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During a panel discussion this morning at the NRF 102nd Annual Convention & EXPO, the conversation turned to hiring and keeping employees that are willing and able to uphold higher-than-usual standards of customer service and excellence. With retailers increasing their focus on delivering memorable and consistent experiences, how do they keep enough of the right talent on the roles?

Joseph Magnacca, president of daily living products and solutions for Walgreens, referenced his company's ongoing Well Experience conversion, which sees old stores redesigned and rebuilt with more of a lifestyle focus – fresh and prepared foods, more of a neighborhood market feel – and said he was concerned about that very issue, because customer expectation would be much higher under the new design.

But he said that when he looked at the stores before and after the conversion, it was the same people running the stores. The difference?

“Our employees now had their heads up instead of down.”

That's remarkable, isn't it? The same people, doing largely the same job, but with a greater emphasis on doing it well. Morale went up organically, because the associates now feel that what they do has value.

Is there a lesson to be learned in that for your stores?

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Georgina Scott
    When did retail associates consider it appropriate, effective or amusing to get brutally personal? My recent, high dollar retailing experiences involved a Sports Authority associate telling me that choosing a sneaker because I liked the color is an indication of why I got divorced and a Best Buy door greeter telling me "we have a couch in the back" when I said "I need help". All I am looking for is professionally delivered product knowledge and desire to make the best sale for the customer.
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Latest posts by James Bickers
James Bickers
James Bickers is the senior editor of Retail Customer Experience, and also manages webinars for Networld Media Group. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist and innovative content strategist, with publication credits in national, international and regional publications.
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