CHICAGO—Nice people make a big difference in your day. In the c-store industry, being nice can also directly impact your bottom line. Happy customers are repeat customers. Happy customers make more impulse buys. So how do you create a store environment where customers are happy? It all begins with putting together the right team.

“Hire right, train right and treat ’em right,” Lee Cockerell told a packed house during Wednesday’s session “YOU Can Create Disney Magic, Too! Lessons in Leadership, Management, Culture & Customer Service.” Cockerell, the former executive vice president of operations for Walt Disney World Resort, said that people are the most important aspect in business—even more important than the products you sell.

“It’s all about people. About customers. About relationships,” he said. People want to know they matter, whether they are customers or employees.

The first step: Hire better. Look for people who have discipline and energy. Then, be clear about your expectations. Also, stop hiring the wrong people. Doing so will give you more time to run your business.

“Hire wider and broader,” Cockerell said. “You cannot train people who have no passion and bad attitudes. Learn to spot special people.”

Next, train better. From top to bottom, train people not only about the technical aspect of the job, but also about behavior, about how to be nice to people.

Also in this issue from NACS Show Daily

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