End-of-day chats produce retail results

Feb 27, 2015

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Contrarian, the blog of the Dynamic Experiences Group.

One of the most important but under utilized tools for running a successful store is the staff chat out. Some people also call it a check out. Whatever the name, it is the brief end-of-day conversation with each employee before she/he leaves for the day. There is probably no more important minute or two in your day than the chat out.

Here are three reasons you absolutely want to have a chat out with every employee, every day.

1. It adds an extra level of accountability. I once had a client who was great at coaching her team. She was always sharing new ways to engage customers and sell more. There was only one problem: she never knew if the staff actually did any of it.

We fixed that by implementing chat outs. At the end of each person’s shift she asked him/her to give two examples of how they had applied what she had wanted them to work on. In the beginning, a few people couldn’t give examples, but once they understood she would be asking every day, they were on board. Increased sales ensued.

This also works for asking about tasks, trying new skills and behaviors, customer follow-ups, sales performance, etc. The best way to utilize the chat out is to tell the person you will want to discuss a specific topic at that day’s chat out.

2. It’s an important communications tool. How many times have you had someone leave at the end of the day having forgotten to tell a colleague that a particular customer is coming in, or something essential about an ongoing task? When people are in the habit of doing a chat out, they almost always remember to share key information before leaving.

3. It’s a great opportunity to thank and praise an employee. This, to me, is the biggest benefit of a chat out. It gives you that last opportunity of the day to recognize and appreciate your staff. It only takes a few seconds to do, but the impact it has on your team (and your results) is huge.

How should retailers be optimizing end-of-day employee exits? Are “chat outs” more important at retail than other businesses?

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10 Comments on "End-of-day chats produce retail results"

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Tony Orlando
7 years 3 months ago

This concept isn’t new, but it is important as a reminder to all of us to make sure the skills you are teaching have tangible results. Communication can kill a company if no one knows who is doing what, and when there are orders to go out, it is important the night shift knows where the product is and if there are any special situations and how to handle them. Getting it right 99.9% of the time is crucial to keep a customer coming back, and without talking with your department managers each day, details can get kind of fuzzy.

This is part of our customer service training, to make sure our help understands that the customer pays the bills, which makes it critical to get it right. High tech skills are great, but the people who work for you still make the difference on the floor, or online.

Mel Kleiman
7 years 3 months ago

A little thing that can make a big difference. To make this really easy all you have to do is tell your employees on the first day on the job to make sure that they check with you before they leave. This gets the responsibility off of you to find them before they leave. As the article says it is a way of doing a number of things.

  1. Saying thank you.
  2. Giving recognition.
  3. Finding out about problems.
  4. Finding out about success.
  5. Reinforcing training.
  6. Setting goals for tomorrow.
  7. Creating accountability.

All of these in three minutes or less.

Adrian Weidmann
7 years 3 months ago

Gigabytes of keystrokes have been compiled over the years I have been on RetailWire on the importance and value of employees to the building and maintaining of a brand valued by shoppers. The concept of “chat outs” is a wonderful way to get immediate feedback on issues that can be addressed quickly and efficiently while at the same time providing a bonding opportunity with the employees.

As noted, one of the most important elements of this practice is accountability. Employees will quickly come to understand that they are being held to a brand standard and are indeed brand ambassadors. The responsibility is on management to take this practice seriously and do it consistently. If management doesn’t take it seriously, employees certainly won’t and you then run the risk of having it appear patronizing and shallow.

Kevin Graff
7 years 3 months ago

“Chat outs” should be a standard practice in every retail business. Let’s also not forget about the importance of running “shift starters” at the beginning of every shift too. They’re essential for getting the staff focused on the goals for the day, sharing results, boosting accountability, providing sales and product training and enhancing recognition. The more communication and coaching you provide to your staff the better they’ll perform.

Ed Rosenbaum
7 years 3 months ago

How can the end-of-day chats be more important for retailers than other businesses? This can be a key factor in staff retention when they know their voices and opinions are important. If used correctly, this can become a huge recognition factor. We all know how important recognition is to employee morale and retention.

Ralph Jacobson
7 years 3 months ago

I think this is an exceptional way to drive revenue. We cannot forget the human touch as everything around us becomes more digital. There is nothing wrong with ANY type of business leveraging this technique, however, consumer-facing businesses are especially able to reap benefits from immediate feedback and coaching from their manager.

Kai Clarke
7 years 3 months ago

This is a very well-disguised way of establishing a short-term goal, and following up on it every day. It also creates good communications and of course, employee (and ultimately the customer) feedback on their decisions, goals, accomplishments, and team building.

Bill Davis
7 years 3 months ago

Just making sure you do them as I would expect this practice isn’t used as much as it could be. I agree with all of the benefits mentioned, especially the last one. Asking your employees for their perspective/feedback, if sincere, shows that you value them and I would think that goes a long way in motivating people.

Shep Hyken
7 years 3 months ago

The “Chat Out” as it is called here, or the pre-open meeting, or the morning huddle, etc.; all of these are powerful ways to communicate to employees, share new business, new items, and most important, to do mini-trainings (both technical and soft skills). A short reminder about customer service is always appropriate. A demo or showcase of new merchandise is good. Setting goals or incentives for the day—any other updates, news, etc.—always appropriate. And how about sharing some accolades and “wins.” This keeps employees up to date and engaged. They feel connected to the leadership.

Doug Fleener
7 years 3 months ago

Thank you everyone for your comments and insights.


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