© 2008 HARDING & YORKE It was at this point that WMS really took on board the comments made by Harding & Yorke. Graeme and his team set about developing a more robust monitoring document with the assistance of the team leaders ( who deliver the feedback) and a small number of advisors ( who receive and make the calls). ' During the reconstruction of this document we ensured that as well as covering regulatory and TCF ( treating customers fairly) elements, sections devoted completely to a positive experience were added.' At least 80 per cent of these ' experience- related' areas had to be achieved to deem a call ' competent'. The process for call analysis was enhanced by allowing the advisers to assess their own calls prior to receiving feedback from their team leader. Further, the strengths and development areas arising from this were discussed away from workstation to ensure complete focus was given to the call. ' The importance of the " experience" is now as important to our department as the regulatory aspects,' Graeme explains. When the results of WMS's third review came in, the results were a pleasant surprise. ' We were knocked for six with the positive comments and overall increase in experience being delivered,' Graeme smiles. ' A phenomenal increase to a consistently positive experience with over 25 per cent of calls being classed as " delighted"! We had positive comments from Harding & Yorke such as a basic " Wow" to " Your advisors appear proud to work for you"!' Obviously, Graeme was pleased to hear this as it reinforced the great work that his team had put in to prove that they could deliver a positive experience. ' On reflection, the department had clearly followed the trends of the sigmoid curve,' he says. As with many companies, the challenge now is to maintain and improve results. To do this, WMS has set up a " Call of fame academy" in which each team leader nominates a call and the team then discusses its merits in terms of experience delivered and improvement in the advisor. The nominees are made aware and a prize is presented to the winner each month during team meetings. ' This has been running for a few months now and in my opinion, the contribution that this has in creating a positive team as well as rewarding individuals for doing a great job cannot be quantified in monetary terms,' Graeme explains. ' I am very proud of my team and the changes we have been through. Rome wasn't built in a day, but we now have the infrastructure in place.' Part of the WMS team's unofficial motto is: ' delivering good customer service is getting the job done well: a good experience is delivered by doing it with a smile on your face.' And you can't say fairer than that. Graeme Hemsley New Business Manager T: 01752 236548 E: graeme. hemsley@ wmsl. co. uk 21 ... A phenomenal increase to a consistently positive experience with over 25 per cent of calls being classed as " delighted"!
YOUR EMPATHY PROPHET ™ - ISSUE 2/ NOVEMBER 2008 At Harding & Yorke we have spent time investigating the ERIC questions and their correlation with ROCE. Our research has led us to a rather unexpected conclusion - empathy appears to be a process in itself! EMPATHY FACTORS We identified four factors in the empathetic interaction: • Attitude • Understanding • Connection • Completion Attitude is the foundation on which all our interactions are built. The others are inter- dependent for success. Each Empathy Factor is made up of a mixture of skills and behaviours; let's take a brief look at each one. Attitude – excellent empathic interaction: • Interest in others • Desire to do a good job • Taking personal responsibility • Positive, can- do mindset • Energy & enthusiasm • Warmth & kindness • Openness & honesty You can't force your staff to have the ' desired' mindset, but you can recruit people with attitudes that best suit their roles and then nurture them. The result? They'll learn by example. I know one MD who spends time with " the most important employees in the organisation – the people who communicate with our customers". Business is booming under his leadership. It isn't rocket science; he just values his people and their opinions. Understanding – the empathetic approach: • Putting oneself in the other person's position • Personalised questioning to understand need • Active listening • Appreciating the needs of the individual Empathy is all about standing in someone else's shoes and respecting their perspective. It is vital to building rapport, so start by asking thoughtful questions and truly listening to what's being said. When someone makes the effort to really listen and acknowledge us, we feel special. If we want to improve empathy with our customers then we need to improve empathy with the people who deal directly with those customers. If our staff feel no- one is particularly interested in their day- to- day challenges - or ideas – this will impact on how they communicate with customers. Connection – flexing our style to achieve rapport: • Adapting communication style • Sharing knowledge • Checking understanding • Putting yourself out We build rapport quickly with people who have similar attitudes and communication styles to ours. Where there are differences, connection can be awkward. Some are natural rapport builders but for most of us it is a skill we need to learn. Thankfully, there are techniques we can adopt which enable us to connect quickly with most people. Completion – a mutually beneficial conclusion: • Ownership & responsibility • Clear outputs and expectations • Appropriate time given • Offer extra support and mean it Empowering staff to take ownership and make decisions may leave you feeling a little jittery but the positive affect it has on customer advocacy will far outweigh this. " Is there anything else…" is still a great way to bring the call to a close but only if it's said with sincerity. Otherwise - as our research proves - it has a negative impact. What matters is the outcome – how we interact and use our communication skills to build relationships with our staff and customers. The bottom line is that people won't always remember what you said – but they will remember how you made them feel. Caroline Hardwicke Senior Consultant Harding & Yorke Empathy Academy + 44 ( 0) 7979 632 761 22THE IDEA