What makes a great assistant store manager?
Author: Bob Phipps
Source: Retail Wire
An assistant store manager is a bridge between the manager, who is frequently unavailable on the sales floor, and associates. They also often become store managers themselves.
Here are seven basic skills for an assistant store manager:
Attention to detail: Remembering a colleague’s birthday, a loyal customer’s face, and on to special orders and maintenance issues — getting the facts right are key to supporting management.
Ability to make decisions: If there are customer complaints or concerns, a good shop assistant will offer two choices to the manager instead of asking, “What do you want me to do?” You support management, not just relay issue after issue, expecting them to fix it all.
Ability to suspend your own ego: I’ve always told my assistants, “Your job is to make me look good.” When you do that, and support the manager or owner, you show you are a team player and eligible for additional responsibilities and the opportunity to run your own store one day.
Ability to connect with the customer: Reading body posture and tone of voice and adjusting accordingly will be invaluable. An assistant should also be able to model the best sales process to not just help shoppers but convert them into customers of your merchandise.
Ability to be a second set of eyes — and ears: A store manager needs to have another person who can examine something like an employee performance issue, a customer complaint or inventory problem, but not in a tattletale way.
Ability to sell: As an assistant manager, you will still want to connect with your customers and model exceptional customer service. You must be able to assist customers and make the sale with the use of your interpersonal skills and experience.
Be a running buddy. When I was running track in high school, an invaluable running buddy cheered us on, running alongside us, pushing us to do our best. You’re the running buddy with the manager, someone they can make a plan with and trust to support and encourage them at all times.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should the assistant store manager basically provide back-up to the store manager or does the position entail much more? What other suggestions would you add to the article on skills required for the role?