Monday, June 23, 2014

Viewpoints Industry Looks at Customer Service Training ... or the Lack Thereof

Viewpoints Industry notes that many of the retail associates who interact with customers on a daily basis have been poorly trained.  Most store chains claim they have a training program, but many dodge the expense with "on the job training", which frequently turns out to be a very poor substitute.  Many businesses claim they "can't afford to train" their people, but if they look at it, the reverse is actually true:  they can't afford not to.  Do they really prefer their customers being used as guinea pigs while their rawest recruits learn by trial-and-error?  Whatever training is provided is usually about product knowledge and store procedures like how to use the cash register.  Seldom, these days, does anyone do any meaningful education about customer relations.

Viewpoints Industry asks:  who is training the new customer service associates?  Often, no one.

The Viewpoints Industry TV show offers a simple tip for improving the level of customer service in the retail sector.  It all starts with improving the relationship between management and front-line workers.  If a worker is disgruntled by his or her immediate supervisor, why would their attitude with customers be any better than that?  The "team" concept must include everyone at the worksite or it doesn't exist at all.  And if the common thread in this team feeling is how much the employees hate their jobs, its not going to make for a healthy work environment, nor any place a customer would want to shop.  If workers loathe the job, they'll loathe the customers.  If they love where they work, that feeling will rub off in every interaction with a customer.  Workers are not born with inherent customer service skills, these need to be taught.

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