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Cross Training/ Multi-skilling Individuals


As part of a training presentation I am delivering to management in my company, I am preparing a piece on the benefots/pitfalls/evaluation and optimisatoion of cross training and multi skillng Customer Service Agents. Does anybody have any experience of this ? I have the theoretical ideas and am sound enough on those, just liek ot hear of real ecxpreiences in this field, based on what I'm planning to talk about. Any feedback much appreciated.
Richard Cotter

2 Responses

  1. The Things That Can Go Wrong
    I used to work for a large prestigious customer service organisation that multi-skilled its cusomer service folks. The pitfalls that we came across were:
    1. Extended initial training periods, thus the cost of getting the staff multi-skilled and ready for their jobs was very high.
    2. Serious recruitment problems – we were multi-skilling face-to-face operatives with computer reservation making as one of their extra skills, we recruited lovely people, great at delivering the customer service elements of the multi-skilling but not great with the computers, and vice-versa.
    3. Our initial investment in training was too high to be recued in two years, which was the average staff turnover.
    4. Big competency framework problems through the multi-skilling, meaning excellent competency ratings in certain areas and very low ratings in other areas.
    5. Lots of jiggling of shifts so that the people who liked to be in one particular task tried their hardest to stay there – in other words they didn’t particularly want to be multi-skilled in the first place but prefered to live in their comfort zones.
    6. Morale issues – sick days etc when someone found themselves ‘stuck’ in their non-preferred tasks for several days.
    7. Having to get rid of perfectly good people at the end of their six month trial period, because they simply couldn’t cut the mustard within some of the multi-skill task areas.
    8. Lots of re-training when the computer system was updated – having to train all the multi-skilled folks rather than just the specialists took months rather than weeks – the process often seemed endless.

    Since I’ve left the company, I understand they moved to specialised roles and all concerned, excepting senior management are happier.

    Multi-skilling is a great idea, but believe me it needs to be thoroughly thought through before being practised.

    Good luck with the presentation,

    Megan Borysiewicz Cole

  2. Arian Associates Ltd
    As a Customer Service Training specialist we agree with the comments from the reply below ours.
    If you need any pointers about the actual presentation contact us and we will be happy to help.
    email [email protected]


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