Casino Train the Trainer Program Has Unexpected Benefit – It’s Life Changing
by Martin Baird

Casino Customer Service Training With An
Unexpected Benefit – It’s Life Changing
By Martin R. Baird

Have you ever had a person you work with thank you because you changed their life? I mean walk right up and pour out a heart-felt thank you? If you did, how did it make you feel? If you haven’t had that experience, would you want to?

There is a book I really like titled “Start With Why.” The author explains that people don’t want to know what you do; they want to know why you do it. If they understand why, they can connect with the product or service you offer and will want to purchase it.

Our company’s “why” is very simple. We want to positively transform lives and have fun doing it! It’s not easy being away from my amazing family on business, but I do it because making a real difference in people’s lives is so enjoyable.

When we are selected by a casino to do our Train the Trainer (TTT) program, that is when I know I’ll have the opportunity to change lives. Of all the wonderful opportunities I have through my company, TTT is one of my favorites by far because I love the outcome. I didn’t study to cure cancer or save lives, but positively changing a life is amazing to me.

Several years ago, we were honored when one of the premier consulting companies in the world selected us to work with a casino in Europe. We were asked to train a small group of the casino team on how to do their own guest service training for the rest of the staff. I thought that sounded like great fun, even though we knew some of the people we would work with were not fluent in English. We love a challenge.

The casino’s management selected one of the participants not because he was a valued employee, but because they wanted to punish him for the terrible service he provided. I guess they thought he would hate the training. It was a five-day session and by the end of the second day, that employee was the best trainer in the group. He stayed that way to the very end! He was an amazing trainer.

On the final day, tears welled in his eyes and he told the group something astonishing: “This week of training has changed my life.” His wife and children could see a difference in him and so could his co-workers, he said. That was a “moment” for me that I will never forget. To this day, when I think of it, I can’t help but smile.

We did the same TTT program with a casino in the northwestern United States and worked with a fantastic group of people. I enjoyed each day with them, and it was amazing to see them grow and push each other to excel.

Again on the last day, one of the executives who participated in the training came up to me and said something astounding: “I want you to know that I wanted us to use Disney for this training, but I was voted down. After this week, I’m thankful that we selected you!” That was what I needed to hear. When you are compared to a recognized world leader in service and training and someone says you are better…that is powerful.

You may be wondering what I do in TTT that generates these kinds of comments. I’d love to take all the credit, but that would be wrong for many reasons. I facilitate the challenges the participants face (and overcome) and the journey they take during the week. But ultimately, they are the ones who learn and grow. The week pushes them beyond what they think they can do, and there is often frustration and disappointment at the end of some of the early days. The great part is that on day five, they are so thrilled with what they have accomplished that they feel energized and capable of doing anything.

TTT is an intensive look at learning as well as customer service. During the training, they may hear themselves and others give presentations on customer service 50 to 100 times. Believe me, after hearing it and saying it that many times, you thoroughly understand service and why it’s important.

Another part that is so powerful is the bond everyone shares. They see each other struggle like never before and they share with each other in an open way. It’s an emotionally challenging week. “Life changing” doesn’t come easily or without frustrations. Those who grow the most from the session are the ones who often struggle and risk the most.

I’m no guru, but I do know this – people who give 100 percent of themselves in Train the Trainer come out a new person and it’s amazing. One of the other key points is that they get a whole new perspective on training. Most people think of training as a lecture by a so-called trainer who “shows up and throws up” all the information. That is the opposite of TTT. We facilitate learning and push participants to do just that – participate and actively learn. Thus, there are no lectures for hours and hours. This is not an easy concept for most people who have been exposed to a traditional education system.

Train the Trainer is an amazing experience and, for the sake of full disclosure, it has changed my life, too! When I’m having a less than wonderful day, I can think of these great people and it makes me smile and remember why I do what I do. I have the opportunity to positively transform lives and have fun doing it.

Date Posted: 20-May-2013

Martin R. Baird is chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc., a Boise, Idaho-based consulting firm to the global gaming industry that is dedicated to helping casinos improve their guest service so they can compete and generate future growth and profitability. Robinson & Associates is the world leader in casino guest experience measurement, management and improvement. For more information, visit the company’s Web sites at www.casinocustomerservice.com and www.advocatedevelopmentsystem.com or contact the company at 208-991-2037. Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.

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