1. I agree with Fred’s decision to use the third vendor. When comparing the three different vendors that Fred received information from, it is possible to see that the third vendor offered the greatest value. The first vendor would end up costing approximately $424 per person per day, while the second vendor would cost approximately $145 per person per day, and the third approximately $151 per person per day. While the second vendor is cheapest, it also holds the least value.
The first vendor offered a three day session with all employees together, the second offered a one day session for all employees together, while the third offered two three day sessions in order to decrease class sizes to provide personal attention and assist those in areas where they were lacking. The value added service offered by the third vendor indicates that if an outside vendor was to be contracted for the service, that it offered the best overall value for Fred and the company, thereby increasing the likelihood that the training itself would be effective.
2. In spite of Fred’s decision to go with the third company, there are still certain actions that Fred should take before he selected this training package. Given the fact that Fred only reviewed information that was sent to him, he should first conduct research of his own, looking to see whether or not there are any other companies offering this service that he might want to consider. In addition, he may want to complete an analysis in order to determine how much it would cost for him to run the training sessions himself to see whether or not in house training would be more cost efficient and/or more effective.
Finally, if Fred did still decide that the first three companies were the best options that he had for use in this situation, he would need to search out consumer reviews in order to determine whether or not the company was as good at their brochure made them out to be. Fred needs to keep in mind that the brochures were designed specifically to sell the service to those who felt as though they needed it, and may not be a viable reflection of their actual prowess. If the reviews indicated that the company was the one he wanted to go with, and that the company’s reputation was justified, then Fred may want to conduct a more in depth interview with the company in order to determine whether or not using their services would be a good fit for the hardware store itself.
3. If the training provided by the third vendor went ahead as indicated, I believe that it would have a decent chance of success, assisting those who were already customer oriented in becoming more customer oriented, and those who were ambivalent to customer service become better as well. I believe that those who were not concerned with customer service in the past would not be affected by the training at all; if they viewed customer interactions as a chore in the first place, completing one on one exercises and engaging in role play activities would not serve to change their opinion on the matter or their disposition.
Skills can be taught, but the area of customer service is not always focused on skills but a personal desire to help, and a person may be taught the technical aspects of a concept for hours, but if they do not have a desire to assist or a desire to advance in their jobs, the willingness to assist customers is not something that will necessarily ever show through.