PC World operates stores across the UK that specialise in selling computing solutions to both personal and business customers.

After a change in their stores’ organisational structures, PC World needed help to ensure that their staff could provide excellent customer service and improved sales performance. Key performance indicators for the project were identified as being conversion rates, add-on sales and the customer satisfaction measure of Net Promoter Score. Net Promoter score is a measure based on the question “How likely would you be to recommend this store to a friend or colleague?” with a score of 1 (low) to 7 (high). Results are split into Detractors (scoring 1, 2 or 3), Neutral (scoring 4 or 5) and Promoters (scoring 6 and 7). The final Net Promoter score is determined through the subtraction of the number of Detractors from the number of Promoters, and is proven to be directly related to the growth of business.
Huthwaite began working with PC World to measure current levels of KPIs and identify opportunities for improvements.

Research
The first stage of the project was to analyse and benchmark current behaviours and performance in stores, so as to accurately determine a detailed picture of customers’ experiences, identify opportunities for improvement and gather information to be used in training content.

UK pilot observations allowed the development of a robust methodology that used a specifically designed behavioural analysis framework so as to record the verbal behaviours of Customer Advisors during interactions, and the outcomes of interactions – including conversion, add-on sales and customer service levels.

Statistical analysis enabled the identification of those verbal behaviours that had the greatest impact on conversion, add-on sales and Net Promoter score, and allowed detailed analysis of the optimum sequence of behaviours.

Using this analysis of behaviour against outcome, Huthwaite was able to create a ten-stage model for optimum customer interactions:

Milestones
Each stage corresponds with a stage of an interaction and contains information as to levels of competence and related behaviours.

For example, the fourth stage of Milestones is Explore, and its measurement framework is demonstrated on page 3 (Fig. 2 – download PDF version to view).

The Milestones framework is incremental – therefore for a Customer Advisor to attain the top score of blue, they must demonstrate red, amber, green and blue.

The Milestones framework, coupled with the detailed findings from the research stages, allowed Huthwaite to work with PC World to develop a training programme that would enable Customer Advisors to demonstrate effective behaviours in interactions so as to increase sales and service performance.

Training
Huthwaite worked closely with PC World to develop a series of training initiatives to embed Milestones into stores throughout the UK:

Pilot programme
So as to test the delivery mechanisms for the Milestones project, Huthwaite conducted a training pilot in one store – Junction 9 in Birmingham. The store gave their support of the project, identified an impact on conversion, add-on sales and customer satisfaction as a result of the training, and helped Huthwaite modify the delivery mechanisms so as to further improve the training for UK roll-out.
Management launch
During the annual PC World conference, attended by all Senior and General Managers from PC World and some from the DSGi Group, Huthwaite launched Milestones in conjunction with the PC World Learning and Development Manager – Tim Gallimore. Tim, with Claire Cologne of Huthwaite, presented a topline overview of Milestones to the audience, positioning the model by over-viewing the research findings and presenting results from the pilot programme in Junction 9 – including a video interview with the company’s best performing Customer Advisor discussing the performance benefits of Milestones.

Management launch
During the annual PC World conference, attended by all Senior and General Managers from PC World and some from the DSGi Group, Huthwaite launched Milestones in conjunction with the PC World Learning and Development Manager – Tim Gallimore. Tim, with Claire Cologne of Huthwaite, presented a topline overview of Milestones to the audience, positioning the model by over-viewing the research findings and presenting results from the pilot programme in Junction 9 – including a video interview with the company’s best performing Customer Advisor discussing the performance benefits of Milestones.

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