Maersk Line’s program for improved customer service – CARE PROgram – has been rated as ‘best-in-class’ training.
“A customer called me and asked whether we had hired new people,” recalls Maersk Line’s Farheen Mahmud, who is a Customer Service Manager in Pakistan. They hadn’t, in fact, but so visible was the impact of the behavioural training which all Customer Service staff in Maersk Line has gone through during the last two years.
That training is now acknowledged as best-practice by the external benchmarking company Corporate Executive Board (CEB) on its overall training effectiveness. The CEB is the world’s leading member-based advisory company which specializes in Talent Management and Functional Best Practices. They work with 90% of the Fortune 500 companies.
Best in class
CEB has analysed over 500 different competency development programmes across various industries, and Maersk Line’s CARE PROgram is rated ‘Best in Class’. The analysis specifically highlighted how the programme successfully applies behaviours in daily work; using manager-led training; and how colleagues help each other in developing the desired competencies.
Launched two years ago as part of Customer CARE, the CARE PROgram focuses on the emotional skills of Customer Service agents. Through a range of exercises and coaching sessions, they develop their personal skills and apply them in their daily activities.
The key concepts of CARE PRO are: Proactive, Relationship, and Ownership, and all new skills relate to these concepts. CEB’s evaluation shows the CARE PROgram consistently outperforming the benchmark on several measures.
Manager-led training ensures success
As seen in Pakistan and elsewhere, the success of the programme asserts itself in the interaction with customers. Tom Hartwig, East China Cluster Customer Service Manager, explains: “CARE PRO is the foundation for all we do – from working with Customer CARE to the actions we take based on our daily meetings.”
So what is the secret behind the success? Manager-led training. All training sessions are carried out by the local Customer Service Managers, who themselves have been through two weeks of intense coaching and people development training.
Moreover, systematic follow-up coaching and co-listening sessions between team leader and agent ensure that the new skills are continuously refined and fully anchored in the organisation as the way to work.
“Having the managers lead the training, do the coaching and evaluation created great focus on the results, and I feel the managers really did a wonderful job with it,” says Global Head of Customer Service in Maersk Line, Tom Sproat.
Leaders focus on development
Coaching people into new behaviour requires a very different skillset from that of traditional management, says Tom. “The success of the CARE PRO training is partly due to the fact that instead of being super problem solvers, our leaders are focusing on coaching and colleague development.”
There are still many opportunities to be explored the CARE PRO way, and Customer Service will continue to bank on the learnings so far. ”The team is looking at how we leverage our new skills by applying the same mind-set in future learning programs,” Tom Sproat promises.