How to Plan Customer Service Training

At Lessonly, we’ve helped hundreds of teams across the globe learn, practice, and Do Better Work. Over and over again, we found that the best teams examine their training efforts through six key phases: Assess, Plan, Build, Learn, Practice, and Perform.

So, how do high-performing customer service teams identify the most essential objectives and outcomes to prioritize training? Lessonly’s CEO, Max Yoder, and Josh Streets, Senior Leader of Contact Center Operations at U.S. Cellular joined Execs in the Know to share insights about what separates the best customer experience teams from the rest of pack. Check out the transcript below for the second segment of this six-part series.


When we move over to the next step of the Better Work Method, it’s Plan. And “plan” is really about saying, “Hey, we’ve taken all of the possible things that we could train on and we’ve decided on the thing we want to train on.”

When I think about planning and choosing the route to train—let’s say we want to focus on cross-selling to get our cross-selling rates up—having a small team of people to bounce ideas off of is incredibly important. The nice thing is, this process can be done through formal in-person meetings or more informal methods, like a Slack message. Think about the stakeholders who you went to in order to gather insight on the problem or behavior you wanted to improve during the assess stage. It’s just as important to keep them in the loop as you plan your training efforts.

When you get started setting a goal with a measure, that couldn’t be more important. What I mean by that is, if we want to improve cross-selling rates 4% by November 2018, there are a lot of different potential plans that could fit into that goal. And, if we pick one of those plans and then find it not to be satisfactory because we haven’t achieved the goal, we can go and shift to a new plan.

If we’re not clearing the goal, we’ll start on a given plan and we’ll stick with it even when it starts to fail us because the plan has become the goal. The plan has incorrectly become what success looks like. But, when we have a goal with a measure, we can save ourselves from potentially going down a planned path.

By realizing it’s not a good plan and being able to shift gears towards the goal with measures, you’re able to improve more quickly.    

Once you get started on planning, consider scheduling a 30-minute brainstorm session to draft your initial plan. It’s really important to consider what the mechanisms and methods are in order to deliver content. For example, U.S. Cellular might do things in some huddles where people are working together. Or, they might do things with on-demand training, where they send on-demand lessons powered by Lessonly. Some organizations do use both methods.

So, a company might do live, in-person and on-demand training. Either way, it’s important to remember that not every behavior change or improvement requires both types of training. But, the greater the behavior change, the more it increases the training list. So, it’s more likely that you should consider doing many forms of training. It could be role-playing, it could be instructor-led training, and then on-demand training, which could include learning or practicing. Each format combination works for different teams and their training goals.

It’s also important to set objectives for each piece of training. This means that if you create a training event, you should also identify why you’re doing it. Ultimately, this will keep us honest about the need for the training. If we find that the goal can be achieved without a certain piece of training, that’s fine. It’s okay because we have goals and we can remove unnecessary pieces of training and focus our efforts where they’re needed.

In the planning stage, as I mentioned, the feedback team is going to be helpful to get a good-enough plan. Later, we’re going to talk about why training programs tend to fail, as I know that’s really interesting to a lot of folks. A sufficient plan is a great way to make sure you have success in training. Josh, I would love to kind of pause now and give you some time to talk about anything you’d like to add on the planning side.

Josh: This topic is close to my heart, and it’s something I talk about with teams all of the time. When it comes to areas that we’re not performing or somebody’s not performing, we can’t make excuses. We have to make adjustments. While we were nimble prior to Lessonly—the tools have just made it that much easier to be a little more agile. Along with that, though, comes a mindset shift to the importance of learning overall.

For example, what used to take us four days for content creation can now be done in as little as four hours, with the same end result.

What we found is you can have a lot of activity but no sustained results if you don’t have the right plan.

It’s even more likely to be a success when you have the right people leading the efforts and moving the plan forward.

Plan a winning team training program

Planning an effective training program is no small feat. See how companies like U.S. Cellular use Lessonly to plan their team training to drive efficiency at scale. Check back next week to read the next part of the series, Build.

Ready to evaluate plan your team’s training program? Use our free employee training plan template builder or take our free Better Work Assessment. Then, get a demo of Lessonly and see how we can help you build a training program that fuels Better Work.

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