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10 Jul 2017

FNAC: an Internship to Discover First Hand the Challenges of Customer Relations

STAGES : Un directeur de la Fnac raconte son expérience

The FNAC retail group partnered with Grenoble Ecole de Management to train its directors and managers throughout France. As part of this partnership, the FNAC Beaugrenelle in Paris welcomed a GEM student in the Advanced Master’s Entrepreneurship program. The student was able to take part in the telephone sales service during the busiest month of the year.

During the month of December, FNAC Beaugrenelle welcomes up to 250,000 customers. “While business school students can be very smart, they sometimes lack a pragmatic perspective when faced with difficult situations. By interning in our sales service, they are able to discover first hand the challenges of customer relations and service,” highlights Thierry Brunet, director of FNAC Beaugrenelle. “As a mentor, I was committed to providing weekly feedback. This also enabled me to explore new knowledge and methods.”

Telephone department provides an excellent playground to learn about sales

The Advanced Master’s student was charged with selling telephones. Why telephones in particular? “The telephone sector is dynamic, innovative and features strong growth. During the month of December, the telephone service has to meet varied requests from many customers. You’re selling a product with services. It requires an understanding of a vast ecosystem, from accessories to dedicated services. This allows the student to explore all aspects of the sales process,” explains Thierry.

Implementing this training exercise during a period of high sales activity provides students with an excellent learning opportunity. They’re able to discover concepts such as profitability or making a “good sale.” During the month long internship, the student and mentor exchange on sales and the brand’s strategy. “There are many factors at play in a store that is both digital and physical. Students have to consider many challenges. In exchange, the student’s curiosity also led me to question my own opinions. For example, how can we simplify the customer experience during times of high activity, or how can we attract young customers who tend to favor online purchases,” says Thierry.

Internships are beneficial for students and companies

Welcoming an intern enables managers to explore subjects in a pragmatic and analytical manner. How to approach a customer? How to listen and exchange with customers to ensure an efficient and positive sales experience? Such questions provide both students and managers with the opportunity to acquire new knowledge.

Companies require salespersons to adapt to changing situations and environments. As a result, it’s essential to create a dynamic that fosters change and reassessment. “It’s up to companies to train future generations to understand the complexities of current and future sales environments. The third year student I welcomed was already quite well-informed. But he also had many strong convictions and ideas. This made it very interesting to have exchanges on the fundamentals of the sales process. Both of us took advantage of the other’s perspective in order to question even some basic concepts,” concludes Thierry.