I’ve noticed that some retailers are seriously understaffed. I have gone into stores with the intention of making a purchase and left without the item(s) I needed. I was unable to find the item and was also unable to find any help on the floor. A few years ago when the economy was very strong it was hard to find staff. Today, since the economy slowed, staff are available. Why can’t I find help?
Some of my retail clients tell me they have benefited from the downturn. They are able to get and keep good staff. If a store has no staff on the floor they are cutting expenses which is false economy. Good staff on the floor help customers find the things they need. Well trained staff can also interest customers in additional purchases.
Your people are a critical component of your success in retail. They are the point of contact with your customers and therefore they are the face of your business. Jan Carlzon calls there interactions between customers and staff “Moments of Truth” which is the title of his book. Carlzon was the CEO of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). He empowered his front line staff to deal with a problem in the way that they would want the problem dealt with if they were the customer. Under his leadership the airline experienced a dramatic turnaround. When a store has no staff they sacrifice not only sales but the opportunity to make connections with customers.