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Improving customer service at Weight Watchers

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Weight Watchers has used drama-based training to develop the coaching and interviewing skills of its Area Service Managers and to further improve its customer service.

Steps Role Play, the drama-based training specialist, provided separate coaching and interviewing programmes for Weight Watchers Area Service Managers (ASMs) who are responsible for recruiting and supporting the Leaders who run the Weight Watchers meetings.

Both programmes were taken around the UK, as roadshows, and run regionally for groups of eight or nine ASMs. The objective of the coaching programme was to help ASMs coach the Leaders and give them feedback on their performance. The interviewing skills programme was designed to help ASMs recruit the best candidates as Leaders.

“The ASMs thoroughly enjoyed the drama-based training approach,” said Sue Beveridge, Training Manager at Weight Watchers. “They really got involved in both sessions and it proved a very effective way of bringing out the learning.”

Following the success of these programmes, Steps Role Play was asked to help run a two-day workshop, for 20 senior head office managers. The Workshop concentrated on making the Weight Watchers culture work more effectively for the company.

“We have a powerful culture because many of our employees started off by joining us as members and this gives them an extra level of commitment to the company,” said Sue Beveridge. “However, as an organisation that prides itself on it’s supportive and friendly approach, it can sometimes be hard to tackle the more difficult situations with our staff. We are very good at accepting everyone and helping them make changes slowly and at their own pace but on occasions we would benefit from a more assertive approach.”

Steps prepared and delivered a number of role play scenarios which involved managers handling difficult situations with their staff in an assertive way.

“The role players would stop the action at key points and ask the group for suggestions as to how they should continue,” said Sue Beveridge. “The senior management team had never experienced drama-based training before and it made them think very carefully about the issue we were trying to bring out.”

Sue Beveridge says that whenever she has used Steps Role Play, the benefits have always been the same. “You get a tailor-made workshop with role plays that are 100 per cent realistic and memorable,” she said. “They can bring a reality to a role play which we have never been able to get when either the trainer or a fellow delegate is role playing. People come out feeling it was absolutely real and they clearly remember the learning points.”

She adds that the Steps programmes on interviewing skills, coaching and culture have had a positive effect on the business.

“By ensuring that we recruit the best people for the job to start with and then coaching them more effectively, in a more assertive culture, we can grow the numbers of people at our meetings and help them lose weight more effectively,” she said.

For more details, please call Richard Wilkes at Steps Role Play on 020-7403 9000 or see www.stepsroleplay.co.uk.

Michael Dawson
Tel: 020 8953 8863
[email protected]

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