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Improving Customer Service

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Running head: IMPROVING CUSTOMER SERVICE

BAKER COLLEGE

CENTER FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

On-Line Masters of Business Administration

Assignment for course: BUS 576 Training and Development

Submitted to: April Flanagan

Submitted by: Chieoma Shabazz

Location of Course: On-Line

Date of Course Meeting: December 11, 2006

Date of Submission: December 11, 2006

Title of Assignment: Improving Customer Service

Certification of Authorship: I certify that I am the author of this paper and that any assistance I received in its preparation is fully acknowledged and disclosed in the paper. I have also cited any sources from which I used data, ideas or words, either quoted directly or paraphrased. I also certify that this paper was prepared specifically by me for this course.

Student signature: Chieoma F. Shabazz

Abstract

Providing excellent customer service is no easy task. This aspect of business is a major force that can make or break profits. However, customer service is rarely mentioned in an organization's mission statement nor is it the top of the discussion list for staff meetings or training sessions. Providing the type of customer service that is expected by customers take a lot of thought and flexibility on the part of management as well as staff members. Oftentimes, it is the little things that are overlooked when dealing with customers that can make all the difference between a satisfied consumer and one lost to the competition. Acts such as leaving a calling customer on hold for extended amounts of time and not making them feel as if they are welcome in your business are things that should be avoided.

Improving Customer Service

Good customer service cannot be bought by an organization nor will it be found in the mission statement. Customer service is a trait that must be imbedded into the culture of an organization and the installation of this critical element is carried out by management. An organization which excels in customer service, is headed by strong leadership (Cardis, 2006). A good leader is someone who can outsmart, outplay and outlast competition (Cardis, 2006). Great managers are able to overcome obstacles and take advantage of opportunities. According to Cardis, poor customer service can be avoided by the following:

1. Avoid becoming stuck in the past. When you live in the past, you let the old ways rule.

This makes it hard to successfully respond to changes in the economy, culture,

marketplace and industry. Those who choose to ignore this information will have

difficulty satisfying customers.

2. Avoid allowing success to inflate your ego. Becoming too complacent will allow

competition to steal customers.

3. Build teams instead of silos. When departments work completely independent of one

another, there is going to be inter-department strife. When inter-department strife

exists, so does poor customer service.

4. Always do the extraordinary. When customers notice fabulous things being done in a

consistent manner, a better perception of the company is created.

5. Embrace change. The country is undergoing rapid demographic changes and leaders

now need to know how to satisfy customers from different cultural backgrounds.

Hiring, training and promoting individuals who think differently, will ensure that all

cultural needs are being met.

Agency Background

The agency provides unemployed workers or anyone seeking employment, assistance from a statewide network of 36 Employment Service Offices located throughout the state. Services include testing, counseling, and referral to jobs. The Employment Service Offices assist all employers, large or small, with filling their jobs quickly with qualified personnel. All employment services are free to the public. Another major service offered by this agency is assistance with filing and processing claims for unemployment insurance benefits. It is the intention of the organization to process claims in a swift and accurate manner so that unemployment insurance benefit checks can be received by claimants as quickly as possible.

All training, with the exception of management leadership classes, is conducted by an in-house training department. Members of this department have been employed by the agency 15 or more years and are therefore, extremely equipped with technical knowledge of job tasks.

Problem

Although agency employees are provided with extensive information concerning procedures for processing unemployment insurance claims and for assisting employers and claimants with job placements, many complaints are received on a weekly basis concerning unsatisfactory customer service and customer service training is not presently being offered by the agency. A large number of received complaints are centered around staff member attitudes and claimants being excessively transferred to various people when calling in with questions. It seems that either staff members are not able to answer questions appropriately or the switchboard operators are routing calls to inappropriate

workers. As seen in Handout 1, acts of this nature are included in the top causes of customer dissatisfaction. Also, due to state budget freezes, many offices are understaffed which leads to remaining staff members having to take on multiple roles.

Taking on multiple roles will create the atmosphere of being overworked and underpaid, which ignites angry staff members who become inpatient with and sometimes intolerant

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