Homage to 7-Eleven
Did you know 7-Eleven got its name because it used to be open 7 to 11, 364 days a year? I remember because my brothers and sisters and I were all so happy to get Christmas off.
Growing up, we took turns working the counter shift at my parents’ 7-Eleven store. As you might imagine, the experience served up a Big Gulp of humility. But it also taught us the value of the customer relationship. We knew everyone and they knew us; police officers, bus drivers, bakers, their parents and their kids. And the guys from the gas station too. They used to flirt with my sisters until Dad shooed them away. We knew what cigarettes they smoked, which paper they read, and how they wanted their ham sliced.
After I left home, I took a job as a bank teller. I got to know a new set of customers by name, depositing their paychecks every week. I’d often cut checks for them so they could pay ComEd or their mortgage broker. It felt like an odd intimacy at first. Who was I to know the personal finances of these people?
Now I can tell you. To my customers, I was Skokie Federal Savings and Loan … as inseparable from that institution as the sign carrying its name. Each transaction with me helped shape their view not of me as a person, but of the bank I represented. If I made mistakes or dawdled, they might take their business elsewhere. That’s a critical role for someone pulling in $9 an hour.
As an educator and trainer, I recognize that. In fact, it’s why I do what I do today. I’ve sat on that stool. I know what’s at stake. I believe, when the people facing your customers are successful, your whole organization is successful.
With that in mind, PCI introduced a training model called Escalate. It’s designed to speed up the time it takes to develop and administer training; provide richer content; use new methods to improve comprehension and retention; and in the end, escalate training and performance to a new level.
How much time does it save? In our industry, one hour of classroom training typically takes 40 hours to develop and implement, based on studies by the Association for Talent Development. I know that sounds like a lot, but consider all the steps involved in a training program.
We refer to these as ADDIE:
- Analysis. Who are the learners and what’s the objective (e.g., increase sales)? Any learning constraints? What are the delivery options? Timeline for completing the project?
- Design. Document and apply the instructional strategy. Which activities will work best to convey the content? Small group discussion? A game? Design the user experience and create a prototype. Make changes based on client input.
- Develop. Create and assemble content from the design phase, including storyboards and graphics. With e-learning, develop and integrate online programs. Debug, review and revise.
- Implement. Train facilitators and learners, preparing them to use any tools such as hardware and software, books and other materials. Evaluate the design.
- Evaluate. Perform diagnostic tests during and after the learning process. Was the training effective? Monitor educational outcomes.
Recently, a client came to us to create a week-long training program for new agents. That type of project, involving 40 hours of classroom training, could take up to 35 weeks to complete using the standard formula. With Escalate, PCI did it in just seven. The efficiency saved our client nearly 80 percent of the usual training and development time and costs.
Here’s how it works. Escalate relies on educational templates and predefined processes to transfer file content, allowing more efficient use of resources. In the design phase, our team partners with subject matter experts to build and segment the training, creating concentrated, in-depth programming. Finally, Escalate builds efficiencies into the review process for fast reporting on the program effectiveness.
This training model is replicable across many different industries. Since its launch, PCI has used Escalate to design, develop and implement performance-based training at multiple finance and insurance companies.
Interested in learning how Escalate could benefit your organization? Call me and let’s talk. I’m happy to share with you what I’ve learned from 25 years as an adult educator and trainer, and more than 35 years working the front lines of customer service. Not including my formative years at the 7-Eleven.
“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to
know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.”
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