Retail Training: Don’t Make Customers Storm Your Castle, er Counter
By Bob Phibbs
Oftentimes retailers hire people less comfortable out on the salesfloor and more comfortable behind the wall of the counter, in particular Amiables. That’s why I refer to the counter as the castle.
It is a safe place for them to stand, fortified to withstand the attack of customers.
You want service? Come to the castle and we may lower the bridge to give you the answers, otherwise you’ll stand in the moat until we are ready for you.
Have you ever seen something in a store that looked interesting, then noticed the bored employees behind the counter looking bored and walked on? I have.
When a store is empty, it is much harder for that first person to walk in because they feel all eyes are on them. They are afraid of three things:
Being attacked by an overly aggressive greeter.
Being ignored and unable to find what they need.
Timid employees will compound these fears by remaining behind the counter. Er, castle.
Get your employees out from behind the counter and keep them active, especially if you have windows.
Customers outside need to see people inside trying on clothes, matching prints, perusing books, comparing products so they will want to be part of the group. If you don’t have any customers at that time, have employees act as if they were customers.
But this isn't just for retail, if you've just opened a restaurant with an outdoor patio and no one is there at lunch – put your excess employees on the patio with food until it is busy.
If your auto repair bay is empty, have an employee put their car up on a lift so they will be available when someone comes in or people see you as busy when they drive by.
Get the idea?
Here are Five Tips to Make the Castle Less Comfortable:
Remove any seats or stools
Remove comfort pads or rugs off the concrete floor
Make both sides open and accessible
Cut the counter in half so it is more of a desk
Move the phone
If you've trained them well, salespeople are never behind the counter waiting; telegraphing the world how bored they are. They are active, moving around all the time creating excitement, not barricaded behind the castle.
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