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Personalising Employee Learning and Development

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Fresh from winning the Quality Manager of the Year bronze award at this year’s CCMA UK National Contact Centre Awards, Echo’s Simon Thatcher tells us more about the importance of individual based learning in this month's Dive In blog…………

I've been working in the customer service industry for over 20 years now. It's always been an incredibly dynamic industry and is now evolving faster than ever before. Today, our customers are presented with an ever evolving and growing series of choices, options and the ability to customise their service experiences, to meet their own personal needs.

Treating customers and employees as individuals.
At the heart of this change is the simple fundamental truth that if you want to be successful you can no longer treat all customers with a broad brush approach to their customer service experiences. Each person wants, needs and expects to be treated like an individual – and these customer expectations of service are only going to continue to increase. The ability to be able to offer an increasingly customisable experience will become a phenomenal task that will require all of us to invest time, effort and resources – and it’s safe to say that none of us can ignore this growing trend.

It is this understanding that has sparked a big change that is now driving Echo’s learning and development strategy. After all, our employees are all customers too and it’s just as important to understand and engage with them - as they are the driving force of our business and of service excellence for our clients. Over this last year we have started out on a journey to create and develop a programme where each individual employee’s learning and development journey becomes a personalised experience.

Our department’s aim has been to create and offer as many options as we possibly can to facilitate learning, where the material that employees need is always within easy reach, and ultimately an employee’s own personal development is driven by what they need and delivered in a format of their choice.

As you can imagine this is a large on-going project that has required a lot of input and expertise from many dedicated individuals to make it happen.

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A new learning platform.
The first stage of the project has been to create Echo’s new e-pod platform. This site has been designed to be the hub for all learning that goes on within our business. Through it we have been able to give our teams’ access to:

  • New articles and industry websites
  • Call recordings demonstrating best practice
  • Open forums where individuals can ask for help on topics of their choice
  • Access to e-learning modules, classroom sessions and open coaching sessions

We are also keen to encourage and empower employees to want to learn, and so it is also important that we offer access to external development sites such as future learn and the Open University.

Employee Engagement strongly linked with customer satisfaction.
This is just the first step of our programme to encourage a culture of employees taking personal responsibility for their learning and development. I believe that by giving our teams this level of responsibility, choice and empowerment, we can help develop engaged teams who not only personally get more from their jobs than just a wage, but who also deliver for Echo higher levels of customer satisfaction on behalf of our clients.

The latest findings from the Institute of Customer Service’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index illustrate that employee engagement is strongly linked with customer satisfaction. Engaged, knowledgeable and helpful employees play an absolutely critical role in improving and sustaining service levels. Service excellence starts with fully engaged employees who are treated as individuals. Our new individual based approach to learning, together with the recent launch of Echo’s new vision, mission and values are just two of the ways in which our commitment to employee engagement is clear to see.

We all understand that customers are loyal to their brands when they are made to feel special and more than just a customer number. By giving our own teams’ responsibility, choice and empowerment we hope to do exactly the same for them.

Simon.

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