Training Key to Making the Most of Book Sense Electronic Gift Card Program

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A sample Book Sense Gift Card.

As the fall -- and the all-important holiday gift-buying season -- approaches, ABA is encouraging booksellers to sign up to participate in the Book Sense Electronic Gift Card Program as soon as possible to have the cards available for sale by October 1. The Book Sense Electronic Gift Card Program Participation Agreement and order forms for the cards are available online at

Shortly after signing up to participate in the program, booksellers will receive a telephone call from Givex, Book Sense's partner in gift card processing, to review the order and to determine what type of staff training program is necessary, based on the chosen method of gift card processing and the bookstore's needs. ABA's marketing director, Jill Perlstein, said that early preparation before the holiday season gets underway is key. "It's important that staff members are familiar with Givex and that they know how the Book Sense Gift Card Program works," said Perlstein. "To ensure that customer gift card transactions go smoothly, booksellers should make sure that staff are proficient at processing the cards and that their questions regarding the program are answered long before the holiday rush. It's not too early to start talking to employees about the program."

When a bookstore signs up to participate in the gift card program, training manuals will be made available free from Givex and phone tutorial sessions will also be available for $50 an hour. If booksellers opt for phone sessions, employees can be conferenced into the call.

Nils Kravis, president of Kelsey's International, a Canadian restaurant chain, which has partnered with Givex to offer a gift card to its patrons, also stressed the importance of training. "Staff must have proper product knowledge of what the program is and how it works," he said. "They have to be comfortable with it, so when the customer wants to use the card, it doesn't create an awkward moment or an inconvenience for the customer."

Kravis recommended role-playing as a means to make sure that staff could problem solve if there were any glitches. "Use of Givex is pretty straightforward, but make sure staff practices and is comfortable with the technology." Kravis added, "It's a very positive program for us."

Shan Bodie, project manager at Givex, addressing stores participating in Book Sense, said, "The holiday season is fast approaching, and now is the time for booksellers to register for training on the new Gift Card Program. Givex trainers will work with you and your staff to get your program up and running. Givex training can be performed effectively and remotely using the Internet and telephone, making the experience interesting and interactive. Sign up today!"

Booksellers attending the fall regional trade shows will be able to experience a hands-on demonstration of the electronic national Book Sense Gift Card Program at the ABA/Book Sense booth on the trade show floors and will have opportunities to win training sessions in ABA raffles.

Questions should be addressed to Perlstein at (800) 637-0037 or (914) 591-2665, ext. 1283 or via e-mail at [email protected].