Retail today is very demanding and requires associates to be constantly updated on the latest trends and products. In-between customers, providing continuous training on the sales floor is key to their success. Many companies struggle with how to keep their teams prepared while still offering helpful customer service. Here’s a breakdown of how you can ensure your associates are up-to-date and equipped to handle any situation that arises in retail today.
Training retail employees on the sales floor in-between customers (IBC) can have several benefits:
1. On-the-job learning: By training employees while they are working, they can apply what they have learned immediately to their job, leading to a more effective and efficient learning experience.
2. Reinforcement of training: This approach provides employees with immediate feedback on their performance, allowing them to reinforce the skills and knowledge they have learned.
3. Improved customer service: By providing employees with the tools and knowledge they need to better serve customers, retailers can improve their customer service and overall customer experience.
4. Increased employee engagement: When employees feel that their employer values their growth and development, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work.
5. Cost-effective: Training employees on the sales floor during their regular working hours can be a cost-effective solution, as it eliminates the need for separate training sessions outside of regular business hours.
David Harouche, Founder, CEO, CTO, Multimedia Plus, Inc. shares his insights on a deeper level on the "how" and "why" retailers are keeping associates prepared for the demands of retail today.
Importance of Training
Proper training is essential for any business but even more so in retail, where product knowledge and customer service are key. Without proper training, associates may not have an understanding of the products they are selling or won’t feel confident when interacting with customers. This can lead to decreased sales, missed opportunities, and potentially disgruntled customers who might take their business elsewhere.
Training During Downtime
In those quiet times during the day in-between customers, it can be an opportune time for managers to assign associates training without disrupting workflow or requiring additional payroll to take the training in the backroom. In today’s world, providing continuous training and communications is crucial to keep associates informed about new developments in the company, new product knowledge, loss prevention, visual initiatives and other continuously changing training initiatives.
One way to do this is by utilizing “in-between” customer training (IBC training), taking as little as a few minutes between customer visits to review the latest micro-learning or communications without the need to leave the salesfloor.
Today, there are several choices of modern digital tools available that allow associates to receive updates quickly and easily. However, when evaluating different platforms, it’s important to remember that your customer entering the store is always the priority.
The platform’s ability to let your associates swiftly switch their focus from training IBC back to attending customer needs when a customer enters should be carefully evaluated. While that should be a given, not every platform allows associates to remain entirely focused on customers first and foremost. Make sure the platform allows your associates to quickly pivot to the customer and easily resume training later exactly where they left off, regardless of the device they resume training on.
Longer Training Sessions
In addition to short refreshers during downtimes, it’s also important to schedule longer training sessions throughout the year so that all employees have a thorough understanding of products, services, policies, and procedures. Managers should focus on making these sessions engaging yet informative by using visuals such as videos or interactive activities like role playing scenarios which can help employees better understand what they’re learning in terms of customer service skills and product knowledge so that they can apply it when interacting with customers in real life situations.
Micro-learning For Success
It’s clear that effective training needs both short micro-learning courses as well as longer training sessions throughout the year in order for associates to stay up-to-date on company policies and procedures while also feeling confident and engaged when performing their job duties each day. With creative approaches such as utilizing “in between” moments or digital tools and activities like role playing scenarios during longer workshops, companies can ensure their teams remain prepared for any situation that may arise in retail today. Doing so will help improve customer satisfaction and increase overall profitability over time through increased sales from better educated associates who know how best serve their customers each day.
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