Jo Henderson, founder of JHJ Consultancy, talks to Professional Jeweller about common problems jewellery retailers are facing when it comes to staff training, and shares advice on how to combat them.
What are some of the questions you think retailers should be asking themselves about their staff and their capabilities?
If we are talking about shop floor staff, training broadly falls into two categories: Product knowledge and sales and customer service ability. You could have a very knowledgeable member of the team who has experience and product knowledge who needs their confidence building in sales. Or at the opposite end of the spectrum a new member of the team with phenomenal sales skills but no jewellery or watch knowledge. Business owners should ask themselves how training to their staffs specific needs would develop them to their full potential and ultimately grow sales, customer satisfaction and staff retention.
Why do you think staff training is important?
Staff training is not only important it’s fundamental. In our luxurious world of jewellery and watches there are amazing products that are of exquisite design, manufactured by highly skilled people from precious materials, with a wonderful story and displayed in beautiful environments. No matter where in this chain of supply your business sits we all rely on the end consumer, the person who parts with their (often large amount) of money, to purchase for themselves or a loved one a piece of jewellery or a timepiece. And yet there is still an undeniable lacking of training or awareness of the importance of training for the people on the front line who serve and sell to this consumer.
What are the common staff training problems you find jewellers are experiencing at the moment?
- An awareness of the importance of training
- Building a training program into what can seem like an already hectic schedule
- An acceptance from staff that they need training. Some are actively crying out for it whilst others take the attitude that you can’t teach me anything.
- A guilt or lacking of willingness on behalf of the staff to actively sell to and maximise the sale with the customer. You must train to overcome this.
- Physical space or ability to take staff off the shop floor.
How do you tackle staff training problems?
To tackle any problem you must find out what the barriers are first. Once you know find a solution. Training done correctly will increase sales and encourage growth for the future.
What are some of your top tips for retailers looking to better train staff?
- Be realistic but don’t look for excuses not to do it.
- Measure it to move it; understand what is happening in your business via you numbers and then train to move the numbers.
- Train the trainer; if you can ensure a number of key people in your organisation are up skilled not only to move their own numbers but to coach, encourage and hold other team members accountable you will see more benefit.
- There are many training routes ; short courses on all aspects of product or sales, brand training, external trainers like myself who will assess the opportunities in your business and bespoke your training, the JET qualification from the National Association of jewellers.
How do you recommend retailers tackle training staff members of a variety of age groups?
It’s as much about experience and specific needs and attitudes as it is age. It’s also about learning styles. Let your staff know it’s for everyone’s benefit including their own. If you find resistance to training in your organisation or you feel unsure yourself just remember: When an elite athlete, at the top of their sport, is about to run in the Olympics or play at Wimbledon do they sit back and think there is nothing I can learn or improve on? No. They train harder and believe more in the power of always striving to be the best. The day we stop learning is the day we die.
Is there anything else you would like to add on the subject of staff trainig?
Positivity must be the foundation of all training and in all teams. If positivity is lacking or non existent work on this first. Positivity is one of the number one factors needed within a leader and a business team to ensure great results. When a team has a predominantly positive attitude and outlook then everything else can flow from this. As soon as I encounter a team within a business I can tell from their manner, body language and way of interacting with each other weather they are a team with a positive attitude. If this is something I can pick up on instantly then it stands to reason that their customers will also pick up on this. Consciously or unconsciously this will influence their ability to trust those people and the business they work for and have a great impact on whether they choose to spend money with them.