|Why training your staff is like buying a new car|
|Written by Danny Nixon-Smith | Principal Consultant | firstname.lastname@example.org|
Too often we see management investing large sums to acquire the latest equipment, advertised their products and then spend so little time or money to educate and prepare their own employees. What is true for many auto dealerships, brokerage firms and retail stores seems to apply to gaming too. Many managers routinely acquire great locations, build magnificent structures, rely on expensive advertising and promotions to bring in the customers and then do so very little to prepare their employees.
I often relate the purchase of a new car with a gaming machine, both pieces of equipment costs a great deal of money, however when purchasing a new car we are always shown the basics “how to indicate, how to start the car, where is the park brake etc” but how often do we show our employees through a new gaming machine?
“how the feature works, how to fix problems”....
To appreciate the financial risk of their poor commitment to training, look at the experience from the customer's perspective. Day or night, any one of the club employees the player meets is, at the moment, the whole club.
What happens when one of those customers arrives and runs into an employee who doesn’t have any idea about how to deliver great customer service? Do your employees act on the “moment of truth” and can they use “emotional intelligence” to deal with a gaming player who is often on a roller coaster of emotions, winning one minute then losing the next.
Generally we have to spend twice as much money to buy the customer back with no guarantee he or she will ever return. Put this into context of today’s financial reality. As we continue to work our way through constant news about this stalled economy and its scary unemployment rates, clubs from coast to coast are working frantically to make certain that customers stay longer and return sooner. With discretionary dollars in short supply, no club can afford a careless customer encounter or risk alienating any player.
So, after the newest machines are installed and those players’ club perks are enhanced again, what is to be done? I believe every club needs to be sure that employees have the knowledge, skills and solid work habits to succeed and make a real contribution. Because gaming always has and remains, a ‘people business’, surviving and prospering today means aggressively investing in employee training and development.
I am sure you are thinking “hey, we have that covered” - you have new hire orientation and offer some additional training in such areas as customer service. Maybe your club is among those that have a management development program available for front line men and women who lead departments. Well, is it actually working? How do you know?
Measuring training’s return on investment should be automatic and a part of each quarterly review. After all, if you don’t measure it, how are you certain you are getting your money’s worth? Here, I am not referring to those forms that attendees complete at the end of the class, with fuzzy questions such as, “what did you like the best about our training?” the way to evaluate training is by a financial measurement.
Here is what I mean.
It costs you something to have any employee sit in a classroom for an hour. For the sake of this example, lets call that cost (wages and benefits) $25. In a class of 20 employees you are investing 20 times $25. Say the class lasts for three hours. That investment becomes $25 multiplied by 20, multiplied by three.
So, a single scheduled training class costs your venue $1,500 in addition to the wages and benefits paid to the instructor. Again, is it working? Shouldn’t you look at that $1,500 training investment as closely as you look at the customer’s time on any machine or the various other measurements used on the floor. You routinely calculate the effectiveness of your advertising, promotions, loyalty, meals as well as machine usage and signage. Why not take a long look at training too?
But maybe you're wondering how?
Before training, establish a base line of behaviour. If you want to train employees in customer service, look at reported complaints. Speak with customers. Observe your people on the job, establish a sense of “where are we now”. During training, sit in on a class or two or prepare a video-taped message that signals your interest in, and commitment to, great customer service.
Next, demand verifiable results. Have your trainer conduct a class that features quizzes and a real, final exam. Ask hard, open-ended questions. After training, continue to look at employee behaviour and attrition rates and review customer complaints.
Whether you develop your training in house or external, create a results oriented program with real measurements and be demanding.
Treat training like any other important investment because in today’s economy you don’t have a choice; however your customers can choose which car they want to travel in.