It’s worth the investment

Service training makes sense for business, say firms

• Customer service training can help meet rising consumer expectations, according to firms.

ALL employees require the right tools for the job. And in the on-trade, that means going beyond the minimum when it comes to training.

Training firms told SLTN that investment in training can pay off for businesses as well as increase confidence for staff.
It’s a message that seems to be getting through, according to Louise Ramsay of DG Training, who said she had seen a “change in attitude” from staff over the last five years.
“They now know that they have a legal responsibility in relation to the service of alcohol and the fact that they now are qualified to carry out their role increases both morale and pride,” said Ramsay.
“Well-trained staff are essential to ensure all legal requirements are met and so that a good impression of the organisation is created.”

Consumers have to be given a reason to come out.

New legal requirements such as the mandatory SCPLH refresher course (see page 22) may have brought more focus on to training in the on-trade, but there’s more to educating staff than staying on the right side of the licensing board, according to Ramsay.
“Customer service training should also be considered to ensure that the best possible service is given to customers and a lasting impression is created,” she said.
Paul Chase of training firm CPL Training agreed that there is a “growing recognition” of the importance of training in the on-trade, “and not just for compliance training, but in subjects like customer service, marketing and merchandising and getting the offer right”.
“It’s very important that operators recognise that consumers’ expectations are rising all the time,” said Chase. “Licensed premises not only have to compete with other forms of leisure activity out of home, but with entertainment at home as well.

It’s important that operators recognise rising consumer expectations.

“Consumers have to be given a reason to come out, and well-trained staff are key to improving the customer experience.”
Mandatory training “still holds the lead” according to Peter Fulton of ABV Training. However he said operators are “realising the value” of customer service training, “mainly through the connection that service leads to sales leads to more tips and a happier working environment for the team”.
Fulton also rejected the notion that training can be wasteful in the on-trade, where staff retention can be an issue.
“We often hear the time and money it takes to develop well trained and motivated staff bemoaned as once they are trained they often leave for better opportunities,” he said.
“Operators say there is nothing worse than this happening. We disagree – if you do not train people properly and they stay with you that is much worse for your business in the long term.
“Ask yourself why have people who have left your business had to go elsewhere to seek opportunities?
“Some of our best customers have people who have worked for them for years. That says a lot about a company and is something that we should all be striving for as a measurement of how well we train and look after our people.”
Some operators in Glasgow have paid particularly close attention to customer service training this year through Glasgow Welcomes, an online training programme that was launched ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
Steve Callaghan, project manager for Glasgow Welcomes, said many of the businesses who participated “are keen to ensure the momentum they have gained around the build-up to the Commonwealth Games is not lost”.
“They understand the long-term impact and benefits of a highly skilled and confident workforce that can consistently deliver an outstanding customer experience,” said Callaghan.