You are the HR manager for a small retail company that sells a high volume of products over the Internet. Your company is growing rapidly due to increased Internet sales. Your company prides itself on providing high-quality products and services. The Customer Service department is integral to the success of the company. Over the past few months, the Customer Service department has been unable to fill its openings for Customer Service Representative positions. You suspect there could be a number of reasons for this, but you know you first need to look at the job, the work flow, the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience the company is seeking to ensure the job reflects the current workload and expectations.
Write a six to eight (6-8) page paper in which you:
- Examine at least three (3) approaches that you can take as the HR manager to conduct a job analysis of the Customer Service Representative position. Suggest the major pros and cons of each selected approach. Recommend the approach that would be most effective in conducting the job analysis for this organization. Justify your recommendation.
- Select two (2) out of the four (4) approaches to job design that are the most important for you to consider. Suggest two (2) challenges that you may encounter when designing a job using each of the selected approaches. Support your response with specific examples to illustrate the potential advantages and disadvantages of using each approach.
- Using the four (4) approaches to job design, create two (2) strategies that the organization can implement to attract and select qualified applicants for the Customer Service Representative position. Justify the main reasons that the selected strategies would be effective.
- Propose three (3) ways that you can use the information obtained from a job analysis to measure the performance of Customer Service Representatives. Provide a rationale for your response.
- Use at least three (3) quality academic resources in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not qualify as academic resources.
Approaches to conduct a job analysis of the Customer Service Representative Position – Sample Answer
Job analysis is a comprehensive, hard technique that involves highlighting all essential job aspects. It is a comprehensive work behaviors statement which also contains other essential information regarding the job. The main goal of carrying out job analysis is to describe the employees work behavior in doing the job together with the important job requirements. Job analysis approach differs expensively based on a specific job and the job requirements. In this case, a customer service representative is an individual who is responsible of offering effectual customer service for both external and internal customers by use of in-depth, excellent knowledge of the company programs and products and communicating with team member effectively in the department of the customer service. The three best approaches that can be used to analyze customer services representative include observation, interviewing and critical incidents (Biddle Consulting Group, 2011).
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Observation analysis technique involves watching the worker while performing his or her job without his or her knowledge. This ensures that the worker is at ease performing work as usual and thus making it ensure to detect the actual worker behavior in the workplace. The main advantage of using this job analysis technique is that observation gives the observer a chance of measuring the workers ability to handle customers, workers attitude while doing the job and more so when dealing with a nagging customer. It also provides an opportunity to evaluate the worker’s ability to employ knowledge to solve problems, to make decisions regarding a situation and the ability to separate personal moods, attitude and problems with the job. Basically, customer service representative need to be in a position to handle a wide range of different people with different behaviors with a friendly and welcoming manner. Observation assists in testing this ability. The main disadvantage of using observation is that one can only make a judgment based on what occurs in a natural environment. It is not possible to test all extremes related with the customer representative work.
Interview involves talking directly with an employee with intention of measuring the employee knowledge, ability and skills in his or her job position. In this case a standardized method of conducting interview is employed to ensure all aspects are covered. Interview main advantage is that it gives the HR an opportunity to measure the employee knowledge regarding his or her work position. It also give the HR an opportunity to interact with the workers and thus to understand their attitude and behavior better since interview involves a contact where one can easily get more information about another through physical appearance, and the body language. The main disadvantages of using this method of job analysis is that it is time consuming and thus, the HR may require more time to complete the job analysis. In addition, unlike observation which is done while the employee is still in his or her working process, interview demand an employee to stop working for it to be completed effectively (Campion & Thayer, 2001).
Critical incident analysis is another method that can be used to evaluate workers abilities, skills and knowledge. This involves evaluating how a worker handled a serious condition. In particular, critical incident is an essential job evaluation tool in customer service job category since it involves interaction with different people who can easily influence the employee emotions and hence behavior at different times based on the situation. The main advantage of this method of job analysis is that it gives more information on how a worker can solve critical problems that put company’s reputation on the spot. The major disadvantage of using this form of job analysis is that, it may results into biasness while judging the workers behavior since may be hard to replay the scenario just as it was.
The best technique among the three in evaluating the customer services representative job would be observation. Observation is selected in this case since it allows the HR to evaluate an employee in the work environment while behaving normally without being anxious or cautious for being watched. This gives a true picture of how the employee behaves, handles problems, manages to multitask, and manages to handle a diverse range of customers with different attitude and respect value. Therefore, it is the only technique that can assist in gathering actual information regarding the worker’s knowledge, skills and ability to employ the knowledge and skills to perform effectively.
Job Design Approaches
Job design is defined as the process in which the qualities and characteristics of jobs are created and determined. Jobs are developed in job design. Job design is enacted to facilitate the productivity and efficiency of an operation. Job design is comprised of four major techniques which include the scientific technique, personal contemporary job design technique, job enlargement and job rotation. Among the four, the two main techniques that are applicable in this case include individual contemporary technique of job design and job rotation. Individual contemporary approach was created as an alternative to scientific approach. This approach contains five positive work and individual outcomes that include turnover, absenteeism, satisfaction, quality work performance and high motivation (Morgeson et al., 2011). This happens when workers are permitted to work in a setting where work allows a person to acquire a sense of results oriented satisfaction, empowerment, responsibility and meaningfulness.
The five main job characteristics include feedback, autonomy, job identity, job significance, and skill variety. Job enrichment is attained when jobs are high on the central characteristics. This includes when workers value feelings of empowerment, responsibility, meaningfulness and knowing the work results. Job enrichment also results to positive work and personal outcomes. Job rotation on the other hand does not alter the nature of a particular job, however, it increases the general number of duties a particular worker do overtime. By changing the employee working position in the same department, the organization is able increase job identity and task variety since the worker is doing a number of tasks. The two approaches are selected in this case because working in the customer care department can be quite stressful especially when the customer also has a number of personal issues pressuring them. In this regard, creating an environment that the workers will feel part of and that will motivate them will be very necessary.
The one of the two main challenges that we might encounter while employing individual contemporary approach is that, this approach is so extensive and thus, it may be hard for the employees to understand the design and implement it accordingly to acquire the best results. The second challenge is, the approach gives so much freedom to the workers and thus, and thus poor outcome me be obtained if the workers are going to use their time inefficiently. The main challenge with the rotation approach is that if not well scheduled rotation can result into conflict among workers. In addition, rotation can also result to irregular performance in the department due to different workers abilities on different aspects in the department. For instance an individual who is very good in answering calls may be unable to handle different customers’ reaction in a face to face environment. However, the main advantage is that this allows workers who had a bad time with client to get some moments of peace by working on something different (Prenhall, n.d.).
Strategies to select and Identified Qualified Workers
To identify and select qualified workers, the company will need to establish two strategies based on the four job approaches. The one of the two possible strategies is creating an extensive customer representative work environment will all machines required to enhance customer care department operational in any part of the world but sectioned such that each desk has a specific role, skills and knowledge that need to be applied. Then workers rotations will then be enhanced with intention of evaluating how much knowledge each participants has for every section. This way, the HR will manage to identify individuals who can ensure great performance to the organization through this department (Morgeson et al., 2011).
The second strategy will involve building extended environment in which each worker can perform more than one customer care task at a go of consecutively and allow each worker to develop his or her own strategy of handling the workload or the work demand. In this case, the company will be trying to integrate the enlarged work design while also allowing using the measures employed in individual contemporary to enhance the workers performance. The HR will consider observing how well an employee can define his or her way of handling work pressure and delivering effective result. In addition, this will also focus on measuring how well an employee can use the resources available to enhance has or her work environment to create job satisfaction. Therefore, this strategy will be effective more on measuring the workers ability to work under maximum job pressure but with individual’s freedom on the procedures to follow to enhance effective performance.
Performance Measurement in Customer Service Representative
Performance measurement in the customer service preventative department can be measures in a number of ways. The information obtained in job analysis can be used to evaluate the department performance in a number of ways. One, the information can be used to measure the knowledge difference in the department. If there seems to be people who are more knowledgeable in the department than others then it implies that there could be individuals who do not satisfy the customers as they should. Lack of the required information and knowledge can be obtained from the interview review. In this regard, workers are expected to be very conversant with the company’s services and products to be able to answer all customers’ question in comprehensive, accurate and convening manner. Lack of equal knowledge or extensive knowledge regarding what they deal with can be considered to translate into poor performance.
Another strategy that can be used to measure performance in the department is determining the number of critical cases in the department focusing more on instances where the employee lost emotional control or temper. The number of times in which the employee mishandled the customers can easily determine hoe efficient the department is. In the actual sense, an employee is supposed to work on the notion that customer is always right. In this regard, even when the customer is urging over impractical matter, the employee in customer service department is required to remain calm and to softly and friendly try to make the customer understand. In this regard, a high number of emotional reactions and creation of a big scene in the company can be considered as performance problem with few cases will demonstrate high efficiency.
Another strategy to use to measure performance in the department is by evaluating the number of missed calls, unanswered mails, customer queue and the service time among other performance efficiencies. If the department is recording a huge number of missed calls suspended calls and the same means that most customers are not receiving the services they need on time. This also applies to a huge number of unanswered emails. Long queues and lengthy service time can be taken to mean that attendant do not have the comprehensive knowledge of the product they sell and thus they are wasting more time to consult before giving a feedback to a customer. In this regard, this can be taken as a poor performance.
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