Sending staff to a customer service training program is an essential investment in today’s changing and competitive environment. But just sending staff to attend a customer service training program is not enough. You should maximize the impact of your investment by following these key guidelines before, during and after the training.
Before the customer service training program:
1. Review with staff why they were selected for the program and discuss anticipated benefits for the organization. This shifts their perspective from purely personal, “I am going to attend a training,” to personal and organizational, “The organization is making an investment so I can attend a training. The purpose of this investment is to help me upgrade my skills so that my team and our organization becomes more effective.”
2. Ask participants to talk about how they might benefit from the program. Where do they see opportunities for improvement in their own skills and/or behavior?
3. Discuss and obtain agreement from your staff for their punctuality, attendance and active participation in the training program.
4. Redistribute participants’ workloads so they don’t return to a mountain of pending matters. This helps participants keep their minds focused on the course.
5. If sending more than one participant to customer service training program, create a “buddy system” before they go. Buddies should work together to ensure each participates fully and gains maximum value from the training.
During the customer service training program:
6. If the course is more than one day, have participants brief their managers as the course progresses. This can be done in a short face-to-face meeting, a telephone call at the end of the day, or in a summary by e-mail.
Participants should identify what material was covered during the day, what new learning occurred and what value they see in applying this learning back at work.
7. Discuss any ambiguities or uncertainties from the customer service training program material that may arise. Help participants identify key learning points and examples of their application on the job. If needed, help write clarifying questions for participants to take back to the course instructor on the following day.
8. If there are interim assignments to complete, engage others who are not attending the course in discussions and deliberations. This brings the learning experience back into the office, building an internal support network during and after the training.
After the customer service training program:
9. Meet with participants to review:
- What were the most valuable lessons from this program?
- What will you now do differently? In which situations?
- When will you begin or try this new approach?
- What suggestions do you have to improve or customize the course?
- Who else do you believe should attend this particular training program?
10. Discuss organizational improvements that could be implemented based on the participants’ new learning. Be willing to try new suggestions on a trial basis with the customer service training program participants closely involved in implementing and tracking results.
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