Employees Still Accepting Pay Cuts by Barbara Farfan about.com

to read morehttp://retailindustry.about.com/b/2010/04/06/behind-u-s-unemployment-report-and-jobs-numbers-employees-still-accepting-pay-and-benefits-cuts-management-is-a-recession-casualty-cbrl.htm Retailers across the nation must read this article over and over again because it is a wake up call. Look at the Auto Industry to see what the lack of corporate integrity, employee sense of pride and uncompromising customers did to the American Auto Industry. In the 70’s and early 80’s American cars ruled. But I for one got tired of coming home from picking up my new car and finding screws, bolts, on the floor and idiot lights lit up on the dash board. I finally went European and had years of reliable and trouble free auto ownership. The level of employee retail staff is at an all time low regardless if it is at the low end of the retail food chain such as Mass Retail or at the high end Department Store. As a Retail Design Consultant and blogger for “Retailers for a better tomorrow” it puzzles me that this practice is not given a higher sense of priority. The frustration level to go into a retail store, have no assistance, or staff that are not knowledgeable about the product, unwilling to go the extra mile to accommodate the consumers is monumental. • There are several retailers such as The Gap, The Container Store, Apple Store who get it and make the shopping experience pleasant. On the other side of the equation is a Radio Shack, a highly technical resource, and a store that I visit as a last resort. Do I want uncontrolled images on the TV screen or music that has a limited appeal level assaulting me? Do I want to struggle to find what I need because I have a better technical sense than the person assisting me? Am I a satisfied customer knowing that in less than thirty days I will be returning the item because it either is faulty or does not do what it claimed to do? The most incredible realization for me is that these staff members do not get that they are digging their own grave. Retailers cannot survive when incidents noted in Barbara’s article and some of my references are not isolated ones but rather the norm. Just like the piped in messages were a feeble attempt by corporate to bypass the human factor, retailers need to train their staff or find a way to turn the store into a giant vending machine. Look at the way we purchase gas today as opposed to the days of a gas attendant. We talk to the pump tell it all the information we require, and the pump makes the purchase and gives us a receipt with a message of thanks. The gas pump is better than some of the deadbeats that did the same job years ago and were ultimately replaced by a robotic gas pump. The personal touch, the lost opportunity to win over a customer and gain consumer loyalty went down the drain with the new pumps. The bottom line is that there is a real problem with today’s retail staff and if no one wants to fix it, we will all be gravitating to the next innovative retailer who has made the people factor more important than product. Jerry Birnbach F.I.S.P.

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