Boost the Bottom Line With Better Communication
Did you know that the simple act of communicating can make a big difference to your store’s bottom line? Communicating effectively with your employees will strengthen key relationships and your business. Committed employees become ambassadors for your store and your relationships with customers.
How do you turn less-than-enthusiastic staff into super-committed, customer-service centric team members? By applying the same principles to these “internal customers” as you do to your external customers.
Think about all you do to give your customers a positive and memorable retail experience: look at things from their perspective, actively listen, offer options and solutions to their problems, and smile.
Using these concepts, you can turn any conversation with an employee—even a tense one—into a productive interaction that builds commitment.
Prepare to Listen
Enter every conversation with the intention of understanding the other person’s perspective. Often, we fall into the trap of filtering communication through our own experiences—it’s human nature! Always assume the other person has positive intent. That way, you’ll start things off in the right frame of mind.
Invest in your business relationships by being open to truly hearing what your employee or customer is saying.
Listen Between the Lines
During a conversation with your employee, focus on gathering information. It’s easy to spend this valuable time planning what you are going to say next. Avoid this temptation! Suspend judgment until you have successfully heard all the relevant facts. If it’s a tense conversation, acknowledge the emotion, but don’t get hooked in by it. Use simple, direct questions to clarify the situation. What is the situation? What problem is it causing? What have you done so far? How can I help? Focusing on the facts without getting distracted by the emotion will make employees feel supported and solve problems quicker.
Seek Opportunities to Listen
It’s easy to let opportunities to communicate proactively with your team take a back seat to customers and keeping your store running smoothly. So, plan on some kind of daily communication with your team.
A quick email or walk around the store for face-to-face conversations makes an impact. Share news about a new product or feature; give a compliment on their work; ask what they think about merchandising or an upcoming promotion; discuss a challenge they are having at work and offer suggestions or share an experience; or touch base and see if they have any questions you can answer.
In the absence of reliable information, your team members may make things up. Be proactive in your communication, and you will remain in control of the message, while building stronger relationships.
Make an Investment
Communicate with your employees with the same empathy and personal service that you offer your customers. Create a store culture of open, honest communication and allow for feedback. Make an investment in your employees, and they will return the favor. Employees who feel heard will also feel cared about and proud to work in your store. Customers feel this positive energy through great customer service experiences and return the favor with more sales and loyalty!