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Appearance standards and customer service go hand in hand. Customers want to be greeted by employees who are well groomed and in uniform. They want to fuel up at a neat and tidy pump area. They want to quickly find items in organized and well-stock shelves. And, of course, they want to grab their self-serve food and drinks from spotless areas. What if this doesn’t happen? What if the trash can by the pump is overflowing, employees look like they just rolled out of bed, the shelves are bare or messy, and the last guy who got coffee left a filthy mess? Chances are good that customers who encounter problems like these will give your competition a try next time.

Set Appearance Standards and Enforce Them

Remember to think about your customers as “guests,” and train your staff to do the same. When it comes to the appearance of your employees and your store, the details matter. It’s up to you as a convenience store manager to set appearance standards for every facet of your business, train your staff members to meet and exceed those standards, and enforce them throughout every shift. Focus on these areas, at a minimum:

Clean and professional personal appearance. Make sure your dress code and other personal appearance standards are clear, and don’t let employees slide if don’t meet expectations. Stand your ground, and send them home if you have to.

Neat and clean store. Keeping both the interior and exterior of your store looking sharp inspires confidence from your customers. Make sure spills are cleaned up quickly, keeping in mind that this is an issue that relates to both appearance standards and safety. Slips and falls due to spills can be dangerous and costly.

Well stocked shelves. Keep “convenience” top of mind by ensuring that customers can quickly find what they’re looking for. This goes for end-caps and promotional areas as well as general merchandise shelves and coolers.

Appearance Standards Start and End with You

You must set a good example, not only with your own appearance, but also in how you deal with issues in the store. Do you walk past trash in the parking lot on your way in? Do you wait for staff members to notice and clean up spills? When you take a pro-active approach to exceeding appearance standards, your staff will do the same.

Convenience Store Training on Appearance Standards

For more information on how appearance affects customer service, check out our Be Our Guest training, now available online. Click here for more information and a preview.