COMMON DELIVERY METHODS OF STORE LEVEL TRAINING
Let's begin with "reading." First, the trainee will need a quiet place to read. And, if there is a lot to read or the document uses a higher vocabulary level than the trainee's comfort zone, it may not generate much success. If your delivery method is online, it requires a quiet place most often off the floor. That means the retailer will have to allocate extra payroll dollars for the trainee and make sure they have another associate covering. Also, the trainee has to remember what he or she watched online before attempting to transfer those skills to the job. As a result, online training can be challenging for trainees to learn and retain the skills they need.
Another method of delivery is live training that is usually conducted by a professional trainer. However, it can be difficult to coordinate times for the trainer and the part-time associate or group of associates to receive the training. There are times when those needing the training do not receive it due to the difficulty of scheduling part-timers.
Next, there's peer level training. Why shouldn't a skilled worker or manager be able to teach the trainee what they need to learn, right? Well, for starters, just because a person has the skill it doesn't necessarily make them a good teacher. Some employees assigned to train another employee may rush through the training, cut corners or not take enough time to make sure the trainee is learning what he or she should.
We all do things differently. Workers who have become skilled at their job tend to have found shortcuts, workarounds and often, different ways of doing something that they feel are better than the company method. It's natural, and we are all guilty of this flaw. However, when the skilled worker shares "their way" with the trainee, the result quickly becomes store level inconsistency, something that is not good for business.
So, if every common method of delivery has challenges, what can a retailer provide that is effective?
LTRAINING® IS BORN
A few years ago, a retail executive who was frustrated and searching for the best way to train part-time store associates challenged my firm. That was when LTraining® was born. LTraining® was created specifically for the part-time store-level associate, for the retailer with little or no payroll for training and for the company who needed immediate results.
Leaning on my many years of music teaching, I realized that people learn best by doing. You don't learn to play guitar from watching a video, reading a book, or taking an online course; you learn to play guitar by holding the instrument, the pick, feeling the strings, frets, and slowly learning the notes and the chords. Then with lots of practice, you master playing the guitar. How could I use a music instructional method for training store level associates?
Thinking about how to deliver the in-store training, it became clear that if the goal was to train part-time employees, the training had to be self-paced and self-contained, so the trainee could learn at their own pace. As I continued thinking of all the issues, the light bulb went off; the trainee had to train in their working environment! The training would take place during business hours so there would never be an issue of payroll and the trainee would have to able to assist customers in between the training so there would be no risk of losing sales.
LTRAINING® MAKES ITS DEBUT
Our first client was Barnes & Noble, and we introduced product knowledge programs like "How To Sell Children's Books" and "How To Sell Computer Books." Immediately, the custom-produced training modules were exceptionally well received, but we wanted to take it further. Barnes & Noble preferred having the trainees sit in the comfortable chairs and listen to the program, but I wanted them on the floor in the specific area touching and feeling the books so that the trainees would be more familiar with them, where they were and would know what to recommend to their customers. Luckily, I found an ally at a growing retail chain at the time, Linens' N Things. Back in 1999, Linens 'N Things loved the idea of LTraining® and allowed The TSi Company to experiment. Our first program was a product training program for Pillow & Pads featuring their private label brand. We piloted three LTraining® programs in 30 stores.
The program had associates training in the pillows and pads department, taking items off the shelf, feeling the differences between textures, and reading the packaging to understand the features and benefits. Most importantly, trainees learned how to engage and share the information with customers. The results were overwhelming. Within 30 days of rolling the training out to the "test" stores, those Linens 'N Things locations saw a sales increase with pillows & pads of nearly 30%! This led to two things: 1) rolling out the training to all the stores and 2) a long-lasting relationship with Linens 'N Things until a private equity firm purchased them with The TSi Company producing and delivering over 30 training modules a year.
During our time together, The TSi Company experimented with other uses for LTraining®. Soon in addition to product training, LTraining® became the perfect tool for systems training. Now trainees were learning the POS terminals and RF Gun technology through headset based LTraining® custom produced modules. LTraining® provided new hires the opportunity to do the functions for themselves, and by the time they completed the training, the associate was running the system. Typically, store systems were taught with a buddy and often there would be scheduling issues. Also, the training that took place because of the "buddy" system and trainee talking, along with other job interruptions, took a lot longer than LTraining®. LTraining® reduced the company's standard training time by as much as 70%. Our methodology was now saving the company money! Soon, new hires used LTraining® programs for a store tour, orientation training; even customer service all successfully.
LTRAINING® RECEIVES A PATENT
In 2008, we received a patent from the US Patent Office making LTraining® to date the only training methodology ever to obtain a US Patent. Through the years, some of the biggest names in retail like Kohl's, Petco, HomeGoods, DXL, Raymour & Flanigan, Wakefern and more have used LTraining®.
BENEFITS OF USING LTRAINING®
LTraining® always achieves success. Today more than ever, retailers recognize LTraining® as the best method to train their store associates, especially the part-timers. Retailers are pleased that there is no need for additional payroll or a buddy and they can simply schedule the training the same way they schedule a task. Moreover, having store associates train on the sales floor during business hours is practical and highly effective. And, because LTraining® allows trainees to pause the training when needing to assist customers, there is no risk of losing sales. Lastly, because of the combination of audio, visual, tactile and kinesthetic learning styles in one program, trainees learn by doing, achieving retention of up to 90% after a single session.
LTRAINING® GETS RESULTS
LTraining® has helped retailers see up to 30% increases in product sales, 10 - 15% increase in comp store sales, 6-7% increases in conversion and significant improvements in customer satisfaction scores. Today delivered in an easy to use mp3 format, LTraining® provides complete mobility on the sales floor with custom programs produced for virtually any topic or need.
With so many clients through the years using and benefiting from LTraining® it has become a must-have for any retailer.
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