Customer service case study – Employee Training

Customer service training may help entities achieve benefits associated with efficient customer service initiatives. Taking such a perspective an article in the 1997 issue of Management Development Review, provides some of the critical aspects that customer service training should encompass. According to the New developments in customer service training (1997) customer service initiatives ought to be proactive rather than reactive to the customer needs to enhance customer satisfaction. Accordingly, organizations should strive to impact in their customer service representatives, with problem-solving skills and ways to manage customer feedback efficiently (New developments in customer service, 1997). This for Wal-Mart is critical with observation of employee disregard of customer complaints, and in other cases, being rude to a customer who seeks their service in respect to a particular aspect of their experience (ConsumerAffairs.com, 2011). Some of the skills recommended to deal with customer feedback (even when it seems annoying) are: learning to consider customer remarks in a professional rather than a personal manner, recognizing ones burnout early to avoid cases of susceptibility to anger due to work-related stress, aiming for customer satisfaction so as to create a loyal customer rather than perceiving customer care simply as a service (e.g. by encouraging feedback), and treating all individuals in the organization as customers, so as to effectuate the services that are offered at each level (New developments in customer service, 1997).

To buttress the importance of training, Freemantle (1994) covers the basic principles that customer service should meet to ensure its effectiveness. According to this article, some principles that effective customer service tries to sustain are meeting all the promises that the entity makes to the customers, responding to customer inquiries in a timely fashion, ensuring all communication between the entity and the customer is provided in a polite and respectful fashion, and letting the customer aware of any aspect that may have gone wrong before such customers even realize (Freemantle, 1994). By letting the customer know of any aspects that were not rightfully performed before their knowledge, the customer service would be acting in a proactive rather than a reactive manner New developments in customer service, 1997). Further, such actions help establish an emotional attachment with the customer where they perceive such actions to showcase the entity as a caring partner, thus leading to enhanced consumer loyalty (Barnes, 2003).

An article in strategic direction summarizes what customer service training should include. According to the article, customer service training should address “each aspect of customer contact” (Improving customer service, 2009). Accordingly, training needs to go beyond training for front-line staff and ensure that every employee in the entity becomes customer oriented (Farne, et al., 2001; Improving customer service, 2009). Accordingly, customer service training initiatives should be based on core aspects such as incorporating customer feedback to better processes in the entity, setting performance standards that help track the service provision, and integrating ways of simplifying processes so that customer service may be made more efficient Improving customer service, 2009).

According to Prager (2003), effective customer service training bears various lessons for the organization. Firstly, such training may be used as an avenue through which an organization-wide transformation can be achieved (Prager, 2003). Since effective customer service training involves programs destined for various organizational levels (Improving customer service, 2009), such training can be a source of the force needed to transform the organization culture to one of offering service to individuals who receive ones output, not only the external customers. Secondly, according to Prager (2003), training initiatives only become effective when they are continuously marketed to the senior management by demonstrating their worth to the organization. This is because the success of such programs largely depends on the commitment of such management to offer support to the programs (Macaulay & Cook, 1994a; Improving customer service, 2009).

A third core lesson that Prager (2003) notes of effective customer care training, is the involvement of customers. Such involvement may be through soliciting feedback from customers on aspects of customer service they perceive to be inefficient, thus help in tailoring the training sections to improve on the noted inefficiencies (Improving customer service, 2009). By incorporating customer feedback in the training session, the session would meet the other core aspect noted of effective training, which is focusing learning on the customer rather than a pre-established organization need (Macaulay & Cook, 1994a; Improving customer service, 2009; Prager, 2003). Since consumer expectations of the entity are dynamic, Prager (2003) notes that customer training should be a continuous process that allows employees to meet the changing customer expectations. Training employees with required skills thus could better the service they offer the customers and thus enhance customer experience hence customer satisfaction which in turn would lead to such customers being loyal to the entity’s products. Go to part 5 here.

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