Training is defined as “The action of teaching a person a particular skill or type of behavior”. Internal training has always been a part of the learning process at Harris, but was never formalized on a day-to-day basis. Of course, ‘Harris University’ has been a staple of our yearly commitment to our newer associates, and also during the slower winter months, vendor/product classes were scheduled by each individual division. We also maintain a ‘learn and earn’ online program that rewards completed vendor courses with Harris gear for associates. But it is only now that the newly formed Harris Learning Center can address knowledge gaps and training needs year around on an in-person basis and I am very excited to be part of this new program.
Our company has always been growing, both physically and in sales volume. This constant growth needs to be supported by more sales, customer service & support staff. Our President & CEO Kim asked me if I would don my ‘professor’s cap’ and hit the road to reach out to all new hires throughout the organization. Since the second week of July, I have trained over 20 new associates, stretching out from Eastern Mass. to North Carolina and west to Allentown, Pa. and Rochester, N.Y. I still have another dozen or so to meet as of today and expect the list to keep growing as Harris keeps expanding.
How is the training structured? Basically, I start with the company’s history so our newest associates can appreciate what the company’s roots are. Then we go into ‘What is Expected’ of them when making contact with a customer. The most powerful question we can ask our customers is “What are you Building?”. That simple question can open up a conversation that goes well beyond “what can I get you today?”. What a customer wants is not always what he/she needs and it is our goal to provide stellar service each and every time we interact with them. I am also a firm believer that if you cannot dive into a project specification book or read and quickly scan a set of blueprints, you are going to miss customer’s expectations and ultimately sales opportunities. Thus, our Learning Center also offers a blueprint and job specification course.
With good professional customer service skills, telephone etiquette, product knowledge, and strong blueprint reading skills, any Harris associate gets the opportunity to rise above our competition and to be ranked alongside our most experienced, seasoned sales professionals. I will continue to do my best to make that happen.