Compliance and Success

You run a tight ship.

Your front end manager is in her position because she is a natural leader, a quick study and always goes out of her way to take responsibility. The sales team, while young, are up to date on the latest fashions, personable and present well. Customer service is consistent and shopper satisfaction is off the charts.

Your operation is like a well oiled machine.

Or is it?

I saw a teaser for a show on the Food Network and had to check it out… In Restaurant Stakeout, Willie Degel helps restauranteurs succeed by placing hidden cameras in all areas of the restaurant, keeping an eye on the staff and management.

The results are shocking.

In the episode I watched, here is a taste of what Degel’s cameras observed…

    Sleeping under the counter
    Wrestling with a patron on the dining room floor
    Drinking on the job
    Cursing exchanges in front of the customers
    Arguments in the kitchen loud enough to be heard up front

I really felt bad for the owners. These guys were working hard to make a very expensive business operation succeed, and they were getting undermined by the very people they were paying to do the work!

In the retail world, things are usually a little different, but there is one constant: To be successful, you much know that your staff and management are adhering to your policies.

All of your policies.

When you have 40 – or 400 – retail locations, coherence and consistency is key. Shoppers must get the same doting customer service in one location that they get at the next. And it doesn’t stop at customer service.

    Return/Exchange policies
    Marketing messaging
    Layout and point-of-sale engagement
    Employee scheduling
    Proof of age regulations

The list goes on and on.

The point is that we really don’t know what is going on at each location unless we check. Simply writing the policies and guidelines aren’t enough. You’ll need to make sure that they are in place and properly followed across all locations. The use of compliance audits, shopper intercepts and surveys are just a few of the tools we have to identify and fix problems.

One thing is certain…

When your internal and customer-facing policies are working properly, you will succeed.

Even by catching small inconsistencies retailers can make a material difference in the bottom line. Imagine if 70% of your stores did not have a properly placed point of sale promotion, or flimsy customer engagement practices. Imagine the fines and attorney fees for handling a proof of age problem? It doesn’t take much to derail the effort. At the same time, it doesn’t take much to avoid a problem to begin with.

It all starts with planning, observing and fixing.

So… Do you run a tight ship?

Are you sure?