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OPINION Head of learning, development and engagement, TSB Bank

viewp int Practitioner’s

structure to achieve this. At TSB, all our employees are referred to as partners. While we are not a true partnership, our workplace philosophy is driven by the concept of partnership. A great example of this is our annual performance-related bonus – our TSB Award. T e percentage of this award is the same for all partners, from boardroom to branch. Our partners genuinely feel it is ‘their bank’. T is is a great starting point to deliver the type of experience our customers want and deserve. T e second thing that needs to


here are nearly as many books on customer service as there are on leadership.

Any airport bookstand has many publications claiming the ability to turn around how your organisation serves its customer. I have read many of these, and while there are some useful elements, to my mind they never seem to address the real drivers. Training for skills is fi ne, but

actually you need to ensure that you have the fundamental behaviours and philosophy in place fi rst. If you don’t, then you are probably wasting your training eff ort. For me, this focus on behaviours moves you from customer service to customer experience. For an organisation to be really

customer-centric, you need two things in place. First, all employees need to feel that they own the business. If this is the case, then everyone feels invested in the outcome. A great example of this is the John Lewis Partnership. T e partnership model ensures that all staff genuinely own the business. You don’t have to have

this type of corporate 8 | November 2016 |

be in place within an organisation, in order to deliver that amazing experience, is trust. Employees have to feel that they are trusted to do the best thing for the customer, and leaders have to trust that their people will always do the correct thing. T e classic example here is Ritz

Carlton. Famously, they say that each employee can spend $10,000 a day to make sure things are right for the customer. Now, does everyone spend that amount? No. What it does, though, is clearly show to employees that they are trusted, and that getting it right for the customer is important. At TSB, we spend a great deal of time talking to our partners about being present (really being in the moment with the customer), being human (acting in a way that supports the customer’s preferences) and owning it (following through and owning the issue). What we’re talking about is helping our partners be the best version of themselves that they can be. T is

doesn’t involve carefully designed word patterns or smiling on command

Think customer experience, not customer

service, advises Chris Parkinson

– it’s about being themselves, with skill! Once there is a culture of owning the business and having trust, then all the other elements of a great customer experience can be put in place. T is is when the real work begins! You have to be relentless about it. For example, fi nance and HR teams need to off er the type of internal customer experience that you would be proud to off er your customers. Every single part of the business has to understand how they contribute to the customer experience, and also how they can impact the culture of customer experience.

Employees have to feel that they are trusted to do the best thing for the customer

❝ T is is by no means a quick

fi x, or a programme. It has to be something that is built deep into the DNA of an organisation. Leaders have to genuinely believe that it makes the diff erence and that all the eff ort is worthwhile. T at way, you can create an

organisation with which customers want to be associated, and of which employees want to be part. And you don’t need to read the books from the airport bookstand because people are writing about you! We are on that journey at TSB, and loving every second of it.

Chris’s efforts have seen TSB Bank ranked as one of the top ten training organisations by the Institute of Customer Service. Connect with him via LinkedIn.


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