Flipped learning is hot topic in training circles.
It has the potential to fix one of the most fundamental problems that plagues corporate training. Employees attend a training class, learn new skills, and then… Do nothing.
Flipped learning changes that. It’s a trend that could be huge for customer service training.
What is flipped learning?
If you’re not familiar with the concept, the idea is to “flip” the traditional approach to instruction and application.
Traditional training takes place with a facilitator in a classroom. Learners are then left to implement the skills on their own. E-learning takes place outside of a traditional classroom, but employees are still typically on their own when it comes to applying new skills on-the-job.
Flipped learning reverses this.
Employees learn the skills or information on their own through e-learning or recorded video. The facilitator then works with employees to help them implement their new skills.
There’s a great overview article in the February 2014 issue of Training and Development magazine that provides even more background.
Why flip customer service training?
Flipping your customer service training offers three major benefits.
Flipped learning allows employees to learn specific lessons individually, so you don’t have to schedule everyone to be in the same place at the same time. Individual training also moves faster. For example, my Delivering Next Level Service course is 8 hours in the classroom, but my video-based Customer Service Fundamentals course is only 2 hours long.
Flipped learning offers more bang for the buck. Here’s an illustrative example for a team of 25 people. It compares bringing in a consultant to facilitate a two-day training program versus subscribing employees to a video-based training library like lynda.com.
The example assumes you don’t have to pay other employees to cover your team while they’re in training or pay for a facility rental. These items could inflate your classroom training costs even higher.
Flipped learning offers superior results because it prioritizes implementation.
A Zenger Folkman Group study found that 50 percent of learning occurs when employees try to implement new skills on the job. Traditional training approaches devote little to no attention to this phase.
A flipped approach provides a facilitator, coach, or supervisor during the critical implementation phase to help ensure employees are successful.
There are two major obstacles to flipping your customer service training program.
The first is finding good content. Don’t settle for a monotonous voice droning on over a crappy PowerPoint. Here are three keys to look for:
- Engaging content that keeps your employees tuned in.
- Application exercises and activities to help employee apply what they learn.
- Content delivered in small chunks so employees can learn as they have time.
Fortunately, there are some quality options out there.
For a professionally produced course, check out my new Customer Service Fundamentals course on lynda.com.
The second challenge is implementation.
It’s critical that employees have someone to coach them through implementing their new skills. This can be a supervisor, trainer, or a coach, but you can’t skimp on this part or the training will fail.
Here are some examples of implementation tools and activities that can help
- Select a specific customer service challenge for employees to work on
- Observe employees using the new skills on-the-job and provide feedback
- Discuss newly learned techniques in team meetings
- Have employees subscribe to the Customer Service Tip of the Week email
- Organize “lunch and learn” review sessions
These ideas are just scratching the surface.
Whatever you do, it ultimately comes down to leaders working closely with their employees on a daily basis. If you do that, the promise of flipped learning is incredibly powerful: Better learning and more results for less money.