Today I’m going to touch on a seemingly often-overlooked (based on my personal observations) aspect of managing a retail business: facility maintenance.
Facility maintenance refers to addressing and fixing maintenance items, such as changing a light bulb or filling a pothole in the ground. From speaking with retailers, I get the impression that some business owners don’t prioritize facility maintenance because it costs money to do and doesn’t directly generate sales in the short term. This way of thinking is just that — short term. Business development takes time and costs money, and an important success factor in any retail business is retaining loyal customers.
Here are 3 reasons why facility maintenance at your retail store must be flawless in order to grow your business:
1. Site appearance:
As a customer, we tend to expect and appreciate a well-maintained business facility. If a business is not well-maintained, it will usually get judged as unprofessional or “sketchy-looking”. These expectations come back to site appearance — the appearance of your store has a lasting impression on your customer’s desire to return with more business.
If maintenance gaps are clearly visible to consumers, it looks tacky and unwelcoming. You must coach your team to react to such maintenance gaps immediately for the benefit of customers. Some customers might not mind, but some customers definitely will mind — and we must execute our retail business to the highest standards in order to retain these high standard customers.
2. Customers will lose trust in the integrity of your operations:
As a retail manager, you might assume: “It’s a non-critical light bulb that stopped working in my store, what’s the big deal? Is it really urgent that I fix this?” My answer to this would be, “Yes, it’s urgent that you fix this because how does your customer know whether the rest of your operations were executed flawlessly? From the customers standpoint, why should they trust that you have rotated products properly, cleaned the store recently, incorporated your business legally, if you can’t even prove to them that you can identify & resolve a broken light bulb?”
Call me picky, but this is a valid phenomenon that occurs in many customers’ subconsciousness. We want to believe that everything is being managed perfectly behind the curtain of a retail business team. If this business team gives us any reason to question this or be suspicious about operational integrity in general, we might be more inclined to bring our business to the competitor and give them the initial benefit of the doubt.
3. Customer safety is a liability:
Last but not least, remember that increasing revenue is not everything — if a customer slips & falls at your retail facility, for example, then you could be stuck with a potentially large settlement to pay out. Making all the revenue in the world is pointless if you are stuck paying lawyer fees and settling claims due to your operational negligence.
Based on my management experience, it is more cost-effective to implement daily operational safety checklists than it is to take the risk and face a potentially pricey settlement or legal battle. Part of this daily operational safety check needs to be actively seeking facility maintenance gaps and resolving them. Safety is not only the right thing to do for your valued customers — it’s good for business too!
Leave a Reply below with your thoughts, opinions and experiences!
Follow us on Twitter: @bizmgmtblog
Like us on Facebook: Business Management Blog
Connect with us on LinkedIn: Business Management Blog