Customer Service Training Not a Priority

( The quality of customer service is on the decline- not good news for service industries including those that will play a major role during the Rugby World Cup. This is according to Chris Bell, Managing Director of Customer Experiences a company that specialises in developing high quality customer experiences.

Bell said there are a number of reasons for the lack of focus on customer service training including- watching costs post recession, not wanting staff away from the workplace, high staff turnover and a reluctance to make an investment that may only be short term.

However, Bell thinks the main reason is the ineffectiveness of front line customer service training programmes, a result of a quick fix approach to improving performance in this area that has not worked for sometime and has therefore been seen as a cost rather than an investment.

Bell sights the low up take of a recently launched Tourism front line training programme as an example of this attitude. He said that businesses want to see a real return on these investments, even a heavily subsidised one like the tourism programme that has a goal of 7,000-10,000 people through it before next year’s Rugby World Cup and at this stage looks like it won’t come close.

Bell said that business needs to look at their customer service performance along side issues like the 67 percent of employees that go to work everyday disengaged and as a result are focused on only doing what’s necessary to hold down a job. Customers will not receive consistent high quality experiences from these people.

From our experience great customer experiences are reliant on three things-

1) Leadership that is employee & customer focused
2) A culture that has everyone committed to the continual improvement of their customer experience
3) The RIGHT people in the RIGHT positions

Bell said that businesses that have these three areas sorted out dramatically out perform their competitors, have higher numbers of loyal customers that are continually recommending them to others, have lower marketing costs due to increased word of mouth, have greater profitability due to less of a focus on price and have the right people wanting to work for them.

Bell is at a loss to understand why a business would not want these benefits and is urging business to refocus and make a genuine commitment to their people and customers and address their total customer experience not just the customer service aspect.

Media Release 22 July 2010 from Customers Experiences Ltd.