Thursday, November 20, 2008

Caring Enough to Care

For my Financial Post column this week, I called up Massachusetts-based cartoonist Norm Feuti, the creator of the popular new comic strip Retail. Every day he pokes fun at the foibles of working in retail - especially unmotivated staff and neglectful bosses.

Norm is a longtime worker (both employee and boss) in the retail wars, so I asked him what quick fixes Canadian retailers could make to ensure their stores are in top shape for the Christmas shopping season.

Here's an excerpt:

Stop pretending the customer is always right: There's no faster way to demotivate employees than by overruling the people who have defended your store's policies (especially on returns and refunds).

"I've had many instances where customers expected me to break the rules for them," Mr. Feuti says. When he says no, "they call somebody at the corporate office and pound their fists, and the next day the boss says, 'just give the guy what he wants.' Once you say it's okay for customers to do whatever they want, you're telling your employees they don't really matter."

You can read the full story here.

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