What does it take to be a good floor manager? Suneeta Kaul talks to a cross-section of jewellery retailers in an attempt to glean what kind of attributes they look for when hiring the perfect floor manager
A floor manager is an indispensable part of a retail establishment – s/he is directly in charge of monitoring the customers in the store. The extent of the role of a floor manager could differ from company to company, but the basic job description is the same – making sure customers are attended to without delay and ensuring sales take place briskly.
In view of the very important role a floor manager plays, a lot of thought goes into hiring the perfect candidate. After all, the floor manager is the one who will be the face of the store for customers. S/he will be the first point of reference when anyone enters the store. Hence, it makes sense to take the position seriously and hire the perfect candidate.
What companies look for when hiring a floor manager
“Good communication skills, confidence, leadership, adaptability, positive attitude, level-headed temperament, and emotional intelligence – these are the qualities I look for in a floor manager,” says Vandana Saraf, Hari Prasad Gopi Krishna Saraf, Gorakhpur.
Saraf adds that the floor manager is responsible for every aspect of the day-to-day functioning of the store, which includes sales, stock at the counters, staff, and customer experience. “Floor managers are responsible for ensuring that the sales team offers a great service to customers, and creates a memorable shopping experience for them. Motivating the sales staff on a regular basis is equally important.
“A floor manager is expected to help the sales team meet sales targets, and infuse a spirit of bonhomie among the sales personnel. Floor managers also have to supervise and train new employees and impart organizational values to them. And as directors, it is our job to interact closely with floor managers and keep them updated with all the policies, schemes and offers of the company,” she explains.
People management and analytical skills – essential attributes
When it comes to jewellery, customers often like to take their time with the purchase, as it is a big-ticket item. In this scenario, the floor manager’s tact, patience and persuasion skills become paramount to closing a sale. Leadership qualities are, thus, an essential component of a floor manager’s skillset.
Says Vikas Bansal, OPS Jewels, Karnal, “A good floor manager should be an excellent leader, capable of setting clear objectives and delegating tasks effectively to the team. S/he should have the ability to make decisions quickly and to respond positively in a crisis. Besides, floor managers need to have excellent communication skills. They should be able to interact with customers effortlessly and understanding their requirements without asking tedious questions.”
Floor managers essentially need to possess a thorough knowledge of the company, its products, the latest schemes, offers, and so forth. They should be capable of resolving conflict tactfully, without offending anyone, and should have an inherent ability to solve problems. Adds Bansal, “When hiring a floor manager, look out for analytical and problem-solving skills. The ideal floor manager should have people management abilities. S/he should be skilled in providing support, motivation, and feedback to team members, and be capable of maintaining a positive working environment.
“When hiring a floor manager, I also consider the candidate's willingness to work flexible schedules, and adaptability to work in a changing environment. In our retail stores, a floor manager has a significant level of autonomy and is expected to make decisions in the best interest of the store, and ensure customer satisfaction.”
The extent of the role of a floor manager often depends on the scale of the business in a particular store. Larger stores with high traffic might need an assistant floor manager, in addition to the main floor manager. In such cases, the floor manager will have a bigger role to play, making sure customers are being attended to, ensuring the waiting time is minimal, and engagement levels are high, so that no customer feels neglected. Delegation, thus, becomes important, but the floor manager still has to keep an overall eye on everything.
“A floor manager is someone who is a bit of everything,” declares Satinder Jain, Jain Jewellers, Bathinda. “When hiring a floor manager, I check whether the candidate is a people’s person. This is a very important quality in a floor manager. A winning smile, a calm and confident personality, and problem-solving skills are essential. Besides, a floor manager should be a good trainer, as well as a quick learner. S/he should know everything there is to know about the company, and be able to rattle off details effortlessly,” he adds.
The ability to monitor the staff, manage inventory, know how to deal with unexpected situations, take charge in case of an emergency – these are some other qualities jewellery stores look for when hiring a floor manager. “A floor manager should be able to manage various kinds of situations without getting stressed or looking worried,” says Priyanka Chopra, Choprasons Jewellers, Ludhiana. “What I would look for when hiring a floor manager is someone who knows how to build a rapport with customers quickly. S/he should instinctively know when to intervene with a suggestion, and when to leave customers alone. Knowing when to back off is as important as knowing when to offer a helpful suggestion. Excellent leadership and communication skills to address specific concerns and process the requests of customers are other important attributes of a floor manager. Good interpersonal skills and team-building skills are also essential. Besides, a good floor manager should have the ability to motivate the sales team, and make it want to do its best,” she adds.
Clearly, the job of a floor manager is not one to be taken lightly. It is in the best interest of a jewellery store to invest time and effort to vet the candidates extensively, and hire only the best.