Part 3 of a 3-part series on Customer Service in Long Term Care

You don’t have a lot of time to have your training needs met. But, you can’t afford to ignore them either. So, what’s the middle ground? As we learned in Part 2 of this series, Susan, a Skilled Nursing Facility Administrator in Michigan, utilized short training periods over a year’s time to meet her customer service training objectives.

Today she continues to reap the rewards of increased staff satisfaction, improved resident quality of life, and lower turnover by repeating the training regularly.

Susan decided to bring the training in-house based on her exposure to one-time, all-day training which she believed was ineffective for long-term behavior change.  Her experience is typical. Studies show that up to 90% of the learning acquired during one-time training is forgotten if it’s not reinforced consistently. 

The Ongoing Benefits of Do-It-Yourself Training

Managing customer service training in-house is much more cost- and time-effective and provides better results.

The following guidelines will help you craft a learning program dedicated not just to delivering staff training, but to changing staff behavior.  

1. Training Time – Days, or even hours, aren’t required, just consistency. Could you provide ongoing customer service training twice a month for 30 minutes per session? What about four 15-minute trainings?

2. Customer Service Curriculum – Focus on the most common issues you find in your facility. They will likely include Stress Management, Conflict Resolution, Listening Skills, and Managing Customer Expectations, for starters.

3. Training Methods – Research confirms that consistent training with reinforcement from application and review is the most effective method for changing behavior.

4. Learning Materials – Handouts, workbooks, and videos are the most common materials employed for in-house customer service training. Additional tools, which require higher initial or ongoing investment, include online e-learning management systems, interactive simulators, and mobile apps. With easy-to-use materials, individuals and groups can manage their own training with only minimal supervision.

5. Exercises to Lock-in Learning – Role plays and individual exercises are essential to reinforce what’s been learned. If a trainer is not available, group leaders can be selected from among the participants to conduct the role plays.

6. Application and Reward – Management should coach their staff to reinforce what was learned in the training sessions. They should also recognize staff members when they implement the concepts and skills learned.

7. Evaluation – Management should encourage feedback from participants to improve the training program.

Creating and administering a successful customer service training program can be an easily managed process if it’s well-planned and executed with consistency.

Rob Anderson works with skilled nursing and assisted living facilities throughout the U.S. to develop and implement customer service training programs.  His staff training set, Long Term Care Customer Service, is now available through SeniorLivingU.