Posts Tagged ‘Black Friday’

Holiday Hires

November 20, 2013

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.

Don’t assume they KNOW to wear comfortable shoes or even bring a second pair to give their feet a break.

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.

 

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Training New Hires – Part 1

November 19, 2010

In my previous blog, I talked about how you can help new hires be ready for the busy holiday season. Whether you are in retail or any other type of business, as your business grows, you will need to add staff. Often the positions we fill are entry level and the person we hire does not have a lot of work experience, it could even be their first job.

In every case, we have to train. We take the time to train the newbie on our computer systems and cover details right down to location of the restroom and break schedules.

Typically though, we neglect to train on the most important aspect of our business; our customers. Specifically, how to treat our customers.

Sure, you have likely used the phrase “great customer service” but those new to the work force simply DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS. Those with less life experience may not have ever had “5 Star Service” and therefore, don’t know how to offer it to others.

Don’t just tell your staff to greet customers, be specific. Tell them what to say in greeting a customer. We were aggressive advertisers so in my stores, sales people greeted customers by saying “Did you come in on our big sale today?” If the answer was yes, they could ask what they saw or heard in the ad that caught their eye starting the sales process. If the answer was no, they could say “Well then today is your lucky day. We have a great promotion going on and then proceed to give a brief overview.  Decide what works best for your business and teach it to all your team members.

The same is true for answering the phone. Prepare a simple script. Type it in a large font and keep it by every phone. The very first note on this cheat sheet should be SMILE. Talk to your team about how important it is to smile when they answer the phone. This simple act warms our tone and creates a better connection with the caller. You’d be shocked at how many people tasked with answering phones – often an entry level position – have never heard this.

As you can tell by the title, there is more to this topic than the couple of tips included here.  On Monday, I’ll post the rest so you’ll still have time to get everyone ramped up and ready to tackle “Black Friday”.

Holiday Hires

November 17, 2010

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.

Don’t assume they KNOW to wear comfortable shoes or even bring a second pair to give their feet a break.

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.

In Friday’s blog, I’ll give tips for training your staff on customer service to further maximize the holiday season for your business.


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