One of the many pull-factors of franchising is the level of support franchisees receive throughout the process – from buying, location research and setting up, to training and follow-up support once operational.
While many franchisors offer training tools for new employees, it’s important to remember that well-trained workers are the best investment you can make for your business success. This means you shouldn’t just leave training to the pamphlets, training manuals and checklists your franchisor has provided.
It’s well known that trained employees are happy employees. They stay longer and they do their job better. So what can you do, over and above what your franchisor has supplied, to bring out the best in your employees?
For best results, role-play
An effective way to train your new employees is through role-playing. It allows staff to experience different customer service situations and act out solutions. It also gives you a chance to evaluate their strengths and give them pointers on what to do in various situations. It’s a lot more fun than lecturing, too. When it comes to strong customer service skills, there’s nothing that beats role-playing.
Manual skills training
Manual skills, on the other hand, require a different approach. To develop these skills, a four-step training technique is recommended:
1. Prepare employees.
Let your staff watch someone else doing the job. This gives them a chance to observe not only the process, but also the end product. They’re also able to ask questions and understand what will be expected of them.
2. Present information to employees.
Once they’ve watched someone else do the job, it’s time for them to do it. Speed is not important at this point. Let them do the task slowly. Lead them though each step and make sure they do each step correctly.
3. Let employees practice the skill.
At this point, it’s time for them to fly on their own a bit. Have them do the task at half speed and explain to you each step they’re doing. Continue to provide them with feedback as needed, but the goal at this point is to see how much they understand themselves.
Finally, have them do the task at full speed without providing any coaching or feedback. This shows whether they’re ready to do the job themselves and to work with real customers.
4. Follow up to see whether they’ve learnt the skill.
Periodically observe them and make sure they’re continuing to do the job correctly. Reinforce the right way to do the job if you see them taking short cuts or making mistakes.
Step by step
Break the job down into different, easy-to-understand tasks or skills. Don’t overwhelm new employees or try to teach them too many different skills at the same time. If the job is to clean the customer seating area of a restaurant, first work on how to mop, sweep or wash off the tables correctly. Don’t try to teach cleaning the restaurant as one task. Treat these as different skills, each equally important.
While training can be time-consuming, expensive and a test of patience, a well-trained employee will serve your customers better and you’ll find it’s an investment that pays dividends quickly. While customers may be loyal to your franchise’s brand, they’re not necessarily tied to you. A poor customer experience is a guaranteed way to drive away customers.