This is something that takes a little effort, given what is going on around us and in the news media every day, but working at it is worth it. Especially if you read all the way through this post.
I know you’re thinking I’m going to talk to you about having and keeping a positive attitude BUT I’m not. I DO think having a positive attitude is essential to success of any kind, but it IS especially important to those of us who are self-employed. I also believe in fostering a positive environment in all aspects of your shop. I know I’ve had to terminate employees and end business relationships due to the negativity they were bringing to the table. In every case, removing the source of the negativity moved me closer to the success I was looking for. But I want to talk about something else when it comes to being positive!
It is critically important that you and your employees don’t allow negative conversations to become part of interaction with your clients. I know at times it can be difficult, when there are all kinds of things going on around us that aren’t necessarily positive. Natural disasters, shootings, bombings, etc. It will often take a focused effort to keep things positive. If you don’t, it literally will cost you money. I’ll explain.
Many believe that Christmas has become very commercialized. Just the fact that Christmas decorations began going up BEFORE Halloween is a point they use. There is a sound reason why this has happened every year earlier and earlier.
This is NOT theory; it is a known fact that people who are in a good mood spend more money! Don’t believe me? Ask Disney! Why do you think they spend so much money creating the atmosphere they do? They parade down main street every day! They know happy people spend more money. I’ll bet you know someone who went there for a vacation and spent way more than they had budgeted! I know I have. They charge outrageous prices for things that can be bought on the outside for half of what it is there yet “guests” pay the higher prices.
There’s a reason why they call their employees “cast” members versus employees or cashiers. There’s reason why they call those who come “guests.” Being called a guest makes someone feel better than being called a customer! Disney doesn’t talk about customer service. Their vision is, “We Create Happiness.” During the orientation for “cast members”, they are told “your job was to make the Guests happy.”
A few years ago, Disney’s Service Basics were created for every cast member, even if they were street cleaners or costume makers. There were four areas of focus with key behaviors listed underneath:
- I project a positive image and energy.
- I am courteous and respectful to all Guests, including Children.
- I stay in character and play the part.
- I go above and beyond.
Beneath each of these were specific behaviors like, “Smile” and “Look approachable” for the first one listed. Moreover, they identified specific actions expected of Leaders as well. This was critical in that having a great Guest experience requires having management supporting that experience.
A book I recommend is The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney, available in paperback or Kindle versions at Amazon.com.
Here are a few ways to promote a positive environment for anyone coming into your shop.
I’ll start with a few topics to have your staff avoid discussing with your clients. Politics is absolute no, especially given today’s environment, which is mostly negative. Religion, again most are passionate about this topic no matter what their affiliation. Have them stay away from discussing whatever is going on in the news that is negative. Not doing so can immediately bring someone’s spirits down, evoke unhappy thoughts, feelings and emotions – all NOT good for how they respond to spending money with you.
If you don’t let your staff know to avoid these subjects and why, chances are they will talk about them. Just watch how your customer responds when your staff member says, “Oh, isn’t it terrible what happened in…?”
A few things YOU can do to help keep things positive and help them feel “happy” while at your shop.
First, you have to lead the way!! I know you have a lot to deal with but, when you’re with your employees and around your clients, you have to put on the happy face. It’s why Disney refers to their employees’ work as “the show.”
Do what you can to “create” a festive/upbeat atmosphere. Decorate your reception area for the holidays, not just Christmas time but for Halloween, Easter, July 4th, etc. You can often find complete decoration packages that are pretty inexpensive at OrientalTrading.com.
Also, play upbeat music in the shop. Don’t blare it but have it on. Most love listening to holiday music, which is why so many retailers play it in their stores and some pipe it outside the store to entice people to come into the store.
Allow your staff to be part of it. I had several staff members who liked to wear a Santa hat during the holiday season. I had a CSR who asked if she could do the decorating for Halloween. She brought her own stuff in and did a great job, much better than if I had done it.
Have something for those who come in. It’s very popular to have a bowl with pieces of candy on the counter. It really doesn’t take much. There have been many occasions folks come into the shop in not such a great mood but leave smiling. That’s the goal!
Take care to squash the things you should NOT do and add in the things that contribute to a fun, positive and upbeat atmosphere in your shop and you’ll find sales easier to come by. Remember, it all starts with YOU!
About YOU staying positive – a great way for you to do just that is by having something in place to give your car count a boost of quality cars. Even better is having someone doing it for you. That’s exactly what our new Fast Start Program does for shop owners. To find out more, with no obligation, click on this link.