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How effective is your training?

My introduction to CRM was when I joined the training team on a global Siebel rollout.  It was wonderful!  Literally we covered the world.

As well as being a great experience it gave me a lot of insight into how training could be done far more effectively and here are some of my observations from it:

  1.  Make training short, sweet and relevant

We were running a three-day course for customer service staff. Subsequently much of the functionality was either not used or revised.

So make training fit for the needs of the group and train on the functionality they will be using.  Much better to do it in a morning and keep them focused rather than pack in too much and make it a full day. Remember the graveyard session after lunch.

  1.  Show them one way of doing things

What I have found on some courses is that the trainer will give various options about how to carry out a particular function, often there can be two or three ways of doing it.

My view is to give them the best one based on the particular circumstances which they are in and the specific task they are carrying out.  This means that everyone will be doing it the same way and when a new joiner arrives he/she will be shown this by anyone they ask.  Keep it simple!

  1.  Management to brief everyone beforehand about the change

The most difficult thing that a trainer has to deal with is the ‘we don’t do it that way’ comment.

On the course mentioned above, on one occasion, I spent about 15 minutes dealing with this. It is destructive, negative, dispiriting and takes everyone’s minds away from the training and the objective in hand.

Management must not allow this to happen.  It is their responsibility to fully brief everyone beforehand about the change and the reason for the project, thus ensuring that training can run as smoothly as possible.  Trainers are there to train not to manage.

  1.  Don’t cut the training budget

Whenever costs are running high the main target for savings is training. It is illogical to make a large investment into a new application, which by its very nature will require change of behaviours and then to reduce the time spent in showing the end users what to do.

If training is cut, users will not use it properly, consistently and completely – thus ensuring that the project is doomed from the start.

Oh yes another suggestion – bring a trainer onto your project team.  They will come with all the scars from previous sessions so this is one of the best ways of ensuring that your application is fit for purpose and simple!