I attended the ICS First Impressions training course at City University, which was held on Wednesday 26th June (day 1) and Tuesday 23rd July (day 2). The group consisted of other library staff, members of the security team and a course officer from Cass Business School.
Before the course started we received literature on the content and objectives of the training and a pre-course questionnaire. Some of the aims included understanding the language and concepts of customer service, communication skills, team-work and recognising emotional intelligence competencies. A core aspect of the training was a workplace assignment that was to be completed in between dates and was designed to enable the group to put the theory we learnt into practice.
The beginning of the first day was designed to relax the group and allow us to familiarize with one another. A series of small group tasks with interchanging participants stimulated everybody to consider their personal experiences of customer service and reflect on how crucial it was to their job role. Gradually, a natural informality developed among the group and there was a good deal of discussion which was gently guided by the course leader around different topics.
An example of the kind of tasks we did was one which focused on communication skills and had two members of a group (architects) build something slightly complex out of Lego, then with their backs to the other members (builders) attempt to help them recreate the design using only verbal instruction within a specific time period. It was an interesting exercise and it made me reflect on my ability to provide effective customer service over the phone.
By the end of the first day we had picked the topics which we would be basing our assignment on and had several brain storming discussions in our groups to generate ideas. I chose to do building on best practice and focused on the marketing of e-books. The assignment was a five hundred word report and included a ten minute presentation, to be given on the afternoon of the second day.
The presentations were the most interesting aspect of the course. In addition to hearing some of the ideas colleagues had, we became aware of some of the issues affecting other services in the University.
I would say that the course was useful. It invited reflection, on us as individuals and as University staff, and raised key issues relating to customer service. The format of the course meant that both days went relatively quickly and the focus on group exercises rather than a traditional lecture style, made the learning more enjoyable.
If anybody has any questions about it, feel free to contact me.