Customer Empathy Insight Research and Solutions

Free Report on applying Customer Empathy in real life

The extract below is from the remarkable report "Free Range Chickens" from Keith Mansfield and Dave Bowen based on the Customer Empathy work we did together at Friends Provident Life and Pensions Ltd (now Friends Life).

It's about how amazing results are possible from everyone when you simply give people permission, or free reign, to do what they what they know is right for both the customer AND the business.

This unique report, published by the International Journal of Call Centre Management, explains how Keith and Dave went about doing just that, and the amazing results they achieved.

Just contact me and I'll send you the whole document (I was their consultant for this project). Here's the introduction whet your appetite (first page of ten):

Dave Bowen
David Bowen

Keith Mansfield
Keith Mansfield







Dave Bowen,
 Call Centre Manager, Keith Mansfield, Head of Individual Customer Services,
Friends Provident Life and Pensions Ltd. UK House, Castle Street, Salisbury, SP1 3SH

Improving the Quality of Customer Interaction
in the Call Centre by Branding Conversations
 or ‘Free Range Chickens’!

The public image of call centre operators as robots is all too often confirmed by the rules and restrictions that are imposed upon them. This article shows that when we treat our customers as we would treat our friends, the myth of the glorified switchboard robot disappears immediately, and everyone feels good.

Introduction - Keith Mansfield


We did the unthinkable: we let the chickens out of their cages: cages we had unknowingly created.


And how did Sarah feel, after just a few days of being ‘Free Range’?


In her own words; “I’m highly motivated at the moment… I’m just happy – I feel free to be me, instead of a battery hen.”


It was such a powerful moment when I heard this: it really bowled me over. The thoughts that went through my head were; “Oh my God, look what we’ve done.” But it was what the customers had to say that really made me realise that this was serious stuff.
I’m very excited to reveal this story for the first time in writing to the outside world. The last two years represents, without a shadow of a doubt, the most exciting time in my career. It’s a story about a significant paradigm shift in, not just financial services, but in customer service, full stop.
This powerful story is about setting people free - about trusting people, really trusting them. It has at its essence extreme simplicity and common sense. Yet it is achieving fantastic results, not only for the customers, but also for our shareholders and our own people too.
It’s a long story, but let me start with the short version.
The Short Version


Battery Hens or Free Range Chickens?This is a story about how the market was demanding better service from us and how we responded by going from a ‘Battery Hen’ customer service centre to a ‘Free Range’ centre in one easy re-branding exercise.
Now I don’t mean to imply that we were in the dark ages; in fact we have as good a call centre as anybody in terms of its environment. It’s not like a sweatshop; there are people laughing and joking much of the time. It’s a very bright, purpose built call centre with the right carpets, the right equipment, the right everything.
But nonetheless, what we hadn’t realised was that when the headsets went on our people often did feel cooped up like battery hens.
So, with great courage, we opened the ‘cage doors’ and encouraged our people out into the yard, to be their own natural selves. No more rules, no more restrictions.
We told them; “There are no scripts anymore. Think of your customers and shareholders as you would a friend. Talk to customers with your own personality and in your own words.”


At the time, it seemed an enormous risk, but immediately our customers started giving unprecedented feedback, literally unprecedented. For example, one of our ‘business-like’ IFAs (Independent Financial Advisors) said this to Claire, a call centre worker: “For the record, so that everyone knows, [he knew the call was being recorded!] this has been a very pleasant  call and you have been most helpful and are a pleasure to talk to. You sound like a human being.”


Amazingly, he then went on to say this to one of Claire’s colleagues; “I tell you what, all jokes aside, I swear our partnership would do more business with Friends [Provident] if there were more like her.”


I will never forget the profound impact that these never-before-heard words had on me: “I swear our partnership would do more business with Friends if there were more like her.”


It was then that I had my most powerful ‘wow’ moment, realising what a fantastic opportunity this Free Range idea was and how we could improve both the bottom line and the service we provided. Not just to make the service better, but to move it onto a completely different plane, to actually give birth to a new paradigm of customer service......................


Page 1 of 10 - continued in free report...











Marketing News article - a good overview
Customer Empathy?
A natural ability
Empathy Benefits
Free-Range Report
A taster?
Empathy Consulting
About John

What's the quickest, most powerful and cost-effective way to WIN 
Customer Loyalty ?
...capturing the hearts , as well as the minds, of your customers!






"As a result of the economic slowdown, business leaders are focusing on the central role of customer service to simultaneously lower costs and build customer loyalty. The loss of a profitable customer, or a potentially profitable customer, is expensive and preventable."
29th April 2009 Michael Maoz, VP Gartner Inc. PRNewswire









'Customer Fatigue' is getting worse - we customers just won't stand for it when it's wrong, and just because it's 'right' doesn't mean we're going to stay either!



  must know by now that Customer Satisfaction is
NO LONGER enough
... Customers have to love doing business with you!





"The truth of a thing is in the feel of it, not the think of it"
Stanley Kubrick