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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? People see Retail and the Hospitality industry as a last resort or dead-end careers. For years you serve people and clean up after them. I have met many people who run various retail businesses with multimillion pound turnover and employed hundreds of people but it still is not seen as a particularly desirable or worthy job. Is it just me or have you noticed most retail Store Managers have huge ego's and think they are so special and wonderful. It seems most all Retail Managers I have meet are idiots and don't know what they are doing! It's like they are cleaning the toilets at Bob's Discount Store one day and assistant Store Manager at a major retail outlet the next! What do you think?

Why Do Managers Power-Trip?

It is a sincere question, something I have wondered for a while. Somehow, the biggest and laziest idiots in the company get a promotion and suddenly they look down upon everyone else and think of themselves as gods. If one particular assistant manager at my store could grow a pair and act like a man for a brief couple of minutes, I would gladly take him outside and show him the error of his ways. Seriously people, how many of you are managers at insignificant, worthless jobs and think you are some kind of mind-blowing world leader? "You are nothing special." Repeat that to yourself about 20 times per day to help decrease the swelling that has chronically infected your head. These arrogant managers are one of the main causes (next to unpleasant customers) of retail sucking so badly. So perhaps some of you could leave comments explaining your reasoning for Retail Managers to power-trip and thinking that they are "all that." Being a Retail Manager sucks because you get to spend your days dealing with something as bad as nasty customers!

Retail District Manager.

This is most likely someone who was once a Store Manager but now has lost touch with how hard it is to run a retail store but always has a story about how they did something similar to what you're doing without exceeding labour or how they made sales every day for ten or twenty years despite a recession. They're especially fond of telling you to do something one way that you just know won't work out yet you have to do it their way. When it doesn't work out they call you to say that maybe you can't manage after all. A personal favourite of mine that has occurred now that the economy softened is blaming poor sales on all your employees stealing. When sales are good, no one cares. When the economy drops and sales fall with it, suddenly you get a shipment of posters for an anonymous tip line to report employee theft. You get phone calls telling you to spy on your dodie ste®eo p®odu©tion ™

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? cashiers and monitor their transactions (never mind the 25 things you need to get done by Friday!). You get calls and e-mails asking if you checked every locker, trash can, break room and dumpster for stolen merchandise. And if you say yes, and you have no evidence of any employee stealing they say YOU JUST HAVEN'T LOOKED HARD ENOUGH! And when you run a sale, why do you have to phone in your sales totals every two hours? And if you are three minutes late they go nuts. Really, what can you do with those reports? It's not like I can order some emergency advertising. The usual "inventive solutions" I get from my DM are "put more merchandise out on the floor." If that doesn't work then, "Maybe you can't manage very well because when I was a Store Manager I beat every goal that was set and every sale exceeded LY and I never spent an hour more of labour than I needed to..." The Retail District Manager is always too busy to answer your phone calls or return your voice mails, doesn't respond to an e-mail unless it's an angry customer, and insists that everything is a problem you can solve on your own. Then when something you've been calling and e-mailing about for months finally blows up you hear, "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS SOONER?" &@#$!!! This article is about common sense. People should be nice to each other, be honest, be restrained, be professional. And yet................ And yet the behaviour of many Retail Managers is atrocious. All sections on this page come from personal experience or from the experience of my editor. I can try to come up with reasons for these behaviours. Most Retail Managers learn their trade on the job without formal leadership training. Most Retail Managers are not appropriately compensated for the time they put in and stress they endure. Okay, let's stop making excuses. A manager must have credibility to do a competent job. Credibility extends beyond product information or the ability to build an end cap in 10 minutes or less. It is hinged upon how a manager is judged (yes, judged) as a person and leader by the people he or she is charged with leading. The goal here is to shed some light on behaviours and traits that will destroy credibility.

Lies

Lying reduces morale, looses credibility, and creates a toxic system of communication. A manager that lies frequently will end up with a staff of liars. I've noticed that managers use lying to motivate through fear or put off their responsibilities. One poor technique I've encountered in several retail environments is the "visit" lie. In order to motivate employees, managers will tell them that an executive visit is eminent. If everything on the work list is not done, trouble will result! This is a trick used to create a management style of fear. dodie ste®eo p®odu©tion ™

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? Another trick I've seen is during job interviews. Managers will lie about a policy, like the mandatory background check that will tell them everything about the candidate's past. This is used to discover dirty secrets. Some candidates will see this technique for what it is. If hired, the manager will have an employee that already has no trust.

Blame

There is a difference to attributing a problem to the cause and shifting blame. A Retail Manager is responsible for everything under his/her roof. Usually blame can be placed squarely on the manager for poor communication, lack of discipline, no motivation (other than toxic motivations), and poor follow-up. To dodge this responsibility, the manager creates a false trail of warnings and communication. I've heard this a hundred times: "I don't know why he screwed this up, I've told him a hundred times how to do it." Odds are, the manager didn't. Instead, he or she griped and complained and got the result for which he or she must take responsibility.

One big-box retailer for which I worked had a team of department supervisors that consistently blamed a night-shift supervisor for their woes. This late-night supervisor wasn't around for impromptu management meetings and therefore couldn't defend himself. The General Manager fell for this blame. When the blame became to much the General Manager felt it was time to confront the night-shift supervisor. The conversation quickly became hostile because the supervisor was insulted by charges against him. After the General Manager saw for himself what the night-shift crew was actually doing (working very hard, working very competently) he made sure to include the night-shift supervisor in all meetings. He also put all of the other supervisors under a magnifying lens. They had lost credibility with the General Manager and their jobs got harder. The associates found out what happened and the supervisors lost the respect of the people they needed most.

Gossip

Gossiping can be a fun way to share information about others and while away some time. But more often, "it is used as a form of passive aggression, as a tool to isolate and harm others" This is particularly true when managers partake of gossiping. I've been devastated when I heard a manager launch into a gossip session about an associate. If the manager is talking so harshly about that other person, what is he/she saying about me? I've heard manager’s call associates names like "slut" and "fag" while telling some tasteless story about an associate.

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? Retail Managers are supposed to be leaders. How can they maintain credibility if they mean their wards harm? I've seen associates forced out of their jobs because of gossip. I've also witness straight-out hostility because of gossip. Both because of what the manager had said.

Managers should never stoop to inappropriate behaviours. Suggestive Language

This is the new millennium. Everyone in the civilized world should know by now what inappropriate behaviour is. So I won't belabour this point much. I will say that managers should never have such low character as to use suggestive language or other suggestive communication. Some managers still do. Stop it.

Martyr

This is one of the most annoying behaviour traits that I see in Retail Managers. It annoyed me many years ago; it annoys me now. I even annoy myself because I've done it in the past. Martyring oneself emotionally is to take on a "poor me" attitude. A manager who martyrs his or herself constantly tells the associates how horrible the job is, how long the hours are, how low the pay is, and how mean the executives are. Martyr managers don't stop at business. They have to tell everyone how awful their spouse is, how bratty the kids are, how the parents are so mad because they have to work another holiday and can't go to a family function. Yes, I've done this in mid-career. Retail management can suck. I was told it could suck. I was told that I would work awful hours and every holiday. But for a half-decade I felt sorry for myself and wanted others to feel sorry for me. Now when a manager starts to complain about long hours or bad treatment by executives I respond, "You should quit."

Being Either an Office or Hands-On Manager

There are two kinds of managers: office and hands-on. This comes from managers wanting to stick with what they enjoy and avoid what they hate. This can come from a lack of confidence in certain aspects of management. For managers of small stores, it's important to get on the floor and get work done. Usually, managers of drug stores or small mall shops have to roll up their sleeves and work. Some enjoy this too much or use it to avoid responsibility.

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? It is hard to plan, go over sales figures, track associate performance, and come up with wellthought-out ideas to increase sales and decrease expenses. A manager who avoids his or her office (usually a bench in the back room) will never achieve excellence. Conversely, a manager who concentrates on office work will not have a strong picture of his or her staff. Things won't get done. They won't connect socially with associates. Again, they will not achieve excellence. It's okay to be a great stocker or salesman. It's also okay to have a head for numbers and trends. But to concentrate on one aspect at the expense of the other will unbalance the store. Balancing paperwork and floor work can also give the manager a better, clearer picture of the store. If the manager did his job of tracking performance instead of blindly stocking shelves he could have prevented theft and fraud.

Relying on Personal Bias

Personal biases are formed by our families, ‘friends’, co-workers, associates, colleagues and experiences. In its mundane form personal bias provides our personal taste and preference. In more dangerous form, personal bias leads to blindness and ignorance. Here's an example: I knew a manager who had a preference for one cashier. His perception was his favourite cashier was fast, took responsibility for her job, and was overall his star employee. He even nicknamed her "The Final Solution" because she seemed to fix everything.

When I first started working for this manager, I noticed he was not tracking employee performance. He had no logs on things like tardiness, register transactions, and up-sales. His perception was based on what he personally saw. Turns out, his "Final Solution" was the worst employee in the store. She had the worst attendance record, the most requested days off, the most restrictions on her schedule, and was loosing hundreds of pounds a week in poor till balancing. After I put a security program into place we caught her doing coupon fraud. She admitted to stealing cigarettes for months when Asset Protection fired her.

Inadequate Rewards or right-out insulting.

Here's a list of the worst performance or morale building rewards I've encountered. Pushing them as a manager will result in loss of morale and credibility. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, avoid them.

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER?   

Employee of the Month: A social taboo for teens and young adults. Veteran retail associates see it as a popularity contest. It's time to put the antiquated idea in the grave. Lunch with the Manager: Ghezz? Are you kidding me? Most people don't want to have lunch with their manager. It's awkward at best. Inadequate Monetary Rewards: Hard-sell UK£2,000 in videos and you'll get UK£5 in cold, hard cash! Here's a tip: if an employee would willingly pay you the amount of the reward to not participate, you should think about it some more.

Using humour to harass, belittle, and dominate - Just Kidding!

Having a sense of humour and knowing when levity will increase morale are important leadership qualities. Using "humour" to establish dominance or belittle others are not leadership qualities. Saying, "Just kidding!" or laughing does not transform toxic communication into something good. Here are some topics that managers shouldn't joke about:  An associate's appearance  Calling in sick.  Personal relationships.  Inability to perform well.  An embarrassing circumstance.  Anything to do with sex, ethnicity, politics, or religion. Once again, saying "Just kidding!" does not make it all better. Using humour to establish dominance puts a manager on the same level as a dog trying to climb to the top of a pack. Comments such as "So... ha, ha... I guess you don't want to work here anymore because you're always late! Ha, ha!" are put-downs, demoralizing, and will result in an immediate loss of credibility. Sarcasm is awesome. It allows witty, intelligent people to express themselves at the expense of the unimaginative and self-important. Managers should never be sarcastic towards their employees. Sarcasm should be saved for the manager's boss, such as the district manager. I can respect that. But never, ever, should managers use sarcasm on an associate under his/her charge. How does a manager know that he's gone too far with humour? That's easy: If you can tell the "joke" to an eight-year-old without hurting his feelings, then it's probably okay. How does a manager know he's using "humour" to establish dominance? That's easy, too. I call it the "f*** off" test. If you make a joke and the employee tells you to f*** off, then you've gone too far. Since most employees won't tell a boss to f*** off, here's some other ways they say it:  Silence.  Breaking eye contact.  Leaving.  Refusing to converse other than necessary communication.  Stapling a two-week's notice to your forehead. Just kidding! dodie ste®eo p®odu©tion ™

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? Performance Punishing Behaviour

I saved the best for last. Almost all of my Retail Managers have done this. As a Retail Manager, I have done this, knowingly. I now regret it. Performance punishing behaviour is when you treat your best people like parvenu (nonentity). Managers put their fastest, most reliable, most competent people on the worst jobs. Reliable associates get the worst shifts. Competent associates get the worst tasks. Fast employees get the most tedious jobs. After a while, these associates have to be rewarded and recognized. And definitely promoted (if they want it) Most managers I've witnessed in performance punishing behaviour use the rest of this page's headers as excuses to keep going: lies, bias, poor rewards. Conversely, the same managers will let poor performers slide. They will make excuses for Suzy Comes Late or Johnny Does Meth in the Bathroom. But if Kristin the Superstar comes in three minutes late, then the manager goes into full lecture mode. This is unfair. As a manager, you will loose whatever credibility you have with either set of employees as being both a cold-hearted bastard and an easy push-over. And other don’ts for anyone in a Supervisor or Managerial position are: Spying: In the break room, a group of employees were venting about several stressful occurrences that had just happened. They were getting nasty about it. Already agitated, one discovered an assistant manager crouched just outside the door, listening.  Threats to Terminate: A new manager comes into a store full of fire and enthusiasm. She dislikes the way one of the shifts handled safety concerns and threatens to fire the next person who breaks SOP. She looks impotent when the entire shift ignores her.  Punishment through Third Parties: Not wanting to confront employees directly, a manager uses his supervisors to dole out discipline. They don't do a very good job of it because they don't like the confrontations themselves. So essentially nobody is getting coached, feedback, or warnings.  The "Retail Promise": A young clerk wants to move up in the ranks. He is told that if he works real hard, takes on responsibilities that are way above his experience and position, and shows he's totally awesome, he'll get a promotion. He becomes less enthusiastic as time goes on and realizes he's being taken advantage of by the managers.

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? The job of a Retail Store Manager is to oversee and thus ensure smooth running of the store. Some of the key retail services performed by a Store Manager are: meeting sales and personal targets, ensuring customer satisfaction via maximizing the shopping experience of customers; managing all aspects of store operations in order to ensure maximum sales as well as profit; etc. Retail management also includes focusing on key initiatives in business, daily cost control in operations, risk management, payroll management, loss prevention, inventory management, marketing execution, and store presentation. Retail Store Managers should have organizational skills which includes the ability of paying attention to detail as well as following-up matters. The job also involves the capability of managing multiple priorities along with management skills like communication, recruiting, training, and coaching. Here are some tips (IMHO) that can help you become a successful Store Manager and finetune Retail Store Management

1. The customer is always right:

Yes, that age-old saying holds true even today. The customer is the most important facet of any business. Hence, as a retail Store Manager you need to ensure that the whole team comprehends that the customer is their top-most priority, that the customer should be satisfied with the goods and service you provide, and that you never challenge the customer! The customer is ALWAYS right! (I have also written a separate article called the Customer is Always Right – Not?)

2. Make the customer feel special:

Everybody likes feeling special. So, when you are with a customer, give him or her your exclusive attention, listening closely to whatever they may be saying to you. During that time don't let anything else interrupt you. You may even go so far as making a flattering comment or two. If it is a clothes store, compliment the customer after he/she tries on something; if it is a food store, give them tips regarding which product is more healthy, etc. You may also inquire about their work to be able to suggest them suitable options from your store.

3. Please the customer:

Although this is often touted, it is seldom practiced! As a retail Store Manager, see to it that the sales staff does that extra bit to make the customer feel pleased, especially as a measure of calming their displeasure about something. For instance, some special store giveaways can be packed with their purchases, or you may handout a discount coupon. You may even offer refreshments.

4. Deliver more than what you promise:

The difference in "promise less but deliver more" and "deliver more than you promise" is that of attitude. If you promise less, you may come across as playing a safe game.

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? You may lose your customer to someone who promises more. But if you promise more and deliver even more, the customer is bound to come back to you! It is the gesture that counts. By giving more than whatever you may have promised, you can build a strong customer rapport, both inside as well as outside the store.

5. Appearances do matter:

Although you may dismiss it as a superficial aspect of a superficial consumerist society, there is no escaping the fact, that the first impressions of your store is going to be the last impression! So make sure you make a good first impression. This includes a smiling, enthusiastic and well dressed staff, a clean and easy to maneuver around store, and a positive and happy ambiance. Avoid loud music, and complicated arrangement and/or presentation of goods.

6. Display merchandise attractively:

A vital part of management is seeing to it that the merchandise is displayed properly; this means in an uncomplicated, easy-to-find and yet attractive manner. If the items are not displayed or seen properly, they won't be sold in the numbers that they ought to be. Merchandise should look crisp and new at all times. If the items are shop-worn, they should be put in the bargain section. Items that are usually bought on impulse should be placed on display close to the cash out area (play on the psyche of your customers). Also, appropriate sections should be made for merchandise, and the items should be placed in the correct sections. Items that are similar in nature should be placed in the same area.

7. Items should be shown to advantage:

Apart from displaying merchandise attractively, you, as a retail Store Manager, should also make sure that the items are placed in such a way that they draw the customer's attention. Hiding or stacking merchandise will not attract the attention of the customer. When thinking about how to display items, try to imagine what the customers will view with the display. Placing merchandise at eye level, or a little lower than that, is the best way to display specials. Placards and signs are also another method of grabbing the eye of the customer.

8. Get rid of unsold merchandise:

The bottom 10 to 20 percent of the product lines should be gotten rid of every year to be replaced by new products. The product lines that are not selling well should be marked down to half their price in order to sell them off fast. You can even put the less selling items in the bargain section. You may even come up with store offers, like Buy One Get One Free, or something like that.

9. More floor space:

Make sure that your store has ample floor space for customers to move about easily without knocking something off a shelf! The shelves in themselves too should be less cluttered. Definitely a store with easy shopping areas will attract more buyers and will hence make more sales rather than a stuffed, cluttered store. Organize your store in such a way that the customers will not have to hunt for what they want. They should be able to walk in, walk up to the shelf, pick their stuff off it, and walk to the billing area, all on their own!

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? 10. Timely ordering of inventory:

This is another important aspect of a retail Store Manager's duties. The levels of inventory should be monitored and kept in adequate amounts at all times. If customers do not find what they are looking for, they will just go to another store.Your inventory should be such that a customer should never leave your store empty-handed. If at all it ever happens, the incident should not repeat!

11. Hire the right people:

A Retail Manager's success is largely dependent on the kind of people he/she helps to hire. The staff that is hired has to have the ability of making a quantifiable and meaningful contribution to the store's performance. In order to be able to rise in the organization, the Store Manager has to draw the attention as well as the recognition of the top management. The correct people will help in showcasing their talents while they achieve their objectives. Make sure you motivate them to always deliver their best.

12. Training the staff:

Hiring the right kind of people and keeping them motivated is only a part of a Retail Store Manager's path to success. The main part of a manager's job is to train the staff so that they are aware of what is expected of them. This will ensure that all the people involved in the success of the store move in the same direction.

13. Incorporating time management skills:

After hiring the right people, training them fully, and getting them ready to achieve success, the next thing a retail Store Manager has to take care of is managing their time along with the changing priorities they have to deal with each day. This is especially true in case of SALE periods and during holidays, when the store may have an unusual amount of rush. Your staff should be trained enough to handle large number of customers without making mistakes or getting overwhelmed! Efficiency is the key.

14. Long range planning:

Long range planning to ensure that every hour of every day in a week is managed effectively is another important part of the manager's job. The skill of long range planning is what will be appreciated by the higher authorities, for they look for people who have the ability of looking forward, and creating concrete plans, in order to increase the business. A Retail Manager who can accomplish this will rise in the organization. A bird's eye-view is crucial!

15. Retail software:

These days, there is a lot of retail software available which provide scalability, data integrity, stability, and speed, thus offering a complete retail management solution, which can be adapted according to each type of doing business. From inventory

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? management to Point Of Sale (POS) ticket entry, customer tracking, integrated purchasing, and monitoring the movement of merchandise, retail software provides all the capabilities required to run a retail store business more effectively and efficiently. I am sure that if you incorporate all the above tips in managing the store you work for, you are bound to achieve success - a lot of it, and pretty soon too! You can even use the above management tips in your own store. Finally, you may use them as part of training program for the Retail Store Manager you hire. Wish you loads of luck and success! An effective manager pays attention to many facets of management, leadership and learning within organizations. So, it's difficult to take the topic of "management success" and say that the following items are the most important for success. I will, however, suggest management skills without which I don't believe you can be a successful manager. The most important issue in management success is being a person that others want to follow. Every action you take during your career in an organization helps determine whether people will one day want to follow you. A successful manager, one whom others want to follow:       

Builds effective and responsive interpersonal relationships. Reporting staff members, colleagues and executives respect his or her ability to demonstrate caring, collaboration, respect, trust and attentiveness. Communicates effectively in person, print and email. Listening and two-way feedback characterize his or her interaction with others. Builds the team and enables other staff to collaborate more effectively with each other. People feel they have become more - more effective, more creative, more productive - in the presence of a team builder. Understands the financial aspects of the business and sets goals and measures and documents staff progress and success. Knows how to create an environment in which people experience positive morale and recognition and employees are motivated to work hard for the success of the business. Leads by example and provides recognition when others do the same. Helps people grow and develop their skills and capabilities through education and onthe-job learning.

Some of the reasons why certain managers become tyrants and authoritarian or in plain English “Damm Right Nasty”………

 A boss they admired was a tyrant.

In trying to emulate someone more powerful then themselves, they didn’t separate the good qualities from the bad and copied it all. In their admiration they defend the bad as well as the good (note: people do this with their parents too).

 They are insecure in their role.

The psychology of opposites goes a long way in understanding human nature. Overly aggressive people are often quite scared, and their aggression is a pre-emptive attack driven by fear: they attack first because they believe an attack from you is inevitable. Management makes many people nervous since it’s defined by having have less direct control, but more broad influence. A huge percentage of managers never get over

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? this, and micromanage: a clear sign of insecurity and confusion over their role and yours.

 They prefer intimidation to leadership.

If you have a gun, the fastest way to get someone to do something for you is to threaten them with it. But if you take away the gun, you have no power. However if you take the time to convince someone to do something for good reasons, those reasons can last no matter how armed or unarmed you are. A person, who has confused intimidation with persuasion, or leadership, behaves poorly all the time. They rely on their guns, not their minds, which enslaves the people who work for them out of using their minds either.

 Their life sucks.

 They lose their way.

What percentages of people are miserable in the corporate world? I think 20 - 30% is a safe bet. If you’re miserable, you tend to inflict your misery on those who have less power than you do. If your life sucks badly enough you won’t even notice how rude you are to waiters, assistants, and sub-ordinates. It may be nothing personal, or even work related, these people simply have a volcano of negative emotions that must escape somewhere, often in eruptions that they can not control. Just be glad you’re not their spouse or offspring.

Management is disorienting. You are not in the real world in the same way front line workers are. Everything is Meta. Decisions become abstractions. People are numbers. Getting lost in middle management is common. Unless they find a guiding light to keep the bearings, and stay low to the ground, good people get lost. It’s smart when taking on a new role to ask someone closer to the ground to be your sanity check. Telling you when the front line thinks you’re not the same guy anymore.

 Promotion chasing.

As you get further from front line work, the goals of promotion become clearer than the goals of the projects. Often what’s right for the project, and the people working on it, isn’t lined up with what’s going to get a manager promoted. This creates a moral dilemma, do what’s right for the team, or do what’s best for me. By spending more time with other managers than with front line workers, it’s easy to forget where the high ground is.

 Their management chain is toxic.

If you are a manager, and your boss is inflicting blame, disorder or pain on you, there are two choices. Either pass the pain on down, or suck it up and shield your team from the pain. Will you pass the blame on to your team, or take all the heat? The latter is much harder to do than the former, and the former will often be taken as being a jerk manager. Even if no solution is possible, one gutsy thing to say is “I don’t agree with this either, but I was unable to convince my boss, so we’re doing it anyway”. This takes guts as it makes you seem powerless. You must choose between seeming powerless vs. seeming like a jerk/moron, and the latter often wins.

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER?  The Peter Principle.

A 1968 book described this principle as the fact that in any hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. It sounds like a joke, but makes total sense. If Bob is a great marketer, he is soon promoted to senior marketer. If he does well, he’s promoted to managing marketers. What happens now? If he is mediocre as a manager, he can likely stay there forever. He may not like the fact he’s not getting promoted anymore and doesn’t like being mediocre, but is afraid of going back down the ladder, even though he might excel down there. He’s trapped. People who are trapped feel insecure.

 They’re not authoritarian; they’re just insensitive or oblivious. Would a Vulcan make a good manager? Not really. He’d make smart choices, for sure, but empathy is a huge part of what a decent manager offers their team. Managers are often faced with tough decisions that will negatively affect people, and they make the best choice they can. But they forget to empathize with or explain their decisions such that those negatively affected by them understand. Or even better, forget to involve those people in the decision so they become participants and not victims. The failure to do this is a fast way to earn a reputation as a jerk, even if you’re doing what’s best for the team/company/world.

 Madly in love with themselves – Narcissism.

Perhaps their Mom doted on them too much as children, or they got picked on in high school, whatever the reason, some people become infatuated with their power and fall in love with themselves. They put themselves in the centre of everything because, emotionally, they need to be. The hole in their ego is so big; nothing can fill it, despite their pathological attempts to stuff bonuses, rewards, kudos and perks others deserve more into their stash. Megalomania is tragedy. It’s a good sign a person you despise has bigger problems with the world, than you have with them.

 They always were nasty people.

I knew a kid in elementary school who always seemed like a jerk. Even then it wasn’t quite his fault; he just naturally annoyed and bothered people. Why? I don’t know. Anyway, I met him recently, 45 years later, and guess what? He’s still a jerk. Some people have been, and probably always will be, just plain nasty.

Then there is the problem of Customer Service

Customer Service is dependent on your retail employees. Here are a few of my blunt reminders for both staff and owners of specialty retailers. Unless you stop them from happening, they will start a chain of events that become unmanageable. Retail customer service means avoiding these things that can make the difference between hearings, “I’ll take it,” and “I’m getting out of here and taking my business elsewhere.” So for the shop floor, front line workers here are some tips: -

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Do not let anyone enter the shop without a warm greeting. If you can’t or won’t do that, go work at some retailer that specialize in unfriendly service. Never say it’s “slow,” “dead,” or voice any negative thought, we get enough of that from the Media, the Government, Local Councils, Politicians, In Charge Political Party and Rivals and the Inland Revenue. Leave your problems at the door – no one wants to work with high drama whether that’s your daughter’s lost keys or your boyfriend’s Mom had a facial appointment. Don’t come to work sick – ever. Don’t complain about Christmas music, it’s playing for the customers, not you. Don’t arrive late saying there was “traffic.” Of course there was traffic, it’s the holidays. Plan accordingly. Don’t change into work clothes that you’ve had scrunched into your backpack all day – leave the wrinkled homeless look for the streets. Don’t keep asking if you can go home early unless you are prepared to ask if you can come in early for the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Never reply to a customer inquiry with, “No” unless it is immediately followed with, “But we have…”  Don’t just ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” You’re paid (even if it is the Minimal National Wage) to converse.  Don’t ask if there is “anything else?” Suggest one item that logically goes with what they are purchasing. Don’t say you’re “not authorized” to give a discount, they’ll just ask, “Then who is?” Saying, “No problem” is a problem. It sounds condescending like, “it’s just you – I’d do the same for my dog.” “You’re welcome” is the “A” answer. Don’t walk past a discarded wrapper, used diaper or other leave-behinds of customers. Pick it up and dispose accordingly. Don’t stand in front of the store looking bored. Don’t check out. If you ask, “Did you find everything OK?” listen to the answer and fix whatever is not right. Never say, “I don’t know” to any question without following with, “I’ll find out.” Do not ask, “Have you been helped yet?” Open your eyes! Know before approaching a customer who has been waited on. Never take a return without asking what went wrong. Obviously, something didn’t work and many times it can be fixed or exchanged without refunding the cash. Do not have a personal conversation with another employee within earshot of customers. Do not eat or drink in plain view of customers. That means no food visible on a shelf or the counter either. Never reek from perfume, cigarettes or body odour. You’re not a teenage boy. And if you are, don’t do it either. Do not refer to two women as “you guys.” There’s a big difference – you can tell by looking. Never acknowledge one customer over and above another, especially the one in line behind others you do not know. All customers are equal, even if the one at the back

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of the line is your best, wait until all others have been helped. That’s what makes customer service. Do not gossip about co-workers or customers within earshot of customers. Better yet, don’t gossip. Don’t trick customers. It’s not Halloween. If there is a service charge, delivery charge or special order charge, alert your customer before you ring them up. It’s not a secret or a trick. Likewise if something can’t be returned for a full refund after the holidays. Don’t plead ignorance. In the time you’re putting merchandize out or not helping customers learn about the products you sell inside and out. If you sell Zoobie plush toys that are also a soft pillow and a comfy blanket, know something about Zoobie plush all-on-one toys. Do not ignore a customer because they are not your customer. Stop, look, listen, lend a hand. Do not stand behind someone who is looking at product. It’s creepy – especially to women. Make eye contact and stand next to them or in front. Never blame the boss, the part-timer, the vendor, the weather or the economy for anything that goes wrong. Just make it right. Don’t just stand there like a dead fish or walk away like a customer has swine flu if a customer is having trouble making a decision. Help out by giving them a choice like, “Do you prefer something lighter or darker?” “Something hot or cold?” Don’t vomit on your customers. If someone wants to know your life story, keep it short. If a customer asks about a product, keep it short. Don’t tell customers you are out of something before they ask for the missing product. Do not disappear. We know when you are hiding behind the stacks or in the bathroom. Uncool. Do not ask customers, “Do you still need time?” Shopping is not work — until questions like this are asked. Never suggest ringing someone up until the customer explicitly asks for it. If they are holding many items, great customer service means you ask, “Would you like me to place these on the counter so you can free your hands?” Do not stop your exceptional service after the order is rung up. Final impressions are lasting impressions. Never dismiss or patronize a customer who has a complaint; listen, take it seriously, address it. Never allow bad behaviour. If someone is swearing on a cell phone, politely suggest they go outside. Never hover long enough to make people feel they are being watched or hurried, especially when they are figuring out what to buy. Do not show frustration. Your only mission is to serve. Be patient; it’s not easy. But that is why you work the shop floor in the first place. Don’t ask how customers are. You don’t care, they know it. Don’t ask customers if they have a budget- of course they’ll say cheap-no one willingly says the “sky’s the limit” even if its just for a box of Crayola crayons.

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Don’t talk to customers’ backs. Either get in front of them so they know who’s talking to them or shut up. No customer wants to try to figure out where a phantom voice came from. Don’t thank customers as they are opening the door to leave if you never spoke to them after they arrived. Don’t hide behind the counter. It’s not a castle - customers shouldn’t have to come to you, you should go to them. Don’t stock when any customer is in the store. That’s not customer service, its stocking. But then in many stores this is an impossible task, because management have minimized the floor staff, all other services are assigned to stocking merchandize on the shelves. Amen, we, the shop assistant has to live with it!!!! Just because we don’t have an item, don’t dismiss a customer. If you are in a mall, be prepared to give directions when people ask if you know where they might buy a particular item. No one wants to hear, “I don’t know.” Try. Don’t call other stores to see how busy they are. No time. No need. Nothing to help you achieve your goal.

And for the Store Manager or supervisor:-

Don’t look at your employees as serfs. Chronic shortstaffing, distracted, nickel Napoleon managers - make it nearly impossible to give good service. Treat your staff with respect, i.e. how you would like them to treat others. Bring out the best in them so they can give great customer service to your customers.

Yes I prefer to be optimistic most of the time but some people can process the “Don’ts” better than the “Do’s.” What did I miss? Which is most important? If the employees and leaders of your organization are constantly excusing themselves and pointing at others for their failures, is a red flag. You must improve your employee's accountability. When our team or managers use others to cover up the mistakes, or we do not assume our failures, the company loses valuable time that could be used to fix the problem looking for a culprit. This behaviour occurs because for many organizations, it seems more important to find someone to blame that the problem itself. Which is ironic? Besides it encourages finger pointing within the company, making employees risk averse. Therefore, it decreases the innovation and creativity of the organization. On the other hand, when supportive employers and team leaders are able to hold their team accountable for what they do, the result is often a committed team that leaders can rely on. The phenomenon of employees and leaders who avoid responsibility is very common. According to executives, managers, and employees 43% of organizations believe that between 20 and 50% of their employees avoid the responsibility of their roles, and 11% say more than 50% does it. However, the most alarming of the results from various surveys is that employees shrink the responsibility of their job despite understanding the overall picture and how their job contributes to the success of the company. They know that ducking dodie ste®eo p®odu©tion ™

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RETAIL – DEAD END CAREER? responsibility isn’t due to ignorance. Not wanting to be held accountable probably has more to do with holding onto one’s job.

How To Increase Employee Accountability? Help them understand why it should be done.

Regularly reminding employees how their daily activities contribute to the success of the business, is not enough. Most of them already get the big picture, but cannot find the motivation required to perform a task. A reason why employees are always finding a way to postpone or not do certain tasks at all. Give them clear and convincing reasons why a task should be done, and how people benefit from it.

Set clear expectations.

Along with the employees establish comprehensible short- and long-term goals for which they will be held accountable for reaching. Make sure that every assigned task has a clear, stated result both for completion and for leaving it undone. That everyone understands who is responsible for what and the results you expect and when you expect them.

Accept a reasonable amount of failure.

There are occasions where, despite the good intentions of our team not everything goes according to plan. We need to encourage our employees to notify us of errors made as soon as possible to give them a solution. Let them know that you trust them to solve the problem, and you are there to support them if needed. Let this be an opportunity for the employee to improve and learn. They should know that they are going to explode every time something goes wrong, and that always treat with respect, otherwise you will encourage theme to hide their shortcomings.

Be a role model, and be supportive.

Do not expect your employees to behave differently to you. If you are not able to accept your mistakes, why should they? Encouraging employees to take responsibility for their decisions and actions, and to accept the associated outcomes, can result in extensive benefits for organizations. However, it is crucial that such circumstances take place in a supportive environment.

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Dead end career  
Dead end career  
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