Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Avondale Business School collaborates with Business

Monday, May 15, 2017

Business and College collaboration is a wonderful way to enhance student learning. A recent excursion organised by the Avondale Business School to Sydney saw students visit 3 business to get insights into risk management, marketing, human resources and accounting.

The first business to open its doors was the Mascot Air Base facility. Manager of Airline safety lead them into the emergency procedures training facility which demonstrated the approach to risk management, in particular in relation to the evacuation of passengers in the event of an emergency. Students were privileged to be shown the various different aeroplane doors used to deploy passengers, rafts and survival kits. They were also shown the pool used for ocean training, in both the dark and in the rain.

Students were then put into the emergency procedure training simulator, where they experienced a crash landing in which the cabin lights turned off and the cabin filled with smoke. Students followed the orders of the cabin staff in relation to “evacuate, evacuate” and were led safely out of the simulator. Some students also were given life vests to deploy, and shown the various safety features such as the water activated light. Students had a better appreciation for flight crew and risk management procedures, after this confronting experience.

Students then headed out to Allianz stadium, for a tour of the facility. Students were taken down the ramp into the stadium, and the logistics of running the stadium that is shared by three different codes of sport (NRL, Rugby Union and Football) was explained. The marketing of the stadium signs, the sponsorship of the different codes and general keeping of the grounds were explained. Students asked questions such as who are the sponsors and what are the benefits of sponsorship from a marketing perspective.

Student then headed into the Sydney Roosters facility where they were led into the boardroom for an “Apprentice” style session (yes Mark Bouris is on the Board of the Sydney Roosters), by the Chief Financial Controller Mr Manuel Vlandis. Students were presented with financial information about the club and the challenges of running a rugby leagues club from a financial perspective. Questions were asked of the salary cap, costs of injured players, and how the model works in relation to revenue streams such as memberships, gate takings and sponsorship. The CFO was happy to answer the questions, and speak of his relationship with the Board and the new strategic plan they are currently developing.

Students then headed next door to the NSW Waratahs headquarters. There the player development manager Lachie McBain explained the complexities of running a rugby club, including issues such as preparing players for life after sport. He talked about the initiatives the club has in place for players such as further education and financial planning. He discussed the available careers in a rugby association, and his role in relation to his employer being RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association), formed to prepare players for life after sport. The club facilities were shown to the students, including the training areas, technology viewing areas and player lounge. Students asked questions in relation to membership numbers, revenue from Foxtel, sponsorship and player wages.

Feedback from the day included the following:

“It gave us insights into jobs where we do not see what happens behind the scenes”

“It was awesome to see business applied in a sporting context”

Avondale Business School will continue working with these businesses in the future, turning textbook learning into the reality of business. As the late Wallaby and Lawyer Ross Turnbull stated “There is nothing that I learnt in SPORT that doesn’t apply to BUSINESS, or LIFE” (2014). This excursion came from research done previously into the education of current sports people for their career after sport, a paper to be presented at the Global Conference on Education and Research (GLOCER 2017), which will be held during May 22-25, 2017 at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus in Sarasota, Florida.


The Secret to Delighting Customers: Putting Employees First

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy CustomerSo we all agree that happy customers not only return, but share their positive experience. Consequently, organisations looking to thrive are constantly looking for ways to keep customers happy.

Recent research by McKinsey&Company, through Dilip Bhattacharjee, Jesus Moreno and Francisco Ortega (Read it here), has found that a major contributor to keeping customers happy is to empower employees. While most companies understand the need for engaging customers, and have made it a strategic priority, many struggle with the implementation simply because it falls down at the front line. The reality is that the front line staff are the ones who engage with customers, and unless they are on board then all the best strategic intentions in the world are not going to do the job.

Bhattacharjee et al found that there were four key approaches to developing workers that were consistent amongst those companies that were successful in keeping customers happy and engaged. These are:

  1. Listen to employees and deal with the problems and needs as a priority
  2. Hire with attitude, not aptitude, in mind, and build on this attitudinal strength
  3. Instil frontline workers with purpose, not rules
  4. Tap into their creativity by assigning autonomy and responsibility

The article, well worth a read, illustrates these points through an actual case study of an organisation that has implemented these and found the associated success that goes with it. It concludes by pointing out just how much easier it is for customers to shift loyalties, which has increased the need for companies to ensure the frontline workers who interact with their customers are engaged and valued.

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop these customer service and employee management skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

5 Ways to Authentically Engage Your Customers

Monday, April 11, 2016

Customer EngagementIn case you hadn’t noticed, customers are more likely than ever before to complain about your organisation, using their personal and social media networks to “spread the word”. They are also acutely aware of their options – they can walk away from you and engage with another organisation just as easily.

Mohanbir Sawheny of the Kellogg School at Northwestern University has researched this phenomena (read it here) and found that the number one thing customers are interested in is a positive relationship. Now customers is a big word, and includes not just people who buy a product, but also who may attend a school, are residents at an aged-care facility, donate to your organisation, volunteer their time or make a commitment to follow your values. They all have options and are not afraid to exercise them.

In exploring this engagement with customers, Sawheny recommends five things organisations can do to enhance this relationship. The full details are found in the article, but in summary they are:

  1. Offer customers real value
  2. Build a community
  3. Inspire people
  4. Provide entertainment value
  5. Keep conversation going

The best time to change is now, so this week think of two things from the above list that you could do to better engage with your customers.

The Avondale Business School can help you with change management in your organisation – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

Lessons from Starbucks

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lessons LearnedIf you don’t know who Starbucks is then you really need to get out more, read more, or watch more TV. Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse in the world (21,000 stores in 65 countries) and one of the fastest-growing companies in the USA.

I am a firm believer in learning from other people’s success (and failure) and applying those lessons to my own organisational context. There are some great lessons from Starbucks to be learned. If you are in the customer business (and every company, Church, School, Aged care entity is), then you can learn from Starbucks. These lessons all come from an article I read in Forbes (Read it here), where you can get the details on the following bullet points:

  1. Have a Mission
  2. Ask Your Customers Questions
  3. Know Your Customers and Employees
  4. Be Innovative
  5. Take Responsibility
  6. Go Against the Grain
  7. Embrace Social Media
  8. Everything Matters
  9. Choose the Right Partners
  10. Be Consistent
  11. Fit In With the Region
  12. Have the Right Leaders

Some readers will already be saying, “These don’t apply to my industry or business”, or “What does this have to do with me?” I guess all I can say is that Starbucks is successful and achieving growth at world-record rates. Are you?

The Avondale Business School can help you and your team develop leadership skills – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

Award Winning Customer Service

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It’s a long story how, but I recently came across the website for the Australian Service Excellence Awards, hosted by the Customer Service Institute of Australia (CSIA). Interestingly the 2015 awards will be announced this week (28 October, 2015) and there is much excitement leading up to this event.Customer Service

As I looked over previous winners and the various criteria, I was really interested that there were no “humanitarian” type entities listed. Even in the Not-for-profit category it was the WA Football Commission taking home the prize in 2014. It turns out that finalists are charged a $2000 site visit fee for the honour, which may put it out of the range of many entities.

However, I wondered whether it would still be a good investment for organisations who purport to care for people (for examples Churches, Schools, Universities, Aged Care, Hospitals, Etc.) to show they are at the forefront of customer service. Even though it makes good business sense to look after your customers, I believe there is also a moral obligation.

The criteria includes the following:

  • Company philosophy
  • People – training and development and their involvement in developing strategy
  • Innovation and Improvement
  • Responsiveness

And thinking of your customers, remember that there are two types – external (those who typically pay for our products and services) and internal (who experience your services like finance, IT, HR etc.). What value do you see in being leaders in customer service? How can you, in your role, positively impact customer service in your entity?

If you would like further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation improve your customer service please contact Warrick Long.


P: 02 4980 2168

Diversity in Business

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

uber vs taxiA few weeks ago in a ‘Diversity in Business’ class we discussed the historical disadvantage people with a disability experience with regards to workforce participation. As an area of interest to me, some of the statistics explored were quite surprising. So you can imagine the potential for the creation of jobs that a partnership between Uber, the ride-sharing car service provider and Enabled Employment, an Australian start-up operated by people with disability for people with disability, may have. Uber is hoping the partnership will not only help Enabled Employment members find income opportunities, but also encourage the 53 per cent of disabled people with a driving licence to consider driving on the Uber platform.

“Uber is a big believer in diversity and are already challenging the stigma by offering an extension to their app which accounts for people with difficulties in hearing or speaking. This opens up a world of opportunities for people with disabilities to earn a flexible income as Uber-partners”, Enabled Employment CEO Jessica May said. “Uber offers flexible options for people with disabilities and their carers to get back into the workforce, which is what is needed to increase diversity. As long as the requirements for Uber are met, people can be their own boss, work when they want, including around medical appointments or their limitations, and still earn a decent wage.”

Uber may be facing controversy with regards to its business model, with the taxi industry particularly vocal about it’s practices, but this is a good initiative that will likely be considered a step in the right direction to the four million people in Australia who live with a disability.

– Peter Williams –

Lecturer:  Avondale Business School


phone:  02 4980 2175


Appealing to the Millennials

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The MillennialsVery recently LinkedIn undertook a worldwide survey of the Millennials (born 1981 – 1997) about their attitudes to the financial services industry, and banking in particular. Business Insider has accessed the data for the Australian people and have compiled an infographic that gives their preferences. You can read about it here.

Whilst this is for the financial services industry, it is possible to extrapolate from it to get a better understanding of the Millennials and what it is they want. Listed below is my summary of these, and I would refer you to the full article to draw your own conclusions. However, if you are wanting to provide a product of service to this group (including offering employment), then it might pay to be aware of what it is that attracts them.

1. Connectedness

  • Is there a positive buzz about this organisation within social media that I want to be associated with?
  • What is the vibe from my own personal social media?
  • Do they offer a one-stop shop that includes easy to access information, a variety of communication channels, and one place for me to do all my transactions with them?

2. Tribal

  • What is the experience of my family and close friends with this organisation?
  • Would my family and friends recommend this organisation?

3. Inspiration

  • What influence does this organisation have?
  • Do I agree with their values and vision?

Ignore this group at your peril, as they are now coming into middle age, consumer power and influence.

If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


P: 02 4980 2168

The Millennials

Monday, July 20, 2015

The MillennialsThey are no longer coming, they are here! The Millennials (ages 17 – 29) have arrived in the workforce and have money to spend. They are like no other generation before, coming from a period of significant prosperity with little adversity. And they know how to flex their collective muscle. As an organisation, if you want to attract Millennials to your business, as employees or consumers, then you need to know who they are and what they want.

A just released US study into Millennials has created a profile that is very revealing. A summary of it follows. Remembering that this is based on US Millennials, who felt the GFC much stronger that those in Australia/New Zealand. However, there is much in common that is worth noting.

  1. Spenders – Millennials plan to live debt free and so are more frugal then their parents. They want to be self-employed and have access to multiple incomes.
  2. Students – They want to continue their education, and the factors most important to them in choosing education providers is cost, quality and reputation – in that order.
  3. Employees – Millennials will not hesitate to change jobs. The most important thing for them is work/life balance, but professional development opportunities are very important also.
  4. Consumers – They want to buy local, and of those brands, they will typically choose brands that support causes important to them. They will also engage with social media in assessing brands.
  5. Lifestyles – Millennials travel, value experience over things, and their top three social media platforms in order are Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

There is a snapshot of the Millennials. Ignore them at your peril. The challenge is how best to accommodate them in your business.

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

Global Trends in the Business of People

Sunday, May 10, 2015

People JigsawEach year Deloitte publish a report into the global trends in the area of leadership and human capital. Their most recent report has just been released, called Global Human Capital 2015: Leading in the new world of work (Access it here). In compiling the report, Deloitte consulted with 3300 business and HR leaders in 106 countries (including Australia and NZ).

The report identifies ten major trends, within four major themes. The top five major trends are:

  1. Culture and engagement: The naked organisation
  2. Leadership: Why a perennial issue?
  3. Learning and development: Into the spotlight
  4. Reinventing HR: An extreme makeover
  5. Workforce on demand: Are you ready?

What is evident from the report is that the “softer” areas of business are now the priority, as it is a new world in which we operate. For example, employees are now always connected and can access information about whatever management says instantaneously to confirm its validity. They also use social media to check perceptions and reputations. Employees also consider themselves more as customers or partners than employees. As such, they have expectations on how they will be treated that is substantially different to the traditional employer-employee model.

Two paragraphs from the report are particularly interesting in directing company leadership to addressing these issues:

It is time for a shift in how leaders’ performance is being measured. Rewards should be directly related to leaders developing successors and sharing talent not simply on meeting a strategic or operational KPI. A greater emphasis on a coaching environment should form a part of development and assessment frameworks with out-of-the-box development opportunities considered, such as business partnering, being considered.

Today’s leaders must look to engage their employees and therefore it must be made a corporate priority. Real steps need to be undertaken to ensure work is more meaningful. Leaders need to ensure they are being authentic in their style and transparent in their approach to feedback and coaching.

Thinking about your business, are you planning for the future, or responding to the past? Your success depends upon the future, not the past.

If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


P: 02 4980 2168

3 Ways Customer Service Has Changed

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Customer Service 2Writing in a recent blog (Read it Here), Nicole Fallon highlights a significant consequence of social media and mobile technology – the ability of your customers to broadcast their experiences (positive and negative) to the world. Customers are increasingly using this new found power to share their thoughts about your company and their experiences with it. Left unaddressed, these experiences form a picture of your company that you would rather not see.

To address this, Fallon, highlights three issues and consequent strategies to take on board.

  1. Customers are in control – and that’s how it will stay.
    Irrespective of how good you think your company is, or your products or services, it is the customer who decides and shares their experiences. They also have the internet available to them 24/7 and 365 days a year to give voice to their story. You need to be there too, and to resolve whatever issues are raised in that space
  2. Quick, personalised responses in social media will continue to be a service benchmark.
    Ignoring social media is pointless – it is a reality and it is here to stay, so you need to be monitoring it. When issues are raised and you can deal with them quickly you will often be heralded as a champion. Customers understand that mistakes are made; it is how you deal with them that count. Personalised and not generic responses are important in this.
  3. Collaboration will be the key to improving service.
    This essentially means all the units of your business coming together to solve the issues raised. An even better and becoming more common approach is for customers to help themselves through feedback forums etc.

Customers are sharing their experiences with your company on the internet and social media. It is going to increase. You need to be in that space with a strategy for engaging with customers and especially dealing with any negative comments. When prospective customers search your business on the internet, what they find is up to you.

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168