If you want to avoid becoming yet another retail group that has to shut their doors, maximising your team’s performance needs to be high on your agenda. The litany of retailers who have had to close because of poor sales and high rents will continue throughout this year as retailers struggle against intense competition. As I have mentioned recently, Amazon is starting to bite into all retailers sales as they become more and more established and other online retailers continue to grow their sales.
There is still some whispers around on the future of bricks and mortar stores and will they still be relevant in the new technological world we are fast venturing into. I have a firm opinion that they will be here for some time yet, however, not the ones who are failing to give their customers a reason to come in and come back.
Store upgrades, new technology and relevant products that customers want to buy, are essential just to keep pace with the competition. However, these things alone won’t be enough to retain your valuable customers. Only your team members can create and nurture a relationship with your customers, understand their needs and provide the right solutions. Customers develop a connection with people not things.
So how well do your team members connect with customers? Is it all the time, some of the time or never. I believe that retailers are going to have to lift their service experience even more to compete, otherwise your customers will slip away to the online space. And that is really bad for business.
One great example of this, is a retailer who has been under severe financial pressure over the past few years and that is David Jones. In their refurbished store in Sydney they have a completely revamped shoe floor, now the largest shoe store in Australia and it looks amazing. They have gone much further by employing shoe fitters from around the world to create an amazing experience for customers. They have also added an additional 3000 full time staff as they know that customers want that face to face experience when they come into their stores.
I know most retailers can’t go to these extremes, yet a lot of money is spent on revamping store layouts with little focus on ensuring the team members are on board and fully committed to providing an amazing experience every time. This is the area I see as the weakest for most retailers. It’s the inconsistency that frustrates customers. That could be inconsistent staff levels or inconsistent service levels of some staff or worse, both!
To stay ahead of the competition retailers have to ensure their teams are fully focussed and here are some simple steps:
- Do all staff know the expectations of their job? Do they know the steps to providing a great experience and just as importantly, do they know why each step is important to the customer?
- Are they receiving ongoing training to ensure they are the best at what they do?
- Are your store manager’s great role models and leading by example?
- Are your store manager’s following up on the job with each team member? Reviewing their KPI’s, evaluating how well they follow the steps of service and providing quick feedback on the job to lift or maintain performance.
If you want to make this year the best you have ever had, then your store managers have to focus on their team’s performance.
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.