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I know what you are thinking.
Not another article about how we should sign up for training, go to class, take a test, wait for the results and, well, I think you know the routine.
That being said, I think we all agree that most mistakes we make, whether in business or outside of the industry, can be avoided by a little training.
This thought makes me recall how I recently took up golfing. A friend sent me some golf clubs as a gift, so I had no reason not to join the ranks of grown men chasing little balls with skinny sticks across a countryside riddled with holes filled with sand, and ponds placed strategically with the sole purpose of making you mad.
My first few times out were great — if you were a spectator watching me swing the clubs and creating huge craters in the ground. Some call those “divots” but what I create is on a much grander scale than that.
But then a friend who was pretty good at golfing asked me to join him and, in just a few short hours, I was actually hitting the ball once in a while. Yes, a little training has made golf, for me, something to look forward to instead of closely watching the caller ID on my cellphone so I can avoid future invitations.
This same “lack-of-training” scenario happened to me when I faced carpet cleaning challenges, such as spot and stain removal or odor control. The first few years I was flying by the seat of my pants and, most of the time, using the wrong chemicals and procedures. The results I wanted and expected didn’t always materialize. I wasn’t happy and the customer wasn’t happy.
Then I discovered a few carpet cleaning certification training classes. Yes, I had to drive several hours to reach them, but it did open my eyes to what I didn’t know. Things started to improve immediately.
Your customers expect you to have proper training. Thinking about this, I recalled what happened that Boeing 777 crashed, with some 300 people on board, in San Francisco in early July.
The first thing that the media did was concentrate on pilot error, and hammered the airline on the fact that the pilots didn’t have enough training. Were they qualified to fly airplanes? I hope so, but in the forefront was the fact that the pilot only had 43 hours of flying time with that particular airplane, and the co-pilot was flying as a 777 instructor for the first time.
And after the hysteria all died down, we saw headlines like, “Asiana Airlines Will Bolster Its Pilot Training.” Training after-the-fact will help prevent future problems. It’s a shame this attitude wasn’t part of the company culture before this accident.
Now, carpet cleaning or water damage restoration is not quite as technical as flying a jumbo jet that weighs more than half a billion pounds and costs some $300,000,000, but training is training. If you don’t complete the job as expected or get the desired results, the first thought your customer may have is, “Does he know what he’s doing?” They may wonder if you have the training and experience necessary to be a true professional.
So if you feel like you are working in a dog-eat-dog world and wearing milk-bone underwear (source: Norm on Cheers), refresh yourself. Get some training. It can be any industry event, and you can network and rub shoulders with others who have the same challenges you have.
Social media spotlight
Speaking of training, I noticed a comment from one of my contacts on Facebook, someone who obviously attended a training session about fire and smoke restoration.
I will summarize. He said the question was asked, “What steps would you take in the event of a fire?” His response was, “Big ones!” Probably not the right answer, but you can’t say he is wrong, either.
See? Training sessions can actually be fun and enjoyable. Depends on you.
Jeff Cross is the senior editor of Cleanfax and an industry instructor. Visit his carpet cleaning and furniture cleaning training website.