How to implement a Skills Training program that works

There are few things to remember when you want your Skills Training program to work.

Remember when it was always about Customer contacts by phone?

Sure – phone matters (we’ve become channel resolution centres after all) – but so does email, live chat and social media.

Video chat? Coming soon.

Chances are your internal Trainers don’t have the exposure or expertise to help your Frontline folks exceed Customer expectations across channels.

So, if you’re looking to bring in an external Training partner to drive Customer experience, what considerations should you look at to ensure a roll-out that works?

In this short article I share a few ideas.

Start with the Management Team FIRST

After you’ve established your objectives and selected your provider – the first group of folks that need to go through ‘training’ is the Management Team.

There is sometimes an implicit belief that the Managers know it already.

But that’s absolutely not true.

In fact, one of the reasons that you decided to engage an external provider was because your internal Employees didn’t have the exposure or expertise needed to deliver on rising Customer expectations.

Your Managers have a lot to learn – and decide – before any roll-out of skills training to the Frontline.

Will monitoring forms change? What attributes matter more, which matter less? Do templates have to be rewritten? Do Customer survey mechanisms need to be updated?

Can Managers articulate what Productivity, Quality & Attitude look like for the channel?

If not, then they’re not in any position to move your improvement initiative forward.

All these items can be discussed and considered openly when a Management training session (or two) takes place before a roll-out to the Frontline.

It’s embarrassing – but here are things that happen when Organizations don’t begin a skills roll-out with Managers first

Managers attend for the first 30 minutes or hour of the skills training and then slip off – and don’t think your Team Members didn’t notice.

They did.

If you’re not going to bother to attend the entire session it’s better that you don’t show up at all (unless you are there to to introductions of course).

It’s equally painful to have a session where the Managers sit together and all the rest of the Staff is spread out on their own.

Frontline Team Members express confusion during the skills training (when the bosses aren’t around).

In Email writing classes it is quite common to hear Team Members express frustration that their Managers focus heavily on things like grammar or spelling vs. how to really enhance email writing skills.

In Live Chat training, many Frontliners tell us that their Managers don’t give much advice at all – so they conclude (correctly in most cases) that their Managers actually don’t know where or how to help with Live Chat.

Team Members go back from training knowing more than their Managers do. And that’s a guaranteed recipe for a fall-back to the status quo – or the dreaded ‘business as usual’.

Because if the Managers weren’t part of the change process for excellence they’ll actually end up blocking the change (whether passively or actively).

Make decisions about Monitoring Forms, Survey Questions, Quality Assurance protocols, Templates and the like before you roll-out training to Frontliners

Training is just one piece of the channel puzzle.

When well done, it informs and inspires.

But after training your Participants will go back to work – back to their eco-system.

Ask yourself – did we update the eco-system to reflect new learnings and objectives?

Or are things exactly the same as they were before?

Still missing good coaching? Monitoring forms are lame or non-existent? Customer survey questions about the channel experience aren’t updated? Performance mechanisms haven’t changed?

The best people are still broken by a bad process.

If there is one thing that’s worse than not training at all – it’s to train but not review and update the entire channel eco-system.

This sets people up to fail.

One of our Clients who approached training as a ‘system’ and not just as an event called their program an “Email Makeover” for their organization – and everyone’s on board.

That’s how it is supposed to be.

Consider follow-up processes including Digital Contact Audit & Mystery Shopper

So you’ve organized your eco-system and you’ve trained all the Team Members involved.


Want to see how it’s going? Ensure that Team Members are pulling together to implement change?

Consider a follow-up Mystery Shopper or Digital Contact Audit.

Make it known that this will happen – involve folks in the design of the Mystery Shopper or Audit.

It makes a huge difference to the success of your implementation.

I hope these few tips are helpful!

Thank you for reading!

Thank you for the time you took to read this today!

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Daniel Ord

[email protected]

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