Office Depot takes the fear out of customer‐service training

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Publication date: 1 June 2006



This article examines the effectiveness of an award‐winning program of self‐pace customer‐service training, which replaced the classroom‐based “sheep‐dip” approach at Office Depot.


Presents the comments of the Office Depot head of learning and development, and the customer‐service director, as well as the views of some of the people who have undertaken the training.


Shows that people's feelings about how they were being trained made them fearful, reluctant to learn and take up customer service. The result was high attrition and dropout rates. The self‐pace customer‐service program has provided a solution centering on how people learn to achieve tangible business benefits, supporting Office Depot's mission to be a great place to work.

Practical implications

Argues that the company has achieved increased business through high‐quality customer service delivered by motivated, happy, skilled staff.


Highlights the ways in which some people's reservations about the new system of training were overcome.



(2006), "Office Depot takes the fear out of customer‐service training", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 13-15.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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