• Mal Reid

Delight customer demands and increase revenue by executing impactful employee enablement programs


In recent years 1,000's of companies around the world have been investing in transforming their products, services and operations to accomodate the "Age of the Customer". Some industries have been slower than others but overall, most are executing major transformation programs in order to compete.


Triggered by the "global financial crisis in 2009, Shareholders & Leadership teams found ways to slash operational costs whilst often sacrificing the customer experience.


After years of cost cutting, we are now seeing across all industries, a massive shift towards investing in seamless and consistent ways to delight their customers. This includes complex technology based management systems designed to significantly transform the way companies interact with their customers, suppliers and internal staff.


Consequently, we regularly receive requests for training in various areas like solution selling, customer service and client centricity. As you can imagine, this is always an exciting prospect for us at MRC and we generally respond by asking a series of questions. These killer questions aim to help design and deliver impactful and engaging learning solutions. There are approximately 12 questions but the first three are fundamental and essential before anyone can move forward.


Before investing in any business initiative, including training their people, companies need to be able to articulate very clearly their:

1. Strategic Objectives

2. Desired Outcomes 3. Measure of Success


In other words; why are we doing it, what do we expect people to do as a result of the training and how do we know when it has been successful... Evidence of long lasting impact.


In our experience, these answers vary, but typically, most people reply by saying "a manager has requested some training for their team(s)." Or "we recently went through a merger or acquisition and need a company wide consistent way of servicing our customers" or "we are implementing new software which will change how we work going forward".


Additionally, through advancing technologies, companies are now proficient at uncovering skills and service 'gaps'. These are discovered through channels like customer feedback, business intelligence tools, employee engagement surveys and social media. Quite often we know there is a lack of something but figuring out how to enable your staff to adhere to the demands of clients or fix gaps in your service offerings is a tremendous challenge.


I visited a company in Victoria this month who asked me to discuss a number of 1 day workshops focusing on customer service and sales. They had recently merged with another company taking their employee headcount from 250 people to over 500 in one day. Their challenge was that their branding and company name in reception had changed, but their people had basically continued to operate as they had always operated (quite typical you might say).


As I sat with the State Manager, Customer Support Manager and National HR Business Partner, it became quite apparent there were three different agendas and motivations for the training to be designed and delivered Nationally. I had sent my training readiness questions a week prior to the meeting but they didn't have time to complete them. With my investigative Consultant hat on, I began asking about their business and the teams that required training, desired outcomes, locations, leadership buy-in, company culture, etc.


At the conclusion of the 90 minute meeting, we agreed there were 2 possible solutions.

Solution 1. Select a number of 1 day courses from a catalogue of topics and deliver them across each state to ensure consistency. This would begin enabling the workforce with a set of similar skills nationally.

Solution 2. That middle management and leadership was to agree and clearly articulate why, who, what, when and how before setting off on a learning journey that would enable the company to offer an outstanding customer experience consistently across all departments and offices.


Two weeks later I received a phone call from one of the meeting attendees who rang to thank us for our time and consultation, but they still had critical unanswered questions before they could move forward. Also, there were 2 or 3 other technology led projects in play. Having met with the leadership team, it was apparent they were 6-12 months away from rolling out a training program that would change the way they would operate forever.


I was both disappointed and excited. Disappointed we didn't get the job (right now) but super excited knowing that they would slow down to strategically design a training program that would massively impact their customers and internal staff.


Getting it RIGHT will have a longer-lasting business impact than getting it started RIGHT NOW.

As Learning Partners, we love to see companies like this grow and adapt to the ever-increasing demands in "The Age of the Customer". Designing and delivering learning programs that enable companies to delight and thrill their customers is why we get up in the morning.


We suggest Step 1 is to complete the Training Readiness Questionnaire. This will help discover how ready you and your company are to meet the transformation challenge that enables your workforce to deliver excellence throughout the entire customer life cycle.


If you are looking for a learning partner focused on sales enablement, client centricity or supporting technology led business transformation please contact us at www.malreid.net or www.cto.com.au




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