Powers Resource Center Revamps Training Program for National Retailer in Record Time
For companies that rely on the holiday season for the bulk of their annual sales, the planning starts early. When the rest of the world is thinking “back to school,” they are whistling “jingle bells.” Basically, their whole operation needs to be fully operational by October – if not earlier. This includes product selection, marketing, distribution, training and especially customer service.
This was the situation facing a major food and gift basket retailer when they called on Powers Resource Center (PRC) for help. The issue was their rising error rates for seasonal orders. They knew they needed a major overhaul of their new hire training program for seasonal new hires – and they needed it fast. With their new hires starting in less than one month, they turned to PRC to develop a fast and effective solution.
“The company was approaching their busiest season. Our goal was to quickly understand where the most errors occurred, understand why it was happening and then design easy-to-understand, memorable training aids that were accessible and visible,” said Tara Powers, CEO of Powers Resource Center. “It was a tall order with a lightning fast turn-around.”
Powers Resource Center got to work immediately by analyzing the company’s existing materials and processes and interviewing current customer service reps. The problems became clear pretty quickly. The customer service team was using extremely detailed training documents buried in gigantic 3-ring binders. In addition, they were following processes and systems that they didn’t understand and they had no time during calls with clients to find the right answers.
“We worked directly with seasoned agents to get their feedback so that we really understood what their challenges were,” said Powers. “We were able to narrow down a large binder of complicated information into less than 7 key training aids and posters for both their B2B and B2C teams.”
The project was a complete team effort by PRC with the ultimate goal of creating a variety of training aids focused on service excellence, complete customer satisfaction and meticulous error-free order placement. Powers took the lead as the strategist and she quickly understood at a high level what was needed and what deliverables would give the client the best outcome. The team’s project manager interviewed the agents and analyzed the current training collateral to identify what was still needed and what could be eliminated.
The team created streamlined training packets for the new hire on-boarding and training. They also rebranded all existing training materials and the newly created materials for a consistent look and feel. PRC’s instructional designer was highly creative in creating a fresh new look that aligned with the client’s national rebranding campaign that was launching at the same time. Powers’ team also provided the company’s human resource staff with several training activities and tips on how to train the new hires using the training aids and posters so the learning would be immediate and lasting.
“It is wonderful to work with companies that get it. They understand the relationship between investing in people and service excellence which leads to improved business results,” said Powers. “Sure, we had a very fast turn-around for this project, but that is often the nature of our business. We were delighted with how this program came together and we are confident that it will result in error-free, top-notch, service-focused seasonal staff for this client.”
The success of the program will be measured by the change in error rates at the end of the holiday season in December 2016. But even before the results are in, the company has been so pleased with Powers Resource Center – the fast turnaround, professionalism, spot on analysis of issues and custom design elements – that they are currently in talks to redesign all existing training materials.