Customer Service: Behaviours

At the Customer Service Centre we are here to help. So, in this blog I want to talk about the behaviours that lead to a growth in that ‘helpful’ feeling and experience.

I don’t want our helpfulness to be forced or unnatural in any way. I want our team to be human, offering a service to our customers that comes from a place of purpose.

This is why I believe that, to be happy working in the customer service team at CarillionAmey, you need to genuinely care about our Armed Forces and take pride in serving others.

A customer I met a few months ago tweeted me with a compliment last week, which made me think about encouraging the right behaviours.

The tweet said:

“Can you please give Chris a huge thanks for being friendly, courteous and going above and beyond when I called earlier? He was fantastic and is the standard that everyone should aspire to. Thank you!”

I spoke to Chris shortly after receiving the tweet to understand what he had done. Chris was humble, but I understood that the basis of the compliment was more about his ability to listen and take action than it was about doing something beyond normal expectations.

Consolidating my thinking, I made a short video at the start of this week with Chris’ manager, Kev. I asked Kev what we could do to encourage more helpful behaviours within the Customer Service Centre team.

I asked Kev what we could do to encourage more helpful behaviours within the Customer Service Centre team

Kev’s response was simply that pretty much everyone was capable of getting these sorts of compliments, we just need to celebrate success more to help build the right culture.

He’s spot on as far as I’m concerned, but this is something we have not done enough of, perhaps due to fear of provoking a negative response from dissatisfied customers; perhaps from apathy brought about by past failures.

This lead to a classic downwards spiral effect; too anxious to celebrate the small successes, we subsequently fail to build bigger future successes.

I don’t think our customers want anything extraordinary, but I do think we can communicate more clearly about what exactly we are empowered to do.

I trust that people will accept that we are a force for good if we are helpful to maximum effect within the confines we have to work within (confines such as Government budgets and the prescribed limits of our contract). I want our Customer Service Centre to be that force for good.

I want people to say that the team in Liverpool, or in our Local Centres, are genuinely helpful and genuinely care.

So this is what I’ve learned; these are the things we need to do at every opportunity going forward:

  • 1. Be great listeners (we have two ears, and only one mouth)
  • 2. Seek to genuinely understand (know the customer and the context)
  • 3. Set clear expectations (know the contract and policy)
  • 4. Take maximum action (commit to personal ownership and keep promises)
  • 5. Celebrate learning (from success, but also from failure)

I’d like to encourage my teammates and our customers to hold me to account.

I recognise we have to do this together, and the end result I hope is a win-win. Every day I’m learning from our customers and my teammates, on social media and in real-life too.

This input is invaluable, and I believe the engagement we are facilitating is good for all parties. As ever I want you to let me know what you think, tell me your own story and help me push things forward.

Stuart Jones, Customer Service and Communications Director, CarillionAmey

Tweet me @StuartJonesCA