Part of Home Retail Group, Homebase is the UK’s leading home enhancement retailer and is recognised for choice, style and customer service across the wider home enhancement market. It has more than 300 large, out-of-town stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland.
It sells over 38,000 products across DIY and decorating, home and garden ranges, and has a growing internet offering. Homebase serves over 65 million customers per year through its stores.
Working in conjunction with MidKent College, Walsall College developed a bespoke City and Guilds Painting and Decorating course to specifically meet objectives outlined by Homebase. The training was designed to up-skill retail staff and increase their product knowledge, enabling them to give more accurate and confident advice to Homebase customers, with a focus on driving sales.
The intense five-day course covers various stages of painting and decorating including how to prepare different surfaces, techniques in applying paint and wallpaper and how to choose the right tools and products for the job. The course was first trialled by MidKent College with staff at a Homebase store in Aylesford while it underwent redevelopment. Following the store’s relaunch, a high increase in both sales and customer satisfaction was reported, giving Homebase the confidence to roll the programme out nationally with Walsall College selected as its preferred training provider in the West Midlands.
Over 30 customer service advisors from Homebase stores across the West Midlands, including Sutton Coldfield, Oldbury, Solihull, Leamington Spa and Worcester, have been awarded with a Level 1 certificate after successfully completing the course in the college’s specialist construction department. Ian Towse, Customer Service Development Manager at Homebase, said: “We strongly believe that investing in our staff is central in supporting our proposition of being the first store customers come to for their decorating needs. If our staff have the relevant skills and feel confident in their knowledge of the products we offer, it will ensure customers leave the store with everything they need to complete their DIY project.
“The course has already demonstrated that it provides a high return on investment by driving sales in key areas, however the longterm benefits will have an even greater impact on our business, as satisfied customers are more likely to return to a store following a positive experience.”