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Why Terrible Training is Killing Your Business

Training is absolutely the key to it all.  When you receive an amazing experience and quality service, you have training to thank.  Sure process and a great product are key, but there is no substitute for training.

The price of training is high – but not nearly so high as the price of not training and developing your team.  You can have a fantastic product, but if the folks you hired to represent your business are terrible, then you will never amaze and delight your Guests.  This is a classic obstacle many encounter in today’s competitive marketplace – having the best cheeseburger, most impressive hotel, or lowest price just isn’t enough.

If you don’t train your team and develop their strengths you will absolutely kill your business.

When your team isn’t trained to deliver great service or even how to perform their basic job duties, you can drive your Guests away.  Think about the cashier who takes forever to ring up your purchases or the barista who is sketchy on how to make a latte.  You may muddle through and get to the finish line with that particular transaction, but are you likely to return?  You might give them one more shot, but eventually if the folks who work there aren’t properly trained, you’ll try someplace new.  Don’t let that happen to your business.

Here are three tips to help keep your Guests loyal and your team well trained.

  1. Have a plan.  What do you want out of your training mission?  Do you have a mission?  Do you know what is important to you?  Because if you don’t know what matters to your organization, how can you ever communicate it?  While we are talking about communication, plans are just dreams without a process.  To train well means having a process that can be repeated over and over to ensure a successful employee learning experience.  This means valuing the first 72 hours above all – this is the sweet spot where you have to onboard them well and get them started on the right foot.  This is the time you introduce them to the team and make sure they understand the expectation.  This is when where you show them that the love for your Guests that you discussed during the interview wasn’t just lip service.  This is where you chart the course for their success and your Guest’s delight.

  2. Don’t be boring.  This is a classic pitfall of training – it is painfully dull.  It doesn’t have to be, but there are times when it seems like the primary mission of the training manager is to be as absolutely lackluster as possible.  I have seen it hundreds of times.  The new employee shows up to work excited to get started, and we decide to rain on that parade by firing up the PowerPoint slides.  Many an exuberant employee has been bored into submission by being placed in PowerPoint Hell.  Don’t worry, though, we can fight this together.  Remember that onboarding and training should feel like a reward, not a punishment.  One of the biggest complaints that Front Line Associates have across the country is that they aren’t trained and developed – so they are hungry for knowledge.  Take a moment to remind them why training is so important, make sure you understand the material, then give it your own spin.  Remember that you were asked to train because your organization saw a spark of talent – so give it your all.  Make sure you have topical stories that can drive your points home, use appropriate humor, and don’t be afraid to hand out prizes.  You’d be surprised how far a few well placed candy bars can go toward getting folks to speak up in class.  When it comes to humor, you don’t have to get them belly laughing, but if you can make them smile or chuckle every ten minutes or so, that will really help you keep their attention.  That’s really the big trick: to get your attendees engaged and talking.  When they offer their stories and share their ideas, the entire dynamic changes.  Now it isn’t just you delivering from the front of the room, but rather a collegial environment that is ripe for real learning.  And that is a recipe for training and development that will stick.

  3. Remember that everyone learns differently.  Some folks love to read, others learn by listening, and others learn by doing.  The trick is to engage folks in their different learning styles throughout the training.  You may assign books and papers for people to read, and that is a great start.  But if you do assign reading material to folks, you have to follow up with discussion to ensure that they got the message and to give them a chance to share what they learned verbally.  This definitely will help with retention.  Encourage folks to take notes as they read as that will further help engrain the information.  When you conduct classroom style training, be sure to include at least a small participant guide and have your team fill in blanks or write notes on the most important items – again, the action of writing helps the message stick.  Group discussion and role playing are both key to those who learn by hearing and can only serve to reinforce the skills that are being taught.  Finally, many jobs have technical skills that need to be learned.  It could be how to clean a hotel room, cook a steak, or fix an air conditioner.  In these cases, there is a real need to engage the kinesthetic learning style.  Most times, this is the only way someone can pick up skills of this kind – to see them, then do them, and then to teach them back.  You can certainly read any number of manual on how to repair a car, but until you get in there and tinker around, you’ll never really develop a high level of skill.  So remember that you must engage all learning styles to make sure the information sticks and to be sure that no one you are training is left behind.

There are certainly other important items to the training process – follow up, continued development, leadership training, and developing manuals and learning aids.  All of these are important as well, and a well balanced approach will keep your training program on the right track.

The final, note to consider is that great trainers get right into the thick of things – sure they love to teach and they are good in front of a crowd, but they are willing to train on site and in the moment.  They also listen carefully to the organization and the leaders on the front line as to what training is needed, and then deliver it in an easy to understand way that gets results.

Until next time, remember to train like you mean it and treat every Guest like a cherished friend.


Tony Johnson Customer Service Expert | Author | Trainer | Speaker

Check out my FREE Resources and Training Tools: Web: YouTube: Twitter:

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