HR Team Delivers Impressive Results in North and South America
Imagine having the chance to make over 7,000 great impressions on your customers! That’s just what the Human Resources Contact Line team at Swiss Re did in 2009 and they continue to treat their callers to top-of-the line service. They are the first point of contact for human resources related inquiries for Swiss Re/Americas employees and they manage their calls with MAGIC®
Swiss Re is one of the world’s largest and most diversified reinsurance companies with offices throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa. The US Human Resource Contact Line & Support Team was established in 2008 to field questions and concerns from employees in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Barbados.
The team completed the MAGIC of Customer Relations program even before they took their first call. Judith Gazaway, vice president says, "When those phones started ringing, we were ready and confident. Along with our HR experienced team, we had MAGIC in our toolbox. We knew how to deliver exceptional customer service."
Judith admits that she was a bit skeptical in 2008 about what she would learn from the MAGIC experience. "I went in thinking that I would probably not learn a lot since I’d been in the workforce and in H.R. for so long. So, I thought I’d participate for the spirit of the team." She chuckles, "From day one I realized that I didn’t know as much as I thought. And, while I was experienced, I had developed some habits that were not necessarily letting me deliver optimal service." As an example, Judith points to tragic and magic phrases. "There’s a big difference between, 'I will try to help you with that,' and 'I will do some research and get back to you with an answer.'"
While knowing what to say helps, the team agrees that the most important element learned in the MAGIC program is dealing with the irate or upset caller. "Without a doubt," says Judith, "not getting pulled into someone else’s anger and expressing sincere empathy is the most important message we received in the training." She says she can hear her team members listening carefully to an employee, expressing understanding and taking responsibility for solving the employee’s particular issue.
No doubt that Judith has turned from a skeptic to a real MAGIC champion. She notes that the team’s improved skills and commitment to excellence has created a culture that has garnered results. The most recent Customer Service Survey rated the team’s Staff Professionalism and Willingness to Research Issues, as highest in all categories. Some staffing changes prompted Judith to have Communico back this spring 2010 to work with her newest team members. The by-product has been that the whole team has caught the MAGIC spirit and continues to support and reinforce the MAGIC approach. It was imperative to Judith that her new team members complete the program with Communico.
She asserts, "If managers think that because their team went through MAGIC they would be able to train and pass on the concepts to new employees, they’re mistaken. The key to success is for everyone to participate in the program in order to fully grasp the concepts. They also need to hear how they sound on the phone with customers and have the Communico coach teach them the best way to handle their calls."
So, how do you keep that spirit alive after the training? The team has a little fun with the MAGIC/TRAGIC beanbags. When a team member is caught delivering the MAGIC experience or when, (oops!) slipping in a Tragic phrase, the beanbag finds its way to her desk. A passerby might hear them congratulating one another on a good interaction or perhaps, words of encouragement when someone has closed an especially challenging call. One of the newest members of the team took one of the flipchart pages from the training program and posted it on the wall. Which one? MAGIC/TRAGIC phrases, of course.
Visit Swiss Re