In a largely commoditized marketplace, the world’s largest manufacturing and distribution company realizes its customers can get essentially the same products from their competitors, meaning the buying decision is often times driven by the relationship customers have with their sales or service reps. Enhancing the customer experience was the flash point of differentiation.
The company’s call center sales and service reps consistently ranked higher when compared to the competition on customer surveys. The director of sales training wanted to leverage this competitive advantage and further differentiate and elevate the customer experience by providing a consistent approach in skills and language for reps to use in customer interactions.
Due to the large footprint of this very diverse organization, the company has numerous divisions with several business units that sell through different distribution channels and to different end-users.
As a result, the culture could be very different from division to division. Leadership believed that a standard curriculum could foster a common culture and provide a more consistent approach in skills and language in interacting with outside customers.
In order to make a more informed final decision, a task force was assembled that represented service professionals from all divisions.
Part of this process included the training director and marketing manager talking to reps and monitoring outbound and inbound calls. This firsthand experience gave insight into how the Signature Service™ concepts, skills, and approach would elevate the current customer experience to an even higher level of satisfaction. Signature Service quickly proved its effectiveness. “Initial reactions to the training were very positive,” explained the company’s director of sales training, “both in terms of participants seeing the relevance of the skills and their motivation to apply the skills on the job.”
“We also began to have requests from reps who experienced Signature Service to offer the training to other departments within the organization with whom the inside sales and service people interact. It became apparent that our trained reps realized that their ability to apply the same skills with internal partners was critical to their ability to serve their customers,” he further explained.
In the process of selecting a program and monitoring calls, it was discovered that many customer service reps felt that their customers simply present themselves as either happy or mad.
Signature Service teaches reps to recognize four distinct customer conditions and provides specific approaches for responding to each.
The approach also teaches participants to ask for a statement of satisfaction—something reps say makes all the difference. “Asking for satisfaction can be so powerful,” says the director of training. “I think it makes a huge difference just because we ask. But, if there is a problem, we get a chance to address it. And when the customer is satisfied, it is important that they acknowledge that satisfaction at a conscious level.”
At the onset, the insight to leverage an already competent call center workforce as the company’s competitive advantage was achieved through Signature Service with external customers. The consistent skills, language, and approach has now found its way into the culture and fabric of the enterprise, elevating the internal partner and external customer experience and satisfaction for a truly win-win outcome.