Four tips for turning around a bad day

Discussion
Apr 24, 2015
Doug Fleener

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Contrarian, the blog of the Dynamic Experiences Group.

The bad day. It inevitably happens every now and again in every store. You know, the kind of day that seems destined to fall far short of goal. I hope you don’t have too many of these days, but when you do, here’s how you, as a leader, can turn them around.

Change the narrative. A day only becomes a bad day when the staff labels it as such. The minute you do that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. All of a sudden "nobody is buying," or "customers are cranky today." Don’t let a slow day turn into a bad day. It’s just today, and it can still be a great day.

Identify what actions the staff can take. People always blame bad days on the customers or circumstances. Here’s the problem with that: The minute you blame external forces you no longer have the power to change the dynamic.

The minute a day starts going south, gather the team and ask, "What actions can we take right now to turn our day around." Maybe call some customers? Show two additional products? There’s always something that can be done, because we own it.





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Turn it around with the next customer. Once a day goes bad, it’s all too easy to subconsciously change our approach. Instead of passionately engaging the next customer, we figure they’re just another "looker" or "time waster." Too bad, since it only takes one customer to turn a day around, and that one customer could very well be the next person who walks through your door. Challenge your team to do something different with the next customer and turn the day around.

Practice/Role play with the team when they are not with a customer. Baseball teams often take extra batting or fielding practice when they are losing. You can do the same thing.

When it seems all customers are "just looking," it’s a perfect time to practice/role play not causing that response. When "nobody is buying" you can practice/role play how to build value in a product. Remember, when the day isn’t going well, it is up to us, not the customers, to change it.

What suggestions would you offer store staffs for turning around a “bad day”? Can you add one other tip or action to those in the article?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"These are good suggestions. For too many retailers, though, off days are driven by the fact that there is no sale that day."
"Everybody, at some time, will have a bad day. I love the line, "It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do about it.""

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6 Comments on "Four tips for turning around a bad day"


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Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
4 years 2 months ago

These are good suggestions. For too many retailers, though, off days are driven by the fact that there is no sale that day. For many retailers there is a special event, deal or discount almost every day, so when there is not the day is a “bad day” by default. Creating a little excitement in-store without resorting to discounts, and making your store a place customers want to shop even when there is no sale should be the goal, although it isn’t easy.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

When I was a supermarket store manager, we, as a team, never let a situation get us down for too long. If the day was slow, I’d ask who wanted to go home early to save payroll expense. If we had a difficult shopper incident, we would quickly move forward, learn from the situation and try to avoid the same issue in the future. I think the biggest rule is to keep busy, so no one has time to dwell on negativity. Clean out the backroom inventory, do some cleaning, take advantage of any spare time opportunities and make a positive outcome of it.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

There will always be days that “don’t live up to expectations.” Accept what has happened, learn from it and make the next opportunity the one that turns it around for you.

Shep Hyken
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

Everybody, at some time, will have a bad day. I love the line, “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do about it.” So I’m going to go down two roads here.

  1. In the moment if things are bad, I ask myself, “What one thing can I do to make this even the slightest bit better?” My friend Dr. Jason Selk calls this Relentless Solution Focus. It can be as small as walking outside for some fresh air, or picking up the phone and calling someone for help. Or as big as sitting down with my team and discussing a solution.
  2. I believe bad days only last 24 hours, and if I look back on every bad day I have ever had, there is something good that happened that day also. I reflect back on the day and find the good that happened. That keeps my optimistic attitude intact.
Jen Johnston
Guest
4 years 2 months ago
While I agree with “It’s just today, and it can still be a great day,” I think helping to turn around the narrative begins with empathy and acknowledgment. The leader should empathize with the staff. As a leader, place yourself in their shoes and view the “bad day” from their perspective. Then acknowledge their point of view in a genuine way — “I can see how this day seems rotten” or “That incident must make you feel upset.” People want to have their viewpoint acknowledged before they can think about turning the day around. That doesn’t mean you need to actually share the negative viewpoint, you are just acknowledging how they might have come to it. I think only after you’ve validated their perspective can you work on changing the narrative and helping them re-frame the day. This should be followed up by empathy training for staff as it relates to customers. The things that customers do that are perceived as annoying and cause days to “go south” might not seem so bad to the staff… Read more »
Doug Fleener
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

Thanks for everyone’s insight on this topic. Not an earth shattering topic by any means, but you know leadership is made up of little moments like this that add up to the type of store experience that’s delivered.

I especially like Jen Johnston, Sr.’s comments on empathy. So true. Thanks again.

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Braintrust
"These are good suggestions. For too many retailers, though, off days are driven by the fact that there is no sale that day."
"Everybody, at some time, will have a bad day. I love the line, "It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do about it.""

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