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A 2010 Ascent Group study found and recommended:

1) Most companies studied had a difficult time balancing the day to day needs of the business with the need to train and develop frontline employees.

My 2 cents: Make the time and take the time to train and prepare your valuable customer service resource—your frontlines. Include refresher and ongoing training to keep your frontlines in top performance and current on their soft and technical skills.

2) Hire for attitude, train for technical skills.

My 2 cents: We’ve been waving a flag saying ‘hire for attitude, train for aptitude’ for years. Look for motivated and enthusiastic people and then train them for skill. In other words, people who demonstrate potential, not necessarily experience, may turn out to be your best people ever.

3) Communicate job expectations throughout new hire training.

My 2 cents: This should be a given. The more a new employee understands the job, the environment, the expectations, the less confusion, misunderstanding, and turnover you’ll experience.

4) Emphasize the importance of customer service in the training process. It’s reported that 20% of new hire training is focused on soft skills.

My 2 cents: First off, I don’t think 20% is enough but for sure it’s better than nothing. In order to understand customer expectations and customer perspectives, role playing, simulation, and interaction is a must. Customer service must be defined so you have a benchmark to work towards and improve.

5) Engage new hires with ‘hands-on’ training, make it real. This report showed a growth in more interactive, hands on training opportunities.

My 2 cents: In my opinion, hands on training is the only way to go. Otherwise, the employee is not getting an experience, merely a lecture. Once experiential, it can be included in their every day behavior.

6) Mentoring/monitoring ease the transition to the floor. 46% of companies do this.

My 2 cents: Couldn’t agree more. One on one mentoring helps establish confidence and competence, and is an early avenue to put in corrections as and when needed.

7) Involve supervisors and coaches in new hire and refresher training.

My 2 cents: I am delighted to report this one. Supervisors should have a vested interest in new employees from the start, and be accountable for their successful transition. Being involved in the training gives the supervisors a common language to support the new hires.

These are a few of the major findings from this survey.

I do want to remind you that to create the right experience, companies need to make a fundamental shift from managing volume—the numbers—to managing relationships—the people.

ROSANNE D’AUSILIO, Ph.D., an industrial psychologist, consultant, master trainer, best selling author, executive coach, customer service expert, and President of Human Technologies Global, Inc., specializes in human performance management. Over the last 23 years, she has provided needs analyses, instructional design, and customized, live customer service skills trainings as well as executive/leadership coaching. Also offered is agent and facilitator university certification through Purdue University’s Center for Customer Driven Quality.

Known as ‘the practical champion of the human,’ she authors best sellers “Wake Up Your Call Center: Humanize Your Interaction Hub,” 4th ed, “Customer Service and the Human Experience,” “Lay Your Cards on the Table: 52 Ways to Stack Your Personal Deck (includes a 32-card deck of cards)—motivational and inspirational readings, How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: 101 Insider Tips and hot off the press How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: ANOTHER 101 Insider Tips (http://www.customer-service-expert.com) The Expert’s Guide to Customer Service (http://www.customer-service-expert.com/report.htm) as well as her popular complimentary ‘tips’ newsletter on How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch! available at http://www.HumanTechTips.com

Rosanne is also a Certified Call Center Benchmarking Auditor through Purdue University’s Center for Customer Driven Quality.  This certification training focuses on the access and use of key performance data to help better understand benchmarking results so as to advise on practical solutions for improvement.

For 10 years prior to starting her own organization, Rosanne had responsibility for marketing, budgeting, promoting and ultimately producing domestic and international computerized trade shows in the US, London, Belgium, and Frankfurt. She inaugurated, created, trained and directed a telemarketing on-site staff and was one of the first 150 people to attain CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) certification.

She is a columnist for TMCnet.com, Ask the Expert at supportindustry.com, and The National Networker. She represents the human element on the Advisory Board of an Italian software company, authors numerous articles for industry newsletters, and is a much sought after dynamic, vibrant, internationally prominent keynote speaker.