Despite dramatically increasing online sales, the vast majority of retail sales still take place offline. Brick-and-mortar sales involve live, face-to-face human interactions, and, no surprise, organizations relying on these interactions are understandably concerned about offering exceptional service experiences to their customers. Here’s how retail powerhouse, Bloomingdale’s, met the challenge.
Looking to E-learning to Expedite Training
In a recent article for Fierce Retail, Jaqueline Renfrow reported on how Bloomingdales is turning to technology and e-learning to ramp up its service training efforts. The article, based on an interview with Carol Leaman, president and CEO of Axonify—a company that produces corporate e-learning software of the same name, talks about Bloomingdale’s partnership with Axonify to improve training for employees.
Traditional Training Not Working
Leaman references an Axonify study, which revealed that 71% of shoppers “feel that retail associates aren’t knowledgeable or helpful.” In response, retailers are throwing money at the situation—$130 billion last year, or about $702 per worker for an average of 54 hours, per associate, for training. That investment, though, says Leaman, is not translating into service improvement.
Delivering Bite-Size Training
Bloomingdale’s partnership with Axonify is taking a different approach to training—breaking up longer sessions into shorter bursts of training followed up with assessments of learning. Renfrow writes: “Prior to Axonify, Bloomingdale’s used all of the traditional methods of training and new hire orientation. New associates had a weeklong training program that overloaded them with information.”
In 2018, Bloomingdale’s will continue to refine its sales and service training through Axonify, adding product information to the platform. Next steps will involve using analytics to measure the impact these training efforts are having on business metrics like employee engagement, turnover, and even inventory management.
For retailers and others in face-to-face business environments, technology, ironically, may provide a better, and more cost-effective way, to boost the in-person customer experience.