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Life in a customer service hot seat

Senior managers experience the reality of handling customer calls

As part a two day ‘away day’ this financial services giant wanted to give their senior managers an insight into life as a customer service agent, providing an opportunity to experience first-hand the everyday challenges and take their learning back to their key decision making roles.

Essentially it had to be engaging, memorable, and hopefully enlightening, to ensure their time away from their desks was well spent.

The problem

Customer service agents are quite often some of the most junior members of the corporate team, yet to most customers, they are the voice of the organisation; their interactions determine the long term perception of the brand and cement the relationship between customer and provider.

Senior leadership and decision makers are in complete contrast; they are highly experienced but significantly removed from the day to day needs of real customers.

The client wanted to create an experience where senior personnel could touch base with the expectations of their front-line teams, hear the voice of the customer and appreciate the everyday challenges of customer service agents.

The solution

The internal Strategy and Change team developed two very typical telephone based scenarios focussing on elderly customers calling in to request a quote or amend their policy – the kind of call that the customer service agents respond to each and every day. Working with RoleplayUK’s Creative Director they were able to hone the logistics of how the intervention would work in practice, develop an effective brief for the actor support and set up a rehearsal with a core team to test the scenarios out.

We then engaged a team of RoleplayUK actors to bring the intervention to life.

With a the actors fully briefed and ready to go, senior managers split into small breakout groups and were asked to follow the scripts used by their customer service agents to handle the call through to a successful conclusion. The actors although working to the same objective, added in the realism of an elderly or potentially vulnerable person not understanding the jargon, sometimes not hearing at all, becoming distracted or interrupted, or simply preferring to chat about something more interesting.


The Results

It was an extremely effective and impactful session; it really made me pause for thought and consider the wider implications of the changes to process which I am responsible for. I found the session was a bit of a wake-up call to understand how quickly you become removed from the activities and pressures of the ‘front-line’ team.

“I will definitely be arranging similar training in my own region, so that more of my team can share in this effective learning.”

Senior leader and course participant


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