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Customer Service Training for Shared Services

One of the most common questions regarding Shared Services is how it is different from corporate centralization. While both can result in savings through scale, Shared Services encompasses many attributes of a stand-alone business, including a “customer first” approach to service.

From a service perspective, centralized services tend to view Corporate (with emphasis on controls and compliance) as their primary customer. Shared Services, on the other hand, views the business operations as its primary customer, with an emphasis on service and value, while embedding the appropriate controls and compliance prescribed by Corporate within their offerings. A challenge for Shared Services leaders is embedding a service culture within their organizations.

Recently, a Peeriosity member commenced research within the Shared Services research area regarding the extent to which employees are trained in customer service. The member initiated a polling question to identify how prevalent training programs were for Shared Services employees. Somewhat surprisingly, only 33% of organizations have implemented a formalized customer service-training program for their Shared Services teams:

For the Shared Services organizations that do have formalized training, the follow-up question indicated that 45% of the training was customized for Shared Services:

As with all Peeriosity polling, members have full visibility of respondent’s names by company, as well as the ability to contact them for follow-up discussion using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM. Additionally, a discussion stream of comments adds further insights to the research. Some of the representative comments include:

  • Formal training was part of the initial implementation of Shared Services team but this poll is a reminder that it is not a once-off event. It has been a few years since that initial training and a refresher would be of value.
  • The focus on cost reduction tends to overshadow investment in customer service training, but when we talk with our business unit partners, they focus on service and responsiveness as part of the Shared Services proposition.  We need to make sure we allot resources to continue to improve our service culture.
  • Client-service training should be an integral part of the on-boarding process and employees should be evaluated on a balance of productivity, quality, and customer-service measures.
  • Training includes standard greetings and world-class customer service techniques. It also includes specific, customized needs/requirements or approaches based on our unique operating units supported.

What customer-service skills training have you given to your Shared Services team?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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