Casino Customer Service Training Lesson: Size & Length Really Do Matter

Size and length do matter – when it comes to providing only the best in casino customer service training.  But they are sometimes ignored when casinos organize training sessions.

Simple things such as the size of the group of people being trained and the length of the presentations are critical to creating a successful training experience for casino employees.

First, let’s look at size.

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When I’m asked to do guest service training for a casino, someone with the management team always wants to know how many people can attend a daylong session.  The part I like is the word “attend.”  Lots of people may attend the session, but how many are participating?

For training to be successful, the attendees must participate and not just watch.  When a training session has a group of 90 or more people, it’s difficult to get all of them to participate.  The size of the group has a direct effect on the number of people who will become actively involved in the training.  With a group of 40 attendees, people have an opportunity to express their opinions and have their voices heard.

What about the size of the training room?  The room can actually have an effect on how people participate in the training.  If you have a group of 30 and your training is held in a showroom that seats 500, people feel lost and intimidated by the size of the room.  Likewise, when you pack 50 people into a room that’s designed to hold 35, they can’t get comfortable and they actually find it difficult to participate.

For optimum training results, it’s important to match the size of the room and the number of participants to the activities you want them to do.  In our training, we have people stand and move around and if the room is too small, it stifles that facet of the experience.

Now we move from size to length.

How long should the training session be?  As long as it needs to be to get the information across without becoming repetitive.  Any longer than that and the attendees will just sit there and zone out.

Some people think training should be done in eight-hour increments to match the workday.  But a workday and a training day are two very different animals.  You should base the length of the training on what you want people to learn, not on what is simple for the payroll department.

I should point out that problems can arise from a session that’s too short.  If you try to cover three hours of material in two hours, you’re wasting everyone’s time.  It can take 45 minutes to an hour for a group to get warmed up and start taking part in the training.  If that only leaves an hour to cover the material, you could end up accomplishing absolutely nothing.

The length of the training modules also must be taken into consideration.  I call them modules.  Some people call them chapters or areas.  No matter what you call them, these are organized sections of the training.  And if modules are too long, they lose impact.

Again, some people will try to have one module for eight hours of training.  This is very difficult for the participants.  People who go through training need to see progress and that requires a beginning, middle and end.  Modules give participants a feeling of progress so they know that they are reaching the goal.

The length of the lecture also is important.  There’s an old saying in the training profession that the mind can only absorb as much as the backside can endure.  If a trainer stands at the front of the room and drones on and on, he will lose the participants very quickly.  Studies show that people tolerate only eight to 10 minutes of lecture before they tune out and start thinking about other things.

If training isn’t broken up into small chunks and divided by activities and exercises, the attendees won’t participate.  People need to have their mind and senses stimulated in a variety of ways and at a variety of times.

Are size and length really that important to a casino’s guest service training?  They are more than important, they are critical.  They can have an amazing effect on the outcome of the training and how much information will be retained and used.  And after all, if the lessons learned in training aren’t used in the real world of the casino, it was all just a waste of time, energy and money.

Marty Baird

BUSINESS INQUIRIES FOR ROBINSON & ASSOCIATES, INC.:
Lydia Baird
lbaird@raresults.com

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