Long-term project CPI Akademie Retail, aimed at improving customer service in the Czech Republic, has entered another year. Enrolments in workshops have started for salespeople in 13 shopping centres owned and operated by CPI Property Group across the country. The hands-on workshops delivered by experienced Ipsos lecturers provide sales staff with thorough knowledge of the retail segment’s inner workings while helping the staff provide better customer service and better manage the stress associated with their mentally taxing jobs.
The inaugural year of CPI Akademie Retail was launched in the spring of 2019. It attracted the participation of almost 170 shops. “With the feedback from the initial year, we were able to further develop the project and include even more extensive practical training. We are also acquainted with areas viewed by salespeople as especially demanding and therefore deserving extra attention. The approach we used in the first year has definitely shown its worth, combining workshops for shop managers and educational online video courses for all salespeople,” said Petra Knoblochová, who is responsible for the Akademie project inside CPI Property Group. “We see increasing interest in the project with the number of participants enrolling this year easily topping last year’s figure. We are really delighted by that. It demonstrates that salespeople are seeking further education and knowledge, it’s just a matter of providing the right opportunity.” she added.
The inaugural edition of the project took place in 2019 across nine CPI Property Group shopping centres. For 2020, the project is expanding to 13 malls, therefore covering almost the entire portfolio of the Group. Just as in 2019, CPI Akademie Retail will focus mainly on improving the customer experience and the basic sales skills standard. As an addition in 2020, the program will also cover the handling of difficult situations and responding to complaints. Another goal for this year is to intensify cooperation not just between the shopping centres and the brands represented in them but also between the centres and individual salespeople.
Salespeople as ambassadors for both their brands and shopping malls
“In the Czech Republic, we tend to undervalue the salesperson. The fact is that the salesperson has a very interesting job full of opportunity, not only in career development but also in personal development and growth. A salesperson that can really communicate with people, display empathy and show an ability to respond to the customer in recommending the right product matching their needs is worth their weight in gold. People with these qualities are indispensable in developing a positive relationship between customers and brands. They can drive revenues significantly, but in the first place, they serve as an asset to the customer who, after encountering such a quality salesperson, leaves the shop not just with a product they will enjoy but also with a warm feeling and a smile on their face,” observed CPI Akademie Retail’s author Petr Brabec, who is also Head of Asset Management, Shopping Centres, at CPIPG. “We understand the salesperson to be an ambassador for not only their brand but also for the shopping centre itself.”
CPI Akademie Retail is an educational program designed for all shop managers and salespeople in shopping centres owned and operated by CPI Property Group, the biggest owner of shopping centres in the Czech Republic. Following program graduations, individual salespeople and whole teams receive a certificate, while the shopping centre with the highest proportion of participating retail units is also recognised.