The new Samsung Training Centre in Brentford clearly reflects the ambitions of the Samsung brand. In the state-of-the art facilities which have separate training rooms for consumer electronics, white goods, IT and mobile products, up to 75 people can be trained at the same time although none of the rooms are designed for more than 20 trainees.
“The cornerstone of Samsung training is participation – so everyone has to be able to handle and work with any of the products on which they are being trained,” explains Kay Ainsworth, Samsung national training manager.
How it is done
In the Brentford Centre, Samsung runs different product training courses which are tailored to varying levels of knowledge and sales floor responsibility. “We train national account managers of multiple retailers, independent dealers and retail trainers,” explains Kay.
Flexibility and focus on customer needs are key in their approach. For example, the centre receives requests to prepare a tailor-made course for staff from a product area which underperforms on the shop floor. This is followed by a discussion with a company during which the aims of the course and its format are agreed.
Sales skills training is a part of the training here. “We found that this is essential for a sales person to be able to assess customer needs by asking the right questions. To help them with this we give them a list of questions to ask, sales tips and product features cards. “There is no point having product knowledge if you cannot deliver it,” stresses Kay.
She is very proud to have a team of five experienced trainers, all of whom have sales experience “so they have empathy with the trainees and their problems” comments Kay.
Making things simple
The training process is very simple: people handle products, listen to the trainers and solve the problems given to them by the trainers.
The most complex technologies are stripped of their mystique for the benefit of the trainees – regardless of whether they are LCD or plasma technologies, cooling or cooking. For example, American-style fridge freezers equipped in the twin cooling system have their back panels removed so the twin cooling technology can be seen and easily understood.
Horses for courses
In addition to training courses delivered here, Samsung also conducts in-store training, specialist training for Samsung Shop-in-Shop retailers, regular roadshows around the country and provides e-training. Some courses are run seasonally, such as that on MP3 players and camcorders, which are particularly popular before Christmas.
Online training is an area in which Samsung plans to make a significant investment in the coming months.
Training for the independent
Until now Samsung delivered training for individual stores, but Kay hopes to establish in 2008 special training modules for independent dealers from different stores who have similar training needs. “Independents will be the main focus of our training efforts next year. We already have an administrator on board who will be calling all dealers to assess their requirements and develop tailor-made courses for them.”
“My plan is to run courses relating to different product areas every week, communicating their dates in advance, so the independent dealers can book themselves on them whenever it suits them. We also need to find out ways of encouraging independents, who have so many time constraints, to come here and invest their time in training.” Already in the pipeline are special courses for Euronics members together with a supporting website.
“The programme which we are putting together will hopefully encourage independent dealers to commit time out of the business for greater future returns,” concludes Andy Griffiths, director of consumer electronics, Samsung UK.
With so many offers on the Samsung training table, make sure that you test some of them in the coming months.