Welsh Water: Customer Service Training
Research & Design
We felt a sense of excitement and real enthusiasm to be a part of Welsh Water’s strategy to further improve customer service through the development of those who serve on the front line. Our initial task was to thoroughly understand how the Waste and Water sections of the business operated, the challenges that staff faced and where customers felt there was room for improvement:
1. 10 Drop-In Centres at multiple sites across Wales provided an opportunity for operational managers and staff to contribute by giving us a real understanding of what skills they needed to better deal with customers.
2. 10 research days primarily on the front-line gave us a complete understanding of not only peoples’ roles but the challenges that they faced
This huge pool of information formed the foundation on which we structured and informed the content of Welsh Water’s modular customer service skills programme, How2Wow.
The programme was fully branded for the client including all programme material and A5 ring-binder. We even had fun designing a branded How2Wow programme logo.
Over a period of three years, we rolled the programme out to over 500 delegates. There are in total 7 variations of the core programme for the following business areas:
- Reservoir Teams
- Developer Services Call Handlers
- Operational Call Centre
- New Starters
- Case Managers
- BIS Teams
Embedding The Learning
At the client’s request, we designed a ‘tent-card’ to serve as a reminder of key skills.
As part of the programme evaluation attendees completed a thorough assessment, which provided a measure of what delegates were taking from the programme to be fed back to Managers and HR.
The core programme was tailored to meet specific needs of individual areas of the business. It comprised of:
- Identifying what we’re already good at and our individual qualities that we can build upon to improve the customer experience
- Visual and verbal communication skills to build rapport
- Skills to control the direction and length of customer conversations
- Active listening skills
- How customer expectations have changed over the years and skills to deal with the expectations of different customers – including personality types and different generations
- Skills to deal with negative customer behaviours
- Three Step Technique to deal with complaints and difficult situations
- The impact of poor or no communication (verbal and written) on the entire customer service chain and the customer
- Skills to improve record keeping and accuracy
- Taking responsibility for the entire customer experience
- Skills to give instructions to customers without ‘instructing’
- Reaffirming all the skills learnt and applying these to a diverse customer base
Content was innovative and interactive. It included a giant board game called The Generation Game, Righttrack’s Colours of Communication Self-Assessment tool and the Personal Attribute card game. Case studies were written specifically for the programme, scripted and filmed; brought to life by professional actors.
- Welsh Water moved from 3 to 2 in the OFWAT League Table for customer service
- Voted Best Utility for Customer Service in the UK CSI half yearly index of 26,000 customers
“Thank you for the work you undertook on How to Wow! The training programme was a key part of a 3 year strategy to transform the service proposition and its now mission complete. We’ve recently been voted Best Utility for Customer Service in the UK CSI half yearly index of 26,000 customers, which has been the icing on the cake… “
Tim Hughes, Head of Customer Service (former), Welsh Water