How to Get the Most Out of Training Videos

Training videos are increasing in popularity.

Platforms like LinkedIn Learning have become vital sources of content for learning job-related skills. There's good reason for this:

That last one is a bit of a surprise to most customer service leaders I talk to. And there's a giant caveat—you have to change the way you use video. 

Here are the techniques you can apply to get the most out of training videos.

Employee watching a training video on a computer.

Step One: Set Clear Learning Objectives

Let's say you want your employees to do a better job serving customers who call in to share a complaint. 

I have a LinkedIn Learning course called Working with Upset Customers, but just asking employees to take the course creates a problem. "Take this course," sends a signal that the only clear goal is to complete the training.

That's not your goal. 

You send employees to training because you want them to learn something they can apply on the job that will help them improve performance. So before you assign a video, it's essential to set clear learning objectives.

Back to the upset customers example. You might create an objective for this training by thinking about what specifically you want employees to do differently in situations where they serve an upset customer. 

For instance, you might decide to you want to focus on de-escalation skills to avoid complaints. You could set this as the learning objective: 

Customer service reps will demonstrate the ability to de-escalate an angry caller so the customer is feeling neutral or happy at the end of the interaction.

You’d be able to determine whether the training was complete by monitoring a phone call for each participant where the customer started out angry and determining whether the rep was able to successfully de-escalate the situation.

You can get more help with learning objectives from this guide.


Step Two: Assign Short Segments

The old way of consuming a training video is to push play, sit back, watch the entire thing from start to finish, and hope for the best.

Customer service leaders cite this as the number one challenge with training videos. Employees push back because spending an hour watching an instructional video is no kind of fun. And it doesn't produce results.

The better way to do it is to watch a short segment at a time. My courses on LinkedIn Learning are split into short modules that are each three to five minutes long. Here's how it works:

  1. Watch one 3-5 minute video.

  2. Ask participants to complete the application exercise from the video.

  3. Give feedback and discuss progress.

We can apply this right now to de-escalation training. The first skill is recognizing our own natural instinct to argue with an upset customer or try to get away from them. 

Start by watching this short video.

Next, spend a day serving customers and recognize when you experience the same fight or flight instinct the barista in the training video experienced. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Flushed face

  • Increased heart rate

  • Shortness of breath

  • Muscle tension

  • Sweating

  • Tunnel vision

Finally, reflect on what you learned from recognizing the fight or flight instinct. Were you able to accept the challenge of helping an angry customer feel better?

This technique of watching just one short segment at a time is called microlearning. You can learn more from this guide.

Step Three: Blend Video with Other Mediums

Most training, including video and face-to-face, works best when you blend it with other training mediums. These include team meetings, one-on-one coaching conversations, self-paced activities, and on-the-job application.

We can use the de-escalation training as an example. Here's one way you might approach it that combines multiple training mediums:

  1. Team Meeting: Discuss specific situations where customers get angry.

  2. Video: Assign this video on recognizing the fight or flight instinct.

  3. On-the-Job: Ask employees to note when they experience the instinct.

  4. One-on-One: Give each employee individual feedback.

  5. Team Meeting: Discuss successes and challenges at the next team meeting.

There's a good chance you're already holding team and one-on-one meetings with your employees, so this approach involves very little additional work. And it also happens to be a highly effective way to build new skills.

Conclusion

To get the most out of training, we need to shift from a content consumption mindset to a performance improvement mindset.

You can do that right now. This post contains a practical example where you can improve your ability to recognize the flight or fight instinct and make a better decision when you're confronted by an angry customer.


New Training Video: Leading a Customer-Centric Culture

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In August 2013, I traveled to Carpinteria, California for a screen test at the online training video company, Lynda.com.

The test went well and I have gone on to shoot twenty training videos with Lynda, and later, LinkedIn Learning after Lynda was acquired by LinkedIn.

As part of my screen test, I filmed a short, unscripted course called Leading a Customer-Centric Culture. The idea was to capture me talking direct to camera, as if I was having a conversation with a colleague. Little did I realize at the time that the course would become the basis for the bestselling The Service Culture Handbook.

It's funny how things come full-circle.

My latest LinkedIn Learning training video is a new version of Leading a Customer-Centric Culture. This one is based on my book.

Video camera with a green screen background

Course Overview

The training video is a step-by-step guide that shows you how to get employees obsessed with customer service.

It's based extensive research into leading companies and my own work helping clients build service cultures. The course is broken down into short segments to allow you to focus on one step at a time.

There are three key steps in the process:

  1. Create a customer service vision

  2. Engage employees with the vision

  3. Align the organization around the vision

Here's a short video overview:

Resources

You can access the course on LinkedIn Learning or Lynda.com if you have an account on either platform. You can also get a 30-day LinkedIn Learning trial that will give you access to the entire library of training videos.

The video is a great companion to The Service Culture Handbook:

There's also a service culture toolkit you can download here.


New Training Video: How to Get Great Customer Service

The lightbulb moment happened in a convenience store.

I had gone in to buy a Coke on a hot summer day. As I approached the counter, I noticed everything about the cashier's body language suggested he didn't want to be there. His shoulders were slumped forward, he looked disheveled, and had a bored expression on his face. 

The cashier was ignoring customers as he heated a burrito in the store's microwave.

You've probably experienced this same scene yourself. What the cashier was doing versus what he ought to have been doing was easy to see. But that won't change the basic fact that the cashier wasn't acting like Mr. Customer Service.

My lightbulb went off when I realized he probably felt exactly like I did—tired, hot, and a little unhappy to be there. 

We've all been in that position. Sometimes, a little jolt is all we need to get back on track. That's why I was buying that cold, refreshing Coke. I decided to give the cashier a jolt as well.

I put on a big smile and greeted the cashier in my friendliest voice, "How's it going?!"

Customer giving a thumbs up and a five star rating on a survey.

Service Tips for Customers

The cashier's demeanor instantly changed.

He looked as if a weight had literally been lifted off his shoulders. He approached the cash register, broke into a smile, and greeted me in return. The rest of that very short transaction was pleasant.

The experience helped me realize that customer service works best when both the customer and the employee are on the same wavelength. Sure employees are supposed to be friendly and helpful, but they're also human. 

And humans sometimes have bad days.

It occurred to me that we could get better customer service if we used some of the same skills we want customer service professional to use. So I created a series of exercises to test this out.

  • Make the first move (what I did in the convenience store)
  • Introduce yourself to share your name with people who serve you
  • Empathize with the people who serve you

I started to try out these techniques and they worked! Employees were friendlier, I started getting "extras" more often, and problems become easier to solve. These techniques don't work 100% of the time, but I noticed I received good service more often.

 

The New Training Video

Many years later, I now have the chance to share some of my favorite techniques in my new LinkedIn Learning training video. The course reveals essential skills you can use to get great customer service.

The content is broken down into three main categories:

  • Build relationships
  • Earn extraordinary service
  • Solve problems

Best of all, you can build your own customer service skills while completing these exercises. Here's a short preview:

Additional Resources

You'll need a LinkedIn Learning or Lynda.com account to access the full video. If you don't already have one, treat yourself to a complimentary 30-day LinkedIn Learning trial.

The new course marks the release of my 19th training video. You can access all of those courses on LinkedIn Learning or Lynda.com or learn more about how you can leverage the power of training videos here.


How to Get the Most Out of Training Videos

The battery on my solar-powered keyboard died a few weeks ago.

Naturally, I searched YouTube for a video on how to replace it. A short video helped me learn how to remove the old battery, determine what special type of battery I needed to order, and install it.

Voila! My keyboard works again.

There's a good chance you've done something similar. If so, you've discovered the secrets to getting the most out of a training video.

Training videos work best when they are short and focused on something immediately useful. Yet most people take a different approach when using training videos to learn something for work.

They succumb to the popcorn method and just watch the entire video straight through. Here are some tips to help you learn faster and learn more from training videos.

videowatcher.jpg

Tip #1: Make it Immediately Useful

Most people watch a training video because it sounds interesting.

The problem is our brains tend to lose information that's not immediately applicable. So if you watch a training video that might be relevant someday, you'll probably have to watch it again when that day comes because you forgot the original lesson.

A better approach is to only watch videos that are immediately useful.

Taylor needed to create a screen capture video for a work project using a software program called Camtasia. She'd never used Camtasia before, so searched the Lynda.com library for Camtasia courses and found one that fit.

The course walked her step-by-step through her project and she was able to complete it successfully.

 

Tip #2: Leverage Micro-Learning

Most people watch a training video all the way through. This can take a lot of time, with many videos ranging from twenty minutes to over an hour!

A better approach is to focus on one skill at a time. Learn that skill, apply the skill at work to reinforce the learning, and then move on to the next topic.

Most of the courses on Lynda are divided into two to five minute segments to make this easy. For instance, imagine you wanted to improve your customer service survey. You might watch this short video on establishing a survey goal.

The best practice would be to create your survey goal before watching the next segment. This makes it much easier to remember the lesson.

 

Tip #3: Apply What You Learn

Most people will watch a video without any specific intention to apply the lessons. They just hope a good idea or two will stick.

It seems strange to consume training without having a plan to apply that training, yet that's what people do.

A better approach is to immediately apply what you learn in a video. Taylor learned the basics of Camtasia because she actually used the software to create a project. I changed the battery on my keyboard so I didn't have to buy a new keyboard.

Many training videos have exercises or worksheets that accompany them. I try to include an activity of some kind at the end of every video segment in my courses. 

You'll rapidly improve your learning if you use these exercises to apply each lesson.

 

Tip #4: Skip to Relevant Topics

Most people watch a training video all the way through, even when it covers topics that are not relevant. Frankly, this can be pretty boring.

A better approach is to skip over content that isn't relevant and go straight to the good stuff.

There are literally hours of training video on Camtasia in the Lynda.com library. Taylor would still be watching those videos if she didn't select the most relevant segments that were applicable to her specific project!

All my training videos have titles and descriptions for each segment in the course so you can skip to the topics that are most relevant to you. This also gives you the ability to revisit key topics if you need a refresher.

 

Tip #5: Make it Relevant

Many people get hung up on the scenes shown in training videos. They'll say, "That video shows a restaurant scene, but I don't work in a restaurant so it's not relevant to me."

A better approach is to find a way to make that generic scene relevant to you. Don't get hung up on whether a particular scene is a precise match with your work environment. Focus instead on the skills and techniques being shared and then imagine how you can apply those in your own environment.

Doing this, you'll quickly find that customer service skills are essentially the same across most situations. You just need to adapt those skills to your specific needs.

 

Take Action!

I like to include a short movie at the start of my training courses that explain exactly how to get the most out of the video. Here's an example from my Serving Internal Customers course:

My suggestion is to do your homework before watching your next training video. Try to apply these tips and notice how they change the way you learn!


New Training Video: Serving Internal Customers

Finally, there's a training course geared specifically towards internal customer service.

Nearly 50 percent of my client requests throughout my career have been for internal customer service. This is a special type of customer service that involves serving internal stakeholders.

The new training video from LinkedIn Learning is called Serving Internal Customers. Here's an overview, a preview, and information on how you can access it for free.

On the set of  Serving Internal Customers.  Photo credit: Jeff Toister

On the set of Serving Internal Customers. Photo credit: Jeff Toister

Overview

An internal customer is an internal stakeholder you serve. This includes coworkers, contractors, and even vendors. Here are just a few jobs that are heavily-focused on internal customer service:

  • Human Resources

  • Finance and Accounting

  • IT

  • Facilities and Maintenance

  • Security

Many large organizations with multiple locations even have internal contact centers established to support the needs of employees and managers in the field.

Serving Internal Customers focuses on the special skills required to be successful in these roles. Topics include:

  • Distinguishing between internal and external customer service

  • Creating positive workplace relationships

  • Working with difficult coworkers

  • Practicing active listening to uncover your customers' needs

  • Managing internal customer expectations

  • Anticipating problems

  • Defusing angry colleagues

  • Adjusting your workplace attitude

 

Preview

The training video has a few special features to increase learning impact:

  • Realistic scenes

  • Short segments

  • Hands-on activities

You can see all of these special features in this short segment on active listening techniques.

Resources

You can view the entire course on Lynda.com. LinkedIn Premium subscribers can watch the video on that platform.

A 30-day trial if you aren't already a Lynda member. This will give you access to the entire learning library. You'll be able to view all 17 of my courses plus training videos from other customer service experts such as Brad Cleveland and Leslie O'Flahavan.

The library also contains many other topics in addition to customer service. You can learn about leadership, marketing, programming, and many more. All of the courses are taught by experts in the field and professionally filmed and produced.