An Attitude Of Service Or Just An Attitude? Attitudes Affect Customer Service

This is going to seem a bit odd to some of you but I want to know if you have an attitude? Store owners, do you have an attitude? Store Managers, do you have an attitude? Has anyone taken a look at the attitude of their employees? EVERYONE has an attitude, the statement isn’t necessarily a negative it can be positive. The problem is we have grown accustomed to thinking of it with a negative connotation. Why is that? Because in some form or fashion we have adopted the idea that an “attitude” shows our independence or ability to be self-reliant regardless of what others think. At times it can be very course and abrasive to others. If that is your “attitude” how does that relate to your customers, or those who work for you? I would like you to consider for a moment that an “attitude” may look more like a chip-on-the shoulder than some sort of independence (in some cases if looks like a boulder more than a chip).

     An owner with a poor attitude makes the job more difficult for the managers who work for her or him. The “I’m the boss” temperament may be unstated but if that is how an owner thinks it can reflect into how they give direction and interact with their managers. It frequently means that no one else can have a better way of doing things and leads to a stale operation. I will also tell you that the negative attitude rolls downhill.  The way you interact with your managers will be reflected in how they interact with the store associates and they, in turn, have attitudes with the customers. I have seen it in action and I can tell you I have experienced it and have allowed it to impact my interactions with my team in spite of my best intentions. By the end of a workday, everyone leaves in a grouchy mood. 

     The attitude of the owner affects the attitude of the managers has a direct impact on your customers who don’t have to shop at your store. I happen to work for a company that has two stores in the immediate area. On more than one occasion we have heard comments from customers that they don’t like to go to the other store. They tell us the customer service is poor and the employees are not friendly. On the other hand the manager of the store where I work makes a point of telling the managers they are to do whatever they can to keep customers happy (within reason and without violating policies). Employees may get busy but they enjoy working for this manager. The atmosphere is welcoming and we make every effort to greet our customers and offer assistance when they walk into the building. I have gone into the other store and the climate is different. If a greeting is offered it is more of an obligatory hello that a genuine one.  

     What is the climate in your store? What do your managers and employees think about your management style? If you aren’t concerned think again. If your store employees are providing poor customer service to customers because of the treatment they receive it as a direct impact on sales and a direct impact on theft prevention. Shoplifters who have been interviewed have said that they target those stores where employees are unhappy. They don’t have to worry about someone trying to give them too much attention. If shoplifters aren’t receiving service, neither are your customers and that means no one is trying to sell let alone up-sell for a store. 

     Customer service starts with leadership. When the management team seeks to make the climate one where employees enjoy coming to work that attitude will be reflected in the interactions between workers and customers. Owners and managers cannot assume the team is happy. Truly anonymous employee surveys will help gauge what employees are thinking. They can also be a tool for seeking ideas about what employees might want to see done differently or an outlet for ways to improve. Happy employees make a world of difference. What is the climate in your world? Is everything great or is an attitude adjustment in order? 

Preventing Shoplifting In Your Store

A Target or Walmart store can and are able to fight shoplifting in their stores every day of the year.  The expense associated with shoplifting has for many years been known to be passed down to the consumer, and the increase in prices has been an expense that gradually has affected consumers around the globe.

In the United States retail shrink which includes shoplifting, employee theft, administrative errors and vendor fraud cost the US retailers close to $50 billion in 2016 alone. More than 36% of shrink was due to shoplifting, and 30% was due to employee theft.

Many local businesses across the United States have taken different approaches to prevent shoplifting.  From investing in Facial recognition software to shoplifting prevention training, many businesses have taken different approaches to the prevention of this crime.  But, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) even as the average inventory shrink rate has increased by close to 1.5% the budgets for loss prevention personnel has decreased or remained flat.

What are some of the steps local businesses have taken to prevent shoplifting?

Signage – A Spokane Washington local business has signage that lets you know from the time you enter their store that they have Video surveillance in use and they will prosecute you in case of shoplifting, and they also have a policy of taking your name when you enter their fitting rooms. If you shoplift, they already have your name.

Customer Service -has been proven to be one of the major loss prevention strategies businesses have adopted that can also benefit them in the long run. Be aware of the difference between offering great customer service and stalking a customer.

Training –  Trained personnel cannot only help you prevent shoplifting but can prevent incidents from getting out of hand.  Knowing the laws, regulation, and the process when a shoplifting incident occurs can save lives and prevent lawsuits.

Facial recognition software – If you are using facial recognition software in your stores, caution has to be taken into consideration.  Using facial recognition improperly can lead to too many problems and too few rewards.  Properly trained personnel are one important aspect of using this kind of security measure.

There is probably a fine line between great customer service and making your customer feel like a criminal.  Losing customers because your employees follow them and are constantly asking them if they need help or making them uncomfortable is not a good solution.  If you are also targeting people for no apparent reason, the probability that the bad experience will find an outlet that will carry bad publicity for your business is very likely.

Let us know if some of the above methods you are using seem to be working for you.