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Customer Training and Program Development

Dr. Kerri Laryea, President — iKlarity

• competitive strategy • marketing practices • expert interview • management strategies • Wholesale Distribution Industry • leadership training • customer training programs • designing customer education

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I recently sat down with Kerri Laryea to discuss how to ensure that a customer training program is focused on the things that matter most. Kerri is a specialist in training program development and has spent the bulk of the past ten years developing training programs for organizations at all levels. She's currently in the process of developing some training programs for WayPoint so we can help our clients improve their business skills.

As exciting as it is to get such a program underway, the first step involves working out the "Why?" and figuring out what you hope to achieve.

"By slowing down and testing your assumptions and ideas about what's needed, you can delve deeper into the purpose and needs for a particular market or audience," Kerri explained. "If you don't have total clarity as to why this training is important to you and how it will benefit your customers, you might develop a great-looking program that never reaches the heart of what you're trying to accomplish."

These objectives could be anything from increasing revenue to driving growth or cutting costs. It's crucial that a plan is put together with these considerations in mind because otherwise you risk wasting time and money.

"Within most organizations, the training group that's tasked with building something is always at risk of getting their funding cut if they're off the mark," Kerri said. "For this reason it's important to know from the start how this training aligns with the vision and purpose of the organization itself because that helps to keep everything on point. We avoid putting more into a training program that is either unnecessary or not in line with the company's vision."

The process that Kerri describes helps to give some idea as to the kind of investment that you want to make in the training and to establish a dividing line between the things that are on point as opposed to the things that are not. This prevents programs from becoming bloated and unfocused.

"A program that tries to do everything won't do anything particularly well," Kerri said. "However, when a training program works, you can always try another program down the road that might address those other things. Companies are often afraid that they only have this one shot to build a training program and so it has to have everything in it. That usually ends up with the training never going live because it will never incorporate everything that everybody wants and, even if it did, the lack of focus would greatly impede the results."

A training program needs goals and limitations to be successful. Without it, you can't drive the measurable results that you want and wind up with an expensive but ineffective program.

For more information about Dr. Kerri Laryea, visit: www.iklarity.com