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There Are No Medals for 10th Place If you want to improve your customer service experience you will have to give consistent feedback to your staff.


ave you ever seen the movie, “Meet the Fokkersâ€?? It is the hilarious follow up to “Meet the Parents,â€? starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. There’s a great scene in “Meet the Fokkersâ€? where De Niro’s character (Jack) is talking with Ben Stiller’s father, Bernie (played by Dustin Hoffman). They are standing in Ben’s old bedroom, in front of his “Wall of Fame,â€? a collection of awards and accomplishments. Frankly, it’s a testament to mediocrity. The exchange goes like this: Jack: “I didn’t know they made ninth place ribbons.â€? Bernie: “Oh Jack, they make them all the way up to tenth place.â€? Jack and Bernie have two different styles of child rearing. Bernie likes to support, encourage and reward the effort regardless of the result. Jack is only interested in achievement and result. In his world, reward is reserved only for those who achieve. Believe it or not, this difference of opinion can affect your customer service efforts. What 14 • Sports Insight ~ May/June 2012

you need from your in-store leadership is great feedback. Unfortunately, I have been witness to some pretty poor behavior in sports retail: • Sales people texting on the sales floor. • Staff members ignoring customers while joking with each other. • Employees who don’t know anything about the products. How can this happen? It happens because they believe it’s okay. What you need from Store Leadership is Great Feedback. We have to be willing to coach, teach, correct and improve performance. Employment law, litigious employees, poor time management and lack of incentive have combined to cause managers to avoid managing. But the fact remains: If you want to improve your customer service experience you will have to give consistent feedback to your staff. Here are some key tips to remember: 1. Be sure that your standards are in print and everyone has a copy. This seems to be a no-brainer, but too many of us are guilty of putting every in print

except what we expect our staff to do for our customers. 2. Observe Employee behavior. A good leader knows what is happening on the sales floor. Watch, listen and make it known to your team that you are going to be doing so. 3. Measure. If you are not measuring individual UPTs, Sales Per Hour and weekly sales totals, start. Immediately. How can you know how they are doing if you don’t measure? 4. Learn to give great feedback. The secret is to remove the emotion. Great feedback is as simple as stating only what you see. For example: “John, I see that you arrived at work today at 1:20. You were scheduled at 1:00. Why were you late?� This is much better that what you may want to say, which is, “John, I am sick of your laziness and your attitude. What is your problem???� That second statement isn’t going to be very effective. 5. Don’t wait. Give the feedback as soon as possible. As soon as you see the behavior you want to correct, you should address it. Waiting only makes it more difficult to correct. 6. Be sure that your team knows HOW to do what you want them to do. Show them what you want. Talk through it with them to make sure you are in agreement. Then, have the team member practice until they get it right. Throughout the process, be sure to give great feedback. 7. Remember this: Your best employees WANT feedback. Most people want the opportunity to grow, improve and succeed. You help them with that when you tell them how they are doing. In our retail world, no one’s giving out tenth place ribbons. While a harsh, competitive workplace environment isn’t effective, we are in this business to succeed. Don’t allow your team members to hinder your business growth. Honest, objective, timely and consistent feedback is the secret to your team’s success (and yours). Dan Mann is the founder and president of The Mann Group, a retail consulting firm that helps retailers with sales training and strategies. Mann, the former vicepresident of Bachrach, the men’s specialty retailer, is a frequent speaker at industry events. He is next scheduled to speak at The Run Specialty Workshop in Chicago on June 24th and 25th. For more details visit: www. karnanassociates.comworkshops.php.

No Medals for 10th place  

To get improvement, we must learn to give effective feedback to our sales staff.

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