HR Training Class Imagine a member HR department a small retail company upper management asked create an employee customer service training class employees. 1. Justify an assessment company's proposed employee customer service training, stressing (5) ways assessment expose existing performance deficiencies.
Customer service training class for employees
Need for customer service training class
Our company has thrived as a result of customer satisfaction. We have managed along the years to not only maintain our pool of clients but at the same time to ensure that our references have driven our business further and extend our range of clients, our market segment, and most importantly our brand in the region. However, we operate in a very volatile and changing environment. Competition is the soul of improvement and we must always rise above the challenges the market poses and our competitors.
In order to keep our place on the market and further improve it, we need to ensure that our employees have a client oriented approach at all times and that we do not lose focus on the most important element of our work: the client (Evenson, 2011). This is one of the main reasons for which a customer-service training module for employees is needed. We have come a long way since our early beginning and we need to continue on this path of development. The Customer-service training would point out potential improvements that can take place at the level of the employees that are in direct contact with the customers and thus build on the image that we already have on the market and further improve it.
The training class would also bring added value to the on-going trainings that the employees are pursuing throughout their careers in our company. For their own personal development these trainings would improve their capacity to better relate to the needs of the customer and adapt our offerings to the requirements of the market. The employees working in the customer service department can be seen as our direct business cards and the ones that deal with the client when the client is in need of assistance. We need to ensure that, through our customer service representatives, we provide the client with the best solutions to answer their problems or questions.
2. Needs assessment
In order to calibrate the training class to suit the needs of the employees in terms of customer service, an assessment needs to be done to evaluate the current performance deficits where the case, whether these deficits relate to lack of experience, lack of trainings, lack of commitment for the company values, among other causes.
The need for an assessment of the current status of the employees in the customer service department is vital because it may point out any existing shortcomings in the customer service department. There are numerous ways through which this assessment can be performed (NOAA, 2013). Applied to the specificity of our environment, these methods can include interviews with the employees, focus groups, questionnaires, tests, and reviews of current data. Each of these methods may point out various shortcomings we may experience in our customer service department, which can be addressed through the proposed training session.
The interviews with the employees are the source of first hand information and can provide the best feedback on the needs of the employees. Through focused questions, they can reveal the challenges facing the employees in their day-to-day activities as well as the way in which the employees see their jobs as a whole.
The focus groups are an additional method of revealing the needs of the employees and they supplement the interviews that are usually conducted individually. At the level of a team, there are common challenges facing the employees and through focus groups these challenges can be taken into account and expressed more freely.
The questionnaires are yet another important method of need assessment due to the possible shortcomings they may reveal. In this sense, for instance, if questions on the working environment or work conditions are put in the questionnaires, it may be that the respondents actually think of those issues and assess whether possible improvements can be made that eventually improve their own performances.
The tests can reveal the actual condition of the employees in terms of professional training and shortcomings they may need or have. Although tests can be at times stressful, they are useful to identify possible areas of improvement.
Finally, the review of current data will ensure that possible trends in the performance of the employees, identify areas where issues may arise, and tackle these areas with positive action.
After the identification of the areas where improvement is needed, there are several means through which the trainings can be delivered. Given the nature of our company, the customer service trainings would have the most impact if delivered through presentations, role play, and simulation. The presentations would focus on real life situations such as the ones in which customers were unsatisfied with the assistance that was provided to them in the customer service interaction. These cases can be taken from the data already available, from the complaints that have been made in time, and most importantly from the feedback received from the supervisors of the customer service. Therefore, a part of the training would include the presentations of current situations and this would be useful particularly because of the need to anchor the necessity of the training in real life, tangible cases. Such an approach would motivate the participants to the trainings because most often, they were faced with such cases and a training that would at least promise them to help them solve these issues would be more interesting and useful.
The role-play and the simulation would be a way through which the knowledge accumulated in the trainings would be put to testing. The theoretical approaches of training are rarely useful unless there is a clear applicability seen by the trainees. The role of simulation and of the role-play would be greatly increased if the applicability of the elements being thought would be visible and in reach.
It has been noticed that most improvements would be necessary at the level of the face-to-face interaction with the client. As it is common in our industry, the face-to-face interaction is a business card for the company. Also, it is common knowledge that "customer service training is important because customers have many choices. If they are not happy with the way they are treated, they can take their business elsewhere" (Evenson, 2011, p23). This personal interaction for our company is therefore all the more important.
It is possible however that despite initiatives, employees to lack the motivation to attend such trainings. In these cases, there can be several approaches. On the one hand, there can be the mandatory approach, which ensures that the target employees are actually obliged to attend the trainings. On the other hand, the voluntary participation approach allows the employees to think of the benefits for the trainings and participate from a motivational perspective.
The mandatory approach as an advantage and disadvantage as well. The advantage is that the targeted employees, whether they chose or not, become exposed to the information in the training material. The disadvantage is however that their potential lack of motivation will not ensure that that information would be used in their jobs and that the rational for the training would be attained. Therefore, lacking motivation to participate will only simulate a training session and the training in itself will become a waste of company resources, time, and money.
The voluntary participation approach however is a healthy way of dealing with the training participation. Employees need to be motivated to take part in the training and not forced into it. There are several means though which motivation can be built. Perhaps the most pragmatic one would be to clearly explain the relationship between their current employment and the customer satisfaction index. The happier the customer is, the better their employment conditions would be.
Another way through which employees can be motivated relates to the actual content of the training session. People need to become aware that the information provided not only touches on their professional performance but may also be of help in their outside- work activities. Especially in the customer service department, people skills are very important. The way in which one manages to relate to a difficult customer in a successful manner may also help him / her relate to a difficult person in their lives.
Employees sometimes feel reluctant to take part in training sessions because these are often organized outside working hours. Another means through which motivation could be built would be to ensure that the training sessions, with all their implications, would be part of the job and in normal working hours. However, is such an approach is to be pursued the company must take into account the fact that the trainees may be, for the duration of the trainings, needed to have back-ups on their…