How many times have you gone shopping and felt like you were intruding on someone’s life instead of being treated like a valued customer? You reach the check out line after spending time in the store, often without any help from staff, and encounter a check out clerk with that ‘I hate my life’ disposition. They are unpleasant, unsmiling and sending you the message they couldn't care less about you.
EVERYBODY HAS BAD DAYS
Everyone has bad days and lucky you ran right into someone else’s world where they wish they were somewhere else. How did you come to be the source of their misery? You are there ready to spend your hard earned dollars which keeps the store in business and helps pay this person’s wages. You might even spend a significant amount of your income on products that this store sells. Guess what, their competitor sells the same or similar products as well. Kiss my sales goodbye, I’ll buy from the competitor instead. There they appreciate me and make my day better with their pleasant smile, helpful and courteous mood.
THE BEST COMPANY AMBASSADORS SHOULD BE THOSE IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE CUSTOMERS
The check out clerk is not solely to be blamed for the poor customer shopping experience. Individuals that are in direct contact with paying customers should be of the highest caliber with regards to public relations. These are the company's on the ground ambassadors. It is the company's responsibility to provide good ones for the shoppers. In business to business sales if a salesman is unlikable, unless you have a total monopoly on the market, that person isn't going to be successful selling your product. Why when it comes to retail do you think it is acceptable for the customer buying experience to be so poor?
I do feel compassion for store workers when the ratio of staff to shoppers is so out of balance. They have to deal with the frustration of disgruntled buyers. You simply aren’t winning any customers with this kind of scenario.
LEARN FROM THE EXAMPLES IN THE MARKET OF COMPANIES THAT PROVIDE A GOOD IN STORE EXPERIENCE
You want to keep your overhead and prices down so you create a self help type of environment. Are you competing with Amazon? You shouldn’t be, I’m not shopping online, I’m in your store. If I wanted to shop online I wouldn’t be in your store. You shouldn’t try to be a bricks and mortar Amazon. If you want to compete with online stores then get yourself a great online store. A lot of traditional bricks and mortar companies have online stores and and plenty of them aren’t so hot. So BOTH their in store experience AND their online experience are substandard. There are examples in the market of companies that provide an exemplary in store shopper experience and also have good online stores. So it can be done. Take advantage of the fact that online stores don’t get the opportunity to interact with their customers like you do and make the in store experience GREAT! You’ll win customers this way.
Having so few staff increases the potential for theft. Trying to counter this with electronic security systems makes your customers feel like they are going through airport security. It looks ugly and it's unfriendly. When it malfunctions and the alarm goes off your good customers are humiliated.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEES LOVE THEIR JOB?
I know it’s tough to find ideal employees. Most people don’t treat their job as if it was their own business. They have no idea of the risk that the founders take in order to make a business successful. It doesn't help when the company owners give the impression that employees are just a commodity. This is a recipe for trouble.
In most of my professional career I had the privilege of being hired by either the founder, President or the main operating manager of the company or organization. My close proximity to them provided me with insight into their world. I learned that being the top guy doesn’t mean that everything is cushy, it simply comes with different challenges. So if you are an employee in a store ask yourself if you are the kind of employee you would want to represent your business.
It's up to the company to provide a good shopper experience for their customers and a major part of this is motivated and happy employees. They aren't born this way, they have to be cultivated.
BEING AROUND POSITIVE PEOPLE WITH ENTHUSIASM AND PASSION IS ONE OF THE REASONS I LIKE TO SHOP IN PERSON
Why would I want to spend my money and time with people that aren’t pleasant to deal with? I don’t mind young sales clerks who are a little bit distracted and more excited about their big date coming up on Saturday than paying total attention to me, at least they are happy. I actually enjoy people that are having fun while they work. Their enthusiasm and passion for life is one of the big reasons I like to get out and shop in person. I could just cocoon at home and buy everything online and have it delivered to me while living like a hermit instead.
WHAT PROCESSES DO YOU HAVE IN PLACE TO HELP YOUR EMPLOYEES WHEN THEY ARE STRUGGLING?
Your employees are your most important asset, what are you doing to nuture them? Is there someone on staff that is in a position to identify a struggling employee? What processes do you have in place to help them? By doing this you are keeping the in store shopping experience good as well as protecting your business. This also reflects on what kind of company you are when you care for your employees. If it's obvious that you care for your employees it sends the message that you care for me too.
Sometimes you may have to admit to a bad hire when an employee is always disgruntled and nothing that you do for them is helping. They aren’t good for your business. Maybe you should let them go. They can go work for your competition.
Surely you don't want to pay people to drive business to your competitor. This makes no sense at all yet it is going on in the marketplace. Is this happening in your business?