If you’ve ever seen Undercover Boss, you understand how eye opening it is for suits from the corner office to get down on the front line of their businesses. They have a better appreciation for the stress of customer service, they can see their philosophy in action and, simply, have instant empathy for the people in their company.
TELUS has a similar sort of approach, but it’s not secret, and it’s not just top down, it’s out in the open, it’s bottom up, and it’s sideways.
Closer To The Customer is a program where TELUS employees can apply to spend a day in another department. People in the stores can spend a day in the call centre, people on the install team can go into a TELUS store and, yes, those head office can do the same. It’s all about having a greater understanding of the business, and the role your colleague’s play.
The program is called Closer To The Customer, but really it’s about those on the team being closer to each other. The benefit of that greater understanding leads to greater customer service.
Through my involvement with Team TELUS. I took part in an evening session where I went and hung with Nav and his staff at the TELUS store in Chinook Mall.
I stood by as they helped people manage rewards, pick phones for their kids, choose tv packages, and just get advice on new gadgetry.
Nav has taken a number of different opportunities to trade into other departments. From home services to install to troubleshooting, he says the experience helps him do his job more efficiently.
“I learned how much work it takes to ensure that the installs happen on time or how they get rebooked if something fails,” Nav explained. “It has taught me how to train all of my new people to ensure they take the necessary steps to avoid an error in the sales system.”
It was one of those “a-ha” moments where you appreciate a small innovation, see the magic it creates and wonder why more companies don’t do it.
I’m a radio host, I sit in a room and talk about music all day. Our sales team is out meeting clients, pitching me, and negotiating the commercials that pay my salary. How great would it be for me to understand them, them to understand me? Or spending a day at the front desk of our radio station where the receptionist meets winners, channels calls, and juggles all that needs to be done to keep an office running.
When employees have a greater appreciation for the challenges and job of each person along the chain, empathy blossoms and they have tools to help each other out.
In the end, the customer wins when employees work more efficiently, support each other more, and have the greater good in mind when problem solving.
Disclosure: I am a Team TELUS blogger and I receive special perks from TELUS for being part of their advocacy program. All opinions are mine.