CUSTOMER CARE: Staff training as part of your 2010 resolutions

At an interesting meeting recently with a big business owner in Kigali, the CEO explained to me his plans for the growth of his business in 2010. He was so proud to announce to me his budget in renovating his office and equipping it with the latest modern technology tools. He became upset when I asked him the percentage of that budget to staff training.

At an interesting meeting recently with a big business owner in Kigali, the CEO explained to me his plans for the growth of his business in 2010.

He was so proud to announce to me his budget in renovating his office and equipping it with the latest modern technology tools. He became upset when I asked him the percentage of that budget to staff training.

With his eyes widely opened; he simply told said “with all this money I’m going to spend on the renovation, do you want me spend money again on the staff? they should be happy I’m upgrading their working environment”

As we enter a new year; many business owners have new plans and new ideas for their businesses but few are those who have training plans and career development plans for their employees.

An investment that does not take into consideration employees’ commitment is destined to perish because good equipment without staff professionalism will never give a strong competitive edge.

If you think you cannot afford to provide training to your employees, then you need to know that you are surely losing money every minute you wait to improve your employees’ skills and productivity.

A Well-trained staff with refined skills and depth of knowledge can be of great help to achieving customer satisfaction because customer care is definitely linked with staff professionalism.

Training offers personal growth for your team members and it also gives them great skills to assist your customers. Through frequent trainings, your employees will gain in confidence that will enable them deal as professionals in front of your customers.

Even though the economy is tough and many businesses are being forced to cut down on their expenses, you need to understand that training your staff is not an area that should be neglected. Training should be an integral part of your strategic plan for your business.

Some of the numerous advantages in training your staff are:

a) It makes your staff become highly qualified staff
b) It helps them understand what is expected of them
c) It makes your people understand the vision of your company and makes them see in the same direction as you the business owner

d) It is a key factor in staff job satisfaction, motivating and morale among employees
e) It increases efficiencies in processes, resulting in financial gain

If you follow the steps below, your business will gain a lot:

1. Define a Real Training Plan

You will need to prioritize certain trainings from language, communication, attitudes, and welcoming, sales techniques to product knowledge. All these themes are important. But you need to take time to analyze each job to determine the best training.

A training module that was good in a company next door might not adapt to the specific needs of your staff.

2. Chose the Right Training Partner

Training doesn’t have to be extremely expensive to be good but a key element in choosing a training partner is to look for a partner that will understand and accompany your organization.

Be selective as unfortunately not every consultant is a good trainer. A professional trainer will know how to adapt training modules to the local environment of your organization.

3. Chose the Right Methodology

People learn in many different ways. Good trainers know how to engage adults; they are able to prepare activities such as written exercises, group discussions and role-playing scenarios.

Other tools such as video; games etc will help learners to better understand the training content.

If you want the training to be effective, avoid too many slides or theories. People are not interested in long theories but rather concrete examples that will help them change their old bad habits.

4. Ensure there is Training Follow up

The key differentiator of a successful training is ultimately the follow-up. In selecting your trainer, make sure to have a real follow-up plan to help your team put in their working place the new skills they learnt. Follow-up can range from one-on-one coaching to group follow-up sessions.

If you want to have a return on your training investment make sure there is a follow-up in place. You need to have employees demonstrate competency after training. Make sure you choose an inexpensive way to test the effectiveness of the training afterwards.

You can evaluate training performance by the use of simple tools, like a written or verbal test or observation of specific skills.

We for instance at Shei & Enz Consulting, we use mystery shoppers who come to your organization to experience the services offered to customers. Their reports help to monitor and coach progress of trainees.

Often small business owners think that they cannot afford training or...they don’t have time to train. The fact is that, you simply can’t afford not to train your staff.

In today’s vibrant economy, Training is a MUST. Business owners should avoid perceiving training as an expensive burden.

If you decide to invest in your team players today, they will in return be able to offer good services. In 2010 invest in your employees and they will become productive.

This will surely improve on your profits as your company can make a lot of money with well trained employees. So let trainings be part of your top New Year resolutions.

The Author is a Customer Service consultant working in Rwanda

sandra.idossou@sheiconsulting.com
www.sheicosnulting.com

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