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Hug A Retail Worker Today

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Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 6.24.04 AMIt’s Black Friday. That means retail season is upon us and consumers are out in plenty. It’s a time where stores make or don’t make their biggest profits and also a time where good or bad customer service is as easy to see as a giant zit on the end of a nose.

It’s crunch time.

In athletics the phrase crunch time is used to describe a time in a competition when the whole game comes down to one moment or series of moments. It is a time usually of urgency, of pressure. Sometimes a lifetime of work can be “won or lost” at crunch time. Well, it is crunch time in the retail world.

When you and I shop, I think it’s fairly easy for us to see who is handling crunch time well and who is struggling. We know where we are having a good, even pleasant experience and conversely we know where our treatment sucks. We also know why one place is a better experience than another – it’s the people.

I don’t believe that at the top of the retail chains are CEOs, owners and Presidents trying to create lousy experiences in their shops and stores. I do, however, believe that those who consistently show up in the discussion when customer service is being referenced know that it’s their people, not their philosophy that wins the day.

Don’t get me wrong, a good philosophy or a customer driven mission statement is a beautiful thing. It is only when that mission or philosophy is carried to employees, however, and then delivered by them to us that it truly works. The question then is how does a company deliver the customer service message to their people so that they deliver that message to us shoppers? The answer is simple: treat employees in the same wonderful way you’d like them to treat the masses. Sort of Do Unto Others Paid Forward….

Employees being treated well feel better about their jobs, better about themselves, do a better job and manifest those feelings by treating you and I as if we have value to them and their company. Frankly, this is so simple that I am constantly amazed at how seldom company brass examines their treatment of their people. Sadly, too many don’t and often the bigger they are, the worse they are.

Our job? Be nice during this harried time. Thank that overworked, probably underpaid and surely under-appreciated retail worker. They just might be someones spouse, partner, friend, son, daughter, neighbor. AND…….Chances are they’ll be nice in return and then maybe, just maybe, we don’t have to try to change things from the top down, we can do it from the bottom up. That’s how real change happens anyway. Good luck!