Not just hiring people but ensuring that you give them the right training is also important for those who are managing the business…
For those in the optical trade, getting new hires on board is often a tedious task. But the good part is that getting new recruits on board is always a positive sign for any business including optical trade. After all, this move implies that the business is growing! And who does not want growth?
A new person joining the trade also comes with a fair bit of risk. To start with, you need to ensure that this person is able to adapt to the nuances of the trade and its practices. And after you have invested the effort to teach your new recruits the tricks of the trade, the crucial part, is to ensure that he or she actually stays on to work for the growth of the business.
However, this seemingly complex problem has a viable solution and that involves training your new hires in a systematic manner. The training has to focus on introducing the new recruits to the nuances of the trade, specifics of the practice and of course the policies of business that the brand endorses in its services.
Here is a look at what you can do to help new hires drive the way forward for your optical trade:
Create a checklist
When it comes to training new hires, the last thing to do is to head out on a wild goose chase. So before you start the actual training, prepare a checklist. This checklist has to identify key aspects / traits of your business and has to accordingly chart out the plan to integrate them in the training. This list also needs to identify the tasks that the optician is expected to do, as part of his or her profile. This list will help you keep a tab on the progress of the training.
When it comes to being opticians, there is a lot of learning that is passed on through experience. So, senior opticians in the business should come forward to mentor the new recruits. This gives them a chance to learn from first hand experiences. In fact, mentoring and shadowing are said to be one of the oldest and most successful learning techniques used across trades.
Developing a training module
While there is plenty of information available on the world wide web, it is important to customise a training module for your optical business. Ideally, this module should cover information like the portfolio of brands that you offer, the business practices, reporting structure within the organisation and responsibilities of an employee in the organisation.
Anyone who is facing the customer needs to be aware of the optical products that you are selling. By awareness, we mean more than just knowing the name. Ideally, a customer will only walk in with a problem. As the optician, catering to his needs and providing the solution will be your team’s duty. Therefore, make them aware about the product range that your optical business has to offer, talk about the advantages and in some cases even the disadvantages. Empower them with the knowledge and then encourage them to develop their own sales pitch. You can always refine the process, if the need arises.
Online training programs
Many leading brands like Essilor and ZEISS offer online training modules for those involved in optical sales. Occasionally, you may have to invest in some of these, but it is worth it. The training programs that these brands offer are in accordance to the global industry standards. They will help your opticians understand the technicalities of the market, new technologies and upcoming products that hold the potential to revolutionise the industry.
Seminars and sessions
However, this concept is pretty new but there are bodies like VP Academy who offer one-day sessions to the opticians in all three streams: contact lens, ophthalmic lens, and frames & sunglasses. This gives your employees a chance to learn the communication with the customer on a one-on-one basis. While the training programmes teach them how to be technical, these seminars allow them to be able to express the best in customer’s interest.
Make them read!
Nobody likes to go to school but occasionally reading may be helpful, especially if you are in the optical trade. No, we are not asking you to tell your employees to pick up a random book and read. Instead, encourage them to read research papers / publications on the latest technologies in the optical trade. This will help them keep abreast with the latest developments in the industry and it will accordingly strengthen their sales pitch. Various international and national journals on optical trade have a lot of valuable information on how new hires can improve their optical sales skill. For your new recruits, these details are very helpful. After all, if they learn, it would help to reap profits for your business. As the owner of business, you may need to invest a small amount towards the subscription of these journals but it is indeed worth it.
Customer is king, but not always!
A lot of your new recruits may be hesitant to even raise their voice against the customer’s choice. However, it is important that you teach the new recruits to always give the right advise to the customer. For instance, if he or she likes a particular eyewear frame but that does not suit his /her face type, let them know! Of course, they need to do so in a very polite manner. In the long run, this simple habit of giving genuine advise, will help in earning customer loyalty for your brand.
Review and revise
It is always a good practice to review the performance of your new hires, at regular intervals. This will help you tap their potential and give them the best possible opportunities to grow. While reviewing, share your feedback with the team. This simple practice will make them feel more involved in the process and will also aid in boosting their productivity. Occasionally, such reviews will also lead to situations when you may need to revise some of the above lessons.
Last but not the least!
Optical trade is going through a volatile phase of revolution in many parts of the world. There are excellent opportunities for those who are determined to build a career in this domain as many of the leading names in the businesses are hiring aggressively. However, even the new recruits will need to be patient learners to understand the various facets of the trade. The learning phase may not be an easy one but those who are willing to invest the time and effort, will surely not repent it!