My first job was in retail at TG&Y, a “five and dime” in my Midwestern home town. I still recall how nervous I felt inside when I helped my first customer. I was not quite 16 years old so being nervous was natural. But I was a teenager so would I admit I was nervous? Of course not!
Do you have a retail store? Do you hire additional staff for the holidays? How old are these new hires? What sort of previous retail experience do they have? Most malls and mass merchants hire lots of young people for the holiday season and for many, this is their first job.
Retailers and the media refer to “Black Friday”, traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving when the holiday shopping season officially starts. I was stunned to find most front line retail workers don’t understand the significance of this phrase.
They thought it referred to the extended hours, going to work and getting off when it’s DARK. Others thought it was just slang for how they all felt about this busy, crazy, exhausting day. Only a couple of the most seasoned knew it actually refers to the day of the year when retail businesses typically move “into the black” – you know, profitability.
Be sure your team understands the significance of this hectic retail day and do your best to help them embrace and celebrate the madness.
Suggest your new hires bring extra beverages and even a sack lunch since breaks will be shorter and fewer. Maybe even stock some granola bars and beverages in the back room for your staff.
If this is their first holiday season, it’s up to YOU to be sure they are prepared.
The customer service we deliver is directly related to how we feel. When we are tired, hungry and aching, our tone and attitude reflect it. Have a frank conversation with your team about the demands of the first holiday weekend. Give descriptive examples of a typical “Black Friday” and then share the comfort tips to help them be able to capitalize on this retail gift.