First Impressions: The Moment of Truth

Posted: April, 21, 2011 | Categories: Sales and Customer Service


Customer Service Training should be viewed as an essential process and not just an event.       

By JoAnne Williams


It's called the 'moment of truth.' Everyone throughout the customer service chain '“ from the front desk receptionist, to the sales associate at the new homes site, to the senior executives '“ has experienced this phenomenon at one time or another. It occurs in a split-second, and has the power to cement relationships forever or destroy them before they begin.

The First Impression '“ you never get a second chance or a do over, which is why when it comes to outsourcing your new home sales staffing requirements, customer service and business etiquette training are critical factors. Companies know that having all team members properly trained is one of the best ways to ensure a seamless and high level of customer service delivery.

But how do you know if your temporary new homes sales staff has been trained, or trained properly? How can you make sure that every 'moment of truth'? in your company is a positive one?

Generally, it comes down to doing your homework and asking the right questions. It also means practicing what you preach, and making sure your internal staff gets the training they need as well. The commitment to excellence must come from the top so that training is not an isolated experience, but rather becomes part of your company's overall culture.


Training Trends

Training has long been viewed as a key employee benefit, growing even more important in the past few years.  According to Fortune Magazine's '100 Best Companies to Work For,'? training is second only to stock options when recruiting and retaining employees. And companies better follow through on their training promises '“ more than 40 percent of employees in companies with poor training programs leave within a year.

Recently, customer service training has become an important factor when choosing outsourced providers, such as temporary staffing support. The trend across the board is toward an enhanced emphasis on training as a critical factor in an organization's success '“ and the building industry is not immune to this trend.

According to a study conducted by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), the average U.S. company is spending more on training, both internally and externally, than ever before. And for the fourth year in a row, the ASTD study found a relationship between the organization's investments in training and its performance in the marketplace.

Companies in the survey spent an average of $677 per employee, with a total of 26 training hours for each individual. For service companies, the figure was $711 spent on average per employee with a total of 23 training hours each.

The link between training and performance is unquestionable. The real issue is how to identify whether a new home sales temporary staffing company has a level of training that meets or exceeds your company's customer service goals and philosophies.

As part of your overall vendor selection process, consider the following:

Does the temporary staffing company understand the importance of meeting and exceeding clients' needs and/or expectations, as well as the importance of service excellence?

Look for a successful track record, including the ability to effectively deal with clients, commitment to core service values, flexibility, and creative problem solving. Customer service is such an integral part of a training curriculum today that it's important to have a vendor that 'walks the talk.'?

Remember, if your staff has to spend a lot of time training sales assistants and host/hostess temps who arrive on your site untrained, they are hidden costs that you are incurring. Identifying well trained temporary new home sales staff will save you significant money in the long run.


Don't get left behind

Builders need to view training as a 'process,'? not as an 'event.'? Likewise, they need to make customer service a focal point of their training priorities. At JWilliamsStaffing, Inc. our temporary new home sales staff succeeds because they have been trained to work with builders and understand the specific needs of their communities.

As research from ASTD and others show, training is not a luxury, but rather an essential part of business processes and the customer service chain. Builders who understand this will be ahead of the curve; those who don't will get left behind.

            When your next 'moment of truth'? comes, make sure you're ready. You will recognize the difference- and most importantly, so will your buyers.


JoAnne Williams is the Founder and CEO of  JWilliamsStaffing, Inc., the leading provider of temporary and full-time talent to the homebuilding industrty. Serving over 250 builders and marketing company clients in TX, AZ, NV and CA, the company's goal is to reduce builder costs associated with the staffing function, while ensuring consistency in the qualifications and performance of those that are placed or hired. For more information, call (832) 405-4748, or visit their website at

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