I visited a business last week and just cruised around listening to conversations that were taking place between sales teams and customers. This is a business with a massive floor area and lots of different departments covering the floor area. It got me thinking very quickly on job sharing and, when done well, how effective it can be for our business. Also, when not done well, how much damage it can cause to your business or brand.
In the first example, I overheard a conversation where a customer wanted to try something on from a locked cabinet. The sales assistant spent literally 10 minutes looking for the key, saying “I am not from this department”. Now she did apologise, which is great, but really 10 minutes! What happened to the good old-fashioned hand over, making sure if you leave your department, everyone knows all they need to know.
The second story is about me. I wanted some new make-up. I waited and waited, and when finally the girl appeared from a counter in another area I told her what I wanted. To cut a very long story short ( I don’t want to lose you after all at this point) I realised she really did not know what she was doing. I think I knew more about the brand than she did. I did buy her recommendations and the next morning when I applied my new make-up I looked like an orange Oompa Loompa. Needless to say I was annoyed that my purchase was so incredibly wrong when it had been recommended.
I was working with another business recently, and they were using a relief girl on the phones at front of house for 1 hour a day. It was obvious she was not trained, it was not her fault, but she was hopeless. She ‘ummed’ and ‘aahed’ on the phone, not sure where to direct people, and listening to it was like watching a train wreck. When I spoke to management they said “It is just an hour a day”. I said yes, and that is 270 hours a year of bad customer service, just in one small area of your business. What sort of impact is that having? By spending one or two solid days of training, this young lady will have the tools and the confidence to rock that job, then you may also be able to call on her for more hours in busy peak periods.
If you have a business where job sharing takes place, you need to understand that lack of proper training for relief staff means that you are doing the business more harm than good. Often less harm would be obtained from closing that area of your business for the day, rather than putting in just anyone. Often, we are not given second chances, so first impressions count.
My 3 top job sharing points:
As Zig Ziglar said, The only thing worse than training employees and losing them, is to not train them and keep them.
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