Jerry likes to golf. But on rainy days, he and his wife, Yvette, are willing to put away the clubs and go “under cover.” Jerry and Yvette spend some of their days scouring the local retail establishments ferreting out candidates for the “INMJA.”
“INMJA” = It’s Not My Job Association, a group vehemently opposed to the work ethic, and it may be flourishing in your store.
A shopper may have unwittingly encountered an association member last week when he brought his 5-year-old son to the store with the proceeds of his cracked piggy bank to buy his first baseball glove. The shopper remembers that the sales associate didn’t smile at the boy and couldn’t tell him the price of the only left-handed glove available. That employee was probably a member of the INMJA.
Where’s the Service?
Do you remember the last time you waited in line for 15 minutes to ask a question at the customer service desk only to discover that the employee couldn’t care less about your needs and kept glancing at her watch each time you asked a question?
These scenarios are uncomfortably familiar to most customers, but too often, store management is in the dark about employees’ behavior. Whenever the manager is on the premises, all of the associates are courteous, efficient and enthusiastic. Once the boss heads for the door, the INMJA members slip back into familiar patterns of behavior – inattentiveness, boredom and occasionally out-and-out rudeness.
Fortunately for concerned managers, mystery shopping services can provide a set of eyes and ears to catch those associates slipping into the INMJA trap. Mystery shoppers or “professional auditors” generally abhor the term, “spy,” but they are committed to their belief in the right of customers to receive pleasant, courteous, informed service at all times.
Trained auditors provide comprehensive evaluations targeting a variety of employees and time periods, using many scenarios so that managers can see the whole picture of how their store is run in their absence.
Once the customer’s perspective is known, managers have the opportunity to direct their training efforts in a more organized and effective manner.
Show Employees You Mean It
What will convince your employees that you mean it when you say, “The customer comes first?” A visible show of management support is critical. So is public recognition of those who deliver the kind of service that commands customer loyalty and turns inquiries into sales.
These people should be praised as the heroes of your organization and rewarded for their efforts, now more than ever.
Imagine a world where you are greeted with both a smile and pleasant greeting, followed by an offer of assistance. Imagine interacting with employees who are well-informed, enthusiastic and personable. Visualize having your needs tactfully explored by a knowledgeable employee who is able to “benefit sell” products and even suggest additional ones that might be compatible with your needs.
What a wonderful world it would be!
By: Lynn Migliori-Gamache, Customer Perspectives, Hooksett, NH