“A little help?”

We have all been there.  Walking by a playground, a college campus, a beach or schoolyard, when we hear the call’ “A little help?”

We all know how to respond.  We immediately search the area for an errant ball or frisbee that needs to be returned to the person asking for help.  Finding the lost item, we toss, throw flip or kick it back to the owner hopefully with some accuracy.

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Watch your mouth!

It was bad enough that two employees were talking on the sales floor while people all around them went unserved, but it was their discussion was what put it over the top.

(I share the story only to illustrate the types of discussions that should not be held on the sales floor.)

The first employee was asking the second one how they had been.  The first employee then went on to describe that flu that she had suffered through.  She said that several times when she ran to the bathroom she could not decide whether she should bend over or sit down as “it was coming out of both ends!”  I expected the other employee to be a bit put off by such a topic on the sales floor within ear shot of customers. Continue reading

Dressing Room Rich Environment

Often times customers are limited by the number and availability of dressing rooms.  So I had to chuckle when I stopped in a Book Warehouse recently.  The bookstore had FIVE dressing rooms and nothing to try on.  I think a marketing opportunity for the store would be to put up fliers in dressing room lines of other stores in the mall saying  “Come for our dressing rooms and stay for our books.”

Is it coaching?

img_1763I was straightening up my workspace this morning and ran across a sample of a coaching log.  The log had been developed by an experienced and talented store manager working for the company I worked at many years.

It was well produced with 50 pages to record when a manager coached and employee. I really liked the playbook and I hope that it improved coaching for the managers and their employees.  Perhaps it lead to better sales, improved service or more effective and efficient employees.

 

This was not the only coaching log that I saw while I working  in retail management and training.  In fact, I probably saw 50 different versions over the years.  But this one was a good one.

The reason why I bring this up is that it has been my experience that there is no correlation between good coaching  and the use of a coaching log.

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It’s magical

Disney storefront

It had been some time since I had visited a Disney Store so when I passed by one the other day I had to stop in.

I wandered through the store checking out how the Star Wars brand has been woven into the Disney merchandising, listening in on customer interactions and observing the joy that the customers exhibited in visiting a little slice of the happiest place on Earth.  Finally, I ended my explorations at the back of the store drawn towards a small crowd gathered there.  There were a dozen people around plush mountain watching the video wall on the back of the store.

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The Ledge & Yeti’s Lair -Klamath Falls, OR

One of the joys of a good road trip is getting well away from the interstates and onto the blue highways of William Least-Heat Moon fame. It is on just such roads that my wife and I found ourselves on a recent trip to Death Valley.

Klamath Grill (highly recommended for breakfast or lunch)

Klamath Grill (highly recommended for breakfast or lunch)

As we drove through southern Oregon, the clock was approaching lunchtime and we were beginning to feel a bit hungry when we heard a radio ad for the Klamath Grill on Main Street in Klamath Falls.  The ad made it sound like a great local place to stop for lunch. We were not disappointed.

This breakfast and lunch spot serves up a nice variety of diner favorites along with some chef specialities such as Swedish Pancakes, Dutch Babies and a Cranberry Club Sandwich.

Waiting for my Huevos con Chorizo to arrive, I picked up a table topper to read.  Anyone who has eaten at a small town diner might recognize these simple booklets with local history, bad jokes, trivia and area advertisements to read while waiting for your food.

As I was reading through the booklet, I ran across a reference to the “only solar-powered outdoor store in the US”, The Ledge.  Checking my phone, I discovered the store was only several blocks from the diner. So we decided we would walk over to the store and take a look around before heading on to Tule Lake and Susanville.

The Ledge

The Ledge

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I sent him away

He was timid, reserved and soft-spoken.  We have all run across this type of customer before.  It’s challenging to get them to warm up to you, they can be slow to offer information and they can even be hard to hear.

I greeted him and asked him what brought him into the store today.  A rather defensive “I just came in to look” was his response.  So I told him to look around and that I would check back in a few minutes if he ran across any questions and then I set off to help others who had just entered the store.

As I circled back to him after a few minutes, it was clear to me that he that he truly was looking for something specific as he studied the hang tags and pulled garments off racks to look at. It seems that he had needed some time to decompress and check things out on his own terms when he first entered our store.  I re-approached him.

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The “Expert” – Part 2

bigstock-the-words-hello-i-am-an-expert-36518137

This second post on working with experts looks at the customer that perhaps grossly over-estimates their knowledge, is mistaken or is just plain wrong.

Marshall Field supposedly said “The customer is always right.” This is a great way to proceed with your customers unless they are wrong.

In these situation, you can turn to Aleister Crowley and his less famous quote for guidance “The customer is usually wrong but statistics indicate that it doesn’t pay to tell him so.”  So, what do you do when the customer is wrong?  The key when working with pseudo-experts is to be patient, gentle and respectful.

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