by Cameron O. Anderson

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT – PART 2: How to Increase the Return on Training Dollars Invested through Knowledge Retention and Learning Sustainmen

Since corporate training began, Learning and Development professionals have strived to determine the ROI on training programs. While the REACTION level (Kirkpatrick, Evaluating Training Programs, 3rd Edition, 2006) or “smile sheets” administered during or post program are often very positive, the final three levels (ACTUAL LEARNING, BEHAVIOR CHANGE AND BUSINESS RESULTS) are traditionally more difficult to measure. As you saw in Part 1 of this article, the reinforcement and coaching of what is taught in a training program is frequently left to overworked managers so the sustainment and ROI of the training is often also low. While good internal coaching definitely has a positive impact on changing behaviors and business results, the consistency of the follow up coaching is what is being examined around the training world.

So if coaching is the key to sustainment and internal coaching is often hit or miss, what is the solution? TELEPHONE ROLEPLAY!!!

For 13 years e-roleplay has been successfully reinforcing training programs for major corporations around the globe using professional actors who are also certified coaches. The key requirement that our clients have in common is a desire to gauge the results of their training, both quantitative and qualitative.

Let’s talk about quantitative results first. Return on Training Dollars Invested (ROTDI) can be measured in multiple ways and our clients have used almost every conceivable metric to do it. Quantitative measurements can be divided into two types: financial-based and skills-based.  For example, increased sales can be considered a financial-based metric while improvement in overcoming client objections is a skills-based metric. It can become a grey area if you consider that overcoming a common objection may actually increase sales. However, the distinction we make is financial-based metrics are measured before and after the e-roleplay course (giving the learners the chance to execute what they have learned for a while before being measured) while skills-based metrics are measured during the e-roleplay course (from the first role play call through to the last).

Our clients have increased the following financial-based metrics over the past few years:

  • appointments booked
  • scripts (prescriptions) written
  • sales revenues
  • wallet share (number of products sold per customer)
  • customer experience index
  • outbound sales calls
  • reduced number of call backs (call center)
  • referrals from satisfied clients
  • the retention of angry customers
  • and many more!

Some examples of skills-based metrics include an improvement in the following:

  • call reluctance
  • objection handling
  • closing
  • coaching direct reports
  • demonstrated empathy
  • questioning and discovery
  • answering the client’s concerns
  • client satisfaction
  • delivering a value statement and value proposition
  • and many more!

Now let’s talk about qualitative results at e-roleplay. One of the most gratifying things about being involved with e-roleplay is the positive feedback we receive daily from our learners, especially those who were reluctant to participate at first. Here are some unsolicited anecdotal testimonials from our valued customers:

“This training was really beneficial.  Sometimes we shoot more for the numbers of calls – where I’m going now is for quality of calls that result in appointments.”

“I really didn’t want to do this training because I really dislike roleplaying. What a surprise! This is the best training I have ever had. It really let me practice in a safe, non-judgmental place. Thank you!

“It was very good.  I liked the instant feedback. You helped me work out the structure and I feel more confident applying it.”

“When they told me I had to do this I thought it would be a waste of my time because I only work in French.  But now I’m happy because I got good advice, and it was a well-organized course.”

“Great!  It was nice to practice with people you don’t know.  It makes you feel more relaxed.”

“The first 2 calls were just learning the process and the second 2 calls challenged me.  It gave me different ways to approach and coach.  It was very beneficial.”

“I loved it.  The feedback was great.  It was so much better to do this over the phone than with other employees in person. I really liked it.”

“I think it’s very helpful.  You guys do a good job setting up expectations & moving into the calls.  I think the scenarios are good.  They’re not too cotton candy, nor do they set us up for failure.  You guys are concise – I like the tips of what we could have done better.  Positive and juicy feedback!”

“I like that you come at this from your own perspective – you became the client.  It gave me a clear picture of what I can do better.  You guys have taken the “Did Wells” and “Next Times” one giant step further.”


To conclude, the ageless question of “how will I know if the training stuck?” can be answered in an efficient, cost effective and fun way at e-roleplay! And it is all customized to the training programs on which you have spent your L&D budget. Why not make e-roleplay your knowledge retention and learning sustainment partner!

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