An active worker benefits business just as much as their own morale.
On the business side; the improvement in customer service leads into sales and inevitably translates into repeat visits.
Let’s look at two different (optimal) scenarios:
Magda walks into the store because she needs some welding equipment.
Janush, who’s sitting behind the counter, is messaging Kuba on Grindr about their plans for tonight.
When he notices Magda (who is standing in front of him), he smiles and asks how he can help.
She describes the MIG welding gloves she needs and asks if he has them.
He gets a notification that Kuba has just confirmed their date, sends a quick “thumbs up”, and gets up to go grab the gloves.
As he’s getting up he lets out a little moan from the pain in his back – he’s been hunched over for the past 2 hours messaging back and forth.
He grabs the gloves, but right before he’s about to tell Magda that they tend to catch fire occasionally and that there’s a better pair for ~10% more, his phone chimes off another notification.
So he quickly goes to the register, rings her up, and asks if she wants a copy of the credit card receipt.
She takes her gloves and walks out.
He sits back down and smiles at the gif of a baby pug coming out of a baby watermelon Kuba sent him.
Later that night Magda’s gloves catch fire (nobody gets hurt luckily) and on an unrelated note – Kuba cancels the date.
Both Magda and Janush feel like they wasted their day.
Kuba had a full night’s sleep because he decided to cancel his date the night before. He knew that yesterday his boss Anna spent the entire day roasting incredibly delicious Nicaragua PRIMO espresso and that he’d be very busy bagging orders for all their exceptional clients. He also knew that the company could use a hand with preparing a number of other things in order to flow smoothly.
Janush, who spent the night binge watching Orange Is The New Black, was exhausted so he decided to pick up a quick espresso on his way to his weekly improv group.
He popped in a cafe and was immediately & warmly greeted by Kuba – who was carefully stamping cups.
Not recognizing Kuba from Grindr (he prefers to post photos that don’t include his face), Janush asks for a single espresso.
Kuba asks if he’d prefer a doppio – Janush says yes quickly. Kuba asks if Janush has tried the latest roast – Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Janush, without looking up from his phone, answers ‘no’, he’s exhausted and just needs to wake up. He usually prefers tea but on days like this – espresso is the only solution.
Kuba, who’s already recognized Kuba tells him that tea and shakshuka for breakfast would have been delightful.
Janush looks up – they make eye contact – and now he realizes who he’s talking to.
You didn’t know this, but “shakshuka” was part of the plans they discussed on Grindr the day before.
Kuba walka around the counter, grabs a jar of PNG, then tells him that this coffee is so lightly roasted that it tastes like white tea with aromas of honey. Adding that the high amounts of caffeine will surely work to lift Janush in more ways than one.
With eyes still locked, Janush says yes, and then asks if he can buy the jar. He also asks if Kuba could grind it for him. 😉
Janush pays, walks out the door with a large black coffee, a beautiful jar under his arm, and the firm intent on returning in a few days.
– Marta felt like the store was unattended because Janush was HIDDEN behind the register.
– She also felt like she was bothering him while he was texting. Also when she asked for him to get the gloves, she might have felt slightly bad for him (remember the little moan he let out?).
+ Janush was friendly once he realized Marta was there.
– Janush missed an up selling opportunity when he didn’t offer the better quality gloves.
– Marta’s product was poor quality and more than likely she will not return to visit unless she is planning on returning the gloves.
+ Janush was productive by prepping cups – taking ownership in his role at the company and having a sense of purpose.
+ Kuba felt welcomed the moment he walked in the door.
+ By listening to and reading Janush’s body language, Kuba was able to offer an alternative that was more suited to Janush’s needs. He also was able to offer Janush the opportunity to buy some coffee beans for home (up selling) while also letting him know that they can grind the coffee for him.
+ Despite his ulterior motifs, Janush is more than likely to return to G Coffee Company. He learned something (in this case that lighter roasts = higher caffeine), he got some delightful coffee, and he felt as though he had Kuba’s attention the whole way through. ← this is spectacular customer service.
Looking at these two scenarios, the only difference was the fact that Kuba was standing and Janush was not – which gave Kuba the energy and opportunity to move around while presenting the products he could offer.
This small difference had an impact on not only this single transaction, it also left a positive impression on the customer while giving the worker a sense of fulfillment.
Do you get the point?
Having an extra step (in this case: standing up) makes it literally twice as (step 1 stand up, step 2 move around) hard to break the barrier between the customer and the business.
So now that I’ve given my two cents on this issue, what advice can I give you to fix the problem?
First of all…
BURN THE DAMN CHAIRS!
Or at least put them away so that it takes a few steps to put them in place.
Explain to your team WHY you don’t want them sitting or leaning on something – don’t just be a Nazi (if you need to be that way then you might have the wrong team or you might be the problem).
Find something for them to do. At G Coffee we do many tasks manually. That means stamping cups, stamping bags, cleaning equipment, etc.
Don’t just give them busy work though – it needs to have a purpose or else they’ll feel worthless and they’ll develop a grudge and have low morale.
If they understand the reasoning and logic behind the second and third points then this will give them a greater understanding of their role in the company.
My thoughts about this issue start with the chair.
I’m not just pointing out my opinion on the problem, I’m also including my suggestions on how to solve it.
Every situation is different and requires special consideration – in the end just do what works best for you.
But remember… Burn the damn chairs!