Telephone firm connects with better customer service

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 12 July 2011



(2011), "Telephone firm connects with better customer service", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 43 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Telephone firm connects with better customer service

Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 43, Issue 5

Customer complaints at BT Retail halved following “Make a Difference” training across its nine UK call centres.

The company introduced the training – a regional winner in the latest National Training Awards – as part of its work to improve its business position in a competitive market. Its commercial ambitions include building a TV business to make the most of BT’s broadband network, and reinforcing its voice and broadband services. By training, it aimed to improve its advisors’ performance, as measured by key performance indicators (KPIs) in areas such as sales conversion, right first time and customer experience. The target was to raise the average KPI score from 63 per cent to 80 per cent.

The program was designed and delivered internally and started with a discovery phase that saw advisors, managers and trainers work together to identify what activities would make a difference. A team visited the Warrington site to take a closer look at how staff worked and where improvement could be introduced.

The focus of the program was on improving both managers’ approaches and advisors’ performance. For managers, full-day sessions aimed to improve management skills, while one-hour sessions focused on areas such as the way they spent their time and applied their skills. Advisors took part in short sessions, totalling 2.5 hours, covering product knowledge, KPIs and selling skills.

More than 1,900 advisors were trained at an overall cost of £307,000. The bulk of the cost was related to advisors being out of the business, as well as the cost of trainers, business-improvement coaches and travel.

One participant said after the course that the trainer “uses all the behaviours we need as sales people in his training courses. He creates an upbeat classroom, listens to the advisors and gets to the point. This all lends itself to a good learning environment”.

Following the program, customer complaints fell by 54 per cent, customer transfers fell from 31 percent to 19 per cent and right-first-time delivery improved from 95 per cent to 98 per cent. BT Retail employee-engagement levels increased faster than the BT Group average.

Consumer sales reached KPI scores of 81.5 per cent, up from 63 per cent. At the start of the program, 30 per cent of advisors achieved less than 60 per cent of KPIs, a figure that was reduced by March 2010 to 7 percent. Among higher performers, the figure of ten advisors who achieved 100 percent on KPI indicators at the start of the course now stands at 38. The net benefit of the program for the 2009-2010 financial year was £800,000.

Libby Bar, Director of Consumer Sales at BT Retail, said: “I am delighted with the success of the program. The contribution it has made to my operation has been significant, whichever way you look at it. We have started the financial year with a £800,000 benefit and our KPI results above 80 per cent, but it is more than that.

“We now have a rounded approach to how we drive performance. Our advisors are clear on what they need to do and how they are doing, our managers are focused on supporting them and we have achieved a level of consistency across a very large organisation that will be visible to customers in the experience they get from BT.

“It didn’t take a great investment or clever ideas, just great people, working together and focused on an ambitious goal. I’ve seen the change myself when visiting the sites”.

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