Page 3: The importance of training
According to one Japanese quality guru, 'total quality begins with training. Total quality ends with training.' Training is considered to be an important part of the approach to developing and improving customer service. Think of the day-to-day problems an employee might encounter. For example, how do they deal with enquiries, what happens when customers are not happy with the sales process, do they understand all of the literature, how does the Vax computer work, how are complaints handled, what sort of information will customers require, and how can the employee help them? MFI understands that it needs quality people to provide a quality service.
At MFI every new employee is given their own Workbook, and an appointed person, following a series of guidelines, takes the new employee through a comprehensive company introduction. The aim is for the employee to develop essential knowledge and skills from their introduction which will enhance their job role. For example, they will have to:
- know customer service guidelines
- be able to direct customers towards product areas
- demonstrate and use company brochures and price lists
- be able to provide product and store information
- develop their skills to meet the job demands placed on them by both the company and its external customers
The learning experience they undergo is through a combination of theory and practical exercises and, after each training session, they have to complete an exercise in their Workbook. On a daily basis the co-ordinating manager reviews the employees' performance to reinforce the process and to ensure that the learning objectives have been met. As part of their training process, employees also have to develop their own training plan. This is supported by a series of structured training programmes which are approved by national institutions, over a period of 2-4 years.