The main task for the retail manager is not to stock shelves, or to placate irate customers, it’s to manage; specifically, staff. Many of the most common sources of stress in retail are staff-related. Over 40% of retail theft is by employees, turnover rates are some of the highest of any industry, and legal issues are always a threat. And unhappy staff members make unhappy customers.
Therefore, it’s more important for retail managers to improve the quality of interactions with their staff than to improve the quality of their interactions with customers.
A frontline staff member interacts with numerous customers every day. It is a goal of many companies to improve every customer interaction, and increase the likelihood of repeat custom. This is far more likely to be the case if the employee is more confident, happy and aligned to the values of the shop.
The retail manager can be and in many ways is directly responsible for this.
A well-trained sales-floor staff member is a huge asset to a company. They are able to carry out an error-free transaction. They know how to communicate effectively, even when a customer is upset.
An hour that you, the retail manager, spends in training new employees may seem a big chunk out of your day, however if you have to spend 5 minutes every hour for one month fixing errors, placating customers or giving explanations you have already used 3 times as much time. And probably have unhappier customers.
A knowledgeable sales-floor employee is a confident employee.
If you have invested time and effort into training them in product knowledge, they can transfer that confidence to the customer. A confident customer is happy to invest more money and therefore your store is more successful.
If you treat the floor-staff with respect, and focus on building rapport with them, you are investing into the company culture. You are making the workplace a happier place for them, somewhere they won’t try to avoid, and somewhere they will be more hesitant to steal from. Therefore the staff turnover rate will drop, as will your expenses. Incentives can help with this as well. If your staff members were well incentivised, why would they ‘bite the hand that feeds them?’
There is no limit to what you can achieve if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit:
Harry S Truman
If you treat your customer service/sales team as that: a team, rather than the you as the sled driver and the staff the dogs, you will soon see the time and effort paying off.
Do you have any secrets to staffing? Reveal them below!