As you might imagine, we spend quite a bit of time in malls and power centres.  The ‘retail front’, so to speak.  This always gives us the quickest and most realistic assessment of what’s going on in the trenches. 

And guess what, folks … it ain’t pretty out there!  Some of the front line staff performance that we’ve witnessed is actually quite shocking.  What are we talking about?  Well, for starters:

  1. A seasonal employee who clearly doesn’t know how to handle anything but the most basic of transactions is left all alone at the cash desk.  And who gets to wait impatiently while this poor person slowly struggles to process each item?  Why a long line-up of obviously frustrated customers, of course.  This is a no-brainer, folks. Don't let this happen.
  2. A store manager from a large, well-known and respected retailer is creating obvious embarrassment for staff members by talking to them in a noticeably condescending tone. 
    Hello … ??!!
  3. The same manager then proceeds to model the worst behaviour towards customers, showing staff how to be cold, indifferent and impatient.  With this type of instruction, guess what kind of service we can expect from the employees in this store?
  4. Staff are so busy receiving stock and filling shelves during shopping hours that customers are being completely ignored.  For goodness sakes, folks, why are you spending all your time on operational chores while the store is open?  Aren’t you supposed to be serving customers??
  5. Sales staff look tired, bored and anything but customer-focussed.  How well do you think they’ll do today?  Will those poor customers be back?

We’re not just on a rant here, folks.  There is no doubt that a lot of good things are going on out there, too.  But isn’t that supposed to be the norm?  Unfortunately, it isn’t.  You know it and we know it.

Clearly, there’s an obvious lesson to be learned.  For most of you, this glorious four week selling blitz happens only once a year.  Don’t mess it up!  Get out to your stores and make sure for yourself that the level of service and performance you expect from your staff is, in fact, taking place.

Linda Montalbano is a true retail operator with a history of leading large retail teams to success. If you need a fresh perspective on what's going wrong in your stores, Linda is the one to tell you like it is and come up with a solid game plan to turn things around!

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