Service Training Reinforcement: How to Make Training Lessons Stick


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A well-trained employee can make all the dif­fer­ence when it comes to cus­tomer ser­vice and how the employee deals with cus­tomer esca­la­tions, solves cus­tomer prob­lems, and upsells or cross-sells your prod­ucts. When you invest in train­ing pro­grams for your employ­ees, you’ll prob­a­bly find that your employ­ees come out of the train­ing moti­vated and bet­ter equipped to work with cus­tomers. How­ever, over time, their enthu­si­asm fades and you may find your­self deal­ing with some of the same pre-training issues.

Before you start to get frus­trated with your employ­ees about their “train­ing amne­sia,” take a look at your train­ing ser­vice train­ing rein­force­ment method­ol­ogy. Do you have train­ing follow-up pro­grams in place? One arti­cle esti­mates that within six months, as much as three-quarters of train­ing will be lost with­out fol­low up, and less than half of what employ­ees learn in train­ing will be trans­ferred to the job unless there is ade­quate fol­low up.

Cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing is one of the most impor­tant steps you can take to improve your employ­ees’ cus­tomer ser­vice skills, so make the train­ing lessons stick by for­mu­lat­ing a smart ser­vice train­ing rein­force­ment plan. We’ll show you how.

Sum­ma­rize train­ing points on handouts

Unless your employ­ees are for­tu­nate enough to have a pho­to­graphic mem­ory, they prob­a­bly won’t remem­ber a lot of the impor­tant points they read and learned at their train­ing. Com­pile a hand­out that high­lights key points from the train­ing, uses dia­grams and pic­tures (if nec­es­sary), and is short – between 1 and 2 pages. Encour­age employ­ees to hang the sheet up at their work­space so that they can refer to the train­ing infor­ma­tion as needed.

When the train­ing ends, the coach­ing begins

Train­ing ses­sions are typ­i­cally a mix of the­ory, blended with exam­ples of how to incor­po­rate the skills in real-life exam­ples. When your employ­ees return to the work­place, they’ll likely remem­ber a lot of the the­ory, so to help them put it into prac­tice by observ­ing them and cor­rect­ing inap­pro­pri­ate behav­ior. Demon­strate the cor­rect method­ol­ogy, and rein­force their proper behav­ior through praise and feed­back. This type of coach­ing – par­tic­u­larly right after train­ing – helps solid­ify what your employ­ees learned.

Check-in with dur­ing meetings

Use work­place meet­ings to rein­force the lessons that your employ­ees learned dur­ing their train­ing ses­sions. Take the oppor­tu­nity to ask them to review the key con­cepts they learned at their train­ing, dis­cuss how their newly acquired skills are help­ing them, and give them a chance to talk about any prob­lems they are hav­ing apply­ing their new knowl­edge to prac­ti­cal sit­u­a­tions. By debrief­ing peri­od­i­cally, you’ll rein­force the train­ing lessons and help your employ­ees work through any issues they may be hav­ing as they start to apply what they learned.

Lead by example

If you think your employ­ees don’t notice your own behav­ior, think again. One of the best ways to rein­force train­ing lessons is to lead by exam­ple. Bring the train­ing lessons to life by care­fully mon­i­tor­ing your own behav­ior – make sure that you are con­sis­tent with apply­ing train­ing lessons to how you work with cus­tomers, treat your employ­ees, and treat your co-workers.

Make your work­place a classroom

Cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing doesn’t have to end when your employ­ees leave the class­room. Get the most out of your train­ing invest­ment by fol­low­ing our tips for rein­forc­ing train­ing skills and using your coach­ing skills to max­i­mize what your employ­ees learned in their training.


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