Business Challenge

A Midwest utility company that provides electric and natural gas services was in the final stages of a planned launch of new system that would allow the company to turn their customer’s gas meters on and off remotely. Anticipating that the launch of this remote service would increase the call volume in its call centers, the manager of the company’s customer service department needed to develop a comprehensive training program to prepare call center representatives for this massive change. Not only did the representatives need to have a working knowledge of the new system, but they needed to increase their skills on how to handle potentially angry customers.

The development of the workshop would be the responsibility of the internal training team. However, when the manager assessed both the skill level and experience of her young team she realized that in order for them to create a training that would deliver the results the company needed, the training team to be trained.

In particular, the customer service manager believed her team needed training on understanding adult learning preferences, how to handle difficult situations, thinking on their feet and general skills on how to be a successful trainer.

The customer service manager contacted TrainSmart about sending two members of the training team to a public Internationally Certified Train-the-Trainer Workshop scheduled for Minneapolis. Her plan was to send other team members to later workshops.

After discussing the customer service training department’s current situation, TrainSmart suggested that the company might want to consider holding a private Train-the-Trainer Workshop for the 12 members of their team.

A Private Train-the-Trainer Workshop vs. a Public Workshop

One of the features of TrainSmart’s private Train-the-Trainer Workshop is that participants can use their own content to practice and get feedback. This is both practical and adds enormous value. In public workshops, participants may be reluctant to demo training material that contains competitive information or sensitive material that should not be shared outside of the corporate walls. In private workshops participants can focus on using material that they will be training on and getting real-time feedback from both their master trainer and co-workers.

Given that the manager wanted the entire team to go through this training, having all the team members attend the same training provided added benefits. The private training creates a level playing field. Everyone has an opportunity to learn the same thing at the same time – eliminating potential hard feelings among those who have to wait for the training and thus potentially miss out on opportunities because they haven’t been through the training.

When an entire team goes through the training at the same time, they can reinforce their learning by providing ongoing support to each other. Since everyone experienced the training at the same time they are in a strong position to give each other feedback on training ideas and serve as a sounding boards for different training concepts. In other words, the value of the training increases exponentially.

When all the participants are working on the same training program, the master trainer has the time to review their overall training program and use the organization’s content as part of the examples to help illustrate key learning objectives—making the entire experience more meaningful and valuable.

What they liked about this training:

“The content was innovative and will assist our team in implementing the necessary changes to enhance our learning environment.”

“It was practical.”

“Class was a lot of fun- brought me out of my comfort zone many times!”

“Very helpful in taking train to the next level. Great Ideas!!”

“Really eye-opening and impactful to my daily tasks of training and preparing training. Just well-rounded information.”

“I absolutely appreciate the organized training participant guide and opportunity to enhance communication skills.”

“I did not have any dull moments. I was engaged the whole time.”

Three Months Later

One of the unexpected and unplanned benefits of having the entire team attend the same training was that it’s made their internal meetings more productive. Using some of the learning concepts that were shared in the training, the team has embraced those concepts for their internal meetings. In particular, the team now uses techniques learned in the training to stay on topic.

The “graduates” also report that they are more confident dealing with disruptive participants and that their ice-breakers are more relevant to the training subject matter.

TrainSmart offers both public and private Train-the-Trainer workshops. Participants who successfully complete either version are eligible to apply for certification by the International Board of Certified Trainers.