This post is by Sasha Jenkins, Business Development Director at Teleperformance UK.
The media has not been kind to Chief Executives recently, with a lot of discussion about corporate leaders who earn too much and deliver too little, but one quite different story just caught my eye. Henry Engelhardt, CEO of insurance group Admiral, is retiring at the end of this month. He founded Admiral back in 1991 and has seen the company grow from nothing to be valued at £5bn and a member of the FTSE100 index.
Mr Engelhardt wanted to say thank you personally to his entire team so when he retires he is giving a £1000 gift to all his employees. Admiral group employs 8,375 people so it is a thank you gift that will cost several million pounds from his own pocket.
This is indeed an “admirable” gesture, but it says a lot to me about the company ethics at Admiral. If the boss is prepared to make such an unusual and expensive gesture then those people must be working in a great team.
This is really important for anyone who is focused on the customer experience. If fixing customer problems gets your team really fired up then the customer will be able to detect that enthusiasm and will feel that they are really being looked after. If your team is just punching the clock and counting down the minutes until they can leave for home then the customer will almost certainly be able to detect that lack of interest in helping them.
I was with a client recently at one of our contact centres and the client expressed some surprise at how happy our team was. He actually said that he was surprised to see that when we made a point of mentioning this in our bid for the contract he didn’t really expect it to be quite so true.
But it should not be a surprise. In our industry people are the interface between customer and brand and they create the customer experience. If your people really don’t care about what they are doing then the customer is going to have a terrible experience. We take time and make sure that our team is looked after in many ways so this happy environment can be created.
The boss of Admiral is just doing the same – looking after his team because he knows that it is the people difference that drives service success.
What’s your view on how best to keep the team happy and focused on the customer? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.
Photo by Danny Choo licensed under Creative Commons.