A while ago, I went to pay a phone bill.
As a security measure, the service provider had erected a 2-way window at each of their service counters -I’m guessing here, that previously they had some negative interactions and that this barrier was to protect the CSRs from verbal and physical abuse.
Looking back, I realize that should have been my cue to simply walk out and go on with the rest of my errands.
Nevertheless, I was shocked, when one of their CSRs determined that the best (and I guess to her mind) only way to attract her customers’ attention was to rap very loudly on the glass partition with her pen.
This action, which was both discourteous and unnecessary, spoke volumes about her care and concern for those she was serving, since both parties could both see and hear each other clearly.
Amazingly, when I brought this to her attention, I was met with a blank stare. Even more disconcerting, I soon realized that I was the ONLY one taking issue with her behavior- the other persons queuing in stony silence, seemingly resigned to their collective fates.
We all hear the stories- the clerk that is more interested in her nails than your purchase;
the barista who rolls her eyes when you place your order; the failed attempts at familiarity-where females are addressed as ‘moms’/ ‘mother’/ ‘tants’ / ‘tanty’/ ‘famalee’,
or the disinterested server who simply places your meal in front of you in utter silence. In most cases, the stock response to these episodes of ‘customer disservice’ is that ‘they need to be trained’- almost as if this ‘Training’ will somehow transform them into responsible, caring human beings.
To be honest, while training is supposed to change behavior, and much money and time
is usually invested with this as the goal, it often fails at achieving this objective. While there are many variables that can and do contribute to this shortfall, 3 major issues
1. Training is conducted in a ‘Controlled Environment’
The ‘finished product’- the trained person will now have to replicate these newly
acquired abilities, skills and knowledge in an operational environment, where other
issues -noise, organizational culture, and the behavior of others including members
of the public, will affect this training-either upward or downward.
2. For optimal success, training must be monitored, evaluated and controlled.
This ensures that the new behaviors are ‘hard wired’ from short term to long term memory, where replication over time (and practice) will make them become automatic.
3. Third, training must be imparted using a methodology that involves the
‘WHY’ as well as the ‘HOW’.
This gives the trained person(s) the ability to successfully perform in todays’ dynamic environments, where decisions are often made on the fly. Without this, any attempt to measure performance will give differing results-which will stymie any strategies designed to remedy perceived challenges.
So, while I agree that in the norm, some level of training does take place, an effective
training program, one which results in a high level of customer engagement, customer
returns and exceptional reviews, is often either absent or lacking in these essential ingredients.
And for all the resources that are now being invested in this pursuit, shouldn’t there be
sufficient returns to justify this investment?
What are your thoughts?