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Manage Through 1:1

Manage through one on ones

Trust is one of the most important values, in business, and life. Manage your way to trusting your employees (and gaining their trust too) through one-on-one meetings.

The purpose of the 1:1 is not to be a review; schedule that for another time. Rather, this meeting should be focused on the employee’s challenges, observations, and opportunities.

Frame the meeting

Framing the meeting is especially important for new employees. One-to-one meetings with managers automatically have a negative connotation. To combat this, make sure it is known the agenda of the meeting will be run by them, not you. The longer the meetings happen the less this will be an issue.

Provide your full attention

How often do you have the undivided attention of someone you respect? Be sure to provide this rare opportunity during your scheduled one-on-one. This means turn your phone off, close the door, or find an off site location. Also make sure to compensate them for this meeting, even if it means showing up early or staying late. Their time is just as valuable as yours.

Listen to manage effectively

We all know how to listen. Be prepared for pauses during this meeting, especially if your employee is introverted. They may just need time to gather their thoughts. If the pause is too long, ask an open ended question to keep the meeting focused on the employee.

Follow through

If these meetings require follow up, make sure you get back to them. Nobody likes feeling like a pest (especially to their boss).

Manage through empowerment

Finally, let employees solve problems on their own. People learn by doing, so when your employees come to you with problems or questions, provide guidance and let them take the reins from there.

Inspiration for this post came from “One Person at a Time,” by Gwen Bortner published in the February 2021 issue of American Quilt Retailer. Stay tuned next week for five more tips on how to effectively manage one-on-one meetings.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

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Customer service for disgruntled customers

Customer service

Every retail employee has dealt with a disgruntled customer. When service sells, follow these steps to ensure you (and your employees) lead with your best foot forward.


Listen to your customer even if you think you know what they’re going to say. Listening to your customer’s complaint is therapeutic for them and shows empathy in you. When replying, don’t raise your voice and practice what’s known as the Socratic method. Simply put, the Socratic method asking more questions to clarify your customer’s needs. In the long run, this can save you time and effort when addressing the complaint.

Don’t take it personal

Remember, what the customer is upset about is the business, not you. This will help you remain calm since getting angry never helps any situation. Assuming all your customers are watching will help hold you to these standards. By not taking the complaint personal, you’ll also know when it’s fair to give in. If the customer had been on the receiving end of a disservice, practicing empathy will help you decide when a compromise is justified.

Follow through

If you say you’re going to give the customer a call back, call them back. Telling them the next steps sets the expectation so your service doesn’t fall short for them again.

It’s just a matter of time before one of your employees will have to help a disgruntled customer. Training them for this situation will ensure they provide top notch service when your business needs it most.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.