I just returned from a vacation with my family in Tucson, Arizona. There, we stayed at a beautiful boutique hotel with stunning desert mountain views and a fantastic restaurant. As a birthday gift, my wife treated us to a night at a five-star hotel along with a phenomenal dinner at their top-rated restaurant.

Our dinner at the restaurant in the hotel was phenomenal. The service, however, was just OK. It did not meet our expectations. The big problem? The wait staff did not know the menu. When we would ask for more details about an entrée, both waiters did not have the slightest clue as to what was in the dish. One of the waiters even confessed that they had not tried the entrée. Eventually the manager came over to our table to answer our questions about the menu. Though the restaurant was fantastic, the wait staff was clearly not trained and educated enough on the food they served. Ultimately, it took away from our overall dining experience.

As business owners, sometimes we are so busy worrying about the bigger picture that we forget about the small details that can potentially ruin our client’s experience.

I challenge you to take a closer look at your own business and employee education. Are you spending enough time with your team training them on the basics of what services your company offers? Are they aware of all of the “ingredients” that go into your products and services? When was the last time you sat down with your entire team and reviewed the technical aspects about your services? Are you routinely educating your team about products and ingredients that are in your bark mulches, stone mixes and fertilizers? Are you training them on the benefits of smart irrigation systems and controllers? Do they know on average how much water these systems save per year? Do they know how much nitrogen is in each round of fertilizer your company applies to your customers’ lawns?

You would be surprised by how many companies miss these small but important training exercises. Just think how much more professional and educated your team members will appear to your customers when they can confidentially answer technical questions they may have.

Here are a few more tips on how you can continue employee education and train your staff:

New team member on-boarding: Perform regular training and education for new employees on your services and products all season so that no one slips through the cracks and misses these important sessions.

Regular employee training: Hold ongoing training and employee education for your staff on a quarterly basis. Even if it comes across as a bit redundant for those employees who have already been trained, these sessions can also serve as opportunities to coach and motivate employees and ultimately lead to better service and increased sales.

Industry association and university extension courses: Nothing can beat receiving education from a professional teacher. Whether it be a university professor or a certified trainer, your employees will listen closely and they will learn from a different perspective. Check your state industry associations and universities for details on how you can invite a teacher into your company or send your team to an extension program.

Vendor training: Invite your vendors in to speak to your team members about the products they sell to your company. This is a great way to educate your entire company. It also provides some third party validation about the benefits of these products and offers your team some training that is coming from someone new, instead of the same old routine training they receive from your company.

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