Here is Martha Wedlock’s speech given on the 28th of September at the UK Customer Excellence Awards, 2017.
“Bula everyone! This is our Fijian greeting, it means Hello and how are you?
My name is Martha Wedlock and I am a Senior Team Leader (TL) at Mindpearl, Fiji. Today I am going to share with you our change story. Why me to represent this change? Well, as a Team Leader I was involved right from the beginning and have seen the change through to our solid revenue results.
Before I begin, let me introduce the three companies involved in the change:
- Mindpearl, where I am a TL. Mindpearl is a global multilingual contact centre
- Santa Fe Wridgways, Mindpearl and MindTribes joint client: a global relocations firm.
- MindTribes: (a company that our client introduced us to) works to improve business performance by culturally aligning people. In this case MindTribes worked to align us as Fijians to our Australian customers to improve our sales.
Before I begin our change story, it is important for you to know a little background, so you understand how big our transformation really was. Initially with Santa Fe in 2016, we were asked to perform customer service work, which Fijians are great at. A few months in, our client challenged us to do sales calls and provided us with training from one of their senior sales leads from Australia. We grew in competence and did convert an adequate number of leads, however we could do better. In September 2016, Santa Fe’s CEO introduced us to MindTribes and our transformation began.
MindTribes way of working is to partner right the from the start with operational leaders, so I was involved right from the get go. I am going to take you through what we did together to change our customer service team into sales guns! I worked and still work closely with MindTribes CEO, Div Pillay.
One of the first steps I was involved in was the MindTribes Diagnostics phase. Div and I worked to listen to over 60 calls from the team. She identified 3 key areas of opportunity:
- That our staff did not follow a set sales method on the call. We were relying on our customer service skills and quoting to sell.
- Our staff did not connect with our customers – they were hesitant with price, challenged with very direct and sometimes sarcastic Australians and very multicultural Australians.
- Our quality scorecard was a customer service scorecard that did not develop our staff with their sales capability. Essentially, we were measuring the wrong behaviours.
Also in the diagnostic phase, Div sent out a cultural survey so we could understand how our behaviours in Fiji did not quite match the customer’s – which contributed to lower engagement and reduced conversion of leads.
From this cultural diagnostic, we could see how different Fijians are from Australians. We needed this awareness.
Our first big change:
Div recommended that we use the consultative selling process as a methodology. We then worked together to recreate the quality scorecard to fit this method which involves 3 steps:
- Engaging the customer
- Identifying a need and proposing a solution
- Gaining a commitment and closing the sale
We also added into the scorecard, cultural behaviours that we were looking for from agents, e.g. a change to be direct, succinct and to lead the conversation.
We also calibrated this scorecard: scoring calls together so we could test the scorecard, be consistent and also understand which areas needed to be weighted.
Our second big change: Cultural Sales Training
Div used the knowledge gained from the cultural diagnostic (you know the map) and showed us what happens at different points of the consultative selling process. Where we had opportunities to engage, identify a need, propose a solution and close a sale, but we missed the queues from the customer, because of our cultural differences. We needed to adjust to our customers.
At this session, we introduced the new quality scorecard to our staff and got them to rate their own calls with this new scorecard – they could now see the lack of sales process and their cultural behaviours getting in the way of the sale. This put them in the right position to make the change themselves and ready to be coached.
Our third big change: Coach The Coach
While Div was onsite in Fiji, we also went through our coaching methodology. We had to be consistent to coach both sales and culture. Div taught us the GROWTH methodology – Goals, Reality, Options, Will, Tactics & Habit. She uses the same technique when coaching us – we joined monthly coaching calls with her right up until September this year. We learnt how to strategically coach also, to bring about sales results, e.g. coaching our middle performers to reach high performance OR focusing on specific gaps, e.g. our scorecard guided us to the 3 areas of the consultative selling process, so we could identify who needed to ask better questions to identify a need or who needed to close better on the call. We were also now keenly listening to the customer on call recordings and could provide coaching on whether the agent was tuning in culturally or not.
Our fourth big change: Measuring the Results
For the first time we were measuring whether our coaching had a direct impact on sales performance. I am very proud to say it did. In 4.5 months we turned revenue around 300%. In the following months we focussed on coaching upselling, which saw further improvements in revenue.
- our sales methodology to consultative selling,
- connecting culturally better with our customers,
- changing our measurement tool (our quality scorecard) and
- coaching both sales and culture,
our team in Fiji proved they could change from a customer service to high performing sales team.
This is our transformation story, it is one not only of business results but people transformation – our agents now have another skill set and are globally competitive with best practices.
We are very proud to represent our work here today in an international category. Our change in people, process and customer focus is sustainable, 12 months later.
Div Pillay is a cross cultural expert and Co-Founder of MindTribes – a 2016 Telstra Business Award Finalist company that improves cross border performance by realigning people to the foreign cultures in which they work.