The Power of the Checklist

CHCKLSTGreat customer service and sales begins with efficient store operations.  A store employee who is preoccupied with running the standard operations of the store will often emphasize store tasks over customer service.  Conversely, employees who believe that their only focus is customer interaction can stand idle while their cluttered, dirty store degenerates around them.  The most common way to prepare the team for an efficient sales day is to habitually use checklists. Checklists support the management style:

  • Expect – make sure employees know is expected of them.
  • Inspect – follow up to find out if/how it is being done.
  • Respect – give good performers respect AND they will respect your expectations.

The checklist every store needs is the daily opening and closing checklist.  There is also a weekly, monthly and quarterly checklist.  Usually quarterly tasks are rotated into the monthly tasks.  To be effective, checklist usage has to be a non-negotiable.  Checklists must be used every day by every manager or employee and use of the checklist must be verified.  It’s like counting calories in a diet: it only works if it is done for every single meal.

To begin, define your expectations for store standards.  How should it look every single day before opening?  Write out the expectations by location within the store and then build the checklist around it.  For example, you may say that you expect the checkout counter to be clean, with fully stocked bags, pens, credit card receipts, a tidy selection of impulse sale items, the till stocked with sufficient cash, an empty trash bin, and a smiling employee wearing a name badge.  Write out similar expectations for the restroom, the stockroom, the entry way and your merchandise areas.

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