CX Fallacy #10: We’ve Trained Our Employees

10CXFallacies4I recently discussed how organizations that want to improve their customer experience will need to evolve from superficial changes (fluff) to operational transformation (tough). As part of making this shift from fluff to tough, companies will need to shed some of popular myths and fallacies about CX. These myths may hold true in early stage of maturity, but they fall flat as organizations expand their CX efforts. To help in the process, I’ve assembled the top 10 CX Fallacies.

CX Fallacy #10: We’ve Trained Our Employees

While employees may have gone through some “training,” they are never “trained.” Thinking about CX training (or any training) as a milestone is dangerous. The goal isn’t to complete some training sessions, but to get people to behave in a way that’s consistent with fulfilling your organization’s brand promises. This requires ongoing communications and reinforcement, in addition to the periodic refreshment of some training modules.

Keep in mind that companies throw a lot of information at employees, so it’s easy for them to forget what they’ve seen in training or to think that it’s no longer relevant. Also, there are always new people entering the organization who have not been exposed to some of the training.

Here are some recommendations for shedding this fallacy:

  • Assume people will forget (or ignore). If you assume that employees will forget or ignore what they’ve learned as soon as they leave training, then you will have the right attitude about what you need to do.
  • Focus on ongoing learning. Rather than thinking about delivering training, think about enabling ongoing employee learning. Identify the things that you want employees to know, believe, and do­, and then find ways to reinforce those specific things across multiple mechanisms.
  • Continuously tailor training. Don’t just repeat the same training over and over. Instead, develop measurements to track the areas of training that are most needed by each employee or group of employees. As much as possible, deliver training that aligns with these gaps.
  • Help managers reinforce the application of learning. One of the most important elements of learning is on-the-job reinforcement. Nothing crushes the value from CX training than having managers deliver conflicting messages. Make sure that managers understand their role and are equipped in supporting the learning of their employees.

The bottom line: It’s about ongoing learning, not training.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

3 thoughts on “CX Fallacy #10: We’ve Trained Our Employees”

  1. Absolutely agree! Reminds me of Mager’s saying..if telling were teaching we’d all be so smart we couldn’t stand it. Ongoing is the key word — it is easy for employees to become overwhelmed with ‘knowledge’ demands, daily customer and peer demands — Ongoing learning bolsters employee confidence and helps them meet those daily demands. Thanks Bruce

  2. I’d add that learning is a mix of hearing, reading, and experience so it’s critical in anything to really do all three as different people learn different ways and when you use all three then they retain more. But, I agree…there is no train once and move on strategy that works.

  3. A study by the Zenger Folkman group published way back in 2005 found that most companies approach training with this mix of time, money, and resources:

    Prep: 10%
    Training: 85%
    Follow-up: 5%

    Intuitively, this just looks wrong. The study also estimated the actual impact of each stage:

    Prep: 26%
    Training: 24%
    Follow-up: 50%

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