#140 Offseason to-do list #2 – employee training videos

Show notes from Episode #140 of the Sweaty Startup Podcast.

As we kick off the second episode on off-season priorities and ways to set your business up for growth in the slow period, there was great outreach from listeners responding to the first episode on automated email responses that we wanted to address:

Recap on Email Automation

  • Why is Nick so set on email communication? Why not text or call customers?
    • These can be effective, but email is much simpler to automate and keep record of.
    • Your high end clientele will likely prefer email for communication, especially commercial clients.
  • Nick noticed three key results when he simplified and automated the Storage Squad email communication:
    • Customers were ready for them more often.
      • Jobs and trucks were on time, service was better and customer experience was smoother.
    • Fewer customer service queries.
      • People didn’t have questions about the service, as they had received clear guidance from Storage Squad. This freed up email and phone hours with customers.
    • More customer reviews.
      • Nick sent emails after jobs offering $5 off of invoices for giving honest reviews on Google or Yelp.
        • This can be a fine line with the services, so please read the terms first before offering similar.
      • Customers were much more likely to leave honest, quality reviews which boosted business awareness.

Optimized Employee Training

Once you have a strong set of automated emails in place for your business, the next focus area Nick discusses is developing employee training videos.

A fact of life is that all people will make bad decisions, including your employees. If you shadowed an employee all day you would probably pick up on a dozen behaviors you’d like to tweak. That’s why it’s so important to automate and standardize systems so that employees can do their job well, customers are happy, and the business is profitable.

A huge step in simplifying employee behavior is in making a training video library. At Storage Squad, Nick used to do live training and presentations for new hires. This was problematic because people couldn’t study it thoroughly and execution was inconsistent. Storage Squad switched over to a 45 minute video presentation that goes over every aspect of the job they need to do, with a test afterwards. There are no more worries about improper training, missing a key topic, or employees not able to get clarity on something they don’t understand.

For some industries, such as lawn care and landscaping, you can buy training courses that you can send employees through. However, the most effective method may still require some simple in-house production to specify it to your business.

Standardizing the Tasks

You need to create and standardize systems of operations before creating these training videos. If you try to get on camera and wing it, it will be as ineffective as a live presentation.

  • Write out a 1k word script and speak it to a camera to be thorough.
  • Emphasize simplifying the job, and take anything off an employee’s plate that you can.
    • At Storage Squad, drivers used to have a clipboard of 23 things they had to do to service a customer. 
      • This massive checklist along with poor training caused bad execution and difficulty in handling employee turnover. 
    • Nick simplified tasks by having each role focus on only their key components.
      • He took customer service off the plate of drivers by providing them a stack of customer service cards to hand any customer with questions.
      • Scheduling was made easier when he assigned one person to be the master scheduler. 
    • With this simplification, training was easier, employees ended up getting better, jobs were on time more often, and customers were happier.

You can get this all started with a training video library on YouTube or by buying an online course. You can do this now in February so that in May you have a clear set of operations and well-trained employees. Don’t mistake employee problems for customer problems, a lot can be solved with more effective operations and training.


[1:10] Recap on the importance of email

[3:45] The importance of properly trained employees

[7:30] Simplifying the job

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.