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Legal & General train staff to be more kind

Helen Mayson

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Legal & General is training all 1,300 staff in its Insurance Customer Service division in customer empathy and engagement, reports Helen Mayson

Staff in Legal & General’s insurance customer service division are being put through a programme that aims to develop their empathy and engagement skills in order to provide customers with a ‘world class customer experience’.

The L&D team have developed and delivered a three-module learning programme in association with Hemsley Fraser to help the division's staff further develop the way they interact with both external and internal customers. Initially, the programme, which is called Customer Experience Matters, is being rolled out to the contact centre and back office teams who support Legal & General's life protection business. It will then be extended to other parts of the division.

A sensitive business

"Insurance can be an emotional business as you're dealing with people who may be planning for later life, buying a home, having children, coping with bereavement or they may have experienced a flood, a fire or a burglary," said Joanne Hardy, L&D Manager for Legal & General's Insurance Customer Service division.

"Customers are often emotionally-charged when they contact an insurance company and it can be extremely frustrating for them if the person they’re talking to responds robotically and doesn’t understand or empathise with how they're feeling. We've always tried to see things from the customer's perspective. This programme builds on that and highlights why it's so important to create an emotional connection with every customer. It reinforces how our staff can apply the right mindset and develop the behavioural skills that will make a difference."

Bringing learning to life

To support the learning and portray an individual customer's perspective, Hemsley Fraser commissioned three short films, one for each module. Produced by video production specialist Juice, these films won the 2014 IVCA gold award for best learning & development communication.

"The films tell a fictional but highly emotional story of one man's tragic circumstances and the mental anguish he experiences when trying to make changes to his insurance policies," said Joanne Hardy. "They bring home the need to empathise with each customer's circumstances and to understand that there's a real person on the other end of the phone."

Hemsley Fraser has also worked with the Insurance Customer Service L&D team to create a complementary one-day programme for the division's line managers. This highlights how they can support their staff through the Customer Experience Matters programme. It also includes coaching skills development and practice. 

"Our line managers are providing one-to-one coaching for each member of their team, in between the modules of the Customer Experience Matters programme," said Joanne Hardy. "For us, it was important to involve our line managers from the outset, so they can support the learning and the personal development plans of their team members."

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