Since Friday is my birthday I’m sharing my annual list of things I’ve either learned, or been reminded of, over the past year. Here’s my top ten.
1. There are remarkable similarities between delivering a great and productive customer experience, and living a good life. I see this especially in a tweak of something Stephen Covey said. While we judge ourselves on our intentions, others judge us on our behaviors and actions. Intentions will never lead to a sale or winning a customer. The same is true for developing healthy friendships and family relationships.
2. It is essential that you constantly challenge your own thinking and beliefs to find better ways to lead and run your business. The fear of being wrong holds many people back. Finding a new and improved way doesn’t mean your previous thinking or approach was wrong. It just means you’ve learned an even better way to reach your goals.
3. Every company should have a written recognition program. I’m not talking about an “employee of the month program,” but a physical way to recognize and thank employees. I’ve always called them Team Member Salutes. Instead of just saying “thank you” or “nice job” you write your praise on a card and give it to the employee at the same time you are verbally recognizing the person. This makes the recognition even more valuable.
4. Most employees who quit don’t do it because they’re seeking a better job. They may say that’s why they’re leaving, but most of them are seeking a better company or manager for which to work. A 2013 Gallup survey found that only 29% of US employees are actively engaged at work. That means only one out of every four employees is emotionally committed and likely to be making a positive contribution. It’s up to us to make sure every employee has the opportunity to be engaged and to make a difference.
5. Never underestimate how much the way you treat your staff impacts the customer experience. The good news for you is that so many companies don't understand that. I want a staff that feels spoiled because I want a customer who feels spoiled.
6. The mindset in most companies is that when you fall short of sales/revenue, you need more customers. The real opportunity is to improve sales/revenue per customer. That way, if you increase customers/traffic you’ll be even more successful. Almost every business can improve productivity. The leaders just need to stop focusing on so many different things, and start focusing on the right things.
7. Here’s a great exercise I often do with clients. Ask each of your employees to write down the three most important things they do in their position, and then compare the answers. The more aligned the answers are, the more your team (and your) are on top of your game.
8. Many retailers only want to hire people with retail experience. I don’t agree. I want to cast my net as wide as possible to find amazing people with amazing personalities and personal drive. You can teach retail. You can teach product. You can’t teach passion and enjoyment of working with people.
9. Action interviews are the best. While there are all different types of methods to interviewing applicants, my favorite is “Show Me.” I like to take the applicants onto the floor and have them show me how they greet, engage, and sell customers. I also like to have them learn something from the staff. Anyone can say they’re a people person, but the best applicants are happy to prove it.
10. I’m optimistic and excited about the future. The brick and mortar specialty store is not dead, nor is it dying. Well, maybe I should amend that. The specialty store with compelling products and a great staff that personally connects with customers and delivers a great experience still has a bright future. The others… not so much.
11. I know I said ten, but we should always try to go above and beyond whenever we can. Most of the time, we can. It’s also a great strategy for delivering the employee and customer experience.
Thank you for another year of your support and friendship. I appreciate each any every one of you. I look forward to continuing to work together to make your company and personal performance even better.
Note: Want to dramatically and quickly improve your sales results? My SellMore Sales Solutions will easily, quickly and substantially increase your store’s average sale and/or conversion rate. The goal is to provide you with a minimum of ten times return on investment. Call me at 866-535-6331 to discuss.
Doug Fleener, a proven retail and customer experience expert and consultant, helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their sales results. Visit the Dynamic Experiences Group website, or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create extraordinary results.