Detail Syndrome

Is it just you, or your employees too?

da_1As a shop owner, you’re probably very cognizant of many of the little things around your store. You see all of the little details that many others fail to see. I call this “Detail Syndrome.”

How many times have you come to work and as you walk across the parking lot, you pick up the garbage off of the pavement as you head in? I’m sure most of you do so. After all, the parking lot is the first image your customers get of your business. Are there papers strewn about? Hamburger wrappers, etc.? Are there patches of uneven pavement or, worse yet, gravel?

The next question I always ask myself is, “How many of my employees have Detail Syndrome?” Are they proud of the business, or is it just a place to work? The first step, obviously, is the picking up the garbage outside as they walk in. Do they walk by, or make the effort to bring in any litter to be placed in the garbage cans?

The next question is this; do they carry this effort into the store? Are they straightening the displays as they walk around? Are they making sure the clothing is hanging properly as they go? Making sure the bikes are in nice neat rows? Is the parts room neat, or a disaster?

Employees like this are the ones I’m always looking for, and as the boss, you too should always be on the lookout for these people. Usually they are detail oriented, and concerned with how everything looks, and how it’s organized. I want staff who care about every aspect of the shop, and of the place they work. It’s important. VERY important.

[pullquote]You can see it everywhere. From helmets to the bikes on the showroom floor. Is a certain department always looking like a bargain basement, or is everything neat and tidy? Does it show that the employees are proud of their environment?[/pullquote]

Years ago, I dropped into one of the largest powersports dealers in the country. This was a dealership I had heard about for years. It was huge. It also looked like a bomb had gone off inside, scattering accessories everywhere but on the shelves. Boots on the floor. Racks with levers and barpads scattered all over the place. Saddlebags and tank bags lying everywhere but on the shelf.

One department, however, was in perfect array. That was the clothing department. It was run by a couple of ladies who were obviously very proud of their job, and their area of oversight. I asked them about the other displays, and they shrugged, saying they were a disaster, and will probably always be a disaster, as no one was taking any responsibility, including the managers and the owner. They had tried to help organize other areas, but had been stonewalled by lack of enthusiasm.

This was a dealership in an area of millions of people, doing many millions of dollars of business a year. Perhaps they would say that they are too busy selling to tidy up after every client. I don’t buy it. How many customers have given up after trying to find a particular accessory and gone somewhere else? Also, not one person offered to help me in all the time I was there, aside from the two aforementioned ladies.

I often go out on the sales floor or into the P&A departments, looking at each area to see who has Detail Syndrome in their respective departments, and who is keeping the seats warm between customers. Yes, it’s a spy mission, and yes, staff behaves differently when you are around than when you are away, but you can soon get a very good idea who is proud and who is not. Who would you want to keep?

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