Over the past few months, I have had the pleasure of taking the reigns of our hockey product, fit and in-store training program. Getting myself out into our stores has been a great experience. It’s allowing me to see Pure Hockey from a different angle, and work in a hands-on capacity with our frontline employees who work directly with our customers. Communicating with our customers through the blog and social media is one thing, but getting to talk to them and talk to our employees who help and get to know them brings it to the next level.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I first stepped out into the stores. Product training and product knowledge is something all of our employees have gotten in the past, but it has really only occurred in fits and starts, with little true organization. We realized we needed a more formal, even stringent, training program, which is now in place.
Pure Hockey Store Visit Observations
What I found in the store pleasantly surprised me. Did we have some gaps in knowledge? Absolutely. Was there room to improve? There always is. Nobody is perfect, but we always strive for as close to perfection as we can.
What I saw were employees who were helpful to customers, polite, conversational and friendly. Many had gone out on their own to learn about products. The ones who hadn’t were still extremely eager to learn. The first few sessions I got great questions, interested employees and many “thank you’s” at the end for taking the time to inform them.
For some background on what we are doing, this round of training focuses on the biggest issues. Customer service is our number one priority. In addition, we also cover best practices for skate service and how to fit equipment properly. Finally, top-notch product knowledge is key, so we have detailed training every time there are major product release.
My number one concern as a trainer for our employees is to make you, our customers feel welcome and attended to in our stores. After meeting a big portion of our staff, I’ve been reassured. It doesn’t mean we can’t get better, but we have a good starting point.
Hockey Skate and Helmet Fitting
One major area we are stressing in our employee training initiative is skates. We make it very clear to our employees that the proper fit, the right gear for a particular level of play and being within players’ budgets are the main priorities. We are pushing our employees to get players into the right skates for them and their game.
You need what will hold up for you based on how often you are skating. You also need a skate that will perform at the level you need. Lastly, we want to make 100% sure that you are comfortable with the price of what you are getting.
Some players need higher level skates – our goal is to make sure everyone understands why that is the case. We want you in the best skate for YOU – not what all the NHL players are wearing.
Helmets are another big point of emphasis for our training program. Head injuries are one of the most talked about, argued and obsessed-over areas in the game today. Once again fit is king. There is no point of having a seat belt in a car if you aren’t going to wear it, right? The same goes for helmets.
We stress this to our staff: proper fit at the store, encouraging our customers to wear the helmet properly all the time. As with skates, having the right helmet for you becomes important. There’s higher levels and lower levels but our goal is to have at least the level of protection required for your level of play. Mites and Pro’s don’t need the same protection and our goal is to ensure that each player leaving our store has the right protection to step out on the rink. Lastly, finding a price you are comfortable with because helmets are not an area to try to save money. It’s arguably the most important piece of gear there is, but that doesn’t mean every single player should blindly buy what’s most expensive. We train our employees to make recommendations for you, give you reasons as to why certain helmets will be best for you and to make sure that you understand what you are paying for.
We want to push our employees to improve every day, with every customer and learn new things. We feel we have a staff that cares and understands this awesome game that we all love. We are confident that all of our employees are most interested in helping you.train our employees to make recommendations for you, give you reasons as to why certain helmets will be best for you and to make sure you understand what you are paying for.
The end-goal with our new and improved training program is to give our employees the tools to better assist you in our stores and get you out on the ice. If you ever have any questions about fitting or product, please don’t hesitate to call any of our local stores or our Customer Service group at 866-787-3462.