Who’s the real star of the store?


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A few years ago I visited two stores in the same market. Since they were part of the same chain they carried the same products and had a similar look. An experienced manager who had come up within the company led each. The stores should have been similar, right? They weren’t; the difference was night and day.

At the first store I visited I was quickly welcomed at the door by the store manager. Linda (all names changed to protect the innocent) took me around and introduced to me to each employee. “This is Bob. Bob has been with us four years.” And then introduced me to Mary by saying, “This is Mary. She’s new.” I think there were one or two other people working that day.

As we walked around the store Linda shared with me everything she was doing to make their numbers. She told me about the store meeting she had just conducted, how she was working with the team, and so on. At lunch, Linda talked about her aspirations to be a DM, and what she thought she needed to do to get there.

Overall, the store looked good and was posting decent numbers, but something seemed to be missing.

Later in the day I drove to the second store where Jason, the assistant manager, greeted me warmly. Susan, the store manager, walked up to us and said, “I see you’ve met my new assistant, Jason. He’s already brought some great ideas and new ways of doing things to the team.” I asked about them and was able to capture a number of ideas to bring back and share with the executive team.

At that point, all of the other employees came up and introduced themselves. With each introduction, Susan told me something about each employee. “This is Jen. We recently got a customer letter saying how incredible she is. We think she is, too. She’s so natural helping customers.” Jen was beaming from ear to ear as I shook her hand.

As we walked around the store Susan insisted that a different employee join us. Not only did Susan point out what the staff was doing to make the store successful, she only answered my question after the employee with us answered first.

Just like the first store, this one looked good, but the feel was completely different. You could just feel the energy and passion from the entire team, and it translated to the customer experience. This was much different from the first store.

It was easy to see why. In the first store, it was all about Linda, the store manager. She was the star of the show. In the second store, everyone was a star. Susan wasn’t any more important than the rest of the team. I never once heard the word “me.” It was always “us,” “we,” and “the team.”

Here’s what I appreciated most about Susan: She wasn’t a cheerleader. She focused the conversation on the actions, behaviors, and results that made each employee a star.

That, of course, fueled Susan’s staff to keep raising the bar and become even bigger stars, and that made Susan a star in my eyes.

So let me ask, how many stars are there in your store?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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