With more of us working remotely or from home, like so many businesses we’ve had to adapt to a ‘new normal’. This National Customer Service Week we’ve taken a look behind the scenes with Customer Service Training Manger Sarah. Here, she tell us how her team has made big changes during the pandemic.

How long have you been at South East Water?

I’ve been with the company for just under nine years now. My first role was as a Customer Service Advisor working with the Evening Team. I took on the job while studying International Business and Tourism at the University of Kent. After three months I knew South East Water was the company for me and I’ve been here ever since.

Can you tell us a bit about your role as Customer Service Training Manager?

I currently manage a team of two trainers. My role is to deliver our training strategy and make sure all our Customer Service Advisors are performing to their best abilities. Our staff are constantly learning all the way through their careers, and we start their journey with a three week induction. Once they’ve graduated they come back for training during their probation period and we coach them in any areas they may need to improve on.

Once they pass their six month probation and they’re fully qualified we carry on with ‘on the job’ training. This includes teaching them new policies and procedures which they will need to carry out when talking to our customers. There is always so much to learn when working in the water industry, and as a trainer you really have to be a jack of all trades and know your stuff.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, what changes have been made to your job?

When the pandemic and lockdown first hit we found ourselves in a bit of a bind as we were midway through an induction with 10 new members of staff. However, we pulled together as a team and moved our lessons online using Zoom. This took a lot of work and it meant converting all of our induction modules and lessons into virtual training packages in a short space of time. In total it took us about four days to revamp all the material. It was no mean feat and I’m really proud of my team for all the work they’ve put in.

We’ve also had to work with our Legal Team, Learning and Development Team and IT Team to get the equipment and safety features in place to make sure our data stays safe while we work remotely.

Although we may not be able to have the same face-to-face interaction with our colleagues, I feel we have been able to carry out the training really effectively. I think the amount of communication between teams has been fantastic. We’ve been having daily updates and regular Zoom meetings to make sure we’re all still delivering a high standard of service to our customers.

I think knowing that we’re helping to provide a vital service has really given us a boost throughout the pandemic as we know the work we’re doing in keeping taps flowing is really important.

What does good customer service mean to you?

To me, good customer service means giving every customer a unique and tailored interaction which leaves them with a long lasting and positive memory of us. For my training team our customers are the people we train and we always look for ways to tailor our delivery to each person so they gain an engaging and positive experience. In turn we aim to create strong and passionate advisors who give their customers the best service.

Can you tell us an interesting fact about your role?

In order to do this role, you need to have a genuine interest in how people learn and develop skills. Presenting content is only a fraction of the job and I’ve learnt some amazing things along the way. An area which interests me most is neuroscience and how our brains work. This has enabled me to lead effective and engaging training sessions.

“I think knowing that we’re helping to provide a vital service has really given us a boost throughout the pandemic as we know the work we’re doing in keeping taps flowing is really important.”

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