Justify the use of a needs assessment of your company’s proposed employee customer service training, stressing five (5) ways in which such an assessment would expose any existing performance deficiencies.
Apparently, there is a surge in the number of consulting firms and people specializing in assisting clients to recognize and identify the needs of their customers as well as their employees. As the member of the HR department, the manager has requested me to create a new employee customer service training class for all new employees. One of the most important things before embarking on the creation of customer service training class is to evaluate the existing gaps amongst the new employees (Montana & Charnov, 2000). This calls for a needs assessment that could help to establish the gaps that need to be bridged within the organization. It is important to mention that I will use questionnaires and focused group discussions to conduct a needs assessment of customer service skills gaps exhibited by the new employees. Using these methods of needs assessment will expose the existing performance deficiencies in various ways.
At the outset, focused group discussion allows the members to share experiences from a wide cross section of department’s representatives within the group (Cohn et al., 2005). This is dependent on the facilitator’s ability to ensure that the group is made up of all representatives ranging from managers to the entry level employees. In other words, the makeup of the group is critical to allow free flow of information regarding customer service and the performance of the new employees.
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In addition, it is important to mention that focused group discussion promotes open discussion. This will not only ensure that the employees share their challenges about the apparent gaps that exist in regard to customer service but also recommend ways that the company could increase its ability to improve customer service. The richness of a focused group discussion is dependent on the ability of the facilitator to guide the direction of the discussion by skewing it towards the need to conduct customer service training. According to Montana & Charnov (2000), it is critical for a focused group to be guided by the major objectives of the needs assessment. The facilitator should allow the group to discuss the issues that are at hand as opposed to turning the group into a platform where employees raise other pertinent issues (Monks & McMackin, 2001). With this in mind it is easy for the employees to help in revealing the gaps that exist in terms of providing high quality customer services.
Other than using the focused group discussion when conducting a needs assessment, it is imperative to integrate surveys and questionnaires. The rationale is that some employees may not feel comfortable raising their issues and challenges that they face when delivering customer services. In fact, many may view their challenges as a source of incompetency and as such, they hide the challenges in a focused group discussion that also features their managers (Cohn et al., 2005). Surveys and questionnaires have the quality of confidentiality leading to a better way of exposing gaps that are apparent in the performance of new employees (Smith & Mazin, 2004).
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Using the two methods of conducting a needs assessment, it is possible to identify occupational, organizational and individual needs and the capacity of the organization (Ulrich, 2009). The questionnaire will be in a position to reveal individual needs such as the gaps that exists in terms if skills, information, knowledge and abilities of the new employees. In addition the assessment will reveal the level of organizational performance when providing customer services as well as the agency needs (Cohn et al., 2005). Besides, the questions will be posted in such a way that the needs assessment will reveal the competencies possessed by specific employees in fulfilling the organizational goals and particularly, the provision of customer services.
Finally, my needs assessment will expose the discrepancies and gaps that exist by ensuring that every aspect of organizational abilities, goals and mission are focused within the assessment. This will ensure that every new employee will discuss or answer questions that align his or her performance to the goals and mission of the organization (Cohn et al., 2005). In addition, it is important to highlight that the two methods of needs assessment will reveal almost all gaps within the organization and also save a lot of energy and costs associated with other methods of needs assessment such as strategic audit, observation and one on one interviews.
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