2017 VDTA Convention

VDTA-SDTA June 2017


Are You an "Oh, my gosh!" Person?

Last month I wrote about our store implementing a priority service charge on same-day sewing repairs. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but when we started receiving negative feedback and when a good customer told me that our new policy invited a feeding frenzy (complaints) during a quilting retreat, we decided to modify it. But the damage was already done.

It happened that one of the retreaters had called our store, and the staff member answering the phone told her the new store policy off the bat. The customer took offense, with that leading to the complaint session at the quilt retreat. The whole thing may not have happened if our person had taken the time to listen more closely to the customer. Or perhaps the whole issue was the customer not hearing what she wanted to hear. Either way, we have temporarily lost at least 2 customers…that we know of. They removed their names from our e-mail list and said they were no longer going to shop in our store. Not good!

Maybe our staff person was stressed and came across as apathetic or maybe the customer was having a bad day. The whole situation was exacerbated and grew into something much bigger than it really was. It is a good example of negative thinking and the damage it can do.

"Negativity usually leads to high emotions, which then lead to situations not
appropriate in the workplace."

Let's face it: it's human nature to talk negatively at times, but negativity breeds negativity. By the same token, positive thinking usually leads to even more positive thinking. While we can't always sugarcoat things, there is a positive way to react when your day don't go exactly as planned. Having an alternative option or saying "Yes" to a revised plan is usually a possibility. None of us like to be given a flat "No" as the answer to our problem.

As an owner or manager, we set the tone for our staff. It's easy to fall into the negativity trap and have a negative reaction when things go wrong. Think about it: when things have really gone wrong and we felt the need to be negative, what good has it done? Does it make us feel better? Sometimes, yes. Does it yield results? Sometimes, but usually not.

Sometimes the problem is an employee. It's then up to us to change how we do things or change how the employee does things, pushing the issue until the employee either conforms or quits. That could be a good thing or it could lead to months of frustration trying to find and train a new employee. Either way, negativity usually leads to high emotions, which then lead to situations not appropriate in the workplace. Come to think of it, I don't want high emotions in our home either.

Have you known a person who can take almost any issue and turn it into something bigger than what it really is? Supersize it. I call them "Oh-My-Gosh" People. Perhaps they follow the Internet every chance they get with a knack for picking out bad news and building it up as something (in their mind at least) everyone should be concerned about.

Sometimes they are lonely people begging for attention. Sometimes they just enjoy creating issues. The Oh-My-Gosh-Person is also hard to work with. They have a tendency to drain the life out of the people around them. Ask me how I know…

While these people need help, we are not in the therapy business. Of course, we need to care about our coworkers and staff, but we can't let negative people pull the life out of us. They either need to change or need to move on.

Over the years, I have encountered a few Oh-My-Gosh-People. Most have lasted a few months, some even longer. Again, negativity is contagious and has no place in a retail store. If the negativity is coming from you, STOP IT NOW! As an owner or manager, you do set the example in your store. Be honest, work hard, and be happy! Your staff and your customers will appreciate it!

REMINDER! If your store is active in charitable giving or volunteer work in your community, please share! We would like to acknowledge you and spread the word. Let's make this world a better place because we were here!

E-mail your comments, ideas and suggestions to jimbarnhardt@msn.com

Jim BarnhardtJim Barnhardt,
J & R Vacuum and Sewing
VDTA•SDTA Board Member

Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional & SQE Professional, June 2017