Our Seminars Delivered To Staff Who Deal With A Demanding, and Sometimes Intoxicated Clientele
Shortly after I left the Manitoba Civil Service Commission I was contacted by Human Resources for what was then called the Manitoba Liquor Board. They wanted to know if I could help train their staff, and in particular those in liquor stores (then government run), and alcohol inspectors to deal with a wide range of customer situations, some of which, because of the presence of alcohol, were excedingly volatile.
Context For The Workshops
In Canada, liquor is regulated and sold via arms length crown corporations that operate within each province.
Not only do these organizations sell liquor directly to consumers, but the also grant and revoke liqour licences, inspect premises that serve alcohol, enforce various laws like over-serving statutes, and a whole lot more.
As a result they directly interact with various kinds of consumers. At the retail level, they have both affluent and very demanding customers, but they also have clients among the homeless, and who are addicted to alcohol. It's not uncommon, particularly in the inner city for store staff to have to serve (or not) intoxicated customers.
Of course, since the boards also deal with inspections, violations and permits, they have a serious enforcement role, dealing with bar owners, and making onsite visits to bars and other establishments.
Employees face difficult clientele often.
A Unique Process - Needs Assessments, and I Work As A Store Bagger
Our first step was to survey the various staff using a simple, but effective needs assessment survey that asked for specific and detailed encounters with difficult customers. That enabled us to use exercises that came from the participants themselves, so they could "hit the mark".
Since I was unfamiliar with the kinds of behaviors they described, particularly for inner city, and addicted clients, we arranged for me to spend some time in the stores working at the cash as a "bagger".
That helped me with hands on experiences and to have a feel for the context, situations and issues their staff dealt with.
Design And Delivery
I custom designed the seminar (a one day), we piloted it, and it was so successful and popular that we continued our partnership with the client for a number of years, until I moved out of province.
We trained hundreds of employees, ranging from liquor inspectors to store employees and since there were stores in various rural areas of the province (Thompson, Brandon), I took to the road to provide training at their locations.