Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Why Employee Training Is Really an Investment in Customer Service

Corporate Training, KAIP Academy, Learning, Training, Workforce Development

Photo Credit: Stephen Alfano

By Stephen Alfano

Loop opened. Let me start by saying that I am a humanist at heart: I believe in and champion the philosophy that ultimately it is the critical thinking and rationale behind the actions of people that run any successful endeavor—especially business. I inherited this “people power” belief from my Socratic (and selfless) parents. This bent blossomed and grew with a ‘70s-era public grade school and ‘80s-era liberal arts college education. It then expanded further, and was honed razor-sharp over a 30-year marketing and business development career. Here, critical thinking and rationale took the form of extensive studying, shaping, and supporting the thoughts and behaviors of people at the center of the reaching the primary goal—satisfying customers.

“Customer service has everything to do with consistency, systems, training, and the habits you and your team create.” – Amber Hurdle, employee engagement author

Of course, considering Amber Hurdle’s insight, my preamble might sound a bit Pollyannaish to my fellow rationalist (albeit economist) peers and betters—those who might try to couch my thinking with the simple fact that without profitability, there is no business to be had. Fair enough. Customer-centric solutions delivered by educated and diligent employees don’t always spell profit in the marketplace. (The failures of Compaq, Circuit City, and Pets.com are textbook examples.) So, people—employees—are only partially responsible for effective customer service.

Statistically speaking, according to Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO at AudienceBloom—leader in the social media audience acquisition marketing sector—in an Entrepreneur article, five out the ten reasons clients leave are directly related to employee involvement or interaction. And two more are indirectly related.

In my experience in marketing and business development sectors, I have seen surveys where 75% or more of the customer service satisfaction was employee-related, to wit: the difference between a loyal customer and one ready to walk away to a competitor seemed to hinge on the actions (or inactions) of employees. Considering that employee actions (or inactions) are mostly determined by training, investing in this area would then equate to an investment in customer service. Loop closed.

Below, you’ll find several incredibly helpful (and humanist) employee training-related links:

5 Tips for Developing an Effective Employee Training Program

Every Employee Needs Customer Service Training — Here’s Why

What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is an Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has 30 years of experience leading and managing internal and external marketing initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing change management and communications expertise and support services to California State Departments.

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