Social Media – External and Internal

Are your employees following the company on social media? If not they should be. Social media is a great place for employees to get reminders of the information or offers that you are broadcasting to customers.

In the days before the internet took us to worlds we had never anticipated, it was common in business that employees (especially part time or occasional employees) were not up-to-date on what was going on as far as specials or events were concerned. It was not unusual in the wine business when wineries were doing AVA-wide events and selling tickets for these events that customers would visit a winery asking for tickets and the person at the tasting bar would tell them that they didn’t have tickets for the event. This is just one example of how information is not been disseminated to everyone who needs to have it.

As part of the dissemination of information, encourage your employees to follow the business Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, etc. In fact, you may wish to make following the business social media mandatory, just as it’s mandatory that they read memos and other information relating to their jobs.

If you are an employee, it is going to make your job easier if you know what is going on in the business. In most consumer-oriented companies, customer specials, events, and other customer oriented information can be hard to keep up with, so being aware of what customers are seeing on social media will help you remind customers of things they may have forgotten. Not to mention helping you with sales. You can keep up on what customers are thinking, and whether they are happy or not. Also, keep track of any personal mentions you may get. It doesn’t hurt to know how many customers have appreciated your help, especially if you are hoping for promotion or a raise in pay.

Be aware of everything that is happening in your business on social media. It will keep you at the top of your game.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Is Your Employee Manual Up To Date?

It’s almost February and before we know it, the busy season will be upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about the staffing for the coming year. While you are thinking about your staffing requirements, take the time to look over your written procedures and policies for part-time and full-time employees. The procedures need to be up to date and it never hurts to check that you haven’t forgotten something. After all, the more informed and successful your employees are on the job, the more products you are going to sell, the better connections you will make with customers and the more awareness you will gain for your products.

Procedures and policies provide detailed guidelines for all employees. They help managers organize and help staff stay organized. They minimize conflict between you and your staff and outline responsibilities and benefits (do employees get paid holidays, sick leave, etc.)

There should also be specific information on customer service. You want all  your employees to be on the same page as to how customers should be treated as well as the answers to certain questions (for example the discount policy and do the employees have leeway to give a slightly larger discount to make a bigger sale. If so, how far can the employee increase the discount and for what amount?)

Provide scenarios for employees so they know how to handle different questions or situations that may arise. If questions arise on how to handle a situation when the manager is not present, an employee can always check the procedure and policy manuals.

When writing your procedures manual, outline every item, even those that seem obvious to you, as they may not be obvious to a new employee. Include explicit daily tasks and weekly responsibilities. Always include safety procedures. If your employees need training that is specific to your type of business make sure that it is available to them. Schedule training days for new and returning employees and provide a procedures and policies list for each different positions. Employees who are given the information to be successful will be successful.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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What Are Your Employees Saying to Customers?

I was in Target the other day looking for something or other and decided that I also needed some sparkling water. So I slogged all the way over to the other side of the store. (Are they making Target stores bigger these days? This one was absolutely enormous.)

When I got to the sparkling water the sections of shelf that held the flavors that I wanted, either lemon or lime, were completely empty. My only option was Watermelon Lime, which didn’t appeal to me. A Target employee (easily visible in his red shirt) was further up the aisle stacking the shelf so I strolled over to ask him if they had any more of the lemon or lime sparkling water. He walked back with me to look at the shelf. The area where the lemon sparkling water should have been had a grey dot over the tag. He said that meant they didn’t have any more in stock. The lime just had the tag so he didn’t know whether they had any or not.

I asked when they would be getting more in and was told (politely) that he didn’t know. He then said, “But you can come back and check another time.” To which I replied with a smile, “Or I could get it from somewhere else.” He agreed with me and I left.

The employee was polite and trying to be helpful and I do not blame him, he may not have been taught to say anything different. The store’s training perhaps does not cover the topics of empty shelves, when and how deliveries come in and what a customer should do (besides making another trip) to get the product s/he wants.

Imagine if employees in your retail business were telling customers that you didn’t have the product you wanted so they should come back another time (without any idea whether or not the product would be available then).

Before the busiest times of the year are upon us, institute some training programs for your employees, ensuring that they know what to say to the customers.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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