The information age has ushered in a new breed of worker—complete with different skills and deficiencies than earlier generations. Some retailers are taking customer service back to basics by training staff on social fundamentals.
“We’re hiring a lot of millennials that interact on a phone all the time,” said Nancy Couch, loss prevention and safety director for Maverik Inc., a retailer based in North Salt Lake, Utah. “They need to be taught how to handle offline interactions.”
Since Maverik began investing more in employees’ social intelligence, they’ve seen reduced negative interactions with fellow employees and guests alike, Couch said.
Here’s how Maverik is tailoring its training to fill in younger generations’ gaps…
Pulling workers’ gaze away from a smartphone screen, Maverik employees are taught about proper eye contact. When they are speaking, associates are taught to maintain eye contact 70% of the time, and 90% of the time when they are listening.
Think Before Reacting
Maverik created a process to help c-store managers teach employees to think before they react, reducing risks of negative interactions with guests and staff, said Travis Goff, risk and safety supervisor for the chain.
They are taught to ask three questions:
- What task am I about to do?
- Will this task hurt me, a customer or another employee?
- How can I do this safely?
“If you want to change behavior of the workforce, you’ve got to create something that your manager can teach,” Goff said. “People will remember the three questions.”
The Maverik team also teaches team members basic listening skills. Before they ask questions, they are trained to ask, “What task am I about to do, and what do I need to know before I ask this question?”
North Salt Lake, Utah-based Maverik owns and operates more than 300 c-stores in 10 states.
Article Credit(s): Alaina Lancaster, CSP Daily News