Arm The Front Lines

Sometimes the amount of money set aside for management training and workshops is quite high while funding for training of the front-line personnel is spread very thin. The investment has to be made. Additionally, many organizations tend to hire front-line personnel without carefully considering if the employee possesses the right attitude and values to represent the brand. Applicants are required to possess certain characteristics—such as being drug-free—but perhaps managers should pay more attention as to why this employee wants the job, or if he or she is a good fit in the company culture.  An example that highlights the importance of every employee comes from Zappos.com. According to its hiring culture, a prospective employee may be interviewed by as many as 10 to 15 people for a $13-per-hour call-center job. Even after the prospective employee is offered a job, he or she is required to sit through several weeks of training, including listening to recordings of real customer interactions, before ever working a full day. 

Delivering a great customer experience can be achieved when focus is placed on developing front-line personnel. And to really beat the competition and turn these employees into your best customer-retention strategy, you need to invest in them. 

Tatiana Chalkiidou, Ph.D., is a parks and recreation professional with experience in recreation and sport management. She has taught leisure management courses, presented various workshops and education sessions at national, state, and local conferences, and has collaborated with various funding agencies in park-related projects. She continues to provide services through consulting. Reach her at tatchalk@gmail.com or on twitter at @TatChalkidou. 

Michael Bradley, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation and Park Administration at EasternKentuckyUniversity. Reach him at michael.bradley@eku.edu or on twitter at @RecKnowledge.

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