The inevitable increase in summer traffic to your convenience store may seem like a blessing and a curse. You’re glad that foot traffic has picked up again, but continued supply chain issues raise a whole new set of customer service issues to resolve. It’s important to make sure your staff is well prepared to keep your customers happy even if they can’t find the items they’re looking for.
Top Training Topics for Increased Summer Traffic
Supply chain concerns aside, summer is always a good time to schedule refresher training for some of your core convenience store training — especially if you live in a busy tourist area. Summer vacation and travel will always bring an increase of customers into your store, and your employees need to know how to handle these customers well. Here are three important training topics for increased summer traffic:
1. Category Management
Supply chain challenges have convenience store category managers working overtime. While you and your employees aren’t likely to handle big-picture category management decisions, everyone should understand the impacts those decisions have on your store. Things to keep in mind:
- How is product merchandising being impacted? It’s more important than ever to follow planograms
- What items are selling fast and need frequent replacement? When you or employees are completing tasks throughout the store, keep a close eye on inventory levels and re-stock as frequently as necessary.
- How can you better merchandise categories to make up for the items you can’t receive in stock right now? Without straying from your store’s planogram, consider how merchandising displays can improve the customer experience even with possible product shortages.
Providing employees with training on even just the basics of category management and planogram implementation, could help make your category manager’s job a little easier, especially during busy times.
2. Customer Service
Customer service should always be a priority for your convenience store employees, but it’s easy to forget the basics when foot traffic picks up during busy seasons. Even more so if they’re frequently dealing with customers disappointed by out-of-stock items or frustrated with the increased cost of fuel. Effective customer service begins with treating each customer as a GUEST:
- G = Greet: Make a positive first impression by greeting all customers as they walk in the door.
- U = Understand: Listen to each customer so you can fully understand their needs.
- E = Eye-Contact: Make eye contact with your customers so they know you’re listening to them.
- S = Speed of Service: Serve each customer as quickly and efficiently as you are able.
- T = Thank You: Be sure to sincerely thank all customers.
Ensure your employees never forget the basics of customer service by scheduling annual refreshers or providing them with the opportunity to role play customer service scenarios as part of your blended learning strategy.
3. Suggestive Selling
Your employees should already be practicing suggestive selling on a regular basis to increase sales within your store. Now, with the likelihood of customers seeking items you no longer carry or can’t keep in stock, it’s even more important for your employees to be able to make relevant suggestions for alternatives. Make sure employees know how to sell suggestively in the three main areas of your store:
- The food service counter – what would go well with the items the customer is purchasing? Are there any good combo deals available?
- The aisle – what would be a good replacement for the item the customer can’t find?
- The register – Is anything the customer buying part of a BOGO offer? Does the customer have a loyalty card?
Schedule Training with Your LMS
Using a learning management system (LMS) to train your employees makes it even easier to provide annual refresher training for certain topics. You can run reports to see when the last time training was taken and set up schedules to automatically assign recurring training annually. Make sure your convenience store employees are always prepared to provide the best service they can to your customers all year long.
Employee Training with trainingGrid®
trainingGrid® is an LMS developed with you and your employees in mind. Its intuitive design makes learning management simple and allows employees to begin training with just a click. This flexible system comes with a variety of robust features customizable to fit your needs in addition to built-in reporting and certification tools that track your compliance documentation.