Training to deliver a consistent customer-focused approach to 271 staff in 7 locations
Lloyd Ltd offers a range of new and used equipment and machinery to the agricultural, groundcare, construction and materials-handling sectors through its extensive sales, service and parts operations. The company started in 1964 as a single Ford tractor dealership. Over the subsequent years it has grown significantly and now has eight branches across the north of England and south of Scotland.
Lloyd Ltd has always been committed to regular staff training, typically in conjunction with its manufacturers. In 2018, Managing Director Barry Lloyd made the decision to introduce a more customer-focused culture across the organisation, giving an opportunity to share best practice, accentuate the positive activities which are already in place and eliminate any which are not appropriate.
Sian Banks, Lloyd Ltd’s HR Manager, explains. “We were looking for some help to deliver a consistent customer-focused programme across all our branches and which we could use as part of the induction programme for new staff coming on board. We can then ensure that everyone is following the same approach and that there is a clear “Lloyd” way of doing things.”
An excellent track record for delivering customer service training
Sian added: “We went out to the marketplace to find a company to work with us on this. We already had relationships with companies who did sales and other specific training who knew us and our products who put forward proposals. Then one of our Managers recommended Justine from Cumbria Training Services. While she was new to working with the company, we liked the fact that she was local and had an excellent track record in customer service training. Also, we just liked her and felt that we could work well together.”
The project started with a planning meeting with Sian Banks and Barry Lloyd to discuss the training needs in detail. Key things to come out of the session included a desire to communicate the organisation’s brand values and mission statement to all staff and to create greater consistency in their approach to customer service across all branches and dealerships. It was also important for everyone to have an understanding of the Customer Journey. Justine went on to design an intensive programme for 271 people, in 7 different locations that would start in November 2018 and be completed before Christmas 2018.
Sian commented: ”It was a tall order, but we felt it was important to get the training done during this time frame for two reasons. Firstly, it was convenient for the close of our financial year and a time when our seasonally-focused activities are comparatively less busy, and secondly, we felt that if people received some training before Christmas, they would come back in January refreshed and enthusiastic about putting their new learning into practice. New year, new approach.”
Justine started with separate sessions for Directors, Dealer Principals and Managers to give them the opportunity to put their point of view forward. These sessions formed the basis for the main content and the emphasis for the training workshops to be delivered across the rest of the organisation.
A flexible approach to ensure every workshop was right
Sian observed: “We wanted the senior members of the organisation to have some input which Justine put into the content for the main workshops. She was very flexible in her approach. For example, the first workshop didn’t go as well as we had hoped as we had thought the participants would be more pro-active than they actually were. Justine was able to analyse what could be done better and she made the necessary changes to the rest of the workshops. Once those tweaks were made, the rest of the programme was delivered without a hitch. She was also very good at liaising with us during the design phase of the project and worked hard to ensure we were all happy with the workshop content, so we knew what to expect.”
Once the senior members of staff had their sessions, the remainder of the workshops were run in each regional location. All members of staff attended regardless of seniority, which helped to get everyone working together as a team.
After the Christmas break, everyone returned to work and the new customer service programme was put into practice.
Justine suggested starting a Steering Group to help us put more changes into practice
“Almost right away we started to notice a more professional and consistent manner when people were answering the phone which was good to see. Justine suggested to us that we start a Steering Group to deal with specific issues and suggestions that came up during the training sessions that could be put forward to the Directors and Dealer Principals in a structured way. It also was a good way of letting people know that they have a voice in the company and that we were listening and open to new ideas, keeping up the momentum from the training itself”, said Sian.
“For example, it was suggested that it would be a good idea to let all staff have their own copy of the brand values and mission statement, so the Steering Group recommended that we get some simple business card-sized materials made that could be given to all existing staff members and all new people when they join for them to keep with them as a reminder. Those have now been actioned. Another outcome is that we have agreed on a new approach for introducing new staff members into the company. Every quarter, we will run a session in-house where we explain the history, values and goals of the business, and then in the afternoon, they will have the same customer service training with Justine that everyone else has had.”
Value for money
“The excellent training with Justine has made us realise that there is so much more we can do and we look forward to working with her again in the future. We particularly appreciated her flexible approach and the way she was prepared to work long hours to get the project completed within a very tight timeframe. Her easy-going manner was a big hit with all our staff, and she has undoubtedly gained their trust. She also delivered value for money. We are delighted with the outcome and would recommend her to anyone looking for customer service training. She really knows her stuff.”