The City of Turlock is looking to better serve customers internally and externally following Turlock City Council’s recent decision to partner with Merced College as a host site sponsor for the Customer Service Academy offered by the campus’ Workplace Learning Resource Center.
“City staff has been working diligently on continuing, developing and trying to motivate and encourage our staff to do the best at what we do,” said Acting Municipal Services Director Garner Reynolds, “and most of what we do entails excellent customer service internally and externally.”
For the past 16 years, the Customer Service Academy has provided professional development training classes for hundreds of local businesses and organizations, including Hilton Hotels, Kendall Jackson Winery, Kraft Foods, the Santa Barbara Zoo, Monterey County, Merced County and the San Diego Chargers. The classes focus on the soft skills and interpersonal skills that are important and necessary to deliver excellent internal and external customer service.
“I am a big fan and wish I had known about the Customer Service Academy back in my career when I worked for Stanislaus County,” said Terry Plett, Contact Training Coordinator of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism with the Merced College Workplace Learning Resource Center. “It is rich.”
The Customer Service Academy will feature 10 courses in everyday business skills, with courses ranging from “Communication in the Workplace,” which will focus on verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as superior listening skills, “Stress Management,” which will define what stress is and how it affects both employees and the workplace, and “Conflict Resolution,” which will explore strategies and techniques for resolving issues in the workplace.
“These 10 classes really focus on helping individuals and giving them the tools they can use on the job for the internal customers,” said Plett, “because our theory is that if you get it right internally, you’re going to do exceptionally well to your customers on the outside.”
Each course is broken into two four-hour sessions, for a total of eight hours. The cost for each course is $23, and upon completion of the course, participants will receive .5 college unit credits, which will be beneficial for employees who are interested in promoting to other City opportunities.
The Customer Service Academy contains significant benefits to City staff, including providing services at a fraction of the price for other courses and the convenience of hosting the courses at the City’s own facility. One course will be held per month, starting in February and ending in November.
In order to be the host site sponsor for the Customer Service Academy, the City is required to provide 20 City staff members per course. If 20 members are not enrolled in a class, the City will cover the expense for the remaining spots, unless the City is able to fill the spots with non-City staff. An invitation to attend the Customer Service Academy will also be sent to Turlock area businesses who might be interested in taking advantage of the local training opportunities for their employees.
All classes will take place from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the City of Turlock’s Yosemite Room, 156 S. Broadway. Each course will have a maximum class size of 35 students. For more information on the registration process, call 386-6733.