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How Can Learning Opportunities Improve Customer Service?

Customer Service
by Heather Hunt
"Beyond product training, what role does training play in improving customer service among your employees? In today’s Advisor, we look at how one company uses challenging tasks, learning opportunities, and employee engagement to keep customer service a priority."

As Empathica, Inc. (www.empathica.com) looked for ways to make its core product more mobile, its software developers went out to talk to clients in their restaurants and retail stores. “We sent small, collaborative teams into the field to see how people wanted to use this,” says Gary Edwards, executive vice president of Client Services.

‘Walk the Talk’

Empathica, Inc., a leading provider of customer experience management solutions, is committed to employee engagement—internally and externally. The company employs approximately 100 employees at its headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, and its offices in Alpharetta, Georgia, and Birmingham, England.


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It engages its own employees by:

  • Giving them opportunities to tackle challenging tasks,
  • Encouraging them to learn new skills and gain new experiences, and
  • Offering a variety of engaging activities.

Having the IT and Client Services teams collaborate not only resulted in a better product for clients, it gave employees opportunities to work on projects with employees in other departments—a key component of the company’s employee engagement strategy, Edwards says. “It was a highly engaging process.”

Empathica touts the benefits of employee engagement to its clients and has made employee engagement a strategic priority internally. “You have to ‘walk the talk,’” he says. “You have to be a believer yourself.”

With a strong, service-oriented culture, it is important for Empathica to have highly engaged employees, Edwards says. “People are very much a part of the product for us” and need to “feel great about what they’re doing.”

Engaging Activities

When the company was smaller, employees would find spontaneous ways to socialize, for example, by going out for drinks after work, he says. However, as the company grew, it had to make a point of organizing employee gatherings and activities, such as company-sponsored trips to Toronto Blue Jays’ baseball games, an annual foosball tournament, a company-sponsored softball team, and a periodic “EmpQuest” company scavenger hunt.


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“Voice,” a committee of employees who organize social activities, plans the all-day scavenger hunt, Edwards says. Small, cross-functional teams of employees go out into the community and have to complete such tasks as being videotaped sitting in a dentist chair, interviewing a police officer, serving a customer at a restaurant, and obtaining a hat from a coffee and doughnut chain.

“The tasks weren’t that easy. Not everyone got them done,” he says. The winning team is recognized a few days after the scavenger hunt takes place.

Empathica strives to “catch people doing things right,” demonstrate that the company cares about them, and reward employees for a job well done, Edwards says. “We’re intentional about it.”

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll explore more of the company’s employee programs, plus introduce you to a new online customer service training library.

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