Keeping Christmas in Retail Merry and Bright
Tip #389 - Priority? Your People!
Dear Tip of the Weeker,
I love shopping in Chicago!
As the song says... it's my kind of town. Spectacular architecture, delicious restaurants, hustle and bustle, and the Magnificent Mile all wrapped with a nice Midwestern sensibility.
Even though most of the stores in downtown Chicago are big chains and department stores, my experiences as a shopper last weekend are directly applicable to you. Because it wasn't the fancy displays, or low prices, or huge assortments that made the difference.
It was the people.
Or lack thereof.
The best shopping experiences we had were directly related to the employees doing a great job. Some were cheerful, enthusiastic and made us feel welcome. Some did a great job selling (i.e. helping us find the right gifts for the people on our lists) which made our job easier. Some were quick to fix displays and replenish merchandise so we could easily find what we were looking for. We even took a picture with one "elf" because he was so much fun.
We bought the most stuff in these stores and felt great about it.
The worst shopping experiences were in the stores where we had to hunt for someone to help us. Or where the staff acted like we were a burden to be endured. Or were clearly just putting in their time until they could go home. Unavailable, surly, uppity, and ambivalent.
Yes, we bought some stuff at these stores, too. But not as much. And we're not itchin' to return.
What kind of experience are your employees giving?
The hectic pace of Christmas in retail can burn out even the best employee. It's your job to keep them smiling, happy, energized, and focused on giving your customers a big dose of Christmas cheer.
- Catch them delivering a great customer experience - and immediately praise them for it! Try the "One Sentence Wonder" technique.
- Put a thank-you note in their paycheck this week. Focus on the ways they make your customers feel great.
- Run a daily "Santa's Elf" contest. Award the title and a small prize (gas card? free lunch?) to the employee that really makes a customer smile that day.
- Model it. If you are filled with holiday spirit and enthusiasm for helping your customers, they will be too.
You've already done the marketing, bought the merchandise, and created the displays. You can't really affect that any more.
For the next 13 days, it's your people who are going to make the difference.
Wishing you great sales and lots of fun,