As we head into the end of summer, I’m reflecting back on the beginning. I spend significant time in a shore town where every dollar in season is necessary for profitability. Summer IS Holiday.
Where I live the season is Memorial Day through Labor Day, but in reality, the season really gets going on the 4th of July. It’s been this way in this place since I was born and that’s a notable amount of time.
Let me share a short story with you about this past 4th of July weekend. I went to my favorite restaurant for drinks and snacks. This restaurant is one of 3 run by a family that knows how to do experience. They have been successful in my town since the 1920’s.
I walked up to a steadily busy bar to a space that was just vacated by a customer. I was unsure if the customer had cashed out and left, or had perhaps just gone to the restroom. One bartender was training another while I was standing right in front of them. I tried to catch an eye. They actively avoided me. I waited a bit longer to be recognized. They kept on with training. I promptly walked away. I haven’t been back once since. Keep in mind I spend about $70 a visit and generally go about 5 times a season, often bringing friends. At a minimum they lost out on $350. Not much maybe, but also consider they lost out on my friend’s spend and they have no idea how many people I’ve shared this poor experience with and influenced them to avoid this place.
Let’s consider this experience in terms of the one thing an independent has over every other retailer – the opportunity for excellent customer service. The time to have staff on their best game is in your Holiday Season. Hire them early. Work out the bugs before the height of the season hits. Oh and let’s make sure the customer comes first and is acknowledged upon arrival.
If this was my staff, I would not have a trainee on a shift at the height of prime time on a holiday weekend and even if I did, I would make it absolutely clear to my employees that customers come first. The appropriate way to deal with the situation above is for the experienced bar tender to stop the training, greet and settle the customer and then return to training.
Research suggests that the need for holiday help will exceed the pool for holiday help this year. All accounts say it will be a competitive market with the prospective employee getting multiple offers. Determine your needs now! Hire NOW! TRAIN NOW! You control this part of your business completely. If you fail it’s on YOU.
Need help? Contact: Anne Cecil, ONO made in the 191, firstname.lastname@example.org