Like owning any retail store, owning a convenience store can be a demanding job.
To reap the rewards of your position, it’s important to hire the right staff for your store to lower your burdens and allow you to delegate tasks easier.
Ideally, you want to invest in your staff to handle day-to-day tasks so that you have more time to focus your energy on big picture projects for your business.
It’s vital to your business’s success to take the time to hire exceptional employees. One experience with a rude or unhelpful employee can end a customer’s loyalty to your store.
Invest in your employees
According to an article in the Harvard Business Review by MIT's Sloan School of Management Associate Professor Zeynep Ton, investing in your employees is necessary to see your business does well.
“It’s the low-paid employee who notices that there are too many customers waiting in the checkout and offers to open an additional cash register,” Ton said. “When retailers don’t invest in human capital, operational execution suffers and the company pays with lower sales and lower profits than it could have had.”
Ton also explains the importance of human connection at a convenience store, “It’s the employee who can read from a familiar customer’s face that he’s had a bad day and could use a friendly smile. It’s also the employee who can turn a customer off — maybe permanently — by being rude or even just not very helpful. It’s the people who make you want to shop here even though you can easily buy the same stuff there.”
The face of your business
Chances are, you won’t be in your store every day. You might not be in your store at all. Take Tushar Popat, for example. Popat lives in California and owns a QuickStop convenience store in Michigan. He tracks the entire day-to-day operations via multiple, strategically placed video cameras inside and outside of the store that stream directly to his computer. Because Popat cannot physically be in the store, his employees are the face of his business.
He said that he reviews his staff’s customer interactions each day and calls his employees frequently to give them customer service pointers and ways to improve their skills. This is just one example of how important it is to influence and motivate your staff in and out of your store.
According to the 2013 Convenience Store Human Resources Study by Convenience Store Decisions and Humetrics, 100 convenience store chains offered insights about employee hiring trends, among other things. When asked about the tools employers use to screen the best job applicants, responses show that more employers are using more screening tools. The top screening tools used are:
Criminal background records checks
In-house or outside service reference/background checks
Third-party drug testing
The study also suggests that convenience store owners should set clear expectations for their employees, provide the necessary skills and remove obstacles to help their staff reach their best performance.
Hiring the right staff for your store gives you the potential to enhance your business and give you time for other projects. Tools such as background checks and clear guidelines can help you find a motivated staff that will help your business.
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