Customer Service Training – Strategic Human Resource Management

Creating a Customer Service Training Class For All New Employees

Imagine that you are a member of the HR department of a small retail company and upper management has asked you to create a new employee customer service training class for all new employees.

Write a six to seven (6-7) pages paper in which you:

  1. 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. 
  2. Develop a customer service training implementation plan and determine the method of training (i.e., presentation, discussion, case study, discovery, role play, simulation, modeling, or on-the-job training).
  3. Justify why you selected the training method that you did. 
  4. Propose two (2) ways to motivate an employee who has no interest in attending a training class.
  5. Develop a survey to collect feedback from the employees who attend the training.

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The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:

  • Design job and task analyses that align with the overall HRM strategy.
  • Design training and development systems to improve employee performance.
  • Use technology and information resources to research issues in strategic human resource development.
  • Write clearly and concisely about strategic human resource development using proper writing mechanics.

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Customer Service Training Needs Assessment

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.

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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.

Customer Service Training Method And Implementation Plan

The organization recognizes that customer service entails meeting the needs and expectations of the clients and customers of the organization. Ability to meet the needs of the customers implies that the organization has already identified and understood the needs of the customers. In addition, the organization knows the expectations of its clients (Monks & McMackin, 2001). In fact, customer service should entail the capacity of the organization to treat others in a way that we ourselves want to be treated. The customer service implementation plan should recognize that the new employees need to provide excellent customer service in a consistent manner meaning that the employees ought to work as a team in order to achieve their goal (Monks & McMackin, 2001). As such, the training should be skewed towards explaining to the employees the importance of working as a team since a team will always be able to deliver high quality service in an effective manner.

Although some employees might suppose that provision of high quality customer service is an individual responsibility, it is imperative to mention that personal attributes have no place in an organization that seeks to provide such services consistently. Among the major training topics for new employees will include but not limited to; sharpening the customer services skills of the new employees by providing ample training on effective techniques that meet the needs and the expectations of the customers. This is possible by cultivating a positive corporate image, enhancing teamwork and problem solving skills as well as customer care. In addition, the employees will be trained on generating a specific level of performance that reflects commitment and that which enhances a culture of high quality services that is entrenched in professionalism.

In order to achieve the objectives of the customer service training, it is imperative to provide employees with a method of training that is easy to learn and easy to remember. This is possible by adoption of a method that dwells on customer experiences and situations and focuses on resolving frustrating problems raised by customer in everyday encounters. To that end, I would prefer using presentations, role play and simulations (Huselid et al., 1997). Presentations entail hiring a professional to offer lectures to employees on the appropriate behavior that employees should uphold when dealing with the customers (Smith & Mazin, 2004). The trainer provides tips that are essential to follow when dealing with the employees. This will enhance the trainees’ ability to deal with the customers. In order to understand the use of the tips provided in the presentation, it is important for the trainees to engage in role plays that depict a customer and an employee. The trainees will be required to use their acquired knowledge to deal with customer experiences that the trainer will simulate (Smith & Mazin, 2004). All these methods of training will lead to better equipped employees who possess skills and knowledge about different customer situations.

Ways to Motivate an Employee Who Is Attending a Training Class

While majority of the employees might be willing to attend the training, others may be reluctant. The role of the trainer is to increase the motivation of the employees by highlighting the importance of providing high quality service to the customers. There are various ways of motivating such employees. First, the trainer should emphasize pay for performance. This implies that employees with the best customer feedbacks will receive some rewards (Huselid et al., 1997). As such, the reluctant employees will underscore the importance of receiving extra training in order to improve their service hoping to receive a reward at the end of the day. Indeed, Montana & Charnov (2000) assert that pay for performance is one of the most motivating strategy among the employees.

Another way that the trainer could motivate reluctant employees is by pinpointing various opportunities that exists within the organization regarding customer service department. The employees who possess the most experience and training relating to customer service will be recommended to the HR department for promotion (Huselid et al., 1997). This will arouse their interest of joining the training session as way of accumulating training and experience of excellent customer service. In fact, many employees expect that they will experience career growth and development while working for an organization (Montana & Charnov, 2000). As such, future promotions can lure and motivate the unwilling employees to attend customer service training.

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