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Q: We need to implement a number of compliance policy and customer service initiatives in our UK-wide retail store network.

This will involve new starters as well as existing staff, on a group and individual learning basis. We also want to do annual refreshers for all staff.

Is there an interactive learning video or DVD solution for this, so that individuals can self-assess, as well as assess on a group basis?

Training Design Manager
UK Retail Group

A: It looks as though you need a comprehensive customer service training video presented as an interactive DVD.

The tools available now in customer training videos are 2009 is much better than what was available in 2008 or as along ago as 2007, when interactive DVD authoring software (particularly Adobe Encore) was in its early stages, and therefore not very flexible, while other authoring software platforms and solutions were prohibitively expensive.

Today’s limitations are more about having enough space on a DVD to get everything onto a single disk, rather can “can we do this or that” (the answer from developers is usually yes).

Since a wealth of new training opportunities have opened up this year, a better understanding of interactive DVD structure is required, particularly for the retail training designer, as retail are big users of a training DVDs, and customer service training skills in particular.

If you’re in human resources or training, you can learn more about retail training video here

Analysing an interactive DVD for retail

The best way to analyse a DVD requirement is to produce a road map of all possible options.

Start by dividing up your info package into logical segments, to make a road map that includes all the different interactive options you require.

For example, let’s say customer service breaks the job down into three main training topic areas, eg, Greeting the Customer (or Guest), Assisting the Customer, and At the Checkout.

Each of these three areas will need further segmenting into group or individual training sessions.

For example:

> New starters as group

> Existing staff as group

> New starters as individuals

> Existing staff as group

This is a total of four segments for each training topic.

With three topics, this means that up to 12 informative video modules may be required, making almost a library on a disk.

Why 12 modules?

Let’s look into the differences between interactive DVD learning for groups, compared with learning for individuals.

Training as individuals

Here the employee watches the video module, and has a personal interactive test to pass before they can progress onto the next module.

They make their interactive choices using the DVD remote control unit.

If they answer correctly they move onto the next question.

If they answer incorrectly they are automatically either shown the relevant video section again, or the voiceover can simply tell them the correct answer.

Once all the questions are answered correctly the programme will automatically move onto the next video module.

In this way, the training is fully validated at each key point, ensuring the staff member (colleague) is correctly trained.

Training as a group

Here a trainer, management member, or nominated person will facilitate the training session.

Each staff member will have a pad to tick off their choice form the interactive questions.

While using the training DVD to guide everyone through all the questions, the trainer will mark (assess) each person’s choices.

So the training is validated semi-manually.

The differences between new starters and existing staff

Sometimes the training for existing staff and new starters will be identical. But not always.

For example, old training systems or ideas may need to be referenced for existing staff in the video.

For example, new starters may need additional video information that existing staff members will not need.

While these differences in training video content may often be small, with an interactive DVD you have the opportunity to get it perfect.

Last year this “fussiness” would have been costly, but this year it’s worth asking for a quote, as it’s not that expensive to get it really right.

By really right, I mean having everything – all content and communication – 100% relevant for the viewer. After all, we’re not coaching dedicated international students. More like semi-interested minimum wage earners.

Building your road map

Having sorted out which groups need what training, you can draw a flow chart to sequence who needs what video module and when.

Each module within the flow chart can have its own smaller nested flow charts added indicating the questions to be asked, and the possible answers.

This structured method shows everyone involved precisely what you’replanning.

Shooting the customer service video

Filming will be in-store with actors to play main customers and staff, with own staff as extras.

But because there are a number of different modules required, each scene may be shot in a variety different ways depending on whether it’s to be viewed by a new starter or an existing staff member, or in a group, or individually.

You may also want to shoot “answer” scenarios for some of the questions.

You may need to add an extra days shoot to achieve all this, or you might fit it all into a standard 1, 2 or 3 day shoot, in which case the shooting is effectively free.

You’ll need to consult with your training video director or scriptwriter on this. It will depend on how well your different programs can be organised for filming.


It’s important to segment your customers service training requirement into different groups and different questions and answers.

This approach often works for any area of workforce educations, and not just the retailer.

This road map of the training video will come out looking like a flow chart.

Only then will you properly understand what you need, and in turn, be able to accurately brief your training video production company.

But putting interactivity into a customer service training video could be one of your organization’s best moves.

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