After hitting 100% Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores for three months in a row, we wanted to ask our Service Delivery Manager Chris Topping just what the department’s secret is…
Q: Chris, congratulations on such an impressive achievement. It’s difficult to hit 100% for one month, how did you and the department make things so consistent for three?
A: Hitting 100% the first time was a massive achievement and it’s great for the team to see that their effort and hard work is really paying off. This is reflected in the CSAT score which is why it is such a good motivator for the whole Service Delivery team. But you begin to think, now we’ve hit 100%, how do you prove to everyone that you can maintain that level of service, hopefully month in month out? To do that you have to keep the team focused and remind them that each month you start on 100% satisfaction, so it can only go downhill from there.
If you give bad service, then every person on the team is affected. It’s about giving them the tools to understand that each one of them can affect that score, it isn’t just an abstract score where they don’t feel any connection to it or that what they do doesn’t really have an impact. Every interaction with a customer, everything they do on a ticket is something that could either keep that customer happy or give them a bad experience.
Any customer that comes to us with an issue must have the confidence that we’ve got good people, the right tools and procedures in place, and that they feel looked after and had a positive experience. It’s all about working with the team and educating them on how to deal with these things, that’s been the biggest trick.
Q: Have there been any changes that you feel have contributed to this achievement over the past 3 months?
A: We’ve brought another person onto the team which has given more scale in what we’re able to deliver, an extra skill set and a bit more experience in certain areas which helps the more junior engineers. It allows them to see what good communication looks like from someone who has more experience so that they can learn and put the skills into practice.
Not only this, but we’ve been listening to customer feedback from every ticket to find ways of how we can improve and continue the high standard of service we provide to our customers. I have been able to raise this feedback at board level to gain suggestions of the best solutions to improve customer service so that the CSAT score doesn’t drop. Customer service training has also been put in place to give the overall team a better understanding of what good customer service looks like as well as helping them to approach and deal with difficult situations.
Q: Was there any skills or coaching that you put in place to improve the overall team?
A: I try to look out for what skills people excel at and where they need more coaching so that I can help by offering them training or having them share their good skill set with the rest of the team. This is so that no one person is more or less skilled than another. For example, our more senior network engineers hold sessions with the juniors on the technologies and more complex things that we do so that the team are being up-skilled.
Q: As CSAT is spread across the team, there can be no individual ‘star performer’. Was there anything you did to ensure the entire team was catered for?
A: As with building all kinds of teams, it’s about getting the right people in the team to start with and that means looking at their skill sets and the training that they may need. This isn’t just in terms of external certifications, we have Cisco qualified engineers for instance, but it’s also the softer skills, especially communication and learning how to communicate with customers specifically. When we have daily team ‘huddles’, I go over examples of tickets where we could have done slightly better and then coach them through the reasons why.
Also, I’ve found that creating ‘cheat sheets’ for the team to have on their desk, helps to show them what good service looks like, and remind them of key actions. For example, reassuring customers on a certain time frame for certain types of issues reinforces all the good things that we do, and manages expectation from a customer perspective.
Q: How do you keep a highly performing team incentivised?
A: We do several things as a team, such as at the end of each month if we hit 100%, we reward them with an event just for the Service Delivery Team. We’ve gone out golfing and this month we’ll be going indoor curling! It shows them that it isn’t always about financial rewards. It’s about all the little things they show that they do as a team and so can be rewarded as a team. It helps to form bonds and bring the team spirit together.
We are continuing to add all the small touches and ‘1%’ extras that will keep improving customer experiences. As well as upgrading our on-boarding journey for new customers, something that will be rolling out over the next few months.