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Improve retention of your retail sales staff with ongoing development

John Sherman
2018-08-01

Whether you are running a sales boutique, discount store, specialty shop, or some other type of retail business, owners face incredible competition. Especially for smaller companies that want to attract customers and earn their loyalty, it is vital for owners to think outside of the box. If you have a retail business and want to enjoy success to the fullest, not only do you need to provide your customers with quality products, but you also need to provide superior customer service.

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Have you ever been in a grocery store only to find yourself walking aimlessly from aisle to aisle trying to find items on your list? Or perhaps you’ve visited a clothing store to find something you liked in multiple colors except your specific size? The fact is that if consumers cannot find what they want in a relatively short amount of time, they will go elsewhere.

Improving Employee Retention

Fortunately, there is an excellent way to resolve issues like these. By improving the retention of your sales staff, you have the opportunity to turn prospects into viable customers.

Take the grocery store scenario as an example. Having a store clerk who can immediately tell a customer where to find a product is extremely beneficial to the buyer and the business. The same goes for a clothing store. A salesperson who can advise the customer that they expect a shipment of the preferred item tomorrow and would gladly hold one aside just salvaged a sale.

Although you cannot expect your sales staff to know everything, they should retain the most critical information so they can provide outstanding service and support. Within a short amount of time, you will begin to notice happier customers, which equates to a higher number of sales and increased revenue.

Interesting Statistics

Okay, so what is the key to helping sales staff with retention? The answer is online development. When hiring people to work in the retail business, owners or managers require them to complete initial training. However, with ongoing education, those individuals turn into confident employees that do a great job of representing the company.

According to the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), 88 percent of employees quit their jobs for reasons that extend beyond pay. Three in particular stand out:

  1. The position is different than expected.
  2. Managers or owners micromanage them.
  3. They go unrecognized or rewarded for their efforts.

In the process of helping to improve sales staff retention through ongoing development, you can resolve these concerns and achieve many goals. The more employees have what they need to succeed in their position, the more accountable they become. Having knowledge and being able to answer customers’ questions will give your staff a sense of pride. With that, they will show more interest in what they do and perform at a higher level.

The other thing to remember is that empowering your employees through online videos, courses, and information gives you the time you need to focus on pressing matters. In other words, there is no reason to micromanage your workers. Then, as your staff retains information, you have increasing opportunities to recognize their hard work.

Reduced Turnover

Training a new employee requires time and money. The last thing you want is to invest both only to continually see a high turnover rate. Most people are hungry for knowledge and would jump at the chance to learn. If you advise candidates that ongoing development is part of the employee package, you will have a higher caliber of potential hires and will employ those interested in a career as opposed to just a “job.”

By making your staff part of a winning team, you can avoid being among other retail companies that have a high turnover rate. The SPHR also reports that more than 50 percent of recruited workers leave their companies within the first two years. That puts your business’ reputation on the line, and it could have a significant financial impact on your company.

In comparison, when owners and managers give their staff the chance to learn and grow in the retail industry, they stay longer, engage better, and resolve issues quicker. There is no question that your customers will notice, just as you will notice you're the bottom line.

Ongoing Development

The great thing about ongoing development is that as the name implies, it is ongoing. That means you can introduce your retail staff to endless topics. If you notice someone struggling with retention, instead of assuming they are not trying, provide them with online education. Through that, the individual can learn new skills and hone existing ones. By investing in that person, you provide a much-needed morale boost that can lead to incredible results.

Considering that roughly 50 percent of all businesses, including retail, struggle with employee retention problems, you should consider setting up a program in advance. However, online education benefits current employees as well. In that case, an excellent way to view retention is as a re-recruiting process.

Because the retail industry is ever-changing and customer demands are on the rise, online education benefits both new hires and existing employees. When they have access to online education, they can learn innovative strategies and information based on current trends.

Excellent Outcome

In addition to using online videos, courses, and information to help your retail staff with retention, it is essential that you have regular in-house training and mentoring. In response to your employees becoming more qualified, your customers’ satisfaction rate will increase. Ultimately, you will foster a positive working environment that benefits everyone.

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