Cliffside Mills Store Service Rules
The date of this document is unknown. It may have been written by Z.O. Jenkins, who managed the stores for a number of years.
These rules are for the guidance of employees of Cliffside Mills Store and branch stores…
It is our aim to tell in a way that will not be forgotten how every employee can give more and better service to customers. In reading this edition please remember we are speaking to our employees.
Our stores are operated primarily for the benefit and convenience of our customers, without customers there would not be any store neither would there be any employees, these are simple facts easily understood.
So it behooves every employee here to remember this always and to treat all customers with courtesy and careful consideration.
Any member of our force who lacks the intelligence to interpret the feeling of the good will this store holds towards its patrons cannot stay here very long.
New customers are just as valuable as old customers. Remember that for each new customer [there] is an old customer in the making. See that you do your part to make him want to come back and bring with him his family and friends. Impress upon him the fine “good fellowship” of the place [and] no-trouble-to-help-you SPIRIT.
Never be perky, pugnant or fresh; the customers pays your salary as well as ours, he is your immediate benefactor. Snap judgment of men at times are faulty. A man may wear a red neck tie and green vest and tan shoes and still be a gentlemen. The unpretentious man with a soft voice may possess the wealth of Rockefeller, the stranger in cow hide boots, broad brim and rusty black may be President of railroads or Senator from over the ridge. The man in overalls that drives an ox team may be worth thousands. You can not afford to be superior or sullen with any patron of this store.
Have every one feel that for his money we want to give him more sincere service and more value before received at any other store.
The employee who helps to perpetuate this plan is never out of a position nor he escapes the attention of the man behind the scene—The Manager. At rare intervals some perverse member of our force disagrees with a customer as to the rightness of this or that or she maintains that the color is blue and the customer says it isn’t, or that it fits and the customer thinks otherwise, or that the hat is becoming when a prospective purchaser declares it isn’t, or that the drayman did deliver it so and so when perhaps the wrong number was given, or customer says he ordered sweet potatoes and the clerk says it was Irish potatoes, or that it was sirloin and not porter house, either may be right. No employee has privilege of arguing any point with customer, he must adjust the matter satisfactory at once or call someone in authority to adjust same. Wrangling has no place in this store.
In order to make our stores successful so that men and women of refinement and taste will come for miles, each employee must be on the alert and not let one opportunity pass where service and courtesy can be extended. It should be the desire of every employee from the drayman to the manager to make every customer feel at home in any department of any of our stores. The drayman can deliver the goods so that it will create a desire to make each customer want to buy here next time, or he can deliver the goods so that they will never want to trade here again. The salesman can greet the customer with a-feel-at-home hand shake and welcome that will make him want to buy, or can look at him in that half hearted unconcerned manner that will drive him elsewhere to buy his merchandise. The employee that has the what-do-you-want feeling when he meets the customer seldom advances very rapidly either in the eyes of the public or his employer. Each member of our force is valuable to us only in proportion to his ability to serve customers.
Our store has only two things to sell: one is merchandise, the other is service. The store that sells poor merchandise and poor service is a poor store indeed, the store that sells good merchandise and good service is a good store. The store that sells good merchandise and poor service will not get as good results as the store that sells poor merchandise and good service. It is our object to sell the best SERVICE and best MERCHANDISE to be obtained. The service of this store is not a thing supplied by a single individual neither is it special attention to any one customer. Our idea of service means the limit of courteous, efficient attention from each particular employee to each particular customer, this is the kind of service that a customer pays for when he pays us his bill, whatever amount his purchase may be, it is not the purchase or the purchaser that should be noticed but the fact that he is a customer. He is entitled to service and he should have it and he must have it. Every customer who enters our doors comes because they believe they can buy something here better than they can buy it elsewhere. The responsibility rests with every employee from the basement to the front door, as to whether he or she may go away disappointed or pleased.
When a customer enters our store it is the duty of the clerk to ascertain the name of [the] customer and more especially if it is an old customer, and should call customer by name rather then LADY or GENTLEMAN or FRIEND or anything other than Mr. Smith or Mrs. Brown or Miss Smith, by so doing the customer at once gets a warm feeling of welcome by creating this feeling it adds many customers to our stores, many dollars to our sales, and increases the salaries of clerks.
We want clerks that can say “TATERS” when the customer says “TATERS”… The clerk who is quick to answer telephone calls and does not keep the customer holding a cold receiver to his ear and listening to nothing can swell the appreciation of our service and add to the appreciation to our customer. In answering telephones do not say Hello, who do you want to speak to, answer thus: Cliffside Store, or whatever store or department it may be and the party calling will tell who they want or what they want. Do not speak harshly when answering the phone, the one calling might misjudge your meaning and thereby [we will] lose a valuable patron. We want clerks that can say “TATERS” when the customer says “TATERS” and POTATOES when a customer says POTATOES, and make the customer think himself right and make us think the clerk is all right.
And just take heed that in all minor discussions between store employees and customers, the employee is dead wrong from the customers standpoint and from ours.
It is these little things that send the customer away and causes him to say promptly “I purchased this from Cliffside Mills Store” or listlessly “I got it at the store”. The foreman of any branch store or head of any department who can systematize his department so as to save time or help can make more money for the store and more money for himself, every dollar saved in any department means that we can sell more service for the same price. It makes store service a better thing and makes somebody [a] bigger job. Every item of extra courtesy contributes towards better stores. It is our aim to have our stores always mean best service to be found. You can help to make it so. WILL YOU?
Contributed by Phillip White. It was given to him by Burl Byers, of Forest City, who found it in his father’s effects.
From Phillip: “Burl’s dad was James Byers of Forest City who was the son of Burwell Blanton Byers. He started the company B.B. Byers and Sons, a distributor of Standard Oil Products in Caroleen in 1901. It is known today as North State Gas. James told me many times that his father, B.B., was a good friend of Raleigh Haynes and and later Charles H. Haynes. The Haynes bank made a loan that kept the company solvent. They were grateful for the Haynes’ friendship and help.”