My boss, the owner of the store, is so unaware of the way she can irritate and even offend our customers. I work in a women’s boutique that sells all kinds of accessories. I will give it to my boss that she knows her merchandise and knows what women like, but she needs some training in her technique, good old-fashioned customer service. She thinks she’s good at interacting with the customers, but all of us sales associates wish she would never step foot on the sales floor when she’s in town. Her interactions are so unnatural; she pushes way too hard. It’s so obvious she’s annoying them. We see the looks they make when she walks away and we’ve even seen quite a few leave the store without buying anything because of her aggressive tactics. She will even barge into our sales pitches because she thinks she’s helping. I know it’s her store, but we lose sales because of her. Our income is an hourly rate plus commissions. Some of us have tried to say something to her, but it just goes in one ear and out the other. She’s clueless. She thinks she’s got it and can do no wrong. Is there anything I can do besides quit? I really like the store and my co-workers, and we get a nice discount on the merchandise.
Working for clueless boss
Dear Working for clueless boss:
You are in a tough situation. You and your co-workers can collectively request some customer service/sales training for everyone, but there is no guarantee the owner will agree to it. If she does approve it, there is no way of knowing if she will attend, and if she does, if she will actively participate. And even if you have the training and she participates, it does not mean she will recognize the changes she needs to make. Nevertheless, it is worth a try, but before you make the request, do your homework. Identify a couple of appropriate training firms and gather all their information (i.e., their services, pricing, availability, etc.), so you can give the owner all this information verbally and in writing when you meet with her. Best of luck!
Like so many places, my organization is strapped and cutting costs every which way it can. What I can’t stand is the way my supervisor chooses to travel with us when the destination is a nice one. He claims he’s going to help us out, but not only do we not need any help but it’s a guarantee he will miss most of the meetings because he says he’s tied up on the phone with corporate or he’s eaten something the night before that’s messed up his stomach. It’s so obvious he’s only going for a free trip to a nice place; it has nothing to do with lending his expertise or providing management support. Bottom line, my supervisor has no business traveling with us. I don’t think there’s a thing that can be done about this by my co-workers or me, but I need to get it off my chest and I’d like to know what you would do if you were in this situation.
Fed up with supervisor’s inappropriate travel
Dear Fed up with supervisor’s inappropriate travel:
Based on what you have shared with me, it appears the only way your supervisor’s inappropriate travel would ever stop is if his boss (upper management) is made aware of it. Ideally, he would be reprimanded, no longer allowed to travel, and/or removed from his position; but there is no guarantee of any of these results. Having been in your shoes more than once and aware of many others with similar experiences, I would not do a thing. If you speak up you must be aware of the possible negative repercussions if this guy remains your supervisor. They could be ever so subtle but make your work life a living hell. On a positive note, you said you do not need your supervisor on these business trips. Be thankful he does not show up for the meetings. Hopefully, your upper management will get more engaged and enlightened sooner than later, and realize his travel is wasteful. Hang in there!
© 2013 Rozanne R. Worrell