As the second part of my on-boarding process here at ACK, I was tasked with working a half day at the Austin Store location. Much like my day in the warehouse, I was excited about this as it was going to be a new experience for me. As a long standing ACK customer prior to becoming an employee, I had been in the store many times. I went in frequently for new ideas and products to outfit my Diablo Chupacabra so I figured this day would be a breeze. I would come to find that things were definitely different on the staff side of the store experience.
As I started my day, things were normal and familiar until I received the section by section walk-through of the entire store. For me this was like a kid in a candy store. I got to look at how every section of the store was built and why. It’s truly about customer experience. I understood the layout from a customer perspective but it came together a little more when I looked at it from the staff perspective. Normally I would browse through products I normally need/use but the walk-through opened my eyes to many new products.
After the store walk-through I was introduced to the install service section. I had always known this was there but never went in. I came in at a good time as one of the team members was right in the middle of installing a rudder on the back of a Chup. This was perfect for me as this is a pending project on my list. The install team was good! They were quick, precise and obviously had done this many times. Next to the service area was the layaway section of the store. I never knew ACK had layaway program or I would have taken advantage of it a long time ago!
Next, I received a tour of the rental and boat storage. I never knew this section of ACK existed. This is where I learned about their huge stock of rental inventory. I got excited when I saw which boats were available to rent. I have a long list of boats I’ve been wanting to try, one being the Hobie Pro Angler. I’ll be taking this one out very soon!
The rental section wrapped up my tour and now it was time to work the floor. As customers came in I did my best with the kayak knowledge I had to give them a good experience. I walked several customers through kayak models and features. This was probably the best part of the day. I got to talk about kayaks with people who love kayaking; it doesn’t get much better than that.
While working the floor I got to experience the expertise of the store staff. When talking to customers they were able to dissect exactly what the customer’s needs were and point them into a kayak choice that made sense. I was impressed!
The rest of my time flew by. I thoroughly enjoyed working the store. When I was engaged with the customers, it didn’t feel like work- it felt like I was talking kayaks with some long time friends I had never met before. I guess that is one of the many great things about kayaking and the ACK community. Ultimately, I think my experience working for a half day at the Austin store allowed me to learn the ins and outs of what makes ACK so different from other outdoor retailers as well as a little extra knowledge in customer service.