At first blush, managing your staff and taking care of your customers appear to be two different activities, possibly using two different sets of skills. To provide motivation for staff, once you have given them a wage and benefits for which they will work for you, you have to offer them opportunities that have “valence” to them. That is an old word referring to things that they value. They would include opportunities to earn raises, receive recognition, extra time off, promotions, etc. (In our industry, it would certainly include opportunities to receive training and product information!) If you try to motivate your staff with things that they don’t care about, you won’t receive much in return! See what results you’ll get with “if you have perfect attendance this month, I’ll give you passes for two free games at the Bowlarama.”! It could work for some – my daughter’s boyfriend is an avid and quite accomplished bowler – but I suspect that offering a free copy of Prescription for Nutritional Healing would cost you the same and bring you far greater results.
Now – for your customers ...
One of the big things that sets natural products retailers apart is the offering of “value.” Part of value is the products that are sold. I often say that we have the most incredible products for sale in our stores. People might not (yet) be familiar with the brands and they may stumble over some of the names, but we have offer a vast array of incredible products in stores!
But value is also provided in intangible ways – by the shopping experience that you offer – by letting the customer know that he or she is important, welcome, someone that you want to spend time with, answer questions for, and help leave your store with the products that he or she is looking for. It is provided by having adequate staff to answer every question and thank each and every person after each transaction.
Value is a big part of how you earn and keep business!
If you know what your employees want, you can keep them focused and productive – and helping you offer value to your happy (and returning) customers!