Guest blog by Gina Smith
Front line staff are the face of your company. Whether you are a large retailer or small business, your employees will leave a lasting impression on each and every customer. That impression will determine whether or not that customer comes back and/or refers others. Keeping your front line staff positive and happy increases the likelihood staff will enjoy their jobs and go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction.
There are so many aspects to owning and managing a retail establishment, employees sometimes unintentionally fall by the wayside. When staff do not feel valued or appreciated (either actual or perceived) the likelihood their discontent will spill over into their customer interactions increases significantly. Spending time on staff development is key. This article will discuss some ideas to help keep your front line staff smiling.
Truly Appreciate Them
This may sound simple, maybe too simple. Unfortunately, an amazing number of managers and business owners tend to overlook it. You do not have to offer every member of your staff a five-day cruise to earn their respect and loyalty. Sometimes, a simple pat on the back with a “thank you” or “great job” does the trick. Remember, a little appreciation goes a long way. Here is an interesting read that expands on the importance and impact of simple appreciation.
Value Their Insight and Input
Your front line employees are the ones “in the field”, so to speak. They tend to have a good pulse on rapidly changing customer needs and demands. Take time to not only listen to your front line staff, but ask for their insight and input. Doing so helps make them feel important. Remember, feeling like a valuable part of a team improves self-esteem, attitude and outlook. Don’t be afraid to engage their thoughts on everything from showroom paint color to company re-branding. Your employees just might come up with some interesting and outside of the box ideas to help generate sales.
Always take time to recognize employee accomplishments. Whether they have performed well on the sales floor or have made a significant contribution or impact outside of work, make every effort to acknowledge and commend them. This can be as simple as a handwritten note from the boss and mention in the company newsletter, to gift certificates or a special lunch or outing. Recognizing staff accomplishments will always put a smile on their face. Click this link for more ideas of how to recognize employees.
Make Their Job Easier
In an age of budget cuts and layoffs, employees are being tasked with more and more responsibilities. Be careful about just how much you are having your front line staff manage. When they become stressed, it definitely shows. There are ways you can lessen the burdens on your front line staff. For instance, having dedicated employees to handle returns can help free your sales staff.
If you sell a product that may require some sort of support, directing customers to online, chat or phone support can help alleviate the number of walk-in customer service related inquires. In fact, many retailers are finding they can outsource this responsibility to an experienced, reliable call center for much less than it costs to manage in-house. Less burden and stress makes for more content employees, and content staff tend to do a better job of developing a rapport with customers.
Remember, it does not take much to put a smile on an employees face. Front line staff are the backbone of any company. They are too often overlooked, when they should be the ones management pays plenty of attention to and appreciates the most.
Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.