When you think Godiva, you think elegant, luxury chocolate and premium products. Unfortunately for Godiva’s execs, there was a noticeable difference between the brand’s worldwide reputation and its training initiatives. A breakdown was happening between employees: knowledge transfer could be described as scattered at best, and training lacked consistency across Godiva’s retail locations and specialty shops. For a chocolatier that has been crafting fine chocolates since 1926, Godiva company executives knew that they had to do a better job streamlining and upgrading training throughout their 600 retail locations. Consistent onboarding and training for their sales associate “Chocolatiers” was the key to elevating the brand’s training to the level of its reputation.
Godiva came to ELM with a specific problem: How to provide a consistent experience for learners while maintaining a sophisticated edge? ELM began the project with a Learning Experience Design session. There, it became clear that gaps between boutique manager training and training for their sales associate chocolatiers were causing a disconnect within the company. Boutique managers enjoyed an elevated training experience, but that wasn’t always passed on to the employees. Together, the ELM and Godiva teams designed a new strategy geared toward employee success and preserving the brand’s overall image. By combining new online learning experiences with the company’s existing manager/chocolatier shoulder-to-shoulder training, Godiva could better manage and control the customer experience at every boutique. ELM’s solution was to design separate training for boutique managers and chocolatiers. Chocolatiers would experience onboarding training to enhance specific, brand-centric skills like building rapport with customers, better salesmanship, questioning, storytelling, and perhaps most importantly, listening. These skills were broken up into six 10-minute, self-paced videos that paired each teaching activity with a self study. Once they completed each module, chocolatiers were then invited to practice their new skills with real customers to ensure better retention and action. For boutique managers, ELM created a coaching program designed to help them better assist chocolatiers through shoulder-to-shoulder training and targeted leadership opportunities. All training and content–some new, some taken from existing initiatives–was created and updated with a custom template patterned after the Godiva website. The design team even created cover slides to look like Godiva’s iconic gold boxes. By tying the training to the company’s branding, boutique managers and chocolatiers were better able to understand Godiva’s image, brand, and overall vision for an elegant customer experience.
The course was launched in November, 2016, and almost immediately began gaining attention in the learning and development industry. Soon after, the brand won the prestigious LEAD Award, which celebrates organizations with stellar leadership development and commitment to employee success. In fact, Godiva was the winner in four different categories: effective leadership training for sales leaders working in a retail environment; outstanding development of first-time managers; successful deployment of a learning management system; and best use of mobile technology to reinforce leadership across an organization. Awards are flattering, but the real achievement for Godiva was the positive impact of the new training on the employees, who overwhelmingly reported glowing feedback. Better management skills and a completely flexible way to improve success in different roles meant managers and chocolatiers were more motivated and prepared to deliver on-brand customer service. The numbers are just as positive as the feedback: Godiva’s executives measured success in reduced turnover and increased sales. In 2016, the company reduced turnover in the seasonal associates by 19.4% in comparison to 2015. The associates were not only more engaged, they were transacting more, demonstrating an increase in conversion by 1.7%, and a sales increase of 1%. Finally, for 2016, Godiva reduced the customer complaint to transactions ratio to 0.4%. The industry standard? Three percent. “We were very honored to accept our fifth award for our partnership on an onboarding program that we did together with ELM Learning . . . It’s been exceedingly well-received by all of our sales associates.” - Gail Scripko, Senior Manager in Learning and Development. “For the first time in Godiva history, we’ve created a global, seasonal collection training course, and we’ve done it with ELM—and the response has been phenomenal. We have teams from around the world as far away as Japan and Brussels, Hong Kong, London, that are experiencing this training and giving us amazing feedback. We are so thankful for this partnership.”—Karina Chiechi, Learning and Development Manager, Southern California.
Really love our new Chocolatier Onboarding. It’s simple and easy to navigate and has everything a new chocolatier would need to be successful in their new role.