s not enough for agents to focus on closing as many cases in as little time as possible. Instead, they tackle each customer interaction on a personalised basis and treat it in the unique manner the customer demands. Agents are keenly aware of this new dynamic, with 71% viewing their jobs as more strategic than just two years ago. Yet, not all organisations are as advanced as others. Among high-performing teams, 63% of agents spend most of their time solving complex problems. On underperforming teams, however, a similar share of agents (57%) spend most of their time on mundane tasks. It’s no wonder that agents on high-performing teams are twice as likely to see a clear path for their career growth.
3. Agents are being empowered by AI to take up elevated roles Use of artificial intelligence (AI) in customer service may be nascent, with just under one-quarter (24%) of teams using it today. But 56% of service decision makers say their organisations are actively looking for ways to use AI, which signals a third customer service trend: a growing role for use cases such as chatbots, text and voice analytics, and more. In fact, AI adoption is forecast to surge by 143% over the next 18 months.
Today’s customers are, on average, 16 percentage points more likely to use a given channel to communicate with companies than a company is to offer service on that channel. That means there’s a huge gap between what the customer wants and what organisations are delivering.
5. Field service is a revenue centre and the face of a brand Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) service decision-makers say the experience a customer has with a mobile worker reflects their brand, and 71% claim to be making significant investments in their mobile workforce — be it through technology, hiring or otherwise. Yet much like the overall agent experience, the mobile worker experience is inconsistent across company performance tiers, with nearly twice as many mobile workers at underperforming organisations saying they must toggle between multiple screens to get the information they need than those at highperforming organisations. Read the full State of Service report to uncover all the insights and trends in customer service and see what you can do to make customers’ experiences as great as your products.
Sarah Patterson Senior Vice President, Product Marketing & Strategy Salesforce
Sarah Patterson has over 15 years of experience in IT consulting, M&A finance, research, and marketing. She leads the messaging, positioning and go-to-market strategy for Service Cloud, Sales Cloud and EMEA product marketing at Salesforce.
Everything I learnt about customer service, I learnt from my dad Monique Richardson writes a personal tribute to her late father Noel Richardson, who spent his life serving others in banking, hospitality and volunteering.
I always knew my dad was someone very special growing up. As a Bank Manager in a small country town, living on top of the Bank, we would sometimes be woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of “Hey Bankman! Lend us some money!” from the locals after a few too many drinks at the town pub. Instead of getting angry, Dad would drop down a few coins over the balcony — the locals would have a good laugh and move on. He was adored by the community who he embraced and contributed to greatly through volunteering and sport. After moving to the city as a teenager I spent many weekends at the weddings, christenings and birthdays of Dad’s customers. The cynic in some may say it was because they took out a personal loan to pay for these events, but I knew better. It was all about the relationships he built with his customers and how much they loved him. They would often hold a dance in his honour, and as Mum often worked on weekends, I would be his partner. While he had exceptional people skills, his skills on the dance floor were something else. There are some key lessons I learnt from my dad as a result of his 58 years being of service to others, some from his words of wisdom, but mostly though observation.
1. Make people feel important While Dad was a senior bank manager with one of the big four banks, he treated everyone as an equal. He took the time to get to know everyone, not only his customers and his team, but also the security guards and cleaners. He remembered their children’s names and which football team they barracked for. He always found a way to make people feel important. He had a unique ability to relate to everyone he met despite their ages or walks of life.
2. Build meaningful and personal connections and relationships Dad built incredible connections with people. He would always remember their names and important information they had told them. He had a genuine interest in people and always made a person feel like they were the only one in the room. He had an incredible attention to detail for people and what mattered most to them. Such was the power of his connections with his customers, that when he was made redundant at the bank after 33 years, he had a call from head office asking if he could stop his customers calling and writing to complain. Of course, he hadn’t asked his customers to call, they were just so incensed that he was asked to leave when he was so committed to them.
3. Do random acts of kindness Dad performed so many random acts of kindness and was an incredibly generous and thoughtful man. Whether it was organising footy cards for his team or bringing in fresh flowers from his beloved garden to make his customers smile — he always found a way to do simple, thoughtful and inexpensive acts of kindness.
4. Work hard, be reliable and never let the team down I have never met a harder worker than my dad. His work ethic was legendary. Dad gave 110 percent to every role he ever worked in, from his 33 years in the bank to his final role at a hotel. He claimed he was the oldest bottle shop worker in Victoria and was so proud to still be working and volunteering at 75. He was a friend and mentor to many he worked with over the years and loved getting to know his colleagues and customers. Sadly, my dear dad passed away in January 2018 after having a massive stroke. His loss was felt by so many, first and foremost his beloved wife, family, grandchildren and friends, but also the many people that had been so affected by his life and generosity. There were over 800 people to farewell him at his funeral where he was described by
the priest and his friend as an “ordinary, extraordinary man.” who knew the power of human connection. I believe this is Dad’s legacy. He truly got what this life is all about. Loving and giving. Being there for your family. Being a wonderful friend. Connecting with people. Making a difference to someone’s day. He gave so much and never expected anything in return. He enhanced people’s lives just through who he was. My dad was a man who devoted his life to being of service to others and who left this earth, although far too early, with a profound impact on everyone who ever met him. I will be forever grateful to have had the most incredible father and role-model and will carry his lessons with me for the rest of my life.
Monique Richardson Senior Consultant & Lead Facilitator Customer Service Institute of Australia
Monique Richardson works with Leadership and Team Members across various industries to increase employee engagement, customer satisfaction and customer focus. Monique has a deep passion for customer service, building customer centric cultures and the human element of customer experience.
"Such was the power of his connections with his customers, that when he was made redundant... he had a call from head office asking if he could stop his customers calling and writing to complain."
The benefits of designing for everyone There’s no such thing as normal, says Centre for Inclusive Design CEO, Dr Manisha Amin. We’re all ‘edge’ users in some way. Across Australia there are people that are constantly unable to appropriately access products and services because of poor design, where there's inappropriate usability, utility, availability, or desirability. At least five million Australians are vulnerable to exclusion based on the number of Australians living with disability and the elderly alone. They possess over $40 billion in annual disposable income, a significant portion of which is untapped due to design exclusion. This doesn’t consider the people that are excluded due to other circumstances such as location, gender, ethnicity and financial status. As the real and the technological worlds collide, inclusive design and considering ‘edge’ users becomes even more important. People at the edge show us the best of things and the worst of things. We’ve all benefitted so much from technology in recent years, but we’re also suffering from technology. The same goes for people with disabilities, technology has included a lot of people with disabilities but as it gets more complex it's often excluding people with disabilities.
A lot of us are suffering with cognitive load. Because of this load, a lot of us think its ok to be tired all the time, that’s become the new normal. So, when we think about what a great customer experience looks like, often we hear about comments like ‘make it quiet’ ‘make it easier’ ‘make it less complex for me’. We need to get the balance right. The Centre for Inclusive Design has recently released a report, The Benefits of Designing for Everyone, which analyses the many positives from a business and community perspective of designing for everyone in our society. The report focused on its research on three core industries and within these the researchers found that implementing inclusive design could lead to financial, economic and social benefits.
"As the real and the technological worlds collide, inclusive design and considering ‘edge’ users becomes even more important."
In the Financial sector, over 4 per cent of Australians could gain financial inclusion as a result of inclusively designed and targeted financial services
So don’t dismiss inclusive design as just a feel-good — think about what it would mean to your business to substantially grow the size of your target market and reduce the need for costly retrofits when products and services don't meet the needs of many of the intended population groups. And surely, it is always a good thing to improve brand reputation and recognition. You can download and read the full report on The Benefits of Designing for Everyone here.
Some of these include: •
In Education - an increase in higher education for excluded population groups, resulting in 228,000 additional tertiary qualifications gained, which in turn can increase employment and salaries by $4.5 billion annually.
• Within the Retail industry, increases of $4 billion in ‘household goods’ and ‘clothing, footwear and personal accessory sales’ due to non-inclusively designed products
Dr Manisha Amin CEO Centre for Inclusive Design
Dr Manisha Amin is the CEO of the Centre for Inclusive Design, a not-forprofit social enterprise that uses the power of the marketplace. As the real and the digital worlds collide CfID design systems, products, services and customer experiences based on inclusive principles.
Setting a customer focused benchmark for Engineers Australia CSIA spoke to Chelsea Cheney, National Manager Member Services at Engineers Australia, about the organisation’s customer-centricity journey and the role CSIA training has played in shifting its culture.
With plans to establish its Member Services team as a ‘centre of excellence’ for customer experience and service, Engineers Australia partnered with CSIA in 2014 to assist in creating a more customer-centric culture and ultimately create a benchmark to generate a cultural shift across its entire business. The first rollout of the Customer Service Excellence program to the Member Services team, facilitated by CSIA’s Monique Richardson in partnership with Engineering Education Australia, saw immediate and profound results. “The pilot programs were so well received by our staff, who came back with a real focus and passion,” says Chelsea. “It really opened their eyes to understanding who the customer was, and took them from an external viewpoint of thinking ‘the customers are the people who call us’ or ‘the customers are our members’, to ‘the customers are everybody who we engage with’.” She reports that the training program inspired the team members to think more deeply about their interactions, particularly how they put themselves forward, and how they represented Member Services and Engineers Australia in their interactions with others. Following the success of the pilot program, Engineers Australia went on to roll out the program to its other business units, with a focus on staff who engage with external members and customers. Chelsea says the program “fits perfectly with our core value of Customer Focus and one of our Strategic Priorities which is to enhance member and customer experience.” To date, the program
has been successfully delivered to offices in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane. As part of the business’ current onboarding program, new employees are required to complete the Customer Service Excellence program, run in-house and facilitated by CSIA, within the first six months to ensure they have the right customer focus. “The courses are highly engaging, giving our staff practical tools and actions to take away,” says Chelsea. “We see it as our base level—‘Customer Service Training 101’.” As the official testing body for the Australian Government’s Migrant Skills Assessment Program, Engineers Australia also needed a training program that met its specific service needs. “We were finding that a large percentage of calls coming into our Member Service Centre were from people looking to get a Migration Skills Assessment who did not have English as a first language,” says Chelsea. Accordingly, CSIA recently developed the Certified Customer Engagement Excellence program for the business to create ‘Delivering
a Positive Customer Experience in Challenging Circumstances’, a tailored course providing staff with an understanding of cultural differences and language barriers, enabling them to tailor their communication and ensuring they can help and support their customers effectively. Chelsea says, “By building on the foundations of the Customer Service Excellence program, we’ve been able to add extra tools and layers of knowledge to help our staff better understand what excellent service looks like to our customers. “Working collaboratively with CSIA, we’ve been able to embed the ethos of customer centricity and are seeing a real cultural shift across all facets of the organisation.” With CSIA’s guidance, the benchmark has been set for Engineers Australia to be exceptionally customerfocused, equipping its staff with the right values, knowledge and tools to be empowered in their day-today work and interactions—and the positive cascade effect throughout the business is well and truly evident.
Measurement is not enough! To create a truly customer-centric culture, Australian businesses need to look beyond the data and walk in their customers’ shoes writes Brett Gumbley.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is currently seen as the gold standard in measuring customer sentiment. Most large and mid-sized organisations (and many smaller ones) have embraced NPS as a business metric as low-cost tools that integrate into CRMs become more readily available. Despite the benefit of having a finger on the pulse of your consumers, many businesses treat NPS as a sole metric rather than a starting point for understanding their customers’ experience. “It’s all okay, our NPS is increasing” is a comment we often hear from clients, but we quickly learn that this is the only measure they’re tracking. This myopic view of your customers can represent a real risk to the business — NPS is great way to help track the broader customer relationship, but on its own, it lacks the diagnostic depth to enable organisations to solve deep rooted customer issues and can blinker senior management to the wider issues. That’s why it’s important to go beyond NPS and see through the eyes of your customer. A great way to super-charge customer centricity at all levels of the organisation is through customer immersion... spending time talking with customers about their day to day and their needs. It’s not just understanding how they see your products and services, but how they fit into the broader context of their world. This approach can be as formal or informal as your organisation needs it to be — we’ve seen businesses that have built programs where all of the senior management team spend one day every quarter with a client,
"Hearing your customer talk about value for money and what it means for them is far more informative and insightful than seeing this on a graph."
through to less formal ones where the CEO will call five customers every month to touch base. The topic areas and questioning can range from tracking specific issues in service delivery to a more general chat about how their business is performing. We can’t emphasise enough how this exercise can help you understand your customer. Firsthand observation of the good, bad and ugly of your customers’ experience means management walk away with a greater empathy and understanding of their customer, but more importantly, can articulate issues and challenges in a way that a customer satisfaction survey can’t. Hearing your customer talk about value for money and what it means for them is far more informative and insightful than seeing this on a graph.
It can be confronting to hear what your customers don’t like about your organisation and what it offers; however, in today’s competitive climate you can be sure that at least some your competitors will be making the effort to go beyond the data and walk a mile in their customers’ shoes.
Brett Gumbley Director Antenna
Brett Gumbley is a former CSIA assessor and currently Director at Antenna, a market research agency specialising in customer experience measurement and strategy.
Level 2 232 George Street Sydney NSW 2000
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