Your retail staff has no idea how lucky they are and it’s your fault!

Your staff has no idea how lucky they are and it’s your fault!

You’ve been so focused on your business that you forgot about your employees.

Is the position offered enough to keep your employees happy?

Is selling your widget enough for them? Is yours the best widget on the planet and selling it makes your staff jump for joy? Probably not. Many employees are arriving daily to accomplish a means to an end for eight hours and they don’t really care what they sell. Which means, of course, they don’t really care  if they sell either. This is a bad scenario for retailers. Your widget better not have any competition or be able to sell itself otherwise, you better start caring about your employees and whether they like selling.

So how do you motivate your entire sales team to sell more and drive more traffic to your business? Show them how to take advantage of you. Teach them how to use your widgets for their own personal and financial gain.

I guarantee no employer before you has ever taught their staff how to cut corners and take advantage of a system for their own personal gain. Yet that is exactly what you will be doing when you help them create their first repeat customer.

Repeat, regular customers are great for business. This is a customer the employee can greet by name or wave to fondly from across the room indicating he will be assisting them momentarily. Communicating even from a different department in the store.

This is cutting corners and yet the customer feels as though he/she is getting more customer service and anyone around him. This one customer service trick alone will save your employee hours over the course of a year! It saves hundreds of yards walked a year. Wouldn’t you like your employees to have more energy for the things they like to do after work?

Knowing your customers by name does just that.

Employees can tell an entire store that the person who just walked in is their own personal customer with a simple wave.

There are so many nonverbal and verbal ways to communicate with good, regular customers, but this is only possible. Once you know the customer’s name. It will save so much time, energy and stress your employees will be made.

It is also much more difficult to be rude or curt with someone who knows you by name. So your employees experience far fewer inpatient or unfriendly customers and for more customers who treat them with respect and even wish them happiness.

What a different experience the same store can be for the employee who has even one regular customer a day who they would know by name. Helping them find and choose things, learning their tastes and even personal details about their life, children and careers. This type of customer is like shopping with a friend and still getting paid. It’s the closest thing to a stolen hour that they can get and the crazy thing is that only they can create this scenario. No one else can do it for them. How do you learn customer’s names, you may ask? It’s quite simple actually.

Here are two ways; get their names before they become customers or learn names while assisting customers who are coming in anyway.

Why assist nameless people who might be unfriendly when you can turn them into “friends of the business,” who want and request you.

Why settle for the standard that has been set years ago when clearly times have changed?

Windows to new connections have been newly thrown open due to the internet and the ability to create connections has never before been this easy.

If your employees prefer not to engage people who they could be building relationships with then they are absolute fools!

You never know where a relationship may benefit you.

As an employer, you are now supplying them everything they need to make their eight hours into a powerhouse of opportunity and promise and their eight hour day will seem more like four hours so if they prefer the old-fashioned ways, then they are no smarter than someone standing in an outhouse with the Yellow Pages and a princess phone.

Each employee has the limitless possibility to open, create, benefit from and even profit from a relationship with multiple regular customers.

“Regular customer energy” is infectious as well. Your other clients will want to be called by name and given what seems to be superior and unique customer service treatment.

If you have an employee incentive program in place, even better! Start a rewards challenge involving introducing customers to the manager. The employee with the most introductions wins a prize. The employee wins the prize, gains customers and request plus now the customer is known by the manager of the store, making it all the more enticing to shop and refer friends.

The competitive “name that name.” Challenge is actually a fantastic tool that your employees will benefit and use in every area of their life! (Free networking tool with this week’s paycheck: Make sure they are writing customer’s names down in a book. You don’t want to remember someone one week but not the next.)

In my opinion, you are creating bad customer service by making your widget the focus of everyone’s attention. Clue phone! It’s not the best widget ever! The focus shouldn’t even be the customer! The focus should be your employees, the conduit to the sale and how to make them happier to drive more traffic. They need to feel loved and appreciated at some point in the equation.

I assume, for example, that your managers are not telling them how great they are, maybe they are only pointing out your employee’s flaws and mistakes. Maybe the customers are unappreciative or inpatient, maybe even rude. If your employee didn’t really even love your widget in the first place but has too much personal debt or responsibility to look for other job opportunities. This is not the best equation to a purchase. In fact if this employee is frustrated enough. He may be displaying passive aggressive behaviors onto every customer experience and you don’t even know it.

What’s shocking is that you and you alone have the power to turn your black and white, cold, boring store into a virtual Candy-land of daily opportunity and excitement for your staff. You just choose not to because the old ways are much more comfortable. Well “comfortable” is going to put you out of business my friend. Things are they really very different and you better get up to speed and start engaging your staff, and giving them the tools and structure that they are asking for or they will eventually go somewhere else but not before the unhappy and unsatisfied feelings seep through the cracks of every conversation that could have easily blossomed into repeat customers, but instead became a poor customer experience, complete with bad mouthing your store’s reputation, bashing on the Internet and around town. Or worse, they say nothing and eventually you close your doors. Stop this vicious cycle and cater to the needs of your employees. Their days don’t need to be interminable until they move on. Make it fulfilling so they never want to leave!

It’s not about your widget. It’s not even about the customer! It’s about the people who make you want the widget, buy the widget, take pictures and post about the widget and the experience buying the widget. It’s the people who shake your hand when you enter the store and ask how your kids are. It’s the people that customers want to thank and send holiday cards to, recommend to friends and for promotions, call with funny stories or questions because they know they are wanted and appreciated by these people, appreciated personally and not just for their wallets! It’s about your employees. These are the people who personalize your business your brand and your widgets.

Employees: if you want to make your working life better, easier, more fun and more profitable than call your customers by name. The way to accomplish this is very easy. Mention your own name a few times or assist your customer with things not related to what you are selling.

Example; if customers are carrying bags, coats, umbrellas greet them and offer to put their items behind the counter or someplace safe. As they are handing their belongings to you asked for their name. (Don’t be nervous! It’s easy, and you are providing extra customer service they didn’t know they needed or could possibly have.) Just say, “And your name? I’ll put a little tag on it so everyone knows it’s yours.” Walla! With seems like extra effort on your part is actually the first step to creating your effortless workday and then workweek and ultimately career in a rewarding customer relations position. (Lucky dog!)

Now it is vitally important that at some point after getting your customer’s name, you write it in a book that will become your regular customer’s names book.

Do yourself a favor and purchase a standard composition book for customer’s names. When you get a name put the date at the top of the page and jot down things like: weather conditions that day and a politically correct description of the customer plus her kids names or career… any little thing that she may have mentioned that will help jog your memory if you don’t see her again for a few weeks.

Another way to get a customer’s name is if they have children with them. Try keeping the kids entertained and or putting the stroller somewhere safe. You can introduce yourself and tell the mom or dad you are more than happy to help. Any time you are not busy. When they obviously appreciate you singing the A B Cs with Junior you can tell them that they can call the store at the time to let you know they are coming in and that way you can finish up with other clients Past to keep Junior company while year she shops.

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They will be blown away by this extra customer service and thank you or need a few minutes to process amazing customer service for their first time. Customer service that they did not know they could have.

Keep it casual act as though it is no big deal to help keep their kids and occupied in this act will reward you, her and the store 10 times over!

At some point in offering your services to her, it will become comfortable ask for her name but… please make sure she gets your name!  (Why? Because you never know!) This is your next regular customer, but it is even better now, through telling her “mom” friends about the store and you personally they were excited.

Example: mother with children distractedly trying to shop while kids are requiring her attention too – ask age appropriate questions of the kid(s) (“Hey does anyone know the ABC’s?”) then smile & say, “You shop, we’ll follow.” then immediately turn your attention back to the kids and ask your next question. “That was great!  Does anyone here know what the Itsy Bitsy spider went up?”

She will smile and try this new idea out, thankful for the relief or say, “That’s ok”, uncomfortable with something new. Either way you did something new unrelated to selling and she now knows this is a shopping experience only you provide. If she excepts your Above & Beyond, expert customer service, you will now be someone she seeks out whenever she shops and will start coming to your store because of you!

When someone accepts your help, you just created an opportunity for a dialog and from there: a customer for life. You now have opportunities to get your name out there and make sure that the person knows the unique experience you bring to the table. A mom who accepts your help will remember you for life and tell friends… whether she buys something or not! You see when you work in retail you have more power over your paycheck than you think and what you have all around you is limitless opportunity to harness that power no matter what kind of products you sell!

When “your mom” customer is leaving the store now, make sure she knows you can always do this for her when you are here and not busy. (Tell her this whether she accepted your help today or not. This gives her something to think about if she didn’t) this opens the door for three obvious questions: Who are you and when are you here? And when should I shop that you are not busy?

You just took a less than perfect situation for a mother and turned it, not only into an opportunity, but a scenario where she will ask for your name, the days that you work, plan to come back earlier and tell friends!)

When you tell her, “Feel free to call the store a few minutes before you get here so I can finish up with whomever I am working with. What is your name by the way?” – This no pressure customer service attitude has nothing to do with the clothes or widgets so she will happily tell you are name and be sure she gets yours.

If she seems really enthusiastic write your name on a piece of paper or store business card. When she reaches for the card, pull it back and say, “Oh, I should write the days I’m working days too.”

In her head you have already moved her to the head of the line, in front of other customers when she calls to tell you of her eminent arrival, now you are pulling back the only piece of paper that has your name on it. The name she does not want to forget. People don’t like having things taken away from them. So this will further solidify your name in her memory.

You made her life easier for no apparent reason and for no financial or emotional gain for yourself and you told her you will hurry others along in preparation for her arrival. Now that is customer service! She feels like a queen and you created that with the same exact amount of time and space that your coworkers would use to complain about something.

Now when you are writing down for her the days that you work, mention that, “mornings, (afternoons or evening’s… whatever time you are consistently slow or looking for business) are best.” and also write that on the card.

Now as you hand her the card or paper back, and this is important, let her know that you can only do this for a few people a week and laugh and say, “otherwise it might turn into a different business altogether.” and laugh again. “Thank you for coming in. I hope to see you soon, by-by Junior!”

Another way to get a customer’s name is by mentioning your own (and not in the same forgettable way like, “Hello, my name is LeeAnne and I will be assisting you today.”

Rather in a way that makes people listen.

Example: “Can I help you find something?” “No, I’m just looking.”

“Well, you are looking in LeeAnne section so if you want to know the secret deals let me know.”

The customer may not want your help. But now, they at least know your name. You should get something or give something every time you speak to someone. Don’t settle for the average, normal sub-standard exchange. That is so social media. Now people expect more from each and every exchange in their lives.

Did you know you get something every time you give your name? You are one step closer to being able to say, “And your name is?”

When customers have used your name enough times you can absolutely ask for theirs plus you are that much closer to a relationship, more respect, your customer recommending you to friends and for promotions, being better known in your community and receiving thank you gifts, holiday cards and perks from people outside of work. But none of this can happen if you don’t give your name or get theirs.

Look for opportunities to get your name into your customer’s years. People like to go to places where they know people. They will choose your store over the competition simply because they know your name. Your boss will also become aware of how many people are spending money in his store because of you. A good way to make sure this is by introducing your customer to your boss or manager. Do this by saying, “I don’t know if you met our amazing manager (Or the man behind all of this), Mark. Mark this is our new, super nice customer and neighbor. Sorry, I never asked your name? Oh Mary? Nice to meet you!) “Well, Mary if you can’t find me, LeeAnne, ask for Mark and he will see to it you get my special treatment. Even if I’m not here.”

Bamm! Now you’ve complemented your boss, complemented your new customer, your boss is aware of your new clientele building practices and techniques. Your boss knows this is your customer, Mary knows two people in the store which makes her twice as likely to choose to shop with you every time! She knows your name and you know hers, which makes it likely that your exchanges will all be more pleasant than with a customer who you don’t know at all. Mary is one step closer to complementing you online and referring friends….

Can you believe you did all of this by mentioning your own name and introducing your boss to your customer?

You just stacked the deck in your favor and created a regular, really nice customer all using just a few words and not settling for, “No thanks just looking.”

Get your name in it. Use your words! Use your connections to your boss/manager to your advantage. Use his cache to your benefit. Use the power that he throws around to create and cement your own relationships with your customers. You will be surprised how much get from sharing his power and title with your customers.

Your boss may want you around all the time! (And believe me, no one else will come to mind when it comes for a promotion.)

This is a lot of power and positives coming from simple introductions and learning customers’ names. Stop throwing your power away and complaining you have none.

You have the power to do amazing things and create and forge phenomenal relationships for yourself. Go do it!

Like What You Read? Feel free to follow my blog or sign up for my free newsletter & teleseminars!
Motivate your staff! The way I do this is either in person or on-line 2 hour seminars or through a brief 20 page guide / script that I wrote so that you can motivate your own staff.
I am looking for new clients in the restaurant and retail sector so I can show them how much more enthusiastic their employees will be when they see the limitless possibilities their job holds for them.Feel free to refer me to anyone you think may need help with their staff!


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