Generally that statement is true, but we have to also remember that there are internal customers as well, like the boss (they need to be kept happy) and other co workers. The happy internal team makes a world of difference.
With this in mind here’s a story about how things can seem good but turn out bad and then reverse (trust me and read on…) A new recruit in a retail environment was given a run down on the cash register, the old system required a code to be punched in, then the price and qty. If however if there was no code on the item then a regular employee would probably remember the code.
The new recruit soon learnt that there was a miscellaneous code that could cover all bases if things were ‘under the pump’, it meant that customers did not have to wait and things could be sorted out fast, always good for a retail environment.
A problem arose fairly quickly with a weekly tally of the codes and what had been selling. All of a sudden the sale of ‘misc’ items had gone up steeply. The new recruit had kept the external customers happy but in the process was heading into tricky territory with the bean counters… Oops!
A few enquiries indicated the new recruit was taking the easy way out, but then it was realised many of the codes were missing on the items and the hassle to find a person who knew the codes (in their head) was becoming a nuisance and holding up the process for the customer.
Rather than see fingers pointed across the business by staff as to who would be to blame, the Manager took the following approach.
- A quick check showed many of the tags with codes missing or badly printed, the hand held machines were running low on ink
- The item codes could be learnt (over time) but no one had bothered to print a list of the codes for the register
- The new recruit took longer than others to learn the codes (we all learn at different rates)
- A buddy system was put in place along with a simple approach to coaching the recruit in how to learn the codes.
All of these points meant that a positive result was achieved, no finger pointing just a solid win all round. Even regular staff used the printed code list and an improperly coded item could be quickly checked against the list.
Getting positive results fast is probably the main aim of the supervisor/manager/leader, finding good ways to assess the situation and then formulating a solid response is therefore imperative. Now ask yourself do you provide effective ways to support the people who have to do these tasks? Then ask how do you recognize their efforts so they feel they can continue to contribute in positive ways.
Business is all about people, the happier they are the better. Are there more ways to keep them happy? Of course, go find new ways to keep them on side and watch their happiness rise.