For a company to deliver the best possible customer experience, it must have a highly trained team of experts. And when training is part of the strategic foundation from which your company grows, you can win customers for life.

This is the belief that AAMCO invested in when the company developed a new learning management system (LMS) and created AAMCO University. It was time to modernize a brand that was over 50 years old and create a culture committed to lifelong learning. Most importantly, it was time to view training as an investment, not a cost.

The company is able to offer both traditional classroom courses and specialized technical courses taught in a full service auto shop located on campus. The facility is highly connected, utilizing advanced video and recording technology that allows over 300 courses to be offered live online or on-demand. The newly developed curriculum shows the training and progression needed to navigate a successful career path — either technical or management.

Just as one size does not fit all in customer service, a successful training program must meet the needs of all levels of employees. An expansive, proprietary curriculum gives companies the flexibility to take employees beyond the classroom to incorporate hands-on demonstrations, webinars and on-demand video, as well as in-field programs. These can be a particular strength if your company is in a complex industry that needs a particular skill set.

Once initial training courses are completed, support must be maintained if employees are to continually deliver quality service and consistently solve problems for their customers. This support may come in the form of updates, bulletins, field demonstrations and numerous online information outlets — the key is to create a culture where learning never ends.

It is also important to provide guidance to a successful career path within the company. When employees see an opportunity to develop their professional and technical skills and have a career path that provides an opportunity to grow personally and professionally, this significantly aids recruiting and retention. For franchise brands, potential franchisees are looking to leverage brand equity and capitalize on the strong processes and training systems the franchise offers.

Career paths are designed to advance general technicians to become certified technicians, master diagnosticians and even master rebuilders. Management career paths offer successful customer service managers the opportunity to train for general manager positions. Furthermore, current and new single-unit franchise owners benefit from courses that have been designed to establish expertise in every area of operations, while the program for existing and new multi-unit operators provides an extensive focus on strategic and tactical planning.

Excellence at every level

Offering an extensive curriculum to develop new and enhance existing skills in employees enables a company to stand out in an industry. At the entry level, effective modules are the ones designed to reward proficiency and achievement as part of a path toward more advanced status. Training within a real-life environment whenever possible can give participants the chance to occupy an enhanced leadership role, leading to more rewarding assignments and diverse training opportunities. With each class passed, employees add increased value to their team, themselves and the customers they serve.

Customer service training programs can provide staff members with confidence in any type of scenario. Regardless of background, all staff members need to be equipped with the tools to sell from a position of knowledge and desire to deliver a service experience second to none.

Managers need to be trained in every aspect of the customer relationship from before first contact occurs. Understanding consumer use of online reputation management gives team members the vision to carry on from years of success to the customers of today and tomorrow.

General managers (GMs) are a driving force behind the growth of a company and the strength of a brand. Effective training programs for them are targeted at maximizing service, revenue and profit. GMs are responsible for managing diverse geographic, financial and competitive environments, so training needs to promote the skills and methods critical for translating valuable resources into real dollar benefits.

Business or franchise owners benefit from coursework focused on reputation management, networking, recruiting and growth strategies. Their focus must be on positioning themselves as a leader in their community and industry with an eye on establishing, developing and growing steady income and long-term business value.

At all levels, investing in a proprietary training curriculum gives a company a distinct competitive advantage. Whether teaching technical know-how unique to an industry or instilling a brand culture of quality assurance, the result is a versatile and effective team capable of significant and lasting accomplishment.