When did you first know you were on the right path in the specialty retail industry?
I started with Diamond Brand Outdoors as a part-time sales associate at the Frugal Backpacker in 2014. From there, I worked my way up to a full-time key holder and then to assistant manager. Finally, I was hired on as the Manager of Diamond Brand Downtown. Through this process, I realized two things. First, helping customers find the items that work best for them doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun… like shopping for a friend! Second, the community of folks in this industry is awesome! They’re supportive, fun, collaborative and happy to be at work. This made me realize I was on the right path.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is building a team of dedicated staff members. The success of a specialty retailer is completely dependent on top-notch customer service. When your team is happy, collaborative, hard-working, responsible and fun, the customers can tell. The team’s positive energy feeds great customer service. It’s also important to develop a well-rounded team. Each member has unique strengths that contribute to the team. I enjoy seeing the team members grow through their work and through their relationships with the other staff. My staff regularly tell me how much they enjoy their job because they love their fellow team members and feel appreciated for the work they do.
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned through Mann U?
The number one thing I took away from the Mann U management training was how to provide feedback to team members. You have to be direct, specific and clear in your feedback. You also have to give feedback in an appropriate time and place. If you’re trying to be too nice by sandwiching criticism between praise, then the employee might miss your point. I try hard to make sure my staff know how much I value the good work that they do, but now I know how to address minor issues before they become bigger problems.
Give us one pointer for developing a genuine relationship with your customers.
If you’ve struck up a conversation with a customer, always ask their name and introduce yourself by name! This personalizes their experience and creates a lasting impression. Next time they’re in the store, if you can remember their name and ask them how their purchase worked out, then they will be a customer for life!
Your bumper sticker would read, “I’d rather be… ___.”
outside (with my dogs, family, and friends)!
What was your favorite part of working with the Mann Group?
My favorite part of the Mann Group training was the role-playing. Before going into it, I thought I would hate role-playing! I’m not really a performer and for me acting feels a bit disingenuous. But I actually found it to be really helpful. The practice of role-playing makes potentially difficult or uncomfortable interactions with team members and customers easier and more genuine because you’re prepared, and therefore not worried about how to respond.