The goal of the present survey is to reveal major training needs of customer service representatives. It is important to outline common difficulties these employees face and it is also essential to trace any gaps in their professional skills.
To achieve the goal mentioned above, employees should complete some questionnaires. The questionnaires should include the following questions:
Employee’s Name. __________________________________________
How long have you worked as a customer service representative? _____
How long have you worked at this company?______________________
Do you work:
Please select the areas which are the most difficult for you to cope with:
Answering phone calls
Making phone calls
Face-to-face communication with customers
Communicating with management
Using technology (telephone, computer, etc.)
Using software (Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.)
Consulting customers on services provided by the company
Learning about company’s services and products
Which of the following training topics are you interested in?
Customers service skills
Organization’s structure and services (products)
Please select the most appropriate mode of the training program for you:
Real setting training
Which training method would you choose:
Have you attended workshops which you could recommend to your colleagues?
Please note the most convenient time for you to attend lectures and discussions. ___________________________________________
Please point out the most convenient day for you to attend lectures and discussions. ___________________________________________
This questionnaire addresses common needs of customer service representatives (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). It will help to collect the necessary data to design the most effective training program for customer service representatives.
According to Barbazette (2006) it is essential to use different methods to conduct needs analysis survey. As far as the present survey is concerned, first, employees will complete self-administered questionnaires. After this, it is possible to create focus groups. Employees will be grouped in terms of the time they have been working.
Of course, employee’s needs will also be taken into account. If it is difficult to place an employee to any group, it will be necessary to conduct an additional individual interview. The effectiveness of the training program depends greatly on forming of the focus groups.
It is important to combine the three methods mentioned above to eliminate any possible inaccuracy. Thus, self-administered questionnaires are good for collecting data concerning exact each employee’s needs. These questionnaires will also enable a human resources development specialist to collect comprehensive data concerning employees’ difficulties.
It is important to note that questionnaires should be precise and clear. Employees should be able to understand each question to answer it properly. Besides, it is important that questionnaires are quite short as employees do not have much time for such tasks (McConnell, 2003).
If the questionnaire is lengthy, employees can pay little attention to each question in order to cover all points. Of course, this will not lead to proper data collection. It is also important to note that questionnaires should contain data concerning the future training program (at least, most suitable schedule can be designed on the basis of the employee’s answers). Thus, questionnaires should be precise and brief.
However, sometimes even the most comprehensive questionnaire is not enough as employees can have doubts concerning their own needs. Therefore, individual interview can help the trainer to identify real needs of employees to place them in the most appropriate focus groups. Training should be held in groups as the most effective training presupposes a lot of discussion and sharing ideas (McConnell, 2003).
Admittedly, these methods of data collection will help to design the most effective training program (Barbazette, 2006). Some may argue that needs analysis is a waste of time. For instance, some may say that it is enough to hold workshops when something new is introduced (new services or products, organizational changes, etc.).
However, it is essential to make sure that employees are aware of the present state of the organization. It is also important to understand whether there are certain gaps in employees’ knowledge or professional skills. As soon as these challenging areas (gaps) are revealed, they can be easily eliminated during properly designed training programs.
It goes without saying that needs analysis is the best way to outline the areas which require special attention. Thus, while conducting needs analysis, a HRD specialist can reveal the most challenging areas for each employee. More so, the HRD specialist will be able to design the most appropriate training program.
For instance, the questionnaires will help the HRD specialist to understand how to combine different techniques (discussions, lectures, videos, Internet and/or real-life settings). Admittedly, the right choice of the most appropriate technique can ensure that the training program designed will be effective and will meet the employees’ needs.
Barbazette, J. (2006). Training needs assessment: Methods, tools, and techniques. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2009). Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos280.htm
McConnell, J.H. (2003). How to identify your organization’s training needs: A practical guide to needs analysis. New York, NY: AMACOM.