Production Output

JOB PERFORMANCE (WAREHOUSE/DRIVERS/FINISHERS)

COMMUNICATES WITH CUSTOMER - policies and procedures

Care of customer's homes

Condition of equipment

Care of handling goods

Avoids traffic violations

Avoids accidents

Quality of repair work (finisher-serviceman)

Production out-put

JOB PERFORMANCE (SALES)

Upholstered goods

Case goods

Media centers/wall systems

Accessories

Use of sales aids

Use of in-home design

Balanced sales-sells categories

Sales volume vs. expectations

ELEMENT #10 Ongoing Education

Once the proper people are in place, the establishment of an Ongoing Education Program is paramount to the effectiveness of your organization. An area of special concern is sales education. Current economic conditions and reduced retail traffic have created an urgency to take full advantage of every opportunity. The best retailers carefully measure floor traffic, closing rates and average sale. The productivity of each sales associate should be tracked and should include their ability to sell add-ons to build the sale, attract bebacks and build future business with current clients.

Establish sales goals for each sales consultant that illustrates their "fair share" of the store's monthly and annual sales goal. Keep in mind, however, that the productivity of sales people does not happen by itself. Do your part by creating an on-going sales education program that deals with the issues of developing relationships, consultative selling, providing answers and solutions, and becoming a partner with customers to help them make informed investment decisions. Because customer attitudes have changed along with their buying habits, prepare to be able to deal with and address these changing attitudes. In order for an on-going education program to be successful assign someone to be responsible for it and hold him or her accountable for its success.

ELEMENT #11 Warehouse & Delivery Crews

An area that receives very little attention is the proper direction, instruction and education of Warehouse and Delivery Crews. We are all aware that the front end generates revenue, and that the back end either generates profits or can sabotage hard-earned gains. This topic has been covered in detail in recent issues of FURNITURE WORLD, but there are still too many retailers out there who have not yet put their warehouse and delivery processes and procedures in writing. The procedures for pulling, inspecting, prepping and loading should be clearly documented with step by step instructions to eliminate guesswork regarding what needs to be done to satisfy

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Your delivery crews are truly "ambassadors" and should be educated and given the tools they need to be as good as they can be. Acknowledge their importance, and reward them for superior performance so they are able to feel that they are "part of the team".

ELEMENT #12 Customer Service

The last area we will examine is Customer Service. Very often retailers don't really understand the objectives of customer service, which is to create customer loyalty and repeat business. Most retailers invest a great deal of money attempting to generate new business, but spend very little to maintain and keep loyal customers. Is there someone in your organization whose responsibility it is to be responsible for delivering effective customer service? Beyond that important element, consider your commitment to formally educating your associates so that they can properly communicate with your customers. Left to chance, each associate will deliver his or her own "brand" of customer service. Instead, they should be delivering "your brand". Written policies and education are a start, but follow-up is required to measure the success of your efforts to ensure a consistent level of service and a maximum level of customer satisfaction. Successful customer service is as much of an attitude as it is a procedure. Attitude towards customers should not be simply a matter of being able to recite policy; it should be a constant effort to look for ways to find solutions and satisfy customers.

Obviously, there are many more elements required for retail success but if you put all of these together and see how they are integrated and support one another, you will see the benefit in putting these 12 elements into place in your organization.

Ron Wolinski is VP Performance Groups for Profitability Consulting. His expertise in management stems from the positions he has held such as Manager of Training for Art Van Furniture, Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Contact Interiors, President of Behavioral Dimensions, Sales Education for the Simmons Company, National Director of Education and Development for Value City Furniture and most recently, Director of Education and Retail Services for La-Z-Boy, Inc. He consults with retail organizations internationally on Consultative Selling, Communications, Leadership Skills, Organizational Development, Interviewing and Recruiting, and Customer Service. Questions relating to this article or to other related topics can be directed to Ron at [email protected]. Read more of his articles posted to the www.furninfo.com website or call him direct at 734420-3430.

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