Customer Service Training

Course Description

Customer Service experts have long agreed that community relations training needs to focus on attitudes and values. Many times, it is not a matter of employees not knowing what to do, but rather a question of employees not doing what they already know how to do. In other words, the true challenge is to find out those factors -- personal and organizational -- that get in the way of employee performance and inhibit their effectiveness. Training programs seeking to impart customer relations skills must attend to the attitudinal factors and values that influence individual performance as well as skill development.

IPI's Customer Service course increases understanding of the importance of the role of front-line employees in fostering excellent customer service and influencing the perception the public holds of the parking profession. Although specific skills, such as communication techniques and problem-solving strategies, are included in the curriculum, the course is primarily devoted to raising awareness of how daily actions, attitudes and behaviors affect the quality of individual performance, work relationships and interactions with the public. This workshop provides participants an opportunity to review basic skills, learn new ones and begin a reflective process that should become part of their daily routine -- to think about their values and attitudes regarding their community relations responsibilities and to assess ways in which they can improve their interpersonal effectiveness.

During the course, participants will:

  • Examine their values and attitudes regarding the role of the enforcer, cashier and maintenance personnel, and the impact of these values and attitudes on their interactions with others.
  • Identify their core role contributions and gain a better understanding of the relationship of these contributions to the overall parking management philosophy of the department.
  • Explore the importance of communication skills in fostering successful community relation practices.
  • Discuss strategies for effectively resolving community relation problems and minimizing negative interactions with the public.
  • Determine essential community relations practices, assess their performance against these performance elements, and identify opportunities for performance improvement.
  • Make a personal commitment to strive to engage in positive community relation practices and to support the department's parking management philosophy and community relations efforts.

Deliverables

At the conclusion of this training program, employees and the organization will have developed the following:

  • An employee-generated definition of "role contribution" for the course participant's specific position, which reflects the organization's philosophy. This statement can be used in several applications, including new employee orientations, job descriptions and performance standards, and as a tool for monitoring employee performance on a regular basis.
  • Characteristics (actions/policies/procedures, etc.) that encourage the desired public relations behaviors and those which appear to mitigate against those desired behaviors. This information -- and management's response to it -- can be used to reduce impediments to employee performance and build the trust essential to sound management/staff relationships.
  • An employee-defined set of role expectations regarding "public contact" essentials. These documents can be incorporated into existing materials, such as in new employee orientation, performance expectations for supervisory roles, as well as performance standards.
  • A prioritized list of personal and professional development needs articulated by employees. This information can be used by the authority and the employee union to identify future training needs and related interventions designed to demonstrate recognition and support for the contributions associated with their role.
  • A more "focused" and capable workforce, clear about role expectations, armed with a greater sense of purpose, and equipped with useful tools to better deal with the public and members of the community. If supported by sound supervisory and management practices, this training should result in enhanced morale and self-esteem for front-line employees and better community relations, as evidenced by fewer conflicts and complaints.