Customer Empathy Consulting
Achieving lasting improvements in Customer Empathy falls
into two categories: cultural and operational.
Experience has repeatedly shown that new Values have to be
embraced by the whole organisation, starting from the top, and this develops into a new culture. I help this
transformation with strategic consultancy and coaching up to Board level, Vision and Values
development, and Change Programme support.
Also, operational staff need support to embed these new ways into
practical implementation. I help with Empathy Programme Consultancy, Orientation Seminars
and Development Workshops.
My 20 years of unique,
varied and valuable experience of Customer Empathy
auditing and consulting for sustainable improvements personal service, as well as my low
overheads, means that I can offer possibly the best qualified/ best
examples of consultancy assignments:
Simplyhealth (previously HSA)
Motivated and inspired by a series of Customer Empathy
Audits over several years showing consistently better results, Simplyhealth took the bold step of
targeting their entire Customer Services division with a single, very challenging Empathy Rating goal right
up in the 'Feel Good' zone - one that would put them ahead of their sector.
Assisted by my own developmental Customer Empathy
workshops and trainings, as well as coaching them to be able to measure their own levels of Customer
Empathy internally, they rapidly focused on and were inspired to reach their goal - renaming it
to Excellent Personal Service (EPS), rather than Customer Empathy.
In almost all areas of their contact centres, the
whole Customer Experience was wonderfully transformed, almost beyond recognition, as advisors began
consistently opening up to creating a personal connection that feels Good to Very Good with each of
Simplyhealth's winning of the prestigious
Institute of Customer Service award for Customer Commitment at the 2012 UK Customer Satisfaction
Awards reflects their success.
- Service Excellence Project and F.A.C.E.
My involvement in Friends Provident was
initially as a Strategic Business Consultant sitting on the executive steering committee
of a major
strategic 'Service Excellence Project' (SEP) commissioned by the Board
of Friends Provident. Acting as the resident Customer
Empathy expert, my role was to constantly pull the human and personal
side back into the discussion as it drifted into traditional
One area of input was the encouragement to move away from their
previous reliance on targeting specific, easy-to-measure 'behaviours' (you must DO this and that) to
the far more empowering encouragement of 'attitudes'. For example, if the objective is to come across as
'welcoming' at the beginning of a call, instead of insisting that people must 'smile'
and use a 'welcome' script to repeat verbatim, it actually works better to simply ask
them to have what you wanted in the first place: to be ... welcoming!
Enlivened by an Empathy
Audit we rolled out an introduction to staff for their feedback and ideas, through
a programme of mass 'engagement'
and buy-in of the entire organisation.
One outcome was the realisation that creating a good personal connection with a customer was similar to being like a
good friend, and as that was already built into the brand
(Friends Provident, or just Friends), staff voted
to rename the SEP to the FACE program:
Friends Achieving Customer
This culminated in my facilitation of a major project to define
precisely what 'being a Friend' in a business context actually meant to the individuals actually relating customers, and how that could
be specifically encouraged and monitored without ambiguity. Once implemented, the staff absolutely loved
the freedom it gave them to be themselves and to make a connection with each of their
customers in their own way.
The outcome of that part of the programme is detailed in the
Range report page (a must-read!)
Here's what Keith
Mansfield, Head of Individual Customer Services, had to
" Right from day one, John provided us with valuable
insights into how we could not only improve the service but also how we could go to a fundamentally
higher level of service than we had ever contemplated.
" I am pleased to say that Friends Provident has just
won a National Customer Services award. It is absolutely fair to say that without John's
encouragement and challenging, we would probably not be in that position today.
" Since his involvement with the design of the
programme to recover our service, John has worked extensively with my team to embed the changes
needed. A key skill John brings is, of course, his accompanying knowledge of empathy. He has
provided us with invaluable expertise on defining our Vision and Team Purpose in a way that
really captures what the business wants to achieve (service excellence and cost reductions),
yet in a way that really motivates all of our people at all levels. On top of that, John has
helped us understand how to define and consistently measure our service interaction with
" John is a living example of what he preaches and
has consistently delivered beyond our expectations in both the content and the manner of his
support. He has been worth every single penny! "
Keith Mansfield, Head of Individual Customer Services, Friends
Royal Sun Alliance Europe
Briefly: I was invited to sit on the management Board for Royal Sun
Alliance Europe as their Customer Service Consultant where I helped them shape their strategy and its
communication into the local markets across Europe, including conducting powerful Empathy
Audits in different countries. Despite language and cultural differences, it soon became clear
that everyone loves being treated in a genuine, personal way!
"John is a unique individual who has been a consistently outstanding
personal and business consultant for me. From coaching me to hone my
presentations skills to become a first class presenter and developing our company presentation
which I then presented to win the "Sunday Times / Anderson Consulting IT in Business Award", to
performing the remarkable Customer Empathy audits with us, to using his management consultancy
skills to both facilitate our Board to get clarity of our Vision and to support our Business
Process Management revolution.
"John has always been a tremendous asset to our team and to me
personally. With his uncanny ability to able to see the 'bigger picture'
and reduce it down to the simple but powerful fundamentals, John can always be
relied upon for bringing boundless enthusiasm, insight, creativity and downright common sense
to every project. His final assignment before I retired was to be our Customer Service
consultant for European Operations, where he proved that his unique approaches to bringing out
the human element in business translated easily into other European cultures."
Ken Sinfield, Head of European Operations, Royal Sun Alliance