Talent evolution and the CX career …creating a culture of choice and opportunity

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A business is only as good as the people within it, has long been a phrase that has resonated. And this sentiment is possibly most important when it comes to those who look after our customers.

The time when customer service was categorised as simply a ‘stop gap’ career move is a thing of the past, with the industry offering far more opportunity and development than most. Businesses that once only paid lip service to ‘customer centricity’ have, over the past decade, recognised that it’s the skills within your teams that often provide the all-important competitive and commercial edge. This important realisation makes those that are passionate and skilled in delivering an exceptional customer experience and have the ambition to develop further, in high demand, particularly today. We remain in the midst of a talent squeeze following the hangover of the great resignation and the impact of Brexit on the UK workforce is still biting. So, how can businesses who want to be at the forefront of customer service excellence, with market leading talent, ensure they remain attractive to the very best candidates?


Development to drive loyalty…

Over the past 30 years, the BGL Insurance (BGLi) culture and the skills required from our colleagues, have evolved significantly, with the soft skills of empathy, communication and resilience now just as important as technical capabilities and insurance market knowledge. As a business, we’ve been on an interesting journey to cultivate, grow and develop our talent, with the goal of not only exceeding customer expectations but also providing very real and successful career opportunities. We are proud that many of the leaders across the business started out on various customer service routes, clearly providing a strong foundation on which to grow.

With training initially delivered via external bodies, before developing our own in-house ‘Academy’, offering comprehensive development across all levels, we now have a programme that allows us to support colleagues’ career aspirations, while equipping them with knowledge and skills for future success. One of the areas that has been particularly successful for us is our apprenticeship programme, with the business now offering Level Two school leaver opportunities, right through to degree-level qualifications. Since the launch of the Academy in 2017, over 350 apprentices and over 50 graduates have taken up new roles and qualifications across multiple business areas.

What has also been interesting to witness, is the evolution of roles and the skills now needed to build a successful customer service operation, led by changing customer behaviours and tech innovation. It’s no longer simply about answering the phone, customers often require rapid responses and want to communicate via a channel of their choice. Therefore, the tech we’ve developed and the skills and knowledge required to deliver these services, have created an extremely exciting web of customer experience career opportunities.


The importance of choice

According to a 2019 LinkedIn study, 94 per cent of workers said they would stay with their employer if it invested in their development – so the commercial benefits are clear. But, businesses need to understand that colleagues have different career and development requirements at various points in their lives and so offering choice and flexibility on when people can tap in to useful resources is key. At BGLi, our self-learning platform is another important piece in our development armour, allowing colleagues to dip in and out of resources according to interests, time and business need.

It’s this concept of choice that should also filter through to other areas of your overall employee offering because as highlighted, colleagues will have different needs according to their life or career stage. The term ‘flexible benefits’ has really grown in prominence over the past five years. Historically, a benefits package would have simply focused on pension and life insurance. Today, in what has been a significant business shift towards increased empathy, a reward and benefits package now includes a vast array of health, wellbeing and financial elements that colleagues can flex to meet their own changing needs. Again, it’s this flexible and empathetic approach to another area of the overall employee offering, that may have a positive impact on the customer service colleagues deliver. There are very real and recognised correlations between a supported, engaged workforce and high customer satisfaction levels.

Finally, while a corporate ‘purpose’ might sound like a buzz word, ultimately people want to work for a business where they have a connection to what it is trying to achieve. Both potential candidates and existing colleagues alike, demand clarity on not only the commercial goals of the business and what it means to be an employee but also, how that business is contributing to the greater good.

Businesses across all sectors have learned more over the past three years about looking after their colleagues and nurturing talent, than they did during the previous 30 years. This has now created a renewed focus and an important foundation for ongoing change, ensuring that we continue meeting the needs of the future talent for generations to come.