Category Archives: Customer Service Training

Preparing your team for customer service training

Engage in customer service trainingHow to prepare and engage your team for customer service training

I’m just putting together the finishing touches for two customer service training workshops I am delivering next week. But I can’t do this alone.

When carrying out any training – customer service training or otherwise – what happens before and after is just as important as the training itself if you are to get a return on your investment of time, money and effort, and start to see a positive impact on your customers’ experience and their long term loyalty.

Whoever is delivering the training naturally there’s plenty to do before the training.

But it’s just as important to get the participants prepared if you want to get them engaged and turning up for the training in the right frame of mind.

Here are 3 considerations for getting started on the right track, whether you are delivering the training yourself or using an external trainer.

  1. Keep in mind delegates’ schedules and personal circumstances when scheduling the training. You can’t expect someone to spend several hours in a training session on top of a 9 hour shift and still get full benefit from the training. Or remain fully focused on the training if it means being late for the school run or missing the kids’ bedtime.Give plenty of warning and aim to schedule training so it doesn’t interfere with their normal routine outside work, or potentially getting behind in their work resulting in the stress caused by playing catch-up.
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  2. Tell people what the training is about and why they are attending. Some people see training as a punishment or a criticism of how they do things now.Relate the training to a personal benefit; will it make their job easier, quicker, safer or more interesting? Will it put them in a better position to progress to a new role they aspire to? Will it give them more confidence and independence in their role?You shouldn’t ignore the business benefits, but help them identify what’s in it for them too, so at least they turn up to the training with a bit of enthusiasm.
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  3. Recognise not every customer service problem equates to a training need.  If there are shortfalls are these down to lack of time, resources, motivation, or authority?  If so recognise these and have a plan to fix these otherwise they become an ‘excuse’ for people not to adopt change.Be careful not to use training as a way to improve one person’s shortfall when everyone else is already doing an excellent job. In my experience the good people see through it instantly (and begrudge having to waste time or worse see it as an insult, whilst the person it is aimed at is often blissfully unaware!

So if you only do one thing before your next training – tell people what’s in it for them.

 

Need help with the training itself?

Get all the materials you need to deliver your customer service training in house.

 

 



How to change your team members’ moods

I’m sure from time to time even your most outgoing team members have their off days – those times when they are down, flustered, bored, angry or frustrated.

And of course, this impacts their colleagues.

And your customers.

Most people believe they can’t change their moods, but here are 4 things (including an exercise you can do with your team as part of your customer service training) you can do with your team to influence their moods, so they are more productive and engaged with their job and engaged with servicing your customers well.

Action point

If you only do one thing as a result of watching this, help your team members identify when they are in an unresourceful state and how to change this.



I don’t have the authority

give authority

We’ve all heard it haven’t we “I’m sorry, I don’t have the authority to do that; I’ll need to get my manager.”  It’s certainly frustrating for a customer, but also demotivating for a team member knowing that they can’t resolve the problem even if they wanted to. And of course, this wastes your time too, when you’re called over to deal with the situation.

Here are 5 things to save you time, make team members feel empowered and trusted, and keep your customers happy when complaint handling…

1. Anticipate

Of course, prevention is better than cure, so involve your team in looking for solutions to common issues. Often what’s not obvious to us can be obvious to them.

But in any business there are times when things don’t go according to plan or mishaps happen. Equip your team to deal with the unexpected.

2. Train

The more you can anticipate issues the more you can prepare your team to handle such situations, the more confident they’ll be, and the more likely they’ll deal smoothly with anything that crops up.

Even if you can’t avoid the issue, your goal is to minimise the negative impact on the customer experience, so teach them how to do this!

For example: how to minimise the impact of queues, what to do when a customer makes a scene, how to apologise without losing face when they make a mistake on a customer’s order or when something the customer really wants is no longer available.

It’s easy for the team members to get flustered when it goes wrong, so make this part of your training.

3. Agree levels of authority

Establish up front what levels of authority your team members have in any given situation, be that complaint handling or any other situation. Define these levels of authority when training, and give examples of when they need to refer to a manager or get sign off, and when it’s OK for them to make the decision.

4. Feedback and learn

Create a culture where it’s accepted that they won’t know all the answers or always know what to do, so it’s still OK to escalate if need be. There will never be one size fits all when complaint handling. But use this as an opportunity to learn for next time.

5. Recognise

Give your team a sense of ownership and pride by encouraging them to come forward with their own ideas of how the customer experience can be improved and make every effort to take their ideas on board. And when they’ve come up with their own solution to a customer’s problem give recognition where it’s due, then they’re far more likely to do so again!

If you only do one thing

Look back over the past couple of weeks, and review the most common situations when you or another manager has been called to assist with a customer issue. Then agree with your team what’s within their power to resolve these in future.

Then trust them to deliver!

related post:

Are complaints a good thing?


Freshen up your refreshers

customer service training ideas21 customer service training ideas to help freshen up your refreshers

If January is a quieter month for you now might the time to address your refresher training. Refresher training is important in any area, and customer service is no exception.

Without reminders it’s easy for service to stagnate and standards to slip. Consistency in your service ensures your customers won’t be disappointed on their second, seventh or even 70th visit.

But how can you make this engaging for everyone, especially your long-serving team members who have seen it all before?

Instead of thinking refresher (as some will simply see this as a boring repeat of the same old messages) focus on different aspects of service.

By Creating a culture of continuous improvement, and putting the emphasis on making things even better, it’s less likely to be dismissed as unimportant and repetitive.

Here are a few customer service training ideas to help freshen up your refreshers (or any other training)…

  1. Challenge your team members to come forward with suggestions on how things can be improved, not just for the customer, but to make their lives easier too. Shaving 5 minutes off a task in one area can free up 5 more minutes to spend caring for customers elsewhere..
  2. Add variety. Do something different to what people are used to, to make the sessions interesting or memorable, so everyone remembers the messages.
  3. Stop thinking about training purely as a classroom activity; get creative with your training. Recognise people’s different learning styles and vary the ways you communicate with your team to appeal to different preferences.
  4. Ask the team what training they think they need and how they’d like to learn it.
  5. Make learning a part of the day-to-day activity, by using everyday activities as opportunities for development and where it’s second nature for people to help and support one another, and to learn on the job.
  6. Use short sharp ‘coffee break sessions’ to delve deeper to explore how you can make things even better. What can you do to add more value for your customers and really wow them?
  7. Assign tasks or projects on real business issues to develop team members.
  8. Get everyone’s involvement. Avoid the chalk and talk’ lecture, it’s not as if they are hearing this for the first time. Use team exercises to encourage interaction, get opinions, and generate ideas so everyone benefits from each other’s insights and suggestions.
  9. Use team meetings to direct focus and reinforce messages. Most customer facing roles are ever-changing, and every day there will be specific and individual options, events, and situations.
  10. Use refreshers as an opportunity to give your team up to date product knowledge.
  11. Celebrate and share successes. Remind people of the importance and significance of what they do; everyone likes to be appreciated, and when they hear about refresher training they can see this as a criticism, implying they are not doing things well enough.
  12. Recognise and reward team members who go the extra mile and contribute to exceptional customer service to reinforce what makes a good customer experience.
  13. Act on customer feedback. Ask for direct feedback from your customers so you learn first-hand what they value and where you can make improvements in your service.
  14. Share positive customer feedback. It can be a really big boost for the team. Use it to reinforce good practice. Even for those not involved or contributing directly, it helps illustrate the impact of good service and a great customer experience.
  15. Keep things light hearted when discussing customer service issues; it is a serious subject, but people are more receptive when they are happy and relaxed. Reinforce messages with quizzes and games to add an element of competition and fun.
  16. Add in fun energiser activities and ‘right brain’ exercises. These might seem trivial, but getting your team involved keeps them energized and in a better state of mind for learning.
  17. Take people away from their normal environment (as long as this doesn’t make them uncomfortable or become a distraction); go outside, use music; alter the layout, introduce unusual props.
  18. Use role plays. Despite people’s reluctance they are a great way for people to practise what to say and how in a safe setting. Make these less intimidating by running in small groups with colleagues acting as an observer to give feedback.
  19. Capitalise on people’s strengths, and utilise those with talents in specific areas to share their skills and expertise with the team. This is not only good for people’s development, it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden
  20. Involve your support teams in refresher training, identifying what they do or not do which impacts the customer experience, however minor, and ask for their input on how these can be developed.
  21. Ask your team for feedback on how you are doing in their eyes. It can feel uncomfortable for people to give feedback to their boss, so ask in a more conversational way such as “What could I be doing to make customer service easier?“. Be sure to accept any feedback with good grace, and thank them for an honest response!

So instead of rolling out the same old training, take one, two or all 21 customer service training ideas to help freshen up your refresher training.

If you need help with this, find out how to get this here



My Thank You to You

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Ignore what she told you

I occasionally get asked to deliver one off training workshops. There’s nothing wrong with a one-off workshop providing it’s not just a sheep dip or tick box exercise, and everything else is in place to support delegates once they get back to the workplace.

I’m sure you, like me, can think of occasions when you’ve attended training, a seminar, or workshop, and returned to work the next day and carried on exactly as you did before. You’ve probably seen this happen with colleagues too.

It’s such a waste!

Not just of precious training budgets, but of people’s time and talents.

One of the reasons one off training can fail is when not everyone in an influential position is bought into the messages.

 “Ignore what she told you.  I know that’s what they told you on the course, but that’s not the way we do things in this department”.

Not only is this confusing, it can be very demoralising, and certainly not good for maintaining employee engagement.

Let’s look at this in the context of customer service training.

Is it that important?

Your team will fail to see its relevance if you’re saying one thing but doing another. For example:

  • You’re stressing the importance of customer service and to keep the customer happy, but all your metrics are centred on the bottom line and profitability.
  • On the one hand you’re saying how to treat customers, but on the other your team get to hear or see a poor attitude to customers from supervisors or managers.
  • When you’re stressing the importance of their commitment to the training, it’s important your team see that commitment coming from the top.
  • Reinforce the company’s commitment to customer service by getting involvement and endorsement from senior management for the training.

Varying standards

It’s easy for different managers to have different expectations and different interpretations of the standards you expect.

  • The more clearly you have these defined (and documented) in behavioural terms the easier it will be for everyone to be consistent and know exactly what’s expected of them.
  • This is particularly important when your team work shifts, and may report to different managers or supervisors at different times.
  • This is just as important for support functions as it is for customer facing departments if you want support functions to support your customer care focus.
  • At the very least everyone in the management team needs to be able to define these  (and be a role model) to set expectations, ensure consistency, and avoid any mixed messages.
  • And, of course, ensure whoever is delivering the training knows your standards and expectations too

Recognise and reward good service

Acknowledge when you spot great examples of good practice. This helps reinforce messages, demonstrates to everyone what good service looks like and helps bring the training to life.

  • Recognise and reward staff who go the extra mile and give exceptional customer service.
  • Share successes and results so everyone recognises the impact.

I’ve used customer service training as an example here, but these principles hold true with any training, particularly any behavioural skills training.

Having the capability to deliver training and coaching in house is one way to alleviate some of these challenges, but that’s not always possible.

So if you only do one thing…

Before you embark on your next piece of training, check that line managers and all those in influential positions are brought into the standards and principles you are teaching and expecting from your team members.


Fed up of waiting?

I guess – like me – you’ve probably encountered that rugby scrum at foreign airports.

This was us last weekend, queueing for security – or so we thought!

The departure hall was chaos. The supposed queue for security weaved in and out of check-in queues, and to put it mildly, it was a shambles.

At first we joined what we thought was the end of the queue only to be accused of queue jumping. We eventually found the back of the queue, and waited patiently, watching the queue get longer and longer behind us. Finally two airport staff started to put out barriers in an attempt to mark the snaking route of the queue.

However, to our dismay and frustration, everyone who had been behind us in the queue was now suddenly in front of us, and we were at the back of the queue again. You can imagine, we were not too pleased!

None of us like to be kept waiting. We always think of the 101 things we could be doing instead. Whether it’s waiting in a queue, being put on hold, waiting for a slow web page to load, waiting to part with your hard earned cash, or waiting in for a delivery …  Any of these situations can try our patience. And so often these moments are a customers’ first or last impression

So why do businesses think it’s acceptable to keep their customers waiting?

I don’t just mean long delays; sometimes it’s just short waits that can aggravate us. Such as waiting for acknowledgement of a phone call, booking, an enquiry, or merely your presence – you know those moments when you approach the counter or enter the room and it takes what seems like an eternity for anyone to look up and make eye contact, let alone finish their conversation with their colleague and give you a welcoming smile.

Queues and being kept waiting are never going to be popular with your customers. Apart from acknowledging and thanking customers for their patience when they have been kept patiently waiting for even a few moments, what else can you do to minimise the impact? 

1. Prevention is better than cure

  • By monitoring your busy times, you can adjust your staffing accordingly (ensuring appropriate training is given to anyone who is redeployed to ‘help out’).  I’m afraid I’ve never quite understood businesses who are inevitably busy at lunchtime, but still schedule staff lunch breaks to clash with their peak times. You wouldn’t expect restaurant staff to have their break at lunch time so why would any other business dependent on lunch time trade do so?
  • If you have self-service areas, or payment machines, help speed up the process by helping customers; you can avoid the time it takes them to read instructions, which might reduce your transaction time by half, thus reducing queues.
  • When you know you’ll experience peaks and troughs of activity triggered by events such as the weather, road conditions, publicity, news coverage – whatever it might be – monitor it and prepare for it.  Even if you don’t have enough space, equipment or outlets to serve more customers at any one time, can you at least have people on hand to deal with any queries, print out bills or act as ‘runners’ to support those dealing with customers?
  • Do customers ever have to repeat information they’ve already given, double back to access things they need, or duplicate processes, which not only wastes their valuable time, but takes more effort on their part?  Just because this is how it’s always been done, isn’t a good enough reason to do it that way!
  • Do you give customers accurate information so they can get to speak to the right person first time around? Or do you have some generic phone number that takes customers through 5 (or even more) options before they can even get to speak to a human being? Give them a direct number next time so as a valued customer they can jump the ‘queue’ to go directly to the right person.
  • Stick to agreed times for returning calls, meetings, deliveries. If you’ve agreed a time or deadline, stick to it.

2. Give customers a choice

  • If there is a delay, does the customer wait, or do they opt for something that doesn’t involve waiting? That might of course depend on just how long they have to wait. When we are put on hold if we’re told we are 2nd in the queue we are far more likely to hang on than if we’re told we are 10th.
  • So let you customers know – is it expected to be a 2 minutes wait or half an hour? Being honest (and not making false promises and under estimating) allows to customer to make an informed decision. If you need to put someone on hold, ask them first if this is OK; don’t just assume they’re happy to hang on.
  • How many times have you waited in for a service engineer or delivery that then doesn’t materialise? If you say a parcel will be delivered or the engineer will call between 12 and 3 make darn sure they do!  Better still, narrow that window down to an hour, or less.
  • At the very least give notice if you can’t deliver your promise. Being kept informed is not about making excuses!  It’s about keeping the customer informed of the situation and giving them options…
  • When you know you have particularly busy periods, let customers know this in advance. This way you give them the option to avoid these times; a win-win, as this helps even out your peaks and troughs.

3. Capitalise on waiting time

“Your call is important to us”. Unfortunately it doesn’t make us feel any better!

  • If people do have to wait, make this as painless as possible. Can you divert people from queues to other options to achieve the same result? Cut red tape and open up alternative channels where you can.
  • Can customers be doing other things whilst queuing which will save time once they get served – filling out forms, reading information that might help with their buying decision, processing payment? At the very least being kept informed of progress and seeing the queue moving.
  • Make waiting time a pleasurable experience by offering your customers something to distract from and compensate for their wait. Share information, offer them a seat, provide refreshments, etc.
  • And if you’re now subconsciously thinking you couldn’t afford to do this every time someone has to wait; it’s time you reviewed your customer experience. Waiting should be the exception, not the norm. (And compare this investment to the cost of losing the customer altogether.)

4. Save your customers time and effort

In the same way that anything that wastes time for your customers can be an irritation, anything that saves your customer time will add value.

  • Review all the touch points on the customers’ journey – where can time be saved; waiting for web pages or images to load, phones being answered more quickly, keeping on top of orders so purchases can be dispatched quickly.
  • Offer an express service, line, process, phone number, etc. for your existing loyal customers. Make them feel special and valued. Even for new customers who are time poor, introduce a quick option that saves time – at a premium price if you need to – you may be surprised how many take you up on that.
  • A minute here, and a second there may not seem much individually, but add them all together and you might save your customers considerably time.
  • Even if the way you do things in your business are “industry norms” can you be the first to break the mould and do things differently. Look at what Metro Bank are doing to change the norms in banking, for example.

However, remember you don’t want customers to feel rushed, so apply time savings sensibly and appropriately.

Never compromise quality for speed.

5. Engage your team

  • Set your expectations with team members. How quickly should the phone be answered? What’s the expected time-frame for returning customer calls? What’s the process for contacting customers if there’s going to be a delay?
  • Never allow speed to become an excuse for staff members to cut corners or make mistakes.
  • Give your team members the relevant training to work efficiently, and provide cross training so people in other departments can support the customer facing team at peak times.
  • Consult with your team to find efficiencies, and ideas on ways to save time both for themselves and customers.
  • Monitor the tools and resources available to your team to ensure these are allowing them to work as efficiently as possible.
  • Listen to your team when they say they are stretched, or when they feel time-frames for dealing with customers are unrealistic. Believing you are under resourced causes stress and frustration for team members, and is bound to have a knock-on effect on the customer’s experience.

It’s a fine balance. Test and review and tweak accordingly.



Ebbinghaus’ Curve of Forgetting

Ebbinghaus Effect

In 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus a German doctor of philosophy published “Ebbinghaus’ Curve of Forgetting” showing that a given piece of learning is forgotten by more than half its audience within one hour.  The share of the audience that retains the message is reduced approximately 30% after one day, and to just 25% after only two days.

Which means potentially most training can be a complete waste of your time and effort.

Not a good investment of your training budget!

When you’re investing in training you want people to remember the messages; not just tomorrow, but next week, next month or even next year.

If you want your team to remember the messages it starts with engaging them in the training. And engaging them in the training starts with making the training engaging!

Here are 10 ideas to help make this happen…

  1. Keep things light hearted – it might be a serious subject, but the messages will stick far better if the team are happy and relaxed. Reinforce messages with quizzes and games to add an element of competition and fun.
    .
  2. Stop thinking about training purely as a classroom activity; get creative with your training. Recognise people’s different learning styles and vary the ways you communicate with your team to appeal to different preferences. Ask the team what training they think they need and how they’d like to learn it.
    .
  3. Use everyday activities as opportunities for development. Use team meetings to direct focus and reinforce messages. Assign tasks or projects on real business issues to develop team members.
    .
  4. Get everyone’s involvement. No one wants to sit through a ‘chalk and talk’ lecture. Use team exercises to encourage interaction, get opinions, and generate ideas so everyone benefits from each other’s insights and suggestions.
    .
  5. Add in fun energiser activities and ‘right brain’ exercises. These might seem trivial, but getting your team involved keeps them energised and in a better state of mind for learning.
    .
  6. Make full use of the senses. Use props and live examples that people can touch, smell and even taste if appropriate.
    .
  7. Add variety. Do something different to what people are used to, to make learning interesting or memorable, so everyone remembers the messages.
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  8. Take people away from their normal environment (as long as this doesn’t make them uncomfortable or become a distraction); go outside, use music; alter the layout, introduce unusual props; use interesting presenters or even actors (great for any interpersonal skills training).
    .
  9. Use role plays. Despite people’s reluctance they are a great way for people to practise what to say and how in a safe setting. So it’s easier when it comes to putting it into practice in the real world. Make these less intimidating by running in small groups with colleagues acting as an observer to give feedback.
    .
  10. Keep messages simple and use memory aids and support materials so people can remind themselves of the key messages when needed.

Of course, you still need to ensure people understand the relevance of what you are training and follow up afterwards to help them put it into practice and embed new habits and behaviours.

But taking one or two of these ideas will go some way to making your training memorable. And if you can build in several of these principles you’ll get people more engaged and give your training some real impact.

Action point

Review the next messages you need to cascade to your team and pick just one thing from the list above – one which you’re not already doing – and build it in to your training.



Yes, but …

Earlier this week I was conducting some complaint handling training for one of my clients.

It’s not an unusual reaction when faced with a complaint – particularly when you believe it’s unjustified, or it’s not your fault – to listen politely, but then respond with “yes, but…

Of course, as soon as the customer hears those words, they know they are likely to be contradicted.

So, here are 2 alternatives:

1. The But Flip

This is when you still use the word but, but you flip the structure of the sentence. So, instead of saying “I’d really like to help you with this, but it’s out of my control”, this becomes “It’s out of my control, but I’d really like to help you with this”.

What’s the difference? The first version ends the conversation, whilst the second version makes a natural transition into looking for a solution.

In essence, what you’re doing is telling the customer what you can’t do first, but then what you can do.

2. Yes, and…

In this instance you are replacing the word but with the word and. (Many people are tempted to use the word however, however… if you’re anything like me when I hear the word however I still know is going to be bad news!)

Yes, but is confrontational and doesn’t get you any further forward, whereas yes, and keeps the conversation positive, and shows you are listening.

Proving the point

Here’s a fun exercise you can use with your team which demonstrates the impact of yes, but and yes, and, whilst giving them an opportunity to practise the technique.

It’s based on improvisation, which means there are no scripts and participants don’t know what they’ll say until they’ve heard the other person. To be successful they have to be present, listen carefully, and contribute freely.

These skills are obviously valuable in a customer service environment, in which adaptability is crucial.

The “Yes, and…” story telling exercise can be carried out by two people or more.

One person starts with one sentence of a story, and the next person builds on that, either bouncing back and forth between two people or circling around in a larger group.

You can take the story in any direction, as long as it builds on top of the previous sentence with a “yes, and…”

It works best with a few simple rules:

  • Don’t deny or contradict
  • Don’t ask open ended questions
  • You don’t have to be funny
  • You can look good by making your partner look good
  • Tell a story

Besides the fun of seeing the story go in the strangest directions, this exercise reinforces a few crucial customer service skills.

One is listening skills. You have to build upon what was said last. Many people – particularly when under pressure – are so focused on what they want to say whilst the other person is talking, they miss half of what’s being said.

It also teaches flexibility. Instead of going against what’s been said, the aim is to build on top of it.

So, set your team a challenge to switch to the but flip or but, and



Putting Theory into Practice

parachute-brittany-gaiserIn all my years as a trainer the number 1 mistake I see businesses making with their staff training is not doing enough to make an easy transition from theory to the real world.

What takes place in the safety, and often false environment, of the training room can be very different from what happens in the big bad real world. Particularly so with any skills training which needs practice to perfect, and time to form new habits.

Of course this means not only does the business not get a good return on their investment, it can also have a negative and demotivating impact on the employee.

The link

Making the link to their role really starts before the training even begins, by discussing with the team member how the training is relevant to the job.

But this needs to be followed through during the training itself, asking for ideas on how team members are going to implement what they have learnt. Help them identify situations where they can put their learning into practice as quickly as possible, preferably within the next day or two, and get their commitment to one or two specific actions.

Flush out any questions or concerns, or anything they know of which will make it difficult or even impossible for them to implement what they’ve learnt. Check they have the necessary resources, time, authority, peer support and opportunity to put it into practice. If not, ensure you get these in place before that momentum is lost.

These might be things you don’t want to hear, but better to know about these now (and have an opportunity to put them right) than them going away confused or negative through questions unanswered and discover two weeks on that nothing has changed!

On an individual level this might include a lack of confidence or a concern they might make mistakes. They may be unclear on which actions are their job opposed to anyone else’s. They might not even see these actions as part of their role, but somebody else’s responsibility.

Be available for individuals to ask questions on a one to one basis after any training; not everyone will feel comfortable raising their queries in front of colleagues, and some may need a while to reflect on what’s been covered.

Set some specific medium-term goals to focus people’s attention in implementing the training. It might simply be based on customer feedback, or a specific target to sell x number of a certain product or service.

Finish training by giving recognition for their participation. Create a link to further training, or how you’ll be following up in the workplace.

Making the transition

Sometimes the only way to really hone new skills and develop true competence is once applied on the job. It simply can’t always happen in the confines of the training session or without the pressures of the real world.

We shouldn’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to practise and find their own way of doing things, and not be afraid to make the odd mistake so long as they learn from it.

Everything takes longer when it’s new and you’re still learning a little from trial and error. Confidence can be low as you get to grips with it all.

Unless followed though promptly, any potential barriers will simply provide an excuse for not putting things into practice. The longer problems are left unresolved, the less the likelihood of anyone getting to the point it becomes habit.

So when you plan training, schedule time for team members to practise and time for you or their line manager to check how they are doing. Or assign a mentor, coach or buddy to help overcome the initial barriers to perfecting their new skill.

Observe how team members handle the conversations with customers and give them feedback after the event on what they’re doing well, what they could do more of, and give the appropriate coaching, support and guidance on areas where they need more help.

Maintaining Momentum

Provide back up resources such as prompt cards or checklists. Reinforce messages by building exercises into your daily and weekly calendar, etc., as part of team briefings or meetings, 1:1 reviews and ongoing feedback.

Recognise the role line managers have in the follow up to training. What’s working well, what fresh perspectives have they brought, what needs more practice?

If the training isn’t being implemented identify what’s getting in the way now, not wait until they’ve been struggling and given up hope. When something doesn’t work right first time around it’s all too easy for them to go back to their old and familiar ways.

It takes time to instil new habits.