Three Tips To Make Your Retail Job Rewarding

Angela Richart, Editor-in-Chief

College students often seek employment in the community to pay their bills or for extra spending money. With holidays looming on the horizon many area businesses will be looking for seasonal help. Having worked retail for the past year, I have seen many people come and go. I have gained what I believe is the nuts and bolts of what it takes to work in the business. In customer service, there are three pieces that go into being successful.

The first thing you need to do is to take care of the customer. Being friendly and helpful is the bare minimum. It is important to ask people if they need help finding things and offer them as many options as you can. Even though a store may not carry the right color or size, they can often be ordered online. According to Sue Beckman, Human Resources Supervisor at JCPenney, “A good associate is someone who is genuinely concerned about meeting the needs of the customer.”  She emphasizes that retail work requires a certain drive that is necessary in order to provide excellent customer service.

The second piece of the puzzle is coworker relationships. Yes, there are days you will come to work cranky. Don’t take that out on the people at work. At some point you will wind up with that one coworker that is a know-it-all, obnoxious, or really, really lazy. You have to just let it go and continue with your own business. Sometimes you may have to pick up the slack for said coworker, and as much as it sucks, you can’t let it frustrate you. Eventually, it will come back to you in a good way. Focus on those good coworker relationships, a few of the girls I work with have become some of my very closest friends.

Finally, take care of your store. By making sure clothes are folded, shelves are straightened and racks are sized, you can help people find what they need more efficiently. At the same time your business looks more pleasing and inviting to the shoppers. Plus, associates often have to stay after closing to do walk throughs, but if it is already looking good, the recovery goes much quicker.

If you learn to take care of your customers, coworkers and your store, your retail experience will be that much easier and rewarding to you as well. Regardless of what you intend to do after graduation, your time in customer service will shape the person you become and leave you with communication skills you’ll use the rest of your life.


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