Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

Training is an Investment, Not an Expense

April 4, 2017

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Customer_Service Training Model

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Training isn’t something that’s ‘nice’ to have in your organization. It’s a vital part of a company’s long-term investment and growth strategy.

A survey by Progressive Business Publications shows that only 52% of companies trained their managers once a year or less. This lack of training is reflected in the Conference Board Report which found that less than 1/3 of all supervisors or managers were perceived to be strong leaders – which means that over 2/3 of them are perceived as being weak leaders. The same report found that 2/3 of employees are not motivated to drive their employer’s business goals, leaving a quarter who are simply showing up to collect a check. Obviously, a lack of managerial leadership has a direct correlation to high turnover, low productivity, and poor customer service.

Good management doesn’t just happen. Managers don’t inherently know how to handle delicate personnel issues or even how to effectively motivate employees. Additionally, capable and effective managers must be trained so they can be effective role models, mentors, and coaches.

The reason your managers and supervisors play such a crucial role in the well-being of your organization is that they are the ones who interact daily with your front-line employees. If you want to increase customer retention, then employees must be motivated to take ownership. They won’t do that, however, if they don’t have good management. Managers have the most influence over employee morale, engagement, and performance.

It is a proven fact that companies that provide well-planned employee training programs will outperform their competitors. The best companies in the world spend the most on training to provide their employees with the skills they need to deliver top-notch service. Their leaders view training as an investment in success, rather than as an expense.

Training does much more than just teach new skills. It sends a message to employees that they are valued by the organization. Training builds positive teamwork and serves as a communication bridge between departments. Training also provides a forum for employees to express their views and feel a part of the “big picture.”

Loyalty Leader Training Tips:

  • Include training in your annual budget. It’s usually determined by a percentage of sales.
  • Make an ongoing commitment to provide training to employees at all levels of the organization.
  • Develop an infrastructure to support training objectives. You know your business best and customer service expert can help you identify core issues and cost-effective training solutions.
  • Design a consistent training curriculum—and stick with it!
  • Require all new employees to participate in an orientation that includes customer service training.
  • Set service standards for all employees and start at the top of the organization. Hold managers to the same levels of accountability for the delivery of exceptional service as those of front-line employees.
  • Teach employees that everyone in the organization has customers. Some employees may only deal with internal customers such as co-workers, but they should be required to deliver the same quality of service as employees who deal with the external customers.
  • Mix it up with fresh faces. If the same employee always delivers the training, people stop listening. Involve different employees in the delivery of internal training.
  • Periodically bring in outside speakers. This will keep training fresh, entertaining, motivational, and current. Just like kids, employees tend to get bored when their peers or bosses are the only people who deliver the training messages. I call this the “Parent Syndrome.”
  • Employees are more enthusiastic and receptive to learning when training is delivered by an individual who is an authority on the topic.

Let’s face it, training takes time, energy, resources, and money, which is why many organizations find it hard to budget for it. So, even though managers want training and many organizations need it, the cost often deters them from investing in their people and implementing a training program. As with all investments, training does not come without some expense. But it’s a trade-off where the benefits clearly outweigh the costs. Investing in training increases employee engagement, retention, and customer loyalty. All three are critical components of a business success formula.

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