How to motivate staff to attend service skills training

by Cate Schreck – Lightbulb Training Solutions


The idea of having to attend customer service training can leave some employees thinking, saying or doing one, some or all the following:

  • “I’ve done heaps of these already – do I have to attend?”
  • “There is nothing new for me to learn”
  • “I’m too busy”
  • “I/we provide great service, why do I/we have to do this?”
  • Some may not tell you but will share their negative feeling with the team
  • Some may eye roll, sigh and promise to turn up – and then have a sick day
  • Others may arrive on the day, armed with a negative attitude


All the above is not unusual and can leave you feeling annoyed and considering if it’s really worth the time, money and effort to arrange the training. If this is you, think again.


You know full well why the training is needed so rather than buckle under the negativity, consider changing how you present the training and address the pushback.


1. Change the name


“Customer Service Training” doesn’t inspire everyone. Use a more inclusive and inspiring title and a more inviting and exciting way to promote the session ie:


  • Promote it as an event – a reward for great work, rather than training.
  • Call it a Service Excellence Event or Customer Service Boot Camp
  • Send invitations to come and listen and learn from a Service Excellence Expert
  • Include in your invitation at least 2 things staff will gain that will make their job easier – staff are more likely to want to attend if you are solving their problems
  • Use it as an opportunity to strengthen the team and celebrate great work
  • Acknowledge individual concerns but confirm this will not be “the same old” training – you know that’s boring and the business won’t pay for boring.


2. Design the session with the provider


Many external training providers offer “one size fits all” customer service training programs – avoid this at all costs because that’s what staff expect and why they think it will be boring.


  • Engage a provider who specialises in customer service, who seeks to learn about your team and their specific challenges
  • Engage a provider who will design and deliver content that leaves attendees feeling respected and valued
  • Make sure the provider encourages attendees to share their concerns and best practices but leave out the role plays. Customer service role plays can make staff feel anxious/awkward/false and it’s a big reason why they will avoid attending
  • Build in time for breaks and ask the provider to encourage attendees to go outside. The chance to stop and reflect is as important as the content delivered and if the sun is out, Vitamin D helps increase positivity.
  • If possible, run the event off-site. A different environment encourages different thoughts and feelings.


3. Join the event


Be present but take off your “Manager Hat” and join in as a team member. Ask questions, share what you find difficult and listen to the concerns of your team. Let the person at the front of the room (your trainer/facilitator) provide the solutions and handle the tough questions. It’s your chance to confirm that customer service excellence is everyone’s responsibility and everyone at every level benefit from brushing up their people skills.


If those 3 tips still don’t motivate everyone in your team to attend with a positive mindset, that’s OK, but a well-designed and delivered session will be a positive step forward.


If you would like more ideas on how to educate and motivate your team to work together in harmony and provide consistently excellent service, download or order a hard copy of my book “The A-Z of Service Excellence”. You can download the first Chapter for FREE!


Link to Book –


Cate is the Director of Lightbulb Training Solutions (LTS) and is known for designing and delivering workplace training programs that educate and motivate staff to work together in harmony and provide consistently excellent customer service. Cate is passionate about sharing the skills that create harmonious workplaces and delighted customers. 

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