Rinnt: Lessons Learned in Retail
So for the past almost five years I have worked for a retail store, let’s call it Rinnt (and if you figure out my secret code—don’t tell!). I actually love working for Rinnt, and it’s been such a great experience. I love both the coworkers and the product and I usually love working with customers, most of the time. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 lessons learned in retail. And since who wants to read a long post I’ll be breaking them up into a few posts.
Lesson #1 –Appearance Matters
Now there are several applications of this statement that appearance matters, especially in the world of retail.
Customers: yes you are judged on your appearance. Is this right? No, but what you look like communicates to the staff what to expect. As an associate I have come to see that I make many assumptions about people from the moment they walk into the door. No I should not do that and I should be striving to show Christ-like love to all people, but what this has taught me is that initial impressions are important!
I have found that the most notable impression comes not from the clothes worn, but the smile or lack thereof. When someone comes in the store looking angry I know to keep my greeting mellow and my smile short. When someone comes in looking happy and smiling broadly I know that it is ok to chat with them and usually end up giving them better customer service than the previously mentioned person.
Now you’re probably thinking, Sarah, this is terrible! You judge people by what they look like and if they smile?? Yes dear readers I have become cynical over the years. haha Ok so maybe not cynical, but I have noticed a pattern when it comes to people and it has caused me to stop and think about how would I approach myself if I stopped into Rinnt unknown. Do I smile and make eye contact with people? Am I friendly? Or do I take my bad day out on some innocent sales associate who has absolutely NO control over almost everything in the store? (personal experience here folks! the poor sales associates and NOT the people to be threatening; we get no say in anything!)
As to clothing, do I present something that is “easy on the eyes” (*snicker*) or do I give off a disheveled and uncaring vibe with my outfit? Does that even matter? Well no, in the long run I would say it is irrelevant. But I would suggest you dress in a way that represents you as a person and it doesn’t hurt to look nice. (Retail side note: Those who come in wearing all brand names and tons of make-up and the perfectly salon styled hair may get a little better treatment cause they will spend the money, but usually…they’re kinda a pain in the tookus to help) Balance is good!
So take this one for what it’s worth, I’ve just got finished with a shift & I admit there were people I chose to not give excellent customer service to because of their appearance. I’ll work on changing that–you take the time to assess what your appearance communicates.