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Case Studies

How Ready to SERVE Helped Drive Sales by Creating a ‘Customer First’ Culture for A Top Liquor Retailer

A top liquor retailer as part of its five-year strategic goal wanted to instill a ‘customer first’ culture throughout the organization. Investment in employee learning and growth was required to achieve this goal. This liquor retailer selected Graff Retail as their partner of choice based on our ability to customize a sales and coaching training program that would provide them with a specific system for their retail locations.

Evaluating the Problem

We began the process by completing a comprehensive needs assessment at all store locations operated by the liquor retailer that determined:

  • There was a lack of clarity on goals, targets, and behavioural expectations that resulted in a lack of focus and consistent efforts to provide exceptional customer service.
  • Staff were unaware of how stores were performing, or of key metrics related to the business that they affect. This led to lower levels of employee engagement than desired.
  • Staff were not provided with the necessary skills to achieve the level of success that was desired. There were evident shortages in the staff’s sales and service ability. Store Managers also lacked the coaching skills needed to effectively develop their teams.
  • There were gaps in how sales data, including key metrics, were tracked and shared on a daily and weekly basis at the store level, resulting in a degree of complacency on the sales floor.

Setting the Right Goals

Following the needs assessment, Graff Retail determined that a proper Employee Development Program was required to achieve the desired objectives. This program would focus on:

  • Improving the ability of store level teams to sell and serve customers
  • Improve the ability of Store Managers to effectively coach their teams, in addition to systemizing coaching within the stores daily and weekly
  • Significantly enhancing the way goals were set by the organization, sharing results, and recognizing performance through an improved sales management process
  • The program needed to be sustainable over the long run, recognizing the need to continually train new staff each and every month
  • The store culture needed to be reflected in the program along with social responsibility commitments and the realities of the task-oriented nature of the liquor retailer’s stores

“The implementation of the training program met all our needs. Most significantly there has been a dramatic shift in the service culture in our stores.”

Executive | Industry Leading Liquor Retailer

A Customized Solution

The main goals of this program were to increase revenue, increase CSI results, and improve employee engagement levels. With these objectives in mind, Graff Retail developed a customized sales and service training system for the liquor retailer’s stores, products, and environment.

This program combined fully customized content with a comprehensive implementation and reinforcement strategy. This was wholly maintained at the store level using specially designed reinforcement tools to support and sustain the selling skills learned in the classroom. Store Managers were equipped with the necessary skills to return to their stores and train staff on the program. Taking this approach to training was not only highly effective but also sustainable over the long run.

To ensure skills learned were not forgotten, a comprehensive reinforcement strategy was implemented. This included daily training activities, shift starter meetings, bi-weekly coaching sessions, and structured staff meetings that all served to make the training stay alive in stores.

The “Ready to SERVE”  coaching system enabled managers to be more effective and confident in developing their teams. Store Managers learned fundamental coaching skills, how to set and track expectations, discuss store performance with team members, and conduct bi-weekly coaching sessions with their staff. The one-on-one coaching sessions were powerful opportunities for Store Managers to engage with staff, improve relationships, bolster skills, provide recognition, and drive performance.

After the program, Store Managers were able to provide feedback, motivate performance, set expectations, and create collaborative solutions with their teams.  Coaching became a part of daily store operations with Store Managers now having a structured system that guided them on when they needed to coach.

Proof that Training Works!

The program was created and implemented by Graff Retail on time and budget. The training program led to a significant impact on the overall sales and customer satisfaction at stores.


  • 9.3% increase in total sales from the previous year
  • 2.9% increase in basket size from the year before

Customer Satisfaction:

  • Willingness of staff to help rose from 64% to 73%
  • Friendliness of staff rose from 65% to 70%
  • Employee Engagement scores rose from 136 to 145 – 2 years ahead of schedule
  • Overall customer satisfaction rose from 87% to 91%
  • Customer service rose from 9.4/10 to 6/10

Further, management observed there was an increase in staff confidence and they were more engaged and spent more time on the sales floor with customers. With improved customer experience, the liquor retailer was able to strengthen its brand.


9.3% increase in total sales from the previous year


Overall customer satisfaction rose from 87% to 91%

Your sales teams could and should be selling more.

This Graff Retail White Paper explains what it takes to make this happen.

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