Updated: Aug 9, 2020
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; or 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 emerge.
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 today's’ 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.
Therefore to be effective, a training program which results in a high level of customer engagement, customer returns, and exceptional reviews MUST CONTAIN these components - however, most of the time this is either absent or sadly lacking- which in the end hurts everyone!!!
What are your thoughts?