DiSC Helps & Other Inscape Publishing Profiles Boost Employee Morale

One of the largest online banking institutions was struggling with employee morale and productivity.  Their international call center had high rates of absenteeism and turnover, which impacted customer satisfaction.  The company wasn’t sure how to solve the problem, but they wanted to increase retention and morale and, in turn, improve their customer service.

The customer service representatives needed basic interpersonal skills training.  Their manager realized that once the employees understood themselves, they would be equipped to understand others, including their coworkers and their customers. In this customer service environment, it was especially important to teach the concepts of understanding others in order to adapt their listening approach.

 20 employees participated in half-day training sessions held on Tuesday and Thursday for two weeks.  A needs assessment was completed on the first day of training.  The participants were asked to discuss the types of problems they were facing in the call center.  They came up with a list of 20 items, many of which were related to miscommunication or misunderstanding.  The goal was to work their way through the list of problems until everyone had a solution they could use in the future. 

For the second session employees took the DiSC Classic Profile. The DiSC concepts were introduced using the QuikDiSC Card Game Everyone was given four cards and instructed to trade with others until they had four cards that best described themselves.  After a short break, there was a de-briefing of the QuikDiSC Card Game and a discussion on how to begin the process of better personal understanding. The floor was opened for discussions as the participants were walked through the various DiSC Classical Profile Pattern descriptions and how to recognize the behavioral styles of internal and external customers.  Everyone was given a DiSC Button to wear to identify their primary dimension: D, i, S, or C.

After the discussion about personal styles, the group focused on style interaction.  They worked through some of the descriptions of the different styles in various day-to-day situations (all of these descriptions are available in the PowerPoint Presentation that comes with the Everything DiSC Facilitation System). 

Each participant was asked to describe a difficult situation they’d experienced.  The rest of the group tried to help the individual figure out how an understanding of personal styles would make the situation easier in the future.  One employee shared that she once had an irate caller who wanted her to ‘fix’ his late charge; she felt that she had fully described the policy and done her job, but then her supervisor spoke to the person and ‘fixed’ the fee for the client.  She felt betrayed by her supervisor and didn’t want to deal with him in future interactions.

The entire group discussed each of the styles involved – the employee, the customer, and the supervisor – and the suggested that in the future, the employee shouldn’t ‘argue’ with the customer.  Instead, she should transfer the call to her supervisor.  This would relieve her stress since her supervisor had more authority to handle refunds.  The woman agreed that this was a practical solution.  Each story was unique, and the solutions developed for each of the 20 situations will be useful to the entire group in future interactions.

For the next training session, the group completed the Personal Listening Profile. The Sidewalk Cafe example from the Personal Listening Profile Facilitator’s Kit helped participants connect with what they learned about their own listening preferences and about how they adapt, or fail to adapt, to others.

With the introduction of the listening approaches, it’s best to use experiential learning. The participants reflected on interactions they had with customers that didn’t go well.  The entire group discussed what went wrong in the interaction, and then strategized how to adjust their listening approach in similar situations.   This helped them tie what they learned back to their work environment, adding practical application to the material.  For this training, another listening exercise was used, in which participants had to identify what listening approach the caller used by listening to call center employees handle situations.  This exercise is outlined in the Personal Listening Profile Facilitator’s Kit.

On the third day of training, the Team Dimensions Profile was used to focus on the subgroups within the call center. The group completed the LEGO activity from the Team Dimensions Profile Facilitator’s Kit.  Each team had to build a tower, which quickly helped identify unbalanced teams in terms of roles.  The exercise was debriefed by discussing the different roles needed in every team effort.  This was the jumping-off point for discussing the Z-Process and the four roles.  Next the participants had to create team logos, motto's, and a mission statement in their work groups.  The group loved this exercise! Each of the four teams created a group flip-chart for their “Team Name and Motto” – two of the teams took their flip-chart sheets back to their areas and hung them in their cubicles after the training. 

The participants were allowed to direct the session on the fourth day.  They asked to revisit DiSC to make sure they understood style interaction.  The session began with a 25-minute overview of the DiSC model and the four dimensions of behavior. Next, the participants discussed how to incorporate DiSC with the Listening Approaches they’d learned, as well as with their team roles.  It was a cross-training package.

They also wanted to learn about the roles of the other work groups.  Role-playing was used for this purpose.  The ATM group, for example, acted out some of their customer interactions while the financial group observed, reacted, and learned more about the ATM team’s roles and responsibilities.  This helped the call center’s teams work together cross-functionally. 

The impact of the training was immediate!  The call center had their first full week in which no one called in sick or left early, and the rest of the customer service employees were begging to come to class!  As a result of the training, one employee in the beta training group actually spent his lunch hour helping a customer – a first for him in terms of customer service.  That improvement – that single employee – sold management on the training.  The company had used a grant from the state to put the beta group of 20 through training, but now they’ve committed to putting all 200 call center employees though this comprehensive training.

Inscape Publishing Case Study