Working in one of Jack Mitchell’s clothing stores must be wonderful.  He and the other members of his family have made an art of making their employees feel appreciated, including personal touches such as knowing the names of everyone’s children and pets, recognizing their accomplishments, and doing everything possible to make them feel appreciated.

Jack actually does all this and more for his customers as well, which led him to write the book Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results (Hyperion 2003).  If you think that you offer good customer service now, read his book to see how you stack up.  I’m sure you’ll find at least one idea for turning your service up a notch.

Having tackled the subject of how to make customers feel appreciated, Jack Mitchell has turned his attention to the many ways that managers and owners can motivate their staff to do their best.  The title of his new book says it all: Hug Your People: The Proven Way to Hire, Inspire, and Recognize Your Employees and Achieve Remarkable Results (Hyperion, 2008). 

The basic principles laid out in this second Hug book are simple but often overlooked in the hectic day-to-day workplace.  They are : 

[Be] Nice


[Instill] Pride



There are may ways to achieve these five goals, and I will only mention one of them here.  (I’d recommend that you read Jack’s book to find others.)  Everyone likes to feel that their hard work is appreciated, so we offer our staff chair massages* on the busiest day of the year to recognize that they are under a lot of stress during the holidays.  I was recently in the Kurt Adler showroom in the Chicago Merchandise Mart and was treated to a five-minute massage, which made me realize what a welcome break this is.

As Jack Mitchell would point out, by making my employees feel better, I know that they will offer better service to our customers. And customer service is what sets us independent retailers apart from our big box competitors — it’s an important tool in surviving and thriving in today’s economy.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder