How Do Budgets Affect Customer Service?

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Budgets Affect Training

In a corporate environment, almost every job aspect is directly or indirectly tied to the overall operating budget. Critical functions like training and process improvement may be directly related to the budget, as companies must pay for training materials, employee time during training, travel to and from training events, and trainer salaries. In some companies, training is restricted to online delivery, self-paced books or even “chair drops,” a training vehicle that delivers vital information to employees in the form of a personally delivered memo. In addition to expenses associated with training delivery, tight budgets may impact the development of training as companies cut back on employee hours devoted to developing effective training programs. According to "PR-Inside," a public relations professional publication, training programs are among the first things eliminated when a company must cut its budget.

Customer-Facing Employees Rely on Training

While training relies directly on the budget for development and delivery, employees who interface with customers on a regular basis rely on training for the information necessary to perform their jobs. Call center employees who do not receive necessary training, or who can not ask questions of a live instructor, may not have enough information to correctly answer customer questions. Because customer-facing employees also rely on training to keep abreast of new products and services, or important service changes, some untrained employees may deliver incorrect information to a customer; this misinformation typically results in a poor customer service experience. By contrast, well-trained employees who can properly and confidently deliver valid information may significantly improve a customer’s experience.

Budgets Affect Support Staff

Any company that maintains a support staff, including quality assurance analysts and customer service monitors, must budget for expenses associated with those positions. In addition to the employee’s regular salary, companies also pay a number of other expenses that include employment tax, insurance and benefits. Because each employee’s position is very expensive for a company to maintain, and support personnel do not actively produce income for the organization, a company may choose to reduce or eliminate support positions when it must cut its budget.

Customer-Facing Employees Rely on Support

Customer facing employees--whether they work in sales, technical support or customer service—rely on a vast network of support positions to ensure the customer experience remains positive. Quality assurance analysts, for example, may periodically tweak customer offerings to ensure sales staff can offer the best possible product or service at the best available price. After the sale, customer service monitors may periodically listen in on call center calls, accompany employees who meet customers in a face-to-face environment or review customer correspondence to ensure the company’s customers receive the best possible service. If a customer service monitor or quality assurance analyst notices a problem that might impact customer service, she can quickly address the issue with the employees or products in question to immediately improve customer service. As companies cut budgets and eliminate these support positions, though, the quality assurance and monitoring processes become more sporadic and less reliable, creating a poor customer service experience.

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