Alrajhi bank is an Islamic bank that has a vision of promoting the quality life of its customers. Its mission is to become the most successful bank that provides its customers with innovative services that comply with the sharia law and the latest technological developments. However, this is not possible without a competent customer service. In line with this realization, this paper proposes to develop a curriculum for training employees in this department on how to enhance their competencies in customer service.
Although Alrajhi bank hopes to become a model bank in the Islam religion, the bank is currently facing a challenge in its customer service department because majority of its employees in this department are unable to handle customers effectively. Most of these employees do not know how to make a lasting impression on customers. Accordingly, they do not establish a rapport with customers or make them feel that they are in the right bank.
Purpose of the training program
The purpose of the proposed training program will be to enhance employees’ competencies in customer service department. The human resource department hopes that once the proposed training program will be over, employees in the customer service department will be able to offer quality services to the bank’s customers.
Current literature acknowledges the importance of enhancing employees’ performance through trainings. It indicates that employees improve their commitment to what they do if they understand the rationale behind it. This implies that organizations need to continuously train their employees if they want to improve their performances. In line with this implication, Elnaga and Imran (2013) claim that development of desired knowledge; skills and abilities in organizations require effective training programs. According to Werner and DeSimone (2012), training programs are important aspects in organizations that intend to improve skills of their employees. In spite of this fact, very few companies devote their time to evaluating the effectiveness of training programs or even organizing such training programs. This notwithstanding, organizations should organize training programs for their employees. The training programs should address themselves to certain areas of organization that require improvement. Accordingly, training programs should be unique and specific on what they want to achieve.
This paper proposes to take the bank’s employees in the customer service department through an intensive training program. The proposed training program will run for one week and the employees in question will meet in the bank’s training centre. During that one week, a tutor from the human resource department will be responsible for the training. The said tutor will utilize ADDIE model of instruction (Allen, & Sites, 2012). With the help of this model, the tutor will start by analyzing employees’ needs. Then upon analyzing these needs, he will design and develop an effective training program that will be implemented within the one week of training. The theory of learning by doing will be integrated in its training program.
Expected outcomes: Once the training process is over, the human resource department expects that bank’s employees in customer service department will be able to improve their services to the customers; thus, make lasting impressions on customers.
Part Two: Actual training program
Bank’s customer service training program
Definition of customer service
A poor understanding of the term customer service can affect the way employees in banking industry relate with customers. This training program aims at improving the definition of this term in Alrajhi bank through the following subtopics.
- A broad definition of customer service
- Qualities of a good customer service
- Responsibilities of an employees in customer service
- Professionalism in customer service
- Importance of customer service in a bank
Who are bank’s customers?
Employees in a bank should understand their customers because doing so helps them in offering quality services. This training program will help customer service employees to advance their knowledge of customers through the following subtopics.
- Definition of a customer
- Different types of customers
- Customers’ expectations
- Handling complaints
- Measuring customers’ satisfaction
Establishing rapport with customers
Like in any other business, businesspeople should develop rapport with their customers. This training program will enhance these skills with the help of the following subtopics.
- How to develop a friendly approach with customers
- How to build trust among customers
- Making lasting impressions
Telephone skills are important in a bank’s customer service. This program aims at enhancing telephone skills in customer service through the following subtopics.
- Effective greetings in customer service
- Handling telephone conflicts and calls
- Listening skills
- Questioning skills
- Closing telephone conversations
Communication skills in customer service
Finally, communication skills are important in all businesses. Accordingly, this training program will enhance these skills through the following subtopics.
- Definition of communication
- Communication processes and types
- Communication skills
Competent customer service employees in a bank should be able to handle customers from all backgrounds. They should be able tell what each customer requires at any given time because customers may come to the banking halls unaware of what they need (Barbazette, 2005). Furthermore, these customers may come to banking halls agitated by inaccuracies in their bank accounts. For these reasons, customer service employees should be able to handle difficult customers, they should be able to communicate effectively and address challenges as they emerge. In addition, they should provide best solutions to customers’ queries, develop customer loyalty and make accurate decisions.
Before employees participate in the training program, the human resource department will test for existence of KSAs among these employees using the following questionnaire.
- How do you define customer service?
- How often do you engage in customer service?
- How do you handle customers once they enter the bank?
- Do you bother to make a lasting impression on customers?
- How do you do it?
In designing the training program, the tutor has adopted the theory of learning by doing. This theory postulates that learners understand tasks better when they perform those tasks rather than when they hear about those tasks without putting what they hear into practice (Ellis, Demurjian, & Naveda, 2009). The rationale is that customer service employees will improve their services once they learn about their services and put them into practice rather than when they hear about those services without putting what they hear into practice.
The tutor has developed both hard and soft copy instructional materials. The hand copy instructional materials include the handouts and printouts that employees can carry home with them at the end of the training program. On the other hand, the soft copy instructional materials include e-learning materials and videos that employees will continuously receiving at their workstations. The employees will access these e-learning materials at their workplaces. These learning materials cover topics on customer service. The videos demonstrate how employees can improve their customer services as well as approach difficult customers among other things. The reading materials, on the other hand, do not only highlight various customer service topics, but they also contain case studies.
In designing the teaching-learning paradigm, the tutor has adopted the ADDIE instructional model. This model has started by analyzing what the customer service employees understand about their services in the bank. It has also analyzed what they do not know about their services. After analyzing the needs of the customer service employees, the tutor has designed the subject matter of the teaching-learning program. This teaching-learning program has taken care of the interests of the tutor together with the interests of the customer service employees. At the same time, it has taken care of the inabilities of these employees for the purpose of enhancing them (Barbazette, 2005). Afterwards the tutor has proceeded to developing the learning process. The learning process describes the entire learning process by indicating what takes place at what time. With regard to the instructional model in question, the last part of the lesson plan includes the implementation and evaluation processes. The logic behind adopting this instructional model is that it is able to help identify the actual needs of the employees and develop an effective process of training employees how to address those needs.
At the initial stage that was considered the entry level, the human resource department sent a soft copy of unique customer service questions to all its employees in the customer service department. These questions assessed how these employees understood customer service. The intention was to assess the existing knowledge, skills and abilities of the employees. Upon assessing the existing KSAs, the human resource department then developed the training objectives (Allen, & Sites, 2012). Among other things, the training objectives included the following.
- To help employees understand the importance of customer service in the bank.
- To help employees understand their roles in customer service.
- To help employees strengthen their customer services.
- To help employees handle complaints from customers effectively.
- To enhance employees’ skills of customer service.
Part Three: Program assessment
This part of the curriculum is concerned with assessing the effectiveness of the lesson plan in enhancing the competencies of the customer service employees. Accordingly, the tutor will collect, analyze, construe and assess program’s outcomes from the learning process. Most importantly, the tutor will evaluate the program’s outcomes based on how the employees will perform during the training process. In order to do this, the tutor will utilize both formative and summative methods of evaluation. With regard to formative evaluation, the tutor will evaluate how employees understand the topics taught each day through simple walk out cards (Labin, 2012). These walk out cards will require employees to highlight the main points they pick from the training each day. The employees will drop these cards in the boxes that will be placed near the door as they walk out of the training room. For summative evaluation, the tutor will request employees to prepare simple reports at the end of the training process.
Assessing employees after training
The following rubric will be used to assess the effectiveness of the training program.
- How do you rate this training program?
- It is good
- It is bad
- Did the training improve your customer service knowledge?
- If yes, how will you implement what you have acquired in this training? (tick as may options as you can)
- I will create a lasting impression on my customers
- I will change the way I handle customers
- I will create a rapport with my customers
- All of the above
- Do you think the training achieved its objective?
- How did it achieve its objectives?
- By focusing on key areas of customer service
- By sidelining some key areas of customer service
- I do not know
Allen, M., & Sites, R. (2012). Leaving ADDIE for SAM: An agile model for developing the best learning experiences. Alexandria, Va.: American Society for Training and Development.
Barbazette, J. (2005). Training Needs Assessment: Methods, Tools, and Techniques. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Ellis, H., Demurjian, S., & Naveda, J. (2009). Software engineering: Effective teaching and learning approaches and practices. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Elnaga, A., & Imran, A. (2013). The effect of training on employee performance. European journal of business and management, 5(4), 137-147.
Labin, J. (2012). Real world training design: Navigating common constraints for exceptional results. East Peoria, IL: American Society for Training & Development.
Werner, J., & DeSimone, R. (2012). Human resource development. Mason, OH: South-Western.