Paméla Veslot is Head of Training and Skills Development Starbucks Coffee France. This is not the first time CSP has trained Starbucks partners. But, the project “Sell better” proposes a revolutionary approach, a real background work concerning sales posture. With a lot of willingness, she explains why… and how.

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. Photographer: Jason Alden   Photographer: Jason Alden 0781 063 1642

What prompted you to start this training?
In the United States, going to Starbucks is actually a daily need… like buying coffee to take away for breakfast, for example. It’s something we don’t do in France. Here, our customers come by choice, for pleasure. Even if Starbucks’ strength remains its “service excellence” to customers, we realized that to grow, we also needed a sales approach. Starbucks needed to adopt a sales approach. International training guides are based on Americans’ daily need to go to Starbucks and the American way of life. That’s why they put a great deal of emphasis on “service excellence” without emphasizing the sales postures… The idea was therefore to build a training course on “how to sell better” in line with our concept of “service excellence”!

Why do it now? Starbucks arrived in France a long time ago…
We have been established in France for “only” the last 13 years. We benefited from the novelty effect on both French customers and tourists. Since our arrival, competition has increased and coming to a coffeehouse has become commonplace… We must, now, satisfy even more our regular customers by becoming more efficient and better at recommending our products. We also wanted everyone to become an actor of their customer relationship. We wanted to anchor positive attitudes and postures in our customer relationship at Starbucks.

Why did you choose the CSP solution to address this problem ?
We were already working with CSP on our Middle Manager career paths, but more around customer relationship. This has enabled CSP to fully understand the specificity of our businesses. I still launched a call for tenders with other companies! But what I liked about this solution was that it allowed me to have a global approach. It went beyond acquiring good practices and led to grasping the meaning, i.e. raising awareness of everyone in the company. The objective was to make each “Middle Manager” autonomous in the coaching of his teams around sales. This project was developed with the Head of Operations, the “District managers” … The “Store Managers” were, of course, the first to be trained, then, in two stages, the “Middle Managers” : the first step in order to anchor the postures in front of customers and later, on “how to motivate my team” around sales. This two-stage implementation fitted in with the peaks of activity in our coffeehouses and has allowed us to boost our teams for the spring.

How will you evaluate this training?
By sales results, both in volume and average ticket. But not only! The teams are becoming aware that selling with pleasure is part of the service excellence: to be proud of the product we recommend to the customer… In fact, the first results are already there and we are satisfied! To continue, we are going to make this training compulsory for all new employees and it is the experts who will train them!

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

To go further : « For Starbucks, ‘Sell Better’, as a key training project calls for the commitment of all employees » An interview of Aurélia Chorrin, Human Resources Director of Starbucks Coffee France.