We may be an all over the world brand, but we can have local cafés issues! At Starbucks, too, selling capabilities need to be developed. Aurélia Chorrin, Human Resources Director of Starbucks Coffee France, explains the core of the “Sell Better” project set up by CSP. It must lead to sales being each employee’s business in a country where drinking coffee is a distinct ritual. An interview to be sipped on a terrace.

Aurélia Chorrin Directrice des Ressources Humaines – Starbucks CoffeeFrance How did you include this training in your human resources strategy?
This “Sell Better” project is a key project for our business. Because it concerns every member of the company: from the regional director of operations to the barista. Our goal is to develop sales skills and strengthen commitment around a common project on how to better sell and serve our customers. It’s teamwork.

Which aspect of the CSP solution particularly suited you? To call upon actors to enliven the training sessions, for example?
Yes, absolutely! We wanted something lively, something practical that everyone can relate to. And it works! Our Shift Supervisers gave us their first feedback: they are delighted! They know that they will leave the training with a clear implementation plan for the following day. We truly didn’t want to offer boring, theoretical training sessions… we particularly wanted something practical, experiential.But to maximize anchoring, we wanted a long-term project that would last a year… Even if the results are already encouraging, we are only at the beginning of the adventure. It’s November… and it will be a success when, next summer, we’ll see in our coffeehouses that sales practice has changed.

What mechanisms have you put in place to ensure the training is long-lasting?
In each coffeehouse, we have set up a person in charge of monitoring and sharing best practices. He or she must also ensure that it is carried-out over time. It is very important to us. It must be become part of our DNA so that new employees can also benefit from it, and the transmission can be as natural as possible.

In fact, this beautiful project concerns the sales culture of our country?
Yes, we are in a country where selling is complicated and not always highly-regarded. Moreover, as we employ young people who do not always have a diploma or for whom it is their first work experience, this sales culture is not necessarily known to them. 84% of our intake are people who are under 25. We are mostly a first-time employer; we ask our employees a certain savoir-vivre, i. e. to be able to chat with the client, to smile, to be welcoming… We encourage them to interact with the clients. But sometimes it’s not always sufficient to understand their wishes. We want to continue in this direction, to go further and make our partners feel more at ease in their job. We believe that if this is the case, they will be more efficient and therefore more accomplished in their work.

Interview by Nadia Ali Belhadj – CSP
Translated from French by Sarah Wodhouse – CSP