The Customer Service Training Program Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


Methodology: The implemented training methodology for the improvement in the performance of the sales staff was an off the job traditional training session in which the main method was to use lectures and some videos of real world scenarios. Off the job training sessions could be effective if done in a proper way. In this type of training program, training sessions are usually organized in places other than the routine workplaces of the employees, which allow them to forget the frustration and pressure of the work. When employees are free from the frustration of their work, hence, their mentors can easily provide them latest information regarding their skills, industry challenges, trends and competition (Laird, Naquin & Holton, 2003). The method is cost effective because the company doesn’t need to transform the workplace into a training session. To make it effective and appropriate, the trainers should use videos to present real world scenarios to their trainees, which will allow them to understand the difference between a good and bad customer service behavior. Although, the session was well executed in all aspects, however, the trainers had overestimated the importance of practical work in order to polish the skills of employees.

Relevancy and Appropriateness: The implemented training session was relevant, but less specific to the actual problem because trainers used lectures to debate over the importance of an effective customer service and had used examples of scenarios in a general prospective. For the effectiveness of an off the job training session, it is important to assign some tasks to the trainees in which they would use their analytical skills. For example, trainers should assign case studies to trainees to evaluate the level of their understanding of the training contents. A role-playing method could also be used in off training program in order to create the examples of the real world scenarios to help trainees in the process of learning. The training program implemented by the large retail clothing store lacked all these essential components of an off the job training session, which had limited the potential of its effectiveness. Employees who had attended the training program had learned the importance of customer services in the success of a retail store business as well as in the achievement of customer satisfaction. They also learned the difference between a good and bad sales person’s response, but failed to apply their learning in the workplace. This is mainly because; throughout their training session their mentors didn’t focus on their practical training and performance evaluation. Trainers had conducted a simple test to assess the progress of the employees rather than assigning any sort of role-playing task or case study to resolve. Though, the learners had learned everything just the way that had been taught, but they left with no information in the area of practical application of their learning and as a result they faced serious issues at their workplace.


The training program has a great effect on the performance and learning of an employee if executed properly. Training is a planned and systematic activity which results in improved levels of aptitude, information and competency that are important to perform work efficiently (Laird, Naquin & Holton, 2003). With the advancement of technology, training methods have been advanced, which has improved the effectiveness of a training session and its contribution in an employee’s performance. Though, training is important enough for the effectiveness of an employee’s performance, however, only effective and well-designed training could improve the performance of employees. An effective training session must have a stuff that can enhance an employee’s theoretical, analytical, interpersonal and practical skills. Prior to choosing a training program, trainers must ensure its potential to improve interpersonal skills of the trainees from different perspectives (Newstrom, 1975). Following are some proposed methods that could help in the improvement of the training session.

Case Studies: In this type of training method some real world issues faced by organizations or individuals are assigned to employee/trainees without concerning the solution made by that organization or individual. Trainees are asked to resolve them as per their knowledge and understanding. An employee can learn effectively by applying his/her knowledge to a real world situation instead of simply learning in books or through lectures. Case studies are a manifestation of issue based content, where a situation is created that needs a solution. It is usually a story, of what happened in a specific organization, industry, or in a specific time frame. The learner is given insights about the circumstances, frequently in a recorded connection. This is trailed by particular illustrations and information, which the learner then uses to break down the circumstances, figure out what happened, and make suggestions. A case study could be 2 pagers long or 30 pages long.........................................

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