Tag: Engaging customer service training

You Didn’t Know a 12-foot Pole Could Teach You This

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One of the goals for my customer service training in Cerritos, California yesterday was to help employees follow-up with colleagues, to close the loop so that everybody was up to date on what’s being done to fix issues for customers.

I designed a short lecture and a small group discussion to address this. And then, three hours before my flight, I scratched the entire section.

A brilliant trainer of trainers once cautioned me, “Don’t do for participants what they can do for themselves.” Recalling her advice, I thought, I won’t tell them to communicate better, I’ll put them in a situation that forces them to see why not communicating is making their jobs so much harder.

Here’s what I did. I stood in front of the class and pulled out at 12-foot pole. And I told my group of 12 people that their task was to lower the stick to the floor. It sounds simple. Incredulous, the people merely stared at me, mute.

I divided the class up into two groups and explained the rules. You’ll start with the pole waist high, you cannot lose contact with the pole at any time, and only gravity can move the pole (that is, the pole couldn’t be pushed or pulled down).

After my instruction, I stepped back and watched (and took out my iPhone to film). Within seconds, the group learned that this exercise was anything but simple. (See video clip below from the training.)