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Page Title: Visual Merchandising
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Customer  Service Once a store operator has been selected, you will have a continuing responsibility for improv- ing  customer  service—the  relationship  between  the store operator and the customers. The success of a ship’s store in meeting its purpose and object- ives is dependent to a great degree on the face- to-face  relationships  between  the  store  operator and  the  customers.  Desirable  merchandise  and attractive   displays   are   important;   however, customer  satisfaction  can  be  assured  only  by  a conscientious, responsive store operator. You, as a  supervisor,  must  impress  upon  your  operator just  how  important  a  retail  store  operator’s  job is to the general morale of shipboard personnel. The first thing that a customer notices and uses in  forming  an  impression  of  a  retail  store  operator is  the  operator’s  personal  appearance.  (The  ap- pearance of the store itself will be discussed later). It  is  important  for  the  store  operator  to  project a correct and neat personal appearance. A ship’s store  operator  who  wears  a  Navy  uniform  proudly and   takes   pride   in   personal   appearance   is indicating to the customer that this operator has pride  in  the  job.  Thus,  you  should  try  to  instill this  pride  in  the  store  operator  by  personal example  and  constructive  criticism. The second thing that is important to customer service  is  the  attitude  of  the  store  operator  toward the job and the customers. In most cases, the store operator’s   billet   is   strongly   desired   by   Ship’s Servicemen  in  the  division.  So,  a  poor  attitude toward  the  job  will  usually  not  be  a  problem. However,  as  a  leading  Ship’s  Serviceman,  you should  encourage  the  store  operator  to  do  more than just an adequate job. You should persuade the operator to continue to improve the store by working  on  visual  merchandising  and  to  pass along  requests  of  the  crew. You  will  discover  that  most  problems  occur in the area of the store operator’s attitude toward the  customer.  Too  often,  the  operator  may  be smug  and  conceited  with  the  job  or  the  busy schedule.  You  should  inform  the  operator  that such  an  attitude  only  shows  lack  of  concern  for the   customer.   Displaying   a   negative   attitude and  using  offensive  language  undermines  the customer’s   confidence   in   the   store   operator’s ability  to  be  of  assistance. Also, you should encourage the store operator to  be  responsive  to  the  customer’s  needs  even though the needs may at times appear to be unim- portant.  For  example,  a  customer  may  consider a  question  about  the  possibility  of  returning  a newly   purchased   watch   for   a   refund   to   be important because the customer has saved up the money  to  pay  for  it  and  now  the  watch  doesn’t work.  The  operator  should  not  ridicule  such  a request by saying,  “Everybody knows all sales are final!”    The  customer  obviously  thought  the problem was important enough to bring it to the attention  of  the  operator.  A  courteous  explana- tion  of  how  the  customer  might  be  able  to exchange  the  watch  should  be  offered. In summary, you should encourage the store operator  to  be  as  responsive  and  helpful  to  the customer as the operator would personally desire to  be  treated.  A  more  detailed  discussion  of  the importance   of   effective   customer   services   is presented in the Navy Customer Service Manual, NAVEDTRA   10119-B. VISUAL   MERCHANDISING The basic purpose of any ship’s store is to give maximum  service  to  patrons.  Effective  displays are essential to the rendering of maximum service. Effective  displays  ensure  that  all  personnel  aboard are  afforded  the  utmost  shopping  convenience with  a  minimum  of  effort  and  time.  Effective displays  also  allow  the  merchandise  to  be presented in an attractive and pleasant setting. Displays  have  the  task  of  informing,  educating, and impressing the patrons of the quality, price, and use of the items. Displays let patrons know what  is  available  and  help  them  to  make  good selections. A  secondary  purpose  of  good  displays  is  to sell merchandise and to produce the profits that will be turned over to the ship’s recreation fund. If properly used, an attractive store front can sell merchandise 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Per- sonnel  engaged  in  their  duties  and  coming  and going to meals, movies, and living compartments may pass the retail store several times each day. The displays in the store should be able to turn this   traffic   into   shoppers,   and   shoppers   into buyers. Imagine the loss in sales you would have if the store front amounted to nothing more than a rusty expanded metal screen covering a dirty, poorly   lighted   display   of   cigarettes   and toothpaste. Principles To  be  effective,  displays  must  meet  certain requirements. You, as the senior Ship’s Service- man, should help and encourage the ship’s store operator   to   attain   these   requirements.   The 6-2

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