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How to Achieve the Best Net Promoter Score Part II: Meet Tony Pandher

Today I’m talking to Tony Pandher, Head of Operations at Macquarie Cloud Services.

This episode is the second and final part of the Macquarie Telecom Group masterclass on what it takes to get your Net Promoter Score to a world-class level and make Fred Reichheld proud.

On today’s podcast:

  • Why they chose to hire students
  • How they built an amazing culture
  • What they were after: a technology gene and a passion for delighting customers
  • Hiring students on two-year contracts and investing in their growth
  • Creating a knowledge base
  • Launching the Legend program


Hiring students was a game changer

Six years ago, when Tony started working at Macquarie Cloud Services, their NPS was -70. It wasn’t a very good start. They dissected all the feedback and tried to understand what was going on. NPS is ultimately about understanding what your customers are unhappy about.

They realized that one of the problems was the fact that customers had to go through 10-15 questions to have their problem solved. It wasn’t working very well.

They decided to change the way they did things and hired students, people who hadn’t been tarnished or trained in any other way. They wanted to have an opportunity to train them.

A technology gene and a passion for delighting customers

What they were looking for in a successful candidate were basically two things: hospitality and problem-solving.

They had a rigorous interview process. Their candidates needed to understand the customer-centric hospitality DNA of the business.

They chose to be flexible around the working shifts. They had three shifts: 7am-4pm, 3pm-12am and 11pm-9am.

Successful candidates needed to have a technology gene. They weren’t required to know everything, but they need to have a passion for learning.

Investing in their employees

Tony always asked candidates some customer service-related questions like:

  • What is the difference between good and great customer service?
  • When did you deliver or receive great customer service?
  • When did you experience awful customer service?

It often took 50 interviews before he finally found the right person.

They hired students on two-year contracts. They basically offered students a chance to have working experience and a degree by the time they had finished their studies.

When the students started working, the first six months they were doing a CCNA. After completing the CCNA, they unlocked another $5000 in their salary.

It’s important for them that their employees get their certifications, and also their university degrees. At the end of the two years, they reassess their employees. If they prove to be successful, they offer them another two-year contract as a tier 2.

Other secrets

Through CSI (Continual Service Improvement), Tony and his team identified the general faults in the service desk environment. They discovered that 80-90% of service desk issues are repeatable issues and 10-20% are non-standard issues. In the technical environment, it’s the other way around.

They thought about how to get the 10-20% of technical repeatable issues out of the way, in order to focus on the rest of the problems. So they built a knowledge base. This saved the engineers a lot of time, and it also helped with the training of new employees.

Another of their secrets is the fact that everyone is required to answer calls and talk to customers, from employees to managers. This helped them maintain their Average Call Answer Time at under 3 seconds.

The Legend program

In order to reward 10/10 scores, they launched a program called HMC Legends. If an employee got 10 10s in a row from customer surveys, they would appear on a leaderboard screen. The winner of the board would also get a $200 gift card.

If an employee became a Legend 10 times in a 12-month period, they would be inducted into the League of Legends, a hall of fame, and would get a big prize like a trip.

What are they thinking of doing next? Running a little program to highlight and promote their employees’ stories, and especially the stories that the HMC Legends can share.

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