1 Introduction & Background

1.1 Introduction

Business concerns with people. It's about communication, coordination and relationship. Although business success is based upon logical acts and thoughts, the human element cannot be ignored (Armstrong, 2006). That's why strong soft skills are vitally important. Organisations and businesses are established with one thing in mind that is to earn revenue for their stakeholders. Revenue is earned by selling products or providing services to its customers and clients. Businesses flourish because they have products or services to sell which their customers buy in return for profits. To compete or to survive in the competitive business environment, it's critical for any organization to satisfy the customer needs. Service is often considered an important aspect of satisfaction of customer as well as a significant contribution. Customer satisfaction is an important aspect for business profitability (Armstrong, 2006). It is the satisfaction of the customers that keep them loyal and any good service provided by the organisation help it to retain customers that in turn ends in high profitability. Increased competition and customer expectations have forced the companies to frequently provide good customer value and service. This has pressurised the businesses to focus more on customer satisfaction (Gerson, 1993).

According to Phillips (1991), customer service is the base for a flourishing business and training is the service's cornerstone. Quality product with just price attracts customers but it is not enough. Organisations came to realize that consumers' decision to buy this product also depends upon the service or treatment that he/she has received. The importance of customer satisfaction is also a key element in service only industry. That's why a strong emphasis has been put on soft skills and organisations lay a great importance for employees to acquire soft skills specially the ones who deal with customers. With the growing significance on quickly intensifying service sector; organisations recognized the soft skills' importance and they are paying special attention to the softer side of their interaction with consumers. Training of employees especially in soft skills is vital for any organisation and it helps in overall employee improvement as well as development. The need and value for soft skills development for employees has always been accepted by many organisations (Guirdham, 1999). Training also contributes towards development of employees and and plays an important role in their satisfaction. It helps to acquire new skills or polish the existing ones (Green, 2001). Organisational structures are influenced by customer oriented market and constantly changing environment that is leading the organisations to rely on soft skills training for employees. Organisation structures are necessary to support the effort of training managers and trainee employees. It also makes possible the effective performance of key training activities. Culture of an organization also plays an important part in assessing the needs and requirements for training and development. It also puts a positive pressure on organizational behavior and influences it. It also helps in producing high level of business performance. Culture is what makes an organisation unique and that differentiate it from other organizations. The stronger the culture is, the more effective the organization.

Training equips organization with flexibility and durability required for growth and survival. Environmental pressures forces an organisation towards change. Training provides adaptability to change and answer to the challenge on how to adjust to change (Ulrich, 1998). Change and training is worthless if employees are not involved properly. Employees are regarded the most valued assets especially which are skilled in soft skills, as the nature of business changes. When organizational change occurs, major alteration and modifications in the policy of the management need to be reflected in the training theory. It is very essential for any organization to realize its environment's dynamics and adjust to the changing requirements the internal or external environment (Bhattacharyya, 2007). Leadership is necessary for creating change and can produce orderly change. Leaders are expected to focus on taking the organization forward. Leadership in today's environment is a tough business. Organizational leaders face a number of significant challenges as their jobs and the world around them become increasingly complex (Murphy and Riggio, 2003). In business, a rapidly shifting economic environment, changing demands of customers and increasing market competition has become normal. To compete, business leaders must continuously increase their performance by any measure.

Organisations should work to assure that people in the company work flexibly in the response to change. Trained employees will respond positively to the change and employees that are skilled with both hard and soft skills can work more effectively in achieving organisational overall objectives. Studies have found a relationship between organisation's productivity and employee satisfaction and also between satisfaction of employees and customers (Allen and Wilburn,). Satisfied employees can generate satisfied customers. Valued and satisfied employees make more contributions to the organization's performance. They are more productive and work more effectively. If they are satisfied with their job and working conditions, they will serve the customer needs more carefully and efficiently.

To get an accurate picture of the service quality delivered; an organisation measure customer satisfaction and experience. Customer satisfaction measurement is about how customer perceives an organization's performance. Measuring customer satisfaction helps in finding out customer needs and determining customers' problems. It also assists in improving product and quality of service that in turn leads to more satisfaction of customers. As with customer satisfaction measurement, training evaluation is equally important. Training evaluation is a way to gather information by which the organizations make decisions about training actions (Armstrong, 2008). Businesses apply evaluation of performance appraisal to calculate work performance and effectiveness of an employee, which can help in defining and developing training needs for the organisations.

1.2 Study Purpose

The main idea of this dissertation is to investigate the soft skills importance for organisations working in the constantly changing customer oriented market. The significance of soft skills training for customer focused organisations was never felt before. Growing economical environment and customers' high expectations forced the organizations to recognise the need of soft skills and soft skills training for employees (Muir, 2004). The other reasons for writing this research paper include examining companies' relations with employees and consumers and its effect on satisfaction level of customers. The research focuses on employee's soft skills development relating to changing nature of organisation culture. Effects of internal and external environmental factors on organisations functions and policies are also discussed. This paper also examined and argued on roles and responsibilities of HR professionals like HR managers for planning and developing HR strategies and policies. Aspects of leadership are considered in details, like leading through change, motivating in employee relations and influencing during training and development.

The writer has evaluated and related literature review with case-studies of Mobilezone Ltd and United Mobiles Ltd and concluded on the training and developing soft skills benefits and subsequent effects on employee and customer satisfaction. The research paper has analyzed critically on the training of soft skills and its impact on its staff and consumers. In the end the researcher has assessed customer satisfaction and evaluated training by use of research methodologies. The writer has tried to take several authors' views on above mentioned subjects. Authors' ideas and theories are not only mentioned but debated. The researcher provided point of view of different writers and counter arguments of some scholars on related.

1.3 Company's Overview

The organisations selected for this dissertation are in the growing stages with different structures, cultures, and management and leadership styles. Their approaches towards customer satisfaction by training employees in soft skills differ from one another. Both companies are leading mobile phone sellers and service providers in Delhi region of India. The names of the companies are Mobilezone Ltd and United Mobiles Ltd. Both the companies are new to this field. They started their business and launched their operations with the growing demand for telecommunication sector in India.

1.3.1 Mobilezone Ltd

Mobile Zone was established in 2002 with the vision of bringing top mobile brands, latest products, and to provide high quality services. It provides quality products of top mobile phone brands in India. Unlike its competitors, it planned its entry with a thorough and careful market research and its employees were well trained before the business actually started. In just 7 years of its existence, it gained a good market share and enjoys a commanding position in mobile phone market in Capital region. With main office in the heart of the city, it has presence in many other areas of Delhi through sales and service centres. Apart from providing services face to face it deals with customer problems and queries via call centre. It employees highly qualified and trained sales and service staff. There are total of 150 employees in the main office and service centres.

1.3.2 United Mobiles Ltd

United Mobiles Ltd has also started their business in 2002 just a moth prior to its competitor. In contrast to its competitor, it was fairly new to this business and its staff had little experience in this business field. It also enjoys a market share in the area and earns good profits. Just like its competitors it has sales and service centres in different parts of the city. Its call centre is located in the main office. It employees around 100 staff at main office and service centres (excluding cleaning and maintenance jobs).

1.4 Selection of Topic

Research was undertaken before deciding which topic area to select. After initial research on wide range of topics, discussions of ideas with colleagues and friends, browsing internet and libraries, exploring different dissertation of previous years and finally weighing opinions and careful thinking; the researcher narrowed down the topic and selected this specific research. The main motive for selecting the topic was that this covered a lot of subjects within, and extensive data material was available from different sources. The other reasons include the researcher's own personal experience in the field and work experience in one of the companies; and the available ease for carrying out data collection research.

1.5 Project paper usefulness

The research project can be useful for reference purposes for later projects and studies by the students. This research was conducted with the management help, so this study can also be useful for comparing companies' results with its updated analysis. The companies can use it as a guideline to take improvement measures and modifications. The theory and research of this paper can also be of some assistance for companies and other researcher alike.

1.6 Aim and objectives

    Aim: To study and examine the importance of training soft skills in organisations in terms of customer satisfaction.

    Following are the research objectives:
  • Examine and analyze the existing literature on employee training and development with specific focus on soft skills and customer satisfaction. Summarize the main subject matter of the findings and provide recommendations to the company on the conclusion.
  • Determine the extent employees' soft skills can be improved by training; and the degree of influence of skilled employees on the tendency of customers.
  • Appreciate the contribution of internal and external factors towards skills training and development.
  • Evaluate training and measure employee and customer satisfaction using available research methods.

1.7 Layout of research paper

Chapter 1 is research paper introduction. The background and overview of the research undertaken, has been given by the writer. Research purpose, objectives, usefulness of the research paper, selection of topic and company's overview has been proposed.

Chapter 2 encompasses the review of literature that includes the body of discussion. This section has further been divided into parts which are related and relevant. Research of soft skills, training and development, change, organisation's structure and culture, HR professionals and leaders' roles and responsibilities, employee relations and customer satisfaction; has been put forward and discussed and explained in details. This section has been critically analyzed, taking into account different perspectives. Different scholars and writer's work has been taken into account, and comments and arguments were put forward by the researcher.

Chapter 3 consists of review of methodology. Different research methods which could have been useful are discussed and weighed. Selection of appropriate methods and reasons for selection and rejection of research methods are presented in summary. Arguments and benefits for selected methods are also given. Sampling, tools of research, designs, models and other related techniques are also explained in this section.

Chapter 4 comprises data analysis that the researcher collected and its significance in terms of reaching the explicit conclusions. Data gathered from interviews, questionnaires and other sources is analysed critically analysed. All the results are presented graphically. Comparison o results are also made in this section.

Chapter 5 is summary, conclusions and recommendations. All the data in first 4 chapters has been summarised and concluded in this chapter, drawing together the threads of research project and the main things found out in data collection. Recommendations has been proposed after taking into consideration all the summarised research that gives detailed insight into the related research criteria. The researcher has also highlighted the areas the companies can focus in future to improve its business performance.

2 Literature Review:

2.1 Introduction:

Organisations survive, grow and earn profits by meeting the needs and requirement of customers. To survive in the ever changing environment, it is critical for any organisation to satisfy the needs of the customers (Mullins, 2007). Consumers' decision to buy this product also depends upon the service or treatment provided by the company. That's why companies put a great emphasis on its employees training of skills as well as continuous development over the years; especially for the ones which provide service directly or interact with customers often. Organisations have started emphasising on soft skills importance for services and they are laying a great importance for employees to acquire soft skills. Training of employees in soft skills is vital for any organisation as it aid in employee development (Guirdham, 1999).

Customer oriented market and changing environment has influence on the organization structure that leads to increased reliance on skills development. Organisation structures are necessary to support the effort of training managers and trainee employees (Armstrong, 2008). It also makes possible the effective performance of key training activities. Organisational structures are influenced by customer oriented market and constantly changing environment that is leading to more dependence on soft skills training for employees. Culture of an organization also plays an important part in assessing the needs and requirements for training and development. It also puts a positive pressure on organizational behavior and influences it. It also helps in producing high level of business performance. Change and training is worthless if employees are not involved properly (Armstrong, 2008). Employees are regarded the most valued assets especially which are skilled in soft skills, as the business nature organization itself changes. The role of managers and leaders are very important in development of employees. Leadership is necessary for creating change and can produce orderly change. Leaders are expected to focus on taking the organization forward. To get an accurate picture of the service quality delivered; an organisation measure customer satisfaction and experience (Bratton and Gold, 2001). Training is also evaluated to measure the employee work performance and effectiveness (Beardwell et al. 2007).

2.2. Training and Development

Armsrtong (2008) defines employee development as a process to prepare organization employees for future responsibilities related to job. This may include training (formal or informal, mentoring, education, coaching etc. Training and development of employees is a HRM activity. HRM is concerned with personnel management and staff development in a company and is normally carried out by HR professionals e.g. HR managers (Armstrong, 2006). The nature of work HR carries out differs from one business to another and is effected by size and structure of the company. Talented pools of workers are always required by an organisation to compete successfully in today's highly competitive market (Bratton and Gold, 2001). Company can achieve and maintain this competitive advantage by regularly upgrading the workforce skills. Training and development is a never ending challenge that a company must address (Wilson, 2006). The development of employee skills is one of the most imperative tasks in which an organisation can engage (Molander and Winterton, 2006). Effective training is paramount for survival and growth of a business. Training is not just about developing people but serving them to become more positive and capable in their jobs as well confident in their lives. The field of training is a fast growing sector of human life and has come of age as a profession. There are many motives for training and developing employees. It can be started for a variety of reasons for employees e.g. to facilitate an employee to be qualified for a planned change. It can be carried out as part of an employee's professional development program or performance improvement (Rae, 1999). The training need has always been present in every walk of life and today the need is so much greater. There could be any reason but important are probably: the pace at which change is happening in every field of business life, and the employers' attitude and the attitude of the individuals (Pont, 2003). Training is not only essential to create skilled force but also needed to maintain a high level of skills required by the constantly changing work environment and to equip employees to meet future demands (Stewart, 2996) (Pont, 2003). HR professionals do recognise training and development of an employee is a process that is ongoing but it speed up in case of organisational, cultural or environmental change. This training process involves continuous adjustment to adapt which is achieved from improved skills and increased knowledge (Beardwell et al 2007). The new working system demands completely new approach of thinking and extensive training in new skills (Beardwell and Claydon, 2007). The importance of training has long been recognized. The need for training is more prominent given today's business climate which affects the economy and society at large. The most simplistic definition of training is that it is an activity that changes people's behaviour.

Training is defined by Wilson (2006) as a planned process to modify employee knowledge, skill, attitude and behaviour through learning to gain performance. Employee is trained to make sure that organization's current or future needs are met. Training can equip employees to do their jobs, perform their tasks and handle complex products and services. In Bramley's (2003) words, training involves learning and educating employee to do something so that the things are done differently. He and (Wilson, 1999) further explains that training process is planned to facilitate education to help employees develop into more effective and efficient in performing their duties and completing their work. According to the CIPD, training is expected to equip workers to help them become strategically unique, in addition to the provision of skills, attitudes and knowledge required to attain operational efficiency. The foundation for training remains the traditional training process system. This involves: 1. identifying the needs for training and development of the company; 2. Planning training or devising a learning plan; 3. Carrying out or delivering training and 4. Assessing and evaluating outcomes/results. A training-need-analysis is the first step in identifying the types of programs that will further organisation's goals, which helps to decide whether training is appropriate at all. The organisations have to assess why they need training. Is the current organisational deficiency that the training seeks to address really due to lack of skills and knowledge or some deeper problems? Frequently, organisations implement training program because a HR professional identifies an individual or business need (Smith and Mazin, 2004). Then plans are made on how to deliver the program and by which method.

Although the terms training and development are often linked, these address slightly different needs. Training focuses on learning the necessary skills and acquiring the knowledge required to perform the job. Training deals with design and delivery of knowledge to improve organization performance. Development focuses on the preparation needed for future jobs; it should be considered investment in the work force since its benefits are long term (Buhler, 2002). Training inclined towards focusing on short term results. Development may inadequately focus on working environment. It is very important for the business to review its training to a broader scenario (Bryans and Smith, 2000). According to Armstrong (2006), people are learning and will continue to do so throughout their career, whether taught formally or as an experience. Mullins (2007) observed that people learn within the organisation and in everyday life situations. Competition, technological advances and organizational development, all necessitate the creation of knowledge that leads to constant advancement. That directs oganizations to take more interest in employee development within evolving organization. Training is the main area of the HRM function of particular importance and relevant to the management effectiveness. There are not many scholars who argue in opposition to the importance of training as a foremost influence on the organization success. Leading writers have recognised the importance of training as fundamental for management (Bratton and Gold, 2003). Many believed that training employee development is a key factor of HRM within organization. Training as described by Keep (1989 cited by Wilkinson, 2006), is a litmus test against which management's characteristics practices can be measured. Other advantages of staff's training and development includes: increased employee morale, motivation and job satisfaction, increased efficiency and effectiveness, increased ability to adopt latest methods and technologies, enhanced company image, reduced employee turnover, risk management. The precise staff training at the right timing presents big payoffs for the employer in increased knowledge, productivity, contribution and loyalty (Web 3). Training let the organization to develop and promote its own business culture. It also permits organizations to become accustomed to changes in the working environment and can be used as a change agent (Wilkinson, 2006). Training can improve effectiveness of the organisation in fiercely competitive markets. Training assists in optimizing the development of human resource for employee to achieve the individual as well as organisational objectives (Benson, 2006). It increases the job skills and knowledge of employees and expands the horizons of their intellect and their personality. Training and development also aids in signifying the team spirit sense, team work and inter team relationship. It also helps the company to be effective in decision making and solving problem. It also assists in developing leadership skills, loyalty among employees, staff motivation, enhanced attitudes and other features that successful employees normally display (Armstrong, 2008) (Bratton and Gold, 2003) (Jenkins,2002) (Pont, 2003) (Price, 2007).

Of course, the basic and main goal of a business is to enhance its value and to increase its stakeholder's wealth. It requires effective and efficient use of limited resources available to the organization to achieve theses aims. Resource aavailability (human, physical and financial) are considered important inputs (Bacon & Haque, 2008). HR scholars agree that an organisation is only as good as persons working in it but opinions vary on how it translates into practice. Many organisations not only consider training as n chance for employees to learn something but also as an investment that would produce results for business. It also takes money and time to train staff (Bacon & Haque, 2008). With a supportive environment and a little encouragement and reinforcement, a business can accomplish the required result on a substantial investment in people. An organized approach is needed in evaluation of needs of training; otherwise organization may not be able to utilize valuable resources efficiently (Armstrong, 2006). Training matters for a company because of the established links between productivity and skills. Organisations allocate resources for training because of fear of skills shortage. Some scholars like Kallenberg & Moody (1994) recognize that investment in employee development result in higher returns in future. Employees are the essential and crucial resource. It's important for an organisation to optimize the employees' contribution to the organisation's goals and objectives in order to maintain effective performance. Adequate supply of technically and socially competent and proficient staff is only ensured by training and development. Training helps the staff to become capable for career advancement into specialist departments and management positions. Staff training can be on-the-job that is conducted at the trainee's workplace, and off-the-job which is carried out away from employee's work place (Mullins, 2007). Some employees are naturally gifted in talents while others work hard to gain but all can still benefit from learning new techniques. People usually receive a well to do on the job training in one form or another. Some people are good at finding their own paths and procuring the necessary resources and information, many persons learn best by following, observing and asking questions (Smith and Mazin, 2004).

Training is not always the answer to problems related to performance. Some training analysts (Rosner, 1999 cited by Smith and Mazin, 2004) believed that training could be a good investment or could be a waste of resources. It is in fact a waste of resources when the desired behaviour does not occur. That's why training and development doesn't succeed all the time to achieve desired results and in obtaining aims and objectives of the organisation. There can be many causes for the failure but most common are (Web 6): Training is often put into practice for the wrong reasons and seldom aligns to a business measure. If training program does not support the business goals then no improvement can be recorded. Training is thought to be a solution for a range of performance problems when training may not be concern at all. It also fails because it does not succeed to give direction and focus. Sometimes the solution proves too expensive for the desired outcomes. Individual's behaviour towards training also plays an important part; e.g. when training is believed just as an event than as enhancement of skills and abilities of the employees, it fails to generate business results. Other important reason for failure is lack of management support (Mullins, 2007). Employees will hardly ever implement new skills and knowledge without it in the workplace. Failure to include and credit other influences and processes apart from training that may have influenced the business outcomes may also be a good reason of failure. Some businesses invest little in training because they don't have enough funds. Other reason is the fear that individuals will leave and move to other companies at some later stage. Few organisations consider recruitment process sufficient and rely on the natural skills of employees rather than training (Harrison, 2005).

It is HR manager's role and responsibility to develop and implement training strategies and policies. He/she is also involved in people management activities like developing organization, recruitment and selection, talent management, learning and development, human resource planning, knowledge management, reward management, etc (Hyde et al. 2009). Depending on the business nature and size of the company, the HR managers not just have responsibility of training and developing employees but for performance management as well.Training processes take place in the context of internal and the external environment of the organization. Human Resource Managers need to realize the training and development's nature and process to be able to facilitate learning and development within the organisation (Watson, 2006). While providing training, the managers need to recognize the importance and effects organization structure and design because these describe tasks and responsibilities, roles and relationships, work and channels of communication (Mullins, 2007). Structure is clearly important for any organization, whatever its size. The aspects that determine how the company functions in relation to its eternal and external environment are its structure and the processes that operate within it. Structures are necessary to support the effort of training managers and trainee employees. It also makes possible the effective performance of key training activities (Hyde et al. 2009).

Human Resource Development (HRD) is a name which signifies the newest evolutionary phase in the long custom of training, educating and developing employees. It focuses on the principle of contributing to the success of individual, organisational and societal objectives. According to McLagan (1989 cited in Wilson, 2005) it is the incorporated use of training, career development and development of a company to improve organisational and individual value. HRD gives the business benefits assisting the ability to increase revenue. Companies need to develop a learning culture that responds quickly to the ever changing environment. HRD policies can help the organisation to obtain this objective (Nixon, 2004).

2.3. Soft Skills

There are two versions of HRM as explained by Storey (1992). He made the distinction between the soft and hard HRM approaches and describes that although both approaches to HRM emphasise on employees and consider them important for achieving competitive edge that has to be attained, developed and organized in ways that benefits the business. Soft version further focuses on communication, leadership and motivation and lays emphasis on people's skills, commitment, adaptability and performance (Armstrong, 2006). Organisations that have a mixture of both approaches tend to endure and grow in the competitive business environment.

Many scholars define soft skills as the skill to converse in both written and verbal forms and the ability to interact with colleagues and fellows in a positive behaviour (Redman and Wilkinson, 2006). The importance of acquiring or improving soft skills cannot be understated. No matter how good or strong and professional employee is, he can't succeed if his interpersonal skills are weak. Soft skills which are also known as people skills are usually difficult to observe. These can also be hard to quantify and measure (Web 7), unlike hard skills which are easily observed and measured. People skills are not just needed for work but also for everyday life as much. Lee (1999) defines soft skills as "intra and interpersonal job skills that facilitate the application of technical skills and knowledge". Soft skills includes a range of abilities such as flexibility, analytical thinking, ability to communicate effectively, listening skills, leadership skills, team-building skills, self-awareness, creativity, problem-solving skills, change- readiness and diplomacy skills. Soft skills can be easily differentiated from hard skills. Soft skills are the non technical skills which are often ignored while managing businesses. On the other hand, hard skills are the technical capabilities required for job performance. These can easily be acquired through training. Hard skills are the technical knowledge required to complete the tasks while soft skill is the interpersonal aspect of work place life. As described by Muir (2004) soft skills are employee's attitudes and behaviours while interacting at the workplace which effect the outcomes of such interactions. Many scholars often refer people skills as soft skills. Hard skills, on the other hand are administrative procedures carried out by employees which relates to company's core business. Some examples are: protocols of a computer, operations of a machine, financial procedures, safety standards and sales administration (Web 7). Hard skills are the technical skills required within the domain limits, normally consists of processes, tools and techniques. Although these are crucially important, these skills have to be considered along with the broader soft skills (Muir, 2004).

Soft skills have not been given importance in the past and have been of less importance in many technical areas but now in fast paced competitive business environment, it is a necessary feature in organisational development. It was believed that soft skills were not needed by employees as long as they can perform their job accurately, but now even in hard and task oriented roles soft skills are required (Belzer, 2004). Soft skills are more important than ever before especially in the working environment which faces changes occasionally. Businesses demand broader soft skills along with hard skills from its employees. Businesses require their employees to have the skills unique to their role at every level and field. It is deemed by Muir (2004) that all people should be skilled while participating in team projects or when managing conflicts. They must be capable in creating relationships to improve individual and business performance. Soft skill is an essential and effective tool for management and is necessary workplace requirements.

Employers sought core skills which are soft and transferable like effective communication ability and team working. They also look for other soft skills such as decision making and conceptualisation which are also vital for the business success. Researches on the soft skill importance signify the most important soft skill for an employee to possess is interpersonal skill, and then come written or verbal communication skills (Schuler, 2007). Demand for the acquisition of soft skills and reliance on these increases with the constantly changing work environment due to technology or any other reason. Although, soft skills are not a hard skills replacement, these are, on occasions, balance and work together with technical skills to unlock the employee potential for high effective performance (Banfield and Kay, 2008).

For years the management focused on hard or technical skills which were necessary to perform effectively. Hard skills are more jobs specific and more closely related towards the actual job being done. Today, organisations desire employees skilled in critical soft expertise (Mullins, 2007). These soft skills tend to be more generic in nature and key to effective performance across all job categories. According to Lee (1996) the main soft skills managers prioritise for developing learning materials are: people management/ supervision, teamwork, leadership, people related/ experience/ frontline, communications, negotiation, customer service, coaching, customer problem solving and project management/ organisation. Other soft skills required by management include decision making, presentation skills, assertiveness, time management, change management, stress management, decision making, resolving conflicts, diversify, giving feedback, appraisal, employee engagement, cooperating as a team member, arranging meetings and taking minutes. Good soft skills also include managers' ability to balance the staff individual needs with the commercial needs of their companies..

Soft skills are important for any organisations because these help individuals and businesses to achieve goals. These also help employees in distributing services or information to customers and colleagues, assist in effectively working as a team member, and inspire management and supervisors' confidence (Conrad, 1999). Many businesses put high importance on soft skills along with the core skills that are a prerequisite for most sectors (Web 4). Soft skills importance is obvious for many professions, customer service industry in specific (Web 5). The increase in service based industry and the shift from production/manufacturing work to knowledge/service industry has changed the nature of job performance in the business sector. As businesses become more focused on service oriented work, organisation's personnel should be able to demonstrate high interpersonal nature of performance at work. Normally jobs in the service sector usually result in interactions with colleagues, consumers and/or clients (Zedeck & Goldstein, 2000). Communication skills are the most important soft skills desired by the organisations especially by service sector where business dealings are mostly done while interacting with customers face to face or by any other means. Riggio (1986 cited by Murphy and Riggio, 2003) associate these skills with listening, presenting, verbalizing, and nonverbal communication. Hall (1979 cited by Murphy and Riggio, 2003) divided interpersonal skills into two categories of sending and receiving. Many researchers argued that the basic information sending and receiving skills represent key social skills. Soft skills such as interpersonal skills and communication skills are desired by companies, and these will remain significant for the employees' development.

People's ability to manage the soft side of business is now considered vital for making organization more valued (Muir, 2004). Organisations are not just assessing their employees, current or prospective on business skills but they are now considering them for their soft skills competencies especially how well they communicate to colleagues and customers. In most of the progressive organizations, management is looking for people's ability to communicate effectively and clearly, and also in their skills to listen and respond sympathetically. Companies also desire the employees to have good written skills so that their correspondence doesn't undo the good work they performed in face-to-face communication.

2.4. Soft Skills Training

Skills training and development of employees is the key feature of business and economic environment. Training raises the skill levels and productivity of employees and presents the expectation of better competitiveness within business environment. There are two fundamental categories of skills training: hard and soft skills (Armstrong, 2008). The need for hard skills training can easily be identified while soft skills are very hard to define and measure. They relate to individual development and are very important for successful performance of job. Soft skill training enhances the softer side of HRM expertise, knowledge, opportunities and skills of the employees. Soft skills training is concerned with getting a enhanced understanding of the ways persons think and behave. Soft skills training is vitally important especially for service industry as it offers consumers high service level and makes them feel valued by the company (Kotler 2003). To gain a competitive edge, businesses train employees in soft skills. Soft skills also assists the company to create positive relationships that work to involve people. Some types of training have both hard and soft skills components. Sales training for example, may encompass hard skills such as product knowledge and price negotiation, and soft skills such as empathy and listening (Smith and Mazin, 2004). In contrast to soft skills, hard skills are easy to train to employees because many a times these skills are new to the employee and there is no unlearning involved. Soft skills are not easily observed, measured or even quantified. Soft skills are not easy to be trained. The best way to develop skills is to practice doing the thing what an employee is trying to do, under the expert guidance of someone who knows how (Redman and Wilkinson, 2006).

It is believed that soft skills if properly trained can really make a difference between finalising the contract and losing it. It can either build an organized team or create inefficient and malfunctioned one. It can also bring a difference in getting a promotion or missing out. It gives employees a competitive edge that helps to create positive relationships among employees, with management and with customers. This results in companies getting more from people (internally and externally). Training of soft skills covers a wide range of skills, including assertiveness, persuading, negotiating skills, influencing skills, public speaking, presentation skills, team management and networking (Muir, 2004) (Beardwell et al, 2007) (Bohalander and Snell, 2003). It can help boost confidence and morale of an employee and helps in doing the job efficiently and effectively. Soft skills' training is about getting a better understanding of the organisation ways and how people think and behave. It is about presenting the company, its ideas in a manner that impact on the audience in a best possible way. Soft skills training is especially useful for management who manage a team of employees, as well as for people who interact with others as per requirement of their job e.g. front line staff, any business with customers and clients, anyone who work with suppliers and the people who work as part of a team. The interpersonal nature of the work culture has been comprehensively reviewed by many scholars. Communication skill is the most important of interpersonal or soft skills and most employees are not skilled in this according to the standards. Companies focus on training these skills by programs that usually contains a mix of programmes e.g. listening, writing, face-to-face communications and presentation skills. Awareness like self or social awareness, management of relationships, diversity and conflict management are some other essential complements to interpersonal skills (Buhler, 2002) (Drucker, 2007).

Competitions in the business world and developments in various fields like technology require the knowledge creation which in directs to constant development and innovation which in turn leads the businesses to focus more on training and development of its employees within expanding organisation. In today's working environment, the organizations has to specifically take interest in softer side of HR training of staff as its demand is increasing with time. Therefore, not just hard skills but soft skills also must be part of a training programme (Muir, 2004). The need and importance for soft skills and its development is important when there is intense competition for many available positions. Amongst many businesses, there is growing recognition for the importance of people skills, understanding that these are essential for a highly focussed successful business. Job skills are intensifying with the time and technical skills are no longer considered enough. Organisations need employees to have more relevant soft skills at all stages of organisational hierarchy Stoneall 1997). The organizations face challenge on training relevancy in 21st century's changing business environment. Organisations are changing their ways in terms of recruiting, training, measurement and definition of skills and adapting new ways and models that rely on current and future demands of the markets. Learning and training of employees can focus on different employment components as proposed by Lee (1996). Organisations can adapt different techniques of training for their businesses and according to their requirement. Some consist on purely of knowledge acquisition, many focus on staff skills development, some even focus on sentimental aspects of the employees and their relationships. Few activities seek to incorporate all the above discussed methods. Whatever method or technique an organisation chooses for employee skills training and development, soft skills remains the must have requirement. Changing nature of technical jobs and services and increased and services made soft skills very crucial for the survival of any business. Armstrong (2008) places a great importance on the design of soft skills training policy because of its significance of effects on the business. It is an important matter that requires close attention to the company's mission, strategic vision and ethical stance and strategic vision. Companies' policies and procedures must be aligned to the organization's objectives.

The organisation cannot ignore the effect of change on soft skills training. It is obvious that change in organizational structure and its culture have a direct impact on soft skills training and its requirements. Organisations need to train their employees for the accommodation of their new tasks and responsibilities. Changes in structure require the organization to promote improved communication and understanding of the accountability. According to Hussay, (2000), training is a technique for the business in eminent change. Training according to the change requirements provides organizations with adaptability, durability and flexibility required for growth and survival (Redman and Wilkinson, 2006) (Stewart 1991). According to Mullins (2007) there have been radical changes in the business environment in the past years. Organizations feel pressure in the face of increased competition to operate more effectively and efficiently and provide a good return on time and resources invested (Carnell 2007). With the continuous change in the business environment, continuous improvement is required that means continuous learning, training and development (Mullins, 2007). Ulrich (2000 cited by Mullins, 2007) mentioned the greatest challenge a business confronts is to adapt and adjust to change. The pace of change is accelerating. The knowledge and skills gained in yesterday will no longer be sufficient to equip a person for a lifetime. As an organisation has to continuously improve its performance to compete and grow. Skills training and development can create positive changes in both the person and an environment (Hawkins, 1994 cited in Armstrong, 2006).

The soft skills requirements differ from business to business and industry to industry. The need and of soft skills training has been recognised by many organisations in the past few. The soft skills are now a business necessity.

2.5. The importance of employee role in enhancing business performance and customer satisfaction

Organization's performance largely depends upon the employees that work in it (Pyzdek, 2003). They are the key resource and considered as capital for any organization. Management is involved in designing and applying programs planned to enhance the employees' performance in order to improve the organization effectiveness. It's their responsibility to group together employees' activities in such a manner which will encourage integration and cooperation (Haunchild, 2003) (Pyzdek, 2003). Management's role also include creating a climate of trust to improve employment relation, and organizing the company's training policies and activities in such a way that obtains better results from the business as well as individuals by managing and measuring its performance within agreed framework of set objectives and competence requirements. It also has to assess and improve performance, identify and satisfy learning and training requirements (Armstrong, 2006).

Employee relations as a phrase remain unclear. Employee relations are concerned with maintaining relationship between employees and employers that contribute to high productivity, morale and motivation. It is supposed to take into account employees work issues like preventing and resolving problems which occur due to the work environment and which can affect the working situations. Historically, the motivation behind all the research conducted on employee relations and satisfaction in the past few decades, was the belief that it influenced employee productivity and retention (Allen and Wilburn, 2002). Studies carried out by researchers confirmed the relationship between organisation's productivity and employee satisfaction (Allen and Wilburn, 2002). In later years, an additional issue arose: the influence of employee satisfaction on customer satisfaction in predominantly service oriented settings. There are many scholars like Ryan, Schmit and Johnson (1996 cited by Allen and Wilburn, 2002), Wiley and Brookes (2000 cited in Armstrong, 2008) and others researched and confirmed the association between satisfaction of employees and satisfaction of customers. It is believed that motivated employees with high morale who are satisfied with the working conditions produce satisfied customers (Allen and Wilburn, 2002). Employees are more productive when organizations value them. They will make more contributions will work more effectively and efficiently when businesses recognize their issues. If they are satisfied with their job and work environment, they will serve the customer needs carefully. Allen and Wilburn (2002) conceptualized the drivers of employee satisfaction into five categories: pay, work conditions, supervision, promotion and colleagues. Others studied four categories of drivers of overall employee satisfaction: the employee, job itself, the company and the environment. These have control or can influence the employee characteristics, thus work behaviours. As characterized by CIPD, employee relations can be distinguished mainly as a set of skills rather than as a management function or activity. Employee competencies and skills are still considered essential by businesses for attaining benefits such as performance by focusing on employee involvement, engagement and commitment (Web 9). Employee relations can also be tactical when managing business risk. In her research, Ostroff (1992 cited by Topolosky, 2000) proposed that workforce happiness and satisfaction improves organizational effectiveness. Businesses are becoming aware that employee issues are important and these can affect the business. Jones (1996 cited by Topolosky, 2000) noted that managers started recognizing that the company cannot succeed in achieving organisational objectives without the workforce focus and commitment.

Effectiveness of employees can be improved by developing a strategy and implementing training programs (Hoyle, 1995 cited by Burns, 1998). Employee training can improve employee satisfaction that may result in high level of service to customers. Not just offering quality service to customers but making them feel valued by the organisation (Kotler, 2003). In competitive business environment and intensifying organisational structures, hard skills are no longer considered sufficient. Employers need to train their employees with more soft skills at all levels of occupation. Now employees have to work in teams and take more responsibility. They are getting involved in decision making and problem solving. Organisations are encouraging them to work with advanced technologies. Demand for inter personal skills has increased as the changes occurred, partly because of reduction in the degree to which work is organised through rules, procedures and supervision. People skills are needed for everyday life not just for work (Beardwell and Claydon, 2007). Soft skills are also concerned with working with people. It is difficult for someone with under developed skills specifically interpersonal skills to engage effectively with customers and even colleagues. Soft skills for employees refer to a wide range of abilities such as ability to communicate effectively, listening skills, flexibility, problem-solving skills, analytical thinking, self awareness, team-building, creativity and diplomacy (Pont, 2003). Good soft skills also include the ability of management to balance organisation commercial needs with the individual need of an employee. Ryan's (1995) research has recommended that employees need to make decisions and work as a team-member for an organisation success. Organizations realize that soft skills can play an effective role in enhancing employee performance helping them to achieve and accomplish business objectives. Organizations ensure that people in the company work flexibly to the change response helps in communication and decision making. In today's competitive business environment, organisations need to be flexible towards their employees and engage them in decision making process. There is a great need for good communication and coordination between employees and employers and among employees themselves (Pont, 2003). Organisations are moving to informal work environment and encouraging more employee participation. Organisations are decentralizing their structure and improving their culture by empowering employees. Their involvement is considered an important policy by businesses and processes are being devised to engage the support, understanding and contribution of staff in the company as well as their commitment to its goals (Kitching, 2007) (Korczynskil, 2002).

Manager's role is very important while dealing with employees (Weighman, 2004). Managing employee conflicts, handling their grievances, and solving issues and problems between employees are few of the important roles mangers have to play apart from motivating and leading them. HR managers design and appoint employee responsibilities and duties. They also plan employees' relationships that exist with other members of the company. They are responsible to plan and implement programmes designed to improve the effectiveness of the employee. Managers' skills are very important when dealing with the employees' issues (Watson, 2006) (Redman and Wilkinson, 2006). Managers need good communication and negotiating skills to deal with employees problems. Managers can overcome the employee related problems and organisational conflicts by questioning, interviewing and interpreting employee attitudes. Managers can also prevail by developing and implementing policies and practices according to organisation's needs and to the character of company's workforce. It is very crucial for the management to understand and realize interpersonal communications among workers in the organization because it is the basis for all workforce reactions and it allows the manager an opportunity to develop relationships with the employees In the workplace without alienating anyone. Working with different groups requires an incredible effort of interaction (Watson, 2006), if this coordination is constructive, it can help creating the right workplace climate, employee attitudes, their beliefs and behaviours. To achieve all this, it essential for the management have the respect of their workforce. If this respect is not there, it will be difficult for a management to get things accomplished and done in a right way (Armstrong, 2008). The managers can influence their employees by being a good leader. A leader builds up his employees' abilities and skills by rewarding them with more responsibility as they become more competent (Watson, 2006). Developing employees to achieve performance becomes more significant when businesses compete qualitatively and implement work practices that engage employee involvement and team working. People work more meaningfully and participate enthusiastically in systems where organisations encourage their contribution.

2.6. Sales Training:

Sales training is given to those responsible for approaching and actively engaging prospective customers (Salisbury, 1998). Professional sales training and development can often be the difference between success and failure in an employee's career. One of the major traits of top performing sales people is that they actively and passionately engage in selling. Training professional selling skills of employee can not only benefit employee but overall company performance. Finding business opportunities and converting those into sales requires effective training and active participation from the employee (Salisbury, 1998). The normal process of selling consists of approaching, interviewing, presenting, negotiating resistance and sale closing. Selling is much debated activity and sales training varies in its attempt to satisfy everyone's differing views and theories on what makes a good salesperson. If the company understands this then it could be more objective in what training is required. Sales persons must discipline themselves to continuously enhance their selling skills and improve their performance (Karevski, 2005). Practicing sales techniques will increase your sales success and boost your income, confidence and professionalism. Training sales people assure the clients that the organization respect and value their time and money. Trained, knowledgeable, skilful and educated sales people add value to the service. Customers put a trust in them and they feel that their needs are better looked after when trained sales people serve them. The trained sales workers serve with confidence. They're knowledgeable and aware of market trends, industry and business environment. This awareness improves their ability to sell which increases the company's reputation (Karevski, 2005).

2.7. Customer satisfaction

Soft skills are also concerned with working customers; to attract and retain them by ensuring their satisfaction and delivering high quality products and services. Customer satisfaction is an important performance indicator and is a measure of whether company's products and services meet customer needs and their expectations (Hill, 2003). This is the reason why many scholars have constantly stressed on the significance of not only customer satisfaction but customer loyalty well. The companies should try to meet their customers' needs and wants. This is the reason why many scholars have constantly stressed on the significance of not only customer satisfaction but customer loyalty and retention as well. A number of researchers have laid a great emphasise on the importance of satisfaction of customers. Kotler (2003) defines satisfaction in regards to feelings of a person that results from comparison of his/her expectations and that of product's perceived performance and also in relation to other important factors. Hansemark (2004) define satisfaction as an overall consumer's approach towards a business that produces and sell products and provides services to its customers. He further describe satisfaction in regards to products customers bought or services they have received as reaction that is emotional, to the difference between customer anticipation and what has actually been received, concerning the achievement of some need or desire.

Customer satisfaction is vital as research by scholars proved the positive impact of direct or indirect customer satisfaction on organization's profitability. It is very important for an organization to consider the consequence of customer satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction on the business. Customer satisfaction is essential for an organisation to be successful because of its effect on the productivity. The importance of customers and customer service has been discussed and considered by many researchers. According to Scott (2002), consumers are the main reason of what an organization does as it depends upon them. Customer service is the service provision to the clients before, during and after an acquisition. According to Zairi (2000), customer service is sequence of actions to develop and improve customer satisfaction level e.g. meeting customers' expectations. Service is certainly an important matter for the organisations where relationship lasts for years and entail considerable amount of finance and materials. Customers' expectations are high: to be treated professionally and honestly and to be dealt with respect and politeness (Hyde et al. 2005).

The purpose of an organisations existence is to earn profits and pursue growth and stability. And this can be achieved by providing high quality services to its consumers, in other words satisfying their needs and demands. It is very important for a business to attract and keep a customer. If organizations successfully create and retain clients in a cost effective way, they can earn revenue while continuing to survive and thrive. It is of no doubt that organization's profitability is affected by customer satisfaction. According to Hoyer (2001), satisfied customers form the base of any profitable organisation as customer repeatedly purchase, they buy more often and do more business with the organization. Customer satisfaction also leads to brand loyalty, and positive word of mouth. Customer satisfaction is affected by many different factors such as competitive pricing, service quality, good value, employee friendliness, courteousness, politeness, timeliness, helpful behaviour, billing clarity and quick service Hokanson (1995). Customer satisfaction can also involve many different variables that may include pricing, lead times, responsiveness, reliability, conformance, convenience and professionalism. The weight of each variable can differ significantly by organisation and even across product lines. The largest contributor to customer satisfaction is customers; perception which the organization can't fully control. In the business of pleasing customers, perceptions are fact. Customer expectations are continuously increasing. Organisations have to continuously update their policies with the changing customer expectations and perceptions. Organisations also have to make that sure customer expectations are clearly met and their enquiries and issues are timely resolved (Cook, 2004).

Increased competition and rise in expectations of consumers have forced the businesses to constantly offer high quality services and improve the value of its clients. They can hold on to existing customers and understand to attract new ones only by meeting the demands of their clients and achieving customer satisfaction. There are few companies who are taking a slightly different approach as markets are shrinking and competition is increasing: They are trying hard to boost customer satisfaction and retain their existing current customers rather than devoting additional resources to chase prospective new clients because of high cost in attracting new ones keeping current existing consumers. It has been realized that it's far less costly to entertain and increase satisfaction of current clients than it is to win new customers for the business. It has also been accepted that there is a strong connection between customer satisfaction, customer retention and profitability. Customer satisfaction is therefore, a core operational goal for many companies (Armstrong, 2008). Organizations are more attentive to customer needs than before and they are extensively focusing on customer satisfaction. It is hard to find an organization that doesn't claim to be a customer-oriented, customer-focused, or even-customer driven business. Managers must understand that practicing customer satisfaction is a strategic and critical decision. It is not something organizations do simply to achieve a standard; it's something an organisation does to stay in business. Organisation should make sure that employees are involved in customer satisfaction (Cook, 2004). All personnel must have the ability to influence consumers' satisfaction at some level. Managers must converse exactly how personnel will be expected to contribute. Organisations must train their employees to identify problems, deliver quality service and deal with customers' problems with high interpersonal skills. Increased competition has forced the organisations to plan and implement a strategy that aids in creating, delivering and communicating superior customer service (Cochran, 2003).

2.8. Measuring Customer Satisfaction

In order to get an accurate picture of the service quality delivered an organisation measure customer satisfaction and experience. It is the quickest and most precise way to get proper results. Hansemark (2004) describe satisfaction in regards to products customers bought or services they have received as reaction that is emotional, to the difference between customer anticipation and what has actually been received, concerning the achievement of some need or desire. Customer satisfaction is an important performance indicator and is a measure of whether company's products and services meet customer needs and their expectations (Hill, 2003). Customer satisfaction is what customer perceives about the product or service that may or may not confirm to the situation reality. Customer satisfaction measurement is therefore about measuring how customer perceives an organization's performance (Hill and Alexander, 2003). Organizations that are flourishing and thriving in the competitive global environment recognize the importance of measuring customer satisfaction. They can hold on to existing customers and understand to attract new ones only by measuring customer satisfaction and meeting their needs. The successful businesses recognise the strategic significance of customer satisfaction measurement for increased market share and increased profits. In the past few years all kinds and sizes of enterprises, small, medium or large have increasingly come to understand that measuring the satisfaction is vital for survival of the organization (Cochran, 2003). For many organizations, customer satisfaction is itself the success measure.

According to most of the scholars and researches (Mullins, 2007) (Armstrong, 2006), the main purpose to measure customer satisfaction is finding customer's perception about the company and company's standing in customer's eyes. Measuring customer satisfaction helps in finding out customer needs and determining customers' problems. It also assists in improving product and service quality which in turn leads to more customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction measurement has both direct and indirect benefits for an organisation. Customer satisfaction measurement provides objective targets and metrics of successful customer transactions. It identifies at which level or process business fails to meet customer expectations. It also helps in setting targets and goals for management to assess performance. Most importantly it provides continuous, reliable and sound method to acquire quantitative and qualitative customer data. Measuring customer satisfaction also effects indirectly on organisational performance. It reinforces a message to staff that a high level of customer service delivery is a high priority for the business. It provides psychological support for employees that the company is dedicated to finding and solving the root causes of the problems that an employee deals with every day. Recognizing client's most critical satisfaction determinants enables an organisation to better focus on resources (Kotler, 2003). Some organizations heavily invest in areas of performance improvement that contribute to customer satisfaction (Kotler, 2003). They put a lot of effort in recognizing the value of their consumers. But this recognition is not possible without knowing the result of all the effort and investment. The organizations can have the knowledge about their success by measuring customer perceptions. It is widely accepted principle that "if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it". This principle applies equally to customer satisfaction. Some companies do not take the effort to measure customer satisfaction at all. Most of the companies that do so, they do it in inadequate ways. Still in today's business world, many organisations rely on obsolete and unreliable customer satisfaction measures.

HR professionals have been researching a range of techniques on how to measure customer satisfaction. Most prominent that have been selected and promoted are gap measures, scales like letter grade, numeric scales with anchored endpoints and expectations scales (Gerson, 1993) (Kessler, 1996). Attitude survey is another way to measure the degree to which employees and customers are satisfied with organization policies and practices. These surveys can also assist in employee satisfaction measurement along with customer satisfaction measurement by providing opinions on matters of employees work as well as pay, their treatment by management and views about the company, working environment and facilities provided by an organisation. The most common ways to measure satisfaction however, are benchmarking with standards and comparing the customers' perception with their expectations of an experience. It can be found out by conducting surveys, drawing questionnaires, taking interviews, and way of focus group or discussions.

Although there are benefits in measuring satisfaction for organisations, however, there are also concerns and issues that cannot be ignored. Many researchers like Rajola (2003) still argue that it is not possible to measure customer satisfaction properly despite ways of methods to measure as the results are uncertain and confusing because of its qualitative nature. Other drawbacks are worth looking into like human nature, customers' perceptions, changes in expectations, biased in views, availability of time and resources. Most of all the outcomes can generate conflicting results which gets confusing for the organisation. The companies must be careful in assumptions and exactly how to get the measurement with a unambiguous logic of what needs to be measured and how to collect and analyze the data. Quantifying the measurement is also an issue. The organization must also carefully consider what it hopes to accomplish and how the information will be used (Hill, 2003).

2.9. Training Evaluation

Everybody in the organisation has their role to fulfil at some time at and every encouragement must be given to them to do so. All stakeholders need feedback. For employees it is important for their progress and advancement, for developers and designers it is needed on program design, for trainers it is necessary to check whether development is on the right path, facilitators require it to check whether delivery needs any adjustments, customer's need it whether the program is successful. Without such feedback, a program may not reach expectations (Armstrong, 2006). Evaluation is one way to provide that feedback, especially when it comes to employee training. "Evaluation is a process of establishing the worth or value of something" (Rae, 2002). It is a procedure information gathering for making decisions regarding training practices (Sloman, 1999). Businesses apply evaluation of performance appraisal to assess employee effectiveness and work performance which can help in defining and developing training needs for the organisations. Many employee development programs not succeed to deliver the anticipated benefits.

Businesses can determine the problem areas by having a well structured measuring system in the companies (Mullins, 2007). The organizations need to take into account different aspects of the organizational context and future organizational plans before making any decision. Thus the process of evaluation is normally the one that provides information for decision makers, rather than actually making the decisions. The evaluation process normally effects usually the people view that are concerned with the training process or who are effected by it. Training evaluation will encourage employees to think that their future is being reviewed and the company considers their needs, other may assume it as important or else why would the organization spend resources on it. This may encourage close involvement, cooperation and coordination. Training evaluation may also help in improving quality of training activities which in turn results in greater benefits. As with customer satisfaction measurement, evaluating programs relating to training consumes valuable resources. Skilled and experienced professional are needed if an organisation has to measure the training effectiveness. Evaluation is not a singular exercise but an integral component of the training and development process, and should be responsibility of number of role holders in an organisation (Wilkinson et al. 2002). Evaluation process is initiated early in the training cycle, almost at the very beginning if training need analysis is seen as part of the evaluation process itself. Design of what, how and when the evaluation process should be integrated with the training must take place at the same time that the training itself is being designed (Wilson, 2006).

The organizations have to understand the need for evaluation. The reasons for training evaluation are to make sure the organization provides feedback on quality of training programs' design and delivery. Evaluation provides feedback to professionals who train employees, about the usefulness of certain activities. Organisations can find out whether training and other related goals are being achieved. It can assist in current program development and in the planning of future programs. The second most important motive for training evaluation is to relate the training policies and practices to company's objectives. Decisions need to be made whether training and development of employees is the required method of achieving change (Bramley, 2003). in spite of its usefulness, there is indication that evaluation of employee training is often inconsistent (Schulz, 1990 cited by Wilkinson et al. 2002). This may be because of insufficient time and resources, lack of trust in training programs, lack of employee expertise and lack of training tools and methods (McEvoy and Buller, 1990 cited by Watson, 2006).

3. Research Methodology

Research is an arranged study to systematize facts or collect data, and is normally related to a problem that has to be solved (Zikmund, 2000). Bhattacharyya (2007) characterizes research as an activity that is rigorous and which involves organized development and knowledge acquisition. According to Johnson and Scholes (2008, methodology is a purposeful and focused investigation in addition to commonly available knowledge to obtain information that is specialised and detailed. The data collected provides a base for analysis and descriptive comment on the issue.

3.1. Introduction

The section explains and examines the research design and research methods applied for this dissertation project. Research methodology section also clarifies why the researcher has chosen certain research methods, techniques and approaches, justifying the writer's approach and line of action; and why other methods are not included for this project with detailed reasons and explanations. Arguments and benefits for selected methods are also given. Sampling, research tools and other related issues are also explained in this section. This section finishes with discussion on limitations and constraints.

3.2. Background

As part of MBA dissertation, the researcher was expected to undertake research into business and management field. The researcher wanted to write dissertation on topic which would be unique but should relate to studies and work experience with contemporary management significance. It should also meet the criteria set out by the university and must have enough empirical data for investigation (Quinton and Smallbone, 2006). Personal interest and relevancy to the dissertation needs were the other factors that influenced the decision. Finding a suitable topic to develop into a feasible dissertation that is researchable, was an easy task as the researcher studied the subject before and had some practical experience working in the management environment. Brainstorming ideas for dissertation with friends and colleagues proved very helpful. Searching past dissertation and theses also added ideas in writer's mind and assisted in formulating the dissertation design and overall structure (Quinton and Smallbone, 2006). The design of the research was considered with friends, colleagues and lecturer to add practical ideas and to open new dimensions. The key purpose of the research undertaken was to discover how soft skills training of employees help them enhance their skills and effect of this training on their service providing abilities and dealing with clients, resulting in satisfaction of customers.

Before initiating the research process, it was very important to understand the organisations' structure, function and work environment along with their policies, procedures and other related matters. Consent was acquired from both the organisations before the research commencement. The first step was to produce a research design which provided a framework for the data collection and its analysis (Bryman and Bell, 2007). The design also incorporated various other issues e.g. aims, systems, methodologies, techniques, data analysis methods and techniques, all linked together. The approaches of research that any researcher can take can vary although the research process follows a typical structure. The next action that the writer took was to compile the research proposal which included all the summarised information of the dissertation. It outlined the nature of proposed study and gave some indication of how research would be conducted. After organising the ideas, research time scale was set which was focused on targets to meet deadlines for research completion. This time scale provided help in research investigation and assisted on focusing to the specific requirements. The researcher has applied Gantt chart (Bryman and Bell, 2007) to help in keeping record of the process. It also assisted in planning and coordinating detailed tasks during the research work by providing graphical illustrations (Bryman and Bell, 2007). It proved beneficial in keeping the data sought within the project scope throughout the research. To narrow down the research material that were time consuming, Bell's (2005 cited in Bryman and Bell, 2007) six points' parameter method was used. This also directed the research on right path, even though the writer kept on modifying the literature as the research progressed.

3.3. Data Collection Methods and Approaches

To start the research it was necessary to recognize different data collection tools and techniques. Due to constraints particularly over which the writer has no control like time constraint, the researcher decided to use fast but cheap methods to obtain maximum information in little time. The researcher also tried to focus on specific but relevant research material to minimize collecting irrelevant data and save time. For these purposes, the research resources were divided into 'Internal' and 'External'. In internal research, companies' own business data, records and reports, and previous research studies (that were conducted by the companies themselves), were analysed. External research consisted of collection of data from other sources like magazines, newspapers, publications, reports, journals and websites. In research there are two broad methods of reasoning often referred as 'Deductive' and 'Inductive' approaches. As the management or social research generally demands the deductive approach, the researcher chose this method of reasoning (Sarantakos, 2001). The data composed is subjected to deductive methods, which dictates a more experimental and structured research method that entails testing (Zikmund, 2000). The researcher deducted a hypothesis on the basis of theoretical considerations that was subjected to empirical scrutiny (Bryman and Bell, 2007). Particular examples were deduced from common inferences in deductive approach. In this type of theory conclusion followed logically from premises or available facts. This approach proved helpful in data collection as it defined the problem area (Saunders et al. 2007).

Research was conducted utilizing both "Primary" and "Secondary" methods. Primary data was gathered with a focused and purposeful plan and gathered specifically for this project. Secondary data (which was collected from other sources or published data) was applied in 'Descriptive' and 'Explanatory' research. As the topic was unique and new, there wasn't much data or records available on soft skills training but research materials on other related topics of the literature review along with primary data obtained directly, were enough to construct the dissertation structure. Journals, articles and books made the back bone for the review, which were scanned from library catalogues and indexes. Examples of primary data that the writer collected were questionnaire and interview and for secondary research were internet, books, journals, magazines and company records. Primary data was specifically for data analysis but secondary data collected was for both literature review and data analysis sections. Both primary and secondary research included "Qualitative" and "Quantitative" data. As per the requirements of the research, the researcher collected both forms of data and incorporated and integrated the information in the overall results. Quantitative research was deductive in nature, while qualitative research was exploratory. Quantitative research involved the use of structured questionnaire where the response options were predetermined by the researcher. Measurement was objective and statistically valid. Qualitative research was subjective in nature and involved collecting and analyzing data by interviewing people. Some of the qualitative research was coded quantitatively for the purpose of reaching the conclusion by assigning meaningful scales and numerical values.

Interview is a good to get behind the story of the participants' experience. It is very easy way to gather primary qualitative as found by the researcher during the research process. Interviews were conducted to collect reliable and valid (Saunders et al 2007). Only the senior management of both companies were approached for interviews. Initial interviews were conducted on telephone and on internet via webcam. Later detailed interviews were taken after fixing the date and time for the meetings. The researcher chose unstructured or informal approach to get more in depth answers by interviewing openly and frankly. The researcher was aware that questionnaire is the popular method of conducting scholarly research. It is a convenient way of generating data and is easy to analyze and processed. It is also cost effective method of collecting data and is familiar to most people. It can be circulated easily and response rate is fast (Saunders et al 2007). The writer chose 'Closed ended Questions' in formulating the questionnaire for timely response which allowed respondents to choose from pre-existing set of answers. Two types of questionnaires were designed for each company; one specifically for employees (about internal issues and environment of the company) and the other one for customers (their perspective about the company). The writer preferred the scale method so that the information could easily be translated to percentages. The researcher chose case study approach for data analysis in the perspective of some wider hypothetical concern (Yin, R. K. 2003). It proved helpful to understand difficult issues and extended experience to what is already acknowledged through preceding research. It was expected to use and triangulate data from multiple sources in this approach. All research methods have limitations; this realisation originates the concept of choosing multi-method approach (Saunders et al. 2007).

The research findings were then examined for reliability and validity. The data should valid, reliable, and sensitive in order for research to be viable (Johnson and Scholes, 2002). The researcher made sure that suitable techniques, variables, scales, and assumptions were used. The researcher also ensured that data was valid and co-existed and complemented the literature. Validity was dependent on the approaches used that were reliable to make the data worthy. Appropriate measures were taken into account during gathering and generating secondary data; information was confirmed for its reliability and validity while sensitivity was maintained to keep the facts as real as possible.

3.4. Sampling

It wasn't possible to collect data from all the sources and all the population. Therefore sampling was applied. The accuracy of research depends upon the way the sample is selected. The researcher conducted interviews from senior management of both companies. Junior staff was randomly selected and asked to fill the quetionnaire. All 156 of employees of Mobilezone Ltd answered the questionnaires and 68 out of 84 employees of United Mobiles Ltd managed to return back the questionnaire in time. The researcher distributed the questionnaires to around 100 customers living or working near the companies' premises. Help was taken from friends to distribute and collect the data.

3.5. Limitations & Constraints

Researcher realized that not all the methods could be used and dropped few methods (like focus groups) of secondary choice due to time limit and minimum resources. Other limitations included few staff members not educated enough in English to understand the essence of the questionnaire. Many relevant books, magazines and articles had to be ignored and rejected for the more relevant ones using Bell's checklist (Bell, 2005), due to time constraints. The most important limitation of the study is the small sample size of customers. This was because of the time limititation and resources scarcity.

3.6. Data Analysis tools

The most used method of communication is internet due to its effectiveness and comparative ease. The researcher used internet to contact the companies' management via electronic mail and chat through video/audio/chat conversation. Microsoft excel spreadsheet was used to process the data. This information was quantitative, easily converted to percentages and easy to evaluate. The data was category-classified before its analyses; this allowed the data to be feasible and practical before drawing conclusions. Microsoft Word 2007 was used as design tool because of its speed, accuracy and versatility along with broad series of pictorial and graphical alternatives.

4. Data Analysis:

4.1. Background:

Both companies started almost at the same time period in the same area i.e. Capital city of Delhi. They started their business and launched their operations with the growing demand for telecommunication sector in India. Both companies are leading mobile phone sellers and service providers in Delhi region. Mobilezone started its business after careful market research and well planned strategy. Employees were well trained and within seven years from its start it gained the role of a market leader in its line of business. United mobile on the other hand, had a little market experience but with the time it has also gained a fair market share and built its name. As the business grew, both companies expanded and introduced their own call centres along with service centres. The need to train and develop employees in soft skills grew as the competition developed. Both organisations have started emphasising on soft skills as vital for services and they are laying a great importance for employees to acquire these skills. Training of employees in soft skills is essential for both organisation and it helps in overall development of the employees for providing customer service.

4.2. Introduction:

Survey conducted from customers and employees, is a self assessment by them. Its results explain how well the expectations are met and/or how to improve further. The researcher conducted this survey to study the customers and employees views about the companies and soft skills training effects on organisation's services. These surveys show the results of the research, the perception of the company in customers and employees eyes and rating given by them. This research also explained the reasons behind the findings. Interviews were conducted to collect valid and reliable information. Only the senior management of both companies were approached for interviews. Employee questionnaire was distributed to all the staffs of both companies and customer questionnaire was distributed to randomly selected customers. Interviews were taken from the senior management of the companies. Company performance was discussed as well as the selected company records were studied with the permission of the managements. Almost all the staff and randomly chosen customers' responses were positively to the questionnaires and answered their satisfaction although some missed or skipped a couple of questions. The researcher helped those who had difficulty understanding some points and completed the survey within the planned time.

4.3. Interview: Mobilezone:

In Mobilezone Ltd, employee training is an ongoing process and the company emphasises a lot on development of employees. Although staff was kept up to date, specific soft skills training was not introduced until last year when the company realised its importance for providing better services in order to attract customers and retain existing ones. There was no formal training for customer facing employees before. Growing competition and market demand forced the company to amend its policies and include soft skills training in its mission and vision. Soft skills training were inducted in the overall professional development program and performance improvement. The management of Mobilezone Ltd was highly educated, qualified and gifted with qualities to bring in technical expertise and tactics to develop solutions that work for customers. It took passion and extra interest in its staff development. Initial research was carried out by the company to review its past training practices and what needed to be improved to introduce new soft skills training activities. Once identified, the company successfully conducted the training with positive response from employees. The training process was internal and staffs were provided on the job training by the employer. The employees were empowered and felt motivated and passionate in the involvement in training process. The company introduced formal complaint procedure for the customers. They were trained in IT skills to prepare and maintain all the information in personal computers supplied by the company. All the transactions and interactions were made formal. The management felt that customer satisfaction has improved a lot after employees training based on the customer responses and company's financial results. Mobilezone is quite satisfied of its evaluation process and feedback procedure.

4.4. Interview: United Mobile:

Like Mobilezone, United Mobiles focused on softer side of skills training last year when it realized its importance for service sector to raise skills levels and productivity of employees and offers the hope of increased competitiveness within business environment. Qualified and experienced managers were inducted and re-training of junior staff took place with the advanced and updated knowledge, education and skills. United Mobiles trained its employees in range of soft skills including influencing skills, presentation skills, assertiveness, persuasion skills, public speaking, negotiating skills, networking and team management. It boosted confidence and morale of an employee and helped in doing the job efficiently and effectively. As the employees were not well trained before, the management of United Mobiles provided training to change and enhance knowledge, behaviour, attitude and skills through a wide variety of activities to attain valuable performance. Employees are trained to assure that current or any future organisation needs are met. The management introduced new training and marketing strategy and its major focus was on front line staff. It paid off well for the company as its productivity increased and new customers were attracted. The important step taken by the company was to change its rigid autocratic structure and involve employees in day to day business operations. Appropriate resources were allocated sufficiently to the training as the management realized the significance of customer satisfaction. The firm provided computers to the front line staff for database development of complaints and to note down customers' queries. It has always been organization's policy to give feedback and evaluation report to all the staff on their performance. The training methods adapted by the company were all internal and staffs were trained by the management using different available methods. The management report that training helped in increasing customer satisfaction and employee relations.

MZ: Mobilezone

UM: United Mbiles

4.5. Questionnaires from customers: Mobilezone and United Mobiles:

1. Please inform your opinion on the quality of service provided by the staff?

The Majority of customers surveyed view highly of the services provided by both the companies. 88% of MZ and 74% of UM customers are satisfied by their services. While MZ hardly has any dissatisfied customer there are few (22%) customers who are not satisfied by the UM's service. Although staff of United Mobile is very friendly and cooperative, the main reason of dissatisfaction is time and complaint procedure. Both companies' services have improved a lot after training. Companies' data collected over years show improvements as well.
2. Please provide feedback on the helpfulness and friendliness of the employees (service):

Almost all the customers has rated the staff's helpfulness above average. The training in soft skills has improved the attitude and behavior of the employees. UM take an edge here. 36% of the customers have rated its staff friendliness as excellent compared to MZ's 14%. 56% of MZ's customers said that staff is helpful and provide good services. Very few (6%) of the customers said that MZ's staff interaction is poor while no customer think of UM staff communication below average.

3. What do you think about the commercial capability of the representative (front line staff)?

Commercial capability of the employees has also improved due to training. Customers feel the change in the services provided by them. Both companies have invested heavily and concentrated on increasing the capability of the staff. The results show that UM' customers think that the staff is capable of selling its services (36% deemed it excellent, 52% as good and remaining as average. This is a great improvement as its services were not rated as highly before. MZ has also seen improvements but not as high as its competitor. 36% believed it is excellent, 38% as good and 22% think that its average, while small numbers (6%) are not satisfied.
4. Please rate the interpersonal skills of the representative?

The main reason to introduce soft skills in the training was to improve the interpersonal skills of the employees so that they could communicate better and have the capability to deal properly. The survey tells that the results are almost same in booth companies. High numbers of customers believe that the interpersonal skills of the employees have improved and rated it highly (42% good and 34% excellent in UM; 39% good and 34% excellent in MZ). Some (20% in MZ and 18% in UM) rate it as average while very few customers think that its poor or very poor (8% in MZ and 6% in UM).

5. Please comment on the satisfaction with the action taken by the company in regards to service delivery to the customers?

Customers value the services provided by the companies. UM has shown a lot of progress in this area. The management of UM has recently inducted the updated training methods with the inclusion of specific elements of soft skills related to their services. Customers appreciate their efforts and feel that the organisation has improved considerably in this part. 90% of UM's customers has shown their satisfaction with the management policies and are pleased about the steps taken to improve it. On the other hand MZ policies and procedures have not changed much. It considers training as an ongoing process and focused on specific soft skills issues in recent training needs. 80% of their customers are satisfied and the remaining neutral. Although the result is very good but there is not much change from the previous results but it managed to maintain its image in customers' eyes. Customers always regard the company's effort with high regards.

6. Are you happy with the way and speed your call is answered?

This is where both companies haven't made much progress. 3/4 of the customers are satisfied with the MZ's call centre, 15% remained neutral and only 10% have complains. On the other hand UM results are not good, only 41% are satisfied. 44% of the customers surveyed are dissatisfied with the company handling the call procedure. The friendliness of the staff is regarded well but the technical knowledge and call waiting time are the reasons many customers remain unsatisfied. UM has focused a lot on softer side of the skills but still lack behind in hard side of the employees' hard skills.

7. Is the employee able to answer your query with accurate information?

MZ has a vast experience and professional trained staff and always provided good services to its customers. A vast majority of its customers (83%) are satisfied with its employees' technical knowledge. UM on the other hand, although has friendly staff but sometimes lack in employees' competence in answering the technical know-how. 64% of its customers think that employees can solve their queries well, 17% think that the employees can but not accurately and 19% are not satisfied with this.

8. Please rate the communication between the customers and the employees?

As already discussed above the softer side of employees skills have improved in both companies (UM particularly). MZ communication skills has maintained its previous status and improved a little while training of staff in UM has managed to improve the soft skills of employees considerably.

9. Do you agree that employee training has improved the services?

Almost all the customers agree that the recent training in soft skills have improved the services (UM in particularly). 4/5 of UM's customers strongly agree to this statement.

10. Do you agree that internal training and development has improved the communication process between employees and customers?

A clear majority of the UM's customers indicated their satisfaction on the communication between them and the company's staff and all agree that training has a major part in this improvement (92% strongly agree). In the case of MZ, the company's customers also feel the change that the customers are a little more helpful in their dealing.

11. Please rate your satisfaction level with the organisation in regards to value of service? 1-dissatisfied to 5-satisfied

UM has taken an edge by providing excellent services with low cost. MZ has a name in the market its services are good but a little expensive. 56% of its employees consider the value of services as excellent as compared to UM 67%. Both companies have improved its services from the past.

12. Please give the feedback on the service provided by staff about keeping you informed of the enquiry's progress:

83% of MZ's customers are highly satisfied by the knowledge of employees and rate these as excellent. UM services have improved but still lack in technical abilities of the employees. Many customers feel that they are slow in responding to queries and complaints. MZ has always kept its customers well informed of its dealings.

13. Please present your views on quality and timeliness employees' response towards your enquiry (Both hard skills and soft skills)?

It's the experience of MZ that speaks. Although UM has improved its employee's soft skills but still lags behind in training employees in technical knowledge to answer to customer's queries.

14. Please comment on the satisfaction level with the service completion within time and as per the contract requirements?

80% are satisfied with the MZ's effort to complete the services in time and according to the promise made. Almost all of the customers indicated their satisfaction with the end results. many consumers of UM's services are also satisfied (71%).

15. Are you satisfied with the speed and reliability of the delivery?

UM lacks the specific technical knowledge a little that prevents its employees to provide satisfactory service completely. 84% of the customers were satisfied as compare to MZ where 95% of customers think that the services are speedy and they can rely on MZ.

16. How satisfied are you with complaint process?

62% of MZ's customers are satisfied with the complaint procedure while only 39% are satisfied with UM's process. 42% of the UM's customers are dissatisfied because of slow response and lack of employee's knowledge. Both companies have done a little to improve this.

17. Please rate on the complaint's final outcome?

UM has improved considerably under new management, its policies and procedures. MZ has also improved but not as much as UM.

19. Taking into consideration all of your experiences with the company, please rate on the overall worth of your relationship with it?

MZ has a good set up; employees are trained and professional with good knowledge and education. UM on the other hand has recently improved its services especially softer side. Staff is friendly and helpful and always ready to help. Complaint procedure is not good that affects its overall services. Hardly anyone consider the experience with the companies as poor.

20. Have you experienced the improvement in overall quality of services?

100% yes for both

4.6. Questionnaires from employees: Mobilezone and United Mobiles:

A). Please specify the degree to which you agree with the following

Mobilezone

 disagree

neither agree nor disagree

somewhat agree

strongly agree

I feel that I have learned from the programme

0%

8%

58%

36%

I gained appropriate soft skills from training

0%

0%

60%

40%

Training provided efficiency and effectiveness for dealing with customers

0%

0%

44%

56%

I have polished my other skills along with soft skills

26%

23%

28%

23%

Training increased the morale of the workforce

13%

63%

22%

2%

Training provided employees to communicate sufficiently with one another

18%

57%

21%

4%

Change in company structure and policies have improved performance

34%

37%

12%

17%

Team working within the company improved

17%

6%

61%

33%

Soft skills training has increased customer satisfaction

0%

0%

45%

55%

Training has improved customer services

0%

0%

0%

100%

United Mobiles

 disagree

neutral

somewhat agree

strongly agree

I feel that I have learned from the programme

0%

6%

47%

47%

I gained appropriate soft skills from training

0%

0%

17%

83%

Training provided efficiency and effectiveness for dealing with customers

0%

6%

32%

62%

I have polished my other skills along with soft skills

23%

22%

27%

28%

Training increased the morale of the workforce

3%

10%

55%

32%

Training provided employees to communicate sufficiently with one another

6%

20%

16%

58%

Change in company structure and policies have improved performance

0%

9%

66%

25%

Team working within the company improved

8%

17%

24%

51%

Soft skills training has increased customer satisfaction

0%

0%

44%

56%

Training has improved customer services

0%

0%

0%

100%

The of employee survey result was very positive and employees of both companies have rated their companies' training policies high. 100% of the surveyed staff thinks that the customer services have improved after soft skills training. Large numbers of employees agreed with the companies' actions and its policies and training procedures. Employees recommend and support the job evaluation and feedback from the management as these inform them of their progress and reduce their faults. All of the employees favored training skills especially soft skills for better performance.

92% of MZ's employees and 94% of UM's employees agreed that they have learned new soft skills from the program. 100% employees of both companies agree that they have received appropriate and sufficient soft skills to do their job efficiently and effectively. When asked if their existing skills increased along with the new skills, the reply was mixed. Half of MZ's employees and 55% of UM's staff think that their existing skills also improved due to training while 26% of MZ's and 23% of UM's employees think otherwise. Majority of UM's employees (87%) agree that their morale has increased because of training and they can do their job with more confidence. MZ's employees don't seem to agree or disagree. Almost 2/3 of the employees (63%) are not sure. Training is an ongoing process in MZ, new and updated techniques are introduced time by time and employees become used to it. UM's employees consider a lot of change in their morale and confidence and they feel motivated. Although training was specifically targeted towards gaining and improving soft skills of front line staff, when questioned whether employees' communication has increased after training, again MZ's employees do not seem to agree or disagree as they think that the communication between employees is already good within the organisation. On the other hand 58% of UM's employees strongly agree to this statement. Employees of both companies agree that their companies responded to change with strong commitment and enthusiasm. More than 90% of UM's employees agree that company's new policies and procedures and its change in organisational structure has effected its performance positively. Majority of employees of both companies agree that strong team working is present in the company. UM's employee consider it improvement because of training. 100% of employees of both companies believe in soft skills development for providing service to customers efficiently. All of them agree that services have improved after soft skills training.

B). Please indicate your view on importance of the following:

Mobilezone

 unimportant

neither important nor unimportant

quite important

very important

Evaluation of job performance

0%

11%

67%

22%

Manager's feedback for staff' improvement

0%

7%

72%

21%

Training soft skills for quality communication

0%

23%

38%

39%

Soft skills training for better performance and customer care

0%

6%

41%

53%

United Mobiles

 unimportant

neither important nor unimportant

quite important

very important

Evaluation of job performance

0%

0%

59%

41%

Manager's feedback for staff' improvement

0%

14%

20%

66%

Training soft skills for communication

0%

0%

4%

96%

Soft skills training for better performance and customer care

0%

0%

10%

90%

Almost all the employees consider the job evaluation programme and management's feedback on their performance as an important factor in job development. They regard skills training for enhanced communication between employees and customers as very important. They agree that training has improved their skills and performance which resulted in more confidence, high morale, increased motivation and efficiency and better performance that resulted in employees providing better services to their customers.

C). Please indicate your satisfaction with the following:

Communication  between the staff and the management

15%

25%

24%

36%

Communication between the customers and staff

19%

25%

16%

40%

Training within the company

19%

15%

35%

31%

Potential for  career progression in the organisation

24%

28%

32%

16%

Company's efforts to educate and train workers

37%

12%

42%

9%

Improvements in service because of training

0%

0%

18%

82%

Improvements in complaint procedure

15%

15%

68%

2%

United Mobiles

 dissatisfied

neutral

somewhat satisfied

completely satisfied

Communication  between the staff and the management

15%

25%

24%

36%

Communication between the customers and staff

8%

21%

15%

56%

Training within the company

0%

12%

10%

78%

Potential for  career progression in the organisation

17%

49%

34%

0%

Company's efforts to educate and train workers

7%

21%

20%

52%

Improvements in service because of training

0%

0%

13%

87%

Improvements in complaint procedure

22%

16%

38%

24%

Although staff majority agree that the communication improved in the organisation but few are still not satisfied at the progress. Same feelings prevail among them for the communication between employees and customers. UM's employees are more pleased with the impact of training on communication and coordination. They consider training as an important reason in all the positive changes in the organisation. MZ's employees also do feel many improvements in the company. Most of the employees in both companies are not sure about their future and further progress in advancement within the hierarchal structure of the organisations especially in UM. Majority of the employees (72%) of employees are satisfied by the policies and procedures adapted by the company and only 7% disagree. Dissatisfaction rate is higher among MZ's employees because they don't feel much change in the training methods and techniques. 100% of the staff of both businesses is happy with the improvements in the customer services after training. There are many employees who still consider that the complaint procedure is not good enough and feels that it needs to improve in order to provide more efficient services.

4.7. Summary:

The survey results present a clear picture that employee soft skills training have positive effect on the abilities of employees to serve customer efficiently thus increasing customer satisfaction. Employees become more effective and efficient while dealing with customers; their morale, motivation, confidence satisfaction level increases. The interviews with the management provided hints that customer services have improved a lot with training and development. The companies recognised the change was inevitable so they improved the company structure, environment, policies and procedures to cope with the new requirements. They introduced new effective soft skills training methods and that offered high performance in return. The improvement is felt more in United Mobiles and their performance increased a lot after the introduction of soft skills. Employees had to learn more and new techniques and methods and they participated enthusiastically. While in Mobilezone training was an ongoing process, introduction of soft skills was seen as another new ongoing technique to improve skills. Employees felt more satisfied but lacked enthusiasm. Mobilezone has a developed set up and employees are well educated and trained in not only dealing with soft aspects of providing service but hard skills. United Mobiles on the other hand lag behind in dealing with technical stuff of service provision. The only thing both companies need to improve more is the complaints process. Customers complain about the procedures the queries are dealt with.

The companies place a high value in employee relations, team working and customer relations. Staff is provided training appropriate for their role. Employees and customers' opinions are valued. The companies provide the essential feedback to employees and staff performance is evaluated with the companies' objectives. Overall the results from the interviews and questionnaires clearly shows that soft skills training is important for providing better services to the customers. Management of companies, customers and even employees consider training and development in soft skills for employees as significant factor in customer services improvement. The financial results also put a light on the improvement in company performance. This research finding demonstrates that the companies can train the employees to meet the customers' needs and businesses can attain customer satisfaction through human resource's skill utilisation.

5. Conclusion & Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

The significance of acquiring or improving soft skills cannot be underestimated. It is a necessary feature in organisational development. Training of employees in soft skills is vital for any organization as it helps in overall employee development. It is one of the important tasks in which an organisation can engage Organisations are changing their ways in terms of recruiting, training, measurement and definition of skills and adapting new ways and models that rely on current and future market demands. The need for training is more prominent given today's business climate and technology growth which affects the economy as well as well as the society at large. Oorganizations have to specifically take interest in softer side of HR training of staff as the demand for it is increasing with time. Soft skills training is not only essential to create skilled force but also needed to maintain a high level of skills required by the constantly changing work environment and to equip employees to meet future demands.

As analyzed by the researcher taking case studies of Mobilezone and United Mobiles, the organizations need to know why they want to initiate the employee training process and what are the companies' requirements? The businesses have to identify the training needs, whether to improve the skills of the employees or for any other specific purposes. Once needs are identified, plans are prepared on how to deliver the program. Appropriate methods of training are selected depending upon the time and resources available.

The average results in the data analysis section prove that skills training of the employees, especially in soft skills impact the overall employee and customer satisfaction. The effect of employee training on business performance is obvious. Training provided staff with more appropriate skills to deal with customers and work for the betterment of the companies effectively and efficiently. Employees became helpful and their interpersonal skills improved. Training has a major influence on the business performance and organisation success. Communication between employees and with customers improved considerably so did the morale and motivation of the employees. Training has affected other factors in the organisations. Companies had to align the organisation structures with training needs and their culture also changed. Employees became more satisfied as their involvement in decision making increased. Evaluation and feedback of employees proved very helpful in staff development as it recognised needs in initial stages and identified the areas in which employees were lagging behind and where they needed improvement. Overall soft skills training of employees is essential for any business especially for the service based industry that deal with customers directly.

5.2 Recommendations

Although the soft skills training of employees for better service to increase customer satisfaction has worked well for both companies but there is a lot to be taken into consideration. Following are some important recommendations: 1). First of all there should be clear organisational strategy; policies and procedures adapted by the company should be clearly conveyed to the employees. Organisations should make a strategy that should cover the current needs of the company as well as the future requirements e.g. soft skills, training methods, etc. The company should give close attention to organisation's mission, strategic vision and ethical stance when designing requirements for soft skills. Customer satisfaction should also be incorporated into the strategic plan via the mission statement. Doing this will help employees in training process. They will know what they have to achieve and is what expected from them. Employees will also be satisfied that the company is taking steps for their improvement and serious in their development.

2). Training must have defined objectives and should be properly documented. The companies need to educate employees with the value of the training and its professional impact on them. The companies also have to make sure that all training activities are according to the companies' requirements for strategic functioning. Performance related training can be introduced that is designed to develop competencies for the employees by promoting flexibility e.g. multi skilling. The employees' personality and experience should be taken into account when designing soft skills training processes. Description of customer satisfaction importance to the organisation can also be included in the strategic plan. Having straight and simple set of objectives will help the company to achieve its targets easily. Developing training needs according to employees' specification can increase their morale and motivation. Their skills will be increased and improved.

3). For companies like Mobilezone and United Mobiles who are dealing with customers directly and which involve call centre type of business; staff specifically the front line employees can be empowered to deal with different issues relating to the job environment and customer related matter. Empowering let employees take control of the situation so that they solve the problem on the spot which helps the company to minimize the complaint procedure and response time. Apart from empowering the key staff, people can also be involved in decision making process. Involving the employees mean that the organization trusts them and respect their abilities. The staff will provide good quality service in constructive way. Staff participation is beneficial for workplace productivity as well as for other stakeholders.

4).The company should have a good way of evaluating training and customer satisfaction measurement. As Mobilezone and United Mobiles are small to medium size organisations, they can adapt measurement methods which are easy and cost effective and which can be done without stoppage of any business operation. This could be done by staffs itself who are well trained and whose skills are developed. This will let company recognise the employee and customer needs and requirements and will also help in identifying the areas which need improvements.

5).The working environment of the organisation also affects the nature of the services. It is the manager's responsibility to keep employees' morale intact, solve their problems, resolve issues concerning working environment, conflicts, etc. There should also be recognition and reward for employees who contribute to customer satisfaction. Advantages of doing this include high morale and motivation of employees.

6). There are many designs, models and types of structures that both organizations can adapt according to their need, requirement, type and nature of business and other factors. Increasing globalization and are forcing companies to restructure from rigid bureaucracies to leaner and more flexible designs. This type of organization is highly adaptive and innovative, but requires more sophisticated managerial capabilities and employee skills to operate successfully. Organization should change its structure and adapt the culture according to the training needs in order to generate the benefits from the training process to its maximum.

7). Organisations should develop a learning culture which responds quickly to the ever changing environment in order to thrive in the economy. Employees must be trained to be familiar with the changes and anticipate the customer needs. Change process should be implemented steadily and systematically and employee involvement should be encouraged. Lewin's change model can prove helpful in managing difficult change processes. This model emphasises on the importance of unfreezing the existing rigid behaviours of the organisation and their environments; then introduction and implementation of the new ones, and when employees feel easy with the new processes, freezing this new behaviour. Company may face resistance. The only way to replace an old pattern is to launch a new one that shows better results and proves to be more satisfying than the older one.

8). The organizations have to understand the need for evaluation. A number of evaluation models exist, the majority concentrating on what are described as the levels of evaluation. Probably the best known, and certainly the most practicable, is the four levels model of Kirkpatrick, which is used in measuring the training effectiveness. This model of evaluation is divided into four levels: Level 1 is reaction in which it is evaluated how the participants responded to the training program. Level 2 is learning in which it is observed that to which extent participants improve skills and knowledge as a result of the training. Level 3 is related with behaviour in which it is monitored that to which extent participants changed their behaviour in workplace. Level 4 is result in which organisational benefits are discovered. Evaluation at one level is as important as evaluation at any other level though it depends on the business nature, size of the company and other influential factors. Evaluation at each level provides feedback whether training objectives and requirements are met. Each level presents a analytical checkpoint for problems at the succeeding level.

Other measures that both companies can take are to (9) provide proper feedback on employees' performance which helps them to figure out where they lack and perform effectively in future. (10) Building a website that is easy to navigate and have a separate FAQ's section also helps companies to provide better services to customers. (11) The companies should also give customers more than they expect by sending thank you gifts to long time customers, emailing greetings, or giving bonuses, etc. This will improve relations (12) Other factors that affect customer satisfaction are: employee friendliness, politeness, courteousness, timeliness, helpful behaviour, quality of service, competitive pricing, good value and quick service. 13). Leadership: Telling employees what to do does not motivate them to follow. A leader is deemed to have the same qualities as a manager but he also has an additional set of skills that a manager has yet to develop. He can truly lead people with his skills and abilities by influencing and motivation followers. It is the leader's duty to covert weaknesses into strengths, obstacles into stepping-stones, and disasters into triumphs. Many leadership styles can produce such results.

There can be many other recommendations that organizations can adapt to provide the training successfully and generate benefits from it to its maximum.