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Customer service

This study will utilize evaluation research to focus on the implementation of set procedures used to assess the value, merit, practice, activity, product, and process when compared against pre-established criteria. According to Charles and Mertler (2002), evaluation research is used to make judgments about the quality of particular programs, procedures, materials, and the like. This study involves the evaluation of customer service at a public agency and before conducting the evaluation a thorough literature review will be conducted.

To ascertain whether training will increase product knowledge, a questionnaire will be administered to Customer Service Technicians who have completed customer service training. Participants Participants for the study will include fulltime employees and seasonal employees from the Administration, male and female, with an age range of 18+ years of age. Participants will be asked to complete a survey that will be used to solicit perceptions, training, career development, job knowledge and expectations of customer service at the Administration. Instruments

A Likert model survey will be developed and used to gather data on training, job knowledge, and career development. The survey will be distributed via the Administration’s intranet and hand delivered to participants for completion. This study involves the evaluation of customer service. Before the evaluation, a thorough literature review will be conducted to ascertain whether training will increase product knowledge. A questionnaire will be administered to Customer Service Technicians who are nearing the completion of training or have recently completed training and journeyman Customer Service Technicians.

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The answers will be scored using a 5-point Likert scale so responses can be dealt with quantitatively. However, statements of opinion will also be asked and recorded for background and qualitative assessment. Second, following an extensive review of the relevant literature, the researcher will establish a formative committee for the purpose of identifying gaps, weaknesses, practices, and training assessment currently in use. Members of the formative committee will include one manager, one lead technical assistant, one human resource specialist and two customer service technicians.

The researcher will chair this committee and function as the recorder . Initially, communication between members of the formative committee and researcher will occur twice a week to break down old paradigms and create new possibilities. Formative committee meetings after the initial diagnosis will be held using the intranet, telephone, and other communication means as needed, and possibly a more formal meeting may be held in the future as the project gets closer to presentation to the summative committee.

Third, a summative committee will be established comprised of one manager, one lead technical assistant, one human resource specialist, one union representative, and two customer service technicians. The purpose of the summative committee will be to validate and approve the work and recommendations of the formative committee. Fourth, the researcher will develop criteria that will include standards to help the formative committee to determine if the training is valid. Training modules that are implemented need to have some criteria to determine whether or not they are effective.

Criteria will be based on (a) the literature review of best practices; (b) feedback from members of the formative committee during the initial diagnosis; and (c) results of the questionnaire. The criteria will be submitted to the formative committee for review and feedback, which will be conducted in two ways. A Likert scale will be used to record opinions. The committee members will respond by indicating how strongly they agree or disagree with the criteria. The formative committee will receive the questionnaire via the intranet for their comments individually.

Then, the formative committee will meet to discuss and consolidate comments prior to submission to the researcher via the intranet. Based on the recommendations from the formative committee, criteria for customer service training program will be revised as needed. The review and revision process will continue until the formative committee has given the criteria its approval. Fifth, once the formative committee approves the criteria it will be sent via the intranet to the summative committee for review and approval. The summative committee review process will mirror that of the formative committee.

If the summative committee does not approve the criteria, the criteria will be revised and returned for additional review and comments. The process will continue until the summative committee gives the criteria its final approval. Sixth, pilot testing of customer service training theory, design and delivery methodology will occur with the next customer service training class that will be announced later in the fiscal year. Feedback will be gathered from participants through the use of a five-point Likert scale questionnaire.

Seventh, the customer service-training model will be presented to the Assistant Associate Commissioner, Office of Management and Operations Support (OMOS) for use as the training module for customer service training. Limitations The participants are diverse population with different backgrounds and experiences in customer service. The participants for this study are limited to customer service personnel at the Administration in the Office of Central Operations working in TeleService Centers, the Customer Service Branch, and related areas.

Timeline The proposed timeline for this study is as follows: (a) approval of the research project August 2007, (b) commence selecting members and working with teams and committees starting September 2007, (c) implementation of the data collection phase in November 2007, (d) completion of the analysis and writing of the study findings in early January 2008.

References

Auster, E. (2006). Social security fix a given: opinion. Newhouse News Service, 1-4. Bovbjerg, B. D. (2003). Social security numbers: Ensuring the integrity of the SSN. GOA Highlights, July, 1-16. Budget update. (2002). Social security administration, Available online, 1-11. Business Wire. (2005). Social security administration business services online site recognized as a leader in online customer satisfaction. Business Wire, June 21, 1-2. Bohler, P. (2007). Managing in the new millennium, Journal of Supervision, 63 (3), 1992. Callahan, R. F. & Gilbert, G. R. (2005). End-user satisfaction and design features of public agencies. The American Review of Public Administration, 35, 57-75.

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