The Customer Service Training Success Equation
When you invest in customer service training, you naturally want results. The sad truth is that many times there are no lasting results from business training programs. Sometimes this can be the fault of a poor instructor or materials, but more often it is a result of how training fits into a bigger business picture.
This picture is painted with a few training success equations. Let’s look at a few of these.
First, here are the three main parameters to be included: Training, Measurement, & Reward
T X M = Short Term Results
If we train and measure the results, we are assured of at least short term results. How you train, and how you measure are of course important components. Training in today’s world, especially in the customer service realm, should be highly interactive and situation specific.
If you have employees who interact with the public or even with other B2B clients, do not make the mistake of putting them in front of a screen to take a computer based course and think that you will have great results. A huge part of their success lies in the intricacies of human interaction and that cannot be trained with a visual only. It requires a ‘full body’ experience and face to face skills practice.
How do YOU measure results? If your training participant sits in training and knows from past experience that no one will check to see if they are implementing the skills being taught, behavioral change is not highly likely. Thus it is important to measure AND to let trainees know how they will be measured when the training begins so they know they have a stake in learning. By the way, if the M=Zero, then the result of this mathematical equation unfortunately will likely be Zero!
T X M X R = Long Term Results
Training combined with measurement AND reward will naturally bring longer results. So why do so few businesses embrace this strategy? Many operate under the ‘I am paying you to work – that is your reward’ philosophy. In addition, firms often associate reward with cost. While costs can be incurred, there are literally thousands of ways to reward employees without spending a dime. Creativity is the must have here. Yes, financial rewards are important too, and should be considered an investment in your bottom line. Just be careful as the same dollar reward received on a consistent basis actually becomes part of what an employee considers regular compensation and then ceases to motivate.
The last equation to consider is an important one:
Reward X Perceived Opportunity to Earn = Motivation
Having worked in customer service and sales for many years prior to starting my consulting business, I know first hand the meaning of this equation. Let’s put it in other words. If I offered you a million dollars to swim from Miami to Cuba, would you get in the water?
NOOOO… you would know that you’d never make it as you would either drown or be eaten by sharks on the way! In an effort to minimize expense, businesses often set the bar so high that the rewards are unatainable for most at which point the rewards cease to be a motivator. Another pitfal to avoid is a system which allows the same employees to be rewarded over and over again while other ones have not a chance of receiving anything. How many of us would even watch the Super Bowl if we knew the same two teams were going to play and who the winner would be?!
In your next mangement meeting, have an open and frank discussion about how your success equations are stacking up for success!
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