As we struggle through our daily existence we all have to deal with problems. Problems are a part of life. In retail they can be as minor as not having enough change in the register, to an employee calling in sick. Even then it’s not the same for every dealer. An employee calling is sick could, for one dealer, be devastating as he struggles to deal with customers and a busy floor. To another, an employee calling in sick could actually be a bit of a blessing as if it’s a slow sales period the associated employee’s salary will not have to be paid for that day.
Regardless of what constitutes a problem, and how it’s interpreted, there are dozens of ways in dealing with issues, but it usually boils down to two, either face the problem and deal with it, or do nothing and hope it goes away. I realize there are many people who dislike confrontation, and would just as soon sit back and hope a problem goes away, but for the realistic amongst us, we realize this is not a solution at all. Frequently all it does is allow a problem to fester into a situation that has progressed from an easily solved issue to something that can frequently snowball out of control.
The same problem can be interpreted by others differently as well. During my past career, I had finally been blessed with an opportunity to take a badly needed vacation. I couldn’t have been a day into the break when I received a phone call from one of the patrolman assigned to my shift. He’d had a confrontation with another member of the department and he was asking if I would look into it. Without going into details, after listening to his side of the story – there are always two sides to every story, with the truth generally to be found somewhere in the middle – I responded that it didn’t require my immediate action and would be resolved upon my return to duty, and that is exactly what was done.
After meeting with everyone involved it was ascertained that a comment had been misinterpreted (there’s that word again) which led to a verbal confrontation. Once again I didn’t feel it was that big of a deal but the officer involved did. He stewed for a number of days until I was back on the job. Although the conclusion was found mostly in his favor, he felt that regardless of my vacation status I should have reported in and acted immediately, but with the path chosen I had let him down. Before the end of the day’s shift he’d requested a transfer to a different crew, and we never spoke again. Truly a bitter end to a minor problem, which by-the-way, I still would not handle any differently.
How a store owner deals with everyday problems is his business, but the point to be made is they need to be dealt with, they don’t go away, and frequently they need to be dealt with in a timely manner. In the above example, what I felt was minor, was interpreted by another as major.
I certainly hope the days of extreme political correctness are coming to an end. Recently I was inquiring about a position and although nowhere near an interview stage I was chatting with the manager about the position’s requirements. Towards the end of the conversation I was told, “You have a tendency to speak with too much clarity.” Talk about some sugar-coated nonsense. The bottom line was the company was looking for people who told customers what they wanted to hear, regardless of the truth. The feeling of a happy customer makes for a repeat customer is in this case being taken to the extreme. Making a customer happy is paramount, but lying to them is trouble waiting to explode, and it will hurt you and your business in the future.
Until next month,