The New Wave in Training

Engaging techniques provide big results

For your next customer service training session, imagine inviting your crankiest, rudest and meanest customer to help educate your staff. Impactful? Yes. New training methods being developed in Canada and the U.S. are delivering them and more. Forget the old instructor-and-classroom method of training. The new wave of techniques will let you taste, see and even smell what the real experience is like.

Take the cranky customer example. You don’t need to use a “generic” one — you can tailor training to situations and clients your front-line staff really face. A service from Ryerson University in Toronto will hire an actor to play the customer for your training session. The Interpersonal Skills Teaching Centre (ISTC) has been delivering live-actor simulations for nearly 20 years. The actors are trained to reproduce the history, personality and physical/emotional state of your customer, client, co-worker or boss, allowing learners to practice their skills in a real-world setting. The Centre’s clients include Ryerson, York University, the University of Toronto, Seneca College, Centennial College, St. Michael’s Hospital, the Ontario Public Service and a large national bank. The program has grown from 70 simulations a year to more than 300. Their research shows that participants say simulations are, on average, about 40% better than lectures, role-playing, online training or videos.

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