Customer service is undoubtedly becoming one of the most critical elements in the success of any company. With changing of consumers’ demands and increased competition, many business ventures are continuously forced to shift focus and pay more attention to efficient customer service. With an already established consumer service culture, the challenge many companies face is the process of hiring and training new employees within the specified timeframe. The ability to train and orient new workers plays a significant role in ensuring that each employee interacting with consumers is a reflection of the innate culture of service embedded within the organization. Thus, the following discussion explores the role of a needs assessment in customer service training and how it can be used to expose any performance deficiencies.
Conducting a Needs Assessment
Bringing in new employees to the company can be a frustrating experience for both the employer and the customers. Unfortunately, many bosses are not keen on conducting an effective training session due to time and cost constraints and this reflects negatively on consumer confidence and in turn affects the growth of the business. Therefore, providing a thorough training program on customer relations ensure that new employees understand the importance of good consumer service and allow them to fit easily into the organizational culture.
In the retail industry, an employee needs assessment is an added advantage and an asset for any company seeking to bring in new staff members. The Human Resource department faces tremendous amount of pressure to bring in employees who have adequate skills and capabilities to perform well. In order to identify the best employees for a particular job position, the use of a needs assessment is imperative in selecting candidates that only fit the demands of the company. As required to create a new training class for new employees, there is a deep personal conviction that individual needs assessment greatly helps to expose performance deficiencies at an early stage.
Firstly, it largely gives a company an opportunity to explore the needs of each new employee and subsequent training that each candidate requires. In this aspect, the firm is able to provide the right training to the particular type of candidate hence massively saving the costs of training. Secondly, a needs assessment exposes any existing performance deficiencies in terms of organizational one. Through observation of the latter, the HR department is able to identify the specific abilities, expertise and knowledge that the company needs from the new employees. This assessment allows the firm to recruit suitable candidates that have the potential to help the company grow rather than slow it down. The third approach in exposing performance deficiencies can be applied through an occupational needs assessment. It is an assessment concerned with the evaluation of required skills, knowledge and abilities in a particular occupational group. Through an occupational assessment, the level and type of occupational discrepancies are easily identified and analyzed so as to establish the performance of an employee. Therefore, it determines the worker’s ability to carry out new and different tasks hence largely aiding in the training processes (Evenson, 2010). Fourthly, a needs assessment can expose performance deficiencies through a personality test. Different employees have varying personalities. Some have the capacity to work and perform well in the retail sectors while others thrive best in more broad ones. Hence, through a personality test, the company is able to identify the suitable individuals with the correct personality that suits retail. Fifth and lastly, through needs assessment, the company is able to establish the priorities in terms of importance. This allows the firm to mitigate constraints such as costs which may hamper performance.
Customer Service Training Implementation Plan
Given that customer service is vital in every organization, consumer service training is equally an important process since engagement with consumers is a direct reflection of the company. The implementation of consumer service training entails a firm understanding of consumers’ needs and possible means of their surpassing through effective reinforcements. Therefore, in developing a consumer service training implementation plan with employees, there are various considerations to be made (Evenson, 2010). The implementation plan takes the following layout:
- Step one: Identify and understand the needs of consumers. Before implementing the consumer service training plan, it is paramount for the organization to have a comprehensive understanding of what consumers want and expect from the employees. The information on their needs can be retrieved through the use of comment cards, website feedback and rating sections, carrying out surveys and verbally inquiring from the consumers the experiences during visits at the company. Through this first step, the organization is able to understand its position on consumer relations and relay what it expects from the new employees.
- Step two: In order to implement the consumer training plan, it is important to evaluate each employee’s level of skills and capabilities. The assessment can be done through observation of worker’s engagement with consumers and the type of service offered to customers. Some employees have a natural ability to relate well with different consumers while other are endowed with problem solving techniques that are useful in attending to customers. The ability to study and understand each worker’s strengths and weaknesses allows the company to place the right employee to meet a particular set of consumer needs. Further assessment of employees can be achieved through conducting frequent meetings which give them a chance to demonstrate and explain their best skills at consumers’ service.
- Step three: Designing and implementing a training method is significant in the fulfilment of the training plan. The training method should allow employees to freely demonstrate their skills and expertise, showcasing how best they execute them.
- Step four: Constant re-evaluation of the relationship between workers and consumers ensures that the company’s service protocols and policies are adhered to by the employees. Re-evaluations can be carried out in ever quarter of the year and allow employees to give feedback on their performance as well.
The method of training to be adapted is on-the-job training. It entails the process by which managers, experienced supervisors or existing employees step in to train new workers on the job. Thus, on-the-job training allows staff members to pass down the company’s knowledge to the new employees. It is a suitable and effective training method since it provides real-time learning experience. Furthermore, it ensures that new employees experience live situational alertness on consumer interactions and their expectations hence learning how best to approach each consumer scenario (Cummings & Worley, 2014).
Motivating an Employee
It is often presumed that all employees enjoy attending training sessions. Although training is a valuable learning process for the new workers, many of them find it difficult to balance work responsibility and attending training programs. Additionally, some employees lose interest in attending training sessions due to the belief that there is nothing new to learn from the sessions or the material discussed is irrelevant to their job descriptions. As a trainer, there are various ways that one can adopt so as to motivate an employee who has little or no interest in attending the required training class. The trainer can encourage the employee through:
Knowing the Employee
The first step in understanding a new worker is by knowing the type of person he/she is and understanding his/her values in life. This entails asking questions about the individual’s values and motivations in life together with his/her view of the company in general. In addition, learning what is important to an employee in terms of job satisfaction allows the trainer to identify with the employee’s needs which can be catered for during training (Aamodt, 2012). By showing interest in a new worker’s value, the trainer is able to pull in the interests of the individual and in term motivate him/her to participate in the training process. Moreover, an employee is able to feel appreciated and welcomed into the company thus showing increased interest to take part in the training process.
Partner with Employee in Achieving Goals
Every employee seeks to find growth and development in every venture, together with achieving goals and objectives that are meaningful to them. Another way of motivating the worker is by showing a genuine concern in achieving their goals and interest in their work. This involves getting out and asking employees about their new roles and challenges they face rather than waiting for the worker to ask for assistant (Aamodt, 2012). It also involves asking the employee who shows no passion his/her goals, thus, understanding whether they are in line with the organizational overall objectives and how best to train the employee. In turn, the worker is able to gain support and motivation to develop self-growth and contribute to attaining the organizational goals.
Great customer service does not simply entail giving consumers what they want, it rather involves important skills such as problem solving, leadership abilities, effective communication and interpersonal skills. Such skills are detrimental in building an efficient customer service thus, fostering the growth of the company, revenue increase and most importantly, consumer retention. Implementing a suitable customer service training plan is significant in achieving great customer relations. Through a needs assessment, the company is able to identify performance deficiencies in good time so as to avoid future negative implications. Moreover, feedback from the employees is important in establishing the effectiveness of training programs as a means of improving their performance.