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The Official Journal of the Customer Service Institute of Australia
Australian issue # 36

August 08

 Q&A with
 Colin Walker,
 General Manager,
 Terumo Corporation
 Australian Branch
 The Impromptu
 Accountability: Turning
 Trust into Loyalty
 Book Review:
 Stephen Coscia’s
 Tele-Stress, Relief for Call
 Center Telephone Stress

               Enrol in
               only Certified
               Customer Service
               Manager Course.

    CSIA- Australia’s Peak Customer Service Association.
                02               Q&A with Colin Walker, General Manager,
                                 Terumo Corporation Australian Branch

                10               2008 Australian Service Excellence Awards

                15               The Impromptu Councellor

                24               Accountability:Turning Trust into Loyalty

                29               BOOK REVIEW: Stephen Coscia’s
                                 Tele-Stress, Relief for Call Center Telephone Stress

                         Welcome to the 36th edition of Customer Service Excellence!
   Art Director
 Tiffany Mehnert
                         Featured on this month’s edition of Customer Service Excellence is . Recently
                         re-certified to the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS), Terumo has
Christine Churchill      always placed customers first. Terumo has a global vision of making medical
                         treatment kinder and gentler.

                         Also in this edition, read about St. George Bank’s Impromptu Counsellor
                         course. This course provides their senior team members and leaders with the
                         knowledge to handle difficult customer calls effectively.

                         As always, we seek and welcome your feedback — please email any
                         contributions or ideas to If you are interested in reviewing a
   Contact CSIA          book and being our guest book reviewer of the month for one of our upcoming         magazines, please let us know.
  (02) 9386 4477
                         Happy reading!

       The Customer Service Institute of Australia was established in 1997 to serve the needs of all Australians who work in customer service.
         Today it is our nation’s peak customer service body and secretariat for the International Council of Customer Service Organisations.
       ICSSO is an international collective of organisations promoting service excellence through the International Customer Service Standard
                                         certification program and the International Service Excellence Awards.
    Our members include CEO’s, business owners, government employees and of course customer service professionals. High quality customer
    service is universally regarded as imperative for long term business success. To enhance customer service in your organisation join the CSIA.
                 We are driven by and committed to the development of people, systems and standards to improve customer service.

                               Colin Walker, General Manager,
                         Terumo Corporation Australian Branch

I am the General Manager of Terumo
                                                    2    WHAT IS THE AIM AND VISION
                                                         OF THE COMPANY PARTICULARLY
                                                    WITH REGARD TO CUSTOMER SERVICE,
Corporation Australian Branch and I have            RISK TAKING, RESEARCH AND
full responsibility for sales and profit for         QUALITY?
Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.        Terumo is a Japanese
                                                    company involved in the
Terumo Australia is a sales branch of Terumo        healthcare market which,
Corporation whose head office is located in          due to its intrinsic nature,
Tokyo. Terumo is listed on the Tokyo Stock          is quite conservative
Exchange where it forms part of the Nikkei          compared to other
Index. It was founded in 1921, employs over         industries. When I joined
12,000 associates and has sales of over             Terumo 14 years ago our mantra was to grow
A$3billion per annum. Locally, Terumo               organically. Additionally, all research and
Australia is located within the North Ryde          development was centred in Japan. However,
business area, has sales of A$53million             the company recognised that this was not a
and employs 50 associates in Australia and          viable, long term option and so in 1999 we
New Zealand.                                        acquired the cardiovascular division of 3M.
Terumo is best known for its hypodermic             Dr Kitasato, Terumo’s founder, was driven to
syringes and needles but we also have an            produce the first high quality, locally
extensive range of products in specialty areas      manufactured mercury thermometer for the
such as cardiac and vascular surgery,               Japanese market. That was 87 years ago and
transfusion medicine and home health care.          today, Terumo’s underlying philosophy is to

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                        2
    Q&A with Colin Walker …continued
manufacture and supply medical products             the freedom to back themselves to bring
and services of the highest quality.                about change and an attitude of not saying
                                                    “no” just because something has not been
This is evident in some of the recent product       tried before.
advances Terumo has introduced such as the
first magnetically levitated left ventricular        The customer service initiatives that Annette
assist device. This product, DuraHeart®, is         Cook, Terumo Australia’s Customer Relations
used in the treatment of patients whose heart       Manager, has brought to us have been
has failed due to illness or some other             significant in our success. This was something
underlying condition.                               new to Terumo but we also saw that it was a
                                                    means of improving our product and service
Terumo has always placed customers first             offering to our customers.
and we see this as our core responsibility
which is enshrined in our corporate policy of
“Contributing to Society through Healthcare”.
We also have our global vision of making
medical treatment kinder and gentler. This
vision has become reality with the introduction
of products such as Nanopass®, the world’s
finest (33G) needle for use by diabetic patients.
Since then, we have made a number of
acquisitions and entered into key business
alliances within the core product areas of
our business. In addition, we now have R&D
facilities located in Europe and the USA.
This shift has been critical to the success
Terumo has enjoyed over the past 10-15
years as we are now not as dependent on
products from Japan. In fact, we now have
the best of all worlds as we can leverage off
developments from Europe and the USA,
which is where most Western medical
innovation is derived, whilst enjoying the
benefits of Japanese technology and
manufacturing processes.
This means that we are better able to serve our
customers and provide a full range of products.
Local customers want to reduce their number
of suppliers and Terumo’s focus on its core
business areas is a real positive for us.
                                                    Since we began this journey four years
Risk taking and conservatism do not generally
                                                    ago we have become accredited to the
mix well together. There is no denying Terumo
                                                    International Customer Service Standard on
Corporation is a relatively conservative
                                                    our first attempt and last year, due to the
organisation but we have tried to instil a
                                                    fantastic efforts of all of our associates, we
culture of risk taking within Terumo Australia.
                                                    were awarded the New South Wales Service
This has been done by giving our associates
                                                    Excellence Award for small business.

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                          3
    Q&A with Colin Walker …continued

Terumo Australia has its own vision and             service and how they are a key player in the
mission statements plus we have a customer          drive to customer service excellence.
charter that encompasses both local and
corporate responsibilities. Our charter is: To      “One new associate commented a few weeks
contribute to society by having a customer          after she had joined Terumo that she had
first ethos that provides the highest level of       heard more about customers and the
service to both internal and external               importance of them during her first few days
customers whilst working within all corporate       with us than she had in a number of years she
ethical and fiscal guidelines”.                      had spent with another medical company.”

Our long term partnerships with our                 We have put into place programs to keep
customers and our passion to provide                customer service at the forefront of our
excellent service are proof that we actively        associate’s minds. These range from regular
practise what we preach.                            reporting on the progress of our customer
                                                    service development team using avenues as
                                                    diverse as our monthly internal news journal

The focus on the importance of customer
                                                    (River Run) through to formal reporting at our
                                                    monthly management meeting and by
                                                    organising specific events during Customer
service begins on the first day an associate         Service Week.
joins Terumo Australia. During their initial
induction program, I am privileged to discuss       One of the key ways we develop people is
with our new associates the ongoing efforts and     by having them participate on the annual
activities we have undertaken with customer         customer service development team and there

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                          4
    Q&A with Colin Walker …continued
are four important points to keep in mind with      All associates on an Accreditation Team get
the way we form these teams:                        to learn and better understand how all
1. Terumo Australia is a small company with         departments within Terumo work. Most
a Sydney head office but whose other                 importantly, it brings about personal growth
associates are located in all major State           and development and also reinforces just
capital cities plus Auckland,                       how critical everyone’s role is in providing
                                                    outstanding customer service.
2. the entire organisation is subject to
accreditation,                                      Terumo Australia has recently introduced
3. we draw our teams from all departments           e-learning into our organisation. This was an
and also from outside head office, and               initiative of our Sales & Marketing Manager
                                                    plus HR Department and, although still in its
4. the teams are composed of managers and           infancy, is already delivering consistent, high
non-managers with the last two teams being          quality learning programs that will help further
led by non-managerial associates who had            our customer service activities by developing
been with Terumo less than three years.             a knowledgeable and well trained team.
This means we can have input from                   Training is ongoing throughout the company
associates from different departments and           as I believe we have a responsibility to help
also from those who work interstate. This           not only the company grow but also the
latter is critical as these associates operate in   individual must be given opportunities to learn
a different environment (they are field sales        and grow. The involvement of so many of our
associates) and so can bring different              associates in the teams for customer service
experience and knowledge to the team.               development, the external training programs

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                            5
    Q&A with Colin Walker …continued
we support and the internal programs we             passion not just for what they do but also for
provide in areas as diverse as IT through to        why they do it.
product training are all examples of the ways
in which we try to develop our company and          We can achieve this because our products
our associates.                                     are personal. Each of our associates or a
                                                    loved one has been touched (or jabbed!) by
Another example lies in communication: there        one of our products at some stage and we
are times when all levels of the organisation       can also see the difference they make to other
interact with customers. Recognising this, we       people’s lives.
have introduced not only sales and marketing
associates but also our administration              Terumo Australia is actively involved in a
associates to Action Selling. This is an            number of projects for those less fortunate
external program primarily used by many             in our society both locally and also overseas.
organisations for sales training.                   We have assisted relief efforts following such
                                                    events as the Asian tsunami of a few years
                                                    ago and, on a local level, many of our head
                                                    office associates are involved in the
                                                    preparation, logistics or actual delivery of
                                                    Christmas hampers to families in the North
                                                    Ryde area.
                                                    We also support formal aid programs such
                                                    as Operation Open Heart, an initiative of
                                                    the Sydney Adventist Hospital where teams
                                                    of surgical, nursing and support staff treat
                                                    patients with cardiac conditions in
                                                    underdeveloped countries throughout the
                                                    South Pacific, Asia and Africa and the Medical
                                                    Students Aid Program which treats patients
                                                    with more general medical conditions in many
                                                    of the same countries. There is also an
                                                    ophthalmologist in a Sydney suburb who
                                                    every year makes contact with Terumo for
Sometimes you only get one shot at speaking         supplies of syringes and needles for patients
with a customer, or just one conversation can       in the South Pacific.
indelibly imprint in a customer’s mind their        We can and do make a difference and we
perception of Terumo. For these reasons, we         do contribute to society through healthcare.
want all of our associates to be skilled in
communication and know how to “ask the
best questions” and also “how to sell the
company” – two key attributes of the Action         4     HOW HAS THE WORKFORCE
                                                          BEEN INVOLVED IN DEVELOPING
                                                    STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS?
Selling process.
                                                    Many of the initiatives that have come to
Our business is nothing without customers           fruition have developed following suggestions
and so our success, or otherwise, is heavily        from our associates.
dependent on our people and how well
trained and committed they are to customer          A number of examples have been given such
service. But we do not recruit and train up         as our initial involvement with service
robots. We also instil within our associates a      excellence and the introduction of the

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                          6
    Q&A with Colin Walker …continued
Learning Room. The wider input/access               for more frequent, smaller orders (happy
into TOTO (Terumo On Territory Organizer)           customer!), our distributor also had happier
followed a proposal from a number of                customers (happy distributor!) and Terumo
departments that we were limiting our               Australia saved considerably by not having
potential by only having it as a sales-only         to freight across the Nullabor plus now we
tool, and the involvement with various aid          have extra happy customers in Perth (happy
and community programs have all come                Terumo!).
from our associates.
                                                    Bottom line, we encourage our associates to
                                                    question processes and provide suggestions
Bottom line, we encourage                           as to how we can improve the way we do
                                                    things as a company and as individuals.
our associates to question
processes and provide                               5    HOW DOES THE ORGANISATION
                                                         RECOGNISE AND REWARD STAFF
suggestions as to how we                            IN RELATION TO CUSTOMER SERVICE?
                                                    Regular feedback is a critical element in
can improve the way we                              anyone’s working life. Terumo Australia has
                                                    both informal and formal feedback
do things as a company                              mechanisms. Formally we conduct semi-
and as individuals.                                 annual performance appraisals whilst
                                                    informally it can be as simple as a thank you
A great story comes from Western Australia          for a job well done.
where the efforts of our local manager plus         We also acknowledge performance above and
our Sydney based logistics and customer             beyond the call of duty via “Pat on the Back”,
service teams has led to real benefits for our       a regular part of my internal newsletters that
customers and Terumo.                               also acknowledges birthdays and anniversaries
Our WA Sales Manager, had been frustrated           of commencement dates. We also have
for his customers by the way we managed our         banners appearing on our intranet telling of
freight deliveries to Perth for syringes which      how one or more of our associates has done
are a bulky and expensive item to freight.          something remarkable and recognition is
There were times when deliveries were               given at formal presentation nights of not only
delayed due to derailments or wash out of           outstanding sales performance but also
rail lines or roads and, because one customer       significant service awards based on tenure.
had very limited warehouse space, they              All associates irrespective of department also
couldn’t accommodate enough space for               participate in our quarterly incentive scheme
that just-in-case occurrence.                       which is primarily based on sales and profit
This Manager worked with our logistics and          performance but also contains for certain
customer service teams (plus he did a lot of        associates a section payable on achieving
local leg work) to investigate the impact of        certain objectives not considered a normal
shipping syringes direct from our Philippines       part of everyday job function.
factory to Perth rather than to our central         Terumo Australia believes that one way we
warehouse in Sydney and then onforwarding           can contribute to society through healthcare is
to Perth.                                           by having a healthy workforce that performs
Bottom line was that by delivering straight to      at a high level to provide excellent customer
our distributor in Perth our customers enjoyed      service. The provision of private health
a more reliable, prompt supply that allowed         insurance plus access to an assistance

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                           7
    Q&A with Colin Walker …continued

Brett Whitford presents awards finalist certificate to Terumo

support network (Employee Assistance                with an attitude of “why not” rather than
Program) means we try to look after the             “what for”, has led Terumo Australia to always
physical and mental health of our associates.       aim to do it right the first time and in a manner
We also employ a masseuse on a fortnightly          that makes sense for both the customer
basis to provide massages to our head office         and Terumo.
based administration associates.
                                                    There are certain principles and processes
All people are treated as part of a large family.   that must be followed but by having everyone
We have fun, we celebrate our achievements          critically looking at how to deliver superior
and we learn from opportunities.                    customer service, an environment has been
                                                    created in which obstacles can be removed
                                                    or circumvented and we get on with the job –
                                                    very much a can do, will do attitude.
                                                    But we must be realistic and assess whether
Terumo’s customer first ethos is built around        or not an associate’s good idea is a good idea
one simple principle – put yourself in the          for the organisation. The WA Manager’s idea
customer’s shoes. Our WA Manager applied            came to fruition when customer service and
this principle in Perth and this, combined          logistics became involved, however, the idea

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                          8
    Q&A with Colin Walker …continued
would not have progressed had it not made           Recently our customer service department
sense, and been workable, for all parties           and marketing associates gained access to
involved – the customer, our WA distributor,        TOTO so they can now input any discussions
our Philippines facility and Terumo Australia.      they have with customers. This change will
                                                    benefit both external customers and internal
A multidisciplinary approach is how we deliver      customers such as our sales associates who
customer service initiatives and the teams          will now have a complete record of what has
involved may come from our formal customer          been said, by whom and when.
service development team or from informal
teams such as that formed for the WA project.

                                                    7    HOW HAS GAINING
                                                         INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMER
                                                    SERVICE STANDARD CERTIFICATION
 Customer Service                                   HELPED THE ORGANISATION?
 Accreditation has                                  Communication has really opened up many
                                                    doors. Associates involved on the customer
 highlighted that as a                              service development teams now better know
 business we need to be                             and understand the work of associates in
                                                    other departments and from this friendships
 innovative, have good                              and business relationships have improved.
 quality products, show                             This has also shown to Terumo associates
                                                    that we are all interdependent on each other
 initiative and push                                for individual and company success and, for
                                                    those in an administrative role, that Terumo
 ourselves in the market                            Australia is highly regarded by its customers
 otherwise we will be                               for the quality of its service and products.

 left behind.                                       Customer Service Accreditation has
                                                    highlighted that as a business we need to be
                                                    innovative, have good quality products, show
The use of formal/informal teams provides           initiative and push ourselves in the market
a great degree of flexibility, open                  otherwise we will be left behind. Our ongoing
communication and learnings that benefit             certification to the International Customer
our customers and ourselves.                        Service Standard plus the ongoing efforts of
                                                    all Terumo associates has shown that in
Another example of an informal team creating        today’s market customer service excellence is
an enhancement to our customer service              important in maintaining our competitive edge.
offering is where we are currently assessing
our in-house developed electronic territory         The ongoing process of providing customer
management system to determine whether              service excellence has re-energised us and
it serves our needs now and into the future.        we now recognise and acknowledge that we
TOTO had been developed as a sales                  have the products, we have the people and
associate reporting tool of their interactions      we have the know how to make Terumo
with customers (note it does have other             Australia bigger and better than we are today
functionality) but we have recognised               and, in the process, surpass our company’s
that many associates have interactions              expectation as to how we can contribute to
with customers and so these must also               society through healthcare.
be recorded.

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                          9
2007/2008 Australian
Service Excellence Awards                         It’s that time again, where the top organisations
                                                  in Australia are competing to achieve one of
                                                  the coveted Australian Service Excellence
                                                  Awards and a shot at becoming the Best of
                                                  the Best 2007/08.
                                                  The National Australian Service Excellence
                                                  Awards dinner is one of the most prestigious
                                                  industry events and attended by industry
                                                  leaders from across the country. This event is
                                                  an excellent opportunity for attendees to rub
                                                  shoulders with the top organisations and leaders
                                                  in the industry. Not to mention it is the perfect
                                                  time for winners to showcase their newly
                                                  acquired trophies and success!

                                                  Venue: National Gallery of Victoria,
                                                         180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
                                                  Date:    Wednesday, 29th October 2008
                                                  Time:    7.00pm - 12.00am

                                                  The awards are ‘strongly supported’ by
                                                  Australia’s new Prime Minister, the Honourable
                                                  Kevin Rudd MP. The Prime Minister believes that
                                                  ‘in a tough and competitive global economy,
                                                  service excellence is critical for Australia’s future
                                                  competitiveness and success’ and the
                                                  important role the awards and the Customer
                                                  Service Institute of Australia play in ‘recognising
                                                  the efforts of many talented customer service
                                                  individuals and organisations’.

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                          10
2007/2008 Australian Service Excellence Awards

ABOUT THE AWARDS                                    AIM OF THE AWARDS
The CSIA Australian Service Excellence              u   To recognise excellence, best practice
Awards showcase achievement in Customer             and innovation in customer service and to
Service. Reaching the finals and winning             highlight their importance in today’s business
an award illustrates the high standards of          climate.
management, training and commitment
to excellence within those organisations.           u   To promote customer service as a
                                                    profession and to improve the level of its
Customer Service is an essential factor in          practitioners’ professionalism through
maintaining an organisation’s competitive           assessment, accred-itation, certification and
edge in the marketplace. Many organisations         recognition. Thus improving the pride,
are placing greater emphasis on developing a        motivation and self-esteem of customer
customer service culture and making it a            service professionals.
strategic priority.
                                                    u   To promote the International Customer
State-based Awards are conducted in New             Service Standard (including customer
South Wales/ACT, Victoria, Queensland, South        charters), which will help organisations
Australia/Tasmania and Western Australia.           develop and sustain a customer ethos
State winners in each category automatically        through improve-ments to the design,
qualify for the National Awards program. The        delivery, quality and effectiveness of customer
criteria for the Australian Service Excellence      service strategies, policies and systems.
Awards is based on the International
                                                    u   To improve knowledge of the components
Customer Service Standard (ICSS), which
                                                    of customer service excellence.
provides a comprehensive and practical
framework to assist organisations to
consistently deliver high levels of service.

For additional information about this year’s awards or the International Customer Service
Standard (ICSS) simply contact CSIA on (02) 9386 4477 or email us at

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                          11
2007/2008 Australian Service Excellence Awards

Congratulations Awards entrants and finalists!!
We have set the date for the nation’s most prestigious Awards
event — the Australian Service Excellence Awards!

Venue: National Gallery of Victoria,
       180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Date:    Wednesday, 29th October 2008
Time:    7.00pm - 12.00am

The evening will showcase Australia’s leading
customer service organisations from 2007/08
with many high-profile industry leaders
attending this prestigious occasion. The CSIA
is proud to be recognising and highlighting
the outstanding achievements of successful
organisations around the country, from small        Previous winners, whose career paths and
business owners to large organisations, to          individual achievements continue to inspire
individual awards such as Customer Service          business people around the country, will also
CEO and Customer Service Manager of the             be joining us on the night. This will be a
year. Being honoured as a Finalist and              wonderful opportunity to meet and discover
ultimately winning an award illustrates the         the many benefits the CSIA Awards provide,
high standards of management, training              including career analysis, positive business
and commitment to excellence on a world-            profiling, new business opportunities,
class platform. The CSIA’s Australian               expansion of networks and self development.
Service Excellence Awards have become
an integral part of the Australian business         As numbers are strictly limited and the event
calendar, celebrating the achievements of           is by invitation only, we encourage you to
some truly remarkable organisations and             book your seats and corporate tables early
talented individuals.                               to avoid disappointment. The RSVP Form
                                                    can be downloaded from our website at:
The CSIA Australian Service Excellence    
Awards showcase achievements in Customer
Service. State-based Awards will be run in          Should you have any questions or wish to
New South Wales (includes the ACT) and              discuss corporate packages, please do not
Queensland this year. State-based Awards            hesitate to contact Margaret Homsy on
for Victoria, Western Australia, South              02 9386 4477.
Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory
                                                    We look forward to you joining us at our
will be announced at the National Awards
                                                    premier Customer Service event for 2007/08!
Presentation Dinner in Victoria. State winners
in each category will automatically qualify
for the National Awards Program.

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                         12
                                                                                       Join us for the
                                                                                   International Service
                                                                                     Excellence Awards

STRATEGIC PARTNER:                                                   Join us for the International Service Excellence Awards

                     Customer Service Excellence readers receive
                     25% discount. Use priority code SPONM2100ISEA

About the International Council
of Customer Service Organisations
                                                    are responsible for the development of
                                                    organisations and individuals towards
                                                    customer service excellence.
                                                    Part of the Council’s responsibilities include
The International Council of Customer Service       promotion of international customer service
Organisations (ICCSO) is the international          standards and professional certification
body for customer service organisations             through the International Customer Service
seeking to develop and promote international        Standard (ICSS). This standard is based on a
service standards and professional excellence       balanced scorecard methodology and is used
in customer service. The Council members            as the criteria for judging the International
are responsible for promoting international         Service Excellence Awards.
customer service standards, professional
                                                    As a member of the International Council
certification and the International Service
                                                    of Customer Service Organisations, the
Excellence Awards (to learn more about the
                                                    Customer Service Institute of America has
awards, visit and
                                                    aligned itself with the best and brightest
click on the Awards link).
                                                    across the world to keep up to date on the
The Council’s membership include some               trends and industry benchmarks in order
of the world’s leading Customer Service             to provide the best and most cutting edge
Bodies, members are the Asia Pacific                 information to its members
Customer Service Consortium, the Hong
                                                    If you are a customer service organization
Kong Customer Service Consortium, the
                                                    and you would like to join the International
Customer Service Institute of America, the
                                                    Council of Customer Service Organisations
Hellenic Institute of Customer Service and
                                                    or if you would like to nominate your
the Customer Service Institute of Australia
                                                    organization or a colleague for an International
which also provides secretariat services and
                                                    Service Excellence Award please contact
funding for the Council.
                                                    us by emailing Visit the
ICCSO is dedicated to supporting and                International Council of Customer Service
fostering co-operation between the                  Organisations website at
organisations around the world which

Asia Pacific Customer Service Consortium (APCSC) u

Hong Kong Customer Service Consortium (HKCSC Ltd) u

The Customer Service Institute of America u

The Customer Service Institute of Australia u

The Hellenic Institute of Customer Service (H.I.C.S.) u

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                            14

   It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to
  ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.1
                                           Warren Buffett

In 1967, Holmes and Rahe produced an                negative, and
article entitled ‘The Social Readjustment           people are holding
Rating Scale’ in the Journal of Psychosomatic       off buying houses
Research.2 As part of this article they created     or building houses
a scale measuring life’s most stressful events      because of uncertainty around interest
and the potential for these events to cause a       rates.’’3 Westpac’s sentiment index slumped
stress-related illness.                             6.7% to 79 points in July, the sixth straight
u 100 ‘life change’ points: death of a spouse.      reading of less than 100, showing pessimists
                                                    outnumber optimists.4 Mortgage stress has
u 40 points: pregnancy.                             also hit its highest levels in more then a
u 39 points: a business readjustment                decade: according to Credit Ratings Agency
u 38 points: a major change in financial             Standard & Poor’s, 1.45% of home borrowers
status                                              with standard mortgages were at least one
                                                    month behind on loan repayments in the first
u 32 points: taking out a loan for a major
                                                    quarter of 2008, the highest level of arrears
purchase or house
                                                    since the company began collecting data on
Interestingly, these finance-related life            mortgages in 1996.’5
activities were considered more stressful then:
                                                    These trends are certainly not unique to
u Starting work: 29 points
                                                    Australia: in the United States ‘consumer
u A change in living conditions: 25 points          confidence reached its lowest level in almost
u A change in residence: 20 points                  three decades [in May 2008] amid soaring
                                                    gas prices, falling real incomes, and rising
Australian consumers have been besieged by          unemployment.’6 Official statistics from Japan
various factors resulting in increased stress in    show that consumer confidence is as its
dealing with service-based industries.              lowest level since the compilation of statistics
According to Jerry Maycock, CEO of CSR              commenced in June 1982,7 and even amongst
Ltd., “In the short term there’s a lot of           our neighbours in New Zealand ‘consumer
uncertainty around: consumer sentiment is           confidence has fallen to a record low.’8

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                        15
The Impromptu Counsellor …continued

    St.George Bank has had to adopt strategies to
     face the challenge of maintaining customer
     satisfaction despite the changing industry.
                                                     building society, the differentiating factor that
                                                     the bank represents in the market has always
                                                     been the satisfaction consumers have
                                                     achieved through their interactions with the
                                                     institution. Roy Morgan research, which
                                                     provides industry benchmark estimates for
                                                     banking customer service by measuring
                                                     satisfaction on a 5-point scale, continues to
                                                     show significant gaps in the results achieved
                                                     by the St.George Group to the ‘Big 4’ of the
                                                     Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and
                                                     NAB. Indeed, from January-08 to April–08,
                                                     St.George bucked industry trends by
                                                     substantially increasing its customer
                                                     satisfaction results. Further, the St.George
                                                     Customer Contact Centre continues to
                                                     achieve recognition for excellence in
Nikki Bower - Sales Manager of the                   customer service, winning the ‘National
Customer Contact Centre                              Service Excellence Award for a Call Centre’
                                                     from the Customer Service Institute of
                                                     Australia (CSIA) in 2006 and 2007 and
In a country facing rising petrol prices, higher     recently being awarded the ‘Best Contact
costs of living, interest rate rises, a slowdown     Centre’ over 250 seats from the Contact
in the housing market, and global fallout from       Centre World in the Asia Pacific finals.
the US Sub-prime lending crisis, interactions
                                                     St.George Bank has had to adopt strategies
in any customer service-based industry are
                                                     to face the challenge of maintaining customer
increasingly fraught with tension as consumers
                                                     satisfaction despite the changing industry.
fight for their rights, seeking to cut costs and
                                                     One of the most successful programs
make any saving possible. Maintaining
                                                     implemented originated in 2005 as the Bank
customer satisfaction whilst upholding the
                                                     sought a program to assist its Customer
aims and rights of the company becomes
                                                     Relations department in the handling of
an increasingly difficult high-wire act as the
                                                     complaints. This program, entitled The
employee seeks to appease the customer
                                                     Impromptu Counsellor, proved so
(who is, after all, always right) in a manner that
                                                     successful that management felt it beneficial
their team leader or boss will approve.
                                                     for any customer-facing staff, not only to deal
St. George Bank has long enjoyed a stellar           with complaints, but to assist with all
reputation in the financial services industry for     customer interactions. To date over 200 staff
customer service. From its early days as a           from branches, the Customer Contact Centre,

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                          16
The Impromptu Counsellor …continued

Customer Relations, Collections, Private            Personal and Community Welfare,
Banking and Business Banking have attended          Certification in Counselling (Institute of
the workshop with overwhelmingly positive           Counselling), and the Certificate IV in
responses. As noted by Nikki Bower, Sales           Workplace Assessment and Training. Ms.
Manager of the Customer Contact Centre,             Cummins engages the participants in a
‘An important initiative to ensure our              ‘hands on’ program that focuses on the
Customer Satisfaction results continue to           development of skills and self-awareness
improve is equipping all our leaders with the       essential in the successful handling of
skills to handle escalated customer calls from      customer complaints and difficult customer
our teams. The Impromptu Counsellor course          interactions. Essentially, this course does
provides our senior team members and our            more then just allow consultants to assist
leaders the knowledge to handle difficult            upset customers: it provides life skills
customer calls effectively. Feedback from all       beneficial in the maintenance of relationships
attendees is that they feel more confident and       external to the work environment. It also
capable of handling those customer calls that       assists company leaders engaged in
are escalated to them.”                             performance management, coaching and
                                                    counselling contexts.
From its inception, the program has been run
by Helen Cummins of Helen Cummins &                 The initial program is split over two days,
Associates.9 Ms. Cummins is a highly skilled        usually with a few intervening days so that
and engaging facilitator with a depth of            skills and lessons gleaned over the first day
experienced gained through training and             can be put into a practical context and
running a range of courses covering                 discussed. The participants are then invited
communication, counselling, teamwork and            to return after six months for an ‘Impromptu
leadership for over seventeen years. With a         Counselling Revisited’ session which allows
focus on communication and counselling,             reinforcement of essential teachings, and also
group and teamwork skills, workplace stress         gives an opportunity for success stories to be
and burnout, her formal qualifications include       shared. In this workshop strengths are
a Masters in Cultural Psychology, Diploma in        analysed, and areas for future development
                                                    are identified. By structuring the course in this
                                                    manner, Ms. Cummins allows the greatest
                                                    possible opportunity for reinforcement and
                                                    practical application in a ‘real time’
                                                    environment. Further, she tailors the course
                                                    to meet the individual needs of the company
                                                    in question.
                                                    The challenge for St.George Bank was to
                                                    create a course that, in two days, armed the
                                                    attendees with the tools necessary to meet
                                                    any number of emotionally-charged
                                                    circumstances. To achieve this, the course
                                                    content is structured around four distinct
                                                    stages of effectively working with a customer:
                                                    u Acknowledging
                                                    u Containing & Focusing
                                                    u Identifying Actions
Helen Cummins -
Helen Cummins & Associates

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                         17
The Impromptu Counsellor …continued

What the Impromptu Counsellor course does that
   particularly impacts the customer service
     industry is highlight and focus on the
importance of identifying customer personality
 types in business interactions, and ensuring
  that the consultant responds appropriately.
u Closure                                           identifying actions. In this stage the
                                                    consultant can outline the issues to be
The aim of acknowledging is to allow the            considered, and present various options
customer to tell their story, with ‘active          available. It is implicit in this step that the
listening’ used to assist the customer in           customer is ‘part of the process,’ negotiating
effective communication. Emotion must be            what can and can’t be done and feeling that
expressed before the customer can focus on          their opinion is valued. By the end of this stage
what can or cannot be done to resolve the           the customer should be able to understand the
situation. Ms. Cummins notes ‘most people           steps that must be taken to achieve resolution,
can hear but relatively few people listen well.     with anticipated outcomes clear.
Listening requires discipline. A key attribute
customer service workers bring to their work        Finally, it is vital that a consultant be able to
is the ability to retain or recover the good will   achieve closure at the end of the
of a customer by hearing, acknowledging and         conversation. Here, it is possible to reflect
validating their concerns. This doesn’t always      back on content to ensure that the customer
involve giving the customer what they want.         has understood the full interaction and any
What it does always involve is treating the         actions identified. It is necessary for the
customer with empathy and respect.’10               consultant to check whether anything has
                                                    been omitted, and, by avoiding any reflection
Once the customer feels ‘understood’ it is          of feelings and open questions, bring the
vital to contain the information that has been      session to its conclusion.
presented and focus the conversation so that
communication can move forward to actions.          These steps are not controversial or unique,
The consultant should feel comfortable              and indeed can be found in many training
providing empathy and reflecting on the              manuals for dealing with aggressive or upset
conversation thus far, including the use of         customers. What the Impromptu Counsellor
summarising and paraphrasing as a tool to           course does that particularly impacts the
highlight relevant information and identify key     customer service industry is highlight and
issues to work on.                                  focus on the importance of identifying
                                                    customer personality types in business
Once the customer is displaying signs of            interactions, and ensuring that the consultant
recognising the consultant’s attempts to            responds appropriately. Ms. Cummins is
contain and focus, an appropriate emotional         passionate about placing the consultant back
landscape has been created to move into

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                             18
The Impromptu Counsellor …continued

into the customer-resolution process, and           Finally, assertive
empowering the consultant to recognise              customers can
factors of their own personality that aid in        often be the most
either building or destroying rapport. As she       subliminally
notes, ‘St.George has contributed to the            intimidating as they
success of the Impromptu Counsellor course          present logical
by supporting my belief that achieving an           arguments in a
edge in customer service involves more then         convincing manner.
learning a set of communication skills.             It is important for
Customer service workers need to recognise          the consultant to
which skills are best suited to each individual     recognise that          Brendon Oliver, Team Leader –
customer, and how and why they are applied.’        assertive customers, Outboard Onboarding
Three main customer ‘types’ are highlighted:        whilst persuasive in
passive, aggressive and assertive.                  their rhetoric, should not be given greater
                                                    then allowable discretion. Assertive
Passive customers can often be the most             customers tend to be confident, comfortable,
difficult to identify and assist, for they           strong and secure in their argument and use
have the tendency to withdraw, avoid                terms such as ‘I believe,’ ‘I agree,’ and ‘I
confrontation, and even apologise for their         recognise.’ Consultants are assisted in their
behaviour. Over 80% of people in Australia          dealings with such customers through
who receive mediocre or poor service do not         containment techniques that remind the
complain to the service or goods provider,          employee of the parameters of their discretion
and 27% of customers will not complain even         and upholding company aims. Closed
when things go badly wrong.11 It is thus vital      questioning can also be employed to limit the
to identify and maximise the potential for          potential of the assertive customer to express
assisting these customers when they do              or reaffirm their beliefs.
contact the institution. Consultants in The
Impromptu Counsellor course are taught              Once a customer ‘type’ is identified,
to identify terminology and behaviours              consultants are invited to recognise that
commonly exhibited by passive customers,            various responses common in every day
and use open questioning and reflective              parlance can be roadblocks to effective
listening techniques to draw them out and           communication: many of them surprising!!!
allow the custom to express their feelings.         These roadblocks include:
When dealing with complaints, the                   u Reassuring or sympathising
predominant fear amongst consultants is             u Diverting, sarcasm, withdrawal
often realised as they assist aggressive            u Probing and questioning
customers. Importantly, the course assists
consultants in recognising that they should         u Moralising, preaching
feel responsibility TO others, not FOR others,      u Praising, agreeing
and as such tools are given to separate the         u Advising, giving solutions
emotional contact of the call with the need
behind the anger. Techniques such as                u Grandstanding
providing minimal encouragers and actively          u Warning, threatening
listening, asking appropriate questions and         u Name calling, ridiculing
reflecting content are used to allow the
                                                    u Unsolicited praying
customer, having expressed their anger, to
contain their feelings and move with the            u Judging, blaming, criticising
consultant to focusing and identifying actions.     u Persuading with logic, arguing

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                        19
The Impromptu Counsellor …continued

u Analysing, diagnosing                             u “Excellent course, worthwhile doing,
u Ordering, commanding                              would recommend to others”
                                                    u “The best workshop I have ever attended.”
Whilst many of these roadblocks seem fairly
innocuous, they can contextually block the          Management of the Customer Contact Centre
successful resolution of an issue, and              have responded to the marked impact that
participants run through several role-plays         the course has made by working with Ms.
in which these common conversational                Cummins to pilot a ‘baby brother’ version of
techniques are used to halt a conversation.         the course, entitled Introduction to Effective

    “Very powerful program, everyone in customer
             facing role should do this”
It is only through identifying their power          Communication. Running over the course
that the consultant can choose which                of one morning, this course has been run
communication skills to use in any given            with 4 customer service teams and focuses
situation.                                          on empathy, roadblocks to effective
                                                    communication, paraphrasing, reflecting,
In the end, the success of any business             closed and open questioning, containment
initiative is found in its practical application.   and focussing, and closure. A second session
Attendees of The Impromptu Counsellor               is then booked in for two hours a few weeks
have been effusive in their praise:                 after the initial meeting, with the aim of
u “It was the most valuable, professional           reviewing the participants’ use of the skills
training session I have been involved in since      learned, analysing taped calls and allowing
starting with the bank. I am generally a            for the practice of real situations through role
difficult person to train because I ask lots and     plays. The initial feedback from this program
lots of questions, and always try to find            has been so positive that plans are in place to
‘chinks in the armour of logic.’ Helen however      roll it out to the remainder of the Customer
met and exceeded all my expectations.”              Contact Centre. In fact, Antoine Casgrain,
Team Leader, Customer Contact Centre                General Manager of the Customer Contact
                                                    Centre, notes ‘the Effective Communications
u “The knowledge I gained from the 2 day
                                                    Course is the best investment we made in
course with Helen has made such an impact
                                                    2008! Our Phone Consultants are so much
in the branches I work in and is also part of
                                                    more confident in handling delicate situations
my coaching and development sessions I am
                                                    themselves instead of automatically referring
conducting with our teams.” Customer
                                                    those to a superior. As well as a sharp
Service Specialist
                                                    reduction in escalated calls we find that those
u “Very useful in my role”                          very same customers who were about to walk
u “Very powerful program, everyone in               actually increase their portfolio with us.’12
customer facing role should do this”
                                                    The highly publicised Service PROBE model
u “I feel that the course has been invaluable       based on the work of Professors Voss, Roth
and I look forward to applying it to my             and Chase in 1999 highlights that customer
everyday work”                                      disloyalty is associated most particularly with

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                        20
The Impromptu Counsellor …continued

          To maintain differentiation in a business
           environment fraught with uncertainty,
             methods must be employed to resolve
                  customer dissatisfaction.
poor service recovery; on the other hand, a                             outcomes have included ‘a more confident
customer who has experienced excellent                                  and competent workforce, more complete
service remains almost as loyal as if nothing                           and time-efficient complaint resolution and a
had gone wrong.13 In an award-winning paper                             higher level of customer satisfaction and
written by University of New England lecturer                           retention.’15 Amidst a variety of customer
Fredy Valenzuela on customer loyalty, it was                            experience programs, the Customer Contact
noted that to ensure customer loyalty and                               Centre of St.George Bank has and continues
prevent widespread abandonment, it is                                   to utilise The Impromptu Counsellor as a
essential to maintain a ‘customer-oriented                              powerful empowerment tool designed to
focus.’14 To maintain differentiation in a                              assist staff in assisting customers through
business environment fraught with                                       difficult situations and refocusing customer
uncertainty, methods must be employed to                                service on the possibilities inherent in a
resolve customer dissatisfaction. By engaging                           healthy relationship.
in the Impromptu Counsellor course, the

1   Warren Buffett, quoted at <>, viewed 9/7/08.
2   Holmes TH, Rahe RH (1967). “The Social Readjustment Rating Scale”. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 11 (2): 213-8
3   Jerry Maycock, quoted in Tracy Withers, ‘Australia Mortgage Drop Shows Rates Shouldn’t Rise, Broker Says,’ 13/7/2008,
    <> viewed 13/7/2008.
4   As above at 2.
5   George Lekakis, ‘Mortgage Stress Worst in A Decade,’ Brisbane Courier Mail, 19/6/2008,,26844,23889054-5015826,00.html, viewed 1/7/2008.
6   Andre Damon, ‘US: Consumer confidence hits lowest level in 28 years,’ 1/7/2008,>, viewed 5/7/2008.
7   Kaori Kaneko, ‘Japanese Consumer Confidence Drops to Record Low in June,’ 11/7/2008,>, viewed 12/7/2008.
8   Tracy Withers, ‘NZ Retail Sales Fall, Adding to Recession Signs,’ July 14, 2008,>, viewed 14/7/2008.
9   Contactable on 0408 623 284: 64 Blues Point Road, McMahons Point NSW 2060,
10 Quoted by Ms. Helen Cummins, 14/7/2008.
11 The Customer Service Guide January 2006 NSW Department of Fair Trading: 8.>, viewed July 2, 2008.
12 Quoted by Antoine Casgrain, 15/7/2008.
13 C. Voss, C. A.Roth. and R. Chase, ‘International Service Study, Decision Line, May 1999. For more information on the report, see
14 Bernard Lane, ‘Freedom Key to Loyal Bank Customers,’ The Australian, 10/7/2008,,25197,23916753-12332,00.html, viewed 11/7/2008.
15 Quoted by Helen Cummins, 14/7/2008.

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                                                           21
The Customer Service Institute of Australia
is currently taking applications for its two day
Certified Customer Service Manager Course
(CCSM). Some additional course work is

The CSIA has worked with leading
organisations to develop a training,
assessment and certification program leading
to Australia’s first and only formal nationally
recognised “Certified Customer Service
Manager” designation.

Organisations can now benefit from qualified
service professionals.

The course includes a workbook and a two
day workshop followed by an assessment.
By meeting Government criteria certain
candidates may attract incentives of up
to $4,000.

             For more information
                                                                 d Custo
             Phone: 02 9386 4477                         if ie





                                                      vi                   a
10 years and going strong
A Grand History
of service excellence
CSIA Celebrate 10 years as
Australia’s Leading Customer
Service Body!


                     Some Organisations
                    talk about excellence
                     in customer service.
                   CSIA Members prove it!

 If you want to be sure your organisation is delivering on its’ service promise
      and promote your commitment to service excellence, contact CSIA, or phone 02 9386 4477.
 Turning TRUST into LOYALTY
By John R. Patterson and Chip R. Bell               aspirations, not just needs and expectations.
                                                    Customers who trust are more apt to offer
Accountability is both the sweet spot and           candid guidance for improvement, not just
Achilles heel of most leaders. Leaders learn        the preverbal “fine!” Customers who trust
early the importance of “holding employees          are more tolerant of mistakes and more
accountable” for results. Despite its downbeat      responsive to service recovery. Customers
reputation, accountability effectively executed     who trust are advocates, not just satisfied.
remains the keystone for trust between              And, customer trust is created and sustained
leaders and their employees; employees              by an accountability culture.
with customers.
                                                    Customers form perceptions of service
Trust is the glue that binds relationships.         through the interface with an organization’s
Without a climate of trust organizations are        employees (a.k.a., Loyalty Creators).
unable to deliver the type of service that fuels    Consequently, it is the actions of Loyalty
customer loyalty. Trust enables customers           Creators that drives or destroys the quality
to willingly communicate their hopes and            of service that yields customer loyalty. And,

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                         24

Loyalty Creators learn how to treat customers       supplied helpful resources and then provided
from the way their leaders treat them.              the most important part—he kept his promise
                                                    to deliver the consequence.
How can accountability assist leaders in
developing a culture where trust is an ever         If Chip did all his chores in sync with agreed
present component? Let’s turn the clock back        upon expectations, he got to go to the
to Chip’s teenage years to illustrate how           movies; if he did not, his performance
accountability can build trust and produce          communicated he was choosing to stay home
desired results while making the job of the         on Saturday night. No more uproar. Just clear
leader less contentious.                            expectations, fair consequences, helpful
                                                    support and assurance that consequences
Ray Bell was shy and conflict averse. At             promised were consequences delivered.
fourteen, his son, Chip, was completely the
opposite. Calm conversations about chores           Like the “before” Ray, leaders dread the
quickly escalated into chaotic confrontations       performance appraisal aspect of
complete with slamming doors. Father-son            accountability because it too often turns into
quarrels were painful for both—Ray for a fray       hurt feelings, uncomfortable conflict and
fought in his least comfortable arena; Chip for     smoldering hostility. Following the example of
the innate rebellion of adolescence.                the “after” Ray provides a method for leaders
                                                    to help Loyalty Creators put in the discipline
Then, it stopped.                                   to their own performance. This accountability
Ray decided to stop being detention officer          path has four parts: clear expectations for
and let Chip decide the consequence of his          outcomes, frequent “check in” conversations
work solely by his performance. Each week           to stay on track, candid feedback for growth,
chores were discussed and expectations              and fair consequences for great, poor and
clarified along with the consequence for             non-performances.
good, poor and non-performance. Ray

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                      25

        One of the underpinnings of
       accountability is consistently
      applied consequences for great
         and/or poor performance.
SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS                              performance discussions a habit. If feedback
Great leaders know they only get the best           conversations occur at least monthly they
from Loyalty Creators if they expect the best.      become more comfortable for both leader and
They also know creating “buy-in” is vital to        Loyalty Creators.
delivering the expected results. Loyalty
Creators who participate in the development         One approach that can be a boon to Loyalty
of expectations have much stronger                  Creators achieving their expected outcomes
commitment to achieving those expectations.         is “future-stating.” Future-stating is a
While there are obviously times expectations        conversation in which leaders graphically
must be determined by leaders, involvement          state what future success will look like. In
should be the rule, not the exception.              other words, “If expectations are realized, the
                                                    following would have happened.” Starting
Involvement includes conversations to gain          with the desired destination, work backwards,
agreement on the achievability of                   agreeing on the action steps needed to
performance outcomes. If Loyalty Creators           achieve that future state. Develop regular
have concerns about the reasonableness of           touch points and “check in” conversations to
expectations these must be discussed to gain        examine the path traveled to date (versus
agreement on how results can be better              plan) and settle on course corrections to
achieved. Expectations that remain                  ensure arrival at the future state. Think of
“unreasonable” in the eyes of Loyalty Creators      these “check in” conversations as a GPS
feed stress and a loss of commitment.               guiding performance to a new destination.
Likewise, expectation setting requires
communication of both the rationale and             CANDID FEEDBACK FOR GROWTH
importance of expected outcomes, leaving            How do leaders give feedback that stimulates
the “how” for the Loyalty Creators to discern.      growth and energizes excellence? Below are
                                                    four steps guaranteed to improve the chances
FREQUENT “CHECK IN” CONVERSATIONS                   of Loyalty Creators gaining an understanding
Great leaders know feedback is crucial to           of what is needed to enhance performance:
assisting Loyalty Creators to a successful
outcome. They also know it is the frequency         u State the Rationale for Feedback
of feedback that makes or breaks                    Help the Loyalty Creator gain a clear sense of
effectiveness. Imagine bowling blindfolded          why the feedback is being given. Ensure there
except for the very last frame. Make                is a unmistakable perspective for making
                                                    sense of the feedback. Lace communications

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                      26

with language that says: “I care about your         weakened. When there are not consistent
effectiveness.”                                     consequences, Loyalty Creators risk drifting
                                                    toward mediocrity. When there are only
u Create a Climate of Identification –– “I’m         consequences for poor performance, fear
like you”                                           becomes an insidious aspect of the culture
You can enhance the Loyalty Creator’s               and responsible risk taking becomes extinct.
receptivity to feedback by creating a climate
of empathy. Avoid “should’s” and “oughts.”          Accountability has too often a negative
Let facts guide your feedback rather than           connotation. The simple mention of the word
opinion. Keep the tone that of a thoughtful         leads many to go immediately to the “dark
partner, not a controlling parent.                  side.” Consistently holding Loyalty Creators
                                                    accountable can have a very positive side. It
u Recommend a “Cancel-out” Action                   is an essential for leaders who seek to build a
If feedback focuses solely on the past it           climate of trust and generate the quality of
can trigger Loyalty Creator defensiveness.          customer service that drives customer loyalty.
If focused on the future, feedback can
communicate promise and opportunity. Think          Fast forward to today. Where is Chip on
of an action that is the opposite of the current    accountability? He is a new granddaddy
ineffective practice that, if taken, could cancel   to Kaylee and Annabeth. And, he seems to
out the old behavior. Instead of focusing on        have forgotten everything he ever knew about
what the Loyalty Creator should have done,          accountability!
help channel the Loyalty Creator’s energy
toward what can be done to be more
u Share Optimism and Communicate                                      Chip Bell is a senior partner and
On-Going Support                                                      founder of The Chip Bell Group
The communication of the expectation of                               headquartered near Dallas.
success can turn Loyalty Creator hesitation
into an enthusiastic attempt. Leader optimism
about the likelihood of improvement can lend
encouragement and support. Communicate
willingness to being a resource to help the
                                                                      John Patterson is president
Loyalty Creator improve.
                                                                      of Atlanta-based Progressive
FAIR CONSEQUENCES FOR                                                 Insights, Inc., a CBG alliance
PERFORMANCE                                                           company.
One of the underpinnings of accountability is
consistently applied consequences for great
and/or poor performance. Loyalty Creators
trust leaders when leaders are fair and
                                                    Their newest book is Customer Loyalty
consistent. Loyalty Creators realize when
                                                    Guaranteed! Create, Lead and Sustain
results are less than expected there ought to
                                                    Remarkable Customer Service. They can
be consequences. They also presume there
                                                    be reached through
will be good consequences for exceeding
                                                    This article is used with the written permission
expectations. When either fails to be delivered
                                                    of the authors.
trust between Loyalty Creator and leader is

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                            27
                         2007/08 Australian Service
      Excellence Awards
     With customer expectations continually
     rising, the wider business community
     is becoming aware of the value and role
     that Customer Service plays in achieving
     business success. This highly demanding
     area is arguably the critical success factor
     for many organisations. For this reason
     it is important that the Customer Service
     Profession has its own national awards to
     recognise, promote and reward excellence,
     professionalism and outstanding

     The CSIA Australian Service Excellence
     Awards showcase achievement in
     Customer Service. Reaching the finals
     and winning an award illustrates the high
     standards of management, training and
     commitment to excellence within those

Australian Service Excellence Awards Judging criteria is based on the International Customer Service Standard

  The International Customer Service Standard
  is an acknowledgement of an organisations
  achievement in customer service excellence as well
  as a benchmark for others to pursue. Developing
  the International Customer Service Standard has
  established the benchmark for service excellence
  in Australia. Extensive literature extolling the virtues
  of exemplary customer service in business is the
  catalyst for the standard, which provides a compre-
  hensive benchmark and a ‘how-to’ implementation
  approach. The ICSS relates equally to all business
  enterprises, our aim is to increase company profi
  ts through shifting business focus from Product or
  Service Out to Customer In. This is created through
  an environment of customer input to determine the
  product or service output.

                  To receive a copy of the ICSS
                  Phone: 02 9386 4477 or email

                        Stephen Coscia’s
                        Tele-Stress, Relief for Call
                        Center Telephone Stress
                        Review By Christine Churchill

★★★                                                 how to manage people or how to transfer their
                                                    skills to their team members. In addition, these
We all know what it means to be stressed at         individuals take on the escalated calls and are
work; too many things to do, things constantly      often busy reacting to the day’s events and irate
coming at us, pressure from our bosses,             customers, that there is no time for coaching to
change to organisational structure, ‘flavour of      occur with team members.
the month’ initiatives, a phone that constantly
rings and an inbox that always seems full. All      It is important to make time for training and
of these things contribute to our stress. The       coaching. Ensure team leaders and managers
way we choose to respond to these situations        are comfortable with their role and what their
will determine our level of stress and how it       outcomes should be and then, ensure that
affects us.                                         they will be effective in managing their teams
                                                    by providing guidance and training.
In Stephen Cosica’s book, Tele-Stress, Relief
for Call Center Telephone Stress, he digs           Most stress is caused by a phone that does
deeper into the enormous stress that often          not stop ringing and a build up of difficult
ensues as a result of working in a call centre      callers. Some callers are naturally difficult and
environment. For those of us who have               others become difficult as the call progresses.
worked in a call centre environment, we are         Team members who are not trained on how to
aware of the stress that can come along with        manage irate customers and the most
the job and the accelerated rate of burn-out        effective ways to communicate with them are
and turnover in these roles.                        set-up for a ‘triple lose’; the employees
                                                    suffers, the customer remains angry, and the
More often than not, this high rate of turnover     organisation may suffer a lost customer or
is caused by stress of the employee. Much of        damage in reputation.
the stress may be a cause of the actual job;
however, I believe that the majority of stress      It is imperative that call centre managers
felt is preventable.                                continue to train in two very specific areas to
                                                    assist with reduction in stress; communication
It is no secret that in most organisations, call    and stress management. Without the proper
centre team leaders and managers are selected       tools on how to deal with what is thrown at
from those considered the ‘best of the best’ in     them during the day, the team member begins
dealing with customers over the phone. These        to feel worthless and hopeless for what lies
individuals are often placed in their new           ahead. They begin dreading coming to work
leadership position with little or no training on   and the first ring of the phone in the morning.

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                        29
BOOK REVIEW…continued

In a business environment where a well-                                  This book is approximately 10 years old but,
trained customer service staff can give you                              most of the information is pertinent to now.
that edge to leave your closest competitors                              Dealing with stress is a fact that will not
in the dust, you owe it to the health of                                 change but, obtaining the tools to manage it
your employees and the financial health of                                better is something we can all appreciate and
your company to acquire and implement                                    use. I believe this book is good value and will
these strategies.                                                        have something valuable buried in its pages
                                                                         for just about everyone.
Stephen’s book is an easy read that provides
great examples and information for managers
to share with their team members. I believe
                                                                                    Christine Churchill is an Executive
that all call centre team leaders and managers
                                                                                    Director of the Customer Service
could benefit from this book and use excerpts
                                                                                    Institute of Australia. She is a graduate
of the book as discussion at each of their
                                                                                    of the University of Delaware holding a
team huddles. Perhaps give each team
                                                                                    Bachelors in Business Administration
member this book as a gift and set a follow-up
                                                                         (Marketing). Christine has over fifteen years
discussion with them in a month to discuss
                                                                         experience in customer service, and her passion
key points or information they found valuable
                                                                         lies in the people; training and development for
or would like to research further.
                                                                         all levels of an organisation helping individuals
                                                                         become the best they can be for themselves
                                                                         and their organisation.

   Become a CSIA Member

   CSIA Membership Benefits
   Becoming a member of CSIA has      Discounted access to Australia’s     Free opportunity for attendance       Automatic free nomination for
   many benefits and is only $295    first professional qualification       on the 2 day International Customer   judging as one of Australia’s leading
   inc GST. Membership forms can    for customer service managers        Service Standard Licensed             customer service professional
                                    - the “Certified Customer Service     Assessors Accreditation               through the individual section of
   be downloaded from our website
                                    Manager Course”                      Course (annual places are limited)    the prestigious Australian Service                                                                              Excellence awards
   or email to       Twelve issues of our monthly         Continuing recognition of
   request a form.                  e-magazine “Customer Service         member’s professional                   Discounts on training, events and
                                    Excellence Magazine”                 standing through maintained use       functions
                                                                         of the CSIA’s designatory post-
                                      Copy of the new edition best       nominal letters: MCSIA                 Certificate of Membership
                                    selling book: “Customer Service

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE                                                                                                                            30

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