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Juggernaut Amazon Wows! Again

Over and Over and Again and Again!
How? Good, Old Fashioned Commitment to Customer Service.

During the busy season, with so many people buying many more items from you than they normally would, it might be understandable that a few things fall through the cracks.

Maybe a customer – here and there – weren’t properly looked after and maybe things weren’t as perfect as they are meant to be.

Certainly, we don’t want those things to happen but they’re a little more palatable when volume is quadrupled and things get a little crazy.

It’s human nature to have a little more understanding for relatively minor things that go wrong at times like that.

However, the story I’m going to tell you proves that even under the most strained circumstances, Amazon wowed this customer, for sure.

Here’s the story…

Early in December, I placed an order for three items that I planned to give to people as Christmas gifts on December 25th.

As time passed, I tracked it a couple of times with the link Amazon had provided to me.

The package seemed to be following the usual path.

Eventually, though, the tracking message said ‘delivered’. The only problem was, it had not arrived.

I called the carrier and they said the package had been delivered to my front door. Hmmm…

After checking with my family members and my neighbors on each side, I determined it was probably stolen.

It wasn’t Amazon’s fault, nor mine.

Either way, it wasn’t good news because, by this time, it was late on Thursday, December 20th.

I opened a chat conversation with a very efficient and, clearly, effective Amazon Customer Service Rep.

Within a few moments, after the usual inquiries regarding order number and address verification, she asked if I would like a refund or a replacement.

________________________________________________________

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I asked her if she thought it possible that I might receive a replacement before Tuesday, December 25th.

She advised me that, while it could not be guaranteed at that late date, she would make sure the package was shipped the fastest way possible, at no expense to me.

I should add that my original order had been free of shipping charges as I chose the slower method…owing to the fact that I had plenty of time.

Anyway…

I thanked her very much and crossed my fingers.

Even though she had no proof, whatsoever, that I had not received the package, she was sending another order out right away.

She wasn’t condescending. She didn’t make me feel like I was a problem.

She did not charge me for the faster shipping method.

She did not make me wait while she checked with someone to see what could be done.

This very competent person did what she had been trained to do.

So, what happened…

In the wee early hours of Friday, December 21st I got an email saying my package had been shipped and the expected delivery date was Monday, December 24th.

I was cautiously optimistic and hopeful.

On Saturday, December 22nd the package arrived on my doorstep.

Classic…under promised and over delivered.

Providing great service when you’re making a sale is easy.

Providing incredible service when the customer has a problem, a tight deadline and all kinds of anxiety over the situation…amazing.

So, what’s the take away from this?

If a retail juggernaut like Amazon is nimble enough to jump through hoops to look after a customer…just one in a bazillion, to correct something that had gone wrong through no fault of theirs, there is clearly a thread running through the organization that keeps everyone on the same page.

A very strong thread, I would say.

This quality of service simply does not happen unless the entire company is on board.

How do you keep everyone on board and on the same page?

Well, top-notch management who communicate well, and often, and who define and live the culture are the starting point.

After that, training is paramount.

Everyone in the organization must be exposed to the commitment culture.

Everyone in the organization has to not only hear but understand what the expectations are and they must believe that their contribution to the whole is extremely important…that without their participation and contribution, the organization cannot do it’s best to Wow!.

Studies show that the majority of employees cannot articulate their company’s goals – either because they do not know them or because they are not clear and have never been reinforced.

They also do not know or do not understand, how their position – and their performance in that position – affects the organization as a whole, and whether they have any impact on the achievement of the company’s goals.

You will always have some great service stories; some outstanding individuals, if you’re fortunate.

But you need consistency of understanding, approach to business and execution of whatever it takes to reach objectives by all employees in the company if you are to reach and maintain any standing in the world of retail, regardless of the grandness of your goals.

Do you have some amazing stories…good or bad?

We’d love to hear about them. Send an email to johillatdmsretail.com.

Leading by Example is a Core Principle

Leading by example is a core principle for many, but not for all!

Here’s a really old story about a Retail General Manager who liked to follow hot stories of the day…and spent a lot of time watching TV.

So, what does that have to do with leading by example?

Well, it just so happens that the General Manager we’re talking about was in charge of a chain of electronics stores.

In every store he visited across the country, he found a wall of TV’s on during open hours.

If you remember the O.J. Simpson trial, you will recall that there was non-stop coverage and it went on for the better part of a year.

For those of you who don’t remember, he was on trial for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

It was the trial of the century and everyone was talking about it.

Millions were watching it play out on TV.
One of those people was the GM in this story. In every store he visited, he spent most of his time watching the coverage on TV.

Apparently, the stories that went around from store to store were hysterical. Needless to say, respect for this GM plummeted and it was difficult to take him seriously.

The Regional and National Managers he traveled with were aghast!

Imagine being the leader of several hundred employees and spending that much time watching TV while you are supposed to be working for the company…while you are supposed to be managing and developing people and motivating sales teams!

Of course, his subordinates still treated him properly and did their jobs but there is no possible way that an example like this wouldn’t have a negative impact somewhere along the line.

It’s one of those things, those intangibles that are difficult to spot and quantify, but you just know it’s not good for business.

He became a legend in the company…for all the wrong reasons.

So, if you’re ever tempted to relax or be a little too casual or comfortable while in stores…remember the O.J. Simpson trial and think better of it.

People need good examples to follow.

What Do You Think About Minimum Wage Increases?

We’re inviting you to tell us what you think about the proposed increases to minimum wage.

Please comment. Thanks.

The Manager is Drunk and the Store is Flooded!

Retail Managers have heard a lot of crazy things…

• 90% of my staff just walked out!
• Employees are stealing!
• My Assistant Manager left the country!
• A customer locked himself in the washroom!

None of the above events are unheard of. None of them are out of the realm of possibility, right?

In fact, most of them have probably happened and some poor, unsuspecting Manager has been on the receiving end of the frantic call and said

“You can’t be serious.”

But, of course, the Store Manager was serious and someone had to cope with the fallout, clean up…whatever. Yikes!!

The Multi-Unit Manager’s job is not without it’s challenges. Some of them manageable or even preventable…and some of them aren’t.

Managing remotely is one of the biggest challenges facing us because our stores are spread out and we cannot always get to them as often as we would like.

There are Multi-Unit Managers who are promoted from Store Management and there are others who come into the job some other way.

Which is best? Well, that depends on many things.

Today, let’s look at the person who was promoted after managing a store.

Chances are pretty good that the person was a really, really good Store Manager. Most companies are not in the habit of promoting people who don’t do a good job.

We promote our fabulous Store Manager…the one who always (or at least the majority of the time) does the numbers…makes the targets…has great KPI’s, can always be counted on for well thought out opinions about policies and procedures, etc.

His store always looks fantastic – the staff are well put together, professional top performers and so on and so on.

It needs to be understood that the fabulous Store Manager we’re talking about did not achieve any of the above by working 35 or even 40 hour weeks.

He just didn’t.

If you’re in retail, and we assume you are, you’re probably smiling right now because you know very well he didn’t.

Retail stores are busy places and, of course, that’s what we want.

Busy places that are open to the public for the majority of every day, have a lot of things going on…lots happening all the time.

Between selling, servicing customers, getting merchandise onto the floor, cleaning, receiving, reporting, recruiting, hiring and training and tons of other things, there’s not a lot of time to relax, reflect and correct.

There’s not a lot of time for the Manager to simply manage…to delegate and coach and follow up. There’s no time to sort through the inbox…no office door to close and ‘get some work done’.

The ‘work’ is in the store and on the floor. That’s where it happens.

Of course, the Manager is required to do some delegating and coaching because that’s just part of the job.

But the job is much too big for that to be enough.

Unless the Store Manager has the luxury of extra personnel due to, perhaps, flagship status, insanely high volume or something like that, then he is working more like 50+ hours per week.

That’s not even counting the really busy weeks in peak season or the times when new merchandise or seasonal layouts happen, etc.

The point of all of this is to make one thing perfectly clear. That is, a fabulous Store Manager does not necessarily make a fabulous Multi-Unit Manager. Of course, he might…it’s just not something we should take for granted.

In fact, that Manager may not even make a good Multi-Unit Manager.
And, here’s why…

He is not there. He’s missing because he has other places to be.

He’s managing remotely.

There is a world of difference between

1) managing a store team that is working alongside of you for 50+ hours a week, getting everything done under your watchful eye

AND

2) managing a group of store teams scattered around geographically

Multi-Unit Managers are just one of the groups who would benefit from attending a retail management workshop.

The Sweaty Server

Clearly, the company in this story did NOT make High-Yield Schedules.

The operation seemed OK, generally speaking…but why was this poor guy soaked with sweat?

Most of our stories are about regular retailers. But, every so often, we hear a story about a spa or salon, a restaurant or some other type of service outlet that we think is worth passing along.

The point to the story, below, is that scheduling is an integral part of running any operation that is serving the public in some way.

In fact, the schedule is the backbone of the business and there is only one person who should be in control of it and held accountable for it. That person is the Manager.

Here’s the story:

When the couple arrived at a local restaurant to have a late lunch before a movie, they were greeted politely and seated quickly.

Unfortunately, that is where the efficiency ended.

The server showed up quite a few minutes later and here is how the couple described him:
A pleasant young guy with messy hair and a totally sweat soaked brown shirt.

Ok, so this sweaty server asked if they wanted drinks and they did…so off he went to get them.

About 15 minutes later – no exaggeration – he came back with the drinks and took their food order.

Another 10 minutes passed, and the appetizer showed up. Another 10 and the meal showed up.

The couple had a lot of time to look around; to observe what was going on.

Clearly, there weren’t enough servers. Perhaps they were also short on bartenders, cooks and bussers.

The ‘why’ doesn’t really matter, does it?

The place was reasonably busy – not crazy busy – and if they had optimum staffing, they could have taken time to upsell and add on to increase the average check for the day.

As it was, in the rather large section they were seated in, this poor sweaty server guy was running around trying to look after everyone and although he did as well as could be expected, it was very obvious that he was working at a frenzied clip that couldn’t be maintained for long.

To his credit, he didn’t whine and complain or huff and puff… he just took care of business like the solid, committed server he was. The establishment was lucky to have him.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much one guy can do. When one person is doing the job of several, some things are going to fall through the cracks.

The schedule was either badly produced in the first place or management failed to revisit it appropriately.

Maybe both.

Whatever the reason, the coverage was no good and if the coverage is no good…no one wins.

When you think about all that has to be considered when making schedules, such as Budgeted Sales, Allowable Hours, Allowable Wage $ and Wage Cost %, and Last Year’s Actual Sales and Actual Hours Used, Wage $ Used and Actual Wage Cost % along with Full Time, Part Time and Full Time Equivalents, Events – both public and company sponsored, Open Hours, Online Shopping Changes TY from LY, Average % of Business per Day, Associate Stats like Sales Per Hour and Conversion Rate, Heavy Task Days and the not insignificant factor which is Staff Availability, scheduling is no easy task.

Nothing is ever as easy as it sounds, right?

Producing, Costing and Supervising High-Yield Schedules Takes Know How and We Have It!

Scheduling fewer people and using fewer hours is not the way to more success in your business.

There are times when it may seem like a good idea to skimp here and there…save a little without really harming customer service levels…

Don’t be tempted! It’s a trick! A High-Yield Schedule gets you more to work with, not less!

Biggest DM Challenge

The Biggest Challenge in Multi-Unit Management?

Doing it all without being present!
Doing it all remotely.
That is the biggest challenge…hands down!

Don’t be the Last Person to Find out the Single, Most Critical
Thing a Smart and Successful Multi-Unit Manager Needs to Do
To Get Outstanding Results…and What the Business Owner
or CEO Needs to do to Help.

The job of a Multi-Unit Manager is a tough one…no argument here.

They have to make the numbers happen and their stores must comply with all of the requirements set out by the organization.

Sales, merchandising, customer service, maintenance, scheduling, special event management… and so much more…are all their responsibility!

Actually, all of that might be easy if they were in the store with the Store Managers and the Associates every day.

But, of course, they’re not.

That’s the mighty challenge!

Managing remotely requires them to be even better than they were when they were top performing Store or Business Unit Managers.

Managing from afar is very different.

Phone calls and videos are great but no matter how much time a Multi-Unit Manager spends on the sales floor in each of their stores, it’s still not the same as one manager being in one store for 40 – 60 hours a week; pouring all of their effort and energy into the success of one business unit.

Not even close.

In fact, managing remotely is considered by many to be the single, biggest hurdle for any newly promoted Multi-Unit Manager to overcome.

Ignore this fact and you’re asking for trouble. Why?

Because, even though they’re not there (because it’s impossible to be everywhere), they are still accountable and you can’t let them off the hook. Not being there is no excuse for anything and no self-respecting Multi-Unit Manager will try to use absence as an excuse for lack of performance.

Well…maybe once.

Needless to say, it would not and should not go over well!

Usually, the District Manager is accountable for the district. The Regional Manager is accountable for the region. And on and on..that’s how it works.

The individuals holding these important, highly influential Multi-Unit Management positions must get the ‘numbers’…they must achieve targets and operate the stores effectively overall.

That’s it! End of story!

Because the in-person workshop was so highly rated, we decided to offer it online, for only a third of the price and zero travel expenses.

And, because this online workshop is done over 4 sessions, it won’t lead to scheduling issues.

Even if there is a conflict, we send the presentation and recording to your email so you don’t miss out.

Here’s what participants had to say:

“Illuminating, challenging and entertaining.”
~Amanda R., Retail Business Owner

“Very good information, gave many tools to be a very successful DM.”
~Leland W., District Manager

“It was informative on key pieces of the DM role.”
~Alissa B., Corporate Trainer

“Great! Felt, after an hour on the first day, that it was well worth my time away from the store.”
~Kim H., Sr. Store Manager

“I think this class has made me a better DM. I can put a lot of the systems I saw into play in my stores.”
~Calvin D., District Manager

“I think this workshop was perfect for our company. The way we are growing, I truly felt that we needed to structure the DM position. This workshop has given us the tools to do so.”
~Nick G. District Manager

“I enjoyed/learned from your experiences and it is important to learn from workshops like yours because we do not have the time to learn all these things on our own. Stand on the shoulders of giants!”
~Bill G. District Manager

“I think this workshop provides tremendous insights from the DM position to Home Office and into Stores. I appreciated the wide range of topics covered. I feel more empowered to take decisive action with my team.”
~Kerry T. District Manager

This affordable, time and travel saving 8-hour online workshop
(2 hours on four different days in October) is jam-packed with what you need to be your best at MAX Multi-Unit Management.

What you’ll like about this online workshop:

• Your Comfort
• Privacy of Your Home or Office
• Affordability
• Time Saving
• Travel Expense Saving
• Participate as Much or as Little as you Like
• Engaging Presentation
• Open Forum to Discuss with Other Participants and the Instructor
• Actionable Take Awayshttps://sowl.co/bTNHl
• Detailed Multi-Unit Case Study
• Action Strategies Guide & Workbook
• Maximum Performance Goal Planner

(Important note: All of the above sent to your email whether you attend or not.)

Space will be limited during this live and interactive online workshop so everyone who wants to speak up can do so.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

MAX Multi-Unit Management
Online Workshop

Total: 8 HOURS

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

4 Online Sessions
Each Session runs from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST.

Important Note: You get the presentation sent to your email whether you attend or not.

Click here to register for the MAX Multi-Unit Management Online Workshop – $495 per person.

MAKE YOUR PLANS NOW TO JOIN US ONLINE FOR FOUR AFTERNOON SESSIONS…

Remember…You get the presentation sent to your email whether you attend or not.

Ideal for:
• District and Regional Managers
• General Managers
• Store Managers Ready for Promotion
• High Volume Flagship Managers
• All Retail Managers

We want to attend..what do I do now? Click here.
Send an email to Johill@dmsretail.com if you have questions.

Firefighter Visits

Firefighter Store Visits.

You know…the visits where the Regional, District or Area Manager spends more time on the phone with others than they spend with the Store Manager and sales team of the store they’re in.

Firefighter Store Visits are NOT Productive Visits!
(Click here and learn how to avoid Firefighter Store Visits!)

Most career retail people have witnessed the ‘Crazed District Manager’ in action; always moving fast, talking to two and, sometimes, three people at a time and not making a lot of headway.

They’re always in a sweat and their briefcase is seriously overloaded…files and papers poking out all over the place.

Their hair is flying, they’re always checking their watch…and they almost trip over small children while rushing through the mall.

To the casual observer, this appears to be one very busy and productive individual. Well, maybe not so much but we’ll leave that for another day.

In any case, this is not the picture of the District, Regional or Area Manager who gets caught up in Firefighter Store Visits.

The ones we’re talking about are not moving too fast and they’re not crazed or confused. They’re pretty normal people, actually.

They don’t start out with the intention of ignoring the store they’re in, but somehow it always happens. And it frustrates them just as much as it frustrates the Store Manager.

But, there are problems everywhere, every day, every hour – urgent issues and problems and crises – that need the immediate attention of the District Manager…right?

The answer is:
No…not everywhere, not every day, not every hour.

CLICK HERE NOW
to sign up for MAX ROI Store Visits
Online Workshop

September 17th and September 19th

Chances are really good that, barring some special event or major upheaval in the company, there aren’t all that many things happening that require the urgent and undivided attention of the RM or DM every hour of every day…everywhere.

Some, of course, but not that many.

There are situations that could be described as emergencies but many more that could be described as imagined emergencies and, worse, simply distractions.

The distinction depends on a few things.

One of those things is the management style of the District or Regional Manager and the expectations that have been set.

Some of those trying to get their attention could probably handle whatever it is on their own provided the RM or DM has given them the know-how and the authority to do so.

At DMSRetail, we’re strong advocates of true empowerment…which should not be confused with the old “empowerment for all” claim.

You might remember a time, just a few years ago, when every employee had to feel empowered. Courses were taught and every employee was strongly encouraged to be empowered.

If your employees weren’t empowered…well…you were just not running your company properly.

The only problem was that it was fake…disingenuous…artificial if you get my drift!

Every time a so-called empowered employee made a mistake, the wrath of some manager came down on them and taught them – very clearly – that they were not truly empowered.

Anyway, the point is that the position of Store Manager is an important one. It is a position that requires a truly empowered employee to make decisions, fix things that go wrong, drive the business with everything he’s got and, generally, look to their superior for support, some guidance, some professional development and a little help in removing obstacles to success.

Truly empowered employees do not call the boss every five minutes because there is no need to do so. When this employee calls, it’s understood that there’s a good reason for it.

‘MAX ROI STORE VISITS’
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Total: 6 HOURS

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019
3 Hour Session: 1 – 4 p.m. Eastern

Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019
3 Hour Session: 1 – 4 p.m. Eastern
(You get the presentation sent to your email whether
you attend or not.)

Conducting Informal and Formal Store Visits that Produce Winning Results Takes Know How!

If a Store Manager is new, they may need more guidance. Then again, they might be able to get that guidance from colleagues or, perhaps, a book. You never know.

Their immediate superior should not necessarily be the very first person to contact whenever something comes up. If they have taught their subordinates to contact them for every little thing, then they are always going to conduct Firefighter Store Visits.

RMs and DMs have to ensure all of their Store Managers understand what a crisis is so they can identify one when it occurs… and act accordingly.

Regional, District and Area Managers and anyone else who is responsible for managing a group of outlets must be disciplined and avoid distractions.

Firefighter Store Visits can be a thing of the past when you follow the MAX ROI Store Visit process.

Although the topics, details, specifics, time allotments and action plans will vary depending on what you need to accomplish…

The MAX ROI Store Visit process should be followed for  every… single… visit.

Sign up today!

‘MAX ROI STORE VISITS’

Total: 6 HOURS

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019
3 Hour Session: 1 – 4 p.m. Eastern

Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019
3 Hour Session: 1 – 4 p.m. Eastern

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
(You get the presentation sent to your email whether
you attend or not.)

Conducting Informal and Formal Store Visits that Produce Winning Results Takes Know How!

 


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