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Strategies to Improve Service - Beyond the Training Room

Good training is good value.

Unfortunately, good training is all too uncommon.

How many people attend training sessions because they are obliged to? How many people have attended a training session only to be 'clock watching' from around 10.00 am? How many people attend 'training' that is simply a progression of overhead after overhead? How many people have a view that training is simply a waste of time and money?

I think 'trainers' have a lot to answer for. In my view, 'training' is often only information dissemination, which results in boredom and fatigue for all parties involved. At best it is interesting. At worst it is a total waste of people's time, and it further alienates people from a desire to learn, as 'learning' is associated with boredom.

This context is of even more concern when the focus of training is on customer service. There is nothing more important than getting internal and external service 'right' within any organisation. The risk is that we can alienate people from these issues through poor or inadequate training.


A Novel and Powerful Idea

I recently worked with a large organisation where we involved 340 staff in a series of training sessions. The training went well – the feedback was positive, and more importantly, the talk in the corridors was positive.

The issue we faced after training all these staff was how to move to the next level. We chose an unusual strategy that had remarkable effects.

I organised a full day tour for 20 staff and managers. The tour involved visits to a range of organisations renowned for their commitment to customer service. We chose a mix of management and staff to attend the 'Customer Service Bus Tour'. Each site visit involved a tour of the premises, and a presentation from a senior manager, telling us about the various customer service initiatives deployed by the organisation.


What a hit!

This was an incredible experience for all involved. The participants were 'awe struck' at what they saw and heard, and were highly motivated from the experience.

Many told me that the experience was so much more useful than classroom based training – we were speaking to business people, in their premises, and we could actually see the things they were talking about.

Since then, I have run numerous other Customer Service Bus Tours – all with the same effect. I have built a 'stable' of organisations that can be visited, all who perform at outstanding levels with regard to customer service.

Training done well can have a dramatic and long lasting effect on the participants. Even quality training however, can be supplemented with activities that reinforce the message – A Customer Service Bus Tour is a brilliant strategy that has a powerful and long lasting impact.

Steve runs Customer Service Bus Tours on a regular basis. If you would like to join an 'open tour', or would like to have a tour exclusively for your organisation, make contact with Steve on (+61 8) 9448 4571 or Email bustourinfo@keystone-management.com



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