Human Resources for Customer Services Department

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Introduction

Competitive business environment has made organizations to be more careful in how they manage their resources. Successful organisations or companies are those that manage their resources in order to ensure that every resource contributes positively to the organization’s performance. Human resource is one of the most important resources in an organization. There is no organization or institution that can operate without human resources. In addition, human resource is among the expensive resources in an organization. The importance of human resource to an organization makes it imperative to manage human resources more carefully (Claydon, 2007, p. 68). In the past, there was less emphasis on human resource management. However it has been observed that human resources can be managed. Human performance can be improved through objective human resource management. Sometimes human resource management in an organization can fail. This does not imply that the individuals involved in human resource should give up, but provides opportunity for correction and improvement. Introduction of the new Customer Service Department in Morrison’s provides an opportunity to correct earlier mistakes in human resource management and develop department that can be model to other departments. Recruitment and selection, training and development, performance appraisal and remuneration policy will be considered in order to ensure that the new department performs well.

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Design of Customer Service Department

Although Morrison’s chain of supermarket has been doing well, change in business environment calls for change in how things were done in the past. One of the areas that require changes is human resource management. Morrison’s has a lot of employee who in various department of the supermarket. One of the obvious problem in Morrison’s in the high number of redundant managers. The chain of supermarkets has many managers that have risen to management position over years of their service. The many managers make little autonomous decisions but only implement decisions made by top management. On the other hand, managing the other employees is challenging. The employees are highly unionised and thus have high level of job security. Although the current situation is a challenge, it provides opportunity to better the situation and make Morrison’s more competitive in the market.

Customer Service Department is important to the chain of supermarket. This depart is responsible for offering customer service to Morrison’s’ customers. This department is in line with changes in business environment where more care in being given to customer’s concerns. In general, the department will be responsible for responding customer concerns; keep customer record, answer queries and deal with customers’ complain.

Before implementing the new department, the design of the departments should be taken into consideration. The design of the department is a major factor that will influence the performance of the department. To come up with the design, the role of the department should be considered. The design should enable the individuals in the department to communicate and coordinate in executing their roles. The size of the department should also be considered in designing the department. The design of the department should also dictate how the department will cooperate with other department in the organization.

A Customer Service Department is an important department to an organization. The department act as the image of the organization and the organization is judged by how it presents itself through customer service officers. One of the most important considerations in a customer service department is real time response. Members of the department must be able to respond to customers’ queries and complains at real time or as fast as possible. For this reason, members of the department must be able to consult as fast as possible. The department must also be able to consult with any other departments as quickly as possible. These unique roles of the department should be reflected in every part of the department.

Design of the customer service department should ensure harmony in the execution of the roles of the department (Harris, H., Brewster & Sparrow, 2003, p. 79). In designing the department, role of the department should be subdivided into smaller roles that make up the major role. Thus, the design should ensure that all the required functions of the department are executed. Apart from ensuring that all functions are executed, the design should ensure that there is no overlap of roles. A single role should not be executed more than once. The design should also ensure harmony in exercise of command. The individual that responsible for others should be able to carry out their roles. On the other hand, each individual should know the person or persons to whom he or she is answerable. These features ensure accountability in a department.

Recruitment and Selection

Customer service department for Morrison’s supermarket will be designed with customers in mind. The main responsibility of the customer service officers will be to provide information to customers and receive feedback from the customers. The department will provide a platform for interaction between the customers and the organization. To be able to respond to various customer’s inquiry and complains, the customer service officers require to have all the relevant information about the supermarket and products.

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Job Description

The customer service department will be designed to allow all customer inquiry and complains to be responded to. The department will constitute customers service officer that provide customer services through the various available media. The department will constitute of a call service, email service, mail service and direct customer service. Call service will receive and respond to customers’ complains and inquiries through by telephone. E-mail customer service will respond to customer inquiries and complains that are received by email. Mail service will respond to customer’s inquiries and complains that are received through mails by sending response mails. Direct customer service sub-department will be responsible for providing personal customer services. Since customer service officers require a lot of information to respond to the various customers’ inquiries and complain; the department will have a support team whose responsibility will be to provide real time support to other customer service officers.

Staffing is one of the important roles in managing a department. The recruitment is the process through which department acquire the right people for the function of the department. Before recruiting employee, the function that they are required to carry out should be well understood. For Customer Service Department, the recruiting officer should understand the function of the staff he or she requires. After understanding the functions, the recruiting officers should match the functions with available qualifications. Thus, the first step for successful staffing for the customer service department is to understand the kind of employees required and the skills required for the roles.

After understanding the kind of employees and skills required, then the employees with the necessary skills should be identified. It is important think over the potential candidate. This may require thinking beyond the traditional groups of employees. For the customer service department, some unique qualities are required. For example, the customer service officers are required to be good listeners and communicators. The officer must be able to have high understanding of an organization, be able to multi-task, have good memory, be able to work with technology, and other qualities. The recruitment should ensure that the best quality for a position is acquired (Harris, H., Brewster & Sparrow, 2003, p. 125).

After the essential qualities and potential candidates are identified, recruitment and selection should proceed. The potential candidates for the new department come from within the chain of supermarket, fresh graduates or from other organizations. To reach the potential employees, there must be communication. The specific positions can be advertised through media or internal communication. Selection employee is very important. It is this procedure that determines the quality of employee. The selection should ensure that the most qualified individual are chosen.

Job specification

To qualify as a customer service officer with the new department, a candidate will require specific qualifications. The candidate must be willing to serve the customers even beyond the call of duty. The candidate must have close awareness of customers’ needs. The candidate must be able to have empathy with customers. He or she must be a good communicator in both speech and written. Desired candidate must be able to communicate in a way that customers are able to understand. Candidate must be able to remain calm when serving customers even when dealing with unpleasant customers. In addition, the candidate must be able to provide accurate and detailed information and be willing to develop long-term relationship with customers. The customer service officer must always act in the best interest of the customers and the organization. A working experience of at least one year will also be preferred.

Training and Development

Training is very important in development of the required skills for a position (Claydon, 2007, p. 79). After recruiting and selecting candidates for Customer Service Department, training program should be arranged. Training should aim at developing the skills required in the new department. Training for manager and subordinate employee should be different. Although training might be similar in various aspects, manager should be more equipped with managerial skills while training for the other employees should emphasize of day to day routines.

Training Needs analysis

Training managers are responsible for training. Training manager should evaluate the training needs for employees in the new department. They should also determine the content of the training and come up with the best way to carry out the training. Training can be carried out in classrooms, on job training and other forms of training. Tool such as graphics, computer modelling, training firms and training manual can be used.

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To train the workers for the new department, training experts will be required. Training specialist should be conversant with the skills required in the new department. The specialist can be sourced from outside the organization. These training specialist should work with training manager to ensure that employee acquire all the needed skills before they start working. More than one training specialist may be required. In this case, the training manager should set up a training program that ensures that training specialists are available at the appropriate time. Follow and progressive training is also required in order to ensure high skills and competences are maintained in the department.

Remuneration Policy

Definition

A remuneration policy is required for the new department. Remuneration policies provide guideline to how remunerations will be offered in the department (Harris, H., Brewster & Sparrow, 2003, p. 134). The remuneration policy for the new department should ensure the legitimacy and integrity of the remuneration system. The developed remuneration policy should provide the principles that are used in remuneration strategies. Some of the principles that should be considered in the remuneration policy include transparent communication, non-discriminator practices, internal equity, eternal parity, affordability and performance –driven (Bussin, 2002, p. 89). Unlike the current policy used in the chain of supermarket, the policy should emphasize on performance. The workers in the new department will be remunerated depending on performance. The remuneration policy should aim to manage expenditure on remuneration in the department, ensure that the remuneration system is used to accomplish the objective of the department, recognize individual contribution and position the remuneration levels in the Customer Service Department suitably in labour market.

Performance Appraisal

Definition

To ensure high performance in the department, a performance appraisal system should be developed (Grote, 1996, p. 65). High performance is necessary for the new department. The customer service officers should be able to offer good service to customers and represent the chain of supermarket positively. Without a performance appraisal system, it will be difficult to evaluate the performance of individual employee in the department. Performance appraisal system will provide a formal way through which performance of each employee will be evaluated. Performance appraisal forms and interviews can be used. For the customer service officers, quarterly or semi-annual performance appraisal should be considered. The performance appraisal will ensure that customer service officers are evaluated continually. This will enable the department to maintain high standards of customer services in the chain of supermarkets.

Financial Implication

Design and resourcing for the new department has financial implication to the company. Designing the department, recruitment, training, remuneration and performance appraisal requires financing. Although there is financial implication in designing and resourcing, the overall results are positive. The design and resourcing will lead to substantial saving in the department. In addition design and resourcing will ensure better performance of the company.

Conclusion

  • Human resource management can be used to gain competitive advantage in the competitive business environment. Appropriate human resource management practice can help to reduce cost, motivate employees and improve performance. Despite of resistance and financial implication of designing and resourcing for the new Customer Service Department, the C.E.O. should go ahead and implement the desired changes.
  • Customer service department can be used to gain competitive advantage. Morrison’s Supermarket can gain competitive advantage over other supermarkets by improving its customer service through the new department.
  • The department will allow the chain of supermarkets to respond to various customers inquiries and complains.
  • By receiving inquiries, complains and customers’ feedback, Morrison Supermarket will be able to improve its services. The supermarket will be able to understand the changing needs of its customers and respond to them appropriately.
  • As service based company, customer service department is vital to Morrison’s Supermarket. The department will help the chain of supermarkets to face challenges in changing business environment.
  • Business environment in the world has become more competitive. To survive in the competitive business environment, organizations have to manage their resources responsively. As some of the most important resources in an organization, human resources should be managed to ensure that they contribute positively to an organization’s performance. In the new customer service department, human resource management concepts will help in improving design and performance.

Recommendations

  • Customer service department is an important department for Morrison’s Supermarket. The design of the department should enable the department to perform its core duties. To perform the duties effectively, the department should have a good internal structure that ensure efficiency and be well integrated with other departments.
  • Recruitment and selection is one of the most important considerations in designing the customer service department. Recruitment and selection should aim at obtaining the most qualified individuals for the department. The candidates for customer officers should be able to communicate effectively and respond to customers inquiries and complains.
  • Training and development aim at developing necessary skills required in the department. Training experts should be used to ensure that customer service officers for the new department have all the necessary skills. A continuous training and development programs should be used in order to maintain high standard of services in the department.
  • Remuneration policy is important to the new department. To ensure that high standard of services are provided, a performance based remuneration policy should be implemented. The remuneration policy should ensure that individual performance is recognized and rewarded.
  • To ensure that high standard of services is provided; good performance appraisal policy is required. Performance appraisal in the new department should ensure that performance of customer service officers are evaluated progressively. Formal performance appraisal such as performance forms should be used.

Reference

Bussin, M. 2002. “Remuneration policy and strategy: a step by step guide”. New York: Knowledge Resources.

Claydon, T. 2007. “Human resource management: a contemporary approach”. New York: Prentice Hall.

Grote, R. 1996. “The complete guide to performance appraisal”. Boston: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.

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Harris, H., Brewster, C. & Sparrow, P. 2003. “International human resource management”. London: CIPD Publishing.

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