Getting Seasonal Staff Up to Speed
Nothing drives sales like the advice of an expert. And there's no better way for retailers to ensure their customers get the right advice at the right time than by turning their own sales associates into experts on the products they sell. Knowledgeable retail associates not only have higher job satisfaction, but also ultimately help increase sales and customer loyalty.
This holds true all year long, but a knowledgeable retail staff is even more critical when the holiday shopping season arrives. After all, according to the National Retail Federation, some retailers make up to 40 percent of their annual sales during the busy holiday season.
A well-trained and engaged holiday sales staff can keep consumers sane and business humming at a time when chaos seems to rule. However, creating such a holiday sales staff is no easy task. Many holiday sales associates view their role as temporary and lack a passion for their job. One of the keys to overcoming this is helping them gain greater knowledge on the products and services they're selling. This increased knowledge will lead to improved confidence and a desire to perform at a higher level.
Below are five tips on how retailers can quickly train and increase enthusiasm among seasonal employees. In turn, this will keep sales — and customer moods — high:
1. Make training scalable. With the rapid influx of staff that often occurs during the holidays, employee trainings should easily scale to accommodate the entire workforce, no matter how big.
2. Make training accessible. Holiday staffers are often hired quickly and need to be running at full speed immediately. In order to learn everything they should about the products they're going to be selling, web-based trainings, available 24/7, make it easy for retail associates to log on at any time and learn what they need to know.
3. Make training engaging and fun. The word "training" can illicit yawns from some. Therefore training, especially during the holidays when sales soar, should be engaging and interesting to keep associates on track. Gamifying the process with a testing platform can provide a better level of education for trainees and peace of mind for retailers.
4. Skip shipping and printing. Shipping and printing add cost, complexity and latency to the training process, which retailers can't afford, especially during the busiest time of the year. In addition, printed materials also lack the ability to track and report progress. Instead, invest in web-based trainings that are available immediately and always up-to-date.
5. Offer incentives. By rewarding associates with discounts and other incentives for trainings completed, even short-term employees feel ownership for the products they sell, increasing store morale and the customer experience.
With the holidays just around the corner, it's important to remember that companies often live and die based on the quality of their people. With these tips in hand, getting seasonal retail staff up to speed quickly and effectively so your business doesn't skip a beat is entirely possible.
Dave Stockham serves as vice president of business development for eXperticity, a platform for building and rewarding expertise within retail.