Equalities in Customer Service and Care

Equal Services for Diverse Customers, What many people think of as small change “minority” markets need to think again, the “minority” market is a huge and colourful place and one where spending power and influence cannot be ignored. This one day workshop is designed to make even the most traditional of people think again about equality and diversity and why they can no longer afford to brush it under the carpet.

  • The Blue pound, the spending power of women, who make more consumer decisions than men!
  • The Silver Pound, 80% of the wealth of Britain is the hands of people over 50.
  • The Brown Pound, Disposable spending power of black and minority ethnic groupsis estimated to be worth least £32 billion.
  • The pink pound is estimated by the Gay Business Association to be worth £12 million a year
  • The Purple Pound – Disability Rights campaigners estimated that nearly £60 million was wasted by businesses last year because disabled people could either not get into commercial premises or access the services!

A quick look at the equalities act 2010, shows a range of clauses dealing with the provision of goods, facilities and service in terms of access and non-discriminatory arrangements. Additionally, the legislation imposes a duty on public bodies to pay “due regard” in terms of its employment and service delivery policies including, the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality and foster good relationships. The act also has a public procurement clause which means that any public body offering tenders, contracts or other business opportunities to the private voluntary and not for profit sectors can put the potential provider’s equality policies under robust scrutiny. Decisions about awarding the contract will, in part, be driven by these considerations.

Add to this, the demographic factors which help shape the equality agenda start to become critical to business success. The social atlas in one area will be different from another in terms of both job markets and customer markets.

As businesses, managers and staff begin to understand their neighbourhood(s) a little more they get closer to potential customers. But not only do they get closer to customers – old and new –they also understand the cultural communication factors which shape protocols and convivial ways of engagement. So, thumbs up in Manchester means ok! But in Brazil or to Brazilians it can be an offensive gesture! And that’s important given the huge range of people from other countries now living in the United Kingdom. Not to mention protocols around religion and belief.

This course is designed foranybody who deals with customers both inside and outside the organisation, over the telephone, in writing, by electronic mail and face-to-face. We draw upon the latest academic research on customer care as well as proven award winning techniques in the real world. We also like to weave into the training any in house customer care policies and procedures as well as using the opportunity to secure feedback from delegates to improve the way they provide goods, facilities or services .

Concrew Trainings one day course “Equalities in Customer Care and Service“ brings all these considerations together in a lively action packed day full of information, case studies and techniques for participants to take away for use after the course!

For Whom
This workshop is suitable for managers and staff from all types of business and sectors including private commercial, public, and education and not for profit. It is especially suited to strategic and operational managers looking at reach wider customer base and for those staff who in turn need to be inspired and motivated to embrace it and deliver exemplary service.

Aims and Objectives
This one-day workshop is designed to stimulate thought on and about the need to embrace equality and diversity issues and ways in which equalities in customer care and service actually support and drive business or organisational success.

Content
1. Setting the scene in changing and diverse customer markets

  • Modern day working definitions of customer care
  • What does equality of process, choice and outcome mean for the customer?
  • What are the five barriers that impede equal access to the provision of goods, facilities and services? How might these be overcome?
  • What is meant by the economic or business argument for equality and diversity in terms of customer recruitment and retention? The vicious and the virtual equality circle involving direct, indirect and opportunity costs.

2. Going local with the pink/blue/purple/silver £’s and other rainbow currency

  • Who are your customers?
  • How much do you actually know about them and the neighbourhoods in which they live?
  • Are any of your customers hidden from view? (Almost certainly!)
  • How do you reach out to them?
  • Where is information about them?

3. The Law – You and Your Customers – You as a Customer!
What does the law actually say? The Equality Act 2010 and the 9 Protected Characteristics? The links to other laws that will impact on customers such as Health and Safety, Data Protection and the Criminal Law

How have the old definitions of direct and indirect discrimination been extended to include possible customer care situations involving discrimination by association and perception? What is third party harassment? What is vicarious liability?

  • What are your own key rights and responsibilities within this legal framework? And do customers have similar rights and responsibilities?
  • What are the new emerging equality/diversity issues and implications for customer care in terms of social media, twitter and Facebook?
  • What about when you are the customer in terms of contractors and partners you invite on to your premises? What are their rights and responsibilities?

4. Marketing/Tailoring your services to all your customers

    • How do you carry out an equality and diversity impact analysis of any event or activity involving customers before they arrive and whilst they are with you? And what about after care? Meeting specific not special needs? A 9 point fast track technique with key prompting questions to think about in terms of age, disability, race, religion and belief, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marriage & civil partnerships as well as pregnancy and maternity.
  • Do you advertise your goods, facilities and services? The 12 key steps to take to avoid writing discriminatory and offensive advertising copy. What does the Equality Act say about “instructions and pressure” to discriminate in relation to adverts and/or specific instructions? Case studies from the Advertising Standards Authority – ADman and Eve is a recurring theme!

5. Meeting and Greeting and beyond!

  • How do you consult and involve customers?
    • What is the latest best practice?
  • How do you communicate with customers?
    • We take you through body language, tone and words from a western AND non-western perspective.
    • A new technique to meet and greet customers from any cultural background!
    • Get it right first time or know who to ask for key information!
    • A new “meet and greet” technique that will help you cross the cultural divide.
  • Dealing with difficult customers
    • Six techniques to address challenging and unacceptable behaviour in an appropriate, safe and user friendly manner.
    • Another technique for managing conflict
  • Managing your own prejudices
    • we all have them!
    • An exercise designed to raise your own awareness about your behaviour can impact on customers and colleagues.
    • What might you need to do personally to get on better with Person X – and vice versa?
  • Three magic questions designed to get good customer feedback in a manner that ensures they do 60% of the talking!
  • Signposts to other internal and external sources of information or advice.