The Customer Service Department

free essayThe Customer Service Department is vital in the organizational structure of any company. This department aims at providing the high-quality customer support, thereby strengthening their loyalty. Customers are the core asset of the company; thus, the Customer Service Department plays an important role in the formation of the company’s image and maintenance of its reputation. Recruitment for this department is a kind of challenge for the company.

Approaches to Job Analysis

There is a variety of job analysis approaches that I as an HR manager can use. In this essay, I will analyze three approaches: interview, questionnaire, and observation methods. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. Interview method includes ‘live’ communication of an HR manager and employee (Feder, 2000). This helps to get the information about working style, problems that employees usually face, and the use of professional skills. Interview makes it possible to ask employees about their vision regarding a particular position, career fears, challenges, weak points of job description, and communication model with other departments. During the interview, HR manager can hear personal thoughts and feedback about analyzed position. Live communication, the possibility to get full answer, and personal approach are advantages of the interview method. However, due to some reason, interviewed employees can be afraid to answer honestly. That is why it is important to carefully choose questions for an interview. Employees should clearly understand that this process will remain completely confidential. This will help to get the most honest answers from the job applicants. In addition, this method requires a lot of time resources, which is its disadvantage.

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Questionnaire method is a bit similar to interviews. It includes filling in the written questionnaires by employees and their managers. The questionnaires can be in paper or electronic form. Scientists had developed a variety of questionnaire forms such as Common Metric Questionnaire (CMQ), Fleishman Job Analysis Survey, Functional Job Analysis Scales, Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ), and others. This method requires a fundamental preparation as well as interview. Time saving is a significant advantage of using this method, as it requires just the development of a questionnaire and processing the information received. That is why it makes sense to conduct questionnaire analysis in a company or department with large staff. The disadvantage is the lack of individualization. However, questions should be scrupulously selected for each rang of employees (Feder, 2000). It would be good to develop anonymous questionnaire. It will help to overcome the fears of workers and promote their honest answers. It is relevant to include the following rubrics in the questionnaire for the Customer Service Representative position: mechanics of a job, communication and networking, specific of working in an e-commerce company, the process of decision-making, essential skills, feedback, and “narrow space”.

Observation is the third method of job analysis. It is different from the previous two. The observation’s main difference is the absence of a direct contact with the staff. The HR manager can observe the staff insensibly with further record of data. Employees may not even suspect that they were being observed (Feder, 2000). In addition, the observation may appear implausible since we cannot exclude the subjective factor. The HR manager may incorrectly interpret some observed facts because of ignorance of additional factors. This may lead to incomplete or incorrect job analysis and can be considered as the main disadvantage of the observation method. The impossibility to structure the obtained information is a minus too. Besides, while observing, it is impossible to ask questions, find out employees’ views on the position, their difficulties, fears, and emotions (Feder, 2000). This approach enables observing employees and their way of reacting in different critical situations. Despite this, the observation method has obvious advantages. The HR manager during can note interesting facts about employees as well as their relations with colleagues. The observation can be conducted whenever the HR wants. The key to success is to define the aspects that need to be paid attention to when monitoring and selection criteria by which they will be evaluated.

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Having examined the three approaches mentioned above, I can propose an interview method for conducting a job analysis for the Customer Service Representative position. Being an HR manager in a small company, I will not spend much time on interviews (Feder, 2000). As a result, I will obtain the information regarding the workflow, required skills, as well as vision of career development (“Job Enrichment,” n.d.). I will be able to get honest answers to all questions; in addition, it will help to improve my relationships with colleagues and understand the general psychological climate within the team.

Approaches to Job Design

Job design is a next stage after the job analysis and includes clear determining of the job aim, responsibilities, and requirements. Job rotation, job engineering, job enlargement, and job enrichment are common approaches to job design. Job enlargement and job enrichment are the most important for me to consider (Brookins, 2016).

Job enlargement includes horizontal expansion of job responsibilities. This means expanding the scope of work by increasing its functions and responsibilities at the same level jobs. The goal of the job enlargement is improving employees’ motivation by increasing exposure and efforts towards achieving organizational goals.

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With the increased responsibility and accountability, employees do not perform monotonous tasks; it can lead to boredom and reduce efficiency (“Job Enrichment,” n.d.). This can be the first challenge that I as an HR manager can encounter when designing a job using job enlargement approach. Expansion of the work makes an individual realize his growing importance in the organization due to the increased volume of work that is performed by him (Brookins, 2016). Extension of the work requires management of the company to ensure its support in organizing appropriate training for employees in order to make them able to adapt to the increased scope of work (Feder, 2000). It may be a challenge for an HR specialist too. The training program development can take much time, but the results of this strategy are always profitable for the organization; our small retail company is not an exception.

New skills are the result of the ability to make a wide range of activities; it is a benefit of Job enlargement (“Job Enrichment,” n.d.). A variety of extended skills helps organizations to extend and improve the performance of the employee in connection with the organization and individual benefits. Increased efficiency with all new employees implies the enlargement work, they can claim for a higher salary when applying for a new job (Wall, Wood, & Leach, 2004). Most of workers have the opportunity to master the new tools that can help the company to save money by reducing the number of employees they have. However, the results have shown that this process can be used after a certain period of time as well as the increased volume of responsibilities that become routine. This can lead to the same level of motivation and dissatisfaction with work due to high workload (Feder, 2000). Continuous overworking may lead to uncontrollable stress in the work environment.

Job enrichment can serve as a tool using which management can motivate independent employees by delegating them additional responsibilities that are usually related to the higher-level officials (Wall, Wood, & Leach, 2004). Consequently, employees feel that their work is meaningful and valued by the management. The approach of job enrichment is based on the theory that employees have a tendency to strive for success and are willing to believe in their significant role in the company. When employees do not face challenges, they may become slack and do not do their best as they consider that their responsibilities reduce their skills and knowledge (Brookins, 2016). It is especially relevant for the mentioned e-commerce company. Customer Service Department is a dynamic direction, which is constantly evolving (Mione, 2006). The company’s management should continuously train their employees by assigning different tasks that will be a challenge for them to keep in a “good shape”. Job enrichment has disadvantages too. Poor performance and lack of preparation can be a negative result of using job enrichment approach. On the contrary, when workers obtain autonomy for their work, they tend to feel responsibility for the project and will seek ways to achieve the best possible result (Mione, 2006). In general, enrichment work is essential in the workplace because it helps to prevent routine daily operations from hampering the efficiency.,As a result of insufficient training and increasing workload, some employees may not perform as effective as before the work enrichment (Wall, Wood, & Leach, 2004).

How It Works

It is important not to combine job enrichment and job enlargement. Despite the fact that enrichment of the work is considered as horizontal method of job enrichment, it is a vertical method of restructuring because an employee obtains additional powers, autonomy, and control over how the work is done. It is also called increasing job or vertical work expansion.

Recruitment Strategies

The next stage of recruitment of the customer service representative is selecting strategies that the e-commerce organization can implement to attract and select qualified candidates using the approaches to job design mentioned above. Effective recruitment strategies are a key aspect of involving and maintenance high-quality talent to contribute to the success of the organization (Hackman & Oldham, 2016). The labor market is becoming more competitive nowadays and the list of necessary skills continues to grow becoming even more diverse. Reviewing business environment, recruiters need to be more selective in recruiting candidates because ineffective measures could have a long-term negative impact on the organization (Mione, 2006). Recruitment of graduates and headhunting are two strategies that can be effective for our e-commerce company.

Headhunting is one of the research areas implying the recruitment of key and rare specialists with the high level of professionalism. The main method of headhunting is an active search for candidates including those who have already proved their success in that area of business. First of all, headhunter analyzes the market and makes a long list, i.e. the list of organizations in which a suitable candidate can work now (Wall, Wood, & Leach, 2004). When the number of potential candidates is determined, the headhunter proposes suitable candidates to change a job (Feder, 2000). This process takes from one and a half to six months, the headhunter specialist studies the whole labor market of potential candidates. The result is one or two candidates that precisely meet the requirements. While calling potential candidates, headhunter introduces himself and his company together mentioning the purpose of his call (Mione, 2006). In the ensuing conversation, he tries to make the candidate interested so much that he agrees for an interview. The strategy of headhunting would be effective because it enables the search of high-qualified candidates with extended working experience in customer service.

The strategy of recruiting graduates would be effective too. Despite the fact that they are not experienced as qualified candidates, many of them have a huge potential and desire to work. In addition, recent graduates can contribute their ‘fresh’ vision of work with the customers (Feder, 2000). First of all, it is important to decide on universities and faculties the students of which the company wants to see in its personnel. Graduates from the Department of Management, Economics, Psychology, Business Administration, etc. can be considered for the position in Customer Service Department. The implementation of the program of short and medium-term internships lasting from 3 to 6 months for few students or graduate may be the first step (Feder, 2000). According to the results of training, the best students can be employed. All parties will be satisfied with the results of such cooperation.

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Measuring the Performance of a Customer Service Representative

Evaluating the performance of a customer service representative is important for his effective work. There are few indicators that can help to assess the performance: the number of complains that were posted on the web-site, the period required for learning and adapting to work specifics, time needed for processing a request from a client (Feder, 2000). First indicator shows a general satisfaction of clients with servicing; second indicator shows the ability to learn something new; and the third one defines knowledge of specifics of the work and ability to understand the customer needs.

The work of any organization is inevitably connected with the necessity of staffing. Thus, one of the central tasks is the selection and retention of personnel. The selection of new employees is intended not only to ensure the normal operation of organization, but also lay the foundation for its future success. The proper strategies enable effective recruitment and achievement of high working efficiency.