You Need to Add Role-Plays to Your Product Training Immediately

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When I was in university, I was asked to give a speech at an awards banquet.

Once I got over the initial panic, I buckled down. 

I did my research. Prepared my points. I knew exactly what I wanted to say.

And then I got up to the podium.

To say I choked, would be putting it nicely.

The thing was… I knew what I was talking about. I had a ton of talking points (in hindsight, probably too many). But that didn’t translate into me being able to speak about it.

It was fairly embarrassing moment (to say the least). But it highlights an important point:

And yet "knowing about something" is typically all that’s covered in product training. We hand out PDFs with talking points. Give power-point presentations. Then send staff off to the front-lines, expecting them to speak confidently to customers.

And they choke just like I did at my speech. 

The Missing Ingredients: Confidence & Practice

To get staff to recommend products, your product training needs to accomplish three key things:

  1. Build product knowledge

  2. Make staff confident in that knowledge

  3. Give them opportunities to practice applying that knowledge

One of the best ways to accomplish these goals is with a role-play scenario.

3 Benefits of Role-Play Scenarios

Role-play scenarios simulate real-life interactions, and when done well, allow staff to practice evaluating customer needs and recommending products naturally within life-like interactions.

Role-play scenarios improve product training in three important ways:

1. Provide a Safe Environment for Employees to Experiment

To get comfortable recommending products your employees need to experiment with different approaches and timing. After all, not every customer is the same, and your employees need to understand how to adapt their approach depending on the individual.

This is one area where digital role-plays have an edge over in-person role-playing games. Learners can often be nervous to experiment and make mistakes in a classic in-person role-play because they don’t want to seem silly.

Digital role-plays let employees test out different strategies within a safe environment — and get instant feedback on their approach. You can also provide a wider range of interactions to give staff a chance to experiment with their approach depending on the customer’s personality and needs.

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2. Reinforce Product Knowledge

Another key component of recommending products is being able to apply product knowledge to different customer situations.

Role-plays act as a proving ground for information learned in earlier training. Employees need to know the digital products well enough to make an accurate recommendation in the role-play.

3. Build Habits

As employees practice in the role-plays, the act of recommending product starts to become a habit. They get used to talking about digital products during typical transactions. This makes them more likely to apply the training to their day-to-day activities.

Who Benefits from Role-Play Scenarios?

Role-plays are a useful tool for any employees who interact with customers, including:

Front-line Retail Staff

Your retail staff are perfectly situated to recommend digital solutions because they commonly deal with customers performing routine banking tasks.

Role-play scenarios help retail staff to recognize opportunities, and practice recommending the appropriate products for each customer's situation.

Phone Channel Reps

Similar to your retail staff, phone channel reps deal with customers on many tasks that can be performed digitally. This gives phone reps the perfect opportunity to recommend customers try out the digital alternative.

Role-plays give your phone reps the chance to practice recommending products, and matching products to situations before they hit the phones.

In-Store Concierge Team Members

In-store concierge employees need confidence in their product knowledge to speak with customers as they’re waiting in line at your stores.

Role plays can build their confidence and help them practice making appropriate product recommendations based on their conversations with customers. Role-plays can also train concierge staff on the customer service skills they need to seem helpful, not pushy.

The Bottom Line

You can’t just give employees product sheets and expect them to talk to customers about your digital products.

Role-play scenarios are a great way to build your staff’s confidence, and train them to spot opportunities to talk to customers.

Want more advice on driving digital adoption at your bank? Get the report: How to Boost Digital Adoption for Your Bank.