Why specialist investment in training pays off…
For the majority of hot tub and swim spa retailers, investment in specialist business training demands the commitment of both precious time and sometimes stretched staff resources. The payback results in more knowledgeable and confident business owners and staff. Undoubtedly, a company’s reputation will reap the rewards of a reassured customer base, reaffirming loyalty from customers who would not dream of drifting to competitor showroom doorsteps. Most measurable for that return on investment, is the payback in increased sales.
“We must not forget the burden that staff endure when things go wrong due to lack of training,” advises Richard Hart of Aqua Warehouse, distributors of the top selling Vita Spa, the Covana cover systems and a host of ancilliary products. “Good training ensures a higher service level which in turn ensures a happier customer but also happier staff,” he adds. Aqua Warehouse offers two-day training courses across its broad product range every month throughout this year with places filling up fast. “The onus on suppliers to offer courses but also the onus is on the companies to attend,” says Richard. “Time and money spent on training saves suppliers and dealers far more in the future. Customers benefit with swifter install times, less install errors, less failure rate due to poor installations.” Rob Carlin, Managing Director of Superior Spas agrees: “We know that good and essential dealer training will filter down to customers and our aim is to make sure all customer have the best experience when they are purchasing one of our products,” he emphasises.
Chris Brady of SpaTech Training concurs: “Investing in training your workforce is one of the quickest ways to improve staff morale, productivity and your bottom line. “Not only does it make for safer practices in your business, avoids expensive mistakes and staff absentees through workplace injury, training is proven to improve the speed, accuracy and efficiency of work tasks keeping overheads down and profitability up – great for longevity,” he adds. Chris again: “The hot tub industry, in the UK, is very unpredictable and sometimes frustrating, with two very different sides to the industry – the professional and ethical businesses and, well… the others. “For consumers, it is hard for them to differentiate between the two just by looking at websites and products,” he adds.Consumers relate professionalism to qualifications, certifications, affiliations and awards. “Consumers are now demanding companies to prove their competencies and give them assurance that you are trusted with their hard-earned money,” advises Chris.
“My philosophy is to train staff to make them feel, confident, competent, valued and safe and they will ensure your business and customers are safe, feel valued and they get value which is where you find your real rewards of customer loyalty and referrals.” Chris points out that for many years, training and education in the hot tub industry has been thin on the ground, mainly focusing on water chemistry training. “This is largely due to the industry being relatively immature compared to other industries in the UK and compared to Hot Tub Industries elsewhere in the world such as North America,” says Chris. “When we looked at the American Industry, which is over 20 years more mature than the UK, education and training is considered the norm and in fact, essential to the success of the biggest companies in the industry today.” In an industry that is becoming increasingly less seasonal, training is still concentrated around autumn and winter where companies have more time to commit to staff training. SpaTech Training is driving a full education and training programme into the UK and pioneering a new professional approach. Chris believes training should be considered a two-pronged approach as it is in most established industries – ‘foundations’ and then ‘building blocks’. The foundations should be standardised and focused on safety, knowledge and essential principles that relate to all products and services. Training courses such as the BISHTA’s Water Hygiene Management Course™, PHTA Certified Hot Tub Technician Course™ (CHTT™) give essential generic safety and technical training.
The ‘building blocks’ should be product/brand specific training, which can be delivered by training providers, but also by manufacturers and OEMs through specific training to ensure that their products are used correctly and safely. Soon to be unveiling a dedicated Hot Tub Training Centre at their 1 Stop Spas showroom in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, the SpaTech Training team has also added experienced technical and manual handling instructor Mike Spinks, to the team. “At SpaTech Training, our main focus is on delivering the essential foundation training over then next year, but as our industry transitions into a more professional approach, we will be offering specialist theory and practical workshops such as control system training workshops working with specific manufacturers,” says Chris. “Our long term goal is to bring accreditation schemes, qualifications and lifelong learning.” This year SpaTech Training continue to offer the in-demand CHTT & BISHTA Water Hygiene Management Courses, and piloted a brand new course – The BISHTA Holiday Park & Home Safe Hot Tub Operators Course. SpaTech Training is also continuing to offer its specialist Hot Tub Safe Manual Handling Course and are currently working on a new course for 2021 – the ‘Hot Tub Safe Installer Course’ which is aimed as an intermediate course to sit between the BISHTA Water Hygiene Management Course and the challenging Certified Hot Tub Technician™ Course.
GECKO TECHNICALTRAINING FOCUS
A dozen Superior Spas dealers, from all over the UK, gathered at The Village Hotel, Solihull for some vital pre, peak season training. The event focus was on technical training delivered by Gecko Alliance’s European Technical Support Manager, Bernard De Waele. Dealers soaked up the expert information and advice given by Bernard and all left with greater knowledge and technical confidence. The day was designed for engineers to gain a better understanding of all things Gecko and included many aspects of process of elimination, problem solving, along with a detailed run through of all Gecko products that are found in various Hot Tub ranges supplied by Superior Spa. Graham Message of Superior Spas said: “We, as a company, value the importance of ongoing dealer training and we are delighted that we were oversubscribed for this particular training day. “We aim to hold several training days throughout the year to give better ongoing training to our dedication dealer network. We are looking at further technical training with both Gecko and Balboa, along with sales and product knowledge training.”
Aqua Warehouse Group
Tel. 01245 477400
Tel. 01522 300737
Tel. 01246 559071