FOCUS | CSIA Quarterly - June 2022

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CSIA Quarterly June 2022

Stepping up in a time of crisis CSIA talks to the 2021 Best of Best winners at Service NSW about supporting the community through fires, floods and the pandemic

Breaking through service barriers

2022 ASEA Finalists

Sal Petroccitto from National Heavy Vehicle Regulator tells us about their first ICSS certification experience.

See all the finalists for the 2022 awards inside

CSIA talks to 10,000 Australian consumers CSIA shares a first look at the inaugural Australian Service Index including some high level customer insights.


Welcome to the winter ‘22 edition of FOCUS Congratulations to the organisations, teams, contact centres and people announced as finalists in this year's Australian Service Excellence Awards. The judging team have told me both the individual and organisation entries were of very high quality this year resulting in many difficult decisions selecting finalists across most categories.

And we are delighted to introduce our new product - the Australian Service Index. CSIA spoke to 10,000 Australian consumers about their experiences across a range of sectors and brands and we are delighted to share some initial insights as our team prepares a full report for release in the very near future.

In this issue of FOCUS we hear from Sal Petroccitto, CEO of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, who tells us about their first ICSS certification experience and how their team are breaking service barriers.

Finally, CSIA has been supporting teams within many organisations to deal with aggressive and abusive customer behaviours using our ICE model. Please do reach out to me if your team needs support at this time as we are seeing and hearing about many instances of increased customer aggression.

We also talk to Sue Ferguson from Service NSW about their Specialist Support Services team who won the 2021 ASEA Best of the Best award. For the past three years this team has been supporting communities in crisis and delivering exceptional service in difficult circumstances. Steven Brett, CSIA ICSS assessor and founder of Manage Smart explains the foundations of best practice complaints management, and Simon Bowker from ServiceNow tells us how they are supporting customers to bridge the expectations gap.

Wishing all businesses in our community a successful new financial year.

Jeremy Larkins Executive Director


JULY 2020

Contents

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News in Brief

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Breaking through service barriers Sal Petroccitto from National Heavy Vehicle Regulator tells us about their first ICSS certification experience.

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2022 Australian Service Excellence Awards Finalists

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Introducing the Australian Service Index CSIA members share their journeys through the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic.

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Stepping up at a time of crisis Sue Ferguson from Service NSW talks to CSIA about winning the 2021 ASEA best of the best.

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Working faster, better and simpler Simon Bowker from ServiceNow talks about how technology is bridging the customer expectation gap

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Foundations for best practice complaints handling Steven Brett from Manage Smart explains the foundations for best practice complaints management

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Member Spotlight

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News in Brief CSIA Celebrates 25 Years in 2022 Since 1997, the Customer Service Institute of Australia has supported Australian organisations and individuals to see the world through a customer lens. In the next issue of Focus magazine, we will reflect on our history and celebrate some highlights as we have championed a customer centricity and the recognition of customer service as a profession. To celebrate our silver jubilee, we are offering our Silver Corporate Memberships at a 25% discount for all of 2022.

FIND OUT MORE

New online CCSE Program

The CSIA online team has been busy revising our suite of online programs and we are pleased to announce the release of the new version of the Certified Customer Service Excellence (CCSE) program. New versions of our complaints handling, leadership and customer success programs will be released this quarter, along with a range of full length and micro programs

FIND OUT MORE


JUNE 2022

Join the 2022 ASEA Judging Panel Applications are open to join the 2022 Australian Service Excellence Awards judging panel. CSIA would be delighted to hear from any members of our community interested contributing your time and expertise and supporting the recognition of service excellence in Australia. You can apply below or contact our awards team for more information at awards@csia.com.au

APPLY NOW

The Inaugural Australian Service Index CSIA is delighted to announce the inaugural Australian Service Index – a survey of 10,000+ consumers to understand their experience across 15 key industry segments and associated brands. Insights include trends, service experiences and performance of both industry segments and major brands within each segment. Some initial insights can be found on Pages 13-15 and the full report will be available by August

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Breaking through service barriers The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is Australia’s regulator for heavy vehicles and employs more than 470 people across the ACT, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. The NHVR was established in 2013 as a statutory authority to administer one set of laws – the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) – which applies in all Australia's states and territories except the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Here we talk with NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto about the experience of completing their first ICSS Certification with CSIA during 2021-2022.

NHVR has been in existence for only nine years yet is already demonstrating how a relatively new organisation can build a reputation for delivering a leading customer experience. How have you achieved this? We understand the critical role our customers play in helping to deliver a safe and productive heavy vehicle industry, and believe they deserve the best possible experience when dealing with the NHVR so from the very beginning, we reflected this in our corporate values – Customer First, We Add Value, People Matter and Strong Partnerships. For us, great customer service isn’t just about giving the customer what they ask for, it’s about being proactive, genuinely listening to concerns and feedback, finding innovative solutions, and going above and beyond to add value to every interaction. Our staff are committed to delivering the best customer experience the first time, every time – whether that’s via interactions at the roadside, through our Contact Centre, at industry events or on our social media.


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Working across so many sectors of the industry must be incredibly difficult. How have you overcome these challenges? We have an incredibly diverse customer base – drivers, companies, industry associations, police, road managers, government, media and the local community – to name a few. Each sector faces different challenges and has different goals and ideas about how we can make the heavy vehicle industry safer and more productive. We put a lot of effort into openly engaging and collaborating with our customers to find the most appropriate and sustainable solutions. We use a range of different forums, working groups, committees, and engagement channels, as well as a dedicated industry engagement team to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. What was it that motivated NHVR to seek ICSS certification? We wanted to ensure we’re providing the absolute best customer experience in every interaction. To do that, we need to be assessed independently against the highest industry standards. Achieving ICSS certification is not only an important indicator for us, it also demonstrates to the heavy vehicle industry that we live and breathe our values, and are fully committed to a customer-first approach.

How important is it that NHVR’s interactions provide the best possible experience for customers? It’s vital. Every time a customer uses one of our services or interacts with us, it shapes their experience. Our customer touchpoints can happen across multiple channels, so it’s important our approach is consistent across the organisation, so we’re achieving the best possible outcome for everyone. Building and maintaining strong working relationships with our customers is so important to achieve positive safety and productivity outcomes for our industry and all road users. What was the process like, completing the ICSS certification through CSIA? Was there anything that came to light that you weren’t previously aware of? It was fantastic. Our Customer Experience Officer worked closely with staff right across the organisation to collect evidence on our engagement processes. CSIA gave us helpful advice and support along the way to ensure we were clearly demonstrating our best-practice approach. It was a great chance to reflect on everything we’ve achieved since 2013, and I’m excited by the opportunities ahead – not only for the NHVR as a customer-focused organisation but for the heavy vehicle industry as a whole.

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Australian Service Excellence Awards

FINALISTS Individual Categories Customer Service Advocate of the Year

Jane Donovan - Brighte Dion Lalagiannis - CommInsure (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) Emma Millar - TechnologyOne Bonnie O’Brien - BT Financial Group Leeanne Wriggley - Woolworths Customer Service Professional of the Year

Jasmine Haikal - CommInsure (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) Michelle McCarthy - Woolworths Stephanie Murphy - Smartgroup - AccessPay Smartgroup Corporation Shahbaz Shaikh - HP PPS Pty Ltd Australia Melanie Thompson - Service NSW Customer Service Leader of the Year

Tate Burford - Suncorp Sitoe Faumui - Service NSW Samantha Jordan - Centorrino Technologies Danielle O'Connell - American Express Shaun Voege - PEXA Customer Service Manager of the Year

Craig Adamson - Smartgroup - AccessPay Smartgroup Corporation Helen Crossan - BT Financial Group Christine Isaia - CommInsure (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) Mark Valana - Smartgroup - AccessPay Smartgroup Corporation Matthew Stephenson - CommInsure (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) Customer Service Executive of the Year

Adam Centorrino - Centorrino Technologies Sarah Haas - Smartgroup - AccessPay Smartgroup Corporation Helvi Rossi - triSearch Allicia Tsolis - Suncorp


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CSIA was delighted to announce the organisations and individuals selected as finalists in the 2022 Australian Service Excellence Awards Program in June. This year 82 finalists were selected from hundreds of nominations across 19 categories. The judging team noted the high quality of nominations year and CSIA applauds all entrants in this year’s awards program. We offer our congratulations to all finalists and wish you all the best for your finalist judging presentations and interviews.

Organisation Categories Customer Service Organisation of the Year Government / Not For Profit

Department of Transport and Main Roads Engineers Australia Mosaic Community Care National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Service NSW Customer Service Organisation of the Year Large

Aussie Broadband Downer Defence Sydney Water The Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Limited Customer Service Organisation of the Year Medium

Brighte Centorrino Technologies Jaybro Group Keolis Downer Adelaide Thryv Customer Service Organisation of the Year Small

Fathom Nationwide Corporate Services Sleeping Duck

Customer Service Team of the Year - Large

BT Financial Group – Platforms, Services and Operations business Department of Transport and Main Roads RoadTek South-East Queensland Responsive Maintenance Contract Team Keolis Downer Adelaide - Customer Experience Team Smartgroup Corporation - AccessPay Customer Service Team Yarra Valley Water - Customer Care, Retail Services Customer Service Team of the Year Medium

Blue Connections IT - Enterprise Service Desk (ESD) Finder - Customer Care Team Smartgroup Corporation - Vehicle Sales Team Customer Service Team of the Year - Small

Centorrino Technologies - Customer Experience (CX) Team City Index - Client Management Services Little Green Pharma - Customer Care Smartgroup Corporation - Smartsalary Administration Team Suncorp - SA CTP, Early Intervention Team

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Service Excellence in a Large Contact Centre

Aussie Broadband BT Financial Group - Customer Relations Optus - Community of Experts Service NSW - Service NSW Contact Centres Woolworths (WooliesX) - Woolworths Customer Hub Service Excellence in a Medium Contact Centre

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood - National Contact Centre Centorrino Technologies - CT Service Desk Downer Defence - National Contact Centre PEXA - Member Support RACQ - The Assistance Contact Centre (ACC) Service Excellence in a Small Contact Centre

Cargo Crew - Client Service Team Sleeping Duck - SDHQ - Customer Experience Team National Heavy Vehicle Regulator - NHVR Contact Centre Customer Service Project of the Year - Service Transformation

Customer Service Project of the Year Service Innovation

Brighte - Kate 'AI' Agent HP PPS Australia Pty Ltd - Tech Central Optus - Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO)- SubHub Sydney Water - Digital Customer Platform (DCP) Customer Service Project of the Year Customer Impact

Aussie Broadband - Fault Detector project Transdev Sydney Ferries - Accessible Transport Action Plan Yarra Energy Foundation and Ventia - Fitzroy North Community Battery project Customer Service Project of the Year Continuous Improvement

City of Melbourne - Enhancing Customer Service Metrics That Matter Scentre Group - Westfield Direct Smartgroup Corporation - Customer Journey Mapping Wilson Security - CAMPUS Customer Service Excellence Program

Downer Defence - Portable Laundry Solutions NSW Government Department of Customer Service - Digital Channels OneCX Program Optus - Service & Operations Transformation & Service Excellence Smartgroup Corporation - Vehicle Calculator Project

The Australian Service Excellence Awards are our nation’s premier customer service awards recognising individuals and organisations for developing and delivering exceptional customer experiences. For 22 years CSIA has proudly hosted the awards program and been honored to reward and celebrate service excellence.

Key Dates 2022 Feb 01, 2022 - Nominations Open May 31, 2022 – Nominations Close June 20, 2022 – Finalists Announced July – September 2022 – Finalists Judging October 27, 2022 – Winners Announced


We spoke to 10,000 Australians about their service experiences (and the results might surprise you)


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Introducing the Australian Service Index CSIA is excited to announce the launch of the inaugural 2022 Australian Service Index (ASI) as part of our commitment to supporting and improving customer service delivery in Australia.

Our team is currently analysing the data and compiling the full results for the inaugural ASI report which will include the best performing brands in the surveyed categories along with consumer trends and insights.

The ASI is robust survey of over ten thousand consumers, surveyed about the good, the bad and the ugly of service delivery in Australia, across 15 key service industries including automotive, banking & finance, home insurance, streaming services, betting, government services, mobile phone services, airlines / cruise lines, energy providers, superannuation funds, internet services, health insurance, NDIS services, aged care services and car insurance.

The full report is expected to be released in August and we look forward to sharing the results with our community. In the interim we are delighted to share some high level insights.

95% of Australians have told others about a poor service experience

Australians are more likely to leave a positive than a negative review for customer service interactions 6 in 10 Australians stated that they’d be likely to leave a customer review for a business that has provided great customer service, compared with 5 in 10 Australians that stated that they’d leave a customer review for a business that has provided poor customer service. 1 in 5 Australians reported often leaving reviews.

About the Index

This research was conducted by independent research agency Antenna in May 2022 with a nationally representative sample of n=10,124 Australians aged 18+ years

Dealing with issues ‘in person’ is still Australia’s favourite channel for dealing with customer service issues 30% of Australians prefer to deal with customer service issues ‘ in person... at the store / offices’, while 26% prefer phone and 20% prefer email. Chatbots and crowd-sourced customer services are of limited appeal with just 2% preferring to use chatbots and less than 1% preferring to use crowd-sourced options.

9 in 10 Australians think it’s important to personalise customer service communications when communicating with customers


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Good online reviews (41%) and recommendations from family, friends and colleagues (36%) are seen as high value tools for customers to help predict an organisation’s ability to deliver good customer service.

The majority of Australians think having a local call centre is important 86% of Australians think having a local call centre is important with 58% of Australians having an Australian based call centre is seen as helping them predict if a company will deliver great customer service

Home Insurance (82%) and Banking & Finance (80%) customers reported the highest levels of satisfaction.

84% of Banking & Finance, Home Insurance and Streaming Services customers reporting that their service providers were easy to deal with This compares to 64% of government services and 69% of internet services customers, with caring industries well behind average at 55% for NDIS and 53% for aged care customers

Australians see customer service staff as the key to getting service delivery right 96% of Australians think customer service training is important in ensuring staff deliver good customer service and 92% of Australians think it’s important to reward staff for providing good customer service

Australians have been most engaged with government services (46%), banking and finance providers (45%) and mobile phone services (37%) in the past 12 months.

Car Insurers, Streaming Services providers and Home Insurers are leading the pack when it comes to first contact resolution 85% of car insurer, 81% of streaming and 80% of home insurer customers reporting their needs were resolved the first time they contacted the provider

When asked about what could be done to improve service delivery, our respondents gave a consistent message of being better rewarded for their loyalty, wanting a greater level of proactivity from service providers and greater access to contact options including Live Chat

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STEPPING UP IN A TIME OF CRISIS New South Wales was hard hit by the devastating bushfires that raged throughout 2019, faced a global pandemic from 2020 and bore the brunt of the recent catastrophic floods. In times of crisis such as these, expert guidance, advice and compassion are needed. Service New South Wales’ support services stepped up during these times of crisis, with their expert call centre pivoting almost overnight from facilitating standard transactions to offering personalised support via an emergency support line. Their efforts were recently recognised at the Customer

Service Institute of Australia Awards, being awarded the 2021 Best of the Best Award, with their dedicated Contact Centre unit winning the Best of the Best award, the Customer Service Team of the Year and runner up for Service Excellence in large Contact Centre. Here Susan Ferguson, Director Contact Centres – Production at Service NSW, talks about the establishment of the support services, the dedication of its staff and why excellent customer service is vital, especially in times of crisis.


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How challenging was it for Service NSW to pivot from a primarily transactional role to offering personalised support via an emergency support line? Our Community and Life Events team provide assistance for a range of partner agencies like Birth, Deaths and Marriages and for Cost of Living assistance packages. The nature of these calls requires empathy when addressing vulnerable customers and difficult events. These skills made them best suited to upskill and take on this challenge. The devastation caused from the bushfires highlighted the need for a Customer Care Program to aid in the recovery process. Working closely with Resilience NSW and other NGOs, the team helped navigate resources and grants available for those severely affected. Months later NSW was ravaged by floods, incorporating lessons learnt, the same process was undertaken. Given the current climate, an ongoing need for an Emergency Disaster Welfare Line (DWAL) was identified and a team was established. What are some of the ways the team offered support? They provide accurate and efficient information and assistance to customers in determining eligibility, and, as needed, applying for various NSW Government support services while ensuring that the customer experience provided is specific, clear and empathic. Specialised customer care was essential to manage and prioritise the unprecedented high volumes. The SSS customer care role was created to provide hypercare case management for severely affected and vulnerable customers.

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Were additional staff required, and how quickly were they trained? When COVID 19 hit, a temporary 24/7 hotline was incorporated as directed by the Premier and we expanded the team from 30 to over 250 dedicated staff. The Premier also announced the P1000 strategy in which Service NSW employed over 1000 new team members affected by COVID. We developed a tier 1/2 model to ensure specialist teams were available to support our most at need customers, with the ability to scale up staffing capacity quickly if call demand increased. Currently we have 30 Community Customer Care specialists.

Soon after the bushfire crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia, requiring the team to provide additional support to those affected. It must have been challenging? Over 85% of our team members transitioned to work from home for the first time and were provided with equipment to work remotely. This presented the challenge of how to support staff, engage, motivate and ensure safety and wellbeing. The team was increasingly handling more complex, sensitive, and difficult situations. We had no way of predicting call volumes as well as customer volatility. Onboarding was at a large scale, frequent and rapid to ensure service agreements could be met as volumes increased for existing services and the new initiatives introduced. Information and training had to become agile, evolving due to changing circumstances, announcements, and crisis priorities. The team has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life of the people of NSW – this must be incredibly rewarding for them, and for you personally? One of the great benefits of completing these awards process is that together the team have been able to reflect on their achievements together. Listening to some of the stories of interactions they have had and contributions they made is heartwarming. It's those daily encounters where they were able to impact change and help someone in the community that is the most meaningful for them. It is the driving force to come in and deal with those difficult situations and turn them around. We are committed to continuous improvement through innovation and we continue to exceed target results with 64% of our customer calls being answered within 60 seconds. The Service NSW Contact Centre has really set the bar in providing world class customer service in Australia. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way? At Service NSW, a positive customer experience is our highest priority. We draw on the best in service delivery from the public and private sectors to provide leading customer experiences. Our culture – customer and community at the centre, people at the heart, partner collaboration at its best and DNA values (Passion, Teamwork, Accountability, Service, Integrity and Trust) shape our measures of success. We continually measure our performance and use customer feedback to improve the customer experience across the different channels.

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Working faster, better and simpler Simon Bowker is Director and Head of Customer Workflow Solutions in Australia and New Zealand for ServiceNow and is responsible for managing sales, strategy and customer success for ServiceNow’s Customer Workflow and Industry Solutions. Here we talk with him about the customer experience, managing expectations and some of the key trends in those areas.

ServiceNow is renowned for providing a ‘next generation’ customer experience. Explain how the revolutionary ‘Now’ platform has assisted customers on their digital journey. Behind every great customer experience are several processes. The Now platform digitises siloed processes – connecting teams and automating systems so that work flows more effectively through an organisations. This enables our customers to harness the power of their whole company to serve their customers with great experiences, rather than getting stuck in organisational silos,

delayed by different departments, or slowed down by manual processes.

How has ServiceNow consistently been able to deliver outstanding customer service results? We help our customers by enabling them to provide a frictionless experience. Our research found that consumers are looking to get issues resolved as fast as possible. Where possible, people want to be able to automate the way they get services. Many of ServiceNow’s customers have been able to automate over half of the requests they


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“The effects of the pandemic, with increased needs from customers in lockdown, combined with the challenge of teams working remotely, created a perfect storm of poor experiences and long delays”

were receiving in the contact centre, freeing up their teams for more complex and challenging service issues. For those more difficult issues, consumers want visibility and trust that their needs are being addressed properly. Once issues are raised and passed between teams, our solutions let consumers have visibility into the end-to-end process, so they have trust in the process and that their requests will be resolved.

How does ServiceNow address the key three areas of improvement identified in the report as priorities in addressing customer concerns? ServiceNow allows you to not only provide self-service to customers, but to automate the tasks and requests that don’t really need a human involved – which helps customers have trust that they’re going to get what they need, when they need it. Some customers still don’t feel comfortable using digital methods for help, so companies need to meet those customers where they are. A mix of channels and touchpoints is required, and our platform helps customers have fast and consistent experiences however they choose to engage. Most of all people want to trust that their issue will be solved – that they won’t be passed from team to team and asked to repeat themselves until they finally find someone who can help. ServiceNow allows you to link teams who are working behind the scenes to solve issues in a single, easy-to-use experience.

How has ServiceNow remained ahead of changing customer expectations, and how have they helped their customers bridge the expectations gap? Digital transformation is a journey and as our customers see huge improvements, they can look to find new and better ways of staying ahead of the curve. Automation is just the beginning; understanding where it can be optimised or improved is the next step and that’s where the real magic happens. The Now Platform allows companies to use AI and machine learning to take their processes and automation to the next level. As teams integrate systems and processes, they look to automate more mundane tasks.

What are some of the key trends/issues in the recent Evolving Customer 2020-2025 Experience and ExpectationsICSS: in Australia report? Most surprisingly, our research showed that despite the continued effort and investment in improving customer experience, Aussies are experiencing poorer service than ever. The effects of the pandemic, with increased needs from customers in lockdown, combined with the challenge of teams working remotely, created a perfect storm of poor experiences and long delays.

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The other big challenge ServiceNow is addressing for our customers is how to empower their teams to become ‘citizen developers’ – using our ‘low-code’ tools that let anyone build and develop digital solutions without having experience of coding. This means customer service teams can find new ways to solve problems, without being reliant on the small – and often stretched – pool of traditional developers and engineers. The Now Platform allows teams to build new digital Find out more processes with ease, and extend their solutions to solve issues that might be unique to their team.

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Foundations for best practice complaints handling The CSIA Complaint Handling Framework (CSIA-CHF) has been designed to provide a best-practice guide to maintaining an effective and robust complaint handling system. The framework is intended to benefit the organisation, its customers, complainants, and other interested parties. Here we talk to customer experience executive and founder of Manage Smart Steven Brett about what constitutes a complaint, why complaint handling is important and best practice for keeping everyone happy.

What is a complaint, and what constitutes it being ‘valid’ or reasonable enough to investigate?

According to the Australian and International Standards a complaint is ‘an expression of

dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation, related to its products, services, staff, or the handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required.’ When applying this definition, different organisations make different interpretations as to what constitutes a ‘complaint’ for them. This may not seem reasonable on the surface, but upon deeper examination it’s more obvious why this occurs. An organisation that sells products or provides services in a straightforward transactional environment might struggle to make a case for a different definition, however a Local Government Organisation or a state prison would more easily defend their actions. The reason is that there is more to service delivery than meets the eye.

Please provide a real example of ineffective complaint handling – and the fallout from that – and also that of a business handling a complaint well.

A local government organisation received a complaint from a resident about being issued with a parking infringement for parking their vehicle on the verge outside their house. The resident was upset that they had been parking their vehicle in that location for some months without receiving any notification that it was not allowed. The council officer(s) who issued the fine quoted legislation and council policies to the complainant and stated that if they were unhappy, they could request a review which they had no choice but to do. The review was unsuccessful and the complainant took his dissatisfaction to social media where the council’s reputation was impacted. In another local government organisation a customer who worked in the council’s area had received a parking infringement for parking on the verge at a vacant block in an industrial


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the verge at a vacant block in an industrial area. The worker was upset that he received the fine because there were no other places to park. The parking team received the complaint and commenced their investigation. They discovered that there were a large number of infringements that had been issued in the subject area on the subject day. They interviewed the ranger responsible and discovered that there was insufficient parking in the industrial estate. The council erected signs informing workers they would be fined for parking on the verge and informed all businesses in the estate that they needed to provide adequate parking for staff. The complainant then received an apology from council staff along with the decision that unfortunately, the fine could not be overturned. The first council spent more time on processing the complaint twice, generated animosity and a poor customer service image. The second resolved the cause of the issue to the best of their ability and still held the line where legislation demands it. In both incidences the customer paid the fine for doing the wrong thing, this will always be the case. However, the customer experience differed greatly with the second complainant feeling validated because their complaint resulted in a preventative action to avoid other customers having a similar experience. All businesses will receive a complaint at some point. What steps should you take to ensure it’s handled properly? Also, what shouldn’t you do?

Having a formal complaint handling process that aligns with the standards is the least that any organisation can do to ensure that they handle complaints correctly. Staff in organisations need to have a simple process that can be easily followed and it needs to be well supported by management.

Some of the things you shouldn’t do include: •

• • • • • • •

Allowing a complainant to escalate higher and higher up a chain of command seeking a better response; Taking an adversarial position when handling a complaint; Arguing with a complainant; Refusing to apologise; Waiting for the complainant to call you back; Only accepting complaints in writing; Re-opening a closed complaint when there is no new relevant information; Blindly following the complainant’s requests.

How can you ensure the complaint process is fair for all parties involved?

Using a standardised approach that aligns with CSIA CHF:2025, AS/NZS/ISO 10002 and the Ombudsman guidelines ensures organisations are handling complaints in a best practice way. The real value for organisations in managing complaints well is far more than happy customers. Complainants bring valuable information to the organisation through their feedback. This could be product feedback, staff feedback or service delivery feedback. It represents the most direct, timely, and accurate feedback on an organisations operations and if captured and used well is the key to improving products, services and ultimately organisations themselves. Organisations can and should certify their processes to accepted complaint handling standards like the CSIA CHF 2025 and implement continuous improvement processes to ensure they take the lessons from complaints and implement changes to improve their service delivery.

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Member Spotlight Name: Christopher Goodrich Job Title: Security Officer Organisation: Wilson Security What was your first role in customer service? I started off serving customers at Hungry Jack’s What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Understanding how important it is to smile as it sets the undertone of the conversation What is your proudest achievement in customer service? I always deliver results to the customer when VIPs and other visitors come in and making them feel welcome. What advice would you give to a person starting in their customer service career? Having a positive mindset and a smile goes a long way. What is the best thing about working in customer service? Build a trusted relationship with the customer


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Name: Rashmi R. De Alwis Job Title: Doctorial Student Organisation: Curtin University What was your first role in customer service? Customer Service Executive at Abacus International (Singapore) Pte What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? "Under promise and over deliver" - a quote by Thomas J Peters was quoted to me by my first supervisor. What is your proudest achievement in customer service? Establishing a fully digital channel-based service contact centre to service 3million customer base in Malaysia for Boost ewallet from planning, execution and operation management. What advice would you give to a person starting in their customer service career? "Grace under pressure" would be a great quote to put in front of you while working. If you can learn how to keep it together in the most stressful of moments, you will thrive in this role. What is the best thing about working in customer service? The sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in turning around a disgruntled customer. I enjoy treating people with empathy and respect and watch how quickly a situation can change. In a call centre, the customers can spend so much time going through a IVR menu and by the time they get to an agent their frustration levels are very high not only due the problem they have but also the delay in getting to an agent, so they tend to unleash all that frustration on the CS agent. I like making that connection with my customers and putting myself in their situations. It can be a very humbling experience, and it makes me appreciate even more what I can do for them and that I am here to help.

Name: Chinwendu Prisca Okeke Job Title: Customer Service Manager Organisation: Good Shepherd Creative Schools What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? All through my years as a customer service manager , the piece of advice that was given to me is to perceive customer as a king. I strongly believe that this notion is top notch and bedrock on which every other principles of customer service rest on for a successful career as a customer service personnel. What is your proudest achievement in customer service? I was able to encourage our parents and guardians to lay their complaints and air their views via mail without fear. I was able to assure them of the confidentiality of their complaints. The school management was delighted with the number of views and complaints received online from our parents because they helped us in proffering solutions. This was a huge success which provided a conducive environment for my colleagues to be calm and for maximum customer satisfaction. I was delighted at my achievement, and this led to progress at my workplace. What advice would you give to a person starting in their customer service career? Starting a career in customer service is the same as starting a career in other careers and it is normal for a person to be clueless. To excel as a beginner in customer service, one need to learn to work under pressure and not to hold on to things especially customers hurting words nor take those words personally. What is the best thing about working in customer service? Working in customer service gives one the opportunity to communicate with customers, proffer solutions to their complaints, and on the long run exceed their expectations by making them happy and satisfied.

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