Every walk into a retail store, or have a discussion with a customer support representative and you know that they know absolutely nothing about your business. Either they are used to speaking to a corporate big wig with a huge purchasing budget or they are used to speaking with a mom or dad about their broken dryer.
It’s nice to speak to someone who knows about small businesses.
Well AT&T’s trying.
It recently announced that it has been trialing high-definition telepresence videoconferencing kiosks in several retail stores. They are designed to primarily support small business customers – by providing real-time, face-to-face communication with expert consultants.
The expert consultants can provide technical support or purchasing recommendations about AT&T wireless or wired solutions, as well as bundling of these services, based on individual business needs. In addition, they can offer insight about other AT&T business services such as website hosting, remote tech support, and online data backup.
In addition, the company announced today a Small Business Certification training program of AT&T retail store associates nationwide. The training is designed to ensure small businesses get expert guidance in determining which AT&T wireless devices, mobile broadband plans or mobile applications best suit their specific business needs.
I asked AT&T more about the training program:
What types of training do store associates received?
AT&T retail store associates nationwide have received in depth certification training designed to assist small business owners and decision makers determine which AT&T offers and solutions best help them connect with their customers, employees and partners. The training transforms sellers traditionally focused on consumers into small business specialists well-versed on smartphones, 3G-embedded netbooks, LaptopConnect data cards, small business focused mobile apps, and small business employee benefit programs.
How long does the training program last?
The training, featuring a series of seven in-depth training modules, generally takes about 20 hours total to complete. Over 65% percent of our store associates have successfully completed the small business certification training. A continuing education element with updated curriculum is planned for next year as well to ensure that small business customers are working with retail store associates, who are up-to-date on the latest offers and technology.
Any particular tips or pointers associates receive?
Our associates receive focused training in several areas, including consultative selling, probing questions and skills, and how to understand small business needs. Key to the process is developing a basic needs assessment of our customers – i.e., where they work (office, home); what kind of business; how many employees; key business drivers, etc. That really helps us recommend the AT&T services to best match their individual business requirements.