Key insights gathered that influenced the training programme
Front-liner profile: The Fashion Advisors were largely non-native speakers (from Malaysia, Vietnam and China). As such, they preferred the information to be bite-sized, visual, and easy to understand.
Benjamin Barker’s unique branding: Benjamin Barker’s ads showed men in suits wearing sneakers or on skateboards – “a modern classic gentleman” who didn’t fit the typical bill. As such, Fashion Advisors had to know the seemingly paradoxical brand identity well.
Lack of styling knowledge: Benjamin Barker sold complete outfit for men: shirts, pants, blazers, ties, belts, shoes, pocket squares and lapel pins. But most customers left the store with just what they walked in to buy, because the staff were only able to facilitate a sale but not to upsell. The key issue was that they lacked knowledge of styling (putting together an outfit) necessary for upselling.
Engaging content needed: Knowing how to put together an outfit involved learning about colour theory, what to wear for different occasions, understanding the value of using accessories, and more. To make learning fun and interactive, the training material would have to include game cards, QR codes with links to demonstration videos, and role-play to practise skills.
14 types of customers: From ethnographic observations, 12 customer profile cards were created, detailing what each looked out for, required and preferred. Two additional profiles – Angry and Verbally Abusive – were added to enable staff to practise handling various customer types and scenarios.
Beyond selling: Good customer experience goes beyond being served by a confident and knowledgeable Fashion Advisor. For the staff, it also involved engaging customers in a conversational way or being patient in trying circumstances. As such, soft skills had to be taught.
Time constraints: Setting aside time for training was a challenge because the priority for retail staff was their daily sales and operations. As such, the training had to be designed to be self-administered and integrated into the work-day.
Prototypes of the customer profile cards that were created after the design team spent time in Benjamin Barker stores to observe customer behaviours.