Day 2

The holiday vibes became more difficult to suppress as we approached Biskra House, a stunningly beautiful and elegant former hotel with sea views. This was to be our training location for the rest of the week – really! The entrance welcomed us with its layers of calming neutral colours accented with the familiar greens, blues and sand colours of the brand. It felt more like a calm and tranquil beachside holiday home with a welcoming and relaxed ambience.

The day started with introductions, and as we went around the room I began to feel nervous – how was I going to fit in among a crowd of experienced and talented people? One person had worked for a high-end skincare brand for 30 years, several people had many years of retail experience, and I had no experience of the beauty industry. Also, I was clearly the oldest thing there apart from the building I was sitting in.

I found the training challenging and thought provoking. I made lots of notes and have since referred to those notes regularly – I am so glad I was diligent in writing things down, as it’s easy to forget something but a turn of phrase brings everything back. It’s also so useful to marry the theory of then with the practical reality of now and doing the job. I have found it reassuring to look back on those notes and the scaffolding that the induction provided.

The day continued with a Liz Earle first-class service workshop and the customer service model, which to me is summed up by ‘we care more’ – because if something is important to you, then you will put in the extra effort and do the extra things which sets the brand apart. It’s the details that matter and often it is not what you do but how you do it, not what you say but how you say it.

I was given the tools to do the job, advised on how to use the tools with a manual, handouts, demonstrations, question and answer sessions to name just a few of the methods. However, I knew I would have to look to myself to put these guidelines into action and learn how to do the best possible job.

I came away from the day with the letter ‘S’ flitting around in my head and I decided to use it as a memory aid. ‘S’ is for smile, ‘S’ is for seeking out the answers that tell you so much more than ‘S’ for skin type, the conversation with the customer that tells you how that customer is feeling. I realised that this business is more than just about a customer’s skin type, it’s also about a customer’s own self-perception and how you can help them not only look good but feel good.

‘S’ is for show you care, display a genuine interest in the customers so that they trust you to give them genuine, honest advice that will make a tangible difference. ‘S’ is for seat – take a seat – after all, you do not talk about important stuff standing up, do you? I prefer a cosy friendly chat sitting down. Yes, they may buy more – great! But even better, they will see more results and that means the customer comes back, time and time again. ‘S’ is also for swotting up on the products because you cannot give accurate advice if you do not know your subject and the customer has an instinct for sales patter! The thought that has stayed with me is that this job begins and ends with ‘S’ – for service, exceptional service. Everything else then should fall into place.

The impression I had was that the Liz Earle brand views its most precious commodity as the customers and staff; treat people well, strive to give exceptional service and the business will follow.