When training people outside of the corporate setting and in the privacy of their own homes, I often discover that my customers are nervous and worried about their ability to learn new technology. If you conduct home-based training, there are several ways you can make your customers relax and enjoy the training lesson. Try these tips to boost customer satisfaction and make your private training sessions as productive as possible.

Dress down
You will more than likely outfit yourself in dressy casual clothes for your initial visit (shirt and slacks and perhaps a tie for men, a dress or pantsuit for women). While you’re there take note of how your customer dresses and acts. If this customer is a very casual person, you might want to dress more casually on your next visit. Some people are intimidated by the “corporate” look and respond better to a more relaxed appearance

However, if you feel uncomfortable about dressing down too much, I suggest just choosing more casual accessories, or simply wearing fewer accessories (less jewelry for women, no tie for men). Sound silly? Maybe so, but I can’t tell you how many customers have told me that they feel like they are in corporate training when they are being taught at home, and that makes them nervous. A nervous student won’t learn as well as one who is relaxed.

Acknowledge that you were once new at this, too
Just telling your student that you have been where he or she is now—new at computers and frustrated, too—can make the customer more comfortable and open to talking about those frustrations. It can also open the door for you to explain how you felt, what you did to help yourself learn, and make an analogy to another frustrating learning experience that was worth it in the end.

Don’t use a lot of computer lingo
Computer lingo can seem like a foreign language to people unfamiliar with the technology, and using this lingo can alienate your students by making them feel ignorant and unable to keep up. Until your customers know the lingo, use practical, easy-to-understand terms. Some of my customers have told me that other trainers who had used “big computer words” made them feel as if the trainer were “showing off” instead of trying to train.

Keep a sense of humor, but never at the customer’s expense
When humor is needed, feel free to make a joke. (I often use myself and my experiences as the topic so that my students feel they are not the only ones who have been through this.) Always keep jokes in good taste, and never make them at the customer’s expense. Humor can go a long way toward making a bad situation better.

Repeat, repeat, repeat
When I was a trainer in special education years ago, we used to hear that the average learner had to hear something as many as 29 times in order for the brain to categorize it as information learned. Never assume that going over a topic once is enough, and remember to have your student write the information down in a notebook that is kept near the computer. Writing information down also helps with retention.

Use personal attention to build relationships
Taking a minute to send an animated greeting card is great for building your customer-trainer relationship. This kind of personal attention builds good business, and may motivate your customer to recommend you to their friends.

Always take time to thank your customers for their business
Letting a customer know that she is valued and appreciated makes her feel more comfortable on your next visit. To save time, I write a generic note and send blind carbon copies to all my customers from that day.

Relaxed customers learn more. They receive more value for their money and you receive appreciation and more business. Following these tips will help you set your customers at ease and pave the way to better training lessons.
Do you offer in-home training? Is this a big part of your business? Is it worth the extra effort?Tell us how one-on-one training fits into your schedule.