Careerfile: delivering award-winning training programmes

Phil Williams recently won customer service trainer of the year at the National Customer Service awards. He explains what this means to him and his employer, Cable & Wireless.

What does your job involve?

I arrange and deliver training to help change our culture and transform the company into a customer service-oriented organisation. I also run a team of training consultants who create and deliver standard personal development training for colleagues across the business.

How many courses/events do you organise?

Some 46 service academies, 34 sales academies and 12 finance service academies. Over 12 months that adds up to 143 sessions and 3,731 colleagues trained. I also organise customer service events tailored to audience needs.

What course/training are you working on now?

A partner academy for our third-party field engineers. We want all of our customer-facing field engineers from within our own business and those of our suppliers to understand our approach, our values and our strategy and be able to communicate this effectively to our customers. Making sure they are engaging with our customers in the right way is fundamental to us delivering an engaging customer experience..

How and why did you get into training?

I trained branch managers many years ago but my career moved to general management. Three years ago, I took a chance to create and deliver our initial supplier academy.

What’s key to putting on a successful course?

Know your customers, know your subject, and deliver with enthusiasm, passion and belief.

How do you measure the impact of training?

The most consistent measure of my success is that colleagues keep coming back for more. Across Cable & Wireless, managers are required to debrief attendees after each customer service training session and feed back unsolicited comments to me to ensure I can continuously improve and fine-tune my courses and delivery.

What’s the best or most memorable training event you’ve attended?

Many years ago I attended a sales manager training course – the trainer had been a sales manager and his understanding and delivery of the subject matter was first class.

And the worst?

A four-hour ‘death by PowerPoint’ session – flat vocal delivery from a subject matter expert who needed training as he was ill prepared and just read from notes.

You recently won a customer service trainer of the year award – what did that mean to you?

Everything – many years of hard work recognised by genuine customer service professionals.

When you were younger, what did you want to be?

I am a qualified timber technologist and wood scientist, so I saw my career being in the timber or building industry.

What really annoys you?

It’s a big subject but a short answer – lack of respect.

What was the first record you bought?

Me And My Shadow by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior.

Who’s your hero?

George Best.

What’s the best piece of training/learning and development advice you’ve been given?

Prepare well, know your stuff, be yourself, act honestly and listen to your audience.

Phil Williams is head of operational learning and development, Cable & Wireless Europe, Asia and the US. Although based in the UK, his role involves global travel.

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