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7 Feb
2020

Customer Services Training Effectiveness Case | Good Grade Guarantee!

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
Department of Psychology
PSYCH-UA.2016                                                                             Instructor: Elizabeth Bauer           
Intermediate Master’s Statistics                                                     Spring 2019
MA Project — Due May 19th, 2019
HOUSEWARES PRODUCTS CORPORATION (HPC)
Customer Services Training Effectiveness Case
Houseware Products Corporation (HPC) is a small producer of kitchen appliances.  HPC specializes in simple-to-clean machines that make food preparation easy and no-fuss. Product lines include Toasters, Griddles, and Blenders. Revenues are growing fast for Toasters and Griddles, but Blenders face more fierce competition. The organization has traditionally focused on the U.S. market but has expanded distribution to Canada, Mexico and South America. The U.S. makes up 62% of the sales.  Rates of growth are increasing fastest, however, in Argentina and Chile. 
HPC is making conservative estimates for growth in 2018 – 2020. With the economic trends suggesting downward revisions across the board, HPC has scaled back growth plans. Moreover, articles have recently begun to appear in the press regarding the quality and reliability of the HPC products. Senior management at HPC have been surprised given the products themselves have been highly rewarded with technical prizes and engineering awards. Frustrations with customer complaints have led upper management to suggest personnel changes and better training. The company called for an independent review to help them understand how hiring choices and training could impact customer relations. It seems that quality of new hires and training effectiveness may both play an integral role in customer satisfaction.
HPC headquarters in Atlanta includes production facilities, staff functions, and sales staff. Customer service for the U.S. and Canada has been centralized in Atlanta. Distribution and sales staff also exist in South America and Mexico, where products are sold. Customer service for South America and Mexico has been centralized in Mexico City.  
The following project was undertaken. A survey was given to evaluate training effectiveness. The survey can be seen as the last page of this assignment. Results should be compared across customer services to determine trends and opportunities to enhance perceptions of product quality and backing. Here are some of the multiple meaningful pieces of information that were available from the survey:
Situational Ability Score (SAS) for all customer service staff (scored out of 100)
New Hire Responsiveness Inventory (NHRI out of 100)
Customer Service Rating (CSR) (composite score of four key traits based on 1-4 scale)
Customer Service Training Program (CSTP) (five items on a 1-5 scale)
Situational Ability Score (SAS). All employees were given an initial situation judgment test, the Situational Ability Score, prior to hire. This exam is intended to identify those candidates most likely to handle customer complaints appropriately. The test tries to pull out potential reactions to anger and frustration from customers. It distinguishes between those candidates willing to help and those going above and beyond the norm to solve customer concerns. Those scoring above the 60th percentile are generally hired, though there have been exceptions.
Those selected through their score on the SAS are then sent to central locations for initial training programs (see Customer Service Training Program – CSTP). During the programs, detailed product specifications, warranties, and return policies are covered.
New Hire Responsiveness Inventory (NHRI).To successfully complete the training and be designated full-time hires, the training participants must pass a final evaluation of readiness immediately after training, before being assigned to a particular product team. This takes place through an inventory called the New Hire Responsiveness Inventory (NHRI) that gives points for correct responses for different situations that deal with customer service, for example when offering return of products or dealing with customer complaints. The inventory consists of a test of many questions, for a total of 100 points. Trainees must score at least 70 out of 100 to qualify for hiring.
Customer Service Rating (CSR). Finally, Customer Service pushed for a mandatory review of all customer service staff. They identified three key principles of effective service (Responsiveness, Product Knowledge and Follow up) and had the team create simulations around expected behaviors. All customer service staff members, both veteran and new recruits (new recruits were tested 6 months after hiring), participated and were evaluated using a 1-10 scale for each of these three principles. The total CSR rating is a composite score summing scores for all three principles. All service staff were then given feedback on their designated CSR level. Anyone receiving low CSR scores was designated to go on warning.
Customer Service Training Program (CSTP). In this program, staff study and role-play many customer interactions. They hear from noted production and design leaders on product specifics. They also receive template materials to help them understand the relevant protocols. Each participant then handles incoming phone and store complaints with simulated customers using real complaints from actual customers. Employees rate five statements on a 1-5 scale to indicate how beneficial they felt the program was and an average composite score is created from these ratings.
The purpose of this assignment is to improve your ability to independently organize data, identify variables, run analyses, report results, and draw meaningful conclusions. The assignment includes, and is based on a sample of 50 participants, all new recruits to HPC (see the HPC dataset posted on NYU Classes). SPSS should be used to create a Total Customer Service Rating (Total CSR) by combining the three items measured on a 1-10 scale. It should also be used to combine the last five items of the CSTP into a single success/satisfaction scale. Therefore, the analyses you will be reporting will involve only eight different variables (not including the ID #). Your written report should consist of 2 to 4 pages, not including the most relevant boxes of SPSS output, which should be added at the end of your Word document as an appendix (or, alternatively, output can be inserted within the text). Each table should be appropriately labeled and referenced within the text. This should be a data report that helps the organization interpret the findings from the survey. Hopefully this will allow the company to make some decisions to improve their hiring practices. Your report should clearly identify significant differences and answer the specific questions below. This should be done in a narrative form as a report and not answered as bullet points. Remember to write up the results of all tests in APA format.
Please note: On the survey, gender is not a dichotomous variable. However, since there are no data for the category “other,” we will treat it as a dichotomous variable.
Of the eight variables to be incorporated in your analyses, which could easily be treated as independent variables (IV’s)? On what scale is each measured?  Describe the levels of each IV. 
Which variables would be more easily regarded as dependent variables (DV)?  On what scale is each measured?
For all quantitative (i.e., ordinal or interval/ratio) variables, your report should include the overall mean, standard deviation, and sample size for each variable.
The company is interested in whether there are mean differences in SAS between employees, depending on gender, location and business degree. Using SAS as the dependent variable, run 3 two-way ANOVAS using the following independent variables: gender and location, gender and degree, and location and degree. This will help to answer whether there are any differences in employees before training, on the basis of gender, location or business degree. Next, using NHRI as the dependent variable, run a two-way ANOVA using gender and location as the independent variables, and then a two-way ANOVA using degree and location. This will help determine whether there are any differences between employees after the training, but before they start work. Finally, run two last ANOVAs – using Total CSR as the dependent variable for both, use gender and location as the independent variables for one and degree and location as the independent variables for the other. This analysis looks at potential differences between employees after they’ve been working for a while. Make sure to check for homogeneity of variance with Levene’s Test. Please comment on whether there is or is not HOV, but continue the analysis as if there is HOV. Include a plot of cell means in your results, perform any necessary follow-up tests for either significant main effects or the interaction and describe your results.
Relationships among the variables. Explain what these relationships may or may not mean. (Note: if one of the variables is ordinal you should compute the Spearman r, not the Pearson r.):
Overall, is there a relationship between Situational Ability Score (SAS) and Total CSR?
Has SAS demonstrated any relationship to the New Hire Responsiveness Inventory (NHRI)?
Is there a relationship between NHRI and Total CSR?
The company would like to know if the training program has been valuable to its participants. Report on the summary statistics for the Customer Service Training Program (CSTP). Also, determine whether there is a significant relationship between CSTP and Total CSR and discuss what that could mean.
HPC is interested in predicting who will be the best hires, as measured on the Total CSR scale. Use SAS and NHRI to predict Total CSR in a multiple regression model. Answer the following questions:  Do either or both predictors contribute significantly to the multiple regression? How do we know? How much of the CSR variance is accounted for by the combination of these two predictors (even if not significant)?  Which is the best model to predict CSR – one variable, both variables or is this a poor model?
Write out the unstandardized (i.e., raw-score) prediction equation from your regression model using both variables, and explain what this equation is telling you (even if coefficients are not significant).
This is an individual assignment. You may not cooperate with any other student in the class on your report or analysis. Information is not to be shared between students in regard to any portion of this assignment. You may communicate only with the TA and/or the instructor about the preparation of your paper. Please make sure you proofread your paper and eliminate any typographical errors before turning it in. The finished paper is due by May 9th, 2019. No late papers will be accepted unless previous approval has been obtained prior to the due date.  Papers will be graded on the basis that the reasoning is sound, the statistical analysis is correct and accurate, and the conclusions drawn are appropriate. The paper should be comprehensive but concise in explanation.

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HOUSEWARES PRODUCTS CORPORATION (HPC)
Customer Service Training Effectiveness Assessment
The following questionnaire is designed to help the firm understand your experience with recruiting and the onboarding process.  HPC wants to uphold the highest standards in the industry for standing behind their products.  Please take a few minutes and complete the survey below.  All data will be kept confidential.  No individually identifiable data will be reported.  Summary results will be reported only across the product lines so as to protect individual confidentiality.  We encourage staff to be direct and honest.  The results of this effort will help HPC to improve the training effort and enhance customer service. 
Please complete and return in the anonymous envelope provided to protect confidentiality.
Last 4 digits of your ID number (unique but not individually attributable)  _____
Gender:   Female ____   Male ____  Other ____
Have you completed a college degree in Business / Marketing?  Yes ___  No ___
What was your Situational Ability Score (SAS)? ________
Which product line do you work for?  Toasters ____ Griddles ____ Blenders ____
To which territory are you assigned?  Mexico City (MC) ____   Atlanta (AT) ____   
What score did you receive for the New Hire Responsiveness Inventory?  ______
Please indicate your Customer Service Rating (CSR) (on a scale of 1-10) for each of the following items. Higher scores mean better performance:
Responsiveness:          _____
Product Knowledge:    _____
Follow up:                   _____
To what extent would you say that Customer Service Training Program (CSTP) was beneficial using the following scale:
1  Not at all           2  Limited       3  Adequate    4  Successful  5  Outstanding
CSTP helped me to know how to handle difficult client interactions                       _____
CSTP gave me strategies for product defects that assuaged customer anger             ____
The role play scenarios in CSTP aided me in understanding customer concerns       _____
Guest speakers provided critical information on products and parts                         _____
Overall, CSTP helped me better understand customer needs and firm responses     _____
Thank you for your participation in this important activity.

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