When most of us think of the word Customer, we envision a person coming into a brick-and-mortar place of business to purchase goods and/or services, and we describe Customer Service as how we go about supplying these goods or services – limiting the scope in most cases to the transaction itself, and any follow-up relating to a specific transaction.

This view, with its limited focus, suggests that Customer Service does not apply to manufacturing and distribution – in fact, many engineers, technicians and production personnel, when asked, will state quite bluntly that they ‘don’t work with customers.’ They will not be bought into in any form of customer service training because they see no value in it. I’d like to prove them wrong.

I’ve already discussed the meaning of Customer Service above, but I prefer to enlarge the discussion to include the concept of Customer Experience because that is a much larger and relevant topic.  It includes internal customers and non-interactive experiences in addition to the traditional definition outlined in the first paragraph above. This more expansive definition brings the need for customer service training into places not open to the public like warehouses producing mass amounts of products for various companies locally or internationally.

In teaching technical material (Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), shop equipment, quality control and safety) I try to infuse my training with the basic principles of Customer Experience whenever possible. Here are some examples to think about:

  1. Calling out my shop students on not keeping the shop clean, picking up after themselves, maintaining equipment. Leave it better than you found it.
  2. Discussing the need to document programs written for a PLC. Everyone thinks differently, and explaining WHY you included an instruction or sequence in the program helps anyone else working on the program later.
  3. Discussing the need for ergonomic and simple design – the interface must be easy for the person running the machine to work with. It’s not enough to simply be functional – operations must also make common sense.
  4. The Culture of Safety we encourage. We are all each other’s customers on a job site and we all agree that keeping our customers safe is an important responsibility.

In summation, it appears there is much to be gained by including Customer Experience in technical training. In fact, I will close with the notion that from 10,000 feet all supervisory and management training is designed and implemented to improve the overall Customer Experience of your internal and external customers.

This blog was written by Landon Johnson, one of our many talented facilitators that work for Invista Performance Solutions (IPS). To see some examples of some technical courses IPS has delivered in the past click here.

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This was a guest blog written by one of our many talented facilitators, Landon Johnson. Click on the link below to read another fantastic blog Landon wrote titled How to Learn from Training Failures: Improving Through Feedback.