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How to structure a telephone role play session

A great telephone role-play session should have three distinct parts: an introduction, a main theme and finally a summary with a call to action. Here’s an example of how one of our customers structures his telephone role play sessions to get the best from his delegates.  Feel free to use it as a blueprint or tweak it for your own telephone training sessions.

The introduction will let participants know what will happen and what’s involved to engender buy-in and to put them at ease.

The main theme will be the actual role-play practice and feedback on a specified topic to improve telephone skills and performance. Role-plays are best organised and facilitated using the tried and tested framework for skills training and development, known as EDICC:

        • Explanation
        • Demonstration
        • Imitation & Feedback (Role-play)
        • Coaching
        • Consolidation

The Imitation (or role-play) part of EDICC should incorporate the BOOSTER principles of constructive feedback and a painless and effective feedback process after each role-play.

Lastly, the summary and call to action is a chance to explore what happened, what they learned and how they will apply this in the workplace.

So let’s take a look at this 3-part session in more detail.

 

How to structure a telephone role play session

 

How to structure a telephone role play session: The Introduction

The best role-play sessions are set-up and introduced in a way that really engages participants, engenders their buy-in and puts them at ease – after all, role-playing can be a nerve racking experience. So you’ll need to do the following:

      • Describe the topic being covered, and the objectives and benefits of the session – the most effective role-play sessions focus on closing performance gaps the participants already know exist. In this situation it’s relatively easy to help participants recognise the benefits of role-play
      • Explore the benefits of role-play in a very enthusiastic and positive way; reinforce that the practice sessions will be conducted in a safe environment away from customers, where mistakes can be made and will be expected, meaning instant feedback can be given, and participants can learn from the experience and, ultimately improve performance
      • Confirm the old adage that “practice makes perfect” and the fact that to get the most out role-play you just need to throw yourself into it.

As part of the introduction, the trainer should introduce PhoneCoach kit and the benefits of using it – if you are going to use this role-play equipment.   If you don’t, then we strongly recommend you find some means of your group being able to role-play in pairs and record them all and instantly feed those calls back to them.

So, if using PhoneCoach explain that:

        • It works just like a normal telephone system making the role-plays very realistic
        • Everyone is on the phone at once so no worrying about everyone listening to their roleplay, or waiting your turn
        • It enables you to immediately listen to recorded calls in pairs over handset, so you get instant feedback on the things you did well and those things that could be improved
        • It enables you to listen as a group and share the role-played calls using the loudspeaker
        • You will do a demonstration of how it is used in pairs

 

It’s important to agree the principles of constructive feedback to be used after each role-play, using the mnemonic ‘BOOSTER’, which emphasises that constructive feedback must be:

        • Balanced- focusing on the positives of performance as much as the negatives coming from the role-play
        • Observed- based on what actually happened during the role-play
        • Objective – an account of what happened without judgement
        • Specific – focused on the subject of the role-play, the skill being improved
        • Timely – given as soon after the role-play as possible, so the experience is still fresh in the mind
        • Empathetic – taking into consideration how nerve racking role-play can be, especially the initial ones in a session
        • Recorded – where possible, written down so participants can take it away to continue to use it in the future to improve performance.

Lastly, the trainer should outline the feedback process, which avoids argument and confrontation.

One option is for the pairs to listen back to their calls together and discuss how it went, perhaps using a feedback checklist.   Then later the group can listen to each others calls via the loudspeaker to learn from each other. How you feed back depends on the group and the time involved.   Very often a trainer picks out one or two of the calls to play over the loudspeaker so the group learn, but it is time consuming to listen to all the calls and debrief and after the first one or two calls have been dissected and learnt from, it is usually enough for the group to learn and then go into another practice role-play.

The feedback session should then take the following route:

        • First word = caller on how they felt it went – it’s only polite to give them first say
        • Vow of silence on caller – so constructive feedback can be given unchallenged
        • BOOSTER feedback from call receiver – on what went well and not quite so well
        • Keep/Change summary from call receiver – what the caller should keep and do differently on the next call
        • Last word and keep/change summary from caller – what they will actually keep for the next call and what they will do differently.

 

How to structure a telephone role play session: Main Theme – Role-Play Practice

The participants will need an understanding of what they are looking to improve through their role-play before they undertake it, so you’ll need to introduce them to the topic being covered – this could be a generic look at telephone skills or, more effectively, a specific telephone performance gap, identified from observations or customer feedback.

      • Explore and confirm the benefits for improving performance in the specified area
      • Overview or run through the specified topic, so delegates understand what it is specifically they are looking at – you could use one of the series of checklists provided by PhoneCoach or produce your own in-house to do this. Either way, the checklist should confirm what good performance looks and sounds like.

 

Demonstration:

You don’t have to do this, but you may like to do a phone call demonstration – pre-recorded to show the group what you are looking for.  

The phone call demonstration, which ideally should be pre-recorded using the PhoneCoach system (or a recording device) , is a key part of the session, because it provides participants with a model and clear picture of how they should be performing on the phone – it provides them with a clear image of what good performance looks and sounds like.  Think carefully about who should do the initial demonstration; try to avoid asking participants to provide initial demonstrations as the extroverts are likely to play to the gallery, while the more nervous ones are likely to freeze.

For example, it may be you and another trainer, or you and a manager, who do the role-play just to show them what you are looking for.

As the old adage goes: “If you know where you are going you are more likely to get there”, so it’s worth spending time to set the demonstration up during the session. Before the demonstration is provided, the participants need to be clear on what they need to do to get the most out of it. So you’ll need to:

      • Introduce the demonstration, ask the participants to listen carefully and make notes on what they hear
      • Ideally they should use the relevant checklist to assess the demonstration call, and identify and confirm key skills relating to the topic.

Hold a short post-demonstration review (using the checklist) of the key points relating to the topic (i.e. what you would like to see and what you want delegates to focus on when they role–play.

Imitation and Feedback (role-plays)

The effectiveness of role-playing is all about good organisation and making sure all participants have an opportunity to play the role of the ‘caller’, although, often playing the ‘call receiver’ can be just as insightful. Obviously if you are training up inbound agents you will be focussing on the call receivers role.

Ensuring the participants keep to the brief or scenario, stay “in role” during the role-play and use the agreed process and principles for constructive feedback are the keys to role-play success. Be mindful to do the following:

  • Provide a short verbal or preferably a written brief of the scenario you would like the participants to role-play – usually the same scenario they heard in the demonstration call, with enough information for the caller and call receiver to understand and be able to play their role
  • Avoid making the scenarios too long, but feel free to start by using a script, ensuring by the end of the session, participants move away from the script to make more natural calls.

When you are ready to begin the role plays, issue checklists, if the participants do not already have them, then organise the delegates into pairs and position them appropriately; situating pairs at opposite sides of the room facing away from each other so there is no eye contact (which you don’t get over the telephone) usually works very well. Better still, the PhoneCoach system allows participants to be in separate rooms, this makes the role-play even more realistic.

Reconfirm the benefits of role-play and the process and principles for constructive feedback, then give them time to:

      • complete their role-plays using the PhoneCoach system or whatever else you can work with
      • listen back to the recordings, either over the handset or via the loudspeaker, using the checklist to identify what went well and not quite so well
      • to receive constructive feedback from their colleague after each role-play using the agreed feedback process and principles of constructive feedback.

Coaching

As a trainer you’ll want to listen into calls or walk around the room to identify coaching points you would like to share with the whole group. You can provide individual coaching points drawn from the checklists throughout the session, for example, by joining individual pairs as they listen back to calls and deliver their feedback to each other. You can also listen into live calls as the participants role-play. This means you  can monitor progress (via the Trainers Headset), identify coaching points for the individuals concerned and provide instant feedback and instruction as the call unfolds .It is also beneficial to draw the group together to provide group coaching by discussing their role-play experiences; what went well, what went not so well, and what they will keep and change when they run the role-play again or make these calls in the workplace for real.

Consolidation

To help embed new or developed skills it is always helpful to add some consolidating activities both during and post session .For example, delegates should repeat role-plays,  so they can implement their keep and changes immediately, either using the same scenarios or adding new ones. You could also try using a ‘goldfish bowl’ activity – with one pair demonstrating a successful call to the rest of the group. Finally, you could observe participants making these calls and coach them back in the workplace.

 

How to structure a telephone role play session: Session Summary

The session summary should provide participants with an opportunity to reflect on their experience during the session, what they learned and how they will reap the benefits of learning and development back in the workplace. As well as summarising what was covered during the session, you’ll need to ask some key questions:

 

        • What happened during the role plays?
        • What did you learn?
        • What does that mean for you in your job?
        • What will you do differently in the workplace?

 

 

It might also be beneficial to provide time for the delegates to create an action plan relating to any further help, support and training that they might need and what they are going to do to ensure that what they have learned is applied effectively in the workplace.

So there you have it…plenty of food for thought, help and advice if you are planning to  develop telephone performance through role-play. The advice provided here has been drawn from many managers and trainers who run telephone training sessions.

Good luck and have fun!

 

For more details about the PhoneCoach kit, please drop me a line at mandy@phonecoach.com, or visit the website: www.phonecoach.com      

 

Resources

Use these checklists to plan your role play session and record feedback:

Checklist X Structure of a Telephone Role-Play Session

Checklist X BOOSTER Constructive Feedback

Checklist X Constructive Feedback Process

 

 

 

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Telephone skills trainers – Maximising the Practice Time Available

Telephone skills trainers – Maximising the Practice Time Available

Making sure that delegates have enough time to practice what they have learnt from you during a course whether it be the  ‘Welcome Handshake’, ‘Dealing with Objections’, ‘Summarising the Call’, ‘Handling a Difficult Call’, ‘Chasing up an outstanding debt’ is absolutely vital to the long term confidence and success of that person, let alone the wider impact on the business and the customer.

 

Talking about what to do on the phone and how to say it is all well and good but it just doesn’t register enough to someone.  And working in 3s with one person as ‘the caller’, one ‘the agent’ and one listening/observing and then giving feedback will not embed the learning enough.    We can all receive quality feedback but in the case of TELEPHONE skills you need to hear the call back to completely register what you did well and what you need to work on during the next call.  Then you take more ownership for what happened!

 

 

A trainer recently asked me how she could maximise the time the delegates had on an upcoming Telephone Sales course to practice.  There are 12 in the group.   These were my recommendations using the equipment:

 

*  6 are ‘callers’, 6 are ‘receivers’ – all have appropriate briefs on the scenario.  6 stay in the room, 6 go outside the room/next door each with their handset/headset

*  When ready the callers ring the receivers so that EVERYONE is role-playing/practising that scenario all at the same time and each call is being recorded via the laptop provided

*  Just like real life lots of buzz/people on the phones, and no-one waiting their turn

 

In this way, for example

  • The call itself might take around 5 minutes
  • Each pair then plays their own call down their phones and makes notes on how it went = 5 minutes
  • The trainer then picks out one or two pairs to hear via the loudspeaker so that the group can learn from each other – this might take around 30 minutes in total
  • = 40 minutes. In two hours, the trainer can do 3 role-plays, each time the delegate is building their confidence, knowledge and skills, ready to face these scenarios at work.
  • And can be done in any room, anywhere, (just plug into a wall socket)

 

The trainer used this method and was staggered at the amount of things that came out of each role-play for the delegates (huge ‘lightbulb moments’), and the impact it had when they went back to their jobs in terms of increased confidence, first call resolution, more sales.

 

‘The difference it makes to the delegates is phenomenal. It provides me with tangible evidence of the improvements that delegates can make when we coach them through the ideal sales call. This embeds the learning and shows people how much they can achieve with practice. They can listen to themselves in a safe environment as many times as they like’

 

To find out more about PhoneCoach, drop me a line mandy@phonecoach.com, visit our website www.phonecoach.com or call 01323 765111

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Nothing is easy – I blame Lewis Hamilton

Nothing is easy – I blame Lewis Hamilton

I was watching the German F1 Grand Prix a few Sundays ago. It all looks so easy. Lewis Hamilton in his silver Mercedes carved his way through the field, overtaking, undertaking, and took first place.

All he’s doing is sitting down and driving isn’t it?

I do that. And I do it every day, not just on a Sunday afternoon. Plus, I have to contend with pedestrians, cyclists, speed cameras, roadworks and traffic. I’m joking of course, but the thing is, when something is done well, it looks so easy.

Until you do it yourself, you’ll never quite master it

Driving is one such example. You can read all the books about how to do it, you can learn about the mechanics of a car and you can sit next to someone and watch them do it. But until you do it yourself, you’ll never quite master it. That’s because, as the old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’.

And it’s not just driving either. Think about handling a phone call at your company. Sure, your team are doing it, but are they doing it well? Are they the Lewis Hamilton of answering calls? I don’t just mean speed (although that is important), but efficiency, prowess. Doing it so well that it’s made to look easy.

Telephone skills training is carried out in every industry sector – financial, automotive industry, government, utilities, and also by training organisations on behalf of businesses for pretty much anyone, because highly trained call staff means avoiding making costly mistakes in front of customers, which results in increased business and customer loyalty.

In short, with a portable telephone role-play system, users can practice and rehearse anywhere until they get it right.

Nothing is easy. Everything takes work and time to perfect. And that’s why I blame Lewis Hamilton. He makes it all look far too easy!

For more information about a telephone role-play system, or to arrange a free demonstration and test drive of the equipment, contact us online or call: Mandy Stephens  +44 (0)1323 765111.

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Room 101 – where crime busting calls die

Room 101 – where crime busting calls die

Recently, Councillor Carl Les – the leader of North Yorkshire Police force’s watchdog – said he wasn’t satisfied with their 101 service. The average time taken to answer a 101 call in August 2017 was three minutes and 35 seconds.

That’s a huge amount of time!

Would you wait 215 seconds to have your call answered?

Time 15 seconds. It can seem ages when you’re waiting. Add 200 seconds to that and you’ll see it’s a lifetime.

As more staff were trained, delays would be further reduced

North Yorkshire Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Will Naylor said waiting times for callers were lower last year, and as more staff were trained, delays would be further reduced, but ultimately waiting times were dependent on the volume of calls.

Cllr Les added: “We are now getting the message ‘we don’t bother reporting crime because you can’t get through to the 101 number’ and that’s not good enough.”

He’s right, it’s not good enough.

And what if that was your business? What if calls to your company were abandoned? Your customers would vote with their feet and go elsewhere.

Improving call handler confidence and efficacy

Sometimes, the issue can be the efficacy and confidence of the call handler, and that’s where a professional and realistic, portable telephone role-play tool can be invaluable.

Utilising a tool such as this during induction highlights where mistakes are being made and means they aren’t made in front of your customers, or potential customers. It also boosts the confidence of your ‘newbie’ and reduces attrition rates because they feel comfortable in their roles, having learnt invaluable soft skills such as how to speak to callers, and the importance of listening and questioning.

And a great benefit for ‘newbies’ and organisations alike is that if during training, a member of staff realises that call handling is not for them, it saves the employer time and money that would have been invested in the ‘newbie’ and that person knows that making calls is not for them.

To find out more about a telephone role-play system, or to arrange a free demonstration and beat the answering time of North Yorkshire Police, fill out our contact form or call: Mandy Stephens on +44 (0)1323 765111.

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“the change in call confidence from the beginning of the workshop to the end is fantastic to see”

UPDATED CASE STUDY

 

 

Chatting with L & D Consultant from DixonsCarphone

 

 

What was the background surrounding you buying the equipment? In other words what was the business reason that caused you to look for this equipment?

We were introducing a new account management process which was to have a high focus on relationship building over the phone. We had no method of training our Business Advisors internally.

What is the target audience for the equipment?

All Business Advisors across the UK, store based colleagues working within the business to business market.

Did you explore any other solutions before buying PhoneCoach?

Yes, we looked at several options but the simplicity, flexibility & features of PhoneCoach stood out to us.

The Solution

What attracted you to the PhoneCoach system you have now?

The ability to use the system across different size groups by using more than one package when needed. The ability for someone to listen into the calls “live” as they are happening allowing for instant feedback while also recording the calls to allow us to share great examples at a later date or on the day.

How did it solve the problem?

We have been able to train our Business Advisors in groups of upto 24 which helps us keep the cost of training at a good level. Our field trainers have been able to provide a higher level of interaction with the delegates by sharing examples of good calls as well as highlighting regional differences which needed to be discussed which we were unable to plan before the workshops started.

How did you incorporate PhoneCoach on the programme?

We have used the PhoneCoach system across two national training initiatives covering 420 delegates. Every delegate has had a good level of practice at making calls as well as being able to receive calls and listen for the key elements that were discussed during the training. We have also been able to use some sound bites at our national conference to show how the training has benefited our Business Advisors.

What benefits has the equipment given
a) You, the trainer?

Greater credibility to the material, the learning experience was strengthened by the colleagues’ ability to listen back to the conversation; the trainer listening in to the calls was able to give clean feedback.

  1. b) The delegates?

Bringing the learning to life in a fun and realistic way meant that colleagues had the confidence to go back to store and make great calls as well as identifying what they were doing well and how they can make that call even better.

  1. c) The business?

The workshops contained four different types of customer calls and Phonecoach allowed the colleagues to practice each call in a safe environment. The increased confidence of our Business Advisors has led to a 2000% increase in outbound calls across the UK within a month of running the first series of workshops. This has grown a further 25% after the second series of workshops.

Are there any other comments you would like to make?

PhoneCoach has allowed us to give our Business Advisors real phone training for the first time, the change in confidence from the beginning of the workshop to the end is fantastic to see. The service and support we have received from PhoneCoach since purchasing the equipment has been fantastic and has allowed every workshop to run smoothly.

Update

We have used the two kits both in the contact centre, and now re-visiting all the stores in 2018 to train more Business Advisors.

 

 

For more information or to discuss how PhoneCoach might fit into your training needs please call 01323 765111 or email mandy@phonecoach.com

 

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“We have seen increasing conversion rates from enquiry to appointment”

UPDATED CASE STUDY

 

Talking to Shaun Gallagher, Training Director, Vertu Motors plc

What was the background surrounding you buying the equipment?   In other words, what was the business reason that caused you to look for this equipment?

As a professional motor retailer, effective phone and internet communication is essential to the success of our business in today’s market. We needed the right equipment that wouldn’t let us down and if it did fault would be sorted without fuss and with little disruption.

What is the target audience for the equipment?

The equipment is used to train our Dealership Receptionists, Sales and Service Executives as well as the managers of those colleagues. We also use the Phonecoach equipment with our internal Call centre agents and their training as well.

Did you explore any other solutions before buying PhoneCoach?

No

The Solution

What attracted you to the PhoneCoach system you have now?

The PhoneCoach system I had worked with in a previous role and found it easy to use, reliable and was adopted well by delegates on the courses.

 

How did you incorporate PhoneCoach on the programme?

The PhoneCoach equipment is used in all Inbound, Outbound call handling training and recently into our Digital Selling module.

 

What benefits has the equipment given

a)      you, the trainer?

Flexibility to use in various environments, not difficult to set up and has good back up on the rare occasion it is needed.

b)     the delegates?

A more modern approach and less alien equipment for the younger users

c)      the business?

We have been using the PhoneCoach equipment for a number of years now and have seen increasing conversion rates from enquiry to appointment. Plus, high and consistent pass marks from Mystery shop programs when testing colleagues’ skills of handling inbound phone enquiries.

Vertu Motors now have four x Alpha 12 kits that they use in their various centres around the UK.

 

For more information, a demonstration or to discuss how PhoneCoach might fit in with your training needs, call 01323 765111 or email mandy@phonecoach.com

 

 

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Come try out the telephone coaching kits at World of Learning, Birmingham 17-18 October

We have been more than pleased with the PhoneCoach equipment. Our course provides some very complex language tools. We have previously received feedback that it is difficult for delegates to close the gap from ‘training room’ to ‘place of work’. PhoneCoach has been a real gamer changer for us in this respect allowing us to immediately put the new learning into practise without the pressure of a real life customer. Thank you for a fast, friendly and effective service.”   L & D Manager, Northumbrian Water

 

Come and see us on Stand C180 and try out our portable telephone coaching kits, giving your staff the chance to practice and perfect their skills and develop their telephone confidence.

For free tickets email mandy@phonecoach.com with your details and we will post as many as you want.

Look forward to seeing you there

regards Mandy and the PhoneCoach team

www.phonecoach.com

 

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Handling Complaints

So what is the best way to handle a customer complaint? We don’t have space here to go into full details, but we can provide you with 5 helpful tips that will enable you to take control in a professional and positive way.

  1. Always stay calm – even if the customer is angry and upset, keep calm and remember they do not mean to attack you personally. Do not try to ‘win’ the case but deal with it positively, remaining professional and cool, calm and collected. Listen to them carefully, let them know that you want to hear from them and wait until they calm down.
  2. Confirm that you understand their problem – ensure that they feel that you are hearing what they are saying; if a mistake has been made, say so. Use words to show that you understand them and repeat back to them what you assume the problem is, giving the customer time to react calmly.
  3. Get the key facts – now you can begin to take the initiative and ask a few questions; please don’t use a script but have a real conversation. Get as many details as you can and make notes.
  4. Give a solution – only do this when you have enough details, being very aware of what you can offer in line with the company guidelines. Never make a promise and then have to withdraw it. Always be respectful and take ownership of the problem, telling them what you will do to solve their problem.
  5. Follow up – a few days after the solution has been received, make a quick follow up call to the customer, enabling you to turn a problem into a positive gesture. This can turn a complaint into a customer referral or recommendation.

Resolving and handling complaints correctly will not only enable your business to retain customers but can also vastly enhance the reputation of your company.

If you are a trainer you may be interested in details of our NEW Handling Complaints’ training material. It is a ready-to-run training session that lasts between 4-6 hours. More details here including a free download sample: https://www.phonecoach.com/handling-complaints

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Elavon UK Case Study

Creating great calls and smoother transactions

In the world of merchant services and payment solutions there is little room for error. When money is involved, be it business to business, consumer to business, local transaction or international finance, the people involved need to feel complete assurance. That’s why global payments provider, Elavon, invest heavily in training their staff to be the best that they can possibly be! Having great products is one thing, but it is people who give a business its true value.

Elavon UK has offices across Europe (Ireland, Poland, Spain, Norway & Germany)  and maintains the same level of training throughout its operation. This includes in-house relationship skills and sales courses for all of its customer-facing personnel.

In addition to the benefits of the equipment, Mandy fully understood our needs and sent over some additional telephone training information. Jenny Lloyd-Jenkins, Executive Coach and Learning & Development Manager

Out of the classroom and into the real world

Jenny Lloyd-Jenkins, Executive Coach and Learning & Development Manager for Elavon, has been using PhoneCoach’straining equipment for about four years, since it replaced their in-house technology solution. She says that the equipment has improved the success of their training programmes, and opened up new possibilities of what can be achieved during the sessions. From being restricted to a classroom structure to being able to create a realistic roleplay environment, the PhoneCoachsystem has been a real gamechanger.

Elavon marks its delegates by an internal benchmark, across a 3-month period, throughout the company. This score has been seen to rise by approximately 30% since introducing PhoneCoach.

From making sales to building customer relationships

Elavon is committed to honing the telephone skills of its sales and customer services teams to enhance their success with inbound and outbound calls. Over the past 12 months, around 100 sales staff and 200 operational staff have been trained using PhoneCoach’sequipment. The delegates come from across Europe and can be based in any of the company’s European offices.

The delegates often comment that being able to learn in a realistic roleplay environment makes the training more engaging and enjoyable, and that they feel they can gain more from the training. Listening to recordings of each other’s calls enables the whole group to get better feedback and for the trainers to be able to share best practice. This is particularly useful in teaching delegates how to use talk-track guides in a personable and interactive manner.

Facilitating training an ever-changing world…

Like many businesses, in today’s increasingly connected world, Elavon is facing changes in its working methods and behaviours. This will include remote workers across Europe in the future, and the PhoneCoachequipment is likely to become an even more critical aid to facilitating their continual learning and development.

Elavon delivers payment solutions to suit its customer’s businesses…and PhoneCoachsupports them in delivering the service behind those solutions!

I felt happier trying out new things in front of my colleagues when using PhoneCoachin a safe environment Course Candidate

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Network Homes Case Study

Turning 20,000 houses into homes – by phone!

When you are dealing with big numbers, in a busy customer service centre, covering London, Hertfordshire and the South East, it is a sizeable task to respect each new caller as an important individual. But while managing 20,000 homes and marching confidently towards its 90% ‘total customer satisfaction’ targets, the housing association, Network Homes is committed to doing just that. And to build these customer relationships effectively, they have invested in the best help available…

Using PhoneCoach has massively enhanced the roleplay element of my training sessions, and the company’s customer satisfaction results support this. Rachel Taylor, Trainer

Aiming for a Positive First Response.

As the first point of call, whenever any of its tenants or customers have a question, query or need, each of the organisation’s Customer Services Advisors (CSAs) needs to be ever ready to smile and respond on the phone. These calls can cover anything,

from an emergency repair or tenancy enquiry, to a bit of a grumble and the ultimate goal for every single one is a swift resolution and an improved relationship.

For many years, the CSAs have been trained well above the standards normally associated with roles like these, in techniques such as creating a ‘positive first response’. They are taught the value of smiling down the telephone (try it – you’ll be amazed at the effect it has), showing empathy and taking as much time as they need to fully understand each caller’s needs. Network Homes have long recognised the importance of investing to achieve its ambitious results.

I didn’t realise how often I say ‘yeah’ down the phone – and now I know I can consciously make an effort to stop. Customer Services Advisor

Great trainers need great equipment…

It is often said that the best training in the world is only as good as its application and that learning in a classroom can never really prepare you for the real world. Well, Network Homes recognised this too.

Until early in 2016, the organisation had always trained its CSAs face-to-face with the trainer, and under the watchful gaze of everyone else. The roleplays were hindered by self-consciousness, the Q&A’s were led by the confident, and there was very little opportunity for constructive individual feedback.

I enjoyed the roleplay: it is a realistic way to learn from hearing your own voice and others.
Course Candidate

As soon as they met Mandy from PhoneCoach and she demonstrated their Alpha range of products they knew they had found the answer. Finally they had the equipment to convert a classroom into a real-world experience.

Roleplay becomes Real-Play and creates positives responses!

For Customer Services Trainer, Rachel Taylor, PhoneCoach has supercharged her material. She can now go into another room and make trial calls, out of view of the CSAs, and they can take away an MP3 of their calls at the end. The response from the customer service centre team has been enthusiastic, and the upward customer satisfaction results are confirming the positive effect.

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