In 2020 in a study reported by Customer Thermometer, Microsoft found that 47% of customers switch brands due to bad customer service.
The same report also found that 56% of people have stopped doing business with companies that have poor customer service.
The worst statistic of all is that poor customer service can result in a customer being lost for around 2 years!
Poor customer service can be the result of many key soft and hard skills.
These can range from a lack of active listening skills to ignoring communication styles.
Importantly, these skills aren’t just specific to customer service roles. These are skills businesses require as a minimum to operate efficiently and cost-effectively.
Communication and listening skills can impact both the delivery of customer service as well as hinder internal relationships across the business.
Poor communication and listening skills are known to contribute to increasing stress levels within the working environment. Additionally, this creates high turnover rates and low employee morale.
For more practical roles, having clear English language communication skills ensures a safer working environment as employees can communicate safely and comfortably to others around them.
While there is no recent data on the financial impact of poor English language skills to businesses, in 1993 it was found that for a company employing 51 employees or more, the cost of poor English literacy skills was £166,000 per year.
For employers employing 1000 employees or more, the annual cost was £500,000.
There is a need for more English language testing during the employment screening process. Annually, businesses screen job one million interviewees using the Versant™ English test to improve communication and listening skills within their organisation.
The Versant English assessment has become the standard testing procedure for these specific skill sets across organisations.
This test is used by businesses to screen prospective employees for:
Versant™ assesses these skills challenges job candidates by questioning them on the following areas:
During the Versant English Test, the measuring and analysis of candidate performance is reported back through clarifying a candidates understanding of the English vocabulary and how the master sentence structure, and fluent pronunciation.
To understand what the measurement criteria of the Versant test means for businesses and prospective candidates, it’s important to understand each measurement by definition.
Often, information relaying can be ineffective if a person isn’t using the correct sentence syntax or a coherent structure.
Sentence building is measured during the Versant English language test to ensure that prospective candidates take information and form coherent sentences. This is done through the randomised short sentence test.
This test short phrases presented randomly and are then tasked with rearranging these to make a syntactically correct sentence.
The skill of gathering information and retelling factually correct is based on reception and representation theory. How we might receive a message, interpret it and re-communicate the message.
The story gathering and retelling measurement of the Versant test looks to ensure that candidates receive information in the form of brief stories.
This measurement observes how candidates recount these stories in English in their own words.
The measurement is around both accuracy and coherent sentence structure.
Keeping this short and non-descriptive, this part of the English language test measures a candidate’s ability to listen closely to short questioning and provide succinct and clear answers.
This measurement expects a candidate to understand the requirement of necessary information versus unnecessary information to potential scenarios they may come across in the workplace.
One of the more simpler measurements of the Versant assessment is the reading measurement.
Simply, this measurement expects candidates to read chosen sentences word-for-word clearly, without interruption.
The measurement is used to ensure that proficient reading of the English language from the prospective candidate.
This also may require a disclaimer by the interviewee if they are Dyslexic, so as not to ensure any potential discrimination during the interview process.
The language repetition measurement tests a candidate’s ability to repeat the sentence they hear, emphasising the importance of pronunciation.
The Versant English test measures pronunciation as a communication skill due to the importance of pronunciation when speaking the English language to customers.
Cognitively, this can hinder or improve the relationship between customer service representatives and the customer.
This challenges candidates with two open-ended questions.
These questions require more than a simple yes or no answer – inviting the candidate to provide context and nuance behind their response.
This measurement looks at the candidates’ mastery of the English language to provide clear, structurally sound and coherent answers.
What makes the Versant approved English language test so effective for businesses is the research that underpins the foundations of the test.
Importantly, for businesses looking to improve their recruitment process, but who might be sceptical of using Versant, this is an approved English language test used by local councils and over thousands of businesses a year in their application screening process.
English language testing for businesses should always remain objective and unbiased. There is an essential need to safeguard this aspect for businesses looking to test English language proficiency in the future.
Advocates of English language testing understand the importance of English tests like Versant’s ability to streamline and improve recruitment processes, whilst reducing cost to the business.
For clarity, this webinar by Matt Stevens provides additional insight into the direction businesses need to take with English language testing in their organisation.