When the training center doesn't train

You've taken steps to find the right training center. But what if you selected a dud? We'll show you what recourse you have.

So, you took TechRepublic’s advice and did your homework when you chose a training center. But when your employees returned from a session on XML, their reports were less than favorable.

Too bad: Your company is out $1,500, and your employees still need training.

So what recourse do you have when the training “professional” you chose didn’t deliver?
In last week’s article “Choosing the right training center,” we told you what to look for when selecting a trainer for your company. This week, we’ll tell you what the Better Business Bureau and training professionals recommend.
Satisfaction guaranteed?
One of the things that attracted you to the training center you chose was its promise of “satisfaction guaranteed.” The company even made the same claim in a brochure you received.

A company that makes such promises may be giving you leeway in getting your money back, said Holly Cherico, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau in Alexandria, VA.

The BBB can also assist if the company’s advertising makes similar claims, Cherico said. And while it’s difficult for the BBB to determine whether you received proper instruction or whether the teacher who taught the class was qualified, the BBB might be able to help you if the training company doesn’t abide by its promises.

“If they don’t comply with the advertisement, definitely contact your BBB, and we can assist in resolving the complaint,” she said.

Did you get any guarantees in writing? If you did, like Cherico advised last week, you have a much better chance of receiving a refund.

(You can find a list of local BBBs on the agency’s Web site.)

Quiz the students
Measuring whether training was conducted poorly is easier to determine when more than one person is in the class. If’ only one employee attended the training, you should try and determine whether the instruction was poor or if it simply wasn’t a good fit for the student, said Kevin Eikenberry, president of the Discian Group , a learning consulting company in Indianapolis. (Eikenberry is also a TechRepublic contributing editor).

A dissatisfied student, for example, might have attended a class that was too advanced or too easy, making the student feel like the training was a waste of time. For others, it’s a matter of attitude.

“Someone may have a negative experience in a class in part because they didn’t want to be there, or they didn’t see how it was going to benefit them,” Eikenberry said. “I would ask a lot of questions of the [complaining] student…and try to figure out what the problem was. Perhaps the class was just a bad fit.”

Talk to the trainer
Most businesses want to keep their customers happy. Consider speaking with the trainer to see if you can determine what went wrong. Were there computer problems? Is the trainer inexperienced?

Perhaps the trainer noticed that the employee you sent showed up two hours late. “In any situation, there are two sides of the story,” Eikenberry said.
If you’ve been unhappy with the training you or your employees have received, what have you done about it? Did you demand your money back? Did you ask for a free session? If you’re a trainer, how do you handle unsatisfied customers? Let us know by posting a comment or sending us an e-mail .

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