Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Vitthappa Shiddappa Shirur
A native of Jadramakunte Village, Bagalkot district which lacks even basic amenities like water and power, feeding his mother and brother on a measly salary of Rs.2000 p.m., was a struggle. Added to this, was a tobacco addiction.
The Alamba team discovered him in a candidate mobilization program and after much persuasion and discussion with his family, brought him to Bangalore for the Pankh retail training program. Here, he was trained in basic computer skills and English which found him a job in Nigiris as CSA (Customer Service Associate) on a monthly salary of Rs.7.500/- apart from benefits like EPF and ESI.
Born in Nellahalli Village, Mubarak worked with his father in the family-owned kirana store. But a bad debt forced them to give up the store and though Mubarak wanted to work, his disability came in the way.
At Alamba-Pankh Retail training, he learnt Communication English, Basic Computer, Retail and Life SkillsTraining. After this, he found employment in Hyper City Mall as a CSA (Customer Service Associate) with Rs.9.500/- salary per month and benefits. He was even awarded Best Performer of the Month.
Today, Mubarak has not only cleared his father’s loan, but has also booked a flat and is returning the lost dignity and respect to his family.
Sangeetha Bhimappa Kumbar
Sangeetha Bhimappa Kumbar from Muganur village was afflicted by polio at age 7. She studied till 4th standard post which she joined a girls’ hostel in Hubli to continue her education. She returned home to continue her education for which she borrowed money from friends and relatives, which she used to pay back with her disability pension.
When she heard about Alamba and Pankh project, she attended a training program. Her positive disposition found her a job in Nilgiris as a Cashier. Today, she is looking after her parents and also planning to continue her education.
Sharanappa Y Hadapad
Sharanappa Y Hadapad is from Salapur Vilage which lacks even basic amenities like power, transportation and water. His father is an agricultural coolie Worker and he has 2 siblings apart from his own wife and son. He used to run a hair salon in his village which he had to close due to lack of business. Agriculture was also not an option due to his disability. So he started simply roaming around the village depressed.
This was when Alamba found him and brought him to Alamba–Pankh Center, Bangalore. When he joined the training, he was unable to read, not even Kannada, but he soon picked up Basic English, Kannada and basic computer skills and life skill training.
Today, he works in Nilgiris earning Rs.7,500/- p.m. and all benefits which is helping him take care of his family.
Monday, 13 July 2015
If faith can move mountains, so can Leelavathi D.H.
Born to an underprivileged family in Shimoga District, Karnataka, her father could barely support his wife and five children. To further his woes, Leelavathi was afflicted with polio at the tender age of 5.
Thanks to the support of her family, she managed to complete her B.E and Diploma in Computer Science Engineering course from Bangalore. Luck, however, did not favour her in her job pursuit. IT companies chose to look at her disability rather than her determination and finally, she had to settle for jobs in small BPOs. 3 years later, weary of late night shifts and the constant discomfort of wearing a headset, she quit.
Around that time, Leelavathi’s father attended a Pankh mobilization event and encouraged her to take it further. She underwent retail training for 60 days at Alamba Charitable Trust, one of the partners. Initially, she was diffident about finding a job, as experience had taught her otherwise, but soon her confidence grew along with her aptitude for Life Skills and Retail Modules Training.
Today, Leelavathi is a CRM Executive at CKC Company. She is thankful to Pankh for helping her to not only dream, but dream big. She aims to rise to the position of Corporate Manager in the Administration Department. It has been just a month, but is already receiving praise for her performance from Vijender Singh, Head HR for CKC.
Beginning this month, we are featuring activities retailers undertake to keep their employees highly engaged. This ensures job satisfaction as well as a work-life balance apart from creating an environment of camaraderie.
For the first article in this series, we feature Star Bazaar.
1. Family Day:
A picnic on August 8, 2014 encouraged better bonding between colleagues and their family members.
2. Holi Celebration:
Holi, the Festival of Colours was celebrated with great excitement.
3. Kids at Work:
Star Buzz, Star Bazaar’s internal ‘Fun at Work’ committee brought Christmas to life with their employees’ kids in the office with exciting activities and events.
4. Retail Employees Day:
To celebrate the services of their retail employees and create pride of belonging to the retail community, Retail Employees' Day is celebrated on 12th December every year at Star Bazaar.
This year, employees were captured on camera speaking about their success stories, happy moments and life at Star Bazaar. This was shared with other employees across the country. Everyone was treated to a special meal and cake, followed by some fun activities. Individuals also took this opportunity to appreciate and thank other colleagues for their efforts, hard work and commitment. The result was a beautiful vibrant board proudly displaying hundreds of Thank You notes for colleagues across the organisation.
5. Swachh BHARAT ABHIYAAN – Making a Sweeping statement
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and launched on 2nd October 2014, Gandhi Jayanti with an aim to accomplish the vision of ‘Clean India’ by 2nd October 2019.
Star Bazaar participated in this on 27th October 2014 across all offices, stores and Distribution Centres, where employees cleaned nearby areas, thus contributing towards society by cleaning up the environment.
6. Women’s Day Celebration
To salute their contribution, Women’s Day was celebrated across the entire organization through several events which made them feel special.
Enriching the lives of 4000+ Retail Associates & Customers across 7 Cities and 13 malls in 5 Minutes.
The recommended level of physical activity for adults is usually 30 minutes of light to moderate activity 5 times a week. But what do you do if you have no time to exercise?
This was a question that constantly plagued retail associates around the country. They often stand for hours on end and hardly find an opportunity to incorporate a fitness regimen in their everyday routine. This lack of exercise coupled with work stress would take a toll on their health.
To better the lives of our people and empower them physically and emotionally, this year on June 21, International Yoga Day, TRRAIN in association with Isha Yoga Foundation, introduced a special program to encourage retail associates to invest time in their personal fitness.
The program involved 3-5 modules of 5-8 minute Yoga Asanas that retail associates can practice during their breaks, on the way to work and at home. These are simple, easy, do not require much time or effort and still keep one fit and healthy.
i. Energizing the body system
ii. Reduction in Stress and tiredness
iii. Enhancing the functioning of the brain leading to higher alertness
Over 4000 retail associates & customers across 7 cities and 13 malls benefited from this program.
This is one of TRRAIN’s many initiatives towards their commitment to providing health and social security benefits to employees in retail.
Wednesday, 10 June 2015
Like most professionals, front-end retail associates have dreams that extend beyond the retail counter. In 2014, TRRAIN with the help of Landmark Group Dubai took these dreams to new horizons with a 3-day International study tour for the Top 3 winners of the TRRAIN Retail Awards 2014 - Pankaj Kumar, Vinod Badoni and Farah Khan.
The objective was to give these associates an opportunity to understand retail better through an international lens, understand where they could bring about improvements in their everyday jobs and share their learning with their peers. The intensive itinerary included studying at the Landmark Retail School to expose them to some of the Best Practices adopted by international retailers.
They had an opportunity to meet Mr. Ramnathan Hariharan,
Max and Director Landmark Group to understand Retailing in Dubai. They
conducted store visits and detailed discussions on operations with Mr. Simon
Copper, COO, Centre Point, as well
as studied Max stores and Carrefour stores to understand their formats and operations.
In addition, they met Mr. Mederic Payne, CEO
of Home Centre and visited the Mall of Emirates and Dubai Mall to study in-line
stores v/s luxury stores operations.
All 3 winners acknowledged that this was their first international exposure to retail and that they were completely transformed by it. Here are some excerpts.
Q: What did this trip mean to you?
Farha: The trip added to my experience. Going to these stores has helped me learn new things. It is totally different from India and was a great eye opener and a great learning.
Pankaj: My life has changed not only professionally, but also personally. I had the chance to meet the senior level people of the Landmark group. It’s like a dream come true.
Vinod: This trip was so great for us. We learnt a lot of new things in this trip. Especially about Dubai's business culture.
Q: After this trip, what would you like to share with your other associates in retail?
Farha: Work harder and with more sincerity and honesty and success will eventually be yours.
Pankaj: Keep doing the good work and always delight your customers. Even you could win the TRRAIN Retail Award and make your company proud.
Vinod: I keep motivating my colleagues also to perform their best and do something good for others without any expectations.
Q: How do you feel about winning the TRRAIN Retail Awards and getting a chance to visit Dubai?
Farha: My family is more proud of me and respect me as an individual. My parents are extremely happy. Winning the award has increased my self-esteem and confidence. Life has more meaning. I feel like I have my own identity now.
Pankaj: Now, everyone in my company knows me by my name, not only in Titan but also across all Tata companies.
Vinod: This trip is one of the greatest achievements of my life and I believe that the knowledge and experience I have gained during this trip will help me to grow in my career and take me to the higher level. I am very thankful to TRRAIN for this lifetime opportunity. After this trip as a National Winner of the TRRAIN Retail Awards 2014, I felt more motivated and confident in my working areas.
A big initiative which has made an even bigger difference. TRRAIN’s commitment to retail employees will continue to break new ground which will encourage every one of them across the country to deliver great customer service.
Monday, 8 June 2015
Inspired by the TRRAIN Retail Awards, World's Best Sales Associate awards were launched by The World Department Store Forum to recognize outstanding work in the retail sphere across the globe.
The Award Ceremony held in April 2015 in Rome awarded 3 finalists who were selected by a panel of experts, led by B S Nagesh from TRRAIN. The jury’s goal was to honour exceptional performances by a sales associate in fulfilling customer expectations, commitment beyond duty, product knowledge, team work and commercial results. Eva Bunzel, from The KaDeWe Group, won the trophy and shared some examples which demonstrated her passion and dedication to exceptional customer service. She was joined on stage by her CEO André Maeder.
Picking up from where we left off, we’re now going to share the inspiring stories of the 3 winners in the World's Best Sales Associate 2015 award category.
Eva Bunzel from the Kadewe Group - Winner
Eva pioneered the concept of ‘Wellness Shopping’. When the idea was in its pilot stage, she tested it by inviting a regular customer and her friend to a presentation of the latest collections. She combined this presentation with Shiseido beauty treatment as well as catering. That’s where Wellness Shopping all began. She followed up this experiment by inviting twenty best regular customers to the Wellness Shopping session. In cases where the ladies took part with their entire families, Eva organized a tasting in the wine department of the legendary gourmet floor for the men. While their husbands were busy tasting fine wine, their better halves were advised in the latest fashion trends. At the end of that day, a purchase of approximately $ 15,000 was made. The women bought clothing, makeup and shoes and their men bought wines and multimedia products.
Two years ago, Eva received a request from an architect. He wanted her to set-up an apartment for a customer with the assistance of Eva’s personalized shopping service. The request demanded that she arrange everything for the entire apartment, from towels to crockery and cutlery to linens and kitchen appliances. What’s more, the customer had given no budget! Eva took up the challenge and with the help of some hardworking colleagues, successfully completed this job. For this assignment, she transacted about $70,000 and even secured a follow-up order for the decoration of a house.
This is a classic example of how Eva used initiative and innovation to take customer experience to new levels of amazing!
To read the stories of the other 2 finalists in this category, click here.
Roosevelt from Macy’s - Finalist
Roosevelt is no ordinary retail associate; he’s a retail ninja. That’s because Roosevelt exceeds his customers’ expectations every single day. While helping a couple select outfits for an upcoming cruise, Roosevelt took the time to offer multiple options and made sure that they would be the best-dressed couple on the boat. This initiative led the couple to send Roosevelt text messages and pictures saying, "Everyone wants to know where we got our outfits from. We told them they need to go see Roosevelt at Macy’s, White Marsh. Thank you for making us feel like a million bucks. We will be back soon to see you!"
On another occasion, Roosevelt helped a young man who came to shop for an upcoming interview. Roosevelt made sure to dress him from head to toe and even dropped some advice on what to say in the interview. Suffice to say, the young man was thrilled and also landed the job!
Roosevelt is a powerhouse combination of customer care and product knowledge. He consistently offers his customers style options and educates them on the best and most appropriate accessories for their outfits. His YouTube video series, Roosevelt Knot, which demonstrates his excellent skills in tying ties has gone viral.
On one occasion, he went beyond the "call of duty" and ran the Home Store during the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, while an Executive was out. Now, Roosevelt serves as Sales Supervisor during the Holiday Season.
Little wonder why, for 2014, Roosevelt's sales were nearly $100,000 more than the previous year.
John Kirby from Selfridges - Finalist
What happens when determination, time management, multi-tasking, trend knowledge, drive and strong client networking converge? John Kirby; that’s what happens.
When presented with the opportunity to service a VIP client, who prefers to shop out of business hours and stays until well after midnight, John took up the client and went well out of his way to assist the customer. Additionally, when this client was hosting a party John arranged for her favourite celebrity to attend it.
With expansive product knowledge at his disposal, John was able to create massive amount of product and buying options for his customers. This helped him in increase YTD sales per hour to $635.00 compared to the department average of $269.00.
With a client book of 1000+ members, John continually strives to offer them specially tailored and useful services. Once a client informed John about how he broke his back in an accident. John immediately sent him a get well card and kept him up-to-date with images of new products throughout his recovery, so that he didn’t miss out on anything while he was bed-ridden. Post recovery, the client spent a great deal of money in the store. What’s more, his wife is now John’s client too.
This level of personalization combined with John’s extensive product knowledge has resulted in sales totaling $1m, exceeding his previous year's sales performance by +25%.
Initiative, insight, innovation and imagination; these are the qualities that make successful leaders. Stay tuned to our next newsletter! Until then, we hope these three stories have inspired you to write your own story.
These Retail Associates Prove That A Disability Can’t Affect Your Ability To Succeed.
When your work is outstanding, acknowledgement naturally follows. That’s exactly what Sandip Makare, Rakesh Dhakta and Veerayya S Halgimath have proven time and again. What’s exceptional is not that all three of them are superstars in their own right, but rather that they are so despite their disabilities.
From Housekeeper to 2-Time Star Performer.
Sandip Makare, who is speech & hearing impaired, completed his training with Pankh in October 2014. Since then, he’s been employed with Reliance Retail - Value format at Nerul, Mumbai. He has consistently displayed hard work, dedication & retail acumen; little wonder why he’s bagged the Star Performer Award twice already.
Meet The Superstar of NM Chocoholics.
Another such example is Rakesh Dhakta. While he has a speech and hearing impediment, his enthusiasm is far from affected by it. Rakesh, a Malad East resident, enrolled for training at the Pankh Smart Center, Santacruz in January 2015. Post training, he has developed innovative ways to communicate with customers like using graphic illustrations for pricing, among others. He works at NM Chocoholics, Hiranandani Garden, Powai, and sometimes single handedly manages the shop too.
From Associate to 2-Time Star Award Winner and Future Team Leader.
Then there’s Veerayya, a differently abled but highly talented youngster from Dharwad, Karnataka. He found out about Pankh-Samarthanam retail training through a newspaper advertisement and enrolled himself in order to support his poverty-stricken family. That was a good choice for Veerayya whose dedication and consistency at Mega Mart, Bangalore where he is employed, has earned him two Star awards for excellent customer service and one appreciation letter too. He is highly motivated and aims to become a Manager.
Someone once said, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude”. And judging by their attitudes, we’d say they’re empowered!
If you would like a Pankh trainee to become your next superstar employee call us on 022-28443256 (or) write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org (or) visit us at www.pankhindia.org
Friday, 15 May 2015
VIP Customer Service
Mr. John Kirby who works at Selfridges, is one of the three finalists at the World's Best Sales Associate Awards, held as a part of World Department Store Forum in Rome, Italy.
|John Kirby (Selfridges) Award finalist, Anne Pitcher (Selfridges)|
The key to John’s success this year has been a result of determination, time management, multi-tasking, trend knowledge, drive to meet sales targets, and a core focus on strong client-telling/networking.
When given an opportunity to service a VIP client, who prefers to shop out of business hours and remains until well after midnight, John went well out of his way to assist the customer. He also arranged for a celebrity she is a fan of to attend a party she was hosting. The loyalty this level of personalized service has created has resulted in $100k of sales last year. With immense product knowledge, John was able to create a vast amount of product and buying options for his customers which helped him in increasing YTD sales per hour to $635.00 compared to the department average of $269.00.
With a client book of 1000+ members John strives to give them a tailored and useful service. One client informed John of breaking his back. He immediately sent him a get well card and kept him up-to-date with images of new products throughout his recovery. Once recovered the client spent a great deal of money in the store and in addition his wife is now John’s client. This approach has lead him to exceed his previous year's sales performance by +25% totaling $1m this year.
Ms. Eva Bunzel, the Finalist & Winner of the world's Best Sales Associate Awards at the recently concluded World Department Store Forum 2015 in Rome, Italy.
Her Story of Customer Service Excellence:
To truly pamper and exceed the expectations of customers, Eva created the concept of ‘Wellness Shopping’. To test the idea, a regular customer and her friend were invited to a presentation of the latest collections which was combined with Shisedo beauty treatment as well as a catering. She also followed this up by inviting twenty best regular customers to the Wellness Shopping session. In some cases, the ladies took part with their entire family. On one such occasion, a customer brought her best friend, her husband and two adult sons. Since Eva wanted to focus her attention on the ladies, she organized a tasting in the wine department of the legendary gourmet floor for the men. In the meantime, the ladies were advised in the latest fashions. At the end of the day a purchase of approximately $ 15.000 was made, the women bought clothing, makeup and shoes, the men wines and multimedia products.
Two years ago, Eva received a request from an architect asking if it would be possible to set-up an apartment for a customer with the assistance of the personal shopping service. The request included arranging everything for the entire apartment, from towels to crockery and cutlery to linens and kitchen appliances and the customer had given no budget! With the help of some hardworking colleagues she had successfully completed this job. For this assignment, she transacted about $70.000 and there was a follow-up order for the decoration of a house.
Apart from these two instances Eva has played an active role to take part in product trainings, introducing new collections to seasoned customers, networking between the various companies in Kadewe, so customers can try not only the latest collection, but also current make-up trends, the newest shoes and accessories.
|B S Nagesh (TRRAIN) | Maxime Dupont (L'Oréal Luxe) | Andre Maeder (The KaDeWe Group) | Eva Bunzel (The KaDaWe Group)|
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
We are happy to announce that TRRAIN was adjudged 2015’s Non-Profit Marketer of the Year by the DMAi aka Direct Marketing Association: India. DMAi celebrates the spirit of direct & interactive marketing with innovation, collaboration and creativity. The eminent jury comprised marketing maverick Sanjay Behl from Raymond serving as chairperson, along with other highly distinguished panel members.
Over the years, TRRAIN has consistently been reinventing the way the world views marketing within a non-profit business model. Some of our highly effective marketing campaigns which were considered watch-worthy by DMAi were:
Pin a Medal Campaign
On Retail Employees Day, 2014 (RED), we encouraged retailers to appreciate & recognise the efforts of a retail associate not only by thanking them but also by honouring their tireless efforts by “pinning a medal”. This idea was pivotal to the entire RED campaign.
TRRAIN Trekkers, initiated last year, has seen 4 individuals walk at the Oxfam Trailwalker event representing TRRAIN as their ‘Charity of Choice’. Also, we had 11 individuals representing TRRAIN as their ‘Charity of Choice’ at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2015 along with a 15 member team from Shoppers’ Stop Ltd. What’s more, we managed to fund-raise approximately 3.5 lakhs from this exercise.
On Retail Employees’ Day, we recruited 27 student as ‘TRRAIN Journalists’ from top post-graduate institutes in Mumbai and Bengaluru, placed them at various malls in the two cities and had them record the celebrations and live-tweet about it.
"TRRAIN being a not-for profit organization, it is our constant endeavor to reach our retailers & retail employees with a succinct message at all times. We have used a 360 degree approach for communicating to our beneficiaries which includes direct marketing, social & digital media marketing other than the traditional methods. Our approach has been different from the traditional NGO's. We at TRRAIN are very happy that our efforts have been recognized so early in our journey to create social impact in the retail industry & thank DMAI for the same." Ameesha Prabhu, CEO, TRRAIN (Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India)
Winning the Marketer of the Year Award in the Non-Profit Category acknowledges TRRAIN’s penchant for innovation in the marketing space and while helping it take a step forward in achieving its vision to empower every single retail associate in India.
Recently, TRRAIN achieved a challenging feat in a mere seventeen days; training over 900 retail associates across the country. The focus of the training was Liva, a high quality fabric by Aditya Birla Retail Limited (ABRL) that moves naturally with your body while reducing your carbon footprint.
The sole objective of the training program was to update every customer facing executive associated with 6 leading retail brands, namely, Allen Solly, Pantaloons, Van Huesen, Global Desi, Fusion Beats and 109°F, about Liva. Herein lay the real challenge; if executives were to sound convincing while selling the product they had to be convinced about it themselves. Hence, educating them on everything from the science behind Liva to the technology used to produce it was pivotal.
This necessitated a 2-hour long training module comprising videos, PowerPoint presentations and role playing games to cover enough ground about Liva with the associates. What’s more, we set ourselves a target of conducting the module at 4-5 stores per day. Though they were constantly on the move, the energy and enthusiasm levels of our trainers did not dip for even a moment. Instructor Led Training (ILT) combined with On Job Training (OJT) kept engagement levels at a peak.
Trainings continue through the month of April and an assessment of every customer service associate trained will be submitted to ABRL for audit to gauge if their learning objective was achieved. And we are proud to say, the feedback coming in has been excellent.
A program was organized by Reliance Retail to felicitate the outstanding contribution of the employees with disabilities at the organization. Reliance Retail started by hiring 33 speech and hearing impaired trainees in Mumbai for various roles thought advocacy by TRRAIN under Pankh initiative. Since then, they have been strongly supporting and recommending the hiring of persons with disabilities across the country. Reliance Retail has people with disabilities as their employees working at various Reliance Fresh, Super & Mart stores spread across Mumbai. Commenting on the experience, Shweta Baghel, Chief Manager - Human Resource, Reliance Industries Ltd said,"During store visits and meetings, it has been emphasized on the fact that these employees are contributing exceptionally well to the overall store performance through their special abilities, hard work, dedication & retail acumen".
Gracing the occasion, we had Mr. Sameer Satere, Head HR - West Zone, Reliance Retail Ltd speaks on recruiting Persons with Disabilities at Reliance stores. "After being introduced to the TRRAINs Pankh Project, we hired a batch of 10 deaf students for our Flagship store in Mumbai. After 8 days of their placement, when we took their performance feedback from the store, the feedback was superb. The customer Interaction was overwhelming and the store manager was very happy with the kind of work the Pankh Students were doing. Currently we have more that 50 people with disabilities working with Various Reliance formats".
The felicitation ceremony witnessed Ms Baghel, Mr Satere and Mr G R Venkatesh from the Reliance Retail HR team to hand over the certificates to their employees for their great performance in the stores they are placed in followed by a focus group discussion between Pankh Team, the Reliance HR team and Pankh Students now working with Reliance formats to address if they have any concerns. This showcases the organization's employee-centric policies and concern towards the growth or flawless working atmosphere for every employee. Speaking of the occasion, G R Venkatesh, Chief Human Resource Officer, Reliance Retail said, "Most of the times the Pankh Students bring to the table a much higher level of empathy, customer Centricity, politeness, courtesy, an ability to learn & train themselves and a burning desire to be of use and help to people around them whether they are customers, or the
company or the organization they work. We look forward to having more such students working in our organization with us."
At the ceremony many of the Pankh students working as Reliance Retail employees, spoke about their tenure with the brand. Nilesh Yewle, one of the Pankh students spoke of his experience of working at one of the outlets in Reliance retail. He has a diploma from J. J. School of Art. He was recruited with Reliance Retail post his Pankh Training as Customer Service Associate. The HR team understood the potential he had for designing after seem his involvement and work in creative jobs in the store. He was then reevaluated and HR team offered him to join as a Creative Merchandise designer for Reliance Retail Outlets. This has boosted his and like minded and potential Pankh student to find a career growth and an industry that will provide them the platform to showcase their talent and use the same for the optimum level of work in the industry and the organization.