AssessCASE STUDIES - BAE Customer Survey

Graeme Hall
Training Manager for Service Excellence


Based in Salmesbury, Lancashire, BAE Systems Integrated Services division employs more than 4,000 people manufacturing aircraft parts. BAE Systems has a world class reputation for its technologically advanced engineering in the hi-tech aerospace sector but in 2008 the company recognised that it could make improvements to its customer service. In 2009 Graeme Hall was appointed Training Manager for Service Excellence; he was tasked with looking at how the Integrated Systems division could boost standards in this area. In his previous role at the company Graeme Hall had worked with Liz McCormac at MD&T and was familiar with using the Assess diagnostic test to help make training and development more effective.

The issues:

In 2008 the company acknowledged that it could do more to improve customer service. It is fair to say that customer service excellence had not always been recognised as a priority and there was no training in place dedicated to this area. In order to kick-start the process BAE Systems put together a Service Excellence programme.

Through this programme the company wanted to identify key individuals who could act as Service Coaches, Stars, Champions and General Practitioners to help develop a customer service culture. The question for Graeme Hall was how to do it. Chief among his concerns was the question: ‘How do we know we have the right people doing the various roles?’

Graeme Hall also recognised that changing the focus to customer service would represent a huge culture change so it was important that people could see some results fast.

The process:

Having used the Assess diagnostic test previously, Graeme was well aware of its capabilities. Together with Liz he was able to create a totally bespoke package that looked at the criteria and priorities required in customer service terms for Coaches, Stars, Champions and General Practitioners. By using the Assess tool, which looks at how people measure up to the general competencies their roles demand, they were able to identify the development needs in respect of customer service roles.

They were able develop a system to identify customer facing people who didn’t previously have much of a clue about customer service. It is inclusive of non-BAE staff who are also on site — e.g. facilities management teams.

They also quickly introduced a qualification that is directly related to customer service — an NVQ Level 2 Customer Service and to date (July 09) two cohorts have been through this programme with more to follow.

The pair then developed a programme to analyse, train and develop staff that started to have an immediate impact.

The results:

Even in its infancy, the level of success is such that Graeme has been asked to look at extending the reach of the programme to include new recruits.

Says Graeme Hall: “We may, for example, have someone who is applying to be an aircraft precision engineer but the profile may reveal that they prefer to work on their own, are sensitive to criticism. We can see how this may impact on them as customer facing employees and what training they may require to make them fit better into our company.

“Working with Liz at MD&T and using Assess has meant we have been able to make significant progress swiftly.

“From a cold start, we were able to produce convincing evidence that it was working in a matter of months, which is great. The benefits to the business are difficult to overstate as customer service could be the difference between landing a multi million order or not. So this is not a programme we are treating lightly. The results to date are already impressive at a very early stage in a process which could take 5, 10 or more years to complete.”



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