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Measuring training performance through customer service satisfaction

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Providing a training program in a service center means gaining and using skills and knowledge that lead to high performance, which entails having a high Customer Service Satisfaction in a fast, efficient way at low costs.

If the training is not perceived like that from the agent’s part and the management team, then the training is just a waste of time and resources, and can lead to losing valuable customers. What it should be understood is that the training is not done for “the sake of training”, but to have an impact on the service level and customer satisfaction.

The difficulty arises when evaluating the training performance in an objective way through valid realistic data, and not just through impressions and subjective values.

The Kirkpatrick model of evaluating the effectiveness of a training program entails 4 stages:

  • reaction (where the trainer can observe the reaction of the participants)
  • learning (when the learners receive tests and assignments during the course and so, the trainer can observe if the explanations were clear for the learners)
  • behavior (to what degree the participants apply what they have learned when they get back to their job)
  • results (where the trainer evaluates the applicability of the training through long term results and measures the training program’s impact).

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This is the theoretical approach in evaluating the performance of a training, but in our case, we are interested in the last aspect of this model evaluation: the results, especially the results reflected on customer satisfaction.

There are two ways of measuring training performance in a Service Center.

The Productive Way

The first way, through which managers can evaluate the timeliness and efficiency of an agent.

The KPIs that can be used in order to evaluate efficiency are Call Handling time, Abandon Rate, Inbound Calls, Call Transfer Rate, Call within the service level time, Calls on hold for more than X seconds/minutes, Talk Time, Calls answered within X seconds/minutes, First Tier Closure, Escalation Rate, Customer Satisfaction level etc. This type of KPIs can also be implemented in a personal scorecard.

The Qualitative Way

The second way of evaluating training performance and also the one that answers the question “how well” the agent accomplishes their job. This kind of objectives can be measured using the data, survey, and opinions provided directly by the customer (depending on the type of customer evaluation each Service Center owns).

In this case, making a connection between the training program efficiency and the customer satisfaction is the best way to correlate the “results” with the final aim of this business industry.

Moreover, the qualitative way of measuring training performance is well reflected in the objectives of a survey provided to the customer; when giving a rate, the customer has in mind the following metrics for evaluating the agent: proper use of the language, professionalism and courtesy, providing the correct solution to the customer and the resolution success, which are the main elements of the qualitative service.

Now that we understood the connection between the measurement of the training program performance and customer satisfaction, we can present the way a trainer can perform this evaluation.

The TIER Model is a research model in training intervention effectiveness and its advantage is that it can be applied to a variety of topics. Its objectives are to identify the challenges and factors that make the training successful, match research efforts with the nature of the questions, minimize training development risks and concentrate research resources. What concerns us from this TIER Model is that it structures training performance research across four stages:

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During phase 1 and 2, we evaluate and draft the objectives and the training process. Thus, we explore the instructional alternatives to determine the best way of research. During phase 3 and 4, we determine if the training intervention met its objectives as planned before its delivery.

As we are measuring the training program performance, we are interested in this during phase 3 and 4. The evaluation phases have the following theoretical structure:

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This model focuses on the efforts of training evaluation studies. It provides practical knowledge of training research, allowing for the measurement of the training performance through objective data.

Applying this graph in our case, the measurement of a training program in a Service Center has the following schema: the trainer prepares the training program in order to have objective long term results via Customer Satisfaction, and the monitoring should be done throughout a three-month observation period. The trainer establishes the research subject (the topic of the training) as study case (let’s say, for instance, Microsoft Outlook troubleshooting).

The “Microsoft Outlook troubleshooting” can be perceived also as a sample, as it represents the actual topic that raised debates, low customer service rates, problems and generated, in consequence, the need for a training.

After the training, the trainer (or quality manager) needs to collect data for at least one month before the training (we recommend three months before) concerning this particular topic and observe the results for the next three months. By results, we mean collecting customer satisfaction surveys from clients, as being the most efficient way in evaluating the training performance, as previously mentioned.

Thus, we collect customer satisfaction data 3 months before the training and at least 3 months after the training in order to have an overview as objective as possible. And so, we analyze these data during a certain period of time, for a certain sample, finally reaching the conclusions: Was the training program efficient? Do we see results?

In most cases, if the results are not satisfactory, we should not search for the answer exclusively in the effectiveness of a training program, but in another way of agent stimulation: bonuses or punishments.

In conclusion, if we apply the training strategy theory on specific cases, as samples, following a certain research method, while also finding and implementing the right KPIs, even the topics that seem difficult to evaluate from an objective data point of view can produce a pertinent result.

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