Most employees want to perform well. Nobody likes missing the mark or letting down the boss. However, it is hard to succeed if the mark is fuzzy and out of focus.
What is Crafty Retailer to do?
Improve your communication skills, for starters!
It is likely that the week will go by with the employee never finding that free minute. You will be left frustrated and annoyed, staying late to create the display yourself, missing your son's soccer game and grumbling all the while. Meanwhile, the poor employee senses your irritation but has no clue as to the cause, simply shrugging it off to Menopause----After all, she has been listening to you complain about hot flashes for weeks. Ouch.
It is easy to lose control of your shop if you do not establish clear processes and procedures. You have a right to expect the people you pay to do what is necessary to move the store forward. However, you have a concomitant responsibility to make your expectations well defined and easy to discern. Get over your fear of appearing bitchy--- You are not a bitch by making your expectations clear; rather, you are only a bitch if you communicate those expectations in a hostile or aggressive manner. Channel your inner Steel Magnolia and get the job done!
Cover the basics: gum chewing, cell phone usage and texting, attire, attitude, etc.
Put it in writing!
If you want the phone to be answered in a certain way, establish a procedure for it, discuss it at the weekly staff meeting (you are having weekly staff meetings, aren't you?), and put it in writing! Keep a copy of the memo near the phone as a reminder.
Train your employees as to the proper way to greet a customer. "Let me know if you have any questions" is not an option. Some more creative suggestions:
Is this your first time in the store?If yes, then you have a wonderful opportunity to give a little tour and point out shop highlights. If the answer is No, you can inquire as to her current project or ask what brings her in this time.
Whatcha working on?We all love talking about our projects. Nothing makes me feel better than having a chance to speak CraftyLove with another addict. We have an instant bond and it adds to the whole KNOW/LIKE/TRUST factor that will turn customers in fans.
OMG! I LOVE your sweater/scarf/necklace!
Did you knit/crochet/weave it yourself? Let me see it up close!here.
Give your trusted employees a degree of autonomy and decision making authority.It will increase morale and inure to your benefit. I had an encounter today where a strict an adherence to corporate policy would have been poison. Fortunately, the employee had the authority to step outside of the corporate box to make an on the spot decision that made me KNOW/LIKE/TRUST the company. I went to pick up some wall decals that I had designed as a giveaway for hubby's business. They were a special order and I knew that they were "non-returnable." Unfortunately, the resolution of the image that I had sent was--unbeknownst to me--- inadequate, resulting in a flawed decal. I was dissatisfied with the product and annoyed that the printer had not contacted me before the final printing to apprise me of the problem. He was irritated because he figured that I knew what I was sending ---- he simply printed what he saw. Clearly, we were at a bit of an impasse. I could almost see the wheels turning as the salesman debated how to proceed. Fortunately, he turned the situation into a win-win. I will provide a better image and he will reprint the decals. He even took the time to give me a bit of an education on his product line so that I can avoid a similar mistake in the future.
He was excited and enthusiastic about his job, knowledgeable about his industry, and eager to move forward to make me a happy customer. We are both confident that we will do more business together in the future. His boss is lucky to have him and was wise to have given him a degree of latitude in daily operations.After a shaky start, this incredible sales guy went out of his way to get me to KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST him. It worked....I doubled my initial order, placed an additional order, and left happy. Win-Win.
IN THE STUDIO:
Hexagon Tutorial from Lucy at Attic 24.