Director Doug Fleener

Keynote speaker
Customer experience expert
Retail and performance consultant

Doug Fleener, the former director of retail for Bose Corporation, is known for bring fresh approaches and powerful actionable ideas to clients and audiences around the world.

For over twenty-years Fleener has worked with companies of all sizes to create more magnetic customer experiences that attracts, wins, and keeps customers in the digital age.

He also works closely with executives and owners to accelerate the impact their leaders have on employees, customers, and short and long-term results.

Retail | Hospitality | Banking | Food and Beverage | Financial Services | And other service-focused industries

We help companies dramatically improve their customer experience and results

    Typical client results include:
  • Dramatically increased sales and profits
  • A differentiated - and more profitable - customer experience
  • A more effective sales and customer-focused staff
  • Improved strategic direction with a more aligned organizational focus
  • Increased customer advocacy resulting in new customers
  • More effective managers and leaders at all levels of the organization
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Doug Fleener's OutFront and Unstoppable Blog

By Doug Fleener 16 Nov, 2016

The next six weeks are "the most wonderful time of the year." Well, at least until you find yourself about ready to snap over the person who just stole your parking spot!

The holidays can be wonderful, and from time to time a bit trying. Just remember that your own attitude, behaviors, and actions ultimately determine how your holiday goes.

Here’s a list of tips and actions anyone working retail can use for a reasonably stress-free, enjoyable, and productive holiday. (Most work for non-retail teams as well.)

1. Have fun! It's pretty hard to be stressed when you're bent on having fun. Challenge a colleague to a sales contest, or who can have the most add-ons in the next hour. Have fun with customers - and their children. Time goes faster when you're having fun.

2. Try to improve your performance from the day before. Aim for a higher ADS or UPT. Shoot for 110% of goal. It's amazing how the little things don't bother you as much when you're striving to be better.

3. Keep conversations with your co-workers positive and upbeat. Don't participate in gossip and negativity. You don't want to land on the naughty list.

4. Try to do something nice for someone else every day . Maybe leave a little gift for a co-worker. Don't tell anyone.

5. Keep smiling. The best part about giving smiles is that you get them in return, or at least people think you're a little crazy which may true on some days. That can be fun too.

6. Ask to take five minutes off the floor when you get that crazy and overwhelmed feeling. Even better, suggest a five minute breather to a co-worker who clearly needs it.

7. If business is slow, ask a colleague to watch you and give you feedback about what you can do even better . A little tip or two can make a huge difference in your day 

8. Make an effort to leave work at work . I knew a manager who always clapped her hands when she walked out the door at the end of a shift. It was her way of physically moving from work mode to personal life mode.

9. Make an effort to leave any personal issues at home, or at least leave them in the car. Think of the lease line at your store as an attitude line. When you cross it, you need to make sure you have the best possible attitude.

10. Never be so busy that you don't take a moment to know your customer a bit better or do something a little extra special for him/her.   It will increase your average sale, and that will improve your attitude.

11. Give your customer choices.  It's great service and great for business. Studies show that customers are more likely to make a purchase if they are asked to choose between different products. Customers also find it is easier to make a purchase decision when choosing between specific products, not a general "to buy or not to buy."

12. Leave home early to give yourself plenty of time to get to work. Those extra minutes can ensure a stress-free start to your workday. Being late is also not a good thing when your colleagues are depending on you.

13. Don't stop the sale. It's bad for business and unfair to your customer. Never say, "Will there be anything else?" Wait until your customer says he/she is done. Until then, keep working your customer's list and helping them find gifts for themselves, too.

14. Don't skip the things that keep you centered. Whether it's church, the gym, Starbucks, or sappy holiday movies, don't be too tired to do what you like to do. Personally, I find my annual viewing of Elf important to my holiday performance.

15. Don't skip your breaks. They're extremely important to being productive and having a good attitude. Use your phone during your breaks to take a breather from the hustle and bustle. Listen to some music. Text a friend or loved one. Decompress. And when you're not on break, avoid disturbing those who are.

16. Use good manners. Say "Please" at every opportunity. "Please" is a word that every person appreciates. There's big difference between "Sign here" and "Please sign here." You really cannot overuse the word "please." Never miss a chance to look your customer in the eye and say "Thank you." Avoid answering or otherwise talking on the phone when ringing up a sale.

17. Skip the food court and bring something special for lunch or dinner unless, that is, you love lines. Plan your meals for the entire week and give yourself one less thing to think about before work. Organize a staff potluck on the weekends.

18. Help your customers buy themselves a gift, too. It really is the best gift, since the recipient gets what he/she wants, and it certainly helps your sales results.

19. Treat yourself to something special. You may not be able to buy yourself something every day, but it doesn't have to be a treat that costs money. Call a friend you haven't spoken to recently. Take five extra minutes of quiet time in the morning or evening. Sometimes you need to reward yourself for a good day or even a bad one.

20. Help a colleague with her/his sale. You can get the product, be a silent assistant by bringing your colleague additional products, or jump in and add your expertise if appropriate.

21. Watch for customers who are overwhelmed. To you it might just look busy, but to a customer who needs something in particular and doesn't know where to find it, your busy store can look like pure chaos.

22. Get your own holiday shopping done early, unless you love that last-minute rush . Go shopping because you want to, not because you have to.

23. Don't take things personally, especially when dealing with an unhappy customer. Don't let other people's character defects bring out your own. Fix the problem and move on. Odds are good the next customer is a happy one.

24. Invest in some new shoes if your current pair is worn or not comfortable. Seriously. Happy feet make for a happy you. That's one of the best tips I got when I started retail, many holidays ago.

25. Focus on the spirit of the holiday. Throw a little money in the red bucket on the way to work. Walk down and watch the kids get ready to visit Santa. Don't watch the ones in line who are still an hour away from Santa. That's never pretty, but it can be fun to watch if you're not one of the parents. If you're downtown, step outside and watch the shoppers.

26. Go above and beyond for every customer. (Get it? #26!) Karma is a wonderful thing, and holiday Karma is the best.

So let me ask, which of these tips can you apply to create a more stress-free, enjoyable, and productive holiday?

By Doug Fleener 16 Nov, 2016

OutFront Leaders champion these three mindsets during the holidays.

1. Champion WE. OutFront leaders position and reinforce how essential the team is to the success of the business. Henry Ford said, ""If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." I believe that how well a retail staff works together to engage and sell customers can have a positive - or negative - impact of 10% or more. 

Specialty stores want to champion team selling, silent assists, colleague coaching, multi-customer engagement, and all other teamwork that results in higher sales and the best possible customer service experience.

2. Champion maximizing every customer opportunity.  Recently, while shopping in a department store I overheard two salespeople complaining about how slow business was. They were doing this, of course, instead of engaging me.

Holiday success isn't dependent on any one promotion or event, but it will be determined by the experience and level of sales focus on every customer that walks into the store. Miss maximizing even one customer opportunity, and it might be the one that makes the day.

3. Champion your customer's experience. What sets your store apart from all the rest are the products you sell, AND the experience a customer has when shopping with you. While some customers might be looking for deals, that isn’t the only reason they come into your store.

Customers shop your store because of how it makes them feel. The better they feel, the more they purchase. How we do that might change during the holidays, but the importance of doing it never does.

Take these three actions this week and throughout the holidays your store staff is sure to be Champions! (Cue up the Queen music!) 

So let me ask, what are you and your leaders championing for this holiday?

How to use this article.

Discuss with your leadership team how each of them sets the tone, and how championing key messages makes a positive impact on holiday results. Talk about these three key points to champion, and any others you and they feel might be vital to your store’s success.

 

By Doug Fleener 27 Oct, 2016

While observing a salesperson show her customer a watch, I started thinking about what the employee might have done differently if the customer had announced when she walked into the store, "I'm here to purchase a watch."
 
The associate probably would have put the watch on her customer's wrist much sooner.
 
She also would have also found out what the customer liked or didn't like about the watch, so she could show her something else.
 
And knowing that salesperson, I think she would have shown additional products to complement the watch.
 
Don't get me wrong; the employee did a nice job showing the watch. I'm just saying that she would have approached it much differently if the customer had announced her purchase intent.
 
Our stores are a better experience when people are engaged with the products . Trying things out. Trying things on. Learning about products. Playing with the products, etc.
 
We owe it to our customers to engage them as if they announced, "I'm here to make a purchase."
 
But wait? Isn't that being a pushy salesperson?
 
(Yes, I often have conversations with myself!)
 
I don't believe that engaging a customer as if he/she stated, "I am here to make a purchase" is pushy at all!
 
What's pushy is continuing to engage a customer if she communicates that she'd rather experience the store without our help.
 
This will result in not only a much better service experience for your customers, but it will absolutely increase your sales.

So let me ask, do you engage your customers as if they have come in to make a purchase?

 

Into Action

Try it out. Engage every customer today as if he/she told you as he/she walked in the door, "I'm here to make a purchase."

Have a colleague observe you with the customer, and then share some feedback on what you did well and could do better to help that customer make her purchase.

 

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