Managing, Leading & Personal Effectiveness

BT Lancashire Services – Customer Service Training

QA partnered with BT Lancashire Services to provide tailor-made customer-service training and change the employee structure to nurture collaboration.

Meet our client: BT Lancashire Services

BT Lancashire Services is a partner to Lancashire public sector organisations, recognised for sustained innovation and excellence in the services they deliver to their customers. They focus their knowledge and resources to enable the organisations and staff they serve to deliver innovative, effective and efficient public services to their citizens and communities. The ICT Services team delivers high-quality and best value ICT solutions, serving as a single source for all ICT requirements to over 15,000 customers.

Customer service is at the heart of IT Lancashire Services, which strives to ensure they deliver to the highest possible standard. 

The challenge:

With a team of over 50 staff, whose grades and roles differ in complexity, but all involving dealing with very non-technical customers, BT Lancashire Services needed a consistent approach to customer care and best practice.

The silos and occasional conflict that pre-existed within the team would also prove a barrier to overcome when achieving the vision. BT Lancashire Services avoided the trap many organisations fall into of putting their people on a generic training course and expecting a big change. The Service Centre Manager knew that for real behavioural change to take place, the foundation must be strong and several elements would need to come together. BT Lancashire Services acknowledged they would need to tackle structural and cultural challenges as well as gain buy-in and commitment to new standards of customer service.

As our local government customers' needs change and grow, we have a duty to change and adapt the services that underpin them.

BT Lancashire Services’ challenge included:

  • Changing the Ops model;
  • Breaking down silo’s and improving communication within the team; 
  • Creating more of a team culture;
  • Engaging the team in the value of enhancing service provision;
  • Providing a high and consistent customer service standard.

The solution: 

BT Lancashire Services' ICT Service Centre Manager, Sharon, really understands "change" and worked with QA’s Learning Solutions Manager and Senior Account Manager to ensure the approach, timing and type of learning interventions would give the best chance of attaining real behavioural change, alongside the changes to the Ops model that were being implemented.

We worked collaboratively on an approach to involve individuals in the process of identifying opportunities to improve their team communication and to focus training on customer service, while also stretching and challenging them personally.

You cannot achieve significant changes to a service without collaboration and engagement from those responsible for delivering it. This training became our catalyst for change and made our vision tangible.

We kick-started the change by dissolving the old team boundaries and putting people into learning groups with colleagues they were unfamiliar with. We applied a process of looking inwardly first; using self-realisation as a basis to understand how to improve their interactions. The training provided best-practice insights into customer service skills and involved the team in making decisions and enabling them to take ownership of the BT Lancashire Services ICT Customer Service Standards. This gained buy-in to the outcomes, demonstrated trust in the wider team, and maximised the learning styles of the technical learners.

The outcome:

After the training programme, the Service Centre Manager described the team as "totally transformed". The department is now operating as a holistic team of 50 as opposed to four silos. Interaction and collaboration to problem solve and learn – things that would have been impossible in the old structure have become the norm. The revised Ops model was the enabler, and the training kick-started real change.

Current customer satisfaction levels have soared to an all-time high of 98%.​

The learners really appreciated the training approach, they loved discovering a bit more about themselves and learning about each other in that format. They found the SDI® (Strength Deployment Inventors™) tool really helpful. The opportunity to learn in a safe and conducive environment, to be trusted and empowered to make decisions, and to be supported if they get things wrong has created a team learning culture, as they solve problems and continue to grow as one big team in their new working environment.

Employee engagement seems higher, as the Service Centre Manager has taken verbal temperature checks. With the strong links that exist between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, the remarkable positive shift in the latter was an inevitable benefit.

When the journey started, only 40% of customers received a first-time fix on contacting the Service Centre, but this soared to 62% six months into the change and now sits at a steady 70% achievement level 12 months into the new service. The once aspirational target of a "world-class" 80% first-line fix level is now within reach as the business starts to focus on bringing services closer to the customer via the Service Centre as the front door.