Customer Service and Training

Customer Service and Training

The Verizon Wireless Corporate customer service department has been receiving poor customer service ratings and complaints from customers at our retail stores and via the call center. Verizon Wireless Corporate is a reputable organization that is committed to offer customers the most reliable service on the nation’s best wireless voice and data network. Because of its widely known reputation management needs to be aware of these issues and take action immediately. In order to move forward, we must evaluate the training process and proceed accordingly.

Our first task is to conduct a training needs assessment for Verizon Wireless Corporate. We begin with the organizational analysis. Due to the high sensitivity of complaints, management will be under full advisement of the training process. “Verizon Wireless’ integrity in the marketplace is a key component of our reputation for trustworthiness and service. ” Because of its credo on integrity, training should be taken very seriously to live up to its value and fall under its business strategy with keeping to it’s’ policies and procedures.

Resources must be made available in order to maintain Verizon’s reliable service reputation status in its communities. In order to maintain the high standards demanded from our associates the training staff is recommending keeping these training modules within the company. To keep training costs at a reasonable level, we intend to utilize an interview technique. This will enable the training staff to work at an efficient pace that won’t interfere with obscure schedules. Another cost effective technique will be the use of online technology.

We will establish a working relationship with NETG, a company which provides online services for various training modules. It is highly recommended and been used with other big companies such as Koch Industries, Inc, Blue Cross Blue Shield RI (BCBSRI), and Unisys. We will be able to design specific training outlines targeting customer service skills. By implementing the use of online technology, there will be little interruption to the employees daily work procedures. Also, we believe that employees will respond more to its Verizon personnel than an outside source.

Our next analysis will be Person Analysis. For this, we will start at the time of hire. At this time all employees will be required to review their policy and procedure manuals given to them and will be required to have the manuals assessable at all times. The HR Department will need to verify that all employees signed and dated these documents. The training department will need to contact all employees via email requesting them to respond with any questions, concerns or complains with these documents, so it can be added or adjusted to the training course.

This will be required to aid in determining if there are any misunderstandings within the organization. Employees will also be asked to select what day’s best fit their schedule based on the training schedule provided to them. As you can see, the training department is asking all employees, because this type of training is required by everyone in the organization. Task Analysis is our next assessment. The training sessions will focus on Verizon’s commitment and values. It’s commitment to put our customers first by providing excellent service and great communications experiences.

Its values include integrity, respect, performance excellence, and accountability. These values will be instilled in all of our employees. This part of the needs assessment will also focus on the managers for each retail store and call centers. These managers need to be well versed in the policy and procedure guidelines for this type of training. Once this training is complete, they will be responsible for upholding these guidelines and recognizing when certain values become inappropriate. Two techniques will be utilized for these training sessions, interviewing and online technology.

In order to gain a better understanding of what type of customer service is being given and its concerns, staff from the training department will conduct interviews with all employees. These interviews will also generate an open forum for individuals to express any concerns they have with an underlying issue as well. It is understood this type of process is time consuming, but pertinent information can be uncovered in these types of techniques that is beneficial to the organization’s growth.

Once the interview process is completed, employees will be asked to perform a web-based training application. This application will be supported by a resource called Skillport that is provided through our new established relationship with NETG as it was mentioned early. This application allows our training staff to manipulate various training modules, and target specific areas of interest (i. e. customer service processes, procedures, managing challenges). This resource is a critical phase in training, because it offers immediate feedback and allows the employees to work at their pace.

After completing our task needs assessment, we continue with the construction of our lesson plan. Within this lesson plan we need to assure that the transfer of training is exchanged accordingly. For this to take place, a cost-benefit analysis needs to be conducted. It is imperative at this level of training and development to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for Verizon Wireless Corp. This method/technique is designed to determine the feasibility of a training project or plan by quantifying its costs and benefits; meaning that the benefits are greater than the costs.

Five primary components are involve in the cost benefit analysis which include direct costs, indirect costs, development costs, overhead costs and total training costs. These are costs that are directly related to the training; costs which are common to all training; costs incurred during the introduction and development of new training to improve on existing training; indirect or fixed costs not directly related to training; and the total training costs. After the analysis was configured, the benefits of the training were greater than the costs.

This cost-benefit analysis is shown in Appendix B. Training at this point is essential and need to ensure what is learned in training is applied on the job. The transfer of training needs to take place. This “refers to the trainees’ effectively and continually applying what they learned in training (knowledge, skills, behavior, cognitive strategies) to their jobs” (Noe, 2008, p. 169). The transfer of training includes two key elements that are generalization of training to the job, and maintenance of the learned material.

Generalization refers to a trainee’s ability to apply learned capabilities such as verbal knowledge, motor skills, behaviors, etc. , to any on-the-job problems and situations that are similar but not identical to those problems and situations encountered in the learning environment. Maintenance refers to the process of continuing to use newly acquired capabilities over time (Noe, 2008, p. 169). The transfer of training is influenced by three factors: the training design, trainee characteristics, and the work environment. We have also acknowledged that the learning environment will influence the transfer of training.

From the desired training outcomes of our training needs assessment, it was determined that the trainee characteristics such as basic skills, motivation, and low self-efficacy would be conquered with strategically designed and properly conducted training. Within the work environment there are four elements which will have a direct influence on the transfer of training such as manager’s support, peer support, technology support, and the climate for transfer, and the opportunity to use newly acquired capabilities on the job.

The climate for the transfer of training must be positive in order for the other elements to have a positive effect on the transfer of training. The positive attitudes and behaviors of the trainees and management towards the training that has taken place is the climate of transfer. The first element of the work environment is the manager. Managers must possess good attitude towards the training, and stress the importance of training to its employees, thus resulting in a positive transfer. Next is peer support. By sharing experiences of training within co-workers on the job becomes another positive element of positive transfer.

When a trainee has an opportunity to use their learned capabilities from training, and are eager to use them, this also will result in a positive transfer of training. With technological support new skills can be acquired to further enhance the transfer of training by using computer applications; and electronic information sources can be used while applying new skills to better the transfer of training. Another element which will affect the transfer of training is the learning environment. “A good effective learning environment is developed by focusing on four dimensions of the environment.

These dimensions are: a focus on meaning, support for each person involved, structure for each person, and collaboration that adds value to the existing environment” (Concept, n. d. ). Within the learning environment, there must be continuous learning – where what is learned is shared among employees using job as a basis for applying and creating knowledge. There is also a learning culture, where learning is rewarded, promoted, and supported by managers and by company objectives. In the learning environment knowledge should be generated and shared.

Here systems are developed for creating, capturing and sharing knowledge. We have learned that there positive factors that enhance and promote the transfer of training, but there are elements which hinder the transfer of training as well. Elements such as working conditions can be a hindrance to the transfer of training. Working conditions can include time pressures, inadequate equipment, or an inadequate budget. Another negative factor is lack of peer support. When peers discourage the use of new knowledge and are unwilling to provide needed feedback, it hinders the transfer of training.

Management support can also have a negative impact and hinder the transfer of training. Managers who do not reinforce training or who do not discuss training opportunities will bring a negative climate to the transfer of training. These negative impacts will not hinder our desired training outcomes. It will be avoided, along with the fact that we will have designed a workable, efficient, and effective training program (Noel, 2008). For this training program, an effective and highly transferable training program was carefully designed and prepared.

The training site and the preparation of the site were carefully chosen. The facility used as the training site is the conference room located at the workplace. Because of its availability, comfortable, climate controlled, suitable, and technologically equipped conference room the facility provided the atmosphere which aided in the transfer of training. Motivation, readiness, and KSA’s were used to select the trainees. This in itself promoted the transfer of training. The learning environment included ready trainees, supportive managers, and eager, knowledgeable, and capable trainers.

The learning environment was set to maximize the transfer of training. The training design of the training program has the greatest effect on the transfer of training. This training program was designed using a combination of the Cognitive Theory of Transfer, the Stimulus Generalization approach, and the Theory of Identical Elements. The cognitive theory of transfer suggests that “the likelihood of transfer is increased by providing trainees with meaningful material that enhances the chances that they will link what they have encountered in the work environment to the learned capability” (Noe, 2008, p. 73). This theory emphasizes the increase of likelihood of the transfer of training by having the trainees identify a particular work issue faced with customer service presented during training and encouraged them to discuss among themselves how to apply what has been taught to solve the problem. The will help increase KSA retention as well. The stimulus generalization approach “suggests that the way to understand the transfer of training issue is to construct training so that the most important feature or general principles are emphasized” (Noe, 2008, p. 73). Just as is suggested, the training program will teach general concepts and broad principles, trainees will be made aware of examples from their experiences that are similar to those emphasized in training so that connections can be made among strategies that have been effective in different situation, and the program will emphasize that the general principles might be applied to a greater set of contexts than those that are presented in the training setting. (Noe, 2008, p. 73) The theory of identical elements “proposes that transfer of training occurs when what is being learned in the training session is identical to what the trainee has to perform on the job” (Noe, 2008, p. 170). Here transfer will be maximized to the degree that the tasks, materials, equipment, and other characteristics of the learning environment are similar to those encountered in the work environment. Trainees will be given real-life situations that they will encounter as customer service representatives and how to approach such issues.

The training program was designed by using four specific essential elements which are: course parameters, a lesson plan overview, a detailed lesson plan, and objectives. The course parameters “refer to general information about the training program including the course title, description of the audience, purpose, goals, location, time, prerequisites, and name of the trainer” (Noe, 2008, p. 156). These parameters are based on the information obtained from our needs assessment. The course objectives relate to goals of the program which include expected behaviors, conditions and standards.

The course objectives will be included in the detailed lesson plan. The detailed lesson plan is a translation of the scheduled activities (a guide) that will help deliver the training program. “Lesson plans include the sequence of activities that will be conducted in the training session and identify the administrative details” (Noe, 2008, p. 156). The following outlines pages our training program followed with our detailed lesson plan. Course Parameters: Course Title: Customer Service Excellence: How to Improve and Deliver Exceptional Value to Today’s Customer, KSA’s retention, and Work related ethics.

Target Audience: All Employees Purpose: To enable employees to heighten performance capabilities, maintain learned KSA’s while maintaining a high level of professionalism at all times and to communicate effectively in everyday customer service transactions, as well as in difficult situations. Goals: Employees will be able to perform tasks at a high level of efficiency, readily retrieve necessary KSA’s to perform tasks, and work with a continual mindset of providing the best customer service to our valued customers. Total Time: 3 days Number of participants per training: 50

Training Location: Verizon Wireless Corporate Site Instructor: Ana Ponce – Training Manager, Verizon Wireless Lesson Plan Overview: 8-8:30 A. M. Introduction to Training, Trainers, and Employees 8:30-10:30 A. M. Lecture: Customer Service Excellence: How to Improve and Deliver Exceptional Value to Today’s Customer, KSA’s retention, and Work related ethics. 10-10:15 A. M. Break 10:15-11:30 A. M. Audiovisual: Performance and learning with difficult customers 11:30-12:45 P. M. Lunch 12:45-2:00 P. M. Case Studies: The “How” of Customer Service Process Improvement, Ethics, Professionalism and KSA Retention :00-3:30 P. M. Simulations/Role Plays 3:30-4:00 P. M. Wrap-Up (Questions and Answers) Appendix A Detailed Lesson Plan Course Title: Customer Service Excellence: How to Improve and Deliver Exceptional Value to Today’s Customer, KSA’s retention, and Work related ethics. Lesson Title: Using Cognitive Theory of Transfer Theory, The Stimulus Generalization Approach, and the Theory of Identical Elements along with simulations and role playing to couple training outcomes Lesson Length: 3 Days Learning Objectives: Define a customer and differentiate between internal and external customers.

Will understand the three areas of focus for customer service improvement. Understand the importance of KSA’s and KSA retention Ability to plan and implement customer service improvements projects. Managers and supervisors will know how to create employee commitment to good customer service and employees will know why their commitment is critical. Demonstrate through simulations and role playing, all learned and developed performance enhancement skills, developed and newly acquired KSA’s, and focus methods to perform good customer service. Target Audience: All Employees

Prerequisites: Trainee: None Instructor: Skilled in training diversified employees in performance recognition and enhancement, development of KSA capabilities and retention. Room Arrangement: Climate Controlled Materials and Equipment Needed: DVD player, DVD titled “The Basics of Customer Service” Evaluation and Assignments: Case Studies; Role-Plays; Simulations Lesson Outline Lecture**: Presentation Listening 8:30-10:00 A. M. Customer Service Excellence: How to Improve and Deliver Exceptional Value to Today’s Customer, KSA’s retention, and Work related ethics.

Audiovisual**: Observing Watching 10:15-11:30 A. M. Performance and learning with difficult Case Studies Facilitator Participation 12:45-2:00 P. M. Work Situations/ Evaluations Simulation/Role Plays Facilitator Participation 2:00-3:30 P. M. Real Time Work Situations/ Problem Solving Techniques Wrap-Up Q&A Answer Questions Ask Questions 3:30-4:00 P. M. Our final step in our training program is the training evaluation. Before we can move on we need to first understand what is a training evaluation, when is it used, why is it necessary, and what is included in the training evaluation.

According to our text, training evaluation “refers to the process of collecting the outcomes needed to determine whether training is effective” (Noe, 2008, p. 197); meaning that training evaluation is “a continuous cycle consisting of defining training objectives, carrying out training needs analysis, delivering training, assessing reactions to training, and measuring the bottom-line effects of training” (Evaluation, 2009). Our training objectives, goals, and purposes were defined in the detailed lesson plan. A training needs analysis was conducted that revealed that training was needed.

The next step was to carry out the actual training as outlined in the training program and deliver transfer of training. After training was conducted, we now assess the reactions to the training (training evaluation). The results of the evaluation will used to modify, market, or gain additional support for the program. (Noe, 2008, p. 200) The training evaluation/evaluation process is composed of six basic steps. The first step is to define the purpose and scope of the evaluation. This helps to set the limits of the evaluation, confining it to a manageable size.

Defining the purpose will include deciding on the goals and objectives for the evaluation, and on the audience for the evaluation results. The next step is to specify the evaluation questions. This grows out of the purpose and scope in the previous step. The questions will be structured to address the needs of the specific audience to whom the evaluation is directed. The third step is developing the evaluation design and data collection plan. This step involves specifying the data sources for each evaluation question. The fourth step is collecting the data.

The data should be recorded carefully so that it may be tabulated and summarized during the analysis stage. The data should be valid and reliable. The fifth step is analyzing the data and preparing a report. This step involves tabulating, summarizing, and interpreting data in such a way as to answer the evaluation questions. The final step is to use the evaluation report for program improvement. This is the ultimate reason for conducting the evaluation (Fleischman &: Williams, 1996). Training evaluation involves two types of evaluations which are formative and summative evaluation.

Each of the training evaluation has specific strengths which aid in achieving a quality evaluation. Formative evaluation, “refers to the evaluation of training that takes place during program design and development” (Noe, 2008, p. 198). Formative evaluation ensures that the training program is well organized and runs smoothly. It also ensures that trainees learn and are satisfied with the training program. By collecting and analyzing data, it provides us with information about how to make the program more efficient.

Customers, employees, managers, and subject-matter experts will be asked about their opinions pertaining to the content, objectives, clarity, and ease of use of the training program performed. By using formative evaluation the training content can be changed if needed to be more accurate, easier to understand, and more appealing to all involved (Noe, 2008). In order to properly evaluate the training program, we need to determine the effectiveness of the program itself. To accomplish this, measurable training outcomes need to be identified.

These measurable training outcomes is compiled of the following: improved performance, greater productivity, greater customer satisfaction, greater self-efficacy and employee motivation, acquired KSA’s (prior and new), greater KSA retention, and work related ethics. After the measurable training outcomes have been defined, Kirkpatrick’s four-levels of evaluation were used to categorize the outcomes. These levels are: Reaction Evaluation (Level 1), Learning Evaluation (Level 2), Behavior Evaluation (Level 3), and Results Evaluation (Level 4). The reaction evaluation focuses on trainee satisfaction.

Here we included the outcomes of self-efficacy and employee motivation. The learning evaluation focuses on the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior before and after the training. In this category the acquired KSA’s (prior and new) were included. Behavior evaluation is the improvement of behavior on the job. Improved performance and KSA retention were included at this level. The final level, the results evaluation focuses on the business results achieved by trainees. That is, the effect that the trainee has on the company and the environment.

At this level we included greater customer satisfaction, greater productivity, and ethics at the workplace. What determined the training program’s effectiveness were the measurements of the evaluated training outcomes. The significant increases in the cognitive (learning), skill-based (evaluation and learning), and affective outcomes (reaction) were taken into account. With all the increases accounted for, our ultimate evaluation was achieved with great success. It was because of the results evaluation that the Return on Investment (ROI) was exceedingly high.

The cost of the training was insignificant compared to the overall benefits of the company and employees alike (Chapman, 2009). After considering the various evaluation designs available, Verizon Corporate chose to use the Solomon Four-Group Design. “The Solomon Four-Group Design combines the pretest/posttest comparison group and the posttest-only group design. In the Solomon Four-Group Design, a training group and a comparison group are evaluated on the outcomes before and after training. Another training group and control group are measured only after training. (Noe, 2008, p. 216) References Charney, C. & Conway, K. Tool: Calculate the Cost and Benefits of Training. (2005). Retrieved from: http://www. workforce. com/section/11/article/23/95/44. html Concept: Enriched Learning Environment. (n. d. ) Retrieved from: http://www. webs1. uidaho. edu/ele/Definitions/ele. htm Noe, R. Training and Development – Employee Training and Development. The Ohio State University. McGraw-Hill Higher Education NETG and Skillsoft. SkillPort. Retrieved December 1, 2009 from http://www. skillsoft. om/products/SkillPort/default. asp Chapman, A. Kirkpatrick’s Learning and Training Evaluation Theory. (2009). Retrieved from: Fleischman, H. L. , & Williams, L. An Introduction to Program Evaluation for Classroom Teachers. (1996). Retrieved from: McGahee, T. W. & Tingen, M. S. The Use of the Solomon Four-Group Design In Nursing Research. (n. d. ). Retrieved from: http://snrs. org/publications/SOJNR_articles2/Vol09Num01Art14. html Verizon Wireless Code of Conduct, Retrieved December 1, 2009 from http://aboutus. vzw. com/pdfs/Code_of_Conduct. pdf