Closing in on the customer

Sue Pearce, people and communications manager at BT Global Services explains how a behaviour transformation programme helped it hit customer service targets

Designed by: Power Train (UK) Ltd, 58 Royal York Crescent, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4JP
Phone: 0117 9733736

BT Global Services had just completed a major reorganisation, and our next key objective was to get closer to our customers. This was quite a challenge as we create and manage global intellectual property (IP) business networks in 200 countries across five continents.

Having reorganised and re-launched our customer service management team, the challenge was to find a training programme that would equip our senior customer service managers and customer service managers (CSM) to achieve their potential and make the most of their varied expertise.

Our newly appointed director of Global Customer Service was spearheading the project and very committed. He had a clear vision of what he wanted from the CSM team and, paramount to this was the need to both improve our understanding of our clients’ needs, and the quality of personal contact we gave them.

One of the issues the training had to address was the diverse backgrounds of the customer service managers. One half of the team had come from a traditional BT engineering and technical background, while the other was more made up of recent graduate intakes, recruited for their potential business acumen, but with less technical expertise.

The question we had to consider was what sort of customer service training would achieve our vision?

Exhaustive research

After an exhaustive selection process, Power Train was appointed. It worked with us from the initial planning and design stage and convinced us to change the training strategy we originally had in mind.

Instead, we developed something far more tailored to our specific needs – a three-stage customer exper- ience transformation programme.

Before designing the programme, Power Train started with a two-day diagnostic at our Hemel Hempstead and West Malling offices. Valuable time was spent meeting and observing people. Power Train also immersed themselves in our processes and general work culture.

Then it used all the information it had gathered to design a series of events specifically to address our unique business needs, matched to the special requirements of job roles.

And so Fire!Works was born. The name was supposed to convey more than the dazzling burst of energy required to deliver our new customer service vision. It also carried a useful reminder of our new service values of ‘Focus’, ‘Integrity’, ‘Reliability’ and ‘Energy’.

The Fire!Works programme comprised three two-day events: Ignition, Fire!Works and Leading at the Edge. Each was designed around three unique Power Train concepts.

First, a realistic setting was created to overcome the ‘it’s not like that in real life’ barrier. Working in life-size ‘sets’, the Power Train teams of training and actor consultants accurately replicated BT environments.

Second, added value enabled all those participating to adopt a ‘doing what comes naturally’ approach to customer service and leadership. Through the use of the unique Power Train ‘Personality Driver Profiles’, each participant was able to identify their own personal strengths.

Finally, ‘Emotional Impact’, combined with crystal-clear logic, would generate the understanding and motivation to put pre-defined Fire!Works skills into practice.


The ‘Ignition’ events were attended by all customer service managers and their seniors. They brought unsatisfactory customer experiences to life by enabling the participants to observe and meet a range of ‘CSMs’ and ‘customers’ played by the Power Train actor consultants. It then became obvious that change was necessary.

Following the revelation of ‘Added Value’ and the launch of the Fire!Works service values, the event participants were able to try out new skills and apply their natural strengths in a range of realistic customer service situations.


‘Fire!Works’, the second and main event, focused on the development of strategic customer relationships. We wanted to develop the ability of our senior customer service managers and customer service managers to add long-term value to their clients’ businesses. The event featured ‘real life’ customers and, through a series of meetings and discussions, enabled the participants to turn around failing or under-exploited relationships.

Leading at the Edge

‘Leading at the Edge’, the third and final event, was attended exclusively by senior customer service managers. Linking the successful delivery of the Fire!Works service vision to leadership style, the events replicated a range of real-life people management situations in scenarios enacted by the Power Train actor consultants.

So, what have been the benefits to BT Global Services of using such a mould-breaking, innovative customer service training programme? The results have been extremely encouraging. The programme has enabled us to develop customer relationships to a level never experienced before. We are also delighted with the very positive progress made on a number of individual customer contracts. In turn, this has led to a dramatic upward trend in our customer satisfaction statistics.

Sparking a revolution

The Fire!Works programme has enabled BT Global Services to deliver its service vision and strengthen its position as a major supplier of worldwide business IP networks.

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