BUSINESSES are ploughing money into training as the credit crunch bites, says a Holmfirth firm.
Learning and development business CragRats said it had seen a 51% rise in the number of companies buying customer service-focused training over the past 12 months.
It is forecasting an even greater upswing, with a 62% growth rate for 2008.
CragRats said companies were investing in training to help set them apart from their competitors in the face of weakening consumer spending and tougher market conditions.
Managing director Rob Machon said: “We are seeing more and more clients who view training as an essential investment in the current financial climate.
“It is a simple proposition really; train your staff to believe in delivering customer excellence, reap the rewards in terms of customer loyalty and leave the competition standing.
“The way in which companies use their learning and development budgets is going to be key in 2008.”
Mr Machon said: “As competition for customers increases throughout 2008, forward thinking directors are looking at ways to maintain customer loyalty.”
The trend identified by CragRats echoes the findings of the 2007 European Total Rewards Survey conducted by international business consultancy Mercer.
This forecasts an increase in training and career development in 2008.
CragRats training programmes use a wide range of techniques to engage with employees, including workshops, coaching and live theatre.
Clients include Scottish and Southern Electricity, retailer Wilkinsons, Coral bookmakers and Nottingham City Homes.