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By: Dr. John T. Self

Best Practice Training

If a company is not training on a continuous basis, they are not serious about it. Training has to be done regularly, with sincerity and fervor. If you are just going through the motions, I guarantee your employees will know it. If you don't take it seriously, they won't either.

How can you get your employees to take training seriously? One great technique to "use the best to help the rest".

I'm sure that you can identify your best customer service people. They are the ones who:

  • are selling the most
  • are selling consistently higher
  • are continually having customers ask for them by name

There is a reason why they are succeeding! They are doing something extra, or a series of something extras, that produce results. These establish and build good relationships with their customers. It might be one of several things: the way they describe a product, their mannerisms, their extra knowledge, or another entirely different quality. Whatever it is, something sets them apart and allows them to excel. Don't you want to know what those certain things are? Don't you want them replicated by your other team members? Isn't the name of the game providing high-performance customer service? The way to accomplish this is through the following series of steps:

  • Carefully identify your superstars.
  • Video/audio tape them
  • Find the common denominators in their behaviors
  • Incorporate this new knowledge into your daily and weekly training (and donĀ“t forget to add it to your beginning training classes and manuals)

I would be very surprised if you didn't see similarities between the superstars. The same phrases, the same mannerisms or the same attention to details and knowledge.

  • Your superstars will be immortalized on tape and on film
  • Your not-so-superstars will learn how to be more effective in a non-threatening way
  • Your entire staff will get a tremendous boost in morale from the excitement of the process
  • Your customers will receive better service
  • Your business will be stronger because your entire staff will be better

Video/audiotaping can be done by a professional or by yourself. I would recommend contacting a local company and having it done professionally. It is worth the investment. One or two hours of taping and an hour or two of editing will produce first class training materials which you'll be able to use for a considerable amount of time.

Remember, the ultimate goal of all this is to increase sales and revenue by establishing (and keeping) an ever-expanding, loyal customer base, with which everyone benefits.

This aggressive investment sends a strong message to your employees; you are serious about training, and serious about service.

About the author:  John T. Self is a lecturer at The Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly Pomona). Prior to entering academe, Dr. Self spent fifteen years in the restaurant industry. While in the corporate world, he worked for several chains including overseeing six restaurants with sales of over twenty million dollars. He has also owned three independent restaurants. While at Golden Gate University, he started the partnership with Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China and is continuing in that involvement at Cal Poly.

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