There’s a quote attributed to John Wanamaker: “I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted. The problem is, I don’t know which half.” Sadly, the same can probably be said for training.
We’ve been in the customer service training business for over 25 years now. Needless to say, I am a huge believer in the ROI of customer service training – but all too often I’ve seen money spent on customer service training go straight down the drain.
Why? What can go wrong? Well, most often it’s one of three things:
- The problem, or need, isn’t well defined in the first place;
- Strategically, customer service training really isn’t the solution to the problem; or
- The design and execution of the training simply isn’t on target.
It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way
You can avoid these mistakes by keeping in mind these four things most customer service trainers won’t tell you:
A Customer Service Training Company Can’t Train Attitude
I highlighted this in a keynote presentation a few years back. It’s kind of customer service training’s dirty little secret. You see, training addresses the skills and behaviors that lead to outstanding customer service. But the truth is, these things really only represent maybe 40% of what creates a great customer service experience. The other 60% is attitude, and you can’t train attitude. So, if you’re dealing with attitude issues, customer service training on it’s own won’t help.
One Step At A Time
We are very often asked about designing and delivering second-generation training programs with more advanced skills to help a team ‘get to the next level.’ The problem is that many organizations want to do this before the team has actually mastered the first level. The result is that the so-called ‘2nd level’ training becomes a gargantuan waste of time and money. Until your team is consistently executing all or most of the skills from your last training program well, focus your energy on coaching and performance management. Then, and only then, should you bring training back into the mix.
Do It Right – Or Don’t Do It At All
Outstanding customer service training can have a profoundly positive impact on an organization – when it’s done well. But if you’re thinking about just doing something halfway – to save money or time, you are often better off just doing nothing. Customer service is all about connecting with people – and the communication skills and emotions that go with that. You can’t, repeat can’t, teach people skills without having people involved in the teaching. Cute posters on the wall, video training, or self-directed e-learning systems just don’t work as the primary methodology.
Your Organization Isn’t That Unique (sorry)
Customer service skills are wonderfully transferable. And most of the challenges that organizations face are the common sorts of challenges all organizations face. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see companies giving obscene amounts of money to consultants to do an analysis on what kind of training is required for their company.
While it is true that a competent and thorough analysis is critical to ensuring an effective, memorable and hard-hitting program, it’s not nearly as complex as some would have you believe. An experienced customer service company should be able to fairly quickly identify the needs and high-yield targets for training. After that, it’s just a matter of ensuring that the content, examples and material are relevant specifically to your team.
There you have it !
Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group of Companies, an international customer service training company