Want to Win Customers? Educate Your Employees on Every Product

201509 - blog-want-to-win-customersThirty years ago, a customer was likely to walk into a store with little information on the products inside. A shopping expedition could take hours, involving multiple stores, as a shopper compared prices, selection, and customer service in each business. Today, customers arrive in a store after spending hours researching a product online. Even after that customer has spent time looking at products in person, he’s likely to go online and compare prices before purchasing.

Knowledge is one of the most important things a local business can offer today. A customer can spend hours reading about a product online, but speaking to a well-informed employee still has higher value for many people. This is especially true if your business specializes in items with a high learning curve, such as electronics or appliances. Here are three ways you can gain an edge over the competition through knowledgeable employees.

Hire for Knowledge

Product experts can boost a brand’s interactions with customers. When employees have in-depth knowledge about the items a business sells, those employees provide a service to customers who need help. The first step to locating these employees is to search specifically for subject matter experts and give preference to them in the hiring process. This will not only ensure they can answer the questions a customer has, but it will also bring in employees who have a passion for the items they’re selling.

Train Thoroughly

Even the most knowledgeable employees will have a need to learn about new products and innovations as they come on the market. Businesses can set up affordable training programs to keep employees informed. Using the video-capture feature on a smartphone, retailers can create in-house training videos and upload them to YouTube. Existing videos and online learning opportunities like Lynda.com can also be used to provide ongoing training to workers.

Reward Education

Often time is limited during the workday, making it difficult to set an hour or two aside for employee training. Businesses can encourage employees to take the initiative to learn on their own through rewarding those employees. Consider offering a bump in pay to employees who take classes on personal time, whether in a formal classroom setting or online.

Thanks to price comparison software, shoppers are more informed than ever when they arrive at a store. By choosing employees who are already familiar with the products they’ll be selling and training them, brands can offer well-informed shoppers information about an item that they wouldn’t find online.

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