Tips For a Successful Pet Bird Shop…Your Employee Tool Box
By Wyld’s Wingdom
As a pet shop owner, giving your pet bird department staff the best tools for dealing with a wide range of customers and situations is an effective way to keep customers coming back and reduce staff turnover. Confident, well-trained employees will appreciate their work environment and pass on their positive feelings to customers.
It’s a good idea to develop an employee handbook that outlines policies and procedures. An employee handbook can address rules, expectations, and the ways in which employees should represent your business and brand. This is the first step in developing effective retail associates who are reliable and responsible.
Developing an employee training program can save time down the road when bringing new staff on board. Take the time to create your training protocol once, and each new employee will receive the same consistent information on store basics such as opening and closing procedures, cleaning and pet bird care, handling sales and returns, stocking and inventory, and the customer interaction techniques outlined in the previous sections. The manual can cover greetings, collecting information, assisting customers through conversation, etc.
Product knowledge and general pet bird care knowledge are other areas that will require training for your bird department associates. If you have birds in your store or department, your employees should be trained on the basic information about the species you carry. Customers will look to sales associates as the “experts”, so they should be able to answer questions and provide information about various bird species.
Encourage employees to familiarize themselves with inventory, and make educational resources on bird species and care available. Holding regular meetings or training sessions before or after hours will give you an opportunity to go over popular products and how they can be introduced and explained to customers. Role playing is another effective way to work through product knowledge and how staff can effectively listen to customers and direct them to the products they need. Regular meetings will also keep everyone up-to-date on new products, new displays and promotions, and industry news.
Consistent mentoring and training of employees can often give staff a sense of ownership and accountability, which ultimately adds to your pet store’s success.